Reclining Bed Modification in our Escape 19

Camping is spending lots of time outside, exploring, hiking, cooking, relaxing so I know the first question is “Why?” . There are times when we have hook-ups and in the evening we enjoy a little TV later in the evening, I am also a huge F1 fan and on the rare occasion I am able to watch the race.

We all know how awkward and uncomfortable propping a pillow up against the wall is, and those blind cord anchors can be a real pain in the back. Finally I must confess the real reason is the “cool Factor”, this mod is just so cool.

Parts list:

  • 2 – 12V DC 12 in. Stroke 270 lb Linear Actuator $85 ea
    http://www.princessauto.com/en/detail/12v-dc-12-in-stroke-270-lb-linear-actuator/A-p8507840e
  • 4 – Linear Actuator Mounting Bracket $27 ea
    http://www.princessauto.com/en/detail/110-lb-linear-actuator-mounting-bracket/A-p8272650e
  • 12V DC 2-Button Handheld Wireless Remote Control $50
    http://www.princessauto.com/en/detail/12v-dc-2-button-handheld-wireless-remote-control/A-p8619066e
  • 1/2″ Plywood (I used baltic birch)
  • 6 – self closing kitchen door hinges $3.75 pr
    https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.self-closing-hinge—chrome.1000144266.html
  • 4 – 2”x1/4” NC stainless steel bolts with lock nuts and washers
  • 4 – T nuts
    http://www.leevalley.com/en/hardware/page.aspx?p=40361&cat=3,43715,43727
  • Carpet runner 26”x60” (similar to)
    https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.26inchx60feet–tracker-tan.1000721712.html
  • Misc. supplies, narrow crown staples (or alternative), electrical connectors, caulking, etc

 

Step 1 Build the Platform

Remove or fold back the mattress and measure the area for the lifting platform. I made the lifting platform about 24″ wide by 58” long, this width aligns with the edge of the under bed access hatch. I keep the platform away from the wall by about 1″ to not hit the walls or window shades when it lifts, I used the front dinette cushions as a template for marking the curve.

Once cut I covered the plywood with a sturdy carpet runner, this will protect the mattress and should prevent any wear on the back side. The carpet is secured to the plywood with ½” narrow crown staples. Equally space and Install the 6 hinges along the edge of the lift board, then attach the hinges to the bed deck, aligning the hinges just above the plywood deck seam beside the lift hatch and centered on the 1”x2” support under the plywood deck.

Step 2 Mount the Actuators

 

The 12” actuators have a total height of about 19” with the mounting brackets, the height of the under bed storage area is only 16” so they have to be mounted at an angle. With the lower bracket located drill ¼” holes through the floor, the holes should be just outside of the frame rails.  Use caulking / sealant to prevent water penetration, especially into the wood core of the floor.  I used 316 stainless steel nuts & bolts

Temporarily install the upper mounting plate to the actuator and mount the assembly so it angles towards the outside wall.  Holding the upper mount against the bed platform mark the location.  Using a 1.5″ hole saw drill the hole through the bed platform centred on the mark.  Repeat the process and mount the second actuator, each actuator is located about 12″ from each edge, this provides direct support to the lifting platform close to where you will be located on the bed.

 

Step 3 – Mount the Lift Platform

Place the lift platform on top of the bed platform, align the long straight edge along the plywood seam the is located beside the under bed hatch, centre the hinge mounting holes centred on the 1″x2″ support.  Make sure there is at least a 1″ gap between the lift platform and the walls.

 

Step 4 – Cutting slots for Actuator

Because the actuators are mounted at an angle the top will pivot forward as they extend, this means that slots have to be cut in the bed platform.  Cutting the slot is easy, just mark parallel line from the upper mount hole you have already drilled, at about 12″ mark and using the 1.5″ holes saw drill a second hole, then cutting along the marked lines with a jig saw.

Step 5 – Mount the Actuator Upper Mount

With the lift platform in the lowered position and the actuators fully retracted position the actuator with upper mount attached against the lift platform, mark the hole locations.  Drill the holes for the mounting bolts, you will need to make the holes larger than the 1/4″ size of the bracket so the “T” nuts can be installed from the top side.  “T” nuts are used so the top of the lift board remains flat and smooth, repeat these steps for mounting the second upper mount.  attach the actuators to the upper brackets, you will probably need to extend the actuators to tighten the pivot bolt.

Congratulations the mechanical work is done, just the electrical is left.

 

Step 6 – Electrical Wiring

Using the Hydoworks 12V DC 2-Button Handheld Wireless Remote Control makes wiring a snap.  On the control there is a modular plug that can be connected directly to an actuator, splice one of the wiring connectors included with the actuators onto these wires, Make sure you connect the wires correctly or one actuator will extend and the other retract, just look at the modular connector which is a “T” shape and make sure the wires go to the same terminals on the plugs.

The main control box needs a 12 volt supply, on our trailer we have an 12V outlet right beside the hatch so I just tapped into that outlet, your supply may be different and require running 12V supply to the control box.

 

The finished mod in action

2014 Escape 19′ Build

Everyone needs more than one fiberglass trailer. Earlier this year we made the decision to add an Escape 19′ molded fiberglass trailer to use for longer trips and a traveling home away from home, especially as we look forward towards retirement.  Since we entered the molded fiberglass trailer world, first with our Boler then with a Casita Freedom Deluxe we soon discovered that in our minds the Escape Trailer Industries product was the Cadillac.  In fact many changes, upgrades and design features I thought I had “invented” when I built the Boler were the way Escape made their trailers.

The Escape trailer produced by Escape Trailer Industries in Chilliwack B.C. is another Proud-Canadian success story.  Visit the following link to read their story and the models they produce.

 

(Escape Logo)

 

 

 

The following is a pictorial diary of the building of our custom 19′ “Proud-Canadian” Escape trailer.

Week 1

Fresh out of the mold construction starts.

 Looking towards the rear, this will be the queen size bed

 Front corner, 2 right windows are in the dinette.

Smaller left window is in the bathroom

 

Looking up, blocking is for connecting cabinets, lighting, etc.

This strategically placed blocking eliminates any rivets through the shell

 Right window is the bathroom, left window is the end of the bed.

Strapping on the wall from left to right: fridge cabinet, wardrobe, bathroom

 

 

Week 2

Not a lot has changed on the outside, but a hint of cabinetry is visible on the inside

Looking forward towards the front window, you can see the extra insulation added along with the upper cabinets

The power distribution, converter and battery disconnect switch is located under the front dinette seat

 

The left opening is for the 6.7 cu/ft fridge, below is a small cupboard

To the right is the wardrobe with a drawer below it, the furnace is at the bottom

The kitchen is taking shape, we custom designed this with wider drawers and aligning the centre stile to be continuous from top to bottom.

Combination bathroom, shower is taking shape

 

Platform for the queen size bed, not sure what we will do with all the storage.

Week 3

(048)

Considering this was a short 4 day week and lot of work was completed
Thermal windows, graphics, storage box awning all installed

(042)

High mount brake lights, opening kitchen window

(043)

front left corner, notice the LED lighting

(044)

Front right corner, these are the dinette seats

(045)

Counter top installed, fridge, and the heads of two hard-working ETI crafts-person’s

(047)

Notice the wider upper cabinet door, normal is 24″ we ordered 36″. Looks great!!!

(046)

Cannot see the toilet but the rest of the plumbing is there,
also the furnace is installed under the wardrobe

Week 4

Our finished Escape
It is fun trying to spot all the items on our build sheet

Aluminum wheels, storage box, electric jack, …

Our custom table legs, (noticed the dinette cushions on the bed)
Love how bright it is inside

The kitchen has more stainless than we have in our kitchen at home

 

Build Sheet

  • 2-Way Hot Water Tank
  • 2 Burner Stainless Steel Stove & Range hood
  • Turn Stove 90 degrees
  • 6.7cuft Fridge
  • Texas Fridge Fan
  • Additional 12 Volt Interior Outlet beside coaxial Cable
  • Use 14 gauge wiring for 12V
  • Additional Set LED Brake Lights ( Vertical )
  • Additional OPENING Window over sink
  • Air Conditioner (11,000 BTU) Dometic
  • Digital Thermostat
  • Install Heat Strip in A/C
  • 5 Aluminum Rims
  • Bike Rack Ready
  • Cabinet Door at end of Bench
  • 1 Additional Drawer Under Wardrobe
  • Dual 6V Batteries ( 232 amp hrs )
  • Anderson Hitch
  • Exterior shower added to interior shower pkg
  • Exterior 12V Outlet
  • Extra Insulation & Thermal Windows
  • LED Interior Light Package
  • 2 LED Exterior Light – Driver & Passenger Side
  • Additional LED Exterior Lamp above Storage Box
  • Opening Window in Bathroom

 

  • Propane Tanks – Filled
  • Reinforce 2 Walls  1 & 5
  • Removable Power Cord
  • Stainless Steel Sink & Chrome Faucet
  • Install Stereo w/ wire to BOTH front and rear O/H Cabinets
  • Stove Cover
  • Storage Box
  • Surge Protector
  • Jack’ TV Antenna with 120V (Standard Location)
  • Wall Mount Extendable TV Arm (For 15″ – 22″ TVs)
  • 2 – 12V Heat Pads with Spray Foam Insulation
  • Use BLACK trim on Counters
  • Foot Flush Toilet
  • Electric Tongue Jack
  • Interior Switch for Ceiling Light
  • 36″ Wide Cabinet Door in Rear O/H in Bed area
  • Custom Kitchen Cabinet – See picture in file
  • Toilet Shut off Valve
  • Set of Sand Pads
  • 12V Drop under bed near speaker wire
  • Battleship Gray graphics
  • Custom CUSHIONS to have fabric on both sides (no vinyl) no custom fabric,
  • Install Customer Supplied Table Legs Do not install pedestal