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Everything posted by Raspy

  1. As far as I know, there was only one black one made, and it is sitting in my neighbor’s yard in Smith Valley, Nevada. It has been out here for years. BTW, I have posted about this several times and even mentioned it to Scott Oliver.
  2. Hey John, Will you be at the rally next week? I'll be there in my X22. John Roemer
  3. Hi all! We are signed up for this year's Rally. We'll be the ones with that funny looking, olive colored, V nose trailer that is not an Oliver. See you there! Raspy (John)
  4. Dave, I do not know anything about the shades at this point. We won't even have the trailer for another 6 weeks or so. John
  5. Hi Mike! Hope to cross paths with you guys one of these days. Will you be going to Quartzsite in January? John
  6. John, You really started something by sending me the pictures of the Black Series independent suspension several years ago. After buying one, I started a business selling the Australian McHitch articulating trailer hitches, where I am now the exclusive US distributor. I think I mentioned all of this to you before, but I'm still amazed at what an influence you had on me! Sheesh. The Black Series (BS) trailers are basically a very good design that is rugged and capable, while being extremely comfortable inside. But the company has quality control issues and always has. And on top of that, they are very difficult to deal with. I have done a lot of work on mine to fix a lot of things that were either not assembled correctly, or were just poor quality to begin with. Brakes, wheel bearings, the breakaway system, inverter, poor wiring, bad wheel alignment, shocks, and a host of nagging little things that should have been better. But some of it is me, as I will work to fine tune things that can be made better. Now, BS seems to be cheapening them by cutting corners with the upholstery, and removing interior lights, while using no name heaters and inverters that have no parts availability at all. All the while being very arrogant and unwilling to improve their clumsy workmanship. Ours sold for 20% more than we paid for it! Which reimbursed me for the original sales tax, the licensing and insurance for two years, all of the improvements I made and most of the fuel purchased to pull it 17,000 miles! This market is crazy! Mine was dialed in and a very good trailer with proven reliability and proven desert performance. But, as mentioned in my previous post, it is heavy and complicated. I decided that something lighter and easier to pull, with a better galley, much better cold weather performance, and much higher build quality, was what I wanted. The Xplore just seems like a much easier trailer to use and tow, that will be more fun and less trouble overall. I just want to use it and not redesign it. I want to go in the winter with no worry about freezing, which has always been a problem wit the HQ19. The Xplore is designed to be used down to 40 below in Wisconsin winters. That means it will be excellent in the summer too, and very easy to keep cool. The suspension can raise or lower 8" for highway travel, sneaking into the garage, or exploring rocky roads. This does not affect the suspension travel as it is a torsion system. The outer tube of the torsion axle is tucked up into the frame, and it is rotated to adjust the ride height with a hydraulic pump, cylinders and levers. It works with a remote similar to a garage door remote, on the keychain, that can be activated from the driver's seat while moving or stopped. The tires are 33 X 10.5 X 15 Maxxis. They can be aired way down for sand or trail as needed. The frame is a very nice powder coated 2" X 6" steel box structural tube design with a perimeter frame that can be jacked up anywhere along its length and protects the body from rocks. No pipes or tanks are below the frame and it has steel skid plates under the tanks. Ducted heat also has ducts that run to the tanks for freeze protection. Roof is arched, cannot collect water, and is designed for foot traffic. Roof is R24, walls R13 and floor R11. The body structure is aluminum frames with Crane Noble fiberglass panels inside and out. It has a 10 cu ft fridge that is compressor driven, not absorption. 480 AH of lithium batteries inside where the cold will not bother them, 380 watts of solar with MPPT charge controller, full battery status monitoring and 2,000 watt inverter. Built in air compressor. Beautiful wood cabinets with locking latches that cannot open while driving, Corian countertop, three burner stove with oven, vent hood, T and G varnished knotty pine ceiling, dry flush toilet with no black tank, a dry bath with large shower and full headroom of 6' 5" throughout. The V nose allows this. So, we'll be back on the road pretty soon. Still hoping to crash the Oliver rally next year. And we'll be traveling this winter too, as long as we can avoid snow storms. Take care, John (Raspy)
  7. Two years ago we sold our Oliver and bought a Black Series HQ19. It was a huge change. Two trailers could not be much different. Our Ollie, Hull 92 was a wonderful trailer and we went across the Country twice, to two Oliver Rallies, and visited 22 states. But it was not intended to be an off road trailer and we wanted something with a few differences inside, that was more rugged and prepared for off-road use. Enter the HQ19. It has been a wonderful trailer too, but I've worked on it a lot. Some optional and many things not so optional. It went to the trails in Moab, Colorado mining roads, Death Valley, Whitmore Canyon and a lot of other severe places with no problems related to off-road use. But it is heavy, tall and MUCH harder to pull than an Oliver. So now, we've gone to a trailer that offers the best of both. Extreme winter performance, no underneath plumbing, full headroom throughout including the dry bath, 1500 lbs lighter than the Black Series and about the same as the Oliver, better streamlining than the Black Series, but not as good as the Oliver, a full galley with oven, three burner stove, hood and Corian countertop. Lots of cabinets and a big pass through storage. A dinette that will seat three and not have the cushions fly off while driving, and a queen size bed. It has hydraulic adjustable ride height and torsion style independent suspension. Large off-road tires with two spares and an on-board air compressor. It will have 480 AH of Lithium batteries with their Off-Grid package and at least 380 watts of solar. I still look back very fondly at the time we had with the Oliver, and the friends we made here and at the Rally. Take care everyone, Raspy Here's a review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUP9nK-zGhA&t=113s&ab_channel=RVsofAmericaBlackSeriesXploreTaxaOff-Road
  8. Paul, Wow. That sounds great! We have no ties in Virginia, but I want to see the Smithsonian and not sure yet how to make that work with a big truck and travel trailer. No idea of the timing yet either, but definitely later in the year. Thanks, John
  9. Bill, I fought with that microwave mounting until I gave up and remodeled the entire cabinet. It tried to jump out of the cabinet twice while I was on a trip to Death Valley. The re-model fixed it! I ended up with a smaller microwave, a wine rack, and utensil storage. Along with a drop down door that gave more workspace. All as part of the same original cabinet. Much more useful, I thought. There are pix of it around here somewhere. I remember showing the stainless countertop and microwave cabinet to Scott Oliver, but he sort of had no comment. I wanted him to offer the stainless as an option. It would be easy for them to get a bunch of blanks cut out and simply install them as off-the-shelf parts. It was the most durable and functional surface I could think of, while still being lightweight. John
  10. Mike, Yes. Shane is really busy and I'm supplying him with the hitches that go on almost all of them. Every time we go to Utah, we stop at his place for a visit, or to drop off hitches. Hope to see you one of these days. Any fun trips planned? John
  11. Yep, that's the one. It would be fun to hear from those folks sometime. Thanks for the reply!
  12. This Raspy (John). I haven't stopped by to say hi in quite a while. As some of you great folks here know, I sold my Oliver (hull 92) and bought a Black Series HQ19, in 2019. As usual, I've done a lot of mods and we've been traveling a lot in the West. Utah has become our favorite area. I think it was 2017 when John Davies posted a picture of the suspension on a Black Series trailer and piqued my curiosity. Eventually, that lead to us getting one and that lead to me starting a business selling Australian articulating hitches (McHitch). I retired from my other job at the end of 2017, but now I'm back in business and looking to retire again! Sheesh. Every time I see an Oliver somewhere I smile. We would have been at the Rally in 2020 if it wasn't stopped by Covid. We won't be going to Guntersville this year either, but I'm hoping we can get clear over to North Carolina and Virginia, as we make a loop around the Country late Summer or Fall. I really enjoyed hanging out with all of you, both here on the forum and at the Rallies in 2018 and 2019. If any of you need a place to stop, near Lake Tahoe/Carson City, we have a full hookup site here at home. BTW, do any of you know where Hull 92 ended up? After we sold it, the new owners sold it again and I have no idea where it is. I hope they are out having fun with it. Take care everyone! John
  13. Here are few pix of my stainless counter top. It was upgraded after this pic with a barrier on the right side to prevent spills and a nicer faucet. The microwave cabinet was a very successful upgrade. It gave more counter space, a place for knives and utensils, a wine rack and a secure microwave that could not fall out of the cabinet. The microwave that came in my Ollie, tried to jump out of the cabinet twice.
  14. Some of you have seen this mod I did on the microwave cabinet, but i thought I'd post it again in this thread. It was prompted by the microwave trying to escape from the cabinet several times. And the need for more function. I was able to keep a smaller microwave, and include a wine rack and utensil storage tubes. A pantry latch holds the door closed and the door also serves as a stainless work counter. We had an extra set of wood trim pieces that made a matching door.
  15. John, Thanks for the kind words. As you remember, you were the one who brought Black Series to my attention. I made a mental note to stop in Utah and have a look at them on our way from Wyoming down to North Rim. Then, I decided to cut the North Rim stay short and head back to Lindon Utah and have a second look. We both really liked the Black Series HQ19 right off the bat, but loved the Oliver too. I never intended to sell the Oliver, but suddenly, we were going to get a Black Series. Glad we did. But it hasn't been a perfect transition. I've done lots of little fixes and modifications. We've put about 7,000 miles on it now since November, been in all kinds of weather, off-road, etc. It is definitely a keeper. It is perfect for making it our own with some mods, very roomy and comfortable, and tows great. Having solar has really been nice. I make electric coffee, carry no generator, and have plenty of power for lighting, charging, running the propane heat, etc. As much as I liked the Oliver, this is a different world. A true luxury apartment sitting on a heavy duty off-road frame and suspension. The best of both worlds. So now, I'm distributing McHitches across the Country and they are going on most new Black Series trailers. See what you started? The WDH with McHitch on an Oliver isn't going to happen as far as I can see, without cutting some fiberglass covering the tongue. I'm not even considering that at this point. Here is a short video of us crossing Nevada and it shows the trailer in the rear view mirror running straight as an arrow. Comment back, or PM me if you'd like. John (Raspy)
  16. Overland, Raspy here, (John) I looked at this old thread again about your McHitch coupler, and am wondering if you'd mind if I copied your mount and used your nice drawings? I am now distributing these excellent hitches and would like to produce a kit to install them on Oliver trailers. I looked at yours at the rally, and was impressed with how nicely it fit. Hope to see you at this year's rally, if we can get back to nearly normal and have it in September. I put one on my HQ19 before I even pulled it out of the showroom, and began showing it. Then it was featured in a video while being used at Moab on my HQ19. Now, most of the Black Series trailers being sold in the US are getting them as an option, right from the dealers. The Bulldog hitch on the Oliver is very nice, and sturdy, but the ease of hooking up makes the difference. It seems most people get them for that reason, and not to go off road. Thanks, John
  17. They could make a more useful interior if they reversed the layout and put the bath at the rear, where there is more headroom, and the bed at the front, where less headroom is needed. This would keep the great streamlined shape and allow headroom in the bathroom. By widening it 4" they could put a queen bed running fore and aft with just enough room to get in on each side, so no climbing over your partner. include some small cabinets over the bed. Possibly bigger windows. One on each side of the bed. And ones that don't leak with a flip up glass that can be left cracked open in the rain. By lengthening it about 6 inches, they could make a very nice dry bath with enclosed shower, and add just a bit of bed length. Make the storage area under the front bed a pass through setup with doors on each side. Because it would be longer and wider, larger tanks might fit in. Re-arrange the stove to get away from the sideways 2 burner, and add an oven, at least as an option. Keep the AC toward the rear, so it's not so loud and blowing right on the bed. Duct the heat so It actually heats the bathroom. Improve the suspension so the axles have a bit more travel and don't just bang into the frame as a stop. Upgrade the axles to 5200 lb axles with 12" brakes. Stiffen the lower outer body shell to reduce the flexing outside of the frame that so many interpret as frame flex. Upgrade the charging system with an inverter/charger combination unit that is more modern than the setup they now have. This would simplify and improve the system while making the inverter standard equipment. Offer a lithium battery option. The net result would be a trailer about 6" longer and 4" wider. They could call it the Elite 24.
  18. Here is a very nice locking grease gun coupler that makes greasing the suspension a lot easier. You no longer have to try to hold the fitting on the zerk and try to pump at the same time. Put this on a flexible gun hose and you can reach anywhere. https://www.amazon.com/LockNLube-fittings-best-selling-Long-lasting-rebuildable/dp/B00H7LPKKU/ref=sr_1_4?crid=3LX4YLDVJ970&keywords=locking+grease+gun+tip&qid=1585588497&sprefix=Locking+grease+gu%2Caps%2C206&sr=8-4 https://www.amazon.com/Dr-Lube-Grease-Spring-Guard-GHP12S01/dp/B07D6PW8XC/ref=sr_1_10?keywords=flexible%2Bgrease%2Bgun%2Bhose&qid=1585589638&sr=8-10&th=1 I decided to buy a case of this Red-N-Tacky as it seems like very good stuff and is NLGI 2 rated. It is supposed to not separate and drip out of the gun like so many other greases do. Good for both the suspension and the wheel bearings. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006RYX0QY/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  19. I have a 2000 watt Yamaha. Obviously Honda and Yamaha have excellent reputations. My general experience with them has lead me to repeatedly see that Yamaha's engineering is better. Not necessarily more user friendly, but mechanically better. Honda will use sleeve bearings, where Yamaha will use roller bearings. Honda likes to use plastic camshafts, and Yamaha uses steel camshafts, etc. My Yamaha has a separate fuel shutoff and it is the best way to shut the engine off. Then, no matter how long it has been sitting, maybe even a year, it starts right up. Keep in mind that these gas engines will lose about 3% of their output per 1,000 ft of elevation. While camping at higher elevations, the reduced output is really noticeable. While it's true that they simply plug together to make more power, the whole idea of carrying, maintaining and running two generators means a lot more trouble and more noise, more lifting (if that is an issue), and more gas to run them. How much power do you really need? Why can't solar do it (aside from running the AC)? While camping in quiet places, it is becoming more and more annoying to hear generators running. I decided about a year ago to not bring mine along anymore, and I've never missed it. While camping at Yellowstone, Death Valley and Valley of fire, generators were a significant disruption. These days, you can run the microwave, charge phones and computers, and watch TV from an inverter. And charge very well from solar, or the truck. Again, unless you are trying to run the AC. I get that it's nice to park in the shade, and there are cloudy days, but the truck can make up for some of that by charging through an Anderson plug at 50 amps or so. Inverters will give you 120 volt power without having to go out and start the generator, they work fine during mandated quiet hours when generators are not allowed, and they are silent. If quiet hours start at 8PM, for instance, and you need a generator to watch a movie, or charge your computer, you are out of luck. Inverters can't be used continuously, and they require monitoring the batteries more carefully, but they offer significant advantages too. At some point it's hard to see the difference between camping and living in a luxury apartment with invisible utilities like homes have in the city. I've had to camp next to motorhomes that ran their generators all day, while they weren't even in the motorhome at all. Why do that? Or, if you're camping where you have to have AC, but you have to sit inside all day with the AC on and the Generator(s) running, are you really having any fun, or enjoying your surroundings?
  20. Mike sums it up well. I loved our Oliver, and I did a lot of work on it to make it better. Some things about it were just not the best for us, but Oliver is so far ahead of the industry standard stickie that there is really no comparison. Comparisons to the HQ19 are awkward. They are so different from each other. But, for a couple, the HQ is extremely nice. The interior is a luxury apartment, and the exterior is a durable beast with the best suspension I have ever seen in America. The HQ19 seems to have pushed the level of traveling comfort and practicality from comfortable and efficient in an Oliver, to laughably decadent. Each one though, has advantages over the other. It seems silly to complain about the Oliver, but it did have points about it that I wanted to be different. The twin beds, for me, were not very comfortable, or even long enough. The wet bath was hard to use, I could not stand up straight and Liye did not like it. The suspension is really only good enough for highway travel. There has been problems with it and the fix seemed unreasonably difficult for just a small gain. Storage was very limited and the kitchen was very minimal. Somehow, there is an imaginary line between the HQ19 and the LE2. The Oliver is fine in so many ways, and great quality, backed up by an amazing company, but it is still a travel trailer that worked best, at least for us, for trips of limited duration. The HQ19 is a luxury apartment that is suitable to live in forever. But towing the Oliver is easier, as it is lighter and very streamlined. The floor plan in the HQ19 is reversed from the Oliver, so the bath is in the back, where there is more headroom, and the bed in the front where headroom is not needed. The bath has a nice counter, a big sink, cabinets and a separate shower. And a washing machine?! The forward queen bed is set fore and aft with a little space on each side, so no climbing over one another, but the trailer is only 4" wider than the LE2. The kitchen has a range hood with lights, three burner stove with oven, dual water systems with filtered drinking water, a large sink and a bigger fridge. The AC and the heater are both higher output. The tanks are larger. But the Oliver is better insulated underneath and better in very cold weather. Our Oliver windows leaked, and the HQ19 windows look like they can't. The interior lighting is much nicer in the HQ with lots of options, reading lights and wall switches. The HQ19 inverter/charger is more advanced in design and is standard, as is the 300 watt solar and AGM batteries. It also has a parking brake, which I love. It has a recovery type jockey wheel in front, recovery shackles in the rear, rock rails along the side, two spare tires and a very durable aluminum diamond plate skin. The skeleton is welded aluminum and it has a one piece aluminum roof. The interior finish is magnificent gloss veneer over core construction cabinet doors and surfaces, with aluminum wall finish over plywood. The dinette is a vinyl faux leather upholstery all sewn with magazine pockets and a beautiful finish. In the Oliver, the seat cushions wanted to get to the floor on trips, but it can't happen in the HQ. The window coverings have the usual screen, or shade options, but also have let down Roman shades. And they don't fall off on rough roads like ours did in the Oliver. Again, I loved the Oliver, so I don't mean to sound too critical. We towed it about 20,000 miles and to 22 states. I averaged 1-2 MPG better towing it than I get with the HQ. Our Oliver weighed 5,700 lbs ready to go, with 560 lbs of tongue weight. The HQ weighs about 6,900 lbs all watered up, with gear, and ready to go. It has a tongue weight of 800 lbs. I have never used sway control or a WDH with either one and have never felt the need to. Both tow absolutely stable on the highway. The HQ has 12" brakes on 5200 lbs axles and the Oliver has 10" brakes on 3500 lb axles. The HQ has independent swing arm suspension with twin shocks per wheel. The Oliver has a beautiful, fully boxed, aluminum frame with lots of gussets. The HQ has a steel box frame that is hot dip galvanized for corrosion protection. Hot dip is the best corrosion protection for steel there is, and the zinc is very thick. The HQ has now been to Moab and I've towed it up rock stair steps and on trails that I would never do with the Oliver. But that is what it's made for. I towed the Oliver way back in on rocky dirt roads too, but this is different. So, the HQ just suits us better for traveling comfort, off-road ability and boondocking, but it's heavier and less streamlined. The Oliver is easier to tow, lighter and has a great factory support system. The HQ has a good warrantee and parts are available, but they are still refining their process and it's not as smooth as with the Oliver. When comparing prices and the out the door price for comparable equipment, the HQ is lower cost. With the solar, AGM batteries and 2,000 watt inverter charger, all standard equipment, they list for about $54,000. Ours is a 2020 model and it was less. Here are three videos. I'm in the white Ram with the HQ19. Watch for th HQ in the rear view mirror while "crossing Nevada".
  21. I, sort of accidentally, left my Oliver out in freezing weather while we were away for a few days. It froze the cold valve on the bathroom sink, and it froze the toilet fresh water valve that the foot pedal operates. The bath sink faucet cracked the ceramic insert, and the toilet valve split open. It seems like the water inlet fitting would be the most vulnerable, or the outdoor shower assembly, but the breaks both happened inside the trailer. Afterward, I wished there were valves on the bathroom lines so that one could isolate that area while out on the road if needed. Once anything goes wrong, the whole system must be shut down. When I put in the new kitchen faucet, I did install shutoffs on the two lines. And an added benefit to this it allows you to backlash the faucet if needed. Mine gathered a bunch of debris from somewhere and I was able to blow it out with system pressure flowing backward.
  22. I don't know anything about Autoformers. But it sounds like the park wiring is undersized. And I don't know if others were drawing power at the same time as you. One way to work around that problem, with loads other than the AC, is to add a dedicated automotive style battery charger. This would probably need to be an older, ferro-resonant style, for best results. Turn off the incoming power to your on-board converter/charger, or simply unplug the trailer. Plug the battery charger into the shore power, and clip it onto your battery terminals. Then run all loads off of your on-board inverter. This strategy eliminates any short term high amp loads on the 120 volt shore system and instead adds a lower continuous load to simply keep the batteries up. This "low load" will not be enough to overload the shore system, but enough to keep the batteries charged during use. It also eliminates the automatic shutoff caused by low voltage, and potential damage to appliances that can cause. Then any high amp loads can be handled by your inverter, such as a few minutes with the microwave, or running an electric coffee maker. Low 120 volt loads, like charging computers or running the television will be just fine and work as though they were on normal shore power. But it won't work well with an electric heater that might run all night, that is a longer term and higher load. With this idea, you still get the same overall amount of energy you need to your trailer, but you eliminate high amp loading of the park system and instead, spread the load out over time. Space heating should be done with the propane heater and the fridge should be on propane too.
  23. Oliver designed in two perfectly good freeze protection systems, and they are great features. One is to run the propane heater, which ducts the warm air between the hulls, and adds a lot of energy to the area. The other is too winterize. "Lo amperage" means low energy. You either need a lot of energy, or you need to remove the chance of freezing what is there. To remove the chance of freezing what is there, you need to drain it out, or add anti-freeze to it.
  24. I still haven't got it! But we will have it at the end of the week, or next week at the latest. A gave it a very close inspection last week and found it to be very air tight. All openings sealed where pipes pass through, all outside compartment covers gasketed, water fill ports sealed, etc. The windows are the swing out type and close with multiple latches against a soft gasket. The only opening I found was near the bottom of the door, where there is a louver. I was all over it underneath looking at the insulation and running a new PEX pipe for the water system mod I'm doing. This will give it instant hot water back at the shower and reduce the risk of freezing. It is also getting more insulation as part of a winter package and also tank heaters which are designed to protect it down to 10 degrees. I'm also preparing the new McHitch for it. It is very easy to work on underneath with it's high ground clearance and independent suspension. I can fly along on a creeper like I'm in a hallway.
  25. The Black Series HQ19 has a beautiful outside kitchen. It is under the awning, but there is also a complete kitchen inside with three burner stove, oven, and vent hood. Who wants to cook outside in blowing rain or a dust storm? And who wants to cook inside when deep frying, or trying to barbecue, or on a hot day, or for a large crowd?. And who wants to try to cook outside with a stove-top oven, when there is a very nice oven inside? The outside kitchen makes a lot of sense. We used to carry a separate stove, and gas line, and cooking table, just for that purpose. Liye's famous spring rolls are best cooked outside and they are a huge hit at the pot luck dinners. BTW, there are videos of a Black Series outside stove being used. Go to Youtube and look for RVs of America videos of the Black Series trailers in action.
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