Is the top of your fiberglass Escape rough? - Escape Trailer Owners Community
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Old 11-14-2022, 08:25 PM   #1
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Is the top of your fiberglass Escape rough?

We picked up our 21C on October 24th and after getting it all the way back home I washed and waxed it. During this I noticed that the top was quite rough so I sent Escape an email.

My Question:
*** Is the top of Escape’s fiberglass mold made with a rough texture? I ask because the top of our brand new Escape is extremely rough and impossible to properly wax to protect the gelcoat from UV deterioration. I ask because the bottom of our brand new Escape is shiny and very smooth.

Escape's Response:
*** The top of the trailer does not receive the same attention as the sides of the trailer as it is not necessary to have the perfectly smooth finish, this is merely cosmetic and waxing can still be completed just the same.

Before my head explodes could someone offer me an understanding of Escape's response?
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Old 11-14-2022, 08:49 PM   #2
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Topsy turvy

My bottom side is rough with surface defects. Up, down, you'll get the run around.

I believe it takes a lot of effort and polishing with release agents and waxes on a female side mold for the fiberglass layup. (No gender jabs intended. I think that's the terminology). So, depending on the hapless character that day of your lay-up, it may not have been prepped as best it could have been. And it is likely a difficult process to separate the shell from the mold...perfectly.

It's a cosmetic defect, not structural, remedied if you care to with Marine-Tex epoxy filling in the divets. Unless you're doing drone photos of the topsides, only YOU know it's there.
It's never a good feeling after dumping tons of cash on a new something that's not quite perfect.
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Old 11-14-2022, 09:06 PM   #3
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My concern is longevity of the roof. Stickies have an 8 or 12 year roof material. I was hoping for better longevity with fiberglass.

Very disappointed right now.
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Old 11-14-2022, 10:10 PM   #4
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I feel your pain

Disappointed? I'd be a good bit angry, but there's likely little in recompense coming. Photos of the issue to ETI may get you somewhere. May.
I'd not fret about durability or longevity with your topsides. The shell is still quite waterproof. What you see is the gel coat defect, and gel coat is a cosmetic covering of the fiber and resin shell structure. Your issue is very disappointing, but not unheard of, and not likely the last one.
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Old 11-14-2022, 10:53 PM   #5
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We don’t have roof solar and our 2018 is as smooth as glass everywhere.

Sorry to hear about your ruff roof but it should be fine.

One more thing for all new buyers check off the pre check list with your portable ladder before accepting delivery and drive off.
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Old 11-14-2022, 11:05 PM   #6
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There is no good reason the roof should not be as smooth and shiny as the rest of the shell. I’m assuming that the roughness is what is commonly called “alligator peel”. Most likely there was contamination on the mold or the gel coat didn’t properly cure. If the roughness is actually missing gelcoat then the release agent used on the mold wasn’t properly done. ETI should have rejected the shell top. It’s bad that they used it or didn’t disclose the condition to you. It may be cosmetic, but that is part of what you are paying for. They owe you a new trailer or a repair or compensation to your satisfaction.
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Old 11-14-2022, 11:40 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Eggscape View Post
We don’t have roof solar and our 2018 is as smooth as glass everywhere.
Ditto on my 2021 5.0; sides, top, and bottom all the same nice smooth finish from the factory.

Condolences to WillyB, I can't imagine good reason why the finish of any exterior shell surface should be any different from the always visible sides.

IF ETI has decided for whatever reason (e.g production expedience) that some exterior shell surfaces no longer deserve the attention to finish given the sides .... IMO that's just pathetic.
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Old 11-15-2022, 02:30 AM   #8
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Perhaps, at some point, the current level of attention to detail at ETI will trigger buyers/owners to speak up and not just buy into the notion that it is what it is.
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Old 11-15-2022, 04:27 AM   #9
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While I understand it not being a mirror finish, the moulds are quite smooth inside. I guess I am wondering just how rough it really is. Could you provide some photos?
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Old 11-15-2022, 07:47 AM   #10
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While I understand it not being a mirror finish, the moulds are quite smooth inside. I guess I am wondering just how rough it really is. Could you provide some photos?
It snowed last night again so no pictures for a bit.

By rough I mean like 600 grit sand paper. The bottom is like the sides and the sides are mirror finish.

Seems to me that Escape could care less about quality control where you can’t easily see it. “Sweep it under the rug” Makes me question where else did they fail in their materials and workmanship.

I also sent them a note, including a couple more concerns, about several stripped out screws in the overhead cabinet doors. It was an informational note only. Dustin asked if I could send him a photo. I asked a very simple question back. How do you photograph a stripped out screw? And to walk to the production floor to find a few himself.

I have a couple more issues.
** They only installed one level device. Minor and Dustin is sending me a couple more.
** They setup my Fastway E2 hitch a couple of inches too low. After multiple questions about why I needed the 8-hole drop hitch on my 18 1/2” bottom of receiver height they said I needed it. No response yet on if Escape will pay to have the hitch setup correctly and pay me back for the 8-hole drop that was not needed.
** Plus the large spider crack in the gel coat right next to the door that Escape employees walk past everyday.

I’m very upset by the roof and the gel coat failure. It’s like the roof of your house is not good and rain is coming but really everything else is spot on.
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Old 11-15-2022, 08:03 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by WillyB View Post
No response yet on if Escape will pay to have the hitch setup correctly and pay me back for the 8-hole drop that was not needed.
I have a garage full of unused, not needed towing accessories. After awhile you just go with the flow and not fret about it. The 8 hole drop can always be donated at the next rally "Blue Tarp" special.....perhaps another owner could use it?
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Old 11-15-2022, 08:46 AM   #12
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After three years from picking our 5.0 up at Sumas, and not waxing during that time, the roof on our 5.0 was not as smooth as the sides, but the gelcoat was fine. I used five coats of Zep floor wax on top before adding three 100 watt panels. These are fiberglass campers and that fiberglass will last decades. I wouldn’t worry about it.

Enjoy,

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Old 11-15-2022, 10:57 AM   #13
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How rough is rough?

Willy....I understand your frustration after spending what ever dollar amount the you did.

Myself, if I was not happy with it, I would first try some some Maguire's 67

https://www.amazon.com/Meguiars-M673.../dp/B00029CYRG

You can do it by hand and try a small area. If that brings it back to you liking then complete the entire top of the trailer.

You may also try and wet sand with 2500 to 3000 grit wet/dry sand paper, then polish it.

I know you shouldn't have to do this but the couple of hours may save your sanity and make your trailer experience much more enjoyable.

Again, not excusing the issue but trying to provide you with a solution.

After a couple of years camping and having the sun shine down on your trailer you will have to do this again.

Bill
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Old 11-15-2022, 11:08 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Escape_19 View Post
Willy....I understand your frustration after spending what ever dollar amount the you did.

Myself, if I was not happy with it, I would first try some some Maguire's 67

https://www.amazon.com/Meguiars-M673.../dp/B00029CYRG
Meguiars on the sun-intensive roof won’t last diddley, a year at most and I doubt that. On the sides is one thing, but on the roof you need something that’s made to last a longer time. Meguiars has great ad writers though.

Food for thought,

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Old 11-15-2022, 11:50 AM   #15
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Perry,

The intent of the Meguires 67 is to polish and if that did not accomplish a smooth surface THEN go to the wet/dry sand paper.

It was not meant to post for longevity of the wax component. It was a suggestion to help Willy overcome the frustration of not having a smooth roof with minimal amount of cost and labor.

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Old 11-15-2022, 12:31 PM   #16
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Our 2018 is as smooth on top as it is on the sides, as it should be. My understanding is that the entire trailer is gone over after it comes out of the molds and any rough areas are buffed out until it is all smooth and shinny. Apparently they no longer bother to finish out the roof. Even if they are correct and it will hold up just as well it won't clean up just as well, and if you park under trees frequently it will develop black mold on the rough surface.
I'm not familiar with the Meguiars product but would recommend basically what Escape_19 did, first try rubbing compound and if that's not up to the task wet sanding then rubbing compound, then wax. You should be able to make it as smooth as the rest of your trailer, but as said before Escape should have done this!
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Old 11-15-2022, 12:49 PM   #17
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Thanks for all your comments/suggestions.

It is my opinion that Escape Trailer failed in their manufacturing of my fiberglass shell. The main component and reason I chose Escape. They've created Defects in Materials and Workmanship in the structure of this trailer that will now cost me time and effort to repair. Not to mention the years of worry that the fiberglass shell could fail. Sure this could be a minor thing that never comes up again but I'm not a betting man.

Remember this 2022 Escape 21C was just delivered to me on 10/24/22 and it could not even survive 1 month old before the gelcoat cracked. I can't imagine how bad the top is since they admitted they don't care to give it the same attention as the sides.

Think of it this way. You just had a Million Dollar home built by who's considered to be the best builder and then after you find some problems with the structure the builder tells you not to worry and that they don't put the same attention to the roof because you can't see it.

For all those considering an Escape I think this is a very important thing to keep in mind.
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Old 11-15-2022, 01:05 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WillyB View Post
... I’m very upset by the roof and the gel coat failure. ....
Just to be clear as a follow-up to my previous post ... I'm in agreement with others who have suggested that your situation likely isn't a "gel coat failure" and isn't going to manifest as any structural or longevity issue.

IMO this sounds like an aesthetic issue and likely will contribute to more difficult cleaning and aesthetic maintenance.

That in no way tempers my personal view that it's pathetic that ETI delivered your trailer in this condition.

Lacking hands-on and eyes-on inspection I'm not willing to speculate on possible mitigation. Were I in your shoes I think I'd seek inspection and suggestions from a fiberglass finish professional (likely a boat shop as those are plentiful in my area).

I wish you the best of luck in hopes that you can somehow achieve a robust and slick / smooth finish which will be easy to keep clean and hopefully minimize streaking of dirt down the sides of your Escape (that's the unfortunate effect I imagine you may suffer more as a result of the roughness over the long term).
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Old 11-15-2022, 01:09 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Viajante View Post
There is no good reason the roof should not be as smooth and shiny as the rest of the shell. I’m assuming that the roughness is what is commonly called “alligator peel”. Most likely there was contamination on the mold or the gel coat didn’t properly cure. If the roughness is actually missing gelcoat then the release agent used on the mold wasn’t properly done. ETI should have rejected the shell top. It’s bad that they used it or didn’t disclose the condition to you. It may be cosmetic, but that is part of what you are paying for. They owe you a new trailer or a repair or compensation to your satisfaction.
Unfortunately ETI's warranty expressly states cosmetic problems are excluded.
There are many factors that come into play as to cure rate, etc. We have what is called a "print through" around our door of our Gen1 Escape and I've seen others- not all- with the same defect.

If I had this surface roughness I would seek out a competent detailer familiar with fiberglass. Most detailers just know clear coats on cars, vs. gel coats. It is possible that this can be cut with something like 3M Perfect It using a proper wool rag.

While this is regrettable- that is one more reason to inspect the trailer prior to delivery and remember, people buying $80,000+ new pickups have issues that need to be resolved at a body shop. Work the problem, sky is still up
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Old 11-15-2022, 01:18 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WillyB View Post

Escape's Response:
*** The top of the trailer does not receive the same attention as the sides of the trailer as it is not necessary to have the perfectly smooth finish, this is merely cosmetic and waxing can still be completed just the same.

Before my head explodes could someone offer me an understanding of Escape's response?
To say that I rolled my eyes when I saw that response would be an understatement. I think they fell out the back of my head.

It defies everything that I've ever experienced in my lifelong use of f.g. Without seeing a photo I can only guess what the situation is that caused the surface not to be mirror smooth like everyone else's. Molds don't last forever and at some point do need some work. That might be the case here but we'll know more when we see a photo.

There are molds that create a textured surface, eg. a boat deck mold with a non-skid texture, but generally it's in the best interest to have a mold that gives a mirror finish. The more textured the mold the more effort required to make sure the part releases cleanly and doesn't damage the mold.

At any rate, an unacceptable response since most folks want a mirror smooth easy to wax surface on their trailer, roof included.

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