Hi all! Looking to move from popup to fiberglass - questions inside - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-15-2019, 03:20 PM   #1
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Name: Josh
Trailer: Jayco popup
Colorado
Posts: 2
Hi all! Looking to move from popup to fiberglass - questions inside

Hi everyone. I've had the same Jayco pop-up for over 20 years. It's served my family well, but the lift system just gave out, so I started looking around and realized that my Ford Escape 2.0L Ecoboost (factory 3,500 lb tow package) can tow more than just popups these days. We've had no problems towing our Jayco in the Rockies (~1,400 lbs dry weight, 2,205 lbs GVWR) and the Ecoboost helps at altitude, but I don't want to push our luck at 10,000 feet.

I've been lurking on these forums, but I have a feel questions I was hoping the experienced posters here could answer:

First, I will likely need to upgrade my 4-pin electrical connector to a 7 pin that can accommodate trailer brakes and don't wish to wire it myself. What is the recommended way to have this done? Ford dealership? RV dealership? What sort of cost should I expect?

Second, what model RV would you recommend? I've been looking at Scamp, Escape, and Casita, which seem to be the big 3 manufacturers on this forum, though I know there are others. My main considerations are:
  • Towable with my Escape, so tongue weight <350 lbs and GTWR under 3500 lbs, preferably lower due to altitude in the Rockies. We tend to pack pretty light, but I know that we'll have some gear, propane, and water in addition to dry weight.
  • Toilet and shower. Dry is ideal, but wet is fine and likely what I'll get in my weight range.
  • Two beds. Preferably queen/double/full, but a single could work too. Can be convertible dinette or sofa.
  • Kitchenette with sink, stove, and refrigerator.
  • Dinette for 4.
  • Microwave is a nice-to-have.

16' seems to be the sweet spot for the features I'm seeking. I've looked at the Scamp 16, Casita Spirit Deluxe 16', and Escape 17B, with the Scamp being the lightest. Would love to have some input from folks with these or similar models.

Thanks!
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Old 08-15-2019, 04:24 PM   #2
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
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Escape 17B will be really pushing it weight wise, 3200 to 3400 pounds. Check out weights in the real world. Casita 16 is pretty close to those weights too. Scamp 16 is not exactly light, but lighter than the other two, more like 2800 to 3000 pounds.

So your TV is marginal IMHO, particularly in higher elevations and mountain grades. I would not do it. Its your choice.

No dry baths in any of your choices, none in your weight range. Barely room for a wet bath.

Watch bed sizes carefully. Manufacturers are pretty loose with their descriptions. Scamp's "BIG BED" is about a double, regular bed is a single plus. Twin in a Casita is a little over half a twin bed size. And so on.

You are going to need to make a bed every evening and take it up every morning if you want a dinette for four. Not the end of the world, but kind of a PITA after a while.

Options drive up weights of course: awning, furnace, AC, depending on the brand, some or all of these are options.


Trailer Weights in the Real World
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Old 08-16-2019, 09:35 AM   #3
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Name: David
Trailer: Casita 17 SD
California
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Get the 17 SD Casita and upgrade to a bigger tow vehicle. Bath and side dinette are awesome to have. Your escape will not last long towing a 16 ft either. Stick with a tent trailer or change tow rigs first then get a decent size TT.
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Old 08-16-2019, 10:57 AM   #4
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Yes, you will need to upgrade to a 7 pin connector to activate the brakes. You can have the brake controller hardwired or use one of the wireless ones now on the market, either one will require more than the 4 pin connector provides. Not too difficult to add it yourself if handy, just need to add three wires to your existing setup. One from brake controller, one to recharge the battery while traveling (optional) or power the wireless brake controller if you get that one, and one for backup lights (optional). Local trailer shop or U-Haul could handle the installation.

The Scamp 16 is the lightest of the three. Ours weighed 2500 lbs loaded for short trips for the two of us when we towed with our Subaru Outback (2700 lb rating), and 3,000 lbs now that we're retired and travel further, and have added both propane tanks, solar, and bigger battery. Our 16 Scamp has a "narrow" 45" twin at the back 4 person dinette, and a narrow single on the 2 person side dinette. We keep our rear dinette in semi-permanent bed mode.

The Casita 16 would probably be next lightest, followed by the Escape 17B. All have GVWR of 3500 lbs so they "shouldn't" weigh more than that if properly loaded.

If I was buying a new trailer, it would more than likely be an Escape 17B based on light weight for the size and quality of the product.

The Casita 17 would more than likely exceed your Escape's tongue weight since "most" that are weighed exceed 350 lbs.
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Old 08-16-2019, 12:24 PM   #5
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Name: Josh
Trailer: Jayco popup
Colorado
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Thanks for the feedback so far. Just to clarify, trading in my Ford Escape is not an option right now, but I've read that others in these forums do well towing in the 16-17' Fiberglass RV class with the 2.0L Ecoboost Ford Escape:

A 17B Escape RV seems like the strongest recommendation, but I am not seeing any Escape RVs for sale near me. There are some 16-17' Scamp and Casita trailers nearby. None of the Scamps have A/C units though, and I'm guessing that should be factory-installed.

Edit - apparently the A/C unit can be added on newer Scamps (since 2000).
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Old 08-16-2019, 12:36 PM   #6
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Name: dave
Trailer: no longer looking at Parkliner,04 Honda Odyssey
Pennsylvania
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Hi Josh! If you are close to 6' tall be aware some have more interior height than others. You may want to check into a weight distribution hitch as well to help spread out the trailer's weight across the length of your tow vehicle. Happy camping!
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Old 08-16-2019, 03:01 PM   #7
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Trailer: Li'l Hauley
Oklahoma
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Trailer Weights in the Real WorldThis is the trailer weights thread link.

The composition of this forum's membership has changed greatly in the past dozen years. Back when I first joined, everyone was like, "Sure, you can tow with that little 4-banger." Now people are more cautious.

There was a thread or two about problems getting a brake controller wired up in the Escapes. A wireless one might be the easy route. Here is one of the threads: 7 pin RV plug installation in 2013 Ford Escape with factory tow package

A Scamp 16' is likely to have the lowest hitch weight, which might be a significant factor considering your Escape's payload rating.

There is a couple, Norm and Ginny, who towed a 16' Scamp tens of thousands of miles with a 4-cyl (no turbo) Honda CRV. Towing with Honda Element or CRV...? The turbo Escape will be more capable, but of course it's not as good as a Honda...
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Old 08-16-2019, 07:44 PM   #8
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Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B '08 RAV4 SPORT V6
British Columbia
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Tow my ten year old Escape 17B with a 2008 RAV4 V6. Has tow rating of 3,500/350.
My trailer weighs 3,200 loaded for camping with a 320-340 tongue weight ( depending how many cases of beer I place forward for weight distribution ). I use a WDH.
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Old 08-16-2019, 08:02 PM   #9
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
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Have you been in any of these "eggs?"

A Scamp 16 would easily match your tug, but I think you will find the bed sizes to be a good bit smaller than most pop-ups. One of the advantages of the pop-up tent trailer style is the generally good sized beds (even if the "mattress" is like a slab of rock). In my Scamp 16 I find the rear bed (dinette conversion) is barely big enough for me alone. But I am used to a queen size and moving around and stretching out.

If you have not been in these "eggs" then a rally is your best bet.. there is a calendar on this site but I took a quick look and think you might have to travel a ways, at least for the next few months. But you could see a variety and people generally will let you look inside.

You can also call Scamp for local owners who will show you their rigs. I'm not sure about the other companies policy on that - perhaps someone will chime in. It cant hurt to call and ask.
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Old 08-17-2019, 07:03 AM   #10
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Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh in Colorado View Post

Thanks for the feedback so far. Just to clarify, trading in my Ford Escape is not an option right now, but I've read that others in these forums do well towing in the 16-17' Fiberglass RV class with the 2.0L Ecoboost Ford Escape:

SNIP


A 17B Escape RV seems like the strongest recommendation, but I am not seeing any Escape RVs for sale near me. There are some 16-17' Scamp and Casita trailers nearby. None of the Scamps have A/C units though, and I'm guessing that should be factory-installed.

.
Escapes are much less common, they haven't been made nearly as long as Casita or Scamp. They tend to sell fast when they do show up for sale, and expect to drive a considerable distance to get one.

As far as others recommendations on tow vehicles, some have a pride that they can tow almost anything with their rig. It seems to be very common with campers. I see half ton pickups towing HUGE fifth wheels for example. No doubt they are way, way, over the limits for their rig, but if you ask them, they will tell you it works fine.

I read through the threads above, a lot of people towing Scamp 13 (easy peasy), a few towing a Scamp 16 (likely doable), and not much else. If someone mentions the Escape 17B, I just missed it. Several flat landers in those threads BTW.

You will even see people towing with vehicles with NO tow rating, like a Honda Fit or a Toyota Prius. The risk others are more than willing to take does not affect my decision making in the slightest.

Others are just fine going 30MPH up a steep mountain grade. Me, no thanks! I did that early on in my towing experience, almost 40 years ago. I was going SLOWER than the big trucks, I was really a hazard on the road. If you can't keep up with traffic, get off the road. The RV dealer assured me I had enough tow vehicle. Thats when I learned not to believe them. I upgraded my TV, lesson learned, I am not going back to marginal towing.


One really great thing about molded FG trailers is they hold their value really well. So if you end up making a mistake, you can get out without losing a ton of money.
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Old 08-17-2019, 07:40 AM   #11
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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In addition to weight, consider frontal area. Your Escape towing manual specifies a 30 sf limit on frontal area. The three trailers you’re considering are about 40 sf.

The effect of aerodynamic drag at highway speeds is somewhat lessened by the rounded shape, but I suspect it will be noticeable compared to a pop-up.
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Old 08-17-2019, 08:02 AM   #12
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Name: Kathleen (Kai: ai as in wait)
Trailer: Amerigo FG-16 1973 "Peanut"
Greater Seattle Metropolitan Area, Washington
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Not only does Peanut (our 1973 Amerigo Fg-16) not hamper our Dodge Grand Caravan on highways or hills, it seems to act as a stabilizer to calm the ride from a little nervous to steady. Other than that, we hardly notice it back there at all. But our towing capacity is 3600/360 tongue, and Peanut the most fully loaded yet was 2800/290. So we had plenty of leeway. Even though Peanut is a more squared-off shape, it seems to just glide against the wind and gravity. Rolls beautifully. Too bad they're not still making them, or I'd suggest you get one. The old ones are seldom in great shape.

But good luck to you; everyone above has given good ideas IMHO.

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Old 08-17-2019, 08:29 AM   #13
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Name: carolyn
Trailer: 2005 casita sd
Michigan
Posts: 89
16'Casita SD

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh in Colorado View Post
Hi everyone. I've had the same Jayco pop-up for over 20 years. It's served my family well, but the lift system just gave out, so I started looking around and realized that my Ford Escape 2.0L Ecoboost (factory 3,500 lb tow package) can tow more than just popups these days. We've had no problems towing our Jayco in the Rockies (~1,400 lbs dry weight, 2,205 lbs GVWR) and the Ecoboost helps at altitude, but I don't want to push our luck at 10,000 feet.

I've been lurking on these forums, but I have a feel questions I was hoping the experienced posters here could answer:

First, I will likely need to upgrade my 4-pin electrical connector to a 7 pin that can accommodate trailer brakes and don't wish to wire it myself. What is the recommended way to have this done? Ford dealership? RV dealership? What sort of cost should I expect?

Second, what model RV would you recommend? I've been looking at Scamp, Escape, and Casita, which seem to be the big 3 manufacturers on this forum, though I know there are others. My main considerations are:
  • Towable with my Escape, so tongue weight <350 lbs and GTWR under 3500 lbs, preferably lower due to altitude in the Rockies. We tend to pack pretty light, but I know that we'll have some gear, propane, and water in addition to dry weight.
  • Toilet and shower. Dry is ideal, but wet is fine and likely what I'll get in my weight range.
  • Two beds. Preferably queen/double/full, but a single could work too. Can be convertible dinette or sofa.
  • Kitchenette with sink, stove, and refrigerator.
  • Dinette for 4.
  • Microwave is a nice-to-have.

16' seems to be the sweet spot for the features I'm seeking. I've looked at the Scamp 16, Casita Spirit Deluxe 16', and Escape 17B, with the Scamp being the lightest. Would love to have some input from folks with these or similar models.

Thanks!
We tow with a 2008 Trail Blazer, dealer had the brake controller installed for us. We are mostly flat landers here in Michigan, Lake Erie Ontario- be aware of the interior size at 5'10" and the bed size is between twin and double. We keep the bed up with a carved down double mattress to fit the space sans dinette cushions, and use the side dinette which is only for 2 people. Rallys are great to check out your size requirements. Just got back from the Bolerama in Ontario near Niagara Falls where there were 110 rigs of all egg brands to enjoy looking at. Good luck in your search.
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Old 08-17-2019, 12:05 PM   #14
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Trailer: Escape 21, behind an '02 F250 7.3 diesel tug
Mid Left Coast
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my casita sd16 is about 2100 lbs empty/dry, and is rated for 3500 lb GWR. so as long as you're careful with your loading, you should be fine.

the Casita 16 in particular is 'tongue light' so the 350 tongue weight should be no problem.

2 beds? well, there's a sideways sub-queen in the back, and the dinette can be converted to a 72x24 bed, quite narrow for a large adult, but OK for a skinny person... dinette for 4 will mean you'll need to take the main bed apart and set it up as a dinette each day. if I had to do that, I'd probably use sleeping bags rahter than sheets+quilts, just so they are easier to stow.

even our 21 foot Escape doesn't have a 'dry bath'. but, the lid on the toilet covers the seat nicely, so that stays dry even if you spray it down. we put a plastic grate on the floor that repels water, so your feet don't get wet even when the shower is recently used and still wet...



I'm surprised your tent trailer doesn't have a 7-blade, my old Starcraft did, with electric brakes, and the charging wire for the trailer battery (which was used for the lighting, water pump, and heater fan), as well as the standard lights used by all trailers.

any of these fiberglass trailers requires a 2" class III hitch receiver, if your tent trailer was small/light enough, you might only have a 1.25" class I/II hitch receiver.

installing a brake controller is something I'd much rather do myself, but if you have to have someone else do it, find a good indie trailer shop, NOT AN RV SHOP. RV service shops are generally /awful/. a trailer shop that works on commercial trailers would be better. or even a good indie mechanic who's decent with electrical stuff. I've seen some truly awful wiring done by supposedly professionals.

All you need is ...
  1. fused power wire from battery to 7-blade for charging the trailer when driving
  2. isolation relay enabled by ignition to turn off 1 when parked.
  3. wire from brake light switch behind brake pedal to the brake controller
  4. fused power wire from the battery or power bus to the brake controller
  5. output wire from the brake controller to the 7-blade
  6. existing 4-pin light wiring connected to 7-blade.
  7. solid chassis grounds at both the 7-blade and brake controller.

some newer more 'digital' vehicles need a diode on 3 to keep from confusing the cars electronics.
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