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Old 05-25-2021, 10:17 PM   #1
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General work on the trailer - quote from RV service

We are getting ready to go on our first camping outing with our 'new to us' 2005 17B and it needs a few things, we already spent about $500 on new tires, brakes, and packing.
I wondered if anyone has some advice for if we can do any of this ourselves (easily). I am wondering about the Sway Bar installation, that seems like a lot of money to install it.
These are the things that we have received a quote for that seem like they need to be done. The camper is currently at the service place, but they can't do the work until next week...so I could probably change or eliminate a few things. This is for labor only. The parts we purchased or are purchasing are with each item:

- GFCI OUTLET-$77.50
- MONOMETER TEST-$155.00
- REAR BRAKE LIGHT-0$ IF IT IS JUST A BULB.
- SWAY BAR-$310.00 (plus $73 - we bought the Husky Sway Control from the dealer)
- ROOF INSPECTION-$46.50 (they said this was a good idea to check for any leaks)
- NEW BRAKE CONTROLLER-$232.50 (plus $212 Redarc Tow Pro Elite)
- DUMP TANKS-0$
- TURN BALL HITCH TO SIT HIGHER-0$
- BREAKAWAY SWITCH-$31.00
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Old 05-25-2021, 10:58 PM   #2
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For an Escape 17, I would not install a sway bar. We have a 2015 E17A, and it does not sway. The distance between the coupler and the axle is 12 feet (trailer is a bit over 17 feet long overall), and 17's tend to be tongue-heavy, so sway just does not happen.
When we first picked up our 17, for the 1st 2 hours , we drove 2 lane state highways, so I experimented, and tried to make the trailer sway: it wouldn't happen. When a semi truck drove by the other way, I watched the rear-view mirrors carefully: did not observe any sway, or any movement at all.


A Weigh-distribution hitch (WDH) is another matter. We do not use one (and after 5Ĺ years of towing our 17, do not intend on getting one), however, since the 17 is tongue heavy, any number of 17 owners do use a WDH, and like the handling and lack of porpoising.
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Old 05-25-2021, 11:04 PM   #3
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Re: roof inspection. This is an all-fiberglass molded trailer, not a stick-built trailer (wood frame with inner and outer skins or veneers) with seams between roof and walls, so leaks are few and far between. The only potential leak points for an Escape roof are at the roof vents.
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Old 05-25-2021, 11:35 PM   #4
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If you tell us what your tow vehicle is and its tow and tongue weight rating ( see your manual ), we could help more.
I have a 2009 17B that I towed for 12 years with a 2008 RAV4 V6 Sport. I used a weight distribution hitch without a sway bar, with no issues.

It's worth checking the caulking on the roof; around vents and where there are rivets. You can do that yourself with a ladder. Just look for separation of caulk.

They must have a very high shop rate to charge $155 for connecting a manometer to a port and seeing what number they get. I suspect they will find that you need a new regulator, and you might. Maybe they should just replace it for under $70.

The list of checks and the price for each sours me on this RV Service site you've found.
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Old 05-26-2021, 12:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harvest View Post
We are getting ready to go on our first camping outing with our 'new to us' 2005 17B and it needs a few things, we already spent about $500 on new tires, brakes, and packing.
I wondered if anyone has some advice for if we can do any of this ourselves (easily). I am wondering about the Sway Bar installation, that seems like a lot of money to install it.
These are the things that we have received a quote for that seem like they need to be done. The camper is currently at the service place, but they can't do the work until next week...so I could probably change or eliminate a few things. This is for labor only. The parts we purchased or are purchasing are with each item:

- GFCI OUTLET-$77.50
- MONOMETER TEST-$155.00
- REAR BRAKE LIGHT-0$ IF IT IS JUST A BULB.
- SWAY BAR-$310.00 (plus $73 - we bought the Husky Sway Control from the dealer)
- ROOF INSPECTION-$46.50 (they said this was a good idea to check for any leaks)
- NEW BRAKE CONTROLLER-$232.50 (plus $212 Redarc Tow Pro Elite)
- DUMP TANKS-0$
- TURN BALL HITCH TO SIT HIGHER-0$
- BREAKAWAY SWITCH-$31.00
The monometer test price is outrageous you can buy a monometer for less than that. Or make your own for $5 and test it yourself. Lots of YouTube videos to show you how.
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Old 05-26-2021, 12:40 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies so far. We are towing with a Honda Pilot set up to tow 5k.
We are also totally new to trailer camping/towing/owning! So I don't have anything to compare it to and don't really know what I am doing. I just want to be safe as possible as we are camping/driving with kids. It sounds like we should perhaps look elsewhere for service. It is already at the shop, but it hasn't been worked on yet, won't be done until June 4, so I might be able to change things.
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Old 05-26-2021, 01:22 AM   #7
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My RAV4 had a 3,500 lb. tow rating and 350 max tongue weight. I used the least expensive Pro Series weight distribution hitch, no sway.
What do they say they are doing to install this sway bar?
I had a hitch receiver into which the WDH is "installed" by me to tow. I assume your Pilot has a hitch receiver already installed?
I'd get your trailer from this shop as soon as possible.
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Old 05-26-2021, 06:40 AM   #8
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harvest,

I have three suggestions:

1) you are in an area with quite a few Escape owners. Click on the term "Owners Map" in the gray bar near the top of this page. I see several 17' owners fairly close. Call ETI and see if any of these owners would meet with you, either at their trailer or yours.

2) Escape maintains a list of Ambassadors, who are people who like to show their trailers to prospects or really anyone. See if there are one or two near you. Again, call ETI for these names.

3) There is a fiberglass rally on the weekend of June 3 south of Tacoma at a place called Taidnapam. We've been to the rally a couple of times. There are usually a couple dozen fiberglass owners, including some Escape owners. Your questions could be answered by owners of other brands, and most people at these rallies are just itching to help a new owner understand the details you are raising. Do a search for Fiberglass Rally Map.
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Old 05-26-2021, 08:22 AM   #9
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The shop seems expensive and some sugggestions are suspect. Certainly there are plenty of places around. Also I’ve had better luck with commercial trailer places for hitching and or axle service than rv shops. Look for ratings and check the bb and see what the reputation is.
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Old 05-26-2021, 09:50 AM   #10
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Hard to say what you could do yourself "easily". None of the items on the list are hard to do, but it depends on how much of a DIY'er you are as they are not exactly easy either. Only you can answer that.

-Sway Bar: Was this labor to install a Weight Distrubution Hitch? If so, it doesn't sound too terribly expensive. I set my WDH up myself, but it is a fairly involved process to do correctly. If this quote is just to install a sway bar onto your existing hitch, then this is crazy expensive. Also, since you are carrying kids and probably lots of cargo, I would recommend a WDH because you will have lots of weight in your tow vehicle and adding the tongue weight of the trailer to the back end will put a lot of weight on your rear axle.

-Manometer test: I will tread lightly here as I'm not experienced with this. I have never done this test on my trailer, but everthing works (fridge, furnace and stove). Seems like if everything is working why spend the $ on a test?

You didn't say when your camping trip is? Sounds like this shop is able to get the work done pretty quick. I have heard of serious delays on trying to get RV's worked on this year. So, you might have to spend more $ with this shop to get it done before your trip rather than shopping around and finding another shop cheaper who can't get it done in time for your trip.
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Old 05-26-2021, 09:53 AM   #11
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Not knocking the home made manometer but you can buy a factory built manometer for about $60 or less. It has an easy to read accurate gauge. Then you can check your pressure and accurately adjust your pressure if needed for the life of the trailer. That’s $100 you don’t need to spend. A tube of Proflex and a cheap caulk gun is under $20. If you have a ladder you can I sped all the caulk joints on your roof and recaulk and better understand what’s over your head
As stated, you do not need an anti sway bar, just the weight distribution hitch is plenty.
I’d suggest learning how to maintain and repair your trailer yourself. It’s part of owning a trailer rather than throwing money at it. Many things are virtually “plug and play”. Spend money on tools and books and you will own them for a long time.
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Old 05-26-2021, 10:08 AM   #12
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Is your Pilot ready for the brake controller? (Pre-wired?) If yes, that charge is high. if no, it's low! All I had to do for my Ridgeline was buy a specific Ridgeline to controller harness (one was included but it had to be wired to the controller and I wanted plug and play) and plug both ends in so cost was about $30 more than just the controller- so then it depends on what kind you are getting.

I would not leave that shop without finding another one first, though- it's hard to book RV repairs right now so you might find you can't get someone else. You might check on a mobile repair guy as then you could see what he is doing and be ready to do it yourself next time. But you may find most have high rates now, too.
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Old 05-26-2021, 11:09 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bobbie54 View Post
Is your Pilot ready for the brake controller? (Pre-wired?) If yes, that charge is high. if no, it's low! All I had to do for my Ridgeline was buy a specific Ridgeline to controller harness (one was included but it had to be wired to the controller and I wanted plug and play) and plug both ends in so cost was about $30 more than just the controller- so then it depends on what kind you are getting.

I would not leave that shop without finding another one first, though- it's hard to book RV repairs right now so you might find you can't get someone else. You might check on a mobile repair guy as then you could see what he is doing and be ready to do it yourself next time. But you may find most have high rates now, too.
Thank you. I just called the Honda dealer and spoke to service - they told me that our car's harness has an output to connect the brake controller and that the brake controller needs to be wired to it from the front and mounted, that 2 hrs sounds about right. The brake controller I think we want is a low profile one - it costs $212 - Redarc Tow Pro Elite - https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Bra....html?feed=npn

I hear you about not leaving. They are booking in Sept right now and we kind of slipped in with less work, but now it is turning out to be more. I did hear of one mobile that had good reviews - Inside Out RV. But I also don't want to complicate things. Our trailer is already at Roy Robinson RV Service and they have spent a lot of time with me explaining things, etc. They are going to help us with dumping and the tanks too (no charge). At this point, the trailer can be completed by next week and that is when we wanted to go camping, well we wanted to do a trial short trip this weekend, but that's ok.
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Old 05-26-2021, 11:12 AM   #14
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Not knocking the home made manometer but you can buy a factory built manometer for about $60 or less. It has an easy to read accurate gauge. Then you can check your pressure and accurately adjust your pressure if needed for the life of the trailer. Thatís $100 you donít need to spend. A tube of Proflex and a cheap caulk gun is under $20. If you have a ladder you can I sped all the caulk joints on your roof and recaulk and better understand whatís over your head
As stated, you do not need an anti sway bar, just the weight distribution hitch is plenty.
Iíd suggest learning how to maintain and repair your trailer yourself. Itís part of owning a trailer rather than throwing money at it. Many things are virtually ďplug and playĒ. Spend money on tools and books and you will own them for a long time.
Iowa Dave
Thank you Iowa Dave. I also wonder if we can tell about the roof and the caulking. I agree about maintaining it ourselves, but being newbies and wanting to go camping soon, I feel a little over my head. I will ask them about the test and why it is so much, it seems high from what I am reading here. I was reading that Anti Sway would help avoid fishtailing and I read mixed things about the Weigh Distribution for Honda Pilot - being ok or not. The little things are adding up and we are a little overwhelmed, but are so excited to have it, to camping, and eventually to learn how to maintain it ourselves.
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Old 05-26-2021, 11:17 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by flynfrfun View Post
Hard to say what you could do yourself "easily". None of the items on the list are hard to do, but it depends on how much of a DIY'er you are as they are not exactly easy either. Only you can answer that.

-Sway Bar: Was this labor to install a Weight Distrubution Hitch? If so, it doesn't sound too terribly expensive. I set my WDH up myself, but it is a fairly involved process to do correctly. If this quote is just to install a sway bar onto your existing hitch, then this is crazy expensive. Also, since you are carrying kids and probably lots of cargo, I would recommend a WDH because you will have lots of kids and cargo in your tow vehicle and adding the tongue weight of the trailer to the back end will put a lot of weight on your rear axle.

-Manometer test: I will tread lightly here as I'm not experienced with this. I have never done this test on my trailer, but everthing works (fridge, furnace and stove). Seems like if everything is working why spend the $ on a test?

You didn't say when your camping trip is? Sounds like this shop is able to get the work done pretty quick. I have heard of serious delays on trying to get RV's worked on this year. So, you might have to spend more $ with this shop to get it done before your trip rather than shopping around and finding another shop cheaper who can't get it done in time for your trip.
Thank you!

- it is an anti sway bar, not a weight distribution hitch, I was concerned because of reading different things about Honda Pilot and a WDH - same with other unibody vehicles we were looking at like the Subaru Ascent. So, I thought this was less intense but would still help without any possibly compromising?

- I think everything works fine, I haven't tried the stove yet. But, since we are such newbies and especially because we have kids with us, I wanted to be on the super extra safe side - and I am not experienced with propane and that kind of thing.

- we wanted to go the first weekend in June (well we wanted to go on a mini one close by this weekend as well to be closer to home, but it won't be done by then), they are booking in Sept now, and the trailer is already there, with everything else going on keeping it simple and straightforward sounds very appealing. You make a good point!
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Old 05-26-2021, 11:28 AM   #16
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If you look at the things that are on our roof and look at perimeters you will see caulk.
Stare at it closely and see if it’s “pulled away” on either the trailer surface or the device being caulked. If it is you will have to remove the caulk, clean the surface with alcohol, it will dry pretty quickly ( evaporate). If it’s hard to remove, carefully use a plastic putty knife or a plastic chisel set from harbor freight (about $10). Once clean, caulk with a narrow bead from the caulk gun, cut just the the tip off, smooth with your finger with a little Dish soapy water on your finger. Work each seam as you go. Don’t caulk it all then think you can go back and smooth it out. It will skin over quickly and you’ll have a mess. When done, seal your caulk tip with a screw or tape then seal the whole tube with a food saver bag. Otherwise the caulk will cure out in the tube before you use it again. Take your time. Use a stabile ladder with a helper to hold the ladder. I would not walk on the roof
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Old 05-26-2021, 11:31 AM   #17
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I'm with others. Sway bar is not really needed and that is a pretty steep price to pay for one. WDH is much more important for good vehicle handling and lots of them incorporate sway damping if that is important to you. Lots of people use WDH with unibody vehicles including myself. If you weren't loading the back end of the Pilot with kids and cargo I would say WDH might not be needed. I guess you can try it w/out on this trip and see how it handles. If the headlights are pointed way up, the rear end squatting low and the steering is super sensitive, you will want to get WDH later.

Also...with the 17B, any tendency to sway can be reduced by loading the trailer properly...not too much weight behind the axle. Like dfandrews, I tried to get my 17B to sway several times and it was always nice and stable behind me.
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Old 05-26-2021, 11:37 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by harvest View Post
Thank you. I just called the Honda dealer and spoke to service - they told me that our car's harness has an output to connect the brake controller and that the brake controller needs to be wired to it from the front and mounted, that 2 hrs sounds about right. The brake controller I think we want is a low profile one - it costs $212 - Redarc Tow Pro Elite - https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Bra....html?feed=npn
If it is like the Ridgeline you plug one end of a wiring harness into the prewired part, and the other end wired or plugged into your brake controller. Mounting was two small screws but that also depends on where you want it. It did take me awhile as access to the plug on the truck was pretty horrible and the plug did not go in easily, So it could be two hours. Some people mount it so it is less obtrusive and that can take longer to do. Make sure you confirm where they are going to put it- on the Subaru the shop that did it put the brake controller in the way of my knee. (Would have been okay if I had longer legs as the installer probably did.)
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Old 05-26-2021, 12:42 PM   #19
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I use the same brake controller and to hook it up in the truck took all of 30 mins to plug it into the fuse panel and install the button control. Works better than any other setup I’ve used. Excellent choice.

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Old 05-26-2021, 12:49 PM   #20
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If it was me I would tell that shop manager to kiss off, and go get a second opinion.
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