Catastrophic Frame Failure (2012 Escape 17B) - Page 2 - Escape Trailer Owners Community
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Old 10-17-2022, 08:38 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fender View Post
Yikes!
Am I dreaming this or was there at one time a recall for beefing up the frame in this area?
No, the recall was for the mitre joint. The 19' has had failures in a similar position behind the joint, and had its own specific recall and fix.

The frame problems caused by stabilizing jacks welded to the bottom of the frame instead of a proper bracket, and caused by drilling stupid holes vertically through the frame for body-mounting bolts, have not caused enough failures to trigger a recall.
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Old 10-17-2022, 09:10 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Eggscape View Post
Yes very common.
Unless you build your own frame and have OSD…most tube frames are raw metal inside.
I think I remember one person with an Escape drilled a hole in the bottom of the frame and water ran out.
Or just undo the rear vertical bolts that hold the spare tire holder on. If your trailer's seen any rain you'd be surprised at how much water drains out. At first glance you wouldn't think that's possible.

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Old 10-17-2022, 11:22 PM   #23
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Thanks to all for the good wishes. We're back home in Seattle now after 4 days of moteling instead of boondocking on the Olympic Peninsula. Besides the major miracle of this happening at 1 mph instead of 60, there was also the minor miracle that we were in downtown Port Angeles about a mile away from Evergreen Collision Center, one of State Farm's preferred repair facilities. The trailer was being carried away on a flatbed truck within an hour or so. When I think of all the hours we've spent in mountains, or deserts, or deep inside forests, where this was so much more likely to happen.... just wow. The trailer was then moved to Evergreen's main welding shop in Sequim, where they routinely repair trucks, buses, and trailers in addition to cars, so she'll be in good hands for a month or two (they're insanely busy). And I was going to winterize the trailer this week anyway, so we're not missing much.

Responding to a couple of comments....

I'm the original owner, and the trailer has always been towed with the same vehicle; our Tacoma has the factory towing package including a Class III hitch (not a weight distributing hitch). However, the first time that I towed the Escape at night, I discovered that our headlight low beams were now high beams, and the high beams were now searchlights. I promptly installed a pair of rear suspension air bags, and with the correct drawbar (1-1/2" drop in my case) and the air bags at 55 psi, the trailer was level and the headlights pointed where they are supposed to. When not towing I keep the air bags around 10 psi for a smoother ride.

I had been thinking that both frame tubes broke at once, but it's probably more likely that one of them broke first, precipitating the second break and collapse a few seconds (or minutes?) later. While navigating through local streets and a parking lot I was more focused on driving, and nothing looked or felt amiss but maybe I missed a clue or two.

We really love our little Escape and I'm sure we'll be back on the road come springtime.

Best to all....
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Old 10-18-2022, 08:46 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiercel View Post
Besides the major miracle of this happening at 1 mph instead of 60, there was also the minor miracle that we were in downtown Port Angeles about a mile away from Evergreen Collision Center, one of State Farm's preferred repair facilities. The trailer was being carried away on a flatbed truck within an hour or so.
Again, very scary that happened. Sounds like your trailer is in the right place for repairs.

We had our own mishap this summer where we were rescued by Evergreen Towing.
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We attempted a near 180 degree turn off of Elwha River Rd back on to Crown Z Water Rd and ended up having the rear of the Sprinter sitting on the hitch receiver.
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Evergreen Towing was quick to respond with the proper equipment. Very professional driver.
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Old 10-18-2022, 10:18 AM   #25
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Yeesh, no U-turns with that van I bet; is it the 170" WB? Our Transit is 148 Long model (not extended) and towing with that is pretty different than with the SUV.
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Old 10-26-2022, 10:13 AM   #26
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Bottom two pic explain it all, heat stress crack started at the welds for the jacks to crack years ago (my guess is its also ~2/3rds of the way from the tongue to the axle). Then there was a secondary incident that cracked ~1/2 way, rust working on the steel the whole time, then finally (luckily) in a parking lot, it competely failed. I feel for you.
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Old 10-26-2022, 10:37 AM   #27
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My 5.0 is a 2011 model. It was starting to get rust on the frame and particularly on the angle iron supporting the tanks. I went under and completely looked at the frame and applied a coat of Rustoleum to every steel member. Of course you can't get to the side in contact with the body or tank. I would recommend something similar for all whose trailers are at the 10 year age mark.
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Old 10-26-2022, 11:09 AM   #28
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The OP mentioned that Washington state does not use salt products on their roads, that is not the case. All northern tier state DOTs, counties, and municipalities predominantly use liquid NaCl brines and solids in the winter as do all provinces. Some may use less corrosive products (CaCl), but they are significantly more expensive. The bare metal corrosion rates you experience will be much higher where you have high persistent humidity. There are numerous products and techniques for coating the interior of boxed frame rails and I highly recommend them if you use your trailer in the winter. I also think that well placed frame drain holes are a good idea if they are not already present.
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Old 10-26-2022, 11:18 AM   #29
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It appears the stabilizer was welded on and the weld went across the tube frame, which I have been told would compromise the strength of the tube. The weld should have been run parallel with the tube and possibly been skip welded to avoid weakening the tube.
Just a personal observation
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Old 10-26-2022, 11:20 AM   #30
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Recall for frame issues

You were blessed with a miracle! Glad it happened the way it did.


Shortly before Escape was sold, I was notified of a recall on the frame of my 2010 Escape 19. Communicating with the company owner, I had to find a certified welder. He reinforced the frame exactly where yours failed with materials prescribed by Escape. I was reimbursed. So happy I followed through on that notice.



Best of luck with the repair and restoration of your confidence in the trailer.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiercel View Post
Hi Everyone,

We just had a horrifying incident with our 2012 Escape 17B, but it could have been so much worse. On day 1 of a planned 4-day outing in mid-October, while driving slowly through a Safeway parking lot, we heard a loud crash. The frame of our Escape had completely broken just behind the tongue, immediately in front of the cross beam for the forward stabilizers. The trailer tongue was still connected to the hitch ball, but the front edge of the fiberglass shell was on the ground, connected to the tongue only by the propane hose and electrical wiring.

Because the tongue was still connected to the truck the breakaway switch didn't activate, and if this had happened on the highway (where the trailer spent 99.9% of its time when on a trip) people could easily have died.

Both main longitudinal steel tubes comprising the frame had sheared off, and inspection of the broken parts showed that some of the broken edges were rusty, indicating they had been cracked for some time. It had never occurred to me to closely inspect the frame for cracks, but clearly this is something that every trailer owner (not just Escapes) should do periodically. Our Escape 17B was 10 years old and has perhaps 30,000 miles on it, mostly on pavement but with a little bit of time on gravel forest service roads (we have the high lift axle and larger wheels). It has never been in an accident or suffered any kind of abuse, and has always been towed perfectly level. We live in Washington State with mild winters and no salt on the roads during the winter, so there was no unusual source of corrosion. Our towing vehicle in a 2011 Toyota Tacoma 4WD (Access Cab model).
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Old 10-26-2022, 12:44 PM   #31
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I thougt this only happened to me-- yikes-- my 2005 Aliner had similiar and i drove it for about 300 miles when the front started dipping-- the only thing keeping it from completely severing was the two propane tanks pushing up against the front-- limped it to a welder who got it fixed enough to get me home where i tore into it and reframed the tongue to the main beams-- back in the days they only constructed those beams using c channel so it was bound to give... best of luck to your repair
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Old 10-26-2022, 01:22 PM   #32
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Pretty scary pictures ! So glad it was no worse than this.
I have a 2019 17B I don’t know if I have the same frame as you do. Regardless, I’ll be checking mine periodically.

Do you know what your tongue weight was typically ?
I assume if the trailer has a 3500 Lb axle and a 10% tongue weight is recommended then the frame should be rated to carry a 350 lbs. tongue weight easily. it is hard to imagine you were anything close to these numbers in the trailer or tongue weight.

Unfortunately Escape will not do any engineering analysis of why this occurred. We are on our own as we were with cooktop failures.

Best of luck in your repairs and future adventures, Bob
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Old 10-26-2022, 02:10 PM   #33
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I have read about some new-ish conventional travel trailers that sufferered broken frames in the same general area. Lippert frames, IIRC. Escape frames have done pretty well overall, seems like.
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Old 10-26-2022, 02:16 PM   #34
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I have a 2019 17B I don’t know if I have the same frame as you do. Regardless, I’ll be checking mine periodically.
There should be two major differences - a 2019 would have a 4" frame versus 3" and your stabilizers are probably attached with self-tapping hardware versus welded. The hardware holding the stabilizers may be inadequate but that is another topic altogether.
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Old 10-26-2022, 03:16 PM   #35
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There should be two major differences - a 2019 would have a 4" frame versus 3" and your stabilizers are probably attached with self-tapping hardware versus welded. The hardware holding the stabilizers may be inadequate but that is another topic altogether.
Thanks ! Good to know. What a great source of information on this forum.

Bob
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Old 10-26-2022, 05:10 PM   #36
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I am glad you are well and safe.

I am a cautious individual and I recognize that they are “not cars”. That is to say that they are not made like modern cars.

This being said I have the chassis inspected when I have the wheels and brakes inspected - just like my car.

In addition, I purchased a car dolly and slide around under my unit checking the welds and frame. If I spot rust I scrape it and paint it. Campers require more inspection and maintenance than cars.
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Old 10-26-2022, 08:32 PM   #37
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I have read about some new-ish conventional travel trailers that sufferered broken frames in the same general area. Lippert frames, IIRC. Escape frames have done pretty well overall, seems like.
We have relatives with different trailers than Escape who have had more than one frame break. This discussion has been a real eye opener to us. We have a 2018 Escape 19 and I was struck by the comments on using a weight distribution and stabilizer bars (EZ Lift) and often will make tight turns. We will definitely take action to inspect the frame. Thanks for this and any additional advice would be well received!!
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Old 11-02-2022, 02:37 PM   #38
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Has this been taken to ETI for any sort of resolution or issuance of a recall as they did with the 19' models? Was there any sort of transfer of responsibility from Tammie and Reace to the new owners? Do these things age-out at some point with the manufacturer no longer being responsible? We had both recalls done to our 19, courtesy of ETI in the good old days, but I'm still going to spend some quality time under it with a strong flashlight before our next trip.
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Old 11-02-2022, 06:16 PM   #39
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Use a small 12 or 16 ounce ball peen hammer to tap around and listen for the ring of good steel as opposed to a dull thunk. You’ll
Hear defects if they are there and look very closely at the whole frame especially around welds. Anyway that’s what I do.
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Old 11-02-2022, 06:50 PM   #40
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Was there any sort of transfer of responsibility from Tammie and Reace to the new owners?
There's nothing to transfer - responsibility has always been with the company, regardless of the owners.

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Do these things age-out at some point with the manufacturer no longer being responsible?
Not really. Warranties expire, but manufacturer liability for safety-related defects is forever. Of course if a failure is the result of aging, without any design or manufacturing defect, the manufacturer is not responsible.
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