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EscaPOD Adventures - 2022 edition

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StephenH View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: EscaPOD Adventures - 2022 edition
    Posted: 29 May 2022 at 12:42pm
Our first trip of the year was to travel to New York for my father's funeral service. That ended up being quite expensive, not because of our EscaPOD, but our Frontier had a rear differential problem. The truck got a new rear-end and my wallet got a lot lighter in the process. The truck had been showing symptoms of the failure, but I did not recognize them. On the trip up, they got worse, so I made an appointment to take it in to a dealer in Greece (suburb of Rochester), NY. On the way there, it was obvious something was wrong. I am just glad it did not happen while we were on the road. After that repair was done, the rest of that trip was uneventful.

Our sencond big trip of this year has indeed had some "adventures." 

We started off from our home in North Carolina on the first leg of our trip. It was to Pennsylvania for a surprise 90th birthday party gathering for a family friend. He and his wife were more like uncle and aunt, even though they were not immediately related. They were my Father's friends and we were and remain very close. There were no issues so far.

We left Pennsylvania, headed toward Utah. We got on I80 with the exception of circling south of Chicago which put us on I70 for little until we returned to I80. Ohio roads were very nice. Indiana roads were markedly worse and Illinois roads weren't much better. Still, we traveled, taking advantage of Walmart parking lots for overnight stays with the exception of one night at a paid campground to take advantage of full hookups to drain tanks and refill fresh water. Plus, it was an opportunity for a shower without risk of filling the grey tank or running out of fresh water.

Once we got through Nebraska, we started hitting some pretty significant winds. In Wyoming, we saw signs warning of winds gusting to 40 mph. The next day, we saw warnings of winds gustingt to 60 mph. It is here that because of the higher altitude and the wind that the Frontier's lack of turbocharging was evident. Our mileage which was around 12-13 mpg at the lower, flatter altitude without the headwind became around 8.5 with the climbing and headwinds. It was difficult to maintain 60 mph and we spent much of the time in a low gear with the RPMs approaching 6,000 rpm. Still we made progress.

Coming into Utah, we were on I80 approaching the port of entry near Echo Utah when we had a blowout on the door side of the RPod. I felt a thump and saw the fender sailing behind us. I slowed down and pulled off. I was already past the entry ramp to the port of entry, so I pulled off enough to be well off the travel lanes. I saw a truck hit the fender which went sailing off into the median between the north and southbound lanes. There was a section of tread on the right lane. I was able to get the tire changed. I was glad that I had bought the battery operated impact wrench. It made the job much easier. I finished putting the spare on, torquing the lug nuts, and putting the blown-out tire on the carrier. Then I got my safety vest (highly recommended to get a reflective safety vest), and set out to retrieve the tread and the fender. A highway safety vehicle pulled up to where the tread was and picked up the tread while I was on the way. They assisted me in getting across the lanes to retrieve the fender, which was mangled beyond the ability to reuse. I never did see where the marker lights went as they were not on the fender when I found it.

We finished the trip to our daughter's house. I then went to Discount Tire and purchased two Goodyear Load Range D Endurance tires, even though the one tire still had plenty of good tread on it. I did not want mismatched tires on the trailer. The spare is still a Carlisle LR-D tire, but it is the spare. I am going to have to complete our trip without one fender as it seems to be impossible to locate one while on the way.

We left our daughter's house in Utah, headed toward Arizona to see our younger daughter and our grandchildren there. Along the way, we wanted to pull off and saw an open area that looked pretty good. It looked smooth, so I didn't slow down much before pulling off -- BIG MISTAKE! We were bouncing over the hard-packed dirt worse than any time since we had the trailer. We got stopped and went into the trailer to find a big mess. That was not the worst off it though. I did notice that the frame seems to have bent just a little bit over the slide-side axle attachment point. Not only that, but two of the factory supplied outriggers that I had installed had split along the place where it bolted to the frame and the horizontal support. My homemade outriggers which were made of sturdier material did not fail. The failure of the outriggers probably prevented the frame from bending worse since the slide was then sitting on the ottomans.

We continued our trip, visiting the Natural Bridges National Monument and the Four Corners monument. I found that by jacking up the side a little, that I could get the slide free enough to not bind on the ottomans. We finished this leg of the trip to our daughter's house. While we are here, I will try to fabricate two more outriggers to replace the failed ones. I will also need to check the axle because it looks like in spite of my bracing, it may have lost its crown. I won't know for sure until I can get under there and check.

One other thing that happened was that I noticed the brakes not working well, so I found that the bearing seals had leaked. I cleaned up the brakes and they are working adequately. When we get home, they will get a gong over with new seals before our next trip. I am amazed that even with a piece of the tire wrapped around the axle that the brake wiring was not damaged. I did have to tie up the loose ends of the marker light wiring.

That brings us to the present. We are set up in our daughter's driveway. I am glad that I installed a 30A RV outlet the last time we were here. Chandler temperatures are way too high to take without the air conditioner running.

The new refrigerator is running well. It is able to keep good temperatures, even in the hot weather. We can't boondock as long, but our food stays cold.
StephenH
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 May 2022 at 3:44pm
Yikes! The damaged frame/axle/outriggers scenario sounds scary. Check the camber on the wheels, if they are vertical then the axle will probably be ok till you get home at least. How much is the frame bent? Maybe a good trailer shop can s
straighten it for you? There is certain to one in the PHX metro. Once bent it will be weaker so you might want to add a 2x4 tube doubler in place of the axle lift kit as weve discussed on this forum earlier.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 May 2022 at 3:50pm
We won't be here long enough for me to have it looked at. I believe it is strong enough to get us home. Meanwhile, I pulled the bad outriggers off. They are of too thin a metal to take any real stress. My homemade ones held up, so I will be fabricating a couple of more over the next few days to get bolted on before we leave for home. 

Edit:  I visited Harbor Freight and bought a Titanium Flux 125 Amp Welder (inverter wire fed welder). There was a 20% off savings on it so it was a good price. I have the cheaper welder at home, but it will be replaced by this one and the other one will be donated, probably to Habitat for Humanity ReSTORE. Since this one is inverter and uses DC instead of AC for welding, it should do a better job. I did a couple of test welds, and the results look much better than I was getting with the old one. I also purchased the accessories I will need to do the welding including a self-darkening helmet.

I also visited Lowe's and purchased some angle iron and flat stock to use to fabricate the brackets. My daughter has the rest of the tools I will need. however, in order to use the 30A RV outlet as a power source, I did end up ordering a 30A male plug to 15A female socket dogbone. I have one, but it is back home in NC. It will be in Tuesday, so I will do the welding once it arrives. In the meantime, I will be cutting and bending the iron to the shape I need.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2022 at 3:43am
That welder sounds like a good deal, I think I'll check out our Harbor Freight here for one.

I agree your frame will probably be fine till you get home. Just a suggestion, you might want to relocate as much weight as possible from the kitchen storage (and maybe the spare) to forward of the axle or to the truck bed. Just in case you hit another bad set of pot holes.

Other than that the worst case scenario will probably be uneven tire wear if the axle has been decambered. With the reinforcement you have on it I'd be surprised if it's significant, I'd expect the frame to bend and outriggers to fail before the axle.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote PilotPodder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2022 at 5:39am
Stephen, I'm curious about the tire blow out. Was it excessively hot at the time of the tire blow out or do you attribute it to a specific road hazard or possibly tire age? Were you employing a TMPS? Glad you are ok. ~PP 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2022 at 11:23am
I do not have a TPMS system for the trailer. I don't think it was excessively hot since we were still at a significant altitude (which would have increased the pressure differential between inside and outside the tire but I don't know if it would have been that significant). I had noticed that that tire had wear on the inside edge and would have probably replaced it when we got to our daughter's house if it had not blown. I probably should have switched it out with the spare which was in new condition with no road miles. Of course, hindsight is always 20/20. As far as I know, I don't recall any road hazards. that does not mean that there was not something that contributed to the failure that I did not see.
StephenH
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Post Options Post Options   Quote gpokluda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2022 at 1:39pm
Wow, Stephen. That sounds like a crazy adventure. So glad you are okay, there were a few things that could have really gone south and been worse.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2022 at 3:09pm
I'm glad I keep my speed at 60 mph or lower (with rare exceptions on steep downhill runs). I would not have liked to handle that at 70 or 75 mph. Even with the blown tire, the RPod tracked well. I don't know if the Hayes electronic sway control activated. That may have helped also.

Here's a picture of the tire:



StephenH
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ouR escaPOD mods
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Post Options Post Options   Quote lostagain Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2022 at 3:13pm
Glad to hear you made it safely through the tire failure.  Hope you make it home without more issues.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2022 at 4:04pm
Same here. I have the new outriggers cut, bent, and waiting for the 30A to 15A adapter to arrive tomorrow so I can weld them. I did have a minor issue. The T section of my Frontier's jack handle broke off when I was raising the side of the RPod. The welded area just snapped. I have a new one on order from Amazon and it should arrive tomorrow.
StephenH
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom,...

ouR escaPOD mods
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Current Cherokee Grey Wolf 24 JS
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