Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by GAP

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Bill, 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
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Rivernerd, 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.
  18. We do the same but we shut off the propane while at the pump.
  19. 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.
  20. Last winter I put a 4" vent through from the base of the toilet to the area under the dinette. It's an eyebrow style vent so shower water can't splash into the belly. I also removed the exterior shower head, brought that hose inside and re-attached the head. Also removed the hot and cold water knobs. Used closed cell foam to insulate the space behind the tiny door and two layers of reflectix to insulate the outer door. All super easy and very productive. Those belly areas were measurably warmer as was the temp in the bathroom as air now flowed through there where it had been a dead end.
  21. I'd second the comments quoted above. I've found with a month worth of below freezing camping that the trailers in their stock configuration is safe to run de-winterized until the mid 20s. Below that the garage (the area behind the skimpy wall at the very rear of the trailer belly) drops below freezing posing a threat to the pex lines and connectors in that area. In pre 2023 models, the belly areas below the front dinette and by the exterior shower can also freeze when temps dip into the low 20s. With mods currently in 2023 models and/or mods outlined in the discussion titled 3.75 Season Trailer, all belly areas except the rear of the garage, have stayed above freezing down to -5 which is the coldest I've been able to test, so far, since making the modifications. It's tough to say what "4 Season" means but, to me, any place that occasionally sees temps to 32 could easily fall to the low 20s so, the short answer as far as I'm concerned and have seen in my testing is Not Really, these are not currently outfitted for true 4 season usage. Others may draw different conclusions or even have different experiences. For what it's worth, at the end of the winter, I'll share a full breakdown of my mods and results.
  22. I got a copy of the waterline distribution diagram and found that these lines go to both the Fresh Water and City Water feeds and then go onto feed the bathroom. That sadly excludes the option to add cut offs to protect them from freezing. We just returned from our 2nd winter ski safari this season. As with prior system testing, we did not dewinterize but did have temp/humidity sensors in the bathroom vanity, under front dinette seat, by the exterior shower outlet and in the rearmost area of the garage. The good news: even at -5 degrees, all areas (except the garage) never dropped below the mid 40s. All these areas had previously, before modifications, dropped below freezing when ambient outside temps were in the low 20s and internal temp was set to mid 60s. Progress! The horrible news: The area at the rear of the garage still dropped below freezing when ambient outside temps were in the mid teens and internal was set to mid 60s. This is in spite of our having placed return vents in the end walls of that compartment to allow return air to be drawn through by the furnace. These findings were constant for any night over a two week testing period when ambient temps would drop to this level. Our sensors are all adjusted to read the same temps within 1 degree. It is worth noting that there seems to be no adjustment made in the 2023 units to warm this problematic area. There have been a couple of accounts of folks with new trailers camping in temps down to this range with no incidence of burst lines but without monitoring the temp in that area, who knows how close to the edge they were or if they split a pipe/fitting without knowing it. A slow leak would drain out the belly so may go unnoticed on a short trip. Our next trip is in about 10 days from now and it will be at least 2 weeks so would be great to fix this problem. I don't want to add anything requiring power as our winter trips are always boondocking so power is limited. Fans and/or heat pads could do the trick but would certainly increase the power draw. We'll remove the flimsy rear wall and look below the partial floor to put eyes on things. Has anyone had success with addressing this problem?
  23. A major problem with using the stock 1.5" receiver is that all "RV rated" bike racks are made for 2" hitch receivers. There is no law that I know of that requires using an RV rated unit but, given the potential liabilities, I opted to do something along the lines of what John suggested. The forces at work on a bike rack, that far behind the closest axle are much higher than on a car or pick up. To me, the minor expense of stepping up to a rated. unit was worth the piece of mind.
  24. We are frequent winter camper taking my Oliver E2 to ski resorts in Northern New England. We have a composting toilet and, to date, have run dry, without de-winterizing the water system, for all these trips to allow us to quantify the issues the trailer has in sub freezing conditions and making adjustments to rectify. A summary of our experience with great input from others was outlined in this forum chain 3.75 Season Trailer?. On a trip last week, we used multiple digital bluetooth thermometers, adjusted to read temps consistent to each other, to different parts of the belly of the trailer. As compared to cold trips before our system tweaks to date, all previously problematic areas (= drop below freezing in areas w/water lines) worked fine when ambient dropped down to -5f. Amazing. The outlier was, you guessed it, the rearmost area of the garage behind the flimsy wall. In spite of venting into and out of that area and opening the bottom door in the cabinet between the beds, the temp at those water lines dropped below freezing when the ambient temps was in the low teens. Crazy making, especially as there is no reason for those lines to have been run through such an exposed area. My thoughts concerning next steps is to add cut off valves to those lines just behind where they feed past the furnace. The following image is towards the rear. Bottom of photo is just past the furnace. After the elbow, the lines feed into the garage. My questions to you knowledgable folks are 1) There are three lines, two of which are for the exterior shower. Which two? and 2) What is the third line? Is it the City Water feed? and 3) Considering that we will always start the season winterized, do you think it is necessary to add a cut off to all three lines if we dont use the City Water line? Once we address this issue and successfully complete a mid winter trip with the water activated, I'll share a post on the 3.75 Season chain to share update and gory details. I am also curious to hear if those with 2023 trailers, with the improved heating system, have run their water in temps below 10 degrees. Exotic as those conditions may seem to some, in many parts of the country, any mid winter night could be considerably colder.
  25. I have a 2022 F150 which I bought brandy new in December of 2021: Weird but true. It's my daily driver and, unladen, gets roughly 21mpg. Towing my Oliver E2 with stock Goodyear Wrangler Territory P (passenger) rated all terrain tires, I would average 11-12mpg. In searching for a winter rated (3 Peak) tire, as opposed to a snow tire, I found plenty of information confirming that the average P rated tire is at it's outer limits towing an Oliver so best for low mileage on smooth roads. Very limited options for C&D rated tires (roughly 6&8 ply respectively) I opted for a E 10ply Michelin Agilis Crossclimate. Took my first winter trip which was 7 hours driving each way to and from a ski mountain in northern Maine. I go there often enough to know what to have expected with the Wrangler tires. Averaged 13-14mpg so noticeably better. Unladen, mpg dropped 1-2mpg compared to stock. Towed MUCH BETTER and seeing as how half my annual miles is while towing, the mpg balances out. As expected, the new tires are a tad louder then the stock ones but barely noticeable difference. Also slightly stiffer ride when unladen but perfect and much less squishy while towing. A whole world of improvement on snow. More appropriate for rough road usage and greatly decreased chance of blowing out a sidewall. Found a great conversion app for comparing differences between tires so I ignore the door sticker and run the tires at 45psi unladen and 60psi while towing. It's convoluted but, in short, as plys go up, it takes more psi to achieve the same carrying capacity so beefier tires need to run at a higher pressure to get to the factory tire spec. This is my 2nd truck where I tried stock and beefier tires while towing my Oliver. Similar outcomes in both cases. I'll use the stock tires during warm seasons but will retire them before they are at the end of their life and switch full time to the beefier options. Will try to keep them off heavily rutted roads and drive slowly when on dirt.
  • Create New...