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Old 07-16-2014, 08:33 PM   #1
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A few more build questions

Don't see marker lights as an option on the 17b, but have seen a lot of photos of them. I assume ETI will add them if requested. Does anyone know the approximate charge? Marker lights mean more holes in the trailer, which I dont like, but I like the look. What are your preferences and why?

What do you think is the most useful location for additional 120v and 12v outlets?

Andersen or Equalizer? We must use a wdh. (Front wheel drive v6 tow)

All the regular bulbs inside can be swapped out with LEDs, no?

Looking at possibly eliminating the roof vent in the bathroom. It will have a window. One less hole in the roof? Agree or not?

What does prewire solar actually mean? Does it mean that all you have to add later is the panel and charger? Where is the wiring terminated?

Much of this has probably already been asked/answered before, so thanks for humoring a noob.
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Old 07-16-2014, 08:58 PM   #2
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I wanted 12v outlets anywhere I'd want to be able to charge devices. Besides the one for the tv, 1 at the dinette and 1 outside for the box fan.

No experience with the Anderson but the Equalizer has worked well for the last 8 years, it does squeak and is pretty heavy.

I like the vent in the head and use it, all 1 weekend we've had the trailer.

Prewire Solar for the TA is a pair of cables protruding through the roof where they normally install the solar panel, they are terminated with MC4 connectors. the other end is at the batteries, which in the TA is under the dinette where all the power connections and equipment is. It'll need a fuse and the solar controller.
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Old 07-16-2014, 09:55 PM   #3
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I opted for no pre-wire solar because I plan to set my panels on the ground around the trailer, not on the roof. Creating an entrance for the wiring through the bottom or side of the trailer should not be a problem.
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Old 07-16-2014, 09:57 PM   #4
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Excellent. MC4's -- that certainly makes it convenient. Add the controller, mount the panel and pretty much done. We're getting dual 6V batts so we can have additional amp hrs as well.

I've heard good things about both hitches. Some say the Andersen produces more sway, some say it's noisier -- I suspect both are true, and thanks for the feedback.

Any opinion about the marker lamps?
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Old 07-16-2014, 10:43 PM   #5
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Andersen or Equalizer? We must use a wdh. (Front wheel drive v6 tow)

I vote anderson, we have it on our 21. Easy to setup and to store when not in use. That said I have no experience with any other WDH

All the regular bulbs inside and can be swapped out with LEDs, no?

I swapped our exterior bulbs out, our interior is already LED. I've seen many LED replacement bulbs on the market

Looking at possibly eliminating the roof vent in the bathroom. It will have a window. One less hole in the roof? Agree or not?

The 21 roof vent has a fan, if yours has it I'd keep it.
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Old 07-16-2014, 11:41 PM   #6
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Looked over the Anderson, they both look like they do the job and the prices are about the same. The Anderson looks quieter and lighter then the Equalizer, the only 2 issues I found with my Equalizer. If we can believe the reviews at Amazon it might be worth trying.
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Old 07-16-2014, 11:58 PM   #7
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Had a 17B; would put a 12V outlet on the nightstand wall facing single dinette, as well as one either under the driver's or passenger side double dinette near exit of dinette or just under the flip up counter. For 120V I didn't miss having any more than the standard set. Didn't add any in 21.

Would check more on the installed vs. aftermarket LED's. I was asked that by a potential buyer when mine was for sale. Tried one to replace the standard bulb in the hood and it started blinking. Went back to standard.

Don't think the 17 has a power vent in bathroom, but would definitely keep the standard one. We are adding a window in the 21 to increase ventilation. Used the standard WDH and it worked great, but it is a little heavier and you gotta use the grease on the bars. Going with Anderson this time, but still not sure am making the right choice there.

We had dual 6V batteries and no solar. Would keep us going for 4 days before monitor started showing significant drop. Getting solar this time only because we're doing an inverter and need to keep the battery charged.
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Old 07-17-2014, 12:12 AM   #8
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Don't see marker lights as an option on the 17b, but have seen a lot of photos of them.
Do you mean clearance lights? The 17' doesn't have them because it isn't wide enough to need them. On the other hand, an extra set of high-mounted lights is offered, listed in the options as:
Quote:
Additional Set LED Brake Lights (Horizontal) $95.00
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We must use a wdh. (Front wheel drive v6 tow)
Why? WDH might be required, but not due to front wheel drive in any vehicle that I know of.
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Old 07-17-2014, 12:15 AM   #9
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...a few things you mentioned;
> The anderson hitch was touted as being quiet and now many people lubricate them to keep them from squeaking and they exhibit uneven ball wear. The advantage is they are lightweight but my heavy equalizer WDH is great and pretty quiet with the heavy plastic pads from the manufacturer that I installed. I would purchase the Equalizer again. It works really well with my Honda Pilot 4wd, front wheel drive TV. Keeps those front drive wheels firmly planted, especially with my heavy tongue weight.
> Every light bub I have is LED from the factory but I could have done it later myself. Have Escape do it. BTW, their lights are a soft glow type, not the horrible bright white ones most places sell.
> Keep the bathroom ceiling vent. There is no leakage problem with those. With my side window open and the top vent open the room is very well vented. Get both.
> If you are considering Solar (I have two panels, a commercial controller and four 6 volt batteries) have Escape put at least one panel on top, get two 6 volt batteries and the GoPower controller which is standard. That is what I started with and would do it again. You will absolutely not regret it.

Good luck!
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Old 07-17-2014, 12:21 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Do you mean clearance lights? The 17' doesn't have them because it isn't wide enough to need them. On the other hand, an extra set of high-mounted lights is offered, listed in the options as:


Why? WDH might be required, but not due to front wheel drive in any vehicle that I know of.
They are called a lot of different things and I never know what the proper name is, but I'm talking about the small lights that are along the top, in the front and rear. Personally I dont like the look of the additional horizontal tail lights on the 17.

As for the need for a wdh, I got my info straight from ETI. They state that all fwd tows must have a wdh.

Here's a quote from their FAQ:What does an equalizer hitch do?
The EQ hitch evenly distributes the trailer tongue weight of the trailer throughout the front and rear axles of the tow vehicle and the trailer axle. All front wheel drive vehicles will require an equalizer hitch.
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Old 07-17-2014, 12:27 AM   #11
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Many people with older Escapes wish they had those extra horizontal running/brake lights, especially with bikes on the back.
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Old 07-17-2014, 12:34 AM   #12
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"If you are considering Solar (I have two panels, a commercial controller and four 6 volt batteries) have Escape put at least one panel on top, get two 6 volt batteries and the GoPower controller which is standard. That is what I started with and would do it again. You will absolutely not regret it."

Thanks so much for your insight! We are definitely getting prewired for solar, but we are trying to keep initial costs down. We are also getting dual 6 volt batteries. I know ETI does a great job installing these items, but if we're prewired we can always add them later. To be frank, I can get the exact same panel and the gopower controller for less than half of what that option costs, and mount them myself later as we find the need.

As for two panels, I don't think there is room for two on the roof of the 17b with a/c and the maxx fan, or am I wrong?
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Old 07-17-2014, 01:00 AM   #13
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[I]As for two panels, I don't think there is room for two on the roof of the 17b with a/c and the maxx fan, or am I wrong?
I personally don't know. If you want the wiring prepped for solar then have the roof penetration done and the 10 gauge wiring run to the normal GoPower controller location...and have wiring run from that location to where it would normally be run to connect to the battery wiring. You may consider looking at flexible panels that can be bonded to the roof with no hardware. Costs are dropping quickly, technology is moving quickly and you have many options. It is most important to know that these panels quickly lose their output when shaded, even partially (a few inches). My original single panel on my 19' was mounted between the Maxx fan and the AC and when I raised the Maxx Fan cover I could see the voltage drop off of the charging system. I couldn't believe a couple of inches could kill more than half of the output. So...I raised my panel 3 inches up on standoffs and the problem went away. My second panel was also installed on 3 inch standoffs to prevent shadowing issues...just FYI.
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:47 AM   #14
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I can't answer all these questions, but I do have opinions on few:
  • As others have pointed out, you can get an extra set of brake/turn/tail lights on the rear of the trailer. I did that and am glad I did. Gives me peace of mind.
  • We have a 12 volt outlet in the front of the trailer (on the closet wall facing the dinette, and one by the rear of the trailer, under the bed by the propane detecter. Both are on the passenger side. Given the amount that we use our iPads/iPhones, I wish I had one in the front dinette on the driver side, and one on the driver side of the rear dinette.
  • Andersen vs. conventional wdh is a hard decision. We have a conventional WDH on our 17b, but decided on a Andersen for our new trailer. Google Andersen in the forum, and you can read the pros and cons of each. I guess the good news is that they both seem to function well. I think if you gathered 3 forum members to discuss this, there would be at least 4 differing opinions...
  • We got the "Warm White" LEDs from ETI when we bought the trailer. We like them, and it was easier than trying to source the right LED for all the bulbs. I think that there is only one color choice for factory installed LEDs currently. If you want a different color, that might be a reason to do it as an after market item.
  • We don't have a window in the bathroom, but we often use the overhead vent. Haven't had a leakage problem, but leaves and debris seem to find their way to the screen. I would think you would be ok with an opening window.
  • I think your questions re: solar have been answered. If you are going to do your own solar, you might want to have the wires terminated on the side of the trailer with some sort of 12volt connector. That way it would be easy to move them about.

Hope that helps. I know that finishing up the build sheet is a bit stressful. Lots of choices.
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Old 07-17-2014, 11:38 AM   #15
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They are called a lot of different things and I never know what the proper name is, but I'm talking about the small lights that are along the top, in the front and rear.
The ones at each corner, on the front and rear, are called clearance lamps because they show how wide and/or tall the vehicle is. An Escape 17' is neither wide enough nor tall enough to require them, but they're at least harmless to use and certainly can be beneficial for visibility.

The tight group of three lamps in the middle (usually at the top, but not necessarily) is the wide vehicle identification set: it tells other traffic that the trailer is more than 2 metres (80") wide. Since the Escape 17' is not this wide, it would not be appropriate. Wide motor vehicles have them on the front as well, but trailers generally don't, presumably because it is assumed that there is a wide tug (with those lights) in front of the trailer.

ETI does not offer either clearance or wide vehicle identification lights as an option as far as I know; both are provided as standard equipment on wide models (19', 21', 5.0TA). I suppose you could ask for just the clearance lights as a custom addition to a 17', but the wiring to the front clearance lamps would be unique.

Personally, I wouldn't bother with the rear clearance lights without also getting a high-level stop lamp (brake light). Since Escapes (like most non-commercial trailers) are wiring with a combined stop/turn system, the most straightforward way to get a high-mounted stop lamp is to add a complete (left and right) pair of stop/turn lamps, which is what the listed option provides. I believe that those optional lamps also contain running (tail) lights, providing the same function as rear clearance lamps.

It's good that these are LED, because with regular incandescent bulbs the full set of trailer lighting with clearance and identification lights draws too much current for the circuit which supplies them from some tow vehicles.
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Old 07-17-2014, 11:42 AM   #16
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As for the need for a wdh, I got my info straight from ETI. They state that all fwd tows must have a wdh.
With all due respect for Reace and company, I look to them for expertise in travel trailers, not for understanding of vehicle dynamics. The manufacturers of some front-wheel-drive vehicles specifically recommend that WDH not be used, and some even say they cannot be used; that's very different from requiring it!

What ETI says about whether or not an Escape can work with WDH is very important. Fortunately for those who need or want WDH they can - the frame is strong enough, unlike some trailers.

Robert, what is your tug (which I understand is an SUV with a V6 engine and front wheel drive), and what does its manual (or other manufacturer publications) say about WDH?

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Here's a quote from their FAQ:What does an equalizer hitch do?
The EQ hitch evenly distributes the trailer tongue weight of the trailer throughout the front and rear axles of the tow vehicle and the trailer axle.
Equal-i-zer is a brand name, used here as a generic term. Yes, the function is to force the tug's front axle and trailer's axle(s) to carry more load, and the tug's rear axle to carry less. On the other hand, there's no way in which the WD system design can cause this distribution to be "even"; the "equal" part of the name is just bull... and there's no reason to want to distribute this load equally, anyway. The load distribution effect is unrelated to how much load the trailer tongue puts on the tug, but the WDH is used to sort of compensate for the tongue weight.

What's missing is any explanation of why this would be required (it is in some cases, but certainly not all) or why front-wheel-drive would be special (it's not).


WDH may be a subject which would be better in a separate thread, as it tends to get involved.
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Old 07-17-2014, 12:50 PM   #17
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What's missing is any explanation of why this would be required (it is in some cases, but certainly not all) or why front-wheel-drive would be special (it's not)..
Brian, the application of WDH with front wheel drive is really important when the tongue weight is heavy enough to marginalize the traction contact of the front wheels with the ground during worst case conditions; for instance accelerating uphill from a stop right after the it starts raining. If the front wheels spin (I know traction control is supposed to prevent this) you have lost both steering control and drive traction. This is highly undesirable while pulling a trailer.

How many single car accidents have you seen in the fast lane during the rain? This is because folks put on their cruise control with front wheel drive while driving too fast and water collects slightly in a groove on the left side of the lane and the left wheel loses traction and hydroplanes. If this happens even for a moment the cruise control tries to make up for it and puts the car right into the center divider all the time. I use this example of front wheel drive traction loss to illustrate the importance of never under any circumstances allowing the possibility of loss of traction with the front wheels while towing a heavy trailer. For front wheel drive vehicles the WDH adds an additional margin of safety. We can discuss theory all day but this example is based on real-life experience.
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Old 07-17-2014, 01:34 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
The ones at each corner, on the front and rear, are called clearance lamps because they show how wide and/or tall the vehicle is. An Escape 17' is neither wide enough nor tall enough to require them, but they're at least harmless to use and certainly can be beneficial for visibility.

The tight group of three lamps in the middle (usually at the top, but not necessarily) is the wide vehicle identification set: it tells other traffic that the trailer is more than 2 metres (80") wide. Since the Escape 17' is not this wide, it would not be appropriate. Wide motor vehicles have them on the front as well, but trailers generally don't, presumably because it is assumed that there is a wide tug (with those lights) in front of the trailer.

ETI does not offer either clearance or wide vehicle identification lights as an option as far as I know; both are provided as standard equipment on wide models (19', 21', 5.0TA). I suppose you could ask for just the clearance lights as a custom addition to a 17', but the wiring to the front clearance lamps would be unique.

Personally, I wouldn't bother with the rear clearance lights without also getting a high-level stop lamp (brake light). Since Escapes (like most non-commercial trailers) are wiring with a combined stop/turn system, the most straightforward way to get a high-mounted stop lamp is to add a complete (left and right) pair of stop/turn lamps, which is what the listed option provides. I believe that those optional lamps also contain running (tail) lights, providing the same function as rear clearance lamps.

It's good that these are LED, because with regular incandescent bulbs the full set of trailer lighting with clearance and identification lights draws too much current for the circuit which supplies them from some tow vehicles.
This is an excellent explanation of the lamps. Thank you.
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Old 07-17-2014, 01:48 PM   #19
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With all due respect for Reace and company, I look to them for expertise in travel trailers, not for understanding of vehicle dynamics. The manufacturers of some front-wheel-drive vehicles specifically recommend that WDH not be used, and some even say they cannot be used; that's very different from requiring it!

What ETI says about whether or not an Escape can work with WDH is very important. Fortunately for those who need or want WDH they can - the frame is strong enough, unlike some trailers.

Robert, what is your tug (which I understand is an SUV with a V6 engine and front wheel drive), and what does its manual (or other manufacturer publications) say about WDH?


Equal-i-zer is a brand name, used here as a generic term. Yes, the function is to force the tug's front axle and trailer's axle(s) to carry more load, and the tug's rear axle to carry less. On the other hand, there's no way in which the WD system design can cause this distribution to be "even"; the "equal" part of the name is just bull... and there's no reason to want to distribute this load equally, anyway. The load distribution effect is unrelated to how much load the trailer tongue puts on the tug, but the WDH is used to sort of compensate for the tongue weight.

What's missing is any explanation of why this would be required (it is in some cases, but certainly not all) or why front-wheel-drive would be special (it's not).


WDH may be a subject which would be better in a separate thread, as it tends to get involved.
Yes, fully understand that equal-i-zer is just a brand name for the wdh. It's just a copy/paste from their faq.

As for my tow, it's a 2008 Lincoln MKX 3.5L V6 with 8500/3500/350 GCWR/TC/Tongue Cap respectively. Andersen says it's compatible. Lincoln has virtually nothing to say about wdh and the MKX -- at least not anything I can find after doing alot of searching. So, I fall back to a certain extent on anecdotal evidence. A buddy has a 17' Casita Spirit Deluxe, and tows it with a Ford Edge, which is pretty much the same frame, same engine, same towing capacity, etc. He uses an Equalizer brand wdh and it tows very solid.
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Old 07-17-2014, 03:38 PM   #20
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As for my tow, it's a 2008 Lincoln MKX 3.5L V6 with 8500/3500/350 GCWR/TC/Tongue Cap respectively.
That has similar weight ratings and engine to my Toyota Sienna van, but a shorter wheelbase than the Sienna or other Ford SUVs, such as the Flex / MKT. That shorter wheelbase (but still decent - this is not a short vehicle compared to many used for towing) means more load transfer off the front axle due to hitch load, and thus more likely a desire for a WD system... but I would still check the numbers. The other vehicle specs needed to do this are the axle load ratings (GAWR) and the weights on those axles before and after adding the trailer.

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Andersen says it's compatible.
I can't imagine what vehicle Andersen (or any other manufacturer) would say is not compatible with their product, as long as it has a 2" or larger) hitch receiver on it. Remember, Andersen also insists that the same WD system - without even a change in spring stiffness - is suitable for all trailers of all sizes with any tug (up to the seven ton trailer weight limit); does that seem reasonable?

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Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
Lincoln has virtually nothing to say about wdh and the MKX -- at least not anything I can find after doing alot of searching. So, I fall back to a certain extent on anecdotal evidence. A buddy has a 17' Casita Spirit Deluxe, and tows it with a Ford Edge...
I just checked the 2008 MKX manual and it is really light on vehicle-specific towing information; that's unfortunate. I agree that the Edge is equivalent; the Edge manual is the same. Some manufacturers don't provide any guidance about WDH use; it's always worth checking in case they do.

The hitch capacity listing for the Edge in the 2008 Ford Towing Guide shows the 3,500/350 lb values under weight-carrying capacity, and no listing at all under weight-distributing. Whether this mean WD is not to be used, or just that it does not increase the capacity, is not clear. The 2008 Edge (mechanically an MKX) may have come from Ford with a 1.25" receiver, which would have made WD irrelevant (and corresponding ratings not listed), since WDH systems are not available in that size. Robert, I assume that your MKX has a 2" receiver, or that you are planning to install one to be able to use a WDH.
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