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Chukarhunter

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Everything posted by Chukarhunter

  1. My 2021 LEII came with 4 of the Brightway flooded batteries. They fit snug but easily in the tray with enough room for thin padding on the sides.
  2. Lornie and I have owned our LEII for a year and have traveled quite a bit with our two cats (and our dog). We have the standard floor plan and we ordered the optional inside access hatch to the outside rear storage compartment without really knowing whether we would ever use it. We quickly discovered we could place the cat litter box in the back storage area (i.e., outside the living space of the trailer) and leave the inside access hatch open to the storage area. Cats go in and out to use it and as a bonus, only kick litter into the storage area and not onto the trailer floor. Less odor as well. Works perfect for us. When we ordered our LEII, the inside access hatch option was only available on the standard floor plan but that may have changed.
  3. The advantages of lithium-ion batteries over flooded/AGM batteries are numerous, although the relative importance of each benefit to some extent depends on how you plan to use your trailer. I have owned my 2020 LEII for one year now and almost always boondock. Oliver didn’t start offering a lithium package until one month after I placed my order and the first thing I did after arriving home from Hohenwald was to swap out the 4 lead acid batteries it came with for four 105 amp-hour Group 24 Lithium-Ions. Since I already had the 340 watts of solar and 2000-watt inverter/charger, it was a simple swap to make as Galway Girl points out. No changes in cabling required or anything else. For me, the greatest benefit is the much higher rate at which the lithium-ion batteries will accept a charge. If you go with AGM batteries and solar, Oliver will require you to use four 110-amp hour AGM batteries weighing over 200 pounds, even if you don’t want or need that much battery storage. I was told that this is so Oliver can test the performance of the solar system before it leaves the factory and that explanation makes sense. This is because the maximum charging rate of an AGM battery roughly 150 watts (12 amps) up to 80% charge and only about 60 watts (5 amps) between 80% and 100% charge. A single lithium-ion battery, on the other hand, can accept a charging rate of over 1,000 watts (100 amps) all the way to 100 percent charge. The 2000-watt inverter/charger Oliver installs can deliver about 1,000 watts (80 amps) to the batteries and the 3000 watt inverter/charger can deliver about 1200 watts (100 amps) to the batteries. This can all be confusing so I will explain what this means in the field. If you remember one simple rule, it becomes much easier to understand this. The rule is: volts x amps = watts. My Oliver solar panels are capable of 340 watts on a sunny day. At an average charging voltage of 13.5 volts (controlled by the solar charge controller), the panels are capable of delivering roughly 25 amps to the batteries, ignoring losses (340 watts / 13.5 volts = 25 amps). If you have 4 AGM batteries, once they reach 80 percent charge, they can only accept about 20 amps of charge current (4 batteries times 5 amps each) which means the solar panels are throttled back to only produce about 270 watts (13.5 volts *20 amps = 270 watts) to protect your AGM batteries. This slow charging between 80% and 100% means you are wasting potential solar energy and your batteries will likely never recover to full charge after you have started your trip, (this is true even if you use a generator unless you want to run the generator for 6 hours/day). With my lithium-ion batteries, my solar panels always deliver their full capability, unless and until my batteries reach 100% charge. I am a high desert bird-hunter and so I boondock in the fall/winter. The solar panels are not always adequate for longer trips in the winter due to shorter daylight hours, sun much lower in the sky, and cloudy weather. For winter trips more than 3 days I reluctantly take a generator and hope I don’t need to use it. If I do need to use a generator though, I only need to run it for an hour to put 80 amp-hours into my lithium-ion batteries. One would need to run a generator for 2-4 hours to put 80 amp-hours into four AGM batteries. A bigger generator doesn’t make a difference since the limitation is in the batteries and not the capacity of the generator. In fact, I can put 70-80 amp hours into my lithium ion batteries in one hour using the smallest/quietest /lightest inverter generator made (Honda EUI 1000 at 28 lbs). The newest LEII has a 3000 watt inverter/charger that can put 100 amp hours into lithium-ion batteries in one hour, but will still only put 20 -40 amp hours into AGM batteries in the same hour. One other consideration is that with lithium-ion batteries, you can get by with fewer than 4 batteries and still have more usable battery storage than you get with 4 AGMs. When you factor in the difficulty of charging the AGM’s above 80 percent with solar in the field, you really only have 40% of usable storage with AGM’s (50% to 90%) whereas the lithium ions give you up to 85% usable storage (15% to 100%). Translated to amp hours, the AGM’s give you about 170 usable amp-hours/day before charging is mandatory (40% of 420 amp-hours), whereas the lithium ion’s give you over 350 usable amp-hours/day before charging is mandatory (85% of 420 amp-hours). My understanding is that the Oliver lithium-ion package comes standard with two 220 amp-hour lithium batteries at roughly $3,000 more than AGM’s. For those that don’t need 420 amp-hours but still want all the benefits of lithium, I think Oliver should also offer a lithium package with only one 220 amp-hour lithium-ion battery at a savings of about $2,000. This would mean the upgrade to lithium-ion would only be about $1,000 above the four AGMs instead of $3,000, while still providing more usable battery storage than four AGM’s. Hope the above makes sense. I am no expert and welcome corrections/clarifications from other forum members.
  4. Thanks for sharing your experience on with using a trailer dolly on gravel. I think I will pass this one by. I will definitely look to putting on a front hitch when I upgrade my current undersized TV. My current backing maneuver would probably be impossible to do if my TV was a full size pickup.
  5. In my current situation, I would only use it on the level. The only place I can store the LEII is in the backyard off of a one-way alley. I have to back the LEII about 200' down a very narrow alley and then cut it through a slightly angled 14' gate and then curve it to achieve a 90 degree turn before I hit the neighbors side-yard fence. Making the 90 degree turn without my tow vehicle hitting the side of the gate opening is a challenge. I am reasonably proficient but it would be much easier if I could just back it in through the gate, unhook, and then move it into the final parking spot using the dolly. The working surface is gravel and I am concerned the small wheels could be a problem.
  6. Great idea. The idea of relocating the forced air furnace return duct(s) is something I have independently identified as a must do since I have spent many nights recently in temperatures down into the teens and like others don't expect to have to worry about freezing water lines or cold batteries. The place that Oliver chose to located the single return vent in the LEII is the worst possible place they could have put it. Besides being the noisiest place, it compromises the function of a good forced air heating system. Placing the return so close to the supply ducts means much of the heat never circulates in the trailer and instead is drawn under the dinette and back into the furnace almost directly from the supply vents. Also, failing to have placed a return duct in the bathroom renders the hot air supply vent in the bathroom almost worthless when the bathroom door is closed since pressurization of the bathroom creates backpressure on the supply vent. Further, with the bathroom door closed, there is insufficient free air flow through the furnace heat exchanger resulting in reduced efficiency, more propane consumption and possible cycling due to the heat exchanger reaching its thermal limit. So my thought is the most important single thing to improve the heating system in the LEII and significantly reduce any risk of freezing pipes or batteries is to put a small return vent (4" x 4") in the bathroom as low as possible below the existing supply vent (below the T.P.). Even with the door closed, the bathroom will now be warm but much more importantly, the warm air in the bathroom will be pulled under the bathroom sink into the hull and flow over all the plumbing lines and fresh water tank to the back where the furnace intake is. To complete the job, I think that after removing and closing the approximately 50 square inch return vent under the dinette, it should be replaced with a 16-20 sq. in. return in the bathroom, a second 16-25 sq. in. return under the dinette front side, and a third 12-16 sq. in. return in the rear street side across from the furnace to heat the outside shower plumbing. This should result an a balanced heating system with fairly constant temperatures throughout the inner space and within all inner parts of the lower hull as well. Added benefits should be a more comfortable trailer and less propane consumption. Thoughts about this?
  7. Here are a few photos of the strike plate. I did notice the door hangs slightly lower on the handle side compared to hinge side, but it does not appear to affect the operation of the door in any way and the latch appears to be centered vertically in the strike plate.
  8. I did report the sticky door issue to Oliver and I told them that it appeared that the strike plate was not adjusted out enough given the thickness of the weatherstripping but the screws were tight against the adjusting channels (slots). I suggested to Oliver that I could file the adjustment channels where the screws go through the strike plate a bit to allow it to be adjusted more toward the outside of the doorway and Oliver said that is what they would probably do. Unfortunately, after I did that, I realized that the strike plate was already tight against the outside fiberglass shell so it cannot be adjusted any further towards the outside of the camper. As to the door coming open while traveling, it never opens when traveling down the road in a forward direction due to air pressure but twice I have seen it swing open in my side view mirror when I pulled into a gas station. I absolutely agree with others that one should always lock the door including deadbolt before moving the trailer so I just need to be more disciplined and always lock it before towing. I am curious if the problem might also be at least partly due to the way the hinges of the door were attached over the top of the weatherstripping. As you can see in the picture some of the weatherstripping is pinched under the hinge which might in theory cause the door to misalign. Does this assembly of the door hinges with the weatherstripping pinched underneath look abnormal to any of you compared to your Oliver? Steve
  9. The sticky keyless door handle is frustrating and can certainly cause feelings of panic when you can't open the door. We encountered the same problem on the way home from Hohenwald and the issue persists. I am reasonably sure that the issue is the weatherstripping on the inside of the door is very thick (works very well) but sometimes prevents the door from shutting tightly enough for the latch to extend fully into the door frame. I expect in a year or less when the weatherstripping naturally compresses a bit, the door handle will work like a charm. The problem occurs when you close the door but the latch doesn't fully extend into the door frame. There is no way to tell by looking that the latch only partially extended into the door frame because the door looks closed and the deadbolt locks just fine. When you unlock the door however, the handle can jam and the only way to get the unlocked door to open is to first push lightly on the edge of the door to the left of the handle until you hear a "click" which is the sound of the latch extending into the door frame all the way. Then it opens just fine. If you are inside and the door handle won't open the door, pull in on the door (you may hear a click) and then the handle will open the door just fine from the inside. The unfortunate thing I have found is that if the door is otherwise closed but not locked with the deadbolt, it can open on its own when driving down the highway. This has already happened several times to me. I am now in the habit when I close the door from the outside to always push on the edge of the door after I close it to hear the "click". Then I always lock the deadbolt if I am towing so there is no chance of the door popping open on its own while traveling. I view this as a mild annoyance that will probably fix itself as the door's weatherstripping becomes a little bit compressed over time.
  10. What I have learned is that for later models of the Oliver with the Progressive Dynamics 2000 watt inverter, one does not need to upgrade the converter when switching to Lithium Ion batteries. I ordered my LE II last February before Oliver offered an LI option. At the time of ordering I asked Oliver if they could put in the LI version of the PD 4045 (or preferably the PD 4060) but they could not accommodate me. I decided I would wait until I had changed out my batteries to LI and would buy the conversion unit and put it in myself. However, once I picked up the trailer and switched out my batteries to four LI batteries, I concluded that the converter upgrade is not necessary for me because the inverter will always charge the LI batteries to full when set to the "custom" charge profile for LI batteries (14.4 v). This was a surprise to me. What I learned is that whenever connecting to shore power (or generator), the inverter charging section will charge the batteries to full. This happens even if the inverter is turned off when first connecting to shore power. When the Oliver sees shore power and the inverter is off, the inverter comes alive and the screen shows that 120 volt power is bypassing the inverter but charging the batteries at 80 amps (or less if the user selects a lower charging current). I am guessing that the converter/charger is also charging the batteries alongside the inverter charger, which would mean the batteries are receiving up to 125 amps of 12 v charging current until the LI batteries reach about 80% charge. Then the non-LI converter backs down and the inverter/charger completes the charging to 100% at a constant 80 amp rate. I am not an expert on this by any means, but what I have concluded is that later model Olivers with the 2000 watt inverter do not need to upgrade their converter/charger when switching to LI batteries, because the Progressive Dynamics inverter/charger seems to do the job just fine.
  11. John Davies advice is spot on (as usual). The GX 460 is not at all a good choice for towing an LE II. However, If you are in a situation where you already own a GX 460 and are not in a position to upgrade your tow vehicle immediately, the GX 460 may serve as a safe "bridge vehicle" to tow the LE II until you can upgrade, especially if the alternative is passing on the LE II altogether. I faced this situation last year when I was looking at trailers I could tow with my 2004 4Runner V8 Limited (200,000 miles), a vehicle that would tow the smaller Elite easily. Alas, I toured an Elite 1 and realized I was too tall to comfortably stand and sleep. Before eliminating Oliver from consideration, I did my homework and spent many hours on this forum soaking up much wisdom on towing. In the end, I ordered an LE II for August 2020 delivery and proceeded to bring my 4Runner to as close to new condition as possible, all the while dreading the 2,400 mile "test drive" from Hohenwald back to Oregon. Maintenance upgrades included new transmission fluid, new brakes all around, new shocks, and new rear air springs, with all OEM parts. From what I can tell, my 2004 4Runner V8 Limited is very similar to the current GX 460. They are both built on the same 110 inch wheelbase, and my 4Runner actually came with the Lexus GX 470 drivetrain (full-time AWD) and the automatic leveling rear end. The engine in both is similar as well with similar torque, although the GX 460 has more horsepower than the 4Runner, (less important for towing). The 4Runner is rated to tow 7,000 lbs with the Andersen hitch, whereas the GX 460 is rated at 6,500 lbs. Our drive home from Hohenwald was comfortable. The LE II pulls nicely with the twin axles and Andersen hitch. We spent two nights at Davy Crockett park and then set off for Oregon. Day one I drove 350 miles, day two I drove 730 miles and day three I drove 715 miles and day four 550 miles. No white knuckles. The engine is adequate for interstate driving, including I-80 across Wyoming (barely) on a 95 degree day with 20 mile cross-headwinds. Steeper off-freeway grades at altitude are a different story. Brakes are strong and not a concern if set up properly. Mileage about 11.5 MPG. As John said, one reason that the GX 460 (and my 4Runner) could never be an acceptable tow vehicle for the LE II long-term is the meager payload capacity. After considering tongue weight and the weight of the Andersen hitch (essentially three passengers sitting on the back bumper), you are basically limited to a driver and one passenger with next to nothing else in the car. A driver and three passengers is out of the question. Even with a lightly loaded vehicle, you would need to carefully manage tongue weight and be disciplined enough to stay within limits each time you tow. Since arriving back in Oregon I have added close to 3,000 miles of uneventful towing all within Oregon. I do not regret my decision to limp along with my 4Runner until I can upgrade as I believe I am being disciplined, safe and responsible; and I now own an LE II! I also recognize that I will not have the flexibility to fully enjoy the LE II until I am able to upgrade my tow vehicle, hopefully to electric.
  12. We picked up our Ollie II in August (Hull 657) and had what may be the same or related problem. In our case, we could not get into the trailer at a gas station. We had not locked either the latch or the deadbolt. After much anguish I finally got it open and figured out that the strike plate was very slightly misaligned from the factory and needed to be adjusted out maybe a 16th to 32nd of an inch. Otherwise, when the door was closed softly, the latch failed to extend all the way into the striker plate when the door was otherwise closed and latched. After several hundred miles of driving, the latch apparently became jammed in the half extended position. The simple solution was to apply a little pressure against the outside edge of the door by the lock until you hear a "click" when the latch fully extends. Once the latch has fully extended, the door opens fine with the handle.
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