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Everything posted by Raspy

  1. 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.
  2. 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)
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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?
  7. 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".
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. John, I don't know where it is, but someone posted a picture of a system that was simply a 1960's style automotive air cleaner from a big V8, from a Chevy or something, that was mounted to the side of their trailer. I think there was a fan behind it. These are very low profile and have an easily replaceable filter with lots of surface area. They re made of durable steel, light weight, easy to get, and have a nice air horn on the front. Easily adaptable to this purpose. One might be mounted on the roof, with a fan below in a cabinet or some place out of the way. Or maybe the forward facing horn would be enough to make it work. Simpler is better! Lots of exterior plumbing running around is definitely out of the question in a clean design.
  14. One nice feature in the Romotow, is the narrow hallway on one side, with a large bath separating the front and rear. This makes sense to me instead of the typical center hall and all of the areas along the exterior walls.
  15. The suspension and the cabin pressure systems are very nice features on the Bruder. That suspension may be the best there is. I've been considering how to make a cabin pressure system for the HQ19 too.
  16. Don, Looks good. Are you planning to make it to the Oliver Rally? I'd love to see your trailer in person.
  17. I've had a couple of trailers that I thought were going to be fine for mild off-roading. One was a 24' toy hauler and one was our beloved Oliver. They have identical suspension, but I upgraded the Oliver to the heavy duty kit to make it last longer and be greasable. One of my favorite places to go is Death Valley, and in particular, the hot springs. This requires a trek of about 60 miles each way on a gravel road and pretty much off road in one area. The toy hauler made it one trip before I realized I would kill it if I did to a few more times. It was trying to disassemble itself. With the Oliver, I aired down and went very slow. But it too, didn't like it. Cushions everywhere, window frames falling off, and overhead cabinets opening, lead to chaos. The microwave tried to escape twice from its cabinet. But the body was fine and it is quite maneuverable with it's long tongue and good ground clearance. I've had it up other rocky roads where I was spinning all for of our truck's tires to pull it through and carefully walked it over rocks and around tight corners. The primary limiting factor, in my view, is the suspension. I don't want to race across the desert, but I want to find a reasonable speed that the suspension can absorb without pounding the trailer to pieces. The Oliver has very little suspension travel and hits metal to metal as a stop when the axle bangs into the frame. While carefully looking for it, I cannot find a speed, other than dead slow walking speed, that will not cause problems. So, we will see, but the HQ19 has larger tires and independent suspension with two real shocks per wheel and urethane stops. It will get the test before long and I'm optimistic it will be better. Not a racer, but better. Plus, none of the cabinet doors will ever open while being held with their secure latching mechanisms. The Oliver is very streamlined and stable while towing. These features make is excellent for highway travel. The brakes seem somewhat temperamental and require adjusting to keep them working well. I'm hoping the larger 12' brakes on the HQ work better, as they have on a couple of other utility trailers I have. One of my favorite features on the Oliver is the long tongue and jack location. This allows the truck tailgate to be opened anytime and allows for tight maneuvering. It is actually a little longer than the one on the HQ.
  18. I bought a Black Series HQ19 and have been waiting for it to arrive in Salt Lake City. It finally came in last Monday and we went to see it. There have been a lot of modifications/upgrades for 2020 and I am really impressed. Also, there has been some chatter on various sites about these, over the last couple of years, but not too much from people that actually have one, or have even seen one in person. They are currently selling more than they can make and are having a hard time keeping up with orders. These trailers are a game changer here in the US. If you look around on-line, look for videos from RVs of America on YouTube. These are current videos and not several years old, or from Australia. A bunch of these videos were removed because they were using drones in National Parks and on BLM lands to show the capability and practicality of these trailers in real use by people who love to camp and go off-road. They got into trouble for doing this, but there are still enough of them to really get a feel for how they are made and their advantages. One of the issues that has come up is the suitability for "all-season" cold weather camping. They are not as well suited for very cold weather as an Oliver, but this issue id being addressed. The 2020 models have floor insulation, insulated piping and tank heaters. There is also a winter package being developed by Black Series and a winter package that can be installed by RVs of America in Salt Lake. I am getting this and have also designed a couple of mods to improve it further. I am comfortable that this trailer will be fine in any weather I want to camp in. Even the Oliver must be kept warm in cold weather to prevent it from freezing up. The first of the 2020 models are now showing up and they are impressive! Heavy duty swing arm suspension, full bathroom with porcelain sink and toilet, large fiberglass shower, washing machine, lots of storage, luxurious interior with oven, vent hood, beautiful wood trim, queen size bed st solar system as standard equipment, AGM batteries mounted over the axle, enclosed propane and storage lockers in front, heavy aluminum body and roof with hot dip galvanized frame, dual spare tires, large fridge with separate freezer compartment, beautiful dinette table that is very rugged and can be used outside as an additional table, full stainless steel outside kitchen with sink and preparation area, dual water system with triple filtered drinking water and separate 50 gallon general water tanks. The charging system uses an inverter/charger combination that does away with the traditional converter and transfer switch for an inverter. The 12 volt system has a marine style master switch and heavy duty circuit breakers at the batteries. Then it has a full 12 volt panel with 12 volt circuit breakers, digital tank readouts and monitoring system. All at eye level over the stove for easy access. No more automotive fuses down by the floor. The incoming 120 volt power goes through a Square D residential electrical panel with breakers that are available everywhere for about $7.00 if needed. The bed is a queen size with what looks like a memory foam top. They include six pillows, sheets, and mattress cover. There are four perimeter outside LED flood light and an LED automatic porch light. The screen door is an Australian design that is very robust and far from the conventional trailer doors. It has a triple locking system and integrates with the exterior door in a very nice and secure way. The exterior door has a large clear window with curtains. The rest of the windows are double pane polycarbonate that swing out. The kitchen sink is stainless with a stainless faucet that has two outlets. One for the general water and one for the filtered drinking water. All cabinets have a positive locking catch that will not open when driving. All exterior doors have stainless steel catches that positively latch and lock, with full rubber gaskets. All hinges are stainless steel piano hinges. Al drawers are soft close with latching catches to keep them closed while driving. These trailers are very heavy duty and corrosion resistant, while being extremely comfortable inside. They are designed to withstand heavy off-road use and are covered by a five year structural warrantee. Warrantee work can be handled by any RV shop and Black Series has a full stock of parts ready to ship if needed. The appliances are Dometic brand. The awning can be either a legless electric design, or a manual design with legs. I ordered the manual one. I plan to pick it up next weekend and do a shakedown cruise in Utah, and then, probably a coastal trip to N CA and Oregon as winter sets in. We'll be in Quartzsite in January and Guntersville in May for the Oliver Rally. I'm expecting a few raised eyebrows as we pull in without our Oliver. Liye's pot luck spring rolls will be produced outside on the marvelous outdoor kitchen, along with some spectacular breakfasts! Then, the large tires and off-road friendly suspension will be perfect for the long trek into Death Valley on the gravel road to the hot springs.
  19. Lanham, Don't say "crash"! Sheesh, once is enough! ? Good luck on your trip.
  20. Putting weight on the rear of an Ollie, in the form of tongue weight from a rear trailer is just not a good idea regardless of how one might stiffen the frame. This because the frame is not designed for that kind of load, and because of the way it and the body work together. Plus, making Ollie light in the front, as a result, would likely introduce a severe handling problem. But, it's not all bad news. When flat towing a vehicle, like a Wrangler, for instance, or a small car, a tow bar is used and they add almost no tongue weight. And if set up correctly, they apply their fore and aft load during acceleration and braking in a horizontal direction parallel to the ground. The frame is good with fore and aft forces, just not with a lot of weight on the rear. But I still think it is a very bad idea to tow another trailer behind an Ollie. Then we have the braking issues associated with the whole setup. And the resistance to cornering that flat towed vehicles bring to the party, which add more unfair forces to the frame. The negatives begin to add up to a long list. All must be addressed to be successful. And the reward is simply to have a Wrangler to make side trips in, instead of an F-350. The cost/benefit ratio is extremely biased toward don't do it, or, bad idea.
  21. John, Take a breath! Nobody is trying to argue that an F-350 is better than a Wrangler off road. Alex was just asking about towing two trailers, one a Wrangler. Given the legal, structural and logistical problems with that, it seems it's better to use the F-350 to make runs to the store or for sightseeing when disconnected from the trailer, and leave the Wrangler at home. This is not about extreme four wheeling in Moab, it's about not having to take the trailer everywhere.
  22. Looking at it in a simpler way, one of the big advantages of traveling and camping with a trailer is that you can disconnect. This leaves the tow free to wander with no trailer. So, the only benefit I see here is the difference between exploring in an F-350 vs exploring in a Wrangler, once disconnected. Then factor in all the legal restrictions, safety issues, inability to back up, special planning for everything, worse mileage, much more stress, and I would never consider a double tow. Why is it so bad exploring in an F-350, that you must have a Wrangler instead, to go somewhere? But if you do decide to do it, make your rear tow bar such that it does not apply any tongue weight to the rear of the Oliver. The Oliver frame is bolted to the body in such a way that they work together to form a unit. A straight fore and aft push/pull would probably be fine. But no up and down load. Of course, if you ask Oliver about how to do it, they will very likely say, don't! They have a discontinued 2" receiver for the rear of an LE2 that was for bicycles. It was not for a rear tow. And there were some failures while carrying bicycles. So, I think you are on your own if you decide to go for it. If so, you'll have to design the hardware, install it, and take full responsibility for the results. Then you'll have to wire for it too, but you won't have brakes on the Wrangler unless you really go all out with the hardware.
  23. John. All I can say about the rock sliders is that they are better than nothing. But they are not as strong as they could be, or should be, from what I can see.
  24. ahattar, You and I are pretty much on the same page. All trailers are a compromise. Some years ago I finished out a 42' fiberglass ketch, from a mere hull and deck, to a finished sailing yacht that I sailed to Mexico and back, among other places. The electrical plan that I devised turns out to be just what Black Series did and it worked very well for me while being simple. I've had three "stickies" and the electrical systems were all disappointing. The Oliver has been trouble free, with the exception of a couple of bad connections and a missing grounding cable to the frame, but I think the inverter/charger design is the way to go and should probably be standard equipment. The biggest drawback with the Black Series is freeze protection. I spotted that right off and had to resolve how to fix it sufficiently before committing to the trailer. Fixing it requires some work and expense, but I think it will be fine when I'm finished. Here is how I plan to do it. 1. The dealer, RVs of America in Lindon Utah, is installing a "winter package". This includes all insulated piping underneath, tank heaters and tank insulation. This is not the ultimate answer and would certainly not be sufficient for very cold weather, but it will help with what we do. 2. I am going to install a recirculating hot water system that will provide two benefits, while being very simple. The first thing it does is give instant hot water at the rear shower and sink, to save on water usage. The second thing it does, when turned on, is provide just enough heat to the lines, both hot and cold, to keep them from freezing. This draws about .5 amp of DC and will recirc water from the water heater to fight the cold. It will cause the water heater to fire up occasionally, but that's fine as the main energy source will be propane and not electrical. I also plan to put low point drains on wherever needed so I can leave it parked at home in the winter. Previously, with my stickies, I would simply hook up a compressor to the shore tie water port and blow out the lines. Then leave an oil radiator style heater set low inside. This worked for years. My Oliver spent winters in the garage which has radiant heating, so winter freeze protection for it was not a problem, but the HQ will not fit through the door. I'm towing with a Ram 3500/Cummins. Having enough power and weight in the tow vehicle is not a problem, but the HQ will be significantly harder to pull than an Oliver. I know it will cause a mileage hit with it's higher profile and 1,400 lbs more weight. The thing that really caught my eye with the HQ was the suspension. I will not be tearing across the desert at speed, but I have not been able to make a conventional leaf spring, equalizer setup do what it seems they should do, that is ride smoothly with little vibration. Going 60 miles or so into Death Valley on gravel rutted roads is not friendly to this arrangement. Every trip out there is painfully slow, or causes stuff to go flying, cabinets to open, screws to back out, window coverings and cushions to go adrift, and the microwave to try and escape. If I never strayed off the highway and paved roads, The HQ would seem like severe overkill. On roads, I'm sure the Oliver would be a much more friendly partner. Compromises, compromises. I'm sort of a restless type, I guess, and I also like the engineering aspect of designing and dialing things in. It's so much fun to be out there, have everything I need, and have everything working well. So we'll see how it goes. The whole Australian trailer concept seems like it will be a game changer over here. For years, I've been sorry we could not get stuff like that here. All the way through, there are differences in the trailers that make sense. It seems like every American sticky is just a variation on the basic theme, that are all built in Indiana with the same parts and at the lowest quality they can get away with. It's about time there were more options. Oliver has been a wonderful addition to the whole scene. Their frame and fiberglass work are outstanding. They are artists with fiberglass. Now, Black Series is a third option that is not a cheap sticky, and has game changing features. It's aluminum, but not fragile like an Airstream. Fiberglass is undeniably a fine material for trailers. And it has the advantage of being produced in such a streamlined shape. Me deciding on one, doesn't mean the other is bad. Thanks for your thoughts.
  25. I agree with this completely. Used to be, Oliver advertised the stabilizers as OK for jacking. And even now, I'll find one tire off the ground when I'm leveling. But I would never pull a tire off and climb under while supported by the "stabilizer" I also carry a small aluminum floor jack for tire changing. They slip right in under the axle next to the tire. I also see no reason why you can't run one tire up on a rock, or stack of boards to lift the other one off the ground. The shackle flipping around seems very unlikely. That uneven position happens a lot while driving on rough roads.
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