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Everything posted by Raspy

  1. In the end we can talk about the differences between steel and aluminum all day long, but we don't have enough information to say definitively that aluminum, in this case, is a problem. And I have no intention of saying it is. Just because aluminum has a different fatigue character than steel, doesn't mean in this case that it will fail. Way too many factors are not being included to make that analysis. The frame on an Ollie seems to have different functions in different places. In the tongue area it must have bending strength to transfer the tongue weight to the hitch. It must also carry the pull from the hitch. Out back it just offers a bumper mount that protects the body from a hit. Over the suspension it spreads the weight to the "support truck" which is the steel suspension assembly subframe. It definitely doesn't act in the same way as the frame on a conventional trailer where everything is assembled piece by piece with the frame supporting it all, as the build proceeds. Having said all that, Ollie's entire structure is flexible and I hear it creaking whenever I load the jacks. The frame works in tandem with the inherent unibody strength of the Oliver body, but it's not absolutely rigid. All of the trailers I've looked at with steel frames have two frame rails that get to the front of the body and then come together at the hitch. Oliver front sections are way more reinforced and beautifully built. I just went through one of the most severe 4 wheel drive roads I could get it through. No problem at all as I watched the suspension flex and tried to avoid dragging the frame. I fully intend to use this trailer to it's limit as we go desert camping and exploring old trails. Rather than second guessing it's design, I marvel at it.
  2. It's amazing how much abuse Dexter axles will put up with before they finally give up. As Buzzy pointed out, they can run along just fine with a severe bend and the wheels terribly cambered. They probably have been loaded to around twice their design limit. The plastic suspension bushings can be gone and the pins worn down to half their original thickness and they still soldier on. It looks to me like a lot of modern low cost travel trailers are being built to the absolute minimum strength. I see a lot of them on the road and am happy I've already learned my lesson and moved to an Ollie.
  3. That video expresses it pretty well. It's an extreme case with the mass clear at the back and hung way out behind. You don't really need much tongue weight, but the mass should be near the center and slightly forward, instead of at the ends where it can become a pendulum. Other issues are a high trailer with soft suspension, or a very light tow vehicle, or even an extreme amount of tongue weight. Or the distance from the ball to the axle vs. the overall length and weight. Boat trailers are a good example of being stable with weight at the extreme rear, where there is a very heavy large outboard hanging on the back of the boat, but it tows just fine because the distance from the ball to the axle is so long that the pendulum effect can't get started. Then there are the tandem axles that tow with more stability than single axles. And, of course, the lighter the trailer, compared to the tow vehicle, the less influence the trailer has on the TV. So even if some trailers are unstable, they can't get into a severe fishtail because they are not heavy enough to whip the TV. For instance, I have a small wide utility trailer that is very short, for quads. When I load 4X8 sheets on it I get negative tongue weight. It is always busy and swaying back there as we go along, but I doesn't ever get critical because it is so light compared to my 3500 Ram. So I just go along and not worry about it. Speed is critical too. My utility trailer in the previous example is stable until about 60 mph, then it is unstable and constantly swaying. If my TV was a lot lighter, it would be dangerous. Lots of factors. My father bought a used travel trailer, about 25' long, and tried to tow it with his Cherokee, a relatively short and high TV. He crashed it on the way home when it began to sway and turned the Cherokee over on it's side. Somebody else had been towing it around for many years, without problems, with some other TV. I had a utility trailer loaded very heavy, with the right amount of tongue weight, behind my S10 Blazer and at about 50 MPH it sent me all over the freeway trying to get it under control. The load was low and slightly forward, but the S10 was short and high. Definitely got my attention! The only way I could get it to settle down was to hold the throttle wide open and pull hard on it. Once stable I got on the brakes hard to get it below the unstable speed. It had no brakes to straighten it out and it was a nightmare, but I didn't crash it. Everybody around me slowed way down and gave me room. As it snaked along getting more unstable, I could feel it trying to flip the Blazer. It seemed impossible to drive out of it as it got worse and worse. Yikes! Then I decided to pull harder on it because I could not put it's brakes on. Scary, but it worked.
  4. One of the advantages of an Ollie over many other brands, including Airstream, is the long tongue. This allow sharp turns and allows you to open the tailgate while still coupled. The long tongue, along with properly places batteries and tanks, keeps the tongue weight down too.
  5. Bill, That's an interesting unit. It applies all of the trailer brakes if it detects sway, just as I suggested the driver do manually. I believe my Ram does the same thing with the truck brakes, but it applies them individually as needed. I tried to drive my way out of a severe sway problem once while towing with a Chevy S10 Blazer (not Ollie) and it had no affect. I had no trailer brakes on that unit and had to go to full throttle to get it to settle down, which is sort of the same dynamics as applying trailer brakes. Scary! Once it got it stabilized I was able to get on the brakes hard to get slowed down below the swaying speed. By that time everyone around me on the freeway had backed of to give me room. John
  6. Ollie's are very stable trailers. Like topgun, I have tried to induce sway in mine and it won't do it. I've also been in crosswinds and been passed by semi trailers. No problem beyond a little response to the draft. Stability is not an absolute number. As the tow vehicle gets narrower, higher and shorter. While it's tires get softer and it's weight gets closer to the trailer weight, stability suffers. Not because of the trailers inherent design stability, but the ability to overpower the tow vehicle and the tow vehicle's stability issues. Heavy duty full size pickups are more stable than smaller, narrower and lighter mid size trucks. I think the biggest threat is not the Ollie design, but an emergency stop, especially on a curve in the road, or with limited traction. This is where the brake controller better be set up right. Otherwise the trailer can either push you into a jackknife or it will lockup and slide sideways pulling you around with it. But to anyone concerned about it, remember, if your trailer becomes unstable on a straight section of road, all you have to do it reach down and apply the trailer brakes manually on the controller. Everyone who tows should be familiar with this procedure. When a swaying trailer gets it brakes applied it immediately straitens itself out. Then you can slow down and get to the bottom of the problem. You can pull the tow vehicle down to a safe speed where the trailer is again stable.
  7. Nick, The stock pin bushings are nylon with no grease fittings. They wear out pretty quickly and leave the steel pins riding in the spring eye with no bushing and lots of play between them. This wears the pins and they get thinner and thinner over time. The whole system gets more and more play in it. The new pins ride in Bronze bushings and are greaseable. The new shackle plates are about twice as thick as the stock ones. So, you'll end up with suspension that lasts a long time with minimal play and minimal wear.
  8. This is the issue I brought up in another towing thread here. It doesn't look like the Anderson brackets are very well suited to an Ollie frame. They just clamp on and are supposed to stay in place because of a set screw into aluminum. You may find the hitch is good for anti-away and not for leveling because of the extreme forces required for leveling.
  9. Wow! What a post! Ollies are something special and I'm happy to have one.
  10. The lighter and softer the suspension on your TV, the more you might need a WD hitch. Passenger tires as found on SUVs are also not very stiff and can contribute to sway. Modern 1500 pickups have soft suspension and will sag farther than a 2500 under load. That's OK. Trucks are designed to work well with different loads. One of the best things you can do is install a set of premium rear shocks that are velocity sensitive and preferably, adjustable. These will dampen the vertical movement and keep the tires planted. Then make sure you have a high quality brake controller that is set up right. A heavy duty truck does not need a WD hitch for an Oliver. My Oliver tows better than any trailer I've had and it never plays any tricks on me. Never. I bought my Oliver when it was one year old and it came with an Anderson WD hitch. The first thing I did was look at how it attached to the frame of the Oliver and the stresses it created. I decided based on that that it would not be used. Plus the hassle of hooking it up just right every time. I frequently unhook at the campsite and drive off on the TV. I just can't see those clamp on frame brackets, clamped to an aluminum frame and relying on friction and a set screw, doing much weight distributing. Sway control, yes, but not much weight distributing. Be sure to frequently check those clamps. My TV is a Ram 3500 SRW and I keep forgetting Ollie is back there while towing. The other thing is greasing the ball. Absolutely grease the ball, especially when using a WD hitch. My Ollie has a tongue weight of 425 pounds vertical load. Using the WD hitch adds another fore and aft load of hundreds of pounds. Then braking and accelerating add more fore and aft loads. All of that transferred directly from the ball to the coupler. The ball swivels with the coupler on an Anderson hitch, but when going through dips, into driveways or over uneven surfaces there is movement and wear at the ball. Balls and couplers never match precisely and there is galling with no lube. I find it interesting that Anderson recommends turning off your sway control if you use their hitch and it feels unstable. Really? The idea of the Anderson hitch was to add sway stability. Why defeat one system to accommodate the other? Better to try it without the hitch first.
  11. There's no doubt the plastic bushings are junk. Very short life and then metal to metal wear with lots of play. I've had this same setup on a number of other trailers too. At a glance everything looks fine, but they become increasingly loose and eventually dangerous as the miles rack up and the pins wear thinner in spring eyes with no bushings left. I bought my Ollie used and was disappointed that it did not have the EZ Flex already installed as these trailers are made to last and should be able to go many thousands of miles without suspension problems. It is definitely on my list of projects.
  12. Looking closer at my rollout battery tray I began to see a couple of things I don't like. BTW, I have the (4) T-105 battery option. First is the catch mechanism. It has about 3/4" of play that allows the batteries to roll out and in just enough to hammer the catch while driving. Second is that the batteries pinch the wires against the back of the battery cabinet. With the wires crossed back there, there will be a short eventually. I fixed this with a 5/8' thick piece of wood dropped in front of the catch to take up the play. It's about 3" X 15 3/4" and fits nicely. Then I slid some split loom over the wires and routed them over the top of the batteries as I pushed the tray back in. This should make the battery box much safer and less likely to break the catch. Check yours out to make sure it's OK.
  13. The older plastic crimp fittings would either crack from the strain or relax when too hot. Then leak. I have no experience with the new black plastic ones in the Olivers, only with the brass ones. I have never had a brass one fail and I've used hundreds over many years. I also use a minimum of them and try to bend the PEX wherever possible. We probably won't have any trouble with them considering the relatively low pressures and temperatures in the Ollie. John
  14. Len, I too am a fan of having more truck than less truck. Mine is a Ram Cummins. Times like coming out of Death Valley in the summer heat, or long downgrades or climbing the Sonora pass with a 26% grade and 9,600 ft elevation, all make me happy to have it. A heavier truck can possibly make a more exciting emergency maneuver and get away with it. You're right about GPS anomalies. Any new road changes that happened after the last GPS update will confuse it and mine has taken me in circles, several times. They can also, as you said, select routes that make no sense at times. Good old paper maps are handy for getting the general idea. We're gonna take off next week for a 5 day shakedown trip with our new Ollie. John
  15. The pre-made guides are a good method instead of crimped in 90s. There is almost always room for them and no chance of a fitting failure. If the bend radius is not so critical just bend it around and snake it through as needed. The 1/2" PEX (5/8" OD) can be reliably bent into a 9" O.C. return bend with no kink. Once bent it will not relax into a kink. Also, if doing the guides, you don't have to get the crimp tool into place and use it. The flow characteristics are also a lot better with bends instead of crimped 90s. Pex is surprisingly nice to work with. When working with PEX, think in PEX instead of copper. Another trick is to slide the PEX through conduit 90s. 1/2" PEX (5/8" OD) slides nicely through 3/4" electrical conduit 90s. 3/4 PEX through 1" conduit 90s and 3/8" PEX through 1/2" 90s. Steel or PVC conduit works fine for this and seriously protect the PEX. Always use brass fittings and copper crimp rings. Always.
  16. John, One of the things I've noticed is the over-use of crimped on 90 degree fittings and plastic fittings instead of brass. Many of the "90s" should be done simply by bending the PEX. When using PEX, one should think in PEX. Plastic PEX fittings were discredited many years ago and generally replaced with brass. I'm hoping I don't have trouble with them. I really like the general Oliver design, but behind the curtain there are some quirks or "less than perfect" methods.
  17. It is interesting how the Ollie frame system is designed. The front section ahead of the body, that becomes the tongue, is amazingly strong looking with gusseting and a number of for and aft members all welded nicely together. The main section under the body is more of a unibody with stiffeners design, I guess. It clearly relies on the stiffness of the body, in conjunction with the frame. The frame in that area seems more like a way to connect the tongue to the suspension subframe, but not as a way to support the trailer at points, like on a traditional trailer or truck. One of the reasons I got rid of my toy hauler, which was about the same size as my Elite ll, was the affect dirt roads had on it. The poor thing was just beating itself to death. It had the identical suspension design as the Ollie, but everything inside was coming apart or getting jostled around. I'm hoping that the Ollie can deal with rough roads better because of it's much better design and construction, plus softer springs. I'm also a big fan of tandem axles because of the way they track and how they step over bumps. The other thing was the water tank location and general weight distribution. The batteries sat on the tongue and the 100 gallon water tank in the very front put 1/3 of it's weight on the hitch. This jarred the truck and increased the need for a load leveling hitch. Oliver carries it's weight with better distribution and it really shows while towing. In looking around, I've seen a couple of variations on the walking beam, equalizer concept of the typical tandem axle suspension. A sort of hybrid between the Timbren system and the stock system, with rubber and links to smooth out the shock loads. Maybe we can do an upgrade sometime that won't require a re-design.
  18. Jaquelyn, There is no absolute answer to your question about length and you have already factored in all the possible problems. Just get out there and see how it goes in the type of places you like to visit. But one thing I'd suggest is, don't buy an Elite to compensate for the truck's length, if you really want the Elite ll. We were at the Grand Canyon recently and wanted a campsite for our toy hauler. The only question they asked was "how long is your trailer", no mention of the truck. They had a 22 foot limit and we were 20 (I told them the body length not including tongue). Both there and in the Bristlecone Pines in the Eastern Sierra, my standard cab pickup was a bit big at times, I'm sure yours will be too, but it's not a deal breaker considering all the flexibility it offers. Another advantage of Oliver trailers is their narrow width of 7'. Perfect for following you through tight places.
  19. Laps wrote: Same here and I completely agree. I have a 2014 Ram 3500 SRW and drive it everywhere. At 78,000 miles I've had no trouble with it. It tows my Ollie effortlessly and is heavy enough to be completely stable. Best vehicle I've ever had. One of the best features while towing is the standard engine brake the Cummins comes with. Excellent in the mountains! It will descend long grades without touching the brakes.
  20. Robert, My 2015 Elite ll came with an Anderson hitch and I'm towing with a 2014 Ram 3500 SRW. I have no intention of hooking up the Anderson hitch because it's not needed with a heavier TV like ours. My Ollie tows very well with no tricks and my truck settles very little when connected. But here is the other thing: The way the Anderson connects to the aluminum frame rails and the idea that that method will carry a large chain tension, seems very optimistic at best. Two flat pinch plates and a set screw on each side?! It will give some sway dampening, but not much load leveling. I say leave it off unless you really see a need it can fill.
  21. It's a very nice looking design and I like getting away from the 19th century leaf springs and linkage. But adapting it to an Ollie will require taking some responsibility for the outcome without knowing how it will play out in the long run. The standard leaf spring system carries the load of the trailer in three places on each side for a total of six points distributed along the steel subframe. The subframe is somewhat flexible and bolted directly to the aluminum frame which is bolted to the fiberglass body. As a whole, there is a lot of strength there, the load is distributed well, but the system still flexes. Just jacking the trailer to level I can hear it flexing as the body creaks a bit. So now you apply all the load to two points with the Timbren system and the subframe is unfairly loaded and transferring that load to the trailer disproportionately. On top of that the twisting load all goes to those two points as you turn sharply, so the trailer has more of that load localized as well. Ollie's were not designed to deal with those two changes. The fix is a stiffener under the subframe that spreads the load fore and aft and a cross member, or X member, that makes the two sides share the twisting load. This will lift the trailer by the size of the stiffener, but offset that lift by the difference between the leaf spring design height and the Timbren design height. It might be interesting to find out how much the Timbren system settles at a 5,500 lb load, for instance, and decide if the 10K or the 7K system is best. The other thing is, if someone was going to change to this, I would go ahead and put in a set of 5,200 lb axles because they have the larger brakes. Those bigger brakes are much more powerful than the 3,500 lb brakes. My Ollie, unfortunately, has the 3,500 lb brakes. So that issue alone could decide the model of the Timbrens used. It would be nice to never worry about a broken leaf spring or those lousy nylon bushings wearing out. I'm planning to upgrade mine with the Dexter E-Z Flex kit to at least get rid of the cheap bushings.
  22. Hello. John and Liye here in Smith Valley, Northern Nevada. We just purchased Elite ll, hull number 92 a week ago and are thrilled. I squeezed it into the garage and have begun getting used to all the systems and getting it dialed in for our next trip. By far the nicest trailer I have ever had. Really impressed with how it tows too! I saw my first Oliver several years ago and have wanted one ever since. There aren't very many options on this one. Just installed a Blu-Ray with Wifi today and I will probably put in an inverter. I'd like to hear back from those with the cell booster and WifiRanger options. Do they work well? This one was delivered in August of 2015 and has the smaller brakes. I'm wondering if Oliver went to the 5200 lb axles to get the bigger brakes on the later ones, or if they just put the larger brakes on the 3500 lb axles? Anyone familiar with this? Looking forward to crossing paths with you, John
  23. It's a nice looking kit and I love the bronze bushings and greasable joints. Much better than the plastic bushings. I watched the Dexter video on this and could not see that it made the ride any better. The urethane bumpers seems to be doing nothing in that case, but it might have been loaded too lightly to make a difference. Please let us know if you notice any difference in the quality of the ride. But either way, the quality of the fittings is much better.
  24. I can't seem to find my temporary password to login and then reset it. Where do I introduce myself? Thanks, John
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