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Posts posted by GAP

  1. 9 hours ago, Rivernerd said:

    I believe I am the one who coined the term, in a post on this forum, "four-season trailer in the South, where they are made," not Jason.  I don't want Jason (for whom I have high regard) to take the blame for my choice of wording.

    I accept full responsibility for that statement.  For what it's worth, I believe it accurately represents the true design capability of the stock Oliver trailers, including the ones, like our Hull #1291, that include the Truma Varioheat furnace with a return air duct in the bathroom.

    Jason's post of February 8, 2023 may be the one you are thinking of.  It appears here:


    For the record, I am a big fan of Jason's as well.  He has always been straight with me and offers very knowledgable guidance.  I did not attribute a quote to him but was referring to a concept introduced in his post.   I can only speak for my trailer and my testing process which points to the cut off for water freezing in pex lines on a stock Elite 2 to be in multi day temps in the low 20s.  Just about anyplace where it snows is likely to see colder conditions than that. If my lines stayed liquid down to single digits with no modifications, I'd have no cause for complaint.  

    I fear I'm cornering the market on cold weather posts, which is not fair, so will pipe in less in future discussions.

  2. 21 hours ago, ScubaRx said:

    In a side note, we will be coming thru your area in June and I would be happy to hear your ideas on what you think would be needed. I've done many extensive mods on our trailer thru the years and if I could offer you any assistance, I would be glad to.


    21 hours ago, ScubaRx said:

    I am not sure how to respond to your points in the body of your response but will try to do so here.

    -  As to folks living in an Oliver in Alaska:  I did not say this was not possible but did not believe it could be done in a stock, unmodified unit.  Do the folks you know of, camp through the winter without any mods, without a skirt, with their water system on?  Either way, I'd love to learn how they are doing it.

    -  The source of the claim that these trailers are 4 season for southern climates was made on this forum, by Jason, from the Oliver shop.  I could not find which chain he posted in so if anyone knows, please share.  To the best of my memory, he shared that by 4 Season, Oliver intended that to apply to where they are built in Tennessee.  

    -  I appreciate you pointing out the Oliver can do Mods.  In all my questions about winter use, none of the shop folks have suggested that they can do alterations that would have a greater effect then what I've already done.  They have made few productive suggestions for improving frigid weather performance or helping me decide on approaches for my mods.  Considering that I purchased this trailer under the claim that it already was outfitted for winter use, I would be dubious about asking them to perform additional work specific to that goal.

    -  Not that it makes me any sort of authority but I was a winter mountaineer and instructor for years.  Has always seemed to me that the conditions described by the term 4 Season is widely accepted as: Winter = 0 to 30 degrees, Spring and Fall are 30 to 60 and Summer is 60 to 90.  Anything above or below that range seems to be considered as extremes by the outdoor industry.

    Thanks very much for your thoughts and questions on all this.  I am not normally a pot stirrer and am not looking to be controversial.


    • Thanks 1
  3. 4 hours ago, Rivernerd said:

    Or, buy a trailer or motorhome that has factory--installed 12V tank heaters, and a furnace design that properly heats the area where the tanks and plumbing are located.  Stock Olivers are true 4-season trailers only in the Southern US, where they are made.  Knowing what I know now about the stock Oliver trailer's performance in below-freezing temps, I believe it is remarkably "aggressive" marketing for Oliver to include on its website photos of its trailers being used for snow camping.

    4 seasons camper trailer


    Legacy Elite II Four Seasons

    Diplomatically stated.  We may very well be alone in this but our purchase of an Oliver was contingent on the manufacturer claim of 4 season capacity.  Day for day, we use the trailer as much in sub freezing conditions as not.  When questioned, our salesperson told us that she knew of a couple that lived in their stock Oliver through the winter in Alaska.  This is simply not possible.  We are very disappointed in the exaggerated claim and a bit insulted by the recent caveat that they are 4 Season Trailer - in the south.  That is misappropriation of a widely accepted term in the name of marketing. Given our style of camping (primarily boondocking in ski resort parking lots - we are concerned that no amount of consumer level modification will allow reliable mid winter use.  

    Oliver can and should do the mods, even if offered as an add on package, to accomodate reasonable winter use or should curb their claims of 4 season capacity.  All that said, we love our trailer and appreciate it's build quality and aesthetics.   Thanks to this super knowledgable community for your thoughtful feedback on this subject.

  4. On 1/30/2023 at 8:06 PM, SeaDawg said:

    Yes, I understood that. 

    I was actually pretty excited to see you were good at zero. We've never camped in those temps. Actually, probably wouldn't enjoy it, either. 


    I just returned from another trip camping in temps below freezing.  In the last two seasons, I've now done more then two month's of camping with temps staying below freezing even during the days.  Have done the mods to assure that all areas of the basement stays above 50 degrees even when outside temperatures have dropped below zero.  Tested with registered digital thermometers.  

    I've now had multiple frozen lines under those conditions.  I'm confident the culprit is the insulation (or lack thereof) and especially the type of insulations used - reflectix.  This type of insulation does OK with radiational heat loss but not good at all with conductive heat loss.  Translation is the pex lines freeze at points where they actually sit directly against the reflectix allowing the cold from outside to transfer through to the lines.  The lines froze after a couple of days where temps were consistently in the low teens.

    My take is that these trailers without extensive mods are not safe to use the water system when outside temps sit in the low 20s for more than a day or so.  By allowing air to flow through the basement, this threshold drops another 10 degrees.  Without running heat tape along pretty much all pex lines and tank adding warming pads, an Oliver cannot operate with water below that.  

    Our experience may not line up with others.  Have asked before and do so here again for anyone who has used their trailer free of mods and used their water in ambient temps below the mid teens to share the particulars of their story.  I'd love to be proven wrong on this but feel that, as sold, Olivers are not built for the type winter conditions found where snow is a common place thing.

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  5. 17 hours ago, Coastal Aggie said:

    @GAP @topgun2 How much of the piping is actually accessible? Ive just had the idea of using heat tape on all the piping. I know it would be a much bigger job than i currently have time for and would probably only be feasible for on shore power but if its possible to reach the majority of the piping or at the very least the sections that are susceptible to freezing then it shouldnt be that difficult to rig something up. 

    it would probably be a pretty easy option for oliver to add at the factory as well.

    Pipes are not the only problem.  The tanks are sitting on one layer of reflectix which has proven itself to allow for plenty of conductive heat loss so those would need heat pads for sure as there is no way to remove them and insulate more sensibly underneath.  If tanks are only partially filled, a pad on top would not do much good so longer narrow ones applied to the tank sides is the option.

    Exterior ports froze in my case.  Guess blowing them out after usage MAY prevent that problem.  If applying heat tape, make sure to get behind the flimsy wall at rear of trailer as all that piping is super vulnerable.  The lines run parallel but not always right against each other so you may have to run multiple tapes or tape between and wrap in insulation to share the heat.  Under the floor (easy to remove) just inside the garage compartment is the exterior port valves for city and fresh feeds.  Those should probably be looped into the heat tape application.

    As to the pipes, you are spot on that using heat tape and pads would either require shore power or daily generator goosing of the lithiums.  Certainly not enough usable sun in winter to do the job.  TopGun has a great suggestion on snaking on insulation where you can't get heat tape to.  When I looked into this there were options for smart tape which is always on but adjusts it's output to the amount of heat needed.  would certainly want to wire in an off switch.  Very pricey stuff.  simple tape and pads can be wired into cheap digital adjustable threshold thermostats so you can set to something like "on at 35 and off at 45".

    Have a great trip.

    • Like 1
  6. 17 hours ago, Coastal Aggie said:

    @GAP @topgun2 How much of the piping is actually accessible? Ive just had the idea of using heat tape on all the piping. I know it would be a much bigger job than i currently have time for and would probably only be feasible for on shore power but if its possible to reach the majority of the piping or at the very least the sections that are susceptible to freezing then it shouldnt be that difficult to rig something up. 

    it would probably be a pretty easy option for oliver to add at the factory as well.


    6 hours ago, topgun2 said:

    With the type of pipe insulation I pointed you to, you can simply apply it to a pipe that you can access and then push/slide it along that pipe until it will not slide anymore.  This allows you to "reach" into areas without tearing things apart.  Do do your heat tape you will need very close access to each pipe - that will be very difficult given the time constraints you originally mentioned.

    Great points.  I am not sure why water seemed to not flow well to the Truma water heater but those pipes should be easy to get my hands on.  Pipes that froze for sure were the ones that go from under the streetside forward to feed the bathroom sink.  Inexplicably, the factory runs those through the center of the basement where it is impossible to get to.  would have been handy for them to run it along that streetside the whole length of trailer.  That said, they froze in a compartment that is well above freezing cause they must have been up against belly insulation - or sitting on freezing tanks.  Reflectix is guilty of conductive heat loss.  Either way, sliding on pipe insulation may do the trick. 

    • Like 1
  7. On 3/5/2023 at 12:45 AM, Coastal Aggie said:

    Do you think adding the extra insulation would be sufficient for a week of single digits at night and 20's during the day enough that i can actually use the water system? I can of course leave all the cabinets open as well but its not the end of the world if i need to blow out and winterize the system until it warms up a bit. I do carry a portable compressor already and i can just fill a jug in my friends house if i need to.

    No i dont have the truma unfortunately, now that i know more about it i may end up having it retrofit in someday. But Ill definitely be taking the shower idea. im not big on the outside shower idea to begin with.

    I'm with TopGun on this.  We just got back from a trip in Quebec.  Not to get into gory details but we've opened the entire basement up to heated airflow and done other mods to assure all the pex lines are kept above 50 degrees even when it's below 0.  Our water system still froze in specific spots most notably where they are in contact with the existing reflectix insulation which seems to do OK with radiational heat loss but not so good in conductive situations.  I suspect the tanks sitting directly on a single layer of reflectix against the bottom of the trailer, would be super susceptible to freezing.  Water froze inside our exterior ports (city, winterization and fresh water) even though we had them insulated nicely with sealed foam tubes.  

    As to the Truma, the unit works perfectly as long as the lines feeding it water don't freeze and ours did.  You can't drive with the Truma on as the wind can blow out it's pilot light.  You can either buy the anti-freeze kit or can opt to just winterize that unit.  Super easy to do and you use little water but, we found, water dripping off the unit can fill in the slots that the little access door sits in and we then had to use a hair drier (don't ask) to melt it free.  

    As suggested above, travel with water and big body wipes till temps are reliably no lower than the mid 20s.  Can survive a night of a bit lower if it gets above freezing in the day but otherwise the risk is not worth the consequence.  We use a  7 gallon container w/spigot (Walmart) plus two one gallon, soft sided "canteens" from amazon (all BPA free), body wipes and "waterless shampoo" which works for a week.  Any longer, we find a spa, gym or rec center where we can access a shower.  We opted for the composting toilet so no water wasted on flushing.  Clean dishes in a small pop open sink (Amazon) which fits in the sink and spray clean with a tiny half gallon garden sprayer with a light bleach mix.  Works great.

    Not ideal for a "4 season" camper should be but absolutely doable.  Have a great trip. 


    • Like 3
  8. 12 hours ago, Rivernerd said:

    The biggest concern that keeps me from towing our Elite II during the winter is road safety.  I have towed my much lighter raft trailer on snowy roads a couple of times, with sometimes scary results.  No accidents, but some close calls.  So, I gave up towing it until the roads are no longer snow-covered or icy in the spring.

    Have any of you more veteran Oliver owners experienced loss of traction, fishtailing or loss of control on snow-covered roads?  Any issues climbing hills on snow-covered roads while towing an Elite II?

    We've done a few thousand miles of mid winter towing with our '21 Elite 2.  Mostly with an F150 with 3 peak stamped tires, so they are solid in the snow.  There is a lot of weight which helps traction but it's spread out over a large area and 8 tires which hurts traction.  Have had a couple of minor straight line slides but never had the trailer sway or side slip.  

    Generally, the trailering necessitates extra caution on compacted, shallow snow.  The weight seems to help it out pretty good in deep stuff but, your chances of the trailer slipping increases for sure.  Given a day with black ice or light snow over ice, I'd opt for sitting it out.  For the most part, if the pavement is covered, we're in 4wd and taking it slow.  We have but have never deployed tire cables for both Oliver and the Ford.  They would probably make for very secure driving but are a pain in the butt to use and not really up to covering lots of ground.  Really an emergency option.

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  9. We just got back from two week in Quebec.  Was -15 one night and lots of overnights around 0.  Aside from burning a 30lb LP tank every 3-4 days, was plenty warm.  In spite of lots of mods to drive temps in entire garage to mid 50s on those nights, the water system froze up - when it was just above 10 degrees out.  Turns out reflectix is decent at minimizing radiational heat loss but really not great at radiational heat loss so even in the warmish areas, where a pex line is up against exterior insulation, it will freeze.  Luckily, no damage done.

    We parked for a few nights by a none-too-fancy, stick built, stock 25' class c RV.  Had for-real pink board house insulation and matts of stuff that was similar to our reflectix but was thicker sheet plastic between the foil.  They had no problem with their water systems on the -15 night.  

    Had lots of useful take aways from the experience.

    • Like 3
  10. If I understand this exchange right, you plug into the generator but your batteries are not accepting a charge?!  If so, try the following:  Plug a heavy duty, 3 way, grounded plug adapter into your generator.  Your extension cord plugs into one side and put a neutral/ground bonding plug on the other.  Follow the links to find on Amazon. Our built in surge protector can detect an "open ground" on generators as, well, they are not grounded.  I have to do this with my Honda 2200i and it works perfectly.

    • Like 1
  11. On 11/15/2022 at 2:24 PM, Mike and Carol said:

    I had a fellow Oliver owner give me plugs that he cut from a piece of fiberglass he had.  They fit perfectly into the ventilation holes from the inside.  Then, I cut a section from a yoga mat and used contact cement to stick it to the inside of the battery compartment door.  You could use any moisture resistant material to cut plugs out of.  Mike

    I did similar but double stick taped two layers of double bubble reflectix inside the doors to the garage and battery compartment. they were cut to the size of the doors.  I backed off the latch attachment and secured them just tight enough so the rubber gasket around the door was firm against the reflectix.  Easy adjustment to do.  

    • Like 1
  12. On 10/24/2022 at 6:04 AM, Steph and Dud B said:

    @GAP How did you clear snow off your solar panels?

    I carry a telescoping ladder similar to this .  Love it.  Super lightweight, lives in the cap of my truck, takes up little room.  I use a truck snow scraper on the panels.  If it's icy, I let the sun warm the sticky stuff before I sweep it off.

  13. Just now, topgun2 said:

    I assume that you have sent you suggestion to someone at Oliver?

    If not then I'd send it to Rodney Lomax % Oliver Travel Trailers.


    I've been back and forth with Jason (the head of the shop) on this subject for over a year now.  He has been responsive and respectful but, his take is that the trailers come stock ready for very cold usage.  He rightly does not quantify exact temps, as there are variables, but says that the powers to be have tested down to single digits.  He did not know any particulars such as if they were out when daytime temps got above freezing.  He also suggested the source of in basement freezing could be orientations to wind, fullness of tanks, quality of LP, etc... but I've been thorough enough to eliminate those potential issues.  Jason has shared my repeated requests to speak to folks in management but no one has gotten back to me.  He was quite clear that if enough others opened tickets on this issue and expressed these concerns/experiences, he expects management would take note.  I hope some of you consider doing so.

  14. 4 minutes ago, topgun2 said:

    Interesting idea - 

    Our current home was built as a "SPEC" house about 20 years ago.  After it sat vacant on the market for two years (because the builder was asking too much money for it) we negotiated a fair price and moved in.  A short time later, I discovered that the plumber that did the original work on the house decided to install a "return on the hot water line" from the further point away from the water heater thus forming a "loop" in the hot water line.  He did this because the house is relatively long and narrow with the source of hot water being located at one end while the kitchen and laundry room are located at the other end.  Obviously this causes a rather long delay in getting hot water to that end of the house.

    Having never seen a return "hot water line" before I did some investigating and found a product called "Just Right" made by the Nibco company.  This product is installed near the water heater on that "return line", it requires NO pump because it basically works using the Venturi principle which takes advantage of the small differences in fluid pressure due to the slight difference in pressure between the return water being slightly cooler than the water coming directly out of the water heater.  You can read about how it works HERE.

    As I see it, the down side is that the water heater would have to constantly be "on", but, that would probably be less expensive than having the furnace constantly "on".


    p.s.  this device works great and there is always hot water available in the kitchen and laundry room.  Since there is always water circulating in those house pipes I did insulate those pipes heavily.


    Thanks much for sharing.  My question is , does this device loop in the cold water lines as well?  In our trailers, the loop needs to include all vulnerable hot and cold lines so as to protect them.  I could not tell from their materials.  will have to read through more carefully

  15. 2 hours ago, NCeagle said:

    @Stranded, I think that's a really cool (I mean warm) idea!  It would actually address the entire system.  Would this take some significant modifications to the plumbing?  How would you get the water "flowing" around all of the plumbing in a closed loop? 

    Another option worth considering is 12V self regulating heat cables: https://www.oemheaters.com/.  I installed some of these heat cables in the plumbing areas that were most vulnerable (Water inlets, front bathroom and rear storage area water lines) a couple of years ago.  I'm pretty convinced that the areas I've protected would never freeze (camping, towing or otherwise) as long as the cables had power.  As an example of power requirements, I have 4' of cable installed around the lines and valves that compose the fresh and city water inlets and it takes 1.5 amps at full power (single digit temps and below).

    Very interested in hearing what you decide to do and your results.

    Both of you, Stranded and NCEagle have great ideas here and I've considered both.

    -  I almost went with DC heat cables (heat tape) and it was an attractive thought.  Please share how that has worked for you.  I've found there are options for "self regulated" which draw more or less power depending on how cold the lines are.  Some cables have built in thermostats set often to on at 45 and off at 55 or it's easy to add a digital thermostat which can be set manually.  Problem for me with this set up is 1) tanks would be unprotected unless tank heat pads were added to the system 2) the amount of DC power it would take to protect all the pex pipes that are vulnerable to freezing (those outlined above) would be incapable with our winter usage style.  We mostly boondock in ski resort parking lots and have never had access to AC power.  Short winter days and low angle light = mostly using generator to juice our lithiums and would be a power challenge on long travel days.  On really cold days, we would probably have to recharge our batteries daily.  Not right or wrong, but for our use, heating the basement was the lessor of two evils.

    -  Recirculating water through the system would be great for protecting the lines and connections. Supplementing with DC tank heaters would draw minnimal DC power.  We opted for the Truma Aqua Go Comfort system, installed by the factory, which we love.  The Comfort Plus system has a built in recirculating feature.  In discussion with Truma, they said the plumbing is a different set up to accomodate that system or I'd opt to switch.  It would be easy enough to insulate with pipe wrap foam all the exposed pex and to put heat pads on tanks.  I'm don't know anything about plumbing so wish I had Stranded's skills.  

    If I had known when ordering our Oliver that it was limited in it's cold weather use, AND I knew as much about cold weather trailer camping as I've learned, I would have tried to go a different route.  My $.02 worth of unasked for input is that the factory could offer a "hard winter" upgrade that would be easy for them to instal and would be popular enough to justify the effort to develop and test.

    • Thanks 1
  16. On 2/10/2023 at 10:23 AM, rich.dev said:

    Sorry if I missed it but do you have a link to your winter mods?

    I described the initial mods in the chain 3.75 Season Trailers?  This upcoming trip is to Canada and will afford me the opportunity to test the additional mods I've made this season.  I'm planning on sharing the gory details of all once everything has been tested for multiple days in frigid conditions with the water system on.  So far, looks like I should be good down to 0.  

    • Like 4
  17. 18 hours ago, Rivernerd said:

    I wonder if the folks who use Oliver trailers in the winter in Alaska are limiting themselves to campgrounds with shore power, where they can use space heaters to warm vulnerable areas of the trailer as Jason suggests in his post above?  Or if boondocking, whether they are running generators to power space heaters whenever ambient temps are below freezing?

    Oliver is not the only travel trailer that is marketed as a "4-Season" solution.  Are there other "4-Season" trailers on the market that can be used un-winterized when boondocking, without modification, and without external power for space heaters?


    I'm none to well versed but, in my research before buying our Oliver and since, I've not found a trailer that does clearly better than ours, except for bigger models that have ducted heat to their basements and/or heat tape as standard features.  The Escape Trailers from Canada seem to do about as well if you opt for their spray on insulation sealing of their bellies. They are described as 3.5 season trailers.  That said, not of the same quality build. My brother owns a brandy new Airstream which is about the same size as an E2 and he claims they can now be set up for full on winter use but has not been able to test that out and I haven't bothered to dig into their forum. I'd argue, based on their forum, that they are not of the same quality as Oliver either.

    RVs.even smaller ones, are often good for winter camping.

    Given the increased popularity of winter camping I am puzzled by there not being more options.  With my last modification ( to be tested starting next week) I feel my E2 will be good down to 0.  Have tested in those condition quite a few times - am close to done.  It was a lot of work but only cause I had partial guidance (limited but top shelf through this forum), am not handy and don't have an engineering brain so had to go slow and there was a learning curve.  These mods were relatively cheap and straightforward to do so certainly not impossible.


    • Like 4
  18. 22 hours ago, JEssary said:

    I have had a few questions regarding 4-Season camping with the Oliver and wanted to make a post so it would be available for everyone.

    What is 4-Season camping? It simply means that the Oliver is capable of being used through all 4-seasons. It does not mean that it will necessarily have no freeze issues in certain areas during certain climates. This is no different than a house. Here in Tennessee we recently saw sub-zero temperatures and many people had their water lines freeze and burst causing lots of damage. Does that mean that their house is not capable of being used during the winter? No, it simply means that in certain temperatures you may need to make arrangements to combat the temperature. In the past I have had my water lines freeze that were located on an exterior wall of my house so this time when they said we would see sub-zero temperatures I placed a space heater on that wall area to help keep it warmer and the next morning I had no freeze damage. 

    Below is an average winter temperature for the United States however this is just an average and when temperatures go below the average especially when going into the low single digits or below zero, whether in a camper or a house you may have to perform steps to ensure freeze damage does not occur. 



    I don't wish to stick my head in a guillotine nor to contradict Jason who has been great to work with but in posting here he is, to some degree, responding to a ticket conversation I've been having with him recently.  In fact, I pointed out the threads, including links to this post, where winter capacity was being discussed.  While Oliver may have intended to apply the interpretation above to what "4 Season" means, that term is used to describe equipment that is meant to be used in full on winter conditions.  Sleeping bags, tents, parkas, etc... described with that term are being sold as being appropriate for frigid conditions.  In housing, it marks the difference between a seasonal and year-round place. Virtually all trailers that offer heat, including those that are much less expensive than Olivers, will work fine in these winter as long as you don't employ their water systems.  In the name of transparency and fairness, if Oliver meant something more like "4 Season In Tennessee",  it should have been spelled this out clearly in their marketing  materials.

    4 Season is not a bottomless pit meaning that no one expected these trailers to be able to handle insanely cold conditions when ordered.  That said, my salesperson claimed that there were folks living comfortably in non winterized stock trailers in Alaska which according to my pretty extensive testing - around 2 month's so far of winter dry camping taking temps all over the belly - is simply not possible.  This claim was repeated to me again by someone responding to a ticket just two weeks ago.  I requested, in both cases, to be put in touch with these owners and never received a response.  My results have show that there are areas of the basement/garage with water lines that will be exposed to temps below freezing with the cabin heat at 70 when outside is in the mid teens or even low 20s if daytime temps stay below freezing.  These are temperatures that are not un-common during the winter in most states including parts California and Texas and sometimes, even in Tennessee. 

    Bottom line is that we love our trailer but feel that,  We feel that in both indirect and very direct ways, it's capacity to be used in winter was exagerated.  Jason is a super knowledgable, straight shooter and the company has been good to deal with but this particular situation has been a disappointment to us. Everyone is entitled to their opinion - right? Most Oliver owners, including us, bought theirs primarily for the superior quality with the vast majority having no interest in camping in below freezing temperatures.  I'm sure most will disagree with my stance here but, I felt obliged to share a point of view from someone who is a frequent cold weather camper. 

    Let my beatings begin.  

    • Like 1
  19. On 2/2/2023 at 12:52 AM, Chukarhunter said:

    Those of us that occasionally or frequently encounter very cold weather when pursuing our passions with our Oliver can benefit immensely from the experiences and insights of others on this forum.  Those that never do, or that always winterize, probably don't care as much, especially those that never boondock.  Let's face it, if you have full hookups, you can put two electric space heaters in the basement and run the propane furnace at 70 and not worry.  Absent shore power, cold weather can be stressful.  

    I would like to see the Moderators expand the category of "Oliver Boondocking" and call it "Oliver Boondocking and Cold Weather Camping" so those of use that do find ourselves in frequently in cold weather and unwinterized can share our questions and insights in one place.  I have spent over two years trying to figure out the eccentricities of the Oliver when it comes to balancing temperatures throughout the trailer in cold weather and I wouldn't trade my Oliver for anything else.  However, what I have learned or not learned can't be shared in one giant post.  And I haven't figured it all out either. 

    After two years of moving remote wifi temperature sensors around to different places, changing out the thermostat, and opening different pathways for return air to enter the basement, I have learned a lot.  Importantly, I have come to the tentative conclusion that the biggest reason that the basement temps  can drop so far below the cabin temp in places is due to the fresh water tank.  Heat travels through water 20 times faster than it does through air.  Conventional wisdom would say that the fresh water tank would act like a hot water bottle to help keep the basement warm.  However, the fresh water tank in the Oliver appears to sit on a rubber mat on the floor of the basement and that creates a direct coupled path for the heat in the water tank to be lost through the bottom of the trailer at a rate up to 20 times faster than heat is lost through the rest of the shell.  This sucks heat out of the basement faster than the furnace can replace it.  Even a small air gap under the fresh water tank would slow this heat loss dramatically.  Unfortunately, insulating under the fresh water tank is not an option for us, although Oliver should consider doing something like it in future builds.

    The rapid heat loss from the fresh water tank could explain why the basement temperatures drop so much compared to cabin temperatures, unless the furnace runs constantly.  I am wondering if it would help to add  2 inch or 3 inch rigid pink foam panels to the underside of the trailer between the ribs of the frame to reduce the heat loss from the fresh water tank.  Am I crazy?

    My take is on why the basement and garage areas are so much colder is because they are insulated by just a single fiberglass shell covered with a layer of reflectix which is less than ideal.  I'm sure the tank can transmit cold  but not at the rate suggested above.  The conditions that cause water to lose heat at 20 times faster than air is caused by evaporative heat loss.  I agree fully that the tanks should be better insulated from the cold outer shell but feel that if the basement was kept at a reasonable temp (let'd say 45 degrees) it would take a lot to cause the water in the tank to actually be in danger of freezing.  

    Your thoughts on adding rigid insulation boards to the belly is something I've been toying with for a while.  I was considering running a test with a piece of that material to see how it responds to contact cement and spray adhesive.  I assume those adhesives would cause the board to "melt" so would not be workable.  2" velcroe with good double stick tape may work but would really want to test as dropping a board on the highway could cause a sad faced story.  I do feel that in general, Olivers could really use an upgrade in approach to insulation.  The few ideas I've had to improve seem unworkable.  One was to have company spray adhesive foam between the shells.  Easy to snake feed tubes in just about anywhere but what happens if an electric connection is dislodged or a future repair/mod needs to be done?  Also, the insulation itself needs to be water and mold resistant or I'd be writing another story with a rough ending.

  20. On 1/31/2023 at 6:46 PM, Mcb said:

    I’m not sure what I did to help deal with the potential freezing of this pipes in the garage is a good idea or not, and since I’m not out playing in the same cold temps you are it may not apply…but.. what I did was to cut a “hatch” through the floor of the garage area under the rubber mat that allows me to access the pipes and fittings. This gives me the ability to stuff “handwarmers” under the floor on top of and around the pipes. I haven’t set up sensors and have no idea as to the efficiency of such a strategy but my pipes haven’t frozen yet, and maybe it might help you out in a pinch.

    I also built a sort of insulation “block” which fits very tightly over the city water and fresh water intakes, as I worried about those fixtures, and figures it might help out with those pipes located just inside.A4AED74B-EC70-457D-A100-DD522506D85B.thumb.jpeg.422a3428c1a966ccf1106e9713597dc5.jpeg77D04412-4AD0-4236-86BF-BA7A92C08065.thumb.jpeg.136d560936ec6b8fb7121bcd0ffe41ab.jpeg6BB17705-5221-4A40-8B99-1729C0C68319.thumb.jpeg.0b3d2b3e37453bef1608b308ec83a48a.jpeg



    I'm like the idea of tossing in handwarmers but, on trips as long as we take, it would get costly.  I've stipped out the flimsy wall and floor and now that I have a clear view of where the runs run, am developing a strategy.  Currently torn between using heat tape between the lines surrounds by insulation or running either 2" semi rigid duct or 1" electrical conduit (doubling as duct).  

    Love your approach to protecting the inlets.  You've inspired me to consider doing something similar with a hollowed out round block of closed cell foam and a pipe clamp or bunji to secure.  Thanks on that.

  21. 20 hours ago, John E Davies said:

    That is a great idea, but be sure to leave access to the four big bolts on that flange, so that they can be retorqued routinely. They DO loosen over time. Some sort of “hat” with foamed insulation inside it might be possible, as long as it is easily removable. For example cover the flange with plastic wrap.

    John Davies

    Spokane WA

    As always John, you bring up a great point.  Do you have any idea what the torque on those bolts should be?  I've never checked them.

    • Like 1
  22. 17 hours ago, Rivernerd said:

    The overnight low last night here in central Idaho got down below 0 F.  So today, I took advantage of the cold temps to test the performance of the Varioheat furnace system, with the additional return air vents I added on the aisle side of the front dinette seat and the closet last week  The results? 

    First, the good news:  The closet and the area under the front dinette seat were significantly better warmed by the Varioheat furnace.  With cabin temp at 62 F, the area under the front dinette seat was 6 degrees warmer than before the addition of that return air vent (an increase from 38 to 44 F).  The closet improved even more, a total of 10 degrees (from 44 to 54 F).

    Now the bad news:  My hopes that the increased airflow overall would also result in significantly warmer temps in the vulnerable area on the street side by the external shower controls, were not realized.  The temps in that rear area of the trailer stayed above freezing once cabin temps got above 60 F, but only 2 degrees higher than before adding the new return air vents (40 F now vs. 38 before).  Thus, there was some measurable improvement, and maybe enough to keep tanks and pipes from freezing when ambient temps are in the single digits, but not as much as I was hoping for.

    Conclusion:  Installation of the new return air vents in the front of the cabin and the closet significantly improved the ability of the furnace to warm those areas.  But, that installation only marginally improved warming of the sensitive rear underbelly area of the trailer--maybe enough to keep that area from freezing down to single-digit ambient temps, but likely not below 0 F.


    From my mad scientist experimentation, there are four things you can do to improve this situation.

    1). The column of the leveling jack and, most especially, the metal flange the column is attached to, makes for a great cold radiator.  some creative work with reflectix and silver tape would go a long way

    2). unscrew the ext shower head, bring that line into the compartment and reattach the head.  Pull the hot and cold knobs.  Now there is enough room to add a block of closed cell foam under the little door to the ext shower compartment

    3). cut two layers of reflectix material to cover the entire exterior access door.  Cut to fit around the latch but wide enough so it gets pinched by the rubber door gasket to make a seal.  Adjust the latch enough so it squeezes the reflectix to close gaps but not so much that the hinges to the door are straining when door is closed.

    4). add a small return vent under that bed.  Mabey do this last to see if required as it's the most invasive.

    I went entirely overboard there and replaced the most rearward heat vent on the curbside, snaked under the floor, pst the inverter and fed out to the isle across from the existing galley heat vent.  Had to insulate the hose from existing electronics.  It works great and certainly heats the battery compartment but bet if I had started with the points above, would not have been necessary.

    Hope this helps.

    • Thanks 1
    • Like 3
  23. 13 hours ago, Rivernerd said:

    Remember, that's "down to zero" overnight with the furnace running, and with the addition of the return air vents referenced in the "More Airflow in Bathroom" thread.  It is not "down to zero" when on the road, with the furnace shut off.

    I think it's super important for winter campers to remember that there is a substantial part of the water system that is, as far as has been discussed on the forums, still vulnerable to freezing even after the 2023 model year improvements.  The area where the lines running through my garage in rear of the belly has consistently dropped below freezing when outside temps are still in the mid teens.  This is even though I made all the same alterations on return ducts that Oliver has plus the mod to heat feeds coming from the furnace as described in "More Airflow In Bathroom".  As previously shared in this chain, while camping, the rest of the belly remained comfortably above freezing when outside temps dropped to -5 but that rearward compartment ended up with plumbing exposed temps in the mid 20s.  

    The reason I started this thread was to share what I found about this vulnerability and to ask if anybody has found a workaround.  Circling back to that question here.  Any insight would be much appreciated.  

    • Like 4
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