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

Boler Buyer Guide

Buyers Guide to Common Boler Trailer Problems

by Ian Giles  www.Boler-Camping.com  ©

With the high demand for these vintage trailers they sell quickly, the supply and demand limits the amount of price negotiations a buyer can offer, if you don’t buy it the next person probably will.  I often get asked what to look for when buying a used Boler, there are a number of checklists available but my thoughts are “what good is a checklist if you don’t know what you are looking for”.  A 30 to 40 year old trailer probably needs some work, you can try to use this information in your negotiations but most sellers probably won’t listen. I suggest the best use of this information is for you to understand what general condition the Boler is in and if you are ready and willing to take on a project that requires the work and expense needed. In other words I want you, the buyer, to know and understand what you are getting into.The following guide describes in detail 10 key areas that are considered major problems and can be quite costly to repair.

Boler Buyer Guide

(“click” above link to open Guide)

Scissor Table Leg Design

 

When I was building the interior of my 1974 Boler trailer the table leg design became an interesting evolution. I wanted a simple system that was easy to use since the table/bed would be converted back and forth quite often. I initially tried a single metal pedestal used by many RVs but found it to be very unstable, so if one pedestal is not enough I tried adding a second one, which is also common in many RV’s. The two pedestals made the table stable enough, but I found it very difficult to remove and lower the 34”x34” table by myself.

pillar tableThis set-up was not stable enough

 

Thinking a folding leg system would be the best solution I designed a prototype of the bi-fold legs that are hinged at the top, middle and bottom. To fold the table you simply fold the back legs in half then the front leg, and voilà it should be that simple. This design worked very good, easy to set-up and put down and also very stable. To lock the legs in the upright position spring latches opposite the hinges are used which essentially lock the legs in the center.

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The only change I would make to a final version is to use higher quality hinges, the type I used in this prototype had play in the joint because the pin did not fit tightly and the metal leaf was quite thin and bent easily. Stronger, higher quality hinges would correct this.

Another unique feature with the table is that it is mounted the table-top on flat drawer slides that allow the top to easily move back  and forth.  This allows easier access to the side benches when the table top is moved back towards the rear window, a screw knob under the table locks the slide to prevent movement when needed. This table system worked very well and we used it without any problems for the next summer of camping,

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

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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!!!

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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

 

Share Your Boler Modifications

Send me either information on your custom Boler or the modifications you have made either by documenting it in this post or by sending me a links to your custom Boler or modifications.  These could be featured articles.

Just reply to this post

DIY Power Trailer Dolly

This trailer dolly is built using parts available at Princess Auto (in Canada) and probably Harbour Freight in the US.

Parts list:

  • 2000 lb ATV winch
  • 16 tooth #40 drive gear
  • 54 tooth #40 driven gear
  • 3/4″ keyed drive axle
  • 2- 3/4″ pillow block bearings
  • Hitch ball
  • Wheels & hub that key to axle
  • Keyed hubs for gears
  • Pivot wheel (make sure it will carry the weight
  • Metal for frame

The frame is built from some scrap 3″x4″x 3/8″ thick aluminum angle and some 1.5″x3″x1/8″ aluminum channel.  The frame is bolted together.

The handle was salvaged from an old lawn mower. Power is provided through the trailer plug directly from the trailer battery, alternatively the alligator clips can be attached to the vehicle battery. Plug connectors allow for the use of a 10/3 extension cord to extend the power cord if needed.  A momentary rocker switch on the control activates the trailer brakes, although the planetary gears on the winch motor seem to prevent a runaway situation.

 

Cable drum on winch needs to be machined down to fit drive gear hub.

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Tow ball is quick release and can be changed

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Showing both 1 7/8″ and 2″ balls

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Trailer wire connector

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Electrical adapters for using vehicle battery

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Controller, black rocker switch applies trailer brakes

 

The following images were a request in the comments for picture of the under side and measurements.

Laser Leveling for your Trailer

One day I thought there has to be an easier way to check the level of the trailer when setting up camp.
We currently use a bubble level on the counter but this requires adjusting one corner or end then running inside the trailer to check the level … running to the appropriate corner to make an adjustment … running back to check.
This sounds more like an exercise program that the simple task of leveling your trailer.
I came up with this unique solution, by using a self-leveling laser level I set it up so it could be swiveled to aim at the side wall and to the back wall inside the trailer.
Mount the bracket and laser to an appropriate location, one that can allow you to see the laser lines on the inside walls by looking through windows close to your leveling points.
Making sure the trailer is leveled using the conventional bubble levels, and then place small reference marks on the walls that aligns with the laser cross-hairs.
Now when I pull into a campsite I turn the laser on and point it at the side wall, immediately I know how many blocks I need under the tires to get close to level.
With the trailer on the leveling blocks I can look through the back window and adjust the side-to-side level, then I swing the laser to aim at the rear wall and looking through the front window I level the trailer back to front.

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Small auto levaling laser level with hinger bracket

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End of bracket drilled for 1/4″ bolt

sm_P1070062Mounted on top of closet

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Close up of completed installation

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View of laser lines on side wall

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View of laser lines on back wall

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Target for laser after leveling trailer with bubble level.

From now on all I have to do is center the laser lines for a perfectly level trailer.

Rebuilding Boler Jalousie Windows

The side windows used on Vintage Boler trailers are known as Jalousie Windows.  Although they may not look modern they are in fact a very efficient design for two main reasons.

First the window fully opens; sliding windows including the modern radius corner windows only half opens.

Secondly the way the window opens, as a awning, naturally sheds the water so they can be left open and in most cases rain will not get in.

I recently had the opportunity to rebuilt the Jalousie windows in my Boler to replace all the seals and gaskets and to polish all the aluminum since I had taken them out while the Boler was being repainted.

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Disassembly of the windows is quite straight forward, the following video demonstrates how to disassemble, please excuse my poor acting.

Polishing Cast Aluminum Boler Door Hinge

 

 

Much of the trim on my fiberglass Boler trailer is aluminum, the window frames and belly band are extruded aluminum while the door hinges are cast aluminum.

With a little work and some common tools you can turn a dull rough cast hinge into a shiny custom part.

The original mill finish aluminum under a microscope actually has a surface that looks like small hairs, each of these hairs increase the exposed surface area and will oxidize causing the dull finish. When you use a power polisher with the correct cutting compound you actually remove these hairs making the surface glass smooth, this reduces the surface area and the reflection actually comes from the aluminum surface. Because the polished surface has less surface area it is less prone to oxidation and a simple wipe will maintain the surface.

Chemical polishes like Mothers will dissolve or actually convert the oxidation and remove it but the surface area remains the same which means it will oxidize faster and be harder to maintain. Using scotch pads or coarse abrasive pads leaves a uniform textured surface made up of small scratches in the same direction which, although looking good, will not directly reflect light, also the surface area is greater and therefore will oxidize faster.

The following video shows you how.

Camping List

I am not a big fan of lists, but when preparing for any trip away from home I have definitely learned that it is better to double check that you have everything you need with you rather than discovering that key item is missing … usually this discovery is made precisely when you needed it.  Because my memory is not what it once was I have developed this list over the past few seasons and refer to it prior to each adventure.

With our trailer we find that some items are packed in the spring and they stay in the trailer all season, some items are needed for each trip, and some items are consumed during each trip and need to be checked and replenished if needed.

I have divided the following list into 4 categories: (click each section to expand)

  • Kitchen & Cleaning
  • Tool, Equipment & Accessories
  • Leisure, Clothes & Personal
  • Food

We use this list to identify items we would bring on an average trip. The bolded items are items we need to pack each time whereas the normal font are items usually left in the trailer.

I would suggest you use this list as a guide , but make changes to meet your needs and camping style.

 

Cooking

  • Bush pie irons
  • Cast iron griddle
  • Pots and frying pans with lids
  • Cook utensils-spatula, knife, spoon
  • Barbeque set – tongs,
  • Skewers/grill forks
  • Stove with fuel/propane
  • Potholders/oven mitts
  • BBQ grill
  • Folding table / BBQ Table

 

Food Prep & Dining

  • Tablecloth / thumb tacks / clips
  • Plates & bowls / paper plates
  • Silverware / plastic silverware
  • Measuring cups
  • Wine glasses & opener
  • Can opener / bottle opener
  • Mugs
  • Mixing bowl
  • Cutting board
  • Coffee grinder & Aero Press
  • Potato peeler
  • Canteen / water bottle
  • Coffee pot

 

Consumables

(check before each trip)

  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • Paper towels
  • Trash bags
  • Dish soap
  • Matches / lighter
  • Ziploc bags
  • Tissues

 

Cleaning

  • Clothes pins
  •  Dish rags / towels
  • Mat for entrance
  • Dust pan / brush
  • Scrub pad / Brillo
  • Rope / clothes line

Tools

  • Axe
  • Hammer

 

Tool Box

These are items we carry in a tool box which is loaded in the truck prior to each trip

  • Wrenches (imperial & metric)
  • 3/8” socket set (shallow & deep)
  • Mutimeter
  • Screwdrivers
  • Pliers (slip joint, side cutters, etc)
  • Epoxy / epoxy putty
  • Wire ties (zip ties in assorted sizes)
  • Wire
  • Plumbing caps
  • Washers (hose)
  • 2 sided tape
  • Teflon tape
  • Gas tape
  • Electrical tape
  • Jumper wire
  • 3/8” compression rings
  • 15A fuses
  • Duct tape/electrical tape

Outdoor Equipment

  • Propane torch (to light fire)
  • Solar panels
  • Street water hose
  • Water container filler hose
  • Drain hose
  • Wheel chocks
  • Wheel lock cables
  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Work gloves
  • Small shovel
  • Misc. tools
  • Ground cloth / tarp

Accessories

  • Porta-potty & supplies
  • Lantern with fuel/mantles
  • Extra batteries/bulbs
  • Bug repellent/candles
  • Whistle
  • Books/magazines
  • Candles
  • Scissors
  • Maps/directions
  • Backpack/fanny pack
  • Sunglasses
  • Flashlight/batteries
  • Pocket knife
  • Plastic grocery bags
  • Binoculars
  • Bunge cords/straps
  • Cards / games / toys / golf
  • Notepad / pen
  • Cell phone/charger & 2-way radios
  • Safety pins
  • Money / ID / credit card / quarters
  • Travel alarm clock
  • Umbrella
  • Hand wipes
  • Small sewing kit
  • GPS
  • Camera/battery
  • Reservations info./confirmation
  • Portable weather station
  • Hiking Poles
  • Coolers/ice (only if needed)

Leisure

  • Folding chairs
  • Heaters – gas & electric
  • Sleeping bags
  • Pillows
  • Extra stakes
  • Shade tarp / poles / rope / stakes
  • Awning
  • Awning poles and ground pads
  • Kitchen shelter

Clothes

(packed for each trip)

  • Shoes/boots
  • Jeans/pant/belt
  • Shorts
  • T-shirts
  • Socks/extra socks
  • Hat
  • Bandana
  • Sweatshirt/jacket
  • Underwear
  • Sleep clothes
  • Rain gear
  • Swim suit/towel
  • Laundry bag
  • Hiking boots

Personal

  • Shower shoes/flip flops
  • Towels/washcloth
  • Soap in plastic case/shampoo
  • Tooth brush/tooth paste
  • Deodorant
  • Comb/brush
  • Razor
  • Feminine products
  • Toilet paper
  • Personal medications – take extra
  • Sunscreen/chap stick
  • Bear spray
  • Advil, Robax, Pepcid, Gavscon

Breakfast

  • Eggs
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Jam
  • Peanut butter
  • Pancake mix
  • Bagels
  • Syrup

 

Lunch

  • Beef jerky
  • Pita bread
  • Cheese
  • Fruit
  • Buns

 

Dinner

  • Canned stew
  • Canned corn (veggies)
  • Soup
  • Canned chicken chunks
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Peppers
  • Onions
  • Ground beef
  • Hot dogs
  • Steak
  • Hamburgers
  • Pasta & sauce

 

Snacks

  • Granola bars
  • Crackers
  • Trail mix
  • Snacks (chips)

 

Misc

  • Cooking oil / Pam spray
  • Containers for food storage
  • Hot chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Lemonade & ice tea
  • Seasoning (Mrs Dash)
  • Sugar
  • Margarine
  • Ketchup
  • Relish
  • Yogurt
  • BarBQ sauce

 

Click here for a Downloadable PDF version

 

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