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Old 10-31-2016, 08:36 PM   #1
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High Lift Axle ??

Does anyone have experience with the "High Lift Axle" option on a 5.0 ?? Trying to finalize my build sheet and I'd like to know the pros and cons so I can make an informed decision... I have a 2014 Chevy Silverado 5.3L w/Z74 off road and towing package.
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Old 11-01-2016, 12:03 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by chowlee View Post
Does anyone have experience with the "High Lift Axle" option on a 5.0 ?? Trying to finalize my build sheet and I'd like to know the pros and cons so I can make an informed decision... I have a 2014 Chevy Silverado 5.3L w/Z74 off road and towing package.
Which model are we talking about?

5.0
The 5.0 was the original Escape fifth-wheel, with a single Torflex axle. It has not been offered for a few years, so if you're finalizing a build sheet you're buying a new trailer and it isn't this model.
5.0TA - 2014 to 2016
The 5.0TA is the current Escape fifth-wheel, with tandem beam axles and leaf springs (unless Escape has changed the design recently). If you are buying for delivery very soon, this would be what you are getting. The axles are set up so that the leaf springs can be mounted over or under the axle beams, to change the height. There's no option needed for this; you just tell Escape how high your truck is and they set it up to match. The option list shows a "high lift axle" item, but that's for the 2017 version.
5.0TA - 2017
The 5.0TA is being redesigned, like all Escape models, with the first of the new style to be completed at the end of 2016. With the redesign, this model will change to tandem Torflex axles like the Escape 19' and 21'. If you are getting one of the first of these trailers, you can presumably choose to add optional spacers (listed as "High Lift Axle", but not really a different axle at all) which lift the trailer higher above the axles. Since this trailer doesn't exist yet, no owner has experience with it, and so I would ask Escape what height of truck (measured to the top of the box sides) works with the stock configuration, and get the spacers only if your truck is taller than that.
Edit: although the original post only said "5.0", I see from the member's profile that the trailer is a 2017 5.0TA... so that last section applies and the first two sections just explain why no current owner has relevant experience.
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Old 11-01-2016, 03:39 AM   #3
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High Lift Axle

Brian,
Thanks for the info... that explains it completely. I guess I wouldn't consider this an option as much as the set-up for the truck. Charlie
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Old 11-21-2016, 07:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chowlee View Post
Does anyone have experience with the "High Lift Axle" option on a 5.0 ?? Trying to finalize my build sheet and I'd like to know the pros and cons so I can make an informed decision... I have a 2014 Chevy Silverado 5.3L w/Z74 off road and towing package.
Others have said that the high lift axle you are asking about does not exist, until 2017. However, we picked up our 5.0 TA 11/8/2016, & it has the lift kit. We have the Dexter torsion axles & requested the lift kit, raises our trailer 2 1/2 inches. Had to get a new hitch in order to meet the king pin height of 50 1/2 inches. Wanted to have the extra height because we have run into roads & parking situations where the extra height has been beneficial. Our previous trailer had been raised.

We tow with a 2003 Chevy Silverado 1500 2WD, 5.3L, & tow package. We do not have any off road features. Ooh, & air bags.
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Old 11-21-2016, 07:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Which model are we talking about?

5.0
The 5.0 was the original Escape fifth-wheel, with a single Torflex axle. It has not been offered for a few years, so if you're finalizing a build sheet you're buying a new trailer and it isn't this model.
5.0TA - 2014 to 2016
The 5.0TA is the current Escape fifth-wheel, with tandem beam axles and leaf springs (unless Escape has changed the design recently). If you are buying for delivery very soon, this would be what you are getting. The axles are set up so that the leaf springs can be mounted over or under the axle beams, to change the height. There's no option needed for this; you just tell Escape how high your truck is and they set it up to match. The option list shows a "high lift axle" item, but that's for the 2017 version.
5.0TA - 2017
The 5.0TA is being redesigned, like all Escape models, with the first of the new style to be completed at the end of 2016. With the redesign, this model will change to tandem Torflex axles like the Escape 19' and 21'. If you are getting one of the first of these trailers, you can presumably choose to add optional spacers (listed as "High Lift Axle", but not really a different axle at all) which lift the trailer higher above the axles. Since this trailer doesn't exist yet, no owner has experience with it, and so I would ask Escape what height of truck (measured to the top of the box sides) works with the stock configuration, and get the spacers only if your truck is taller than that.
Edit: although the original post only said "5.0", I see from the member's profile that the trailer is a 2017 5.0TA... so that last section applies and the first two sections just explain why no current owner has relevant experience.
Beg to differ. We have a 2016, with Dexter Axles, & Lift Kit.
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Old 11-21-2016, 10:24 PM   #6
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Beg to differ. We have a 2016, with Dexter Axles, & Lift Kit.
Ah, thanks This was the possibility I mentioned as "unless Escape has changed the design recently".
With the random sputtering of information this year, it has been impossible to tell what Escape specs were really applicable to what trailers. When this came up previously, I asked if anyone with a recent 5.0TA had the Torflex axles, and no one responded. Perhaps it wasn't noticed; perhaps some people just don't know what they have under their trailer. So, it looks like Escape switched to Torflex without waiting for the new body... but we don't know when.

Since the 5.0TA and 21' have the same body width, these axles should be the same as an original-style (not "2017") 21'.

So, for Charlie and his coming 2017 5.0TA, there's no change to the expected equipment (still Torflex, lift kit still available). Monica's trailer has the suspension the 2017 5.0TA will have, but pin height and required clearance are still unknown because the 2017 5.0TA will have a different body and frame from the 2016 version... although those dimensions might be the same.
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Old 11-21-2016, 10:31 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Monica Rose View Post
...
We have the Dexter torsion axles & requested the lift kit, raises our trailer 2 1/2 inches. Had to get a new hitch in order to meet the king pin height of 50 1/2 inches.
So a 2016 5.0TA with Torflex axles has king pin heights of 50.5" and just under 48"... but at which pin box setting? Monica, with the lift kit and 50.5" pin height (or actually be the height of the plate around the pin), is the pin box in its lower setting or its higher setting?
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Old 11-28-2016, 07:58 AM   #8
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Working on my 50 TA build sheet the raised axle question came up. ETI says that if the height of the side of your bed is 56" + you need the lift. I believe this is to clear the truck not for ground clearance. On my F150 the height is 55 1/4". Thinking I'll go with lift as a little extra clearance can't hurt where just a fraction of interference is a costly problem.
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Old 11-28-2016, 08:26 AM   #9
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That's what I'd do. I think mine is too low causing the trailer to be angled upwards towards the front. Would rather have it front end down or better yet, level.
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Old 11-28-2016, 08:29 AM   #10
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I agree. Is your truck same height as mine?
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Old 11-28-2016, 09:00 AM   #11
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Mine's 56" even. I have the HD payload pkg so the wheels/tires are bigger then the standard payload truck. Also keep in mind your trailers suspension will be different then my leaf springs, kind if hard to make a direct comparison. I could drop the pin 2 more inches, while it'd level out the trailer somewhat, there would also be 2" less clearance between the bed rails and the trailer frame.

I'd still opt for the higher frame. If anything your step will just be a couple inches higher off the ground, which is easily remedied.
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Old 11-28-2016, 09:04 AM   #12
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I had the high lift axle on my 19, and felt I really did not need it. There seemed to be an abundance of clearance. I travelled plenty of rough roads and trails, and the only time it was of benefit was backing into my fairly pitched and the bumper came close to touching when the wheels hit the low point in the gutter. I really doubt I would get it again in the 19 or 21.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chotch View Post
Working on my 50 TA build sheet the raised axle question came up. ETI says that if the height of the side of your bed is 56" + you need the lift. I believe this is to clear the truck not for ground clearance. On my F150 the height is 55 1/4". Thinking I'll go with lift as a little extra clearance can't hurt where just a fraction of interference is a costly problem.
Mine measures 54.5" outfitted, so am under the limit.
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That's what I'd do. I think mine is too low causing the trailer to be angled upwards towards the front. Would rather have it front end down or better yet, level.
I know my temp trailer towed with a slight nose high attitude, but with the torsion axles this is not a good idea. I have the ball connection on my Anderson hitch set as low as possible too. I might have to consider a raised axle then, as it will be easier to level out the trailer with the ball height adjustment that way.
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Old 11-28-2016, 11:55 AM   #13
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So the most recent numbers for Torflex-equipped 5.0TA:
  • Without lift kit
    pin height (2016): 48"
    maximum truck box side height: 56"
  • With lift kit
    pin height (2016): 50.5"
    maximum truck box side height: 58.625"

If you have more clearance than necessary between the box sides and the trailer that's harmless, but the pin box and hitch will need to be adjusted to get the trailer approximately level. If the combination of those two adjustments (pin as low as possible, hitch as high as possible) still leaves the nose low - and your box height is under 56" - then leaving out the lift kit should be considered.

In case it's not obvious, that box side height is when the truck is loaded as it will be while towing the trailer.
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Old 11-28-2016, 12:26 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
...
Mine measures 54.5" outfitted, so am under the limit.
Since the limit already includes allowance for reasonable motion over bumps, I assume then that the only reason to consider raising the trailer is for fit to the hitch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
...
I know my temp trailer towed with a slight nose high attitude, but with the torsion axles this is not a good idea. I have the ball connection on my Anderson hitch set as low as possible too. I might have to consider a raised axle then, as it will be easier to level out the trailer with the ball height adjustment that way.
I agree that out-of-level is undesirable, but with tandem axles it is better for stability to be a little nose-high than nose-low.

Jim, since you have the truck already and know how much it drops under load, you can check your available range of pin height (or ball height plus allowance for coupler, with your Andersen Ultimate). Why not just see if you can hit about 48", to match the Torflex-equipped 5.0TA without lift kit? This is assuming 2017 matches 2016, because there is no other information.

Andersen's published dimensions for the standard-height Ultimate ("gooseneck" mount) show 16.35" / 17.475" / 18.60" from bed floor to the top of the box (for the three settings of the hitch's height adjustment). Add the coupler and that's 16.85" / 17.975" / 19.10". The "flatdeck" version is 4" shorter, but wouldn't work in a pickup truck. None of these values include an allowance for the slight separation of the coupler block from the pin box plate.

According to Ford's manual for upfitters, the height above the ground of the box floor of a 2016 F-150 could be from 28.3" (shortest base configuration, fully loaded) to 36.1" (tallest base configuration, empty). A SuperCrew 4x4 with high payload package at half load would be about 33". Add 33" to the Andersen "gooseneck" at its lowest setting and you have about 49"... fine for the 5.0TA without lift kit. But of course a tape measure works better, given that you have the truck.

Also, the 49" (base) / 50.5" (raised) pin heights of the trailer are for one of two positions of the pin box... but I don't know which one. If they are for the lower pin box setting, then the pin box can be raised one step, instead of raising the whole trailer.
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Old 11-28-2016, 02:00 PM   #15
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I've been pondering the high lift option but this thread has really gotten my attention. I have towed sailplane trailers and have scraped the tail of them many times; they have little aluminum skid plates on each back corner but it does put stress on the trailer frame.

High lift option: $300. CAD
Raises trailer frame and tank clearance 2.5" (easier to crawl under the trailer but still not as easy as crawling under my F 150) Maybe a little more convenient at dump stations?
Raises trailer total height ~2.5"
Higher profile = more wind resistance = more fuel consumption.
I think this would be more of an issue towing a 21 or 19 than a 5.0 TA as the fifth wheel is much more aerodynamic and the pickup truck is blocking a lot of the air anyway. Still, there is a mpg penalty, I just have no idea how much.

My early intention is to go with the high lift option but that is partly because I also intend to use the 1 1/2" or 2" rigid pink insulation board under the trailer and I will install it myself. A few more inches in height will make that installation easier. I also want to install the SeeLevel II Tank Monitoring System sometime and a little more height might make that process easier also. So, my vote, for me and for now only is to go with the high lift option. (Still have 5 or so months to waffle on my decisions though.)

Edit: My 2010 F 150 rail height is 55 1/4 empty.
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Old 11-28-2016, 02:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Since the limit already includes allowance for reasonable motion over bumps, I assume then that the only reason to consider raising the trailer is for fit to the hitch.


I agree that out-of-level is undesirable, but with tandem axles it is better for stability to be a little nose-high than nose-low.

Jim, since you have the truck already and know how much it drops under load, you can check your available range of pin height (or ball height plus allowance for coupler, with your Andersen Ultimate). Why not just see if you can hit about 48", to match the Torflex-equipped 5.0TA without lift kit? This is assuming 2017 matches 2016, because there is no other information.

Andersen's published dimensions for the standard-height Ultimate ("gooseneck" mount) show 16.35" / 17.475" / 18.60" from bed floor to the top of the box (for the three settings of the hitch's height adjustment). Add the coupler and that's 16.85" / 17.975" / 19.10". The "flatdeck" version is 4" shorter, but wouldn't work in a pickup truck. None of these values include an allowance for the slight separation of the coupler block from the pin box plate.

According to Ford's manual for upfitters, the height above the ground of the box floor of a 2016 F-150 could be from 28.3" (shortest base configuration, fully loaded) to 36.1" (tallest base configuration, empty). A SuperCrew 4x4 with high payload package at half load would be about 33". Add 33" to the Andersen "gooseneck" at its lowest setting and you have about 49"... fine for the 5.0TA without lift kit. But of course a tape measure works better, given that you have the truck.

Also, the 49" (base) / 50.5" (raised) pin heights of the trailer are for one of two positions of the pin box... but I don't know which one. If they are for the lower pin box setting, then the pin box can be raised one step, instead of raising the whole trailer.
Yes, I definitely would only consider raising the trailer to work with the hitch.

My trailer bed outfitted as is with no hitch weight applied is exactly 33".

Where is the 48" pin height of the 5.0 measured to, the underside of the king pin? If so, the top of the ball on the Andersen Ultimate sits a bit higher than that, just guessing at about an inch by looking at a photo (the hitch is at my storage garage).This would put the top of ball height when connected at about 49" then.

Andersen lists three height adjustments: 16-3/4" lower position, 17-7/8" middle position and 19-1/8" upper position (from bed of truck to top of ball mount). Not sure why this differs from your numbers, though it isn't that much.

So 33" + 17 (bottom height on hitch) = 50". Given that the truck bed will drop at least 1" when the hitch weight is on it (maybe a bit more), that would put me right at 49", and maybe a bit lower. This would seem to work out fine, as it would seem I would be level, and if needed I could raise the hitch ball.

Hopefully my math is working out correct?
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Old 11-28-2016, 04:12 PM   #17
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Where is the 48" pin height of the 5.0 measured to, the underside of the king pin? If so, the top of the ball on the Andersen Ultimate sits a bit higher than that, just guessing at about an inch by looking at a photo (the hitch is at my storage garage). This would put the top of ball height when connected at about 49" then.
It should be the bottom of the plate surrounding the pin, not the pin itself. That way both hitch and pin box measurements are to the same point - the interface between the two. 49" sounds good to me (although remember that the coupler blocks adds half an inch on top of the ball).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
Andersen lists three height adjustments: 16-3/4" lower position, 17-7/8" middle position and 19-1/8" upper position (from bed of truck to top of ball mount).
My numbers are from the dimensioned drawing published by Andersen and revised March 2015... but who knows when they might have changed the design again, or whether they consistently publish correct information. Since the increment between positions is 1.175" in the drawing that I used, and 1-1/8" or 1-1/4" in the specs Jim quoted, the difference would be in the ball/post part. Perhaps they have two versions of that, but in this case it won't matter much since only the lowest position is being considered for Jim's setup.

The current website photo is not the same as the drawing, so perhaps the drawing was for a late revision of the first generation - they now sell the second generation. Jim's dimensions are those on the current web page. My guess is that the design heights haven't changed and the fractional values were measured by someone in marketing at Andersen with a tape measure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
So 33" + 17 (bottom height on hitch) = 50". Given that the truck bed will drop at least 1" when the hitch weight is on it (maybe a bit more), that would put me right at 49", and maybe a bit lower. This would seem to work out fine, as it would seem I would be level, and if needed I could raise the hitch ball.

Hopefully my math is working out correct?
Yes, that all looks good to me!
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Old 11-28-2016, 04:24 PM   #18
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Besides, I want to be able to get my trailer in under a10' door opening.
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Old 11-28-2016, 05:01 PM   #19
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I've been pondering the high lift option but this thread has really gotten my attention. I have towed sailplane trailers and have scraped the tail of them many times; they have little aluminum skid plates on each back corner but it does put stress on the trailer frame.
Given the sailplane trailers I've seen, I expect those have a lot of rear overhang and are very low, both compared to an Escape.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SFDavis50 View Post
My early intention is to go with the high lift option but that is partly because I also intend to use the 1 1/2" or 2" rigid pink insulation board under the trailer and I will install it myself. A few more inches in height will make that installation easier. I also want to install the SeeLevel II Tank Monitoring System sometime and a little more height might make that process easier also.
It would make more sense to me to back the trailer onto some blocks (I would use more than a couple of inches) for the installation work than to get it modified to sit higher all of the time, if the only benefit is access for installation.
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Old 11-28-2016, 05:54 PM   #20
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Given the sailplane trailers I've seen, I expect those have a lot of rear overhang and are very low, both compared to an Escape.

Yes, and if you lower the nose too much the vertical fin can stick up into the laminar airstream and start acting like a wing causing sway.

It would make more sense to me to back the trailer onto some blocks (I would use more than a couple of inches) for the installation work than to get it modified to sit higher all of the time, if the only benefit is access for installation.
I assume I would have to do that but I would still have 2 1/2 additional inches with the lift. For me the issues are:
1. Do I want to pay the additional $300.00 CAD?
2. Will there be much of a mpg penalty or will it even be a measurable difference with the 5.0 TA?
3. Do I want to deal with the additional stair height? (I have to climb a flight of stairs in my home and we go hiking whenever we are camping so not a problem with us.
4. Slightly less bending over to empty the tanks at dump stations, get stuff out of the access doors.
5. More room under the trailer if I want to hang additional square or round plastic tubes to store stuff I don't want to carry in the trailer or pickup. Thinking about using the tubes to help hold the insulation up although the aluminum angle is more elegant.
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