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Old 10-25-2020, 01:45 PM   #1
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E-Pro - Detailed Evaluation after first big trip

I read all the posts on this forum before I purchased our trailer, so I wanted to do a detailed write-up for someone considering purchasing and E-Pro/Geo Pro trailers. This is our first RV, a E Pro 19FD – murphy bed model, no bump out. I added a second solar panel (110W) and have a 125AH lithium battery.

We did the driveway sleep, then a two-day shakedown trip, then headed to Utah from Raleigh NC for a four-week trip. We traveled 6K miles, longest period without connections – 6 days, we could have lasted 8 or 9, over 50 miles on dirt roads (pretty rough roads, at some points requiring 4WD low to get up steep switchbacks), dispersed camped multiple nights, stayed in camp grounds with no hook ups, campgrounds with full hookups, 6 nights in Cracker barrel parking lots (travel days)....We had days above 90 degrees and multiple nights in the low 30s. So I think the trip was an excellent overall test given the E-Pro design point.

Overall Quality: My wife and I both really like the trailer. We did not have a single major problem; everything worked, water heater, refrig, heater, solar panel, no problems. Technically, we did not use the A/C or oven. We did have a few minor items that we were able to fix and do have a few “complaints” or suggested improvements that I list at the end. There were a number of places that needed oil/dry lub to work properly, tighten screws, minor expected stuff.… So overall quality is very good and also the dealer (Bill Plemmons) did a good job making sure everything worked.

Refrigerator – My wife’s number 1 worry, there is no temp. adjustment for the refrig., but it worked great - food / vegies did not freeze. Most of the trip the unit ran on propane, but auto switched ... We did not notice any difference electric vs propane.

Stove - worked great, the built in knife storage on the stove top is excellent idea. Our unit came with a griddle and shelf that attaches to a bar on the side of the trailer. The griddle is excellent – we used this all the time for breakfast (eggs and toast) and a number of dinners. We also have a small Coleman grill, stored in a plastic bin in the truck bed. Stove top vent hood should have a multi-speed fan or a quieter fan. You need to run either the vent fan or max fan when the stove is on (the alarm will go off if the stove and heat is on without one of the fans running). The oven - we did not order an oven and specifically did not want one, but the unit arrived with an oven. A cabinet under the stovetop gives you better pots and pan storage (the oven sucks for storage which it what we use it for).

Heater / Tank Heater – heater see below. I did turn on the tank heaters one morning, it was below freezing, mostly to test them. The tank heater is the largest 12V energy draw in the trailer, the heater fan is the second biggest draw. So, if you run both all night, its going to draw down the battery quickly. Trailer is really not designed for cold weather camping (below 32 all day).

Maxx Fan – five stars, we used it all the time and it whisper quiet on the low settings.

Hot water heater – propane heats really fast, within 10 minutes. We also used heater electric when we had campground electric hookup, you need to turn this on 1 hour before you need hot water. We had enough hot water for dishes and showers.

Plumbing – everything worked. Washing dishes, it is tight space, small sink, a foldable rinse bin is a big help. The shower is small, we call it taking a bird bath. I am 6’2’, I sit on a plastic stool (Walmart) to take my shower using a small bowl for the water. You’ll figure out your own process, but if your tall, you’re not standing to take a shower. We average 2 to 3 gallons per shower when we don’t have connections. Toilet worked good as did the fresh/gray/black tanks, no issues. The black tank rinse connection is a big plus, we used it each time we dumped. Don’t get two 10 ft sewer lines, the max compressed length that will fit in the storage tube is 15ft. A 10ft line worked fine, get the clear elbow.

Solar Panel – it was sunny most days and most campsites were sun. Measured at 8am each morning, the battery NEVER went below 80% charge any morning the entire trip and was usually charged back to full charge by 1pm! I have two panels, but one panel would have worked fine on this trip. I don’t want to get into acid vs lithium, but it your buying this trailer, put a lithium battery in….

Electrical design – efficient LED lights (would be nice if some dimmed), inverter worked but we seldom used it, phones and IPADs all charged in the 3 12v USB sockets. The only thing we would use the inverter for is charging the notebook computer and hair dryer (low speed low heat). We did not use an electric coffee maker or toaster – AeroPress for coffee works great, toast on the griddle. Using one of the 110 outlets thru the inverter is a VERY high draw, so you need to limit use of these devises when running on the battery.

Other: Storage cabinets are all good, only had a problem with the one drawer under the seat opening during travel, I think it’s an easy fix.… We had enough room to pack clothes for both hot and cold temperatures and had enough storage room (we only did laundry once). In kitchen and medicine cabinets and refrig. Everything needs to be in a container of some type to keep items in place when driving. I would like to see better latches on the Murphy bed and some of the murphy bed hinge wood screws are starting to come loose and hole is stripped. I plan on replacing the wood screw with bolt and recessed 3 prong nut. But we really like the Murphy bed design – we use foam pads at the head of the bed (from this web site) to close the gap and makes the bed 6 inches longer. We also used a memory foam topper on the bed.

Towing: On our shakedown trip, I towed with a standard hitch (not a WDH) and there was a lot of bounce at the hitch (trailer/truck rocking up and down at the hitch) and there was some sway at highway speeds. I then purchased a Fastway E2 800 lb trunnion bar WD hitch. This setup was a significant improvement, both reducing the rocking and reducing the sway. The trailer now tracks nice behind the truck in most conditions. In high truck traffic or windy conditions, towing is unstable and you have to cut your speed (cutting speed to 60MPH or below in high truck traffic creates a dangerous traffic jam, I was being passing by at least 60 trucks an hour in Oklahoma on RT 40). Our target highway speed was 65 MPH, highway MPG averaged slightly under 12. If I was purchasing a new WDH, I would spend a bit more money and try a hitch with 4 PT sway control, vs 2 on the Fastway - it might improve towing in those conditions. The Ford F150 2.7 eco-boast engine is perfect for this tow weight, plenty of power in the mountains and transmission tow/haul mode holds speed on down hills – works excellent. The trailer with full water, propane and contents was in the 3800 to 4000 lbs range (the 2800 lbs listed in the catalog for this model can be misleading if you don’t understand it).

Improvements Needed:
First: The heating unit needs to be improved. It is way too loud; it wakes you when it comes on at night. After the first night, we left the heater off while sleeping, but a number of mornings it was in the low 40s in the trailer. Also, air quality is not good when the heat had to be on continuously - warming up the trailer first thing in the morning – the air flowing over red hot steel smell. The thermostat is a joke, there is no way to figure out the temp setting. I had to force the thermostat on by shorting two mornings during the trip in order to get the heat to come on. Toward the end of the trip it started working without help. The dealer did warn me about the thermostat and I believe he told me it was replaceable with a digital unit, which would help, but it’s still way to loud.

Second: the outside storage lockers have thin flimsy walls on the sides. I had the 30 amp electrical cord in the rear locker by the water filter, the thin wall was only attached at the bottom and broke, the wall was then touching the water pipes and vibrating when the water pump ran – removed the wall and can’t use the locker until I can fix/improve. Had the same problem with one of the front locker side walls, wall came unfastened and was sitting against the inverter. These walls need to be removeable to get to what is behind them, but give me a break Forest River – improve how that are attached and make them sturdy…
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Old 10-25-2020, 02:07 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by mcbridek View Post


Stove top vent hood should have a multi-speed fan or a quieter fan. You need to run either the vent fan or max fan when the stove is on (the alarm will go off if the stove and heat is on without one of the fans running).

You mentioned that this was your first RV so forgive me if you already know this, but the vent fan has a flapper on the outside that is typically locked in the closed position. Make sure it's open before use. The performance of the fan will likely improve significantly.
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Old 10-25-2020, 02:19 PM   #3
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Great writeup, I'm sure it will help other EPro/GeoPro owners.
One thing, I think you'll find that the furnace is as big a 12v energy hog, as the tank heaters.
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Old 10-25-2020, 02:57 PM   #4
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Note for the fridge temperature setting.
Look at the cooling fins inside the refrigerator - to the right side you’ll see a sensor that can slide up and down.

Move it higher for colder fridge and lower for warmer.
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Old 10-25-2020, 03:32 PM   #5
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Thanks for taking the time to put this together. Just got an e pro 19bh and we're in the process of figuring it all out. Definitely some helpful nuggets in here.
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Old 10-25-2020, 05:25 PM   #6
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Great write up!

I was considering an E-Pro, but went with a WP 16BHS Black Label with the lift kit and tires from the E-Pro.

If you had written this up about 2 weeks earlier you might have changed my mind!

Keep us posted on your continued adventures and any modifications/improvements you make.
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Old 10-26-2020, 09:43 AM   #7
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Great write up. We've got an e-Pro 19FD as well and love it. Some of the build issues we've had are similar, drawer under seat, hinges on murphy bed.
Overall really nice trailer though
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Old 10-26-2020, 01:08 PM   #8
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Nicely done, thank you for taking the time. I see darb hit the fridge temp adjustment... You could do surgery in those damn things without a dimmer, easy to fix. ditto on the digital thermometer (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1) two wires and done. Once you run the heater for a bit the smell goes away. Greywater is correct about the outside vent, took me a while to figure out it needed to be unlatched (runs a bit quieter too, though not much). Likewise if you have a window open when you run the heater (a bit counterintuitive perhaps, but seems safer to me) is not quite as loud. Sounds like you escaped the Covid trailer issue and have many great years of enjoyment ahead!!
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Old 10-26-2020, 01:21 PM   #9
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Great write up and review! Will be a great starting point for those looking to purchase one of these trailers.
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Old 10-26-2020, 01:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcbridek View Post
... You need to run either the vent fan or max fan when the stove is on (the alarm will go off if the stove and heat is on without one of the fans running).


Heh...I forgot to mention that this happened to us as well. They mounted the smoke alarm right over the galley. The first time we fired up the stove the alarm went off. All we did was boil water in a kettle for coffee It only did it the first time, so I suspect there was some assembly gunk being burnt off that made it go off.
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Old 10-26-2020, 01:50 PM   #11
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Thx to all for these posts. We are still waiting on our FD so the information is helpful. I appreciate seeing issues concerning the FD in one location on this forum. We had Casita's for year's and everything Casita wss in one place. It would be nice if all things E Pro were in one sub category under Flagstaff.
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Old 10-26-2020, 02:28 PM   #12
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Good evaluation

[QUOTE=mcbridek;2439539We did the driveway sleep, then a two-day shakedown trip, then headed to Utah from Raleigh NC for a four-week trip.[/QUOTE]
Good evaluation! It looks like your concerns already have responses, e.g., the furnace will smell bad until the factory coating burns off. and don't forget to unlock the range vent from the outside before running the fan.

If you really wish you had the cooktop and not the full range, you could ad in the Classifieds on this site offering to swap with someone that has the reverse. Maybe swap the range + small cabinet for cooktop and larger cabinet, or whatever is needed.

Since we're both from Raleigh, I was wondering if you were related to my former colleague, Dennis McBride.

Larry
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Old 10-29-2020, 02:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcbridek View Post
I read all the posts on this forum before I purchased our trailer, so I wanted to do a detailed write-up for someone considering purchasing and E-Pro/Geo Pro trailers. This is our first RV, a E Pro 19FD – murphy bed model, no bump out. I added a second solar panel (110W) and have a 125AH lithium battery.



We did the driveway sleep, then a two-day shakedown trip, then headed to Utah from Raleigh NC for a four-week trip. We traveled 6K miles, longest period without connections – 6 days, we could have lasted 8 or 9, over 50 miles on dirt roads (pretty rough roads, at some points requiring 4WD low to get up steep switchbacks), dispersed camped multiple nights, stayed in camp grounds with no hook ups, campgrounds with full hookups, 6 nights in Cracker barrel parking lots (travel days)....We had days above 90 degrees and multiple nights in the low 30s. So I think the trip was an excellent overall test given the E-Pro design point.



Overall Quality: My wife and I both really like the trailer. We did not have a single major problem; everything worked, water heater, refrig, heater, solar panel, no problems. Technically, we did not use the A/C or oven. We did have a few minor items that we were able to fix and do have a few “complaints” or suggested improvements that I list at the end. There were a number of places that needed oil/dry lub to work properly, tighten screws, minor expected stuff.… So overall quality is very good and also the dealer (Bill Plemmons) did a good job making sure everything worked.



Refrigerator – My wife’s number 1 worry, there is no temp. adjustment for the refrig., but it worked great - food / vegies did not freeze. Most of the trip the unit ran on propane, but auto switched ... We did not notice any difference electric vs propane.



Stove - worked great, the built in knife storage on the stove top is excellent idea. Our unit came with a griddle and shelf that attaches to a bar on the side of the trailer. The griddle is excellent – we used this all the time for breakfast (eggs and toast) and a number of dinners. We also have a small Coleman grill, stored in a plastic bin in the truck bed. Stove top vent hood should have a multi-speed fan or a quieter fan. You need to run either the vent fan or max fan when the stove is on (the alarm will go off if the stove and heat is on without one of the fans running). The oven - we did not order an oven and specifically did not want one, but the unit arrived with an oven. A cabinet under the stovetop gives you better pots and pan storage (the oven sucks for storage which it what we use it for).



Heater / Tank Heater – heater see below. I did turn on the tank heaters one morning, it was below freezing, mostly to test them. The tank heater is the largest 12V energy draw in the trailer, the heater fan is the second biggest draw. So, if you run both all night, its going to draw down the battery quickly. Trailer is really not designed for cold weather camping (below 32 all day).



Maxx Fan – five stars, we used it all the time and it whisper quiet on the low settings.



Hot water heater – propane heats really fast, within 10 minutes. We also used heater electric when we had campground electric hookup, you need to turn this on 1 hour before you need hot water. We had enough hot water for dishes and showers.



Plumbing – everything worked. Washing dishes, it is tight space, small sink, a foldable rinse bin is a big help. The shower is small, we call it taking a bird bath. I am 6’2’, I sit on a plastic stool (Walmart) to take my shower using a small bowl for the water. You’ll figure out your own process, but if your tall, you’re not standing to take a shower. We average 2 to 3 gallons per shower when we don’t have connections. Toilet worked good as did the fresh/gray/black tanks, no issues. The black tank rinse connection is a big plus, we used it each time we dumped. Don’t get two 10 ft sewer lines, the max compressed length that will fit in the storage tube is 15ft. A 10ft line worked fine, get the clear elbow.



Solar Panel – it was sunny most days and most campsites were sun. Measured at 8am each morning, the battery NEVER went below 80% charge any morning the entire trip and was usually charged back to full charge by 1pm! I have two panels, but one panel would have worked fine on this trip. I don’t want to get into acid vs lithium, but it your buying this trailer, put a lithium battery in….



Electrical design – efficient LED lights (would be nice if some dimmed), inverter worked but we seldom used it, phones and IPADs all charged in the 3 12v USB sockets. The only thing we would use the inverter for is charging the notebook computer and hair dryer (low speed low heat). We did not use an electric coffee maker or toaster – AeroPress for coffee works great, toast on the griddle. Using one of the 110 outlets thru the inverter is a VERY high draw, so you need to limit use of these devises when running on the battery.



Other: Storage cabinets are all good, only had a problem with the one drawer under the seat opening during travel, I think it’s an easy fix.… We had enough room to pack clothes for both hot and cold temperatures and had enough storage room (we only did laundry once). In kitchen and medicine cabinets and refrig. Everything needs to be in a container of some type to keep items in place when driving. I would like to see better latches on the Murphy bed and some of the murphy bed hinge wood screws are starting to come loose and hole is stripped. I plan on replacing the wood screw with bolt and recessed 3 prong nut. But we really like the Murphy bed design – we use foam pads at the head of the bed (from this web site) to close the gap and makes the bed 6 inches longer. We also used a memory foam topper on the bed.



Towing: On our shakedown trip, I towed with a standard hitch (not a WDH) and there was a lot of bounce at the hitch (trailer/truck rocking up and down at the hitch) and there was some sway at highway speeds. I then purchased a Fastway E2 800 lb trunnion bar WD hitch. This setup was a significant improvement, both reducing the rocking and reducing the sway. The trailer now tracks nice behind the truck in most conditions. In high truck traffic or windy conditions, towing is unstable and you have to cut your speed (cutting speed to 60MPH or below in high truck traffic creates a dangerous traffic jam, I was being passing by at least 60 trucks an hour in Oklahoma on RT 40). Our target highway speed was 65 MPH, highway MPG averaged slightly under 12. If I was purchasing a new WDH, I would spend a bit more money and try a hitch with 4 PT sway control, vs 2 on the Fastway - it might improve towing in those conditions. The Ford F150 2.7 eco-boast engine is perfect for this tow weight, plenty of power in the mountains and transmission tow/haul mode holds speed on down hills – works excellent. The trailer with full water, propane and contents was in the 3800 to 4000 lbs range (the 2800 lbs listed in the catalog for this model can be misleading if you don’t understand it).



Improvements Needed:

First: The heating unit needs to be improved. It is way too loud; it wakes you when it comes on at night. After the first night, we left the heater off while sleeping, but a number of mornings it was in the low 40s in the trailer. Also, air quality is not good when the heat had to be on continuously - warming up the trailer first thing in the morning – the air flowing over red hot steel smell. The thermostat is a joke, there is no way to figure out the temp setting. I had to force the thermostat on by shorting two mornings during the trip in order to get the heat to come on. Toward the end of the trip it started working without help. The dealer did warn me about the thermostat and I believe he told me it was replaceable with a digital unit, which would help, but it’s still way to loud.



Second: the outside storage lockers have thin flimsy walls on the sides. I had the 30 amp electrical cord in the rear locker by the water filter, the thin wall was only attached at the bottom and broke, the wall was then touching the water pipes and vibrating when the water pump ran – removed the wall and can’t use the locker until I can fix/improve. Had the same problem with one of the front locker side walls, wall came unfastened and was sitting against the inverter. These walls need to be removeable to get to what is behind them, but give me a break Forest River – improve how that are attached and make them sturdy…


Great write up. We are in process of downsizing and this is one of 2 flagstaffs on our list. How loud is the AC if you ran it know. Knowing low and high have different volumes.
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Old 11-13-2020, 06:11 PM   #14
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For those people reading this thread to help with the purchase decision.... I saw this evaluation posted.
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Old 11-14-2020, 10:29 AM   #15
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Thermostat Replace on E-Pro

I did replace the heater thermostat with a digital - Honeywell TH1100, heat only... Very simple, two wires...
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