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Old 08-10-2014, 03:19 PM   #1
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First trip with 165BH towed by a Ford Escape

I just bought my camper last month and got a lot of good feedback from this forum about when where and how to do stuff, so I thought I would provide some of my own to others or maybe new people doing the same thing I am.
TV is a 09 ford Escape with the V6- class III weight distributing hitch with sway bar. Towing a 165BH weighing in at 2750 dry. No liquids on board. I estimated about 500lbs worth of cargo, ice, cooler etc. This is an over exaggeration, but a working number for a total of 3250 lbs. Max rating of the Escape is 3500. Towed it 110 miles each way. Myself and my teenage son in the truck
Got 12 mpg towing, normally get about 28 hwy, 22 city. Normal RPM's at 60mph is 1900. The Escape did ok. It is adequate but she don't want much more. Completely flat road it will maintain 60mph with cruise control or my foot. Let there be an over pass or a high rise bridge, then the engine under cruise control will drop from 6th gear down to 4th and rpms increase from 2200 to 3500. At this rate it will maintain 60mph. Without cruise control I can control this drop with my foot to 5th gear and only increase the rpm's to about 3000. I can make better and easier adjustments by feathering the throttle than the cruise control. Cruise control is just too hard and I would suggest not using it. Again on a flat road it will maintain 60mph. By playing I found it will maintain about 53 with the cruise and no gear changes, not bad for 2 lane roads, but not to sure of interstate speed. This trip was a mix of both.
Conclusion is the Escape will do this, but she don't like it. She is definitely maxed out as far as performance goes. All temps looked good and remained on the cool side, but my suggestion to anybody able, get something a little bigger. A 15 gallon fuel tank at 12mpg will have you stopping a lot. I am not in a position to get another TV so I will have to make due with what I got. Again, the Escape CAN AND WILL do this. I highly recommend a WD hitch even though Ford says its not necessary. It took all the sag out of the hitch connection.
I towed to the campsite with the sway bar (came with my hitch) attached and the plan was to return without it and compare. Half way back I stopped and put it on. Use a sway bar! Escapes are short wheel based and do not have a lot of weight to them, the biggest thing I felt was 18 wheelers and other motorhomes coming up behind me and passing. I didn't get the big push. I got sucked to them as they went by. The sway bar alleviated a lot of this.
Now for the camper. For the most part it went well. This was a test run and we used every feature on it. Only huge problem was the fridge quit working and gives me a code that the book says I have to take it to a dealer to fix. Definitely will install a foam top on the lower bed if not a completely new mattress. Water heater and AC worked great. AC was too great, Had to cut it back. Very unusual for us as we keep our house 68 year round. Bathroom is tight. I'm 6'5" and I could not fully utilize the toilet with the door closed. I am the only one with this problem as my legs are too long. Hung a sheet up. The shower itself again for me is about 2 inches to short. I am the only one with this issue. I am actually use to this as my job is on offshore tugboats and a short small shower is very common to me. I can deal with it. Hot water heater did its job. The sensor for the black water tank is not correct. Told me the entire trip it was 2/3 full, even after I emptied it and then confirmed it was empty Apparently this is fairly normal and I will have to look around for a quality fix (some type of float switch not a probe) or just deal with it. We don't use probes in sewer systems on boats as they are not reliable. Gonna see what I can use from work and adapt to the camper. All the other sensors worked fine. Awning was a little confusing but me and my son figured it out eventually both deploying and putting up. A little bit of practice will go a long ways here. The rear jack on the door side is set too far back. I had to get on my hands and knees to work it. Not fun on a gravel pad when wearing shorts or when loading up in the pouring rain. I will have to look into extending the jack handle a little further out so I can use a drill/driver to operate it. Good thing I can weld. Galley is a little challenging to prepare food with a Television sitting on the counter. We will need to get that mounted to the front wall. But the three burner stove was very nice. Beats the 2 burner cook stove we have been using with out tents.

Overall a very good weekend and experience. As far as the camper goes, those of us over 6'4" are going to have these types of issues with just about anything other than the huge 5th wheels or such. That was my biggest complaint and ain't much I can do about it. Well that and the fridge. Never had one before when tent camping so we adapted to it like normal. Absolute best part was having everything in the TT and NOT living out of the truck.
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Old 08-10-2014, 10:00 PM   #2
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Congrats and welcome

Sounds like you had a good trip overall. I pull a 184BH and had many of the same challenges as you pulling with my 2013 Escape on a recent trip. Best part is all of the helpful folks here on the Jayco forum that made my trip a success as yours was. Cheers!
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Old 08-15-2014, 08:13 AM   #3
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Glad most things went well and you had a good time. I pull a 185RB with a 2012 Escape V6 AWD. On a recent trip of 600 miles each all went well. I didn't use cruise at all and let tranny put itself in fifth. At 62 mph engine turned 2600 rpm and went to 3500 when downshift to fourth. I just learned that PCM computer different starting in 2010 model (per Haynes manual for 2001-2012 Escape) which may explain some differences. I use a hand crank for the leveller jacks and discovered that the crank that comes with the Harbor Freight jacks i put on the front is longer and stronger than the one that comes with tbe TT.

Fortunately, I'm only 5'10 and the DW is 5'3 so the 185RB fits nicely.

As for black water tank sensor - get flashlight, turn off water pump, flush commode and flap will be open and you can see level. (Tip found here, tip also said "don't drop flashlight").


Have fun and let us know about your adventures.
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Old 08-15-2014, 08:36 AM   #4
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I found the service manual for the fridge online. I used the procedure to reset the computer and its Benn working in the driveway ever for the last week. I had run out of propane and the sensor determined there was a problem due to lack of cooling. Do you know what your tongue weight is? Mine is 410. Escape is rated 350. But my hitch is for 1000. Which number to I go by? I overkilled the hitch. I plan on buying a newer truck next year. But don't tell the wife. I haven't told her yet.
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Old 08-15-2014, 08:37 AM   #5
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Please excuse the typoes. Incorrect on a barely functioning phone.
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Old 08-15-2014, 08:38 AM   #6
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Did it again...autocorrect
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Old 08-25-2014, 05:31 PM   #7
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Great report, Tugboat.

We just returned from a trip - Phoenix, AZ to Norfolk, VA to Ketchum, ID and back to Phx. On the road for 37 days and 7k miles. Only issue was 2 plumbing fitting vibrating loose and causing leaks. Both were easily hand tightened. First was at bathtub connection beneath the tub drain; other was at water pump; the forward connection.
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Old 04-21-2015, 08:20 AM   #8
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Can you tell me more about the plumbing under the tub. I think this may have happened our last time out. Haven't had time to even look at it. Got home and left the next day for work for 2 weeks. Just dried it with a towel. What leaked and how hard was it to fix? Any floor damage and how hard is that to fix?
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Old 04-29-2015, 11:37 AM   #9
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Thanks for info. Getting ready for first big trip towing a 16 XRB with a Honda Odyssey - similiar specs. Glad to know the sway control was worth the money, since I can't remove mine. And I can plan gas consumption and budget accordingly.
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Old 04-29-2015, 04:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tugboat95 View Post
Can you tell me more about the plumbing under the tub. I think this may have happened our last time out. Haven't had time to even look at it. Got home and left the next day for work for 2 weeks. Just dried it with a towel. What leaked and how hard was it to fix? Any floor damage and how hard is that to fix?
An simple fix. You access "enter wall" from under bottom bunk. Pull out a couple screws, remove plywood, and you can see the bathroom plumbing. The fitting that came loose (for us) is the tub drain. Screwed it back on, hand tightened. That was it.
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