Going to live in 17 Escape / Tow Vehicle advise - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-06-2018, 09:03 PM   #1
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Name: Al
Trailer: Currently shopping
Indiana
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Going to live in 17 Escape / Tow Vehicle advise

OK, here goes been researching and considering this for some time and getting close to decision time so wanted to seek advise. If this should be in a different area of the forum, let me know.

I'm about 2 years from retirement and plan on spending about 5-7, maybe more living out of the Escape. Retiring from 30 years as a Firefighter and it's just me. I also plan on care taking houses and animal rescues across the country from time to time. I'm sure I will be in housing some but also want to have my home with me for some remote areas that I would like to visit. Will have access to electric some and other times not.

I am aloting 35000 - 40000 USD for Trailer. I think the 17 Escape will be more than enough space for me, I'm a minimalist. Just a comfortable bed and computer access keeps me happy. I will probably get one loaded, every option offered, including a quiet generator and full solar array for off grid times.

My main question is Tow vehicle, I am leaning towards a New Highlander. I have budgeted 35000 - 40000 for the vehicle. I would love to use a minivan. I like them and I will probably leave the trailer at times and live in the vehicle for a few days at a time. My favorite is the Town and Country / Pacifica but I just don't think it's gonna be good enough for Tow Capacity which is why I'm leaning towards a Highlander

I am open to all opinions and comments on both the tow vehicle and ANY advise you can give. I will be living on these forums over the next year to learn what I can. I would like to make up my mind by Summer of next year on Trailer and Vehicle, order the trailer allowing for another year for build out and then I'm off.

I don't like cold weather so I will probably only be in the Northern States in Summer time and Southern States in the Winter.

Let me have it.
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Old 06-06-2018, 09:59 PM   #2
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Name: Scott
Trailer: Escape
Washington
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Our family of four spent a year traveling in an Escape 17B, covering a broad swath of the US and Canadia. We set up our AWD Toyota Sienna (loved that minivan!) for the task but as we were fully outfitted for all manner of adventure in any kind of weather, including two Heavy utility bikes, we had to ditch the Sienna as we were beyond its GCWR. We ended up with an F-150, which was way more than normally necessary (except that the bikes wouldnít fit in the back of anything smaller).

So your case is obviously different but I would still look very closely at tow ratings, especially any minivans, although I know many Escape owners have done it; also several Highlander loving Escape owners.

I would suggest you pose your query over on the Escape forum. Lots of helpful folk over there with a boatload of Escape specific experience.

Cheers,
Scott
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Old 06-07-2018, 12:36 AM   #3
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
California
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Originally Posted by indysafe317 View Post
I am open to all opinions and comments on both the tow vehicle and ANY advise you can give. I will be living on these forums over the next year to learn what I can. I would like to make up my mind by Summer of next year on Trailer and Vehicle, order the trailer allowing for another year for build out and then I'm off. Let me have it.
Welcome to FGRV Al. Just tossing this out as you say you may want to live out of the tug once in a while. You may want to consider something a bit larger such as a Ford Transit as an example. Some members here have gone that route and it gave them plenty of living space and enclosed storage for times without the TT. Plus extra storage space when using the TT .
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Old 06-07-2018, 06:20 AM   #4
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I was thinking exactly the same as Dave. A full-size van would give you more cargo-carrying capacity after you hook up the trailer- more than some pick-up trucks. Transit is a great choice with quite a few powertrain and body configurations available.

I agree that a minivan, with only 3500# towing capacity, is going to be marginal for a 17' Escape. Full-timers generally carry more stuff with them.

Highlander is a good choice, too, reliable and comfortable. Still somewhat limited for cargo- especially "trucky" things like tools, ladder, generator, etc. Check to make sure the middle and back seats fold flat to make a comfortable sleeping surface. Our Pilot does, but has a slight incline toward the hatch.
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Old 06-07-2018, 06:36 AM   #5
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19
North Carolina
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I think your trailer budget is high, which is better than being too low.

Escape prices are Canadian $$ so apply the discount (US $ worth quite a bit more, you can get a good currency value calculator on google).

I think your Highlander choice is good too. Now it depends on the model, as Highlanders have anything from a 1,500 pound tow rating (won't work) to a 5,000 pound tow rating (will work). Easier to maneuver/park when driving solo compared to a full sized van. I've gotten really used to full sized pickup trucks, so I am used to my F150.


Highlander sleeper conversion. For one person, I would make the platform lower, and use a twin or full sized air mattress:
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Old 06-07-2018, 08:07 AM   #6
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Name: Al
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Yep, I'm on both forums to get different perspectives, I think your right about the minivan. I like pickups but the SUV seems to be a happy medium that meets all my needs so I'm leaning in that direction. I'm not out on the pickup idea. Also considering a 4runner.
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Old 06-07-2018, 08:10 AM   #7
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Thanks so much for the video, hadn't seen that one yet. I definitely priced high, I just want to make sure I get every option I can on the build and out the gate. I may, just may go with the 19. I'm starting to lean that way a little which is why I would like to error on the high side of both tow rating and price/budget for both. If I come in under budget, that's just more to spend on additional accessories once I'm on the go. )
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Old 06-07-2018, 08:22 AM   #8
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Name: Al
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It's funny you mentioned the transit, been looking at those lately, They have some great tow capacities, far better than minivan, I'm leaning towards the SUV but storage is an issue as well that I am considering. I do like the Trucky things, they make living out and about a little more comfortable which I like.
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Old 06-07-2018, 08:23 AM   #9
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Trailer: 1986 Bigfoot FT20
Michigan
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Al today is your lucky day. You need to talk too someone that’s been there done that.
Can’t think of one one that is more versed in what you want to do.

PM (private message) Jon Vermiiye
And checkout his RV Blogs and Journals and Fiberglass trailer Blogs. Along with his photos to die for.

Jon started with a 17’ Escape and now has a 21’
You have the budget so, don’t cut yourself short.
Jon is on the road all the time, and might take a few days to get back too you.
Mike

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/private.php?do=newpm
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Old 06-07-2018, 09:36 AM   #10
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Name: Patricia
Trailer: Escape
Washington
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Tow vehicle

My first question is whether you are getting the 17A or the 17B? The B is considerably heavier than the A. For the A you need a tow vehicle that can handle 3,500 pounds which will allow you to put a lot of "stuff" in the vehicle. You can find this information on a website by googling something like "vehicle tow capacities."

As an aside, I'm doing pretty much the same thing you'll be doing. My 17A will be ready the end of July and then I'll hit the road.

Good luck.
Patricia
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Old 06-07-2018, 10:06 AM   #11
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19
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Originally Posted by indysafe317 View Post
. I definitely priced high, I just want to make sure I get every option I can on the build and out the gate. I may, just may go with the 19. I'm starting to lean that way a little which is why I would like to error on the high side of both tow rating and price/budget for both. )
The thing I like about the 19 over the 17 is the much larger front dinette: 46 inches versus 25 inches as I recall. We use part of the dinette for kitchen space, mainly our coffee maker. And it where we sit with a computer. 25 with stuff is really tiny. 46 with stuff is still big enough to be used for meals, etc.

Now a 19 pushes the weight up. At that point an F150 becomes a more useful TV. Check out weights in the real world. Figure a storage box on the front plus the weight of any options. Full time for one a 19 or 21 is spacious. A 17 is good but obviously not as spacious.

Realize on a 17ft trailer the body of the trailer is only 13-8. Width (exterior) is 6-8. On a 19, it’s 15-8, exterior width is 7 ft. That’s 15% longer and 10% wider. Space matters.

Now if you can live without a bathroom the 17A is great! By giving up the bath, you get a much bigger dinette and much lighter weight (opens up TV options).
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Old 06-07-2018, 10:45 AM   #12
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Name: Scott
Trailer: Escape
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I find the bathroom to be an essential feature. Weíre all different, I know, but in my view, and experience, the bath, and to a lesser extent the kitchen, are what separates a trailer from a tent. With the bath I have a hotel room instead of a rolling tent, and never have to worry about where to find a toilet, no matter where we are, because itís right there behind us. Maybe Iím extra conscientious about this because our kids are just now getting past the point where bathroom stops can be required anytime, anywhere, with no notice, and must be handled promptly to avoid unpleasant consequences. Come to think of it, I know some folk at the other end of the age spectrum that have similar requirements. Fortunately Iím not there yet but I can imagine a day in the distant future where the ďportable lavatoryĒ might be as critical to me for pleasant adventuring as it was to our kiddos.
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Old 06-07-2018, 01:06 PM   #13
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Name: Al
Trailer: Currently shopping
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Originally Posted by Mcpatch View Post
My first question is whether you are getting the 17A or the 17B? The B is considerably heavier than the A. For the A you need a tow vehicle that can handle 3,500 pounds which will allow you to put a lot of "stuff" in the vehicle. You can find this information on a website by googling something like "vehicle tow capacities."

As an aside, I'm doing pretty much the same thing you'll be doing. My 17A will be ready the end of July and then I'll hit the road.

Good luck.
Patricia
This is a learn as I go, I think now I've been convinced to go with the 19 foot. I don't think I'd be dissapointed either way so I believe I'm now leaning towards a 4Runner with giving thought towards a Transit.
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Old 06-07-2018, 01:18 PM   #14
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Name: Craig
Trailer: Escape 17B
California
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Tow Vehicles and Escape 17B

We used to pull a 16' fold-down Chalet trailer. Now we have an Escape 17B. Our original tow vehicle was a 4WD V6-powered Toyota RAV4. Loved it for its compact size and very strong engine. In time, however, its 3500 lb towing capacity proved too little. Transmission and differential problems led to its eventual demise. I say "eventual" because I think it was the accumulated wear that took its toll. We replaced it with a 4Runner, rated at 5000 lbs towing. I'm sure the Highlander would work well, but nearly all SUVs these days are built on a unibody car chassis -- a Camry chassis, in the Highlander's case. The 4Runner is built on a truck-like, body-on-frame constructed chassis, rear-wheel drive, so it's more like a Tacoma. Almost all mid-size SUVs are front-wheel-drive (even 4 wheel drive mid-size pull primarily from the front axle), so they are PULLING the tow vehicle and PULLING the trailer, which is hard on the tow vehicle. On the other hand, a front wheel drive vehicle is PUSHING itself and PULLING only the trailer, which is easier on the tow vehicle. Imagine if you would rather pull a heavy appliance across the room by pulling it or by pushing it. Pushing is easier than pulling, hence a truck-like tow vehicle with the primary drive at its rear wheels, in my opinion, is preferable.
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