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Everything posted by FrankC

  1. Even with a “1/2 ton” pickup, make sure you understand and pay close attention to ALL the relevant ratings. There are specs for towing capacity, tongue weight (different capabilities with and without a weight distribution hitch), payload capacity (also called cargo capacity), GCWR (gross combined weight rating), etc. Even two of the same model trucks like an F-150 can have significantly different towing capabilities depending how it’s equipped. I have an F-250 which is generally classified as a “3/4 ton” truck, but mine as equipped from Ford is rated for up to 3,334 pounds of cargo, and 12,600 pounds of towing. So I can technically put more than a TON of weight in the pickup bed as cargo and still have payload to spare for tongue weight while towing my Ollie.
  2. I also used the polar white. It’s a good match for the Ollie white. Esssentials UW01004 Polar White 10' EZE RV Gutter https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009IGF1KQ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_A09Y32MVEM0YGPJ4SG75?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
  3. Can you clarify some details? Are you just seeing water in the window track? Or is water leaking down onto the mattresses, etc.? The window tracks do get some water in them when it rains, but it normally drains out the weep holes and does not overflow the track into the interior of the trailer. That's just an unfortunate effect of the design of the sliding windows. Make sure your seals around the outside of the sliding window are properly in place, and make sure the end of the seal is butted up snuggly against the vertical center bar of the window to minimize the amount of water that can get past the seal. The seal sometimes shifts in the track and creates a gap there. See photo for an example of the gap if the seal is shifted away from the center bar.
  4. We did some car camping with our Cherokees, but never used either of them for any towing because of the limited towing capacity, limited payload weight and cargo volume. Absolutely love the Cherokees as an SUV, especially in the winter with the snow we get here in Pennsylvania, and our two Cherokees are still in the family, handed down to our son (the 2014) and our daughter (the 2019). They’ve been great all around vehicles but because of their size and specs, I wouldn’t tow anything even the size/weight of an Elite I with one. I’m in the camp of folks on this forum that believe you don’t want to be anywhere close to the max specs of your tow vehicle when towing. It’s a big strain on the engine, brakes, suspension, tires, etc., and emergency situations/panic stops do happen pretty regularly when towing because other drivers are morons. I like a nice safety margin.
  5. I don’t want to sound harsh but I’ve owned two Jeep Cherokees, a 2014 and a 2019 (both with the V-6 engine), and while they are great little SUVs, I think they would be terrible tow vehicles, even for the smaller Elite I. The payload capacity is really limited, there isn’t much room for carrying the typical camping gear, and the towing specs are marginal for an Elite I with any options or water in the tanks, food in the fridge and pantry, etc. And does yours have the optional Jeep trailer tow package with the necessary 7 pin electrical trailer connector port near the back bumper, and the 2” receiver for towing? If it doesn’t have the towing wire harness with connector already installed, that makes it really expensive and complicated to install a trailer brake controller.
  6. Mine is mounted vertically also. Keeps water out, and no problems with plug retention.
  7. I had a unique opportunity on a recent trip we took while towing our Ollie down to the Chesapeake Bay for a little vacation. Actually observed a trailer tire failure in real time. Driving in moderately heavy traffic on an interstate at 60-65 mph, we were a bit behind a pickup truck towing an SOB dual axle travel trailer. It was a section of the interstate with 3 lanes in each direction. I was in the far right lane as usual, and the pickup truck/TT ahead of us were in the center lane. My wife and I both noticed that the forward tire on passenger side of the trailer ahead of us was low and the sidewall of the tire was oscillating side to side noticeably. Our position to the rear and right of the other trailer gave us a great viewpoint. The oscillations were getting worse, but the pickup truck driver was showing no indication he noticed anything at all as he happily maintained his speed. I tried to speed up an little to get alongside to try to honk/wave to warn him, but traffic opened up a bit at that point and he actually sped up significantly, so I fell pretty far behind. At this point, small chunks of rubber were now being thrown off the tire, but the driver continued on at speed. I gave up on my attempt to get alongside to warn him since I didn't feel safe getting closer, and actually backed off a bit further. Within another 30 seconds larger chunks of tire started coming off, followed by pieces of aluminum siding from the trailer side wall around the wheel well as the entire tread started coming off the tire and whipping around in the wheel well. So I slowed down even more to get a very safe distance behind from the impending disaster. Incredibly, the driver was still maintaining his speed! Probably doing 70mph and in the middle lane of three lanes of traffic! The full tire tread soon came off, fortunately I was far enough behind to avoid it easily along with all the other debris laying in the road at this point. By now other drivers closer to him in traffic were honking & waving at him, and he probably felt some drag or vibration at this point, and he finally figured out something was wrong, but because he was in the middle lane of the three lanes, and with the traffic, it took him quite a bit of distance to finally get over to the far right lane and he exited at an off ramp and pulled off on the shoulder there. By that point the tire was completely gone, but fortunately since it was a dual axle trailer, the driver never lost control. Some lessons learned, and/or reinforced. A very strong reminder of the need for a good TPMS system (I've had one since day one with our Ollie Elite II). A great demonstration of the advantage of a dual axle trailer for stability. And also a reminder that keeping to a reasonable speed and staying in the right hand lane most of the time are good practice.
  8. The answer is 89 because of the subtle little details of the Ollie in the last equation and also because of standard math rules. From the first equation, a complete Ollie Elite II is equal to 30. From the second equation a single wheel equals 5. And from the third equation a window equals 6. The Ollie in the last equation is missing the window on the door (so subtract 6 for that) and only has 2 wheels showing, not 4 (look really closely). So that means the Ollie in the last equation is 30-6-10=14. Then you have to follow the established math rules for how you sequence the equation. The memory trick is PEMDAS. Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally. Meaning you do any operations in parentheses first, then any exponents, then multiplication, then division, then addition and subtraction. So the final equation (doing multiplication first per the PEMDAS rules) is the de-featured Ollie trailer of 14 x 6 for the window which equals 84, then add the 5 for the single wheel in the equation which gives 89.
  9. We store ours at our house when not in use using the Calmark cover. Our local borough zoning laws allow a trailer or boat up to 25’ to be kept on the property. Having it right at the house is great. Very convenient so I can check on it anytime I want, or work on it. And can plug it in to keep the batteries charged.
  10. The GVWR is the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating and that number includes the weight of the vehicle itself. That is not the cargo / payload rating. As mentioned above, look for the sticker that looks like this with the “never exceed” number.
  11. We towed with a 2017 Expedition EL initially. It was ok for towing as equipped with the Ford factory max tow package, but on long steep grades the 3.5 liter V6 eco-boost engine was really working hard. And your tow rating of 6,600 sounds really low to tow an Elite II. The 4,600 lbs Elite II weight number you quoted is the empty dry weight without any options, with empty tanks, and with no personal belongings, food, etc. Most people end up well over 5,000 lbs if not closer to 6,000 lbs. Do you have the full factory max tow package? Ours as equipped with the Ford factory max tow package was rated at 9,000 lbs towing or so. But it did require the Andersen weight distribution hitch. But we upgraded though to a Ford F-250 because of cargo / payload capacity. Most people overlook that rating in their tow vehicle selection. Check the sticker on your Expedition driver’s door jamb for the cargo/payload capacity. Ours was only about 1,500 lbs. And with 2 adults plus luggage, a loaded cooler of food, camping gear plus the tongue weight of the Oliver of 500 to 600 lbs, and you’ll find that you hit your cargo / payload limit pretty quickly. The F-250 as ours is equipped has 12,600 lbs towing and 3,334 lbs payload capacity. And it doesn’t require the Andersen weight distribution hitch. Expedition towing the Elite II The F-250 towing the Elite II
  12. I installed the EZ gutters and we’re into our 3rd year now with our Oliver and so far so good. They don’t keep the windows completely dry but they do drastically reduce the rain runoff from the roof going over the windows. Some people do install the gutter spaced above/away from the window by a few inches to allow easier recaulking of the window frames when needed. I installed mine right against the window frame. I’ll figure out how to deal with the recaulking issue if there’s ever a leak problem. I also ran the gutter all the way down each side to hold it more securely in place around the corners to prevent the gutter from lifting. I had seen photos from some owners that had only run the gutter just a bit around the upper corners, and over time the gutter lifted away. If you do decide to go with the gutter, unroll it and let it sit out in the sun on a good hot day for a few hours to let the material soften up and relax to make it easier to form around the windows
  13. Totally different than the Oliver 😆 The dinette is on the curbside and the kitchen area is on the street side on the Cortes. Not like the Oliver at all! 😆. Seriously though, as the old saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. The fiberglass composite material looks interesting, and if the entire inner and outer hull are layed up with the woven fiberglass composite fabric instead of chopped/sprayed fiberglass, it would be very strong.
  14. Thanks to Steve for the detailed explanation, and to Mossey’s point, true, the Lithium Iron Phosphate options are impressive for amp-hours vs. size and weight, but I’m not carrying the batteries around by hand 🙂 and we don’t boondock for extended periods like others, so I can’t justify the extreme cost of the lithiums for our camping style. The lead acid batteries are heavy, and old technology, but they are cheap, they work, mine haven’t needed much water maintenance at all, they don’t need pampered with a heater or cooling like the lithiums in cold or hot weather, I can easily get replacements on the road if ever needed, and because they are lower nominal full charge voltage, they do charge from my tow vehicle. Everyone has different camping needs. The lead acid setup has worked great for us.
  15. Keep us posted if you do a truck bed cover solar panel setup. I’ve been considering doing that as well. It’s a lot of square footage that could be put to good use generating electricity instead of just baking in the hot sun. It would eliminate the setup issue with the portable panel, it doesn’t take up any cargo space, and easy to get to the panels for cleaning or any maintenance/troubleshooting, and easy to upgrade.
  16. We looked at the Airstream Nest (a piece of crap, now discontinued by Airstream), the Airstream Bambi and Basecamp as well, and other brands like the Little Guy and RPod. Once we saw the Oliver and toured the factory it was an easy decision to go with our Elite II. The fiberglass exterior and interior, the massive aluminum frame and the overall design and features were the deciding factors. Zero regrets.
  17. Ah, you are correct on the “usable” amp-hour rating. I missed that in his post. Yeah, I never let the batteries get below 12.2 volts or so, to make sure they never get below 50% charge. They tend to hold right around 12.5 to 12.6 when in storage for a long time (weeks). The parasitic drain from the television, radio, etc. doesn’t seem to be much. I store mine next to the house so I just plug in about once every 3 or 4 weeks.
  18. Updated: yes, mossemi is correct that it’s usable 280 amp-hour (if they are 140 amp-hour batteries) by sticking to the 50% discharge limit.
  19. They are PowerTron brand which is a Trojan sub-brand. The four 12v wet cell setup was an Oliver option when we bought our 2019 Elite II. Not sure about the amp-hour rating. Part number is PowerTron D24DC-140. But I can’t find the specs online. Looks like this model might have been discontinued. The four 12 volt parallel arrangement has worked really well for battery life when boondocking at overnight Harvest Host stops. We don’t have the inverter or factory solar. Just running the DC accessories (fans, lights, water pump) when boondocking so the battery running time has been great.
  20. Maverick, you mentioned you have 4 six volt wet cells. Mine are four 12 volt wet cells, in parallel, so plenty of amp-hour capacity.
  21. I should add that I have the 4x12volt lead acid wet cell battery configuration as a big reason why my portable solar panel setup works well vs. John’s concerns. Nominal full charge voltage for lead acid wet cell is approximately 12.7 volts. So my setup through the 7 pin connector can tolerate a few tenths of a volt drop through the wiring length. The controller on the Zamp portable panel has selection options for battery type. For AGM batteries, nominal full charge voltage is 13.0 volts. Not sure about lithium nominal full charge voltage but I believe it’s even higher than the AGMs. I know the lead acid wet cells get a bad reputation as needing a lot of maintenance but mine have been almost zero maintenance into our third year of camping. I check the water level regularly and they have only needed very small amounts of water once. When they do eventually needs replaced I’m still on the fence about which option to go with then.
  22. It can be used but you have to make sure the panel has a charge controller. Here’s what the setup looks like. As John said, it’s not the optimal setup but it works and it was a heck of a lot cheaper. About $1,000 for the panel with controller plus the 7 pin adapter I had to wire up. Plus as portable panels improve I can upgrade easily. As far as the distance issue it’s not much different than the tow vehicle alternator to trailer distance, and my batteries fully charge just fine from both my tow vehicle when driving and when using the solar panel at Harvest Host stops. As John described, wire gauge vs current capacity is heavily dependent on wire length, whether the wire is in open air or buried in a bundle, continuous or intermittent current, ambient temperature, etc. Chart below. My panel is only 140 watts so call it 12 amps max. (And I rarely see above 10 amps). John is correct though that for a very high wattage panel like the Oliver factory setup, larger gauge and shorter wiring is required.
  23. We didn’t order the factory solar panel option on our 2019 Elite II, so there are no holes or brackets on the roof. We typically stay at full hookup campgrounds. I do have a portable 140 watt solar panel with integrated charge controller that I use for brief stays at Harvest Host locations, connected through the 7 pin trailer wiring harness plug.
  24. The Oliver is pretty airtight because of the double hull construction and insulation, and the fiberglass interior surfaces don’t absorb moisture like carpeting or wood products do in other trailers, so with the windows and doors closed, managing interior moisture from showers, cooking and breathing is something that most Oliver owners have methods to deal with it. Condensation on the interior walls can occur with big temperature changes unless you use some easy solutions. Not severe condensation (we’ve never had it “dripping from the walls”), it’s more just that muggy uncomfortable high humidity feeling. But condensation can happen under certain conditions. Using the air conditioner or furnace can help depending on ambient outside conditions. Some use small dehumidifiers, others (including me) use DampRid, and some will run the MaxAir fan frequently, even with the furnace or AC running, just to get more air exchange. Always use the exhaust fans when using the shower or cooking. And someone posted this graphic to illustrate where the moisture typically comes from. As the old expression goes “we have met the enemy, and he is us”. And we have the hypervent matting and it’s worked great so far. No problems with moisture under the mattresses.
  25. Nice tow vehicle. I’ve been considering a 4WD conversion/lifted NV3500 as a possible future tow vehicle for our Oliver. There’s a dealer in Utah that offers the conversion using Nissan Titan parts. Would allow for some off road exploring after dropping off the Ollie at a campground.
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