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Everything posted by GAP

  1. PS. I think your suggestions on insulating windows and beds is spot on. I also had already but a layer of the double bubble which lives under the beds. Used the same material to insulate doors to garage and battery compartment. We also unscrewed and pulled the exterior shower head into the basement and removed the hot/cold knobs so there was room to insulate the interior of that box.
  2. The thicker reflectix stuff is called "double bubble". Available on Amazon. We used it to make inserts for all the windows, except the one in the basthroom, with two layers of the reflectix sandwiched together and taped at the edges. These are held in place by the window shades. Built an open cell insert encased in reflectix to cover window in door (held in by screen door) and one to cover the Maxair vent when not open to vent out moisture. As to winterizing, we chose an Oliver primarily based on it's claimed capacity as a 4 season trailer. After a lot of testing we found that with water system on, the trailer is fine to mid 20s. After a ton of tweaks, we are confident we should be good down to tens or a bit lower. I am confidant that by carefully monitoring vulnerable water line reas, and comparing to outside temps, I should be able to quantify the line where I'll need to winterize vs when it is safe to run with water system on, even if I need to do so while while while camped.
  3. Good points Geronimo John. I have always winterized with -20 AF but will be traveling with 3 gallons of the -50 stuff on this trip expecting to see temps south of zero. We have a few bluetooth thermometers that stay in compartments that carry water lines and are the most vulnerable. I keep a good eye on those and, after making some fairly big-boy tweaks to the heating system, am confident that we are good camping down to 0F. If we get a chance to drive in those sort of conditions and/or expect night time dips well below that, I will probably preemptively dump my water and winterize. I am a bit concerned that, given the frustratingly slow rate that water drains from the trailer, that the drainage nozzle may freeze but can use our Big Buddy back up heater or the shop light heat lamp we carry to help get over that hurdle.
  4. Hey John, I agree wholeheartedly with your concerns and warnings but, winter travel is the primary reason we bought the trailer. It's undeniably less safe to drive in areas that get frequent snow and squirrely weather in the mountains makes for a concerning situation but such is our chosen lot in life. We love winter adventures. Having flexible plans, contingency plans, keeping an eye and ear on weather... is the best we can do. We;\'ve used our 2021 E 2 down to zero and last season spent about 20 days entirely below freezing but have no idea what the bottom is. Are working our tweaks to the heating system (of which there are many needed) and will be continuously monitoring temps in areas that carry water and are most vulnerable. Will be traveling with -50 AF, hand pump and our Viair 400 compressor. If nightime temps seem to reduce interior compartment to a point where it is close to freezing, I'll dump my water and winterize. Have a composting toilet so can get by for days with no water in the system. I've winterized the trailer multiple times but have never blown it out with air. I do have the nozzle attachment and hose fitting to do so as well as a pressure control valve but we've read and have been told by the OTT shop to not do so. To fill in some blanks can you share how you've safely blown out lines on your Oliver and why you suggest the redundancy of blowing out and winterizing with antifreeze twice? Thanks much for your input Gerry
  5. Great stuff SeaDawg. Our plan once leaving Colorado is to figure a semi prudent route to Minnesota and will be working our way from bottom to top as my camping trip is in the Boundary Waters. Yes, will certainly be looking to fat bike and x country ski along the way. Open to suggestions o0n the particulars of the route. Will check out the 511 app as we've never heard of it. Will also look into the areas you outlined as well. A couple of you folks have asked about the winter camping aspect of this trip. Will be a shortish one, about 5-7 days, two of us, each pulling sleds (known as pulks) probably on snowshoes as the portages between lakes are too steep for skiing with a pulk. It'll be in late january and we can expect temps down to -30f at night. Will be staying in tents and likely not making fires as they are a smelly distraction that messes up high tech clothing like Goretex. We'll move camp 2-3 times and lay over at nice spots. Sounds crazy but I've beern doing it for 30 years so must be a sucker for punishment. Will be leaving the state by early January so hopefully will avoid hideous ice storms you speak of. When temps hover around freezing with precipitation it is much harder to deal with than solidly frigid.
  6. We are planning a mid winter ski safari this year. Loose itinerary is starting in Connecticut, visit family in Virginia and northern Florida, 7-10 days skiing in Colorado, winter backcounty ski trip in Boundary Water Minnesota, Ski our way home through Montreal and Vermont. We have quite a lot of winter camping experience in New England but are concerned about driving conditions in the Colorado to Minnesota to Montreal sections so are looking for experienced input. Skiing in Colorado will all be NW of Denver and we are planning to drop down from northern Minnesota to cross over between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan to avoid the desolate stretch above Superior. There seems to be plenty of year round camping available around Colorado ski resorts but very little in Nebraska, South Dakota and southern Minnesota. Road conditions are updated frequently in Colorado but have found no resources from there through Minnesota. Will have snow rated AT tires, a set of tire cables for two tires on the Oliver and chains for the F150. Any suggestions as to safety, sanity and sites worth seeing would be appreciated. Gerry
  7. I agree on all counts. As a Dometic heat source owner, I'm certainly suffer Truma envy. Given the hand dealt me, I am super curious as to the alterations made to improve 4 season capacity in the new models. I had heard of the ducting through the bathroom (which I had already done to my unit) but this is the first mention of added insulation. Would love to hear some gory details if you are willing to share. May make for a good template for my additional tweaks. Can you relay placement of additional vents, type of insulation and placement? Much appreciated. Gerry
  8. These heat system problems and winter worthiness of the Olivers is frustrating on a number of levels. First and foremost, OTT should certainly not allow for multiple folks with similar heat system problems on trailers still under warrantee, fight it out with manufacturers and service centers, especially with the upcoming winter. I feel it's their lot in life to cover the cost of repair themselves and fight it out with Dometic. On another level, I have found through both first hand experience and related stories here on multiple forum entries, that Olivers are lacking in capacity to handle even modest winter temps that stay below low 20s for multiple days. I obviously can't speak for everyone's experience but have found myself and yet to hear of someone who 1) had their water system on, 2) was camping for multiple days where temps did not get above low 20s and 3) did not skirt the bottom of their trailer, who did not find temperatures in the most exposed water lines to be perilously close or below freezing-primarily the exterior shower, under forward dinette and rear most part of garage. Please share any positive experience in similar conditions. In communicating directly with Oliver, the response was that there is no problem. They suggested problems could be attributed to running propane tanks too low, running "summer mix" fuel, operating in high altitude and wind conditions. All are valid potential sources of issues but I've camped in ideal conditions free of any and still had freezing in those vulnerable spots. My thought is that even if out of warrantee, those of us that have had these problems should open a ticket and share with OTT. They are a great company that I would bet would respond in a way that, at least benefits future owners. In a perfect world, they would also offer us current owners to make air flow (= cutting vents) improvements free of charge at the factory. It's important to remember that, being in the south, they are in a part of the world that has a warmish winter. That said, I'll give a big thumbs up to earlier post that suggested it is past-time for OTT to have a HVAC specialist come in and go through the system. I won't pretend to be an expert but with my mad scientist experiments, seems that most if not all Oliver cold weather issues can be fixed with better vent placement and some tactical insulation improvements which would make for a cheap and seemingly easy process.
  9. While on the subject, we also bought a Makita vacuum cleaner that operates on the same batteries. Not expensive at all and it's become our travel vacuum. Does a great job even with our black dog's hair. My repair kit includes a drill which also runs on the same batteries. I know, carrying a drill as part of a camp repair kit seems like overkill but the best way to assure you're going to need a particular tool is to leave it at home.
  10. I already had a Makita 18v drill with a couple of batteries. My wife plays tennis and was looking for a way to clear standing water off courts and we stumbled on a nice, lightweight Makita blower which is small and light enough to climb ladders with and operate one handed. I borrow it to blow leaves of roof of our E2. Works great. I agree with Patriot above. Leaves left behind by long standing leaves, especially caught in channel behind the awning, are a real pain to remove.
  11. That makes total sense. The only reason I had interest in leaving the door open was to share warmer main cabin heat to that semi vulnerable spot while traveling during the winter. I may have already solved that problem by adding a return vent through from bathroom to area under the dinette seat.
  12. It's absolutely worth having a spare fan standing by. I've received two from them as well and already had to replace the original. Couldn't be easier to due and fully understandable as to why these little fans, running 24 hours a day, would eventually burn out. I sometimes run the fan for a few days when returning from a trip if I am not replacing the medium. Have noticed that if it is dry out, the medium itself does dry and some fine coir dust is pulled through the fan and deposited into the translucent exhust tube. I'd bet tht dust does not make the fan too happy. Will hit the fan with air from my travel compressor when changing medium in the future to minimize this problem
  13. I use the same magnets. Installed all the way at the bottom corner of the door and they are so strong that I have to be careful when closing to not have them slam together. I tried to use command strips and they eventually peeled off even though I prepped the surface nicely. Oddly, the magnets are not strong enough to hold the door open while driving. Went ahead and just screwed things in place. Later in this chain, it was suggested to mount one magnet inside the dinette seat which is a great idea but, as my holes are drilled, I'll stick with what I got. Can always add a little something over one of the magnets to slow down the bond if need be.
  14. The chart above is for towing from a hitch attached to a ball on your rear bumper, which is much less than capacity with a proper hitch. My '22 150 is rated to 11,500lbs. I tow my E2 with a 2022 Ford F150. Previously had a Colorado and did about 7500 miles of towing the Oliver with it. Worked but had almost no payload capacity and always felt it was very much on the edge so was a bit of a white knuckle, always on-guard experience. Switched top the 150 which gets better MPG both while towing and in general. MUCH better feel and plenty of payload capacity with the package I got. I experimented with the Anderson by de-tensioning the chains and the difference was immediately obvious. Aside from the legal issues and manufacturer guidelines, I am sure you can tow without a WD system but, in my case, if I wanted to live on the edge, I would have stuck it out with the Colorado. When the Anderson is used properly, the difference is amazing. Have used the Ford for about 8,000 miles of towing now, sometimes in mountainous terrain and on snow. Have been super happy with it. Brining it into the rockies this winter and have no doubt that it will do fine. My suggestion is that if you are looking for an experience where you would not know you are pulling the trailer, buy a Freightliner. If you'll use your Tow vehicle as a daily driver, get a "half ton" with appropriate tow packages and you'll be a happy camper.
  15. It seemed that before I applied the spay lithium, I could not move the magnet or shoe at all. That was my bigger concern. I didn't bother to adjust as I had assumed that the mechanism would self adjust when used as these are Never Adjust hubs. Also, when checking temperatures on hubs during pit stops, all seems reasonably close.
  16. I recently did my very first (done by me) axle bearing repack job. While everything was apart, did my best to inspect the brakes. My 2021 E2 will be 2 years old and has 16,000 miles. I live in New England and use the trailer through the winter so unsurprisingly, brake mechanisms were quite rusty. I used the magnet to slide the mechanism rearward to check for ease of operation. One was impossible to move by hand. That one also dragged slightly when I turned the hub before disassembling. While tire was still on, I gave it a spin and it turned multiple rotations but I could hear a little dragging. To unlock the mechanism, I carefully applied some spray lithium making sure to not contaminate brake pads. After, wiped them down with brake cleaner for good measure. Was able to unfreeze the unit but, after reassembling and giving another spin, I could still hear a very slight drag. Spun freely but I am concerned that the should be no drag at all. Can one of you mechanically inclined offer a suggestion? Gerry
  17. Just repacked my bearings and went through this entire chain. Left me with a couple of questions. - Why don't our trailers have sealed bearings? The new model year does. I believe they basically require replacing the entire axle when in need of maintenance but can't remember the last time I heard someone had to replace a sealed bearing. - Why don't our hubs have Dexter EZ Lube fittings? Seems like you can displace old grease and replace with fresh without having to do a full on repacking job. - I understand that it is suggested that we re-pack our bearings every year or 12k miles but, keep finding suggestions that the re-packing is really only necessary/prudent at twice that. I'm sure more often certainly doesn't hurt but could it possibly be overkill? I'm sure these questions may push some buttons so please forgive my lack of experience in this department.
  18. I could run a generator, assuming it worked well in those altitudes. Question is for how long and how often i would need to run it to keep the tank at a happy temp. I've been doing some research and it seems that propane CAN work happily down to very low temperatures. Problems that come up can be caused by 1) running a tank above 80% or below 10% filled, 2) there being water in the system or 3) using a summer mix propane. winter mixes have additives meant to improve cold wether applications. It's been suggested to not buy propane in florida to use in colorado. Another potential problem is specific to altitude. Not enough air in the gas to air mixture. Some regulators have an adjustment that can be set to increase/decrease the propane. The tool to measure is an manometer (hilarious name) and here is what I've found. Scary deep rabbit hole but I'm going to pick up a manometer and aquaint myself with the adjustment on my regulator. Mid grade units are around $50. Once in altitude, sounds like the fridge is the most sensitive device. If I have an issue, the process seems to be to shut off all propane units and shut the tank top valves. Run test through the stove as shown on the video, adjust for proper settings. Once all is back together run the stove top for a couple of minutes to draw air out of system then turn other units back on. I am picking this up as I go and am NOT A KNOWLEDGABLE PROPANE TECH so play at your own risk.
  19. Interesting stuff for sure. It is a bit hard to tell from your experience whether it was the altitude or the cold that cause the difficulty in firing. Also our 2021 E2 has the older style furnace and not the Vario unit so may react to situation differently. As I'll be staying primarily at ski resort parking lots, I won't have access to AC power and would bet that even if a DC blanket existed, it would draw plenty of juice to operate.
  20. I saw a number of responses concerning the rear view camera but nothing specific to the TPMS. I'd love to have a system that speaks to the truck instead of adding another device to the dash or trying to sync with my phone.
  21. We are taking a x country trip this winter that will include a ski safari through Colorado. Will be likely staying in our E2 at higher altitudes and exposed to quite low temperatures. While winter caping in New England last season, we had no problems with any of the propane based systems - refrigeration, furnace or cooking. My understanding is that propane functions at lower efficiency in lower temps and have read that it performs poorly at higher altitude. In googling this issue, I've found a lot of conflicting theories on problems and solutions but nothing that sounds reasonable enough to be actionable. Does anyone have experience that may help us out?
  22. I think John has hit it on the head. Addressing dead ends are an opportunity to address a few problems: 1) lack of heat in the belly - especially flowing back to the water lines backside of garage, 2) to bring warm air to compartments (primarily the bathroom and closet) where little to none now flows and 3) to fix problem with furnace short cycling. Oliver has recently addressed a piece of these issues by putting a return into the bathroom which serves to allow for air flow through bathroom and introduces warm air into the basement. Yea. As to the rest, my current plans are to decrease or eliminate the existing return vent under the curbside bed. I agree with previous statements in this chain that warm air from cabin flowing in there is the likely a cause of short cycling. Cutting back on that return vent will have the furnace looking for other source(s) of return air. Oliver has supplied some by adding a vent to bathroom. I'll add another by opening a vent under the street side bed to the basement. That wall is pretty tight but all other walls surrounding the garage are soooo leaky that the thirsty furnace should draw some air through there feeding it's need for return air and warming the rearmost water lines. I'll also cut and place a vent just above and to the left of the speaker over the closet door. Assuming the bottom of the bathroom cabinet is open to the basement (anyone know???), I'll add a small vent from closet into that cabinet which will open the dead end in closet. That circulation will allow wet ski/bike/kayak clothes to dry while hung which has always been a problem for me. My bet is that the air introduced through the bathroom and closet will be quite cooled down by the time it reaches the furnace so will fix the short cycling of the furnace. I'd also like to cover the drainage holes in the belly for the winter so as not to draw in a lot of frigid air. Will use cut pieces of thick yoga matt for that job (from the outside) making my cuts such that they would allow a little water to escape = a little fresh air to still get in and feed the furnace. If furnace still sounds like it would like more fresh air, I'll follow John's lead on adding a small vent from cabin to basement from under the street side bed. For what it is worth, you contributors on this forum have been an amazing resource for a techno boob such as myself. Thanks much for all for adding to this chain. That said, if this mad scientist experiment falls flat, I'll make sure to spread the blame. Ha.
  23. Results After 2 Years Of Use: We have never had any problems at all with our composting toilet. This is mostly due to doing our homework by having read through the earlier parts of this forum and watching a few you tube videos. Helped us avoid problems others have suffered through. The only modification we've done is John's idea on drilling a few small holes in the bottom of the container holding the pee tank. Never had bugs of any sort. The fan housing unit has a fine screen where it feeds into the solid tank so no bugs can come from the vent pipe into the solids container. There is also a fine screen on the intake side. For good measure we add a half cup of diatnatious (sp?) earth to every load of coir. We don't add toilet paper to the solids container. Seemed like a gross option when we first started but has turned out to be an easy solution. We use the same round step lid garbage container suggested earlier in this thread. We line it using recycled plastic bags from grocery store - the type you put fruits and vegis in. Soiled paper and wipes take about 5 days to start to fill the bag and we've never had any smell at all. Weird but true. As previously discussed, the only smell associated with the toilet is a slight potting soil odor when changing the coir, even if the toilet has been recently used. We add a few ounces of vinegar to the pee bottle before using and there is never any smell from there either except while emptying a full container. Even then, it's surprisingly slight. To clean, we allow to soak for a few hours filled with water with 1-2 tablespoon of bleach. Our bottle is 2 years old, has had lots of use and looks practically new. To empty the solids bin, while on the road, we simply cover with a 13 gallon recycled garbage back, invert and ban the bottom a couple of times. If anything sticks, we use a paint stir stick to dislodge which, in turn, we wipe with alcohol and store in a zip lock. If at home, we dump the contents at the base of a bush and spread out with a rake. Plants seem to love it. While on the subject, we dump full bottles of pee around bushes as well and they really seem to benefit from it. We use coir as it is cheap and more environmentally friendly than peat moss. We travel with two 1 gallon zip locks of prepared material (the perfect amount to fill container to center line of stirring units) and an extra brick big enough for to make another batch. Soaking for an hour is all it takes to totally break a brick down to the right consistency. The video on the first page seems like an easy process. Our test for proper hydration is to squeeze a fist full of material in our hand. If it almost holds together, it's just right. Takes about two weeks of constant use by the two of us to be ready for changing. If not quite ready after a trip, we leave the fan on for about a week, then unplug and let it sit and continue to decompose. True for winter as well but, if around freezing or colder, the decomposition will pause till things heat up again. No smell at all even after the fan is turned off. We couldn't be happier with this system.
  24. I do have a composting toilet. Placed a 4" hole "eye brow" style (partially covered so water will not get not splash on, vent between bathroom alongside the toilet into the area below the front dinette seat. I've noticed problems with furnace drawing air in wrong direction thorough the toilet. Given the further mods I'll have to make to allow for wintertime water usage, I suspect there could be enough draw to cause that issue and, if so, I'll have to adjust accordingly
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