Aftermarket Modifications

Have you modified your Escape to further tailor it to you? This category highlights ALL the modifications you’ve made to your trailer this year. The trailer itself can be from any year, as long as the modifications were made in 2021.

Treat Hull – E5.0 Category Favourite

We often camp without services, so we replaced the existing lead-acid batteries with 2 Battleborn lithium batteries to give us more available amp-hours, and to eliminate worry due to over-discharging lead-acid batteries. The batteries were installed under the passenger side dinette.

 

1,500-Watt Inverter

We also installed a 1,500-watt GoPower inverter for the same reason. It was mounted under the driver side dinette. The installation also included a new 110 VAC sub-panel for circuits controlled by the built-in transfer switch, a 200-amp breaker/disconnect, a shunt-type battery state of charge meter and a remote on/off switch in the galley.

 

Dickenson Cooktop

The original cooktop was replaced with a Dickenson Marine two-burner cooktop with flush mount cutting board.

 

Counter Extension

A counter extension was made from a maple cutting board and locking hinges, both from Amazon.

 

Lagun Table Mount

A Lagun table mount was installed to get more flexibility in the use of the table. Because we didn’t have the U-shaped dinette, a magazine rack had to be built to hold the Lagun mount. The original table was shortened by 12 inches to make entry easier and a maple shelf was installed above the table for our various mobiles, tablets, chargers, etc.

 

Extra Fans

A Caframo fan (not cheap but excellent quality) was installed in the corner under the cupboard above the dinette for more air circulation. (An identical fan was also installed in the berth.)

 

Manual Switch for Dometic Electric Awning

The remote was missing when we bought our 5.0 used so we installed a manual switch instead. It has the advantage that it can’t get lost or run out of batteries at an inconvenient time.

 

Froli Ventilation System

As long-time cruising sailors we were quite conscious of the need to control humidity and installed a Froli system under the mattress.

 

Ham Radio Antenna 

To accommodate Treat’s ham radio hobby, a bracket was installed so that a painter’s extension pole could be used for an antenna support.

 

Removable Shore Power

The permanently-attached shore power was replaced with a detachable shore power. A low-cost, plastic shore power fitting was installed initially but that was money down the drain and it was quickly replaced by a Marinco investment-cast stainless steel shore power fitting – quality only costs once.

 

Pickup Bed Organizer

A wooden rack was installed in the pickup bed of our short-bed F-150 to make it easier to access all the various gear we were carrying (Clam shelter, folding table, genset, gas tank, hitch lock, etc.)

 

Dickenson 2-burner Marine Stove (Work in Progress) 

The Dickenson cooktop was great, but we’ve always had an oven and baked a lot in our boats and previous RV. After a 9-week tour of the Canadian Maritimes we decided to replace the cooktop with a Dickenson 2-burner marine stove with large oven. This will require replacement of a lot of the galley cabinetry and as of the start of December, this is a work in progress which better be done by springtime.


Any words of wisdom for those who may want to make similar modifications?

Research your choices for improvements – someone has definitely run into your problem before and the Escape site, the Facebook page and the forum have a wealth of information.

Don’t dive in with both feet if you’re not sure what you’re doing. If you’re not familiar with high-current 12 volt systems, propane or other systems, it would be a good idea to find a buddy or mentor to provide some guidance.

Finally – I still struggle with this – if there’s something that doesn’t make sense, don’t assume the designer or manufacturer didn’t know what they were doing and figure you know better. Maybe you don’t, but it inevitably turns out badly for me when I think I know it all.

David Hendrickson – E21C

What modification(s) did you make?

Breville oven, Kitchen and Home two burner cooktop both removable to use outdoors. Envi radiant wall heater. Froli bed system. Sirius radio. After market storage box, vinyl wrap, electronic sway control, Bluetooth brake controller 1 UP bicycle rack, awning protector and bookcase solar panel with Victron SmartShunt.

Why did you make these modifications?

Weight consideration and camping flexibility. 

John Pattinson – E19 

What modification(s) did you make?

We have made two changes sliding draw and medicine cabinet, One more so you can drain it into the gray water if you have to.

Johnny Hung – E21C

What modification(s) did you make?

Aftermarket dual compressor freezer fridge combo; Mini split AC; 500x500mm skylight; stainless steel grab rail an entry; 1300 watts above stove toaster oven; 1800 watts, 2 burner cooktop; ultraviolet water sanitizer; 2 x 190watts solar panels on slides. 

Why did you make these modifications?

Comforts and convenience.  

Any words of wisdom for those who may want to make similar modifications?

Enjoy the journey now. If you wait, you would have lost the time that you would have enjoyed the things you wanted to do.

Perry and Terry Butler – E5.0

What modification(s) did you make?

We purchased our Escape 5.0 in October, 2018. According to our two Ford F150’s (2015 and now a 2019) the camper has traveled down the road over 33,000 miles in three years.  We have well over 300 nights sleeping on the road and love our 5.0.  It’s been shown numerous times.  Our friends, Bob and Deb Borzelleri picked up a new 21 C in October.

This year we had the time and have made many, many upgrades.


February 2021 – New 260 ah Soneil SiO2 batteries and SCC:
  
  • SiO2 batteries are sold and used extensively in Canada for cold weather camping since they can be charged and used down to -40 F and up to 149 F.  In other words they work where lithium’s BMS will shut down.  They charge to 90% as fast as lithium, can easily be discharged to 20% SOC, and don’t sulfate.  SiO2’s don’t have the finicky charge settings, BMS limitations, and DC-DC requirements of lithium. 
  • A new Victron 100/30 MPPT solar charge controller was installed, replacing the original GoPower.  We had ETI zip-tie the GoPower underneath our rear u-shape bench, so no hole was cut.  The new Victron is now properly screwed to the bench and can be read/adjusted using the Victron phone app.

June 2021 – Additional Solar:
  • Three 100 watt Renogy solar panels were added to the roof wired in parallel.  When combined with our existing GoPower panel we now have 465 watts on the roof (if wired in series we only would have had 405 watts).  I made all the brackets and glued them to the roof using 4-7 times the amount of VHB tape recommended by Am Solar.  Combined with the SiO2 batteries, we no longer have to scrimp on electrical use when camping on cloudy days. 

July 2021 – This was the month to change out our kitchen:
  • We removed the kitchen and entry countertops and replaced them with beautiful Dragonfire (think burnt orange) countertops and backsplash, custom made by our local cabinet maker.  This added pizzazz to the interior.
  • A earthtone Houzer sink was installed to give my wife Terry a larger sink, along with a Kohler strainer that always filters, so no food particles ever go down the drain. 
  • A high-arc faucet was added, replacing the basic faucet that came with our 5.0.
  • A Dickinson Marine stove top replaced our faulty Suburban SDS2.  This is a fantastic stove that has a very large burner and can use large pans without hot spots.  Terry loves to cook and next to our induction stovetop at our condo, is the best stove top we’ve ever owned.
  • A butcher block top replaced the formica top of the counter extension
  • An identical butcher block top covers the Dickinson stovetop when not in use.  We were uneasy cutting on the glass top of the ETI supplied Suburban stovetop.  This butcher block top is larger and provides Terry with a great food preparation area.

September-October 2021 –  Revamped our electrical:
 
  • Changed the battery electrical cables to 2/0 for a future inverter. 
  • A 250 amp “Class T” fuse holder and fuse was added 7” from the battery, meeting US electrical code.
  • A Blue Seas two-way battery shutoff now directs the DC power to either the WFCO, a future inverter, or both.
  • November 2021:  Had time to add an inverter:
  • A GoWise 1500 watt pure sine wave inverter (recommended by Will Prowse) was installed using 2/0 cables.
  • The Romex to the kitchen was disconnected from the outside GFCI outlet and was connected to the GoWise 1500 watt inverter to provide 120v power to the ETI installed electrical outlet underneath the countertop.  We can now make toast.  We don’t have or want a microwave, but enjoy toast.

December 2021 –  New mattress:
 

We purchased a Sleep Number R5 short queen mattress.  After over 300 nights sleeping on the road and easily 100 nights sleeping at our seasonal campsite, .8 mile from our condo, the ETI supplied mattress was agitating my left hip.  We have a Sleep Number bed in our condo, purchased in 2006, that we love.  Today’s queen mattresses easily weigh 110 pounds or more, but the Sleep Number weighs only 60 pounds.  Our friends have had the same R5 mattress in their Airstream and would buy another. The pump only requires .65 amp, so the mattress can easily be adjusted using a 300 watt pure sine wave inverter plugged into the 12v socket ETI installed in our bed area.


A quick rundown of our additions/modifications cost (some from memory):
  • $1,000 – Soneil SiO2 260 amp hour batteries
  • $196 – Victron 100/30 solar charge controller
  • $318 – Three Renogy 100 watt solar panels
  • $150 – aluminum angle, stainless bolts, UV cables and connectors from AM solar, 3M VHB tape, to mount panels
  • $475 – custom countertops/backsplash
  • $179 – Houzer sink
  • $76 – Kohler strainer
  • $165 – kitchen faucet
  • $626 – Dickinson Marine stove top
  • $115 – two butcher block tops
  • $80 – 2/0 and 10 awg cables with ring connectors
  • $89 – Class T fuse holder and 250 amp fuse
  • $42 – Blue Seas dual battery selector switch – two way switch
  • $269 – GoWise pure sine wave inverter
  • $1976 – R5 Sleep Number bed – short queen
  • $50 – Bestek 300 watt pure sine wave inverter


$5,806 total for just what is listed here.  I’ve easily spent close to 200 hours ordering, driving to buy, and installing everything.  Our 5.0 is our second home, and we had the discretionary money to have a camper that fits our needs.  Our retirement is centered around our children, grandchildren, biking, hiking, and camping.


Why did you make these modifications?

  • Batteries Died
  • Wanted a better solar controller, more watts on the roof
  • Wanted better looking countertops, a larger sink with better strainer, high arc faucet, stove top for my gourmet cook wife, and butcher block area for preparing food
  • Wanted an inverter, so installed more than adequate wiring required for an inverter
  • Wanted the inverter for toast.  Yes, toast!
  • After easily 600 night of sleeping on the road and at our seasonal campsite the mattress was no longer adequate for my hip.  We’ve had a Sleep Number for 16 years, so the RV version was a natural choice.
  • I’m sure I’ve left something out.

Any words of wisdom for those who may want to make similar modifications?

Have plenty of time. Everything took 2-5 times longer to complete than expected.