Almost an Escape but ... - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-04-2007, 06:10 PM   #1
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...they insist on putting the AC above a cabinet on the side of the trailer instead of on the roof. Apparently, the roof was not designed to handle the added load. Too bad because the 17', Plan B model has just about every feature that interests us. The search continues.
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Old 09-04-2007, 06:44 PM   #2
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Hi: IMHO you passed up on the BEST!!! Because of the A/C position on the side???
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Old 09-04-2007, 07:27 PM   #3
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Why is that Alf S? Read many times on this forum where members were asking if a particular trailer was designed for a roof mounted AC. I gathered from their question that it was a good feature. My limited understanding of trailers would suggest that it would at least free up valuable space inside. Hopefully others can chime in and offer some other reasons.
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Old 09-04-2007, 07:33 PM   #4
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Well, lets see...its a standard HOME style A/C which will make it much, much cheaper to replace than one designed for RVs. It keeps the overall height of the trailer lower...which is a huge consideration for those that take Ferries (like to/from Vancouver Island). Or for those needing to get it through a slightly taller than standard garage door. I'd think it would help with the "drag" too when towing if it's not another bump on the roof.

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Old 09-04-2007, 07:41 PM   #5
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Well, lets see...its a standard HOME style A/C which will make it much, much cheaper to replace than one designed for RVs. It keeps the overall height of the trailer lower...which is a huge consideration for those that take Ferries (like to/from Vancouver Island). Or for those needing to get it through a slightly taller than standard garage door. I'd think it would help with the "drag" too when towing if it's not another bump on the roof.

Good points Donna D. So, turning the question around, why don't the other manufacturers do the same? Escape even has the roof mounted AC on their 5.
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Old 09-04-2007, 07:48 PM   #6
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Well, Casita does... or did. I think it was on the 16'. It was mounted in the front, in the lower portion of the closet. With Scamp, prior to the fire... if you wanted a roof mounted A/C the trailer had to be ordered that way. Scamp put in extra roof structure to hold the weight. So if you bought the trailer used, there had to be some investigation done to determine if the roof would hold the weight. Fortunately Scamp kept all the information known about every trailer they built.

Oh, and I've seen a Scamp 5th wheel where the A/C was mounted on the side... right above the refrigerator. I THOUGHT it came from the factory that way.

My trailer doesn't have an A/C, and I've only found a time or two I wish I had it... all other times, a fan works just fine.
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Old 09-04-2007, 08:19 PM   #7
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Well, lets see...its a standard HOME style A/C which will make it much, much cheaper to replace than one designed for RVs. It keeps the overall height of the trailer lower...which is a huge consideration for those that take Ferries (like to/from Vancouver Island). Or for those needing to get it through a slightly taller than standard garage door. I'd think it would help with the "drag" too when towing if it's not another bump on the roof.

It's also protected from the vagaries of low-hanging branches, helps keep the centre of gravity lower and, IMHO, just looks better. we love our Burro but if I had the Loonies to spare, there would be an Escape 17 in our driveway, just as I hope that someday there will be an Escape fifth wheel chasing us all over the continent.
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Old 09-04-2007, 08:21 PM   #8
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...they insist on putting the AC above a cabinet on the side of the trailer instead of on the roof. Apparently, the roof was not designed to handle the added load. Too bad because the 17', Plan B model has just about every feature that interests us. The search continues.
Hi Zeb
I have just ordered a new Escape.I realy don't think you would be dissapointed in the AC location.I have been through factory and have seen these units being built in various stages.I beleive Donna D, did a good job explaining.
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Old 09-04-2007, 08:43 PM   #9
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Not only, Zeb, does it require less structure to place the air conditioner inside the trailer, and the unit itself is less than $100 vs $800 for a roof mount model, it also helps keep the center of gravity lower. If properly placed and vented, standard window A/C units have proved themselves perfectly compent in small trailer use.

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Old 09-04-2007, 08:49 PM   #10
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I don't know, the side AC location just doesn't seem right to me for now. I'll have to noodle this one some more.
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Old 09-04-2007, 08:51 PM   #11
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Good points Donna D. So, turning the question around, why don't the other manufacturers do the same? Escape even has the roof mounted AC on their 5.
There are a couple of reasons. First is storage. A roof mounted A/C unit doesn't take up valuable inside storage place. Secondly is that the public has come to expect a roof air unit on new units, never mind that a window unit can be just as effective. The manufacturers provide what the public wants and will buy.

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Old 09-04-2007, 09:05 PM   #12
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There are a couple of reasons. First is storage. A roof mounted A/C unit doesn't take up valuable inside storage place. Secondly is that the public has come to expect a roof air unit on new units, never mind that a window unit can be just as effective. The manufacturers provide what the public wants and will buy.

Roger
OK, you're forcing me to think harder on the subject. Here goes ...

Pros for roof mounted AC
More storage space inside (thanks Roger)
Quieter (?)
Capable of being more centrally located for better air circulation (?)
Unit is mostly out of site (no ugly vent on the side)
Better air circulation for heat shedding
Ability to use a larger AC unit for warmer climates (?)

Pros for cabinet mounted AC
Cheaper to build (roof doesn't have to be strengthened)
Condensate drain easier to plumb (What do they do with the roof mounted ones?)
Lower roof profile (thanks Donna D)

Can't think of any more at the moment. Anyone else have something to offer?
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Old 09-04-2007, 09:12 PM   #13
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Condensate drain easier to plumb ([b]What do they do with the roof mounted ones?)
Anyone else have something to offer?
They just let it run out onto the roof.
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Old 09-04-2007, 09:43 PM   #14
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Zeb-

I'd really encourage you to contact Escape and let them know your concerns. Reace and his crew have been absolutely amazing with us throughout the process of ordering a 17' B unit-we asked ALOT of questions and never once were we left without a complete answer. We questioned every aspect of the design/build, threw in some unique mods, and were always treated with a prompt respectful reply.

For us, the side A/C was a selling feature-no more fear of covered bridges, low trees, ect. Also, we're short-after owning a 5th wheel with 8' high ceilings finally being able to reach A/C controls is nice!
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Old 09-05-2007, 06:52 AM   #15
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Zeb, the short answer is that both work. A roof mounted unit may circulate the air a little better, but in a 17' trailer the difference is probably moot. I wouldn't pass up an otherwise "ideal" trailer simply because it had or didn't have one or the other. A roof unit is not more quiet than a cabinet mount window unit. A fan and compressor are a fan and compressor. They are noisy, some more than others.

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Old 09-05-2007, 07:02 AM   #16
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Zeb - The interior housing of the roof air does come down into the cabin, which restricts head room a little bit.

Also, at least in the 17 ft. Casita, the roof air is mounted over the bed, where I prefer to have a vent with Fantastic Fan.

Back in 1999 (uh, oh - another walk down memory lane), when we ordered our Casita, they were just really starting to offer the roof air as an option in their 17 footers. I thought I wanted it, but for some reason, our salesman did not think I did. His basic argument against it was (I kid you not, and I quote):

It spoils the look of the trailer.



That's hilarious now, because the "big Casitas" almost always have the roof air these days... But, I've not been sorry we stayed with the under-the-closet mount. (I have no idea about the location Escape puts theirs. Mine is as Donna D. described, above.)

Good luck with your quest for the perfect trailer!
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Old 09-05-2007, 09:21 AM   #17
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You people just are not cynical enough to think of the obvious...
I believe that RV manufacturers use roof-mounted air conditioners because they interchangeably mount in the common 14" vent hole. They can buy whatever unit they can get cheap, of any brand, by staying with this standard design. They can also offer it as an option with virtually no changes (that is, no cost to them) in the trailer.

Less cynically, the unit mounted on the centreline of the roof connects easily to an output duct in the higher centre part of the typical crowned roof. Since none of the eggs have a thick roof like this, or any attempt to duct the air conditioner output, this doesn't really apply to us.

With the shell-as-structure nature of the classic moulded fiberglass design, the roof mounting is less ideal for the manufacturer. Some have designed structures to support them (Scamp, Casita, Bigfoot), others have designed cabinet mountings (Casita, Escape).

Before buying the Boler we were considering a "small" conventional travel trailer. It was deliberately low, and advertising emphasized that feature. It used a cabinet-mounted air conditioner (keeping the height down), and I thought it was a great idea... even at the expense of some storage space.
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Old 09-07-2007, 12:32 AM   #18
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Zeb
I tried to get Casita to build my trailer with no AC at all, but with the options
I selected, it was included, and deleting it would have made it a custom job.
It's a "window" unit mounted below the closet, and it has worked great for the
30 or 40 minutes it has been run in the last three years.
The big issue for me is the clearance (a la Donna D). If they had insisted on
putting a roof-mount AC on the trailer, I would not have bought it.
With the current set-up, I can go through drive-through windows, drive-through
ATMs, etc., with impunity, knowing I'm well under 9' tall.
To me, a more-expensive-to-replace RV AC mounted on the roof would be a
deal-killer.
Depending on your use, there's a lot of storage aboard. Full-timing, there's
more than I need!
And Mary F, thanks for that post, the roof air does spoil the looks!
P
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Old 09-16-2007, 10:02 PM   #19
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And Mary F, thanks for that post, the roof air does spoil the looks!
P
You're welcome, Palmer.

In the early days of this discussion forum, one of our European members even referred to the roof mounted a.c. as an "ugly pimple" -- and then wondered/asked why any of us would do that to our trailer! (He was ever so polite about it, of course.)

Alas, that topic was trashed in the big hack of Nov.2005. It was a doozie.
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Old 09-17-2007, 04:01 PM   #20
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Well since I put a Maxi Air cover over the Fantastic Fan vent the roof line was FUBAR'd anyway so I really don't mind the top mounted AC on the Casita. We looked at a 16 foot with the AC in the closet but I liked the little more headroom in the 17 foot Casita and I really do like having a full hanging closet after years of tent and pop up camping. I don't worry about the height since I don't park it in a garage.
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