Small misc jobs

Here are a few modifications that just make things easier.

Stair railings

The 5.0 TA has three inside steps up to the bed area.  I had noticed, during the demo tour, that hand rails by the stairs on either side would be needed especially at night.

SAM_5183   SAM_6316

20151102D8E_1858-2   _D8E5446-2

I had ETI frame the bathroom corner with a wider stock during the build so I could attach the railing. On the other side of the stairs above the top step, I attached a straight rail to the edge of the wall.  I have also put a matching rail on the drivers side.

The rails are made of solid red oak dowels (1 1/4 inch diameter) with short anodized aluminum spacers (1 1/8 inch long) between the railing and the wall. The anodized aluminum pipe is available at most hardware stores.  They are attached with deck screws, countersunk and plugged. The screws holding the two straight rails on the passenger side are 3 1/2 inch and 2 1/2 inch on drivers/bathroom side.

We have found that having something to grab onto when going up and down the stairs, especially at night, is a good thing.


Cover for emergency hatch

When our friends got their TA, it came with a hatch cover, what a good idea, so I thought we needed one too.  It helps keeps the light out especially in the early morning during summer.  I did not want any clips, velcro or any other means of visible support.




I cut a piece of 1/8″ luan plywood to fit the frame and glued on piece of the foil reflex material used for insulation.  This was covered with some of our upholstery material.  I then epoxied non-rusting metal squares to the top edge, 2 on each corner with another one on the long side.

To attach it, I removed the plastic hatch trim and placed 10 rare earth magnets on the upper side on the trim to match the metal squares on the cover and replaced the trim.  The magnets are strong enough to hold the cover even through 1/8 inch of plastic.  The cover snaps into place and removes just as easily.


Range hood and outside cover

The range hood on our 17B was noisy and did not work well.  I had hoped that over the intervening years that progress would be made in the design and functionality of RV range hoods.  I was disappointed.  The new one (different brand) is still noisy and does not work well.


I removed the hood and made the hole in the back larger, about an inch in both directions.  I also added a curved surface (thin aluminum sheet, easy to cut) inside to direct the air out instead of all over the place.  I also removed the charcoal filter which serves no purpose except to reduce the air flow and increase noise.  The hood is still noisy, maybe a little quieter, but now it actually blows air outside.

After a couple of years of noisy exhaust fan, poor operation, it was time for an upgrade.  I purchased a SAM-1 Range Hood Fan Upgrade kit from Fabulous Operating Products.  It uses a variable speed squirrel fan and has LED light.


This mod would be difficult to do in place, so the stock unit had to be removed. The fan is held in by four lock nuts, once removed, the wire to the fan was cut.

The Heng SS hood is spot welded together, so I used a sharp 1/4 inch drill bit to release each weld holding the fan unit. The SAM just screws in place with a few wire connectors. The original switches on the front are still used to turn the light and fan on and off.


New fan installed in range hood.



Due to the trailer wall thickness, I had to shorten the fan exhaust duct.  To reduce unwanted insects coming in though the fan, I added aluminum metal bug screen to the end of the duct by melting the edge of the duct and pushing the screen into the soft plastic.  Photo is back on fan unit.



Fan unit ready to be installed.


It has 3 fan speeds and 2 light settings.



I also changed the outside vent outside to one that looks better and hopefully won’t yellow like our one on the 17B.  The hardest part was getting the caulking off.  The hole and screw holes lined up.  The new one doesn’t have those silly breakable tiny plastic arms.


Toilet water shutoff


Simple addition, spliced in a water shutoff valve to the toilet.  I want to be able to turn off the water to the toilet if it ever leaked or the toilet valve had to be replaced.  This would allow the rest of the trailer to have running water even if the toilet was out of commission.


Water pump

RV water pumps are usually noisy.  To help reduce the noise, I placed the pump on a cushioned foam/plywood base.


The base is made from two pieces of plywood with a high density foam glued between the plywood. i.e. foam sandwich.  The bottom plywood is screwed to the trailer and the pump is screwed to the top piece.


I also added an accumulator so the pump does need not run so often resulting in a smoother and steadier water flow.  Adding a 3 foot piece of flexible hose makes a big difference in reducing noise.


Landing gear controls

This modification is not my idea, but for me, it is well worth it.

The front landing gear on the Escape 5.0 TA’s are electrically operated and the controls are in a small access hatch on the driver’s side of the trailer.


The landing gear controls located behind the small hatch in the about photo.   I found it awkward to see the passengers side landing gear and control the switches at the same time.  I also needed a better view underneath the front cross member when lining up and attaching my electric dolly.  The dolly has to slip into a pin that is welded at the centre of the cross member.  The dolly is used to move the trailer into it’s parking spot or out to the truck.


The goal is to add a wired remote control and still keep the existing switches.  I want to be able to plug in the remote control when needed.

The space at each corner of the trailer that contains the landing gear is tight, so any work is a challenge.  To begin with, the stock switches were removed after a thorough review and labelling of the existing wiring, it’s a bit complicated.  I found that I could design and build most of the switch/socket module in the workshop so I did not have to spend much time in the tight space within the trailer.  I made a aluminum plate that held the existing landing gear switches, a 7 pin trailer socket for the remote control and a switch to transfer power between either set of switches.   The module on the right below is a custom box built for the remote control.  The 7 pin cable is secured by the grey plastic compression nut on the back of the box.



The module plugs-in to the existing wiring in the trailer.


Remote control unit, the switches are momentary DPDT toggles with cross overs and quick connectors, similar to the existing ones but, toggles instead of rockers.


Looking up inside the front drivers side in the trailer after installation.  Wiring complete.


View outside looking into the access hatch on the driver’s side.


Remote landing gear control plugged in.


Remote landing gear control with 7 foot cable.


Electrical disconnect switch

The disconnect switch shuts off battery power to the trailer.  The switch is located by the converter under the drivers side cushion in the dinette.  There are many different models of this switch, but this one is a toggle with a long handle.  This long handle means it is easy to unwittingly turn off the power to the trailer.  To help, I fabricated a shield that protects the switch from being activated accidentally.





3 thoughts on “Small misc jobs

  1. Love the bath teak floor, feet will be happy to have that. The other bath improvements are interesting and worth considering, shows how much more can be done. Thanks Chris for the posting.


  2. Chris, on the range hood. Did you ever look into a non venting unit that captures most of the cooking by products and releases the rest back into the cabin? Supposedly to be carried off through the power roof vent near by. Another question, your larger outside vent with smoother walls for better airflow, is there a damper there ?

    Thanks Chris


  3. The range hood is one of those items that I dislike, poor design and noisy. I did fix the airflow problem by adding a curved baffle inside the unit, but the fan is still poor. I do not like recirculating range hoods at they seem to defeat the purpose by blowing the air back into the trailer, especially from a gas stove as one is suppose to get the gas fumes outside. I will replace in when I can get a variable speed hood that is quieter and hopefully smaller. I never liked the outside stock vent, it looked cheap compared to the rest of the trailer, although I think they have upgraded to another version. The vent I used does have damper inside.


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