New Escape 5th Wheel - Fiberglass RV

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Old 03-19-2006, 07:56 PM   #1
Commercial Member
Name: Reace
Trailer: Escape Manufacturer
Posts: 123
This is a call to all the Scamp 5th wheel owners or 5th wheel whannabees. I am in the design stage of putting an Escape 5th wheel together. I have a cropped photo of what it should look like but I am looking for input as to general floorplan layout ideas and what is missing or most important to have. I have committed to a front to back queen size bed for the top bunk and the bathroom still has to remain in the front portion of the trailer. What else?

Looking forward to your input.


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Old 03-19-2006, 08:08 PM   #2
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Trailer: Casita 17 ft Spirit Deluxe
Posts: 108
that is one good looking 5th wheel and I will be watching how it comes along as that might be our next trailer.
I will let the ones who have a fiberglass 5th wheel answer your questions .
I have seen two of your regular trailers and they are very nice, good luck with your 5th wheel trailer. Jay

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Old 03-19-2006, 09:10 PM   #3
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Name: Gina D.
Trailer: '77 Leocraft 17 & Former Burro owner and fan!
West Coast USA
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I am all for having the back end being strictly living space (Sofa, shelves for entertainment) and a smaller dinette.

Thats just me. I have to shuffle space for 4 in my 13, and I only ever need space for 2.

I like the idea of never having to "Convert" anything to sleep or eat. A 5er gives you that option.

This is why I like the Bigfoot floor plan so much. The illusion of seperate spaces, even if you have to drop something to get a bed.
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Old 03-19-2006, 09:24 PM   #4
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Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
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Hey Reace, I have a couple of suggestions (anyone surprised?) based in the assumption that this unit would be essentially the size of the current 17' Escape, plus the upper body extension over the truck box.

There have been a few recent discussions of "fifth-wheels" in the forum, and one recurring theme is "what can tow it?" With the number of compact trucks out there with very short boxes, I think it worth considering a configuration which places the entire upper body section about a metre (3 ft) behind the hitch pin/ball, with just a narrow structure (gooseneck) over the box. That's not just an extended pin box, because it means less upper body protrusion compared to the main body (or a longer lower body, depending on how you look at it).

The Scamp design uses a 2" ball coupler. A ball makes sense to me, and I'm sure the coupler was chosen for light weight, but the 2" size is obscure for bed mounting - a 2-5/16" ball would make for much better hitch availability. A true fifth-wheel (pin-and-plate coupler) seems unnecessarily heavy, complex, and expensive.

In the current 17' Escape, and essentially any fiberglass trailer with a side bathroom, the size of the bathroom is an area for improvement. Of course, it can't just be made bigger without giving up something else. With the extra room in this fifth-wheel, and the need to raise the roof line (you show a nice slope up to the over-cab section), perhaps the bathroom could be both taller and wider, while staying the same general location.

Another common floorplan issue in the classic egg layout - of which the 17' Escape is an example - is difficulty in access to the dinette. There are "pinch points" at both sides, where the occupant is required to squeeze between the table corner and either the kitchen cabinet or whatever storage cabinet is on the other side, and rounding off the corners of the table doesn't really fix it. If the door were closer to the rear (and I do realize that the wheel is in the way), so that there was no deep cabinet between the door and dinette, at least one side would have easy access. This is essentially the situation with the front dinette in the Boler B1700.

I am uncertain how well my wife would handle the climb into the raised bed. Buried in the thread "Doors in benches under Scamp rear dinette, Benches strong enough to put these in?", Nancy in Oregon has posted a nice custom staircase/storage unit. Wider (front-to-back) steps would be nice, but the point is that some easy-to-use access method is required, and it should make good use of the space.

With the right interior features, and in particular that access issue settled, I would consider trading the Sienna for a mid-size pickup to be able to get this type of trailer. Thanks, Reace, for the opportunity to provide input to the design process.
1979 Boler B1700RGH, pulled by 2004 Toyota Sienna LE 2WD
Information is good. Lack of information is not so good, but misinformation is much worse. Check facts, and apply common sense liberally.
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Old 03-19-2006, 09:27 PM   #5
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I am always interested in trailer design, and why certain decisions are made.
However, I personally might not be the one to make suggestions... (I identify with the episode of The Simpsons where Homer was involved in designing a family car, and wound up driving that car manufacturer bankrupt!)

I can think of some coincidences of recent conversation on this board. One involves what kind of Trailer would a family with children buy?
Frederick - The Scaleman
1978 Fiber Stream 16 named "Eggstasy" & 1971 Compact Jr. named "Boomerang"
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Old 03-19-2006, 09:32 PM   #6
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Has there been consideration given to moving the entry door forward and going with a tandem axle setup which possibly would add stability and also be safer in case of a tire failure? ...Benny
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Old 03-19-2006, 09:41 PM   #7
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Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
Posts: 4,999
Has there been consideration given to moving the entry door forward and going with a tandem axle setup which possibly would add stability and also be safer in case of a tire failure? ...Benny
I'm all for safety and stability, and I have zero experience with fifth-wheels, but I suspect that a tandem setup would not be worth the weight and space consumption for me. I believe that it would help, just not that it would be required. I would rather have a good suspension (with shock absorbers), and good tires (lower profile) than more stuff. I'm not worried about a tire failure, any more than I'm worried about one on the tow vehicle (which certainly doesn't have tandem axles). No offense intended, for those Fiber Stream and Bigfoot tandem owners...

It will be interesting to see if the desire for tandems is common.
1979 Boler B1700RGH, pulled by 2004 Toyota Sienna LE 2WD
Information is good. Lack of information is not so good, but misinformation is much worse. Check facts, and apply common sense liberally.
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Old 03-20-2006, 01:14 AM   #8
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Name: Dave
Trailer: 2011 Escape 5.0
Posts: 184
I already want one!

Given that you've already got a queen sized bed in the works, I'd encourage the concept of "less is more" when designing the rest of the trailer. One of the most common themes I see is room to move in the trailer, followed closely by storage. ( Some people would say storage is the most important. ) Seems to me that trying to create an open feeling in the back end of the trailer would be a really good thing.

Thanks for coming here and asking us. It gives a good feeling when a manufacturer actively solicits input from the people who will use the product.
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Old 03-20-2006, 04:26 AM   #9
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Trailer: 2002 Casita Freedom Deluxe / 2007 Nissan Frontier King Cab
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Storage is important in the fifth wheel design.

One reason my wife and I decided against a fiberglass fifth wheel is that we knew we'd use the bed of our pickup truck for a lot of storage. In a fifth wheel, you lose the option of a camper shell for the pickup and lose that storage capability. Any move for us to upgrade to a fifth wheel would hinge on how much stuff we'd have to move successfully from the lost option of the camper shell to the trailer itself.

Also, we speak to people who either went with fiberglass or moved to a fiberglass trailer because of the much lower weight and gasoline consumption. If a fifth wheel is going to be very heavy, it's going to lose a lot of the low weight appeal of people who move to fiberglass for that reason.

Having said that, the proposed Escape fifth wheel looks like a good idea.
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Old 03-20-2006, 05:20 AM   #10
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Looks GREAT! I think that you probably already have a handle on most of the issues; each customer wants that "something" a little bigger, smaller, more accessible... but there's only so much space and so many things you can do...

Having JUST completed a 1600 mile trip in a Scamp CD 5th wheel, and being 6'5" tall, the full queen fore/aft bed is an excellent idea. I second the idea of Nancy's bedroom mods to her Scamp. If you can find a way to make the bath just six inches larger in both dimensions, you'll have a real winner!

There's one design/engineering feature that is worth of consideration. I have both a 16' Scamp CD and the 19' fifth wheel right now. I like the room and features of the 19', but the versatility of being able to tow the 16' on a conventional hitch. I would undoubtedly keep the fifth wheel if there were some way to convert it to a conventional trailer tongue and still keep the tongue weight manageable. That's a tall order, but like Bob, I haul 'stuff' in my pickup when I go, and I'm not sure that my 4WD Tundra isn't too tall for the Scamp, which is now installed in an S10 bed, and I also have an Excursion with a conventional hitch that I occasionally tow it with.

I understand that there are three Scamp owners who have done home-built tongue conversions on their fifth wheels. The concern, however, is a seven or eight hundred pound tongue weight. Perhaps a tandem axle might help the weight distribution? All I'm asking you to do is just accomplish the impossible!

How about a modular interior that could be rearranged (within the constraints of plumbing and electrical) to suit the buyer's current whim?

Sorry, Reace... you DID ask...

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Old 03-20-2006, 06:14 AM   #11
Trailer: Casita 17 ft Liberty Deluxe
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At least 6'4" interior head room at the front/entrance of the trailer. I am a few hairs under 6'3" and I don't clear (barefooted and hatless) my current trailer which specifies 6'3" interior height. I also agree with the "keep it simple and lightweight" philosophy. Lots of behemoths to choose from already out there.
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Old 03-20-2006, 06:56 AM   #12
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Trailer: 1976 13 ft Boler and 1980 Trillium 5500
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I know it doesn't jibe with your current design, but I always thought a 13' trailer equipped with the typical 5'er bedroom would be great! A mini 5'er! Alec
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Old 03-20-2006, 07:10 AM   #13
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Trailer: 1989 Casita Spirit Deluxe
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That's great news, Reace. You already have a good trailer and the only thing that I can think of is to have a larger bathroom with a standup shower. The additional height should be available with the roof curve but the width might be a little tougher unless you move some other things around.

Good luck!
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Old 03-20-2006, 07:55 AM   #14
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Name: Reace
Trailer: Escape Manufacturer
Posts: 123
Having talked to many small trailer owner's with tandem axles, when they get a flat tire, they usually don't know about it until it has completely shreaded the tire and done some kind of damage to the unit. With a single axle, you will know quite easily that you have a low side and feedback from customers towing the Escape who experience a flat do not seem to loose control at all. I would like to attribute this to the longer wheelbase.

There is too much cost involved in moving the door so we have design around it.

I have seen the Scamp set up for the 2" coupler hitch although it does not fit the bill in the looks department.


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