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KarenLukens

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Everything posted by KarenLukens

  1. I think that Oliver's basic problem with the Blue Sky was that the people that they had installing them into the trailers were not double checking to make sure that things were installed right in the first place. Then, not being installed correctly and not working and having never been checked, it was given to the customer. Then the customer had to figure out why he had no solar... This was still an in house issue and in reality, their employee's weren't given the instruction needed to correctly install it. Basically the same reason that they don't offer the Truma Comfort+ hot water heater, the products are thrown at the employee's and they have to figure it out on their own how to install it and they do their best; but like with our Truma, it just wasn't checked before final delivery. Then I found the problem after a few months, pulled the new wires between the hulls myself, mounted a new switch and fixed it myself, which unfortunately has been the standard in the industry since day one. Regardless, it's always the customer that ends up finding the real problems as they get to know their new trailer. Seriously though, Oliver really needs to work on their final check list and truly have the trailers ready when the customer comes to pick it up. Ours still had a full days work needed to finish it for delivery when we arrived. A number of the options had never been installed, but they have a great service team that came in and spent the day finishing up our trailer while we waited. Reed
  2. Because of the lack of info on the Zamp controller, any controller with a shunt will put it to shame...
  3. I thought that I would add to this being that we have been consistently using the Renogy Solar Suitcase as our main Solar System for most of the year. We have the Zamp and it continues to pulse away but here at 8am, the Zamp is putting out 1.4amps, while the Renogy Solar Suitcase is putting out 2.8amps. The 100watt Solar Suitcase is putting out twice as much as the 320watt Zamp hard wired Solar System! Then at noon, for a couple of hours the Zamp passes the Suitcase up because it has more wattage and the sun is at its highest at about 45° from the horizontal horizon. At that time the Renogy Solar Suitcase maxes out at 5.8amps and the Zamp maxes out at 6.8amps because of the 0° angle. I do have my Zamp panels tilted a touch to keep the rain rolling off of the street side, so we also take that into consideration when parking because we want to get the most out of the roof mounted panels that we can. Personally, I think that the best thing that Oliver could do if they really want to keep the Zamp system, is to Mount it on a tilting platform that will take it up to 45°... If I didn't have my Renogy Solar Suitcase, then I wouldn't have anywhere near enough Solar Power being that it is December and the shortest day of the year is right around the corner. Once again, my little 100watt Renogy Solar Suitcase is still my #1 Energy Provider. I will always wish that we had received the Blue Sky Solar, the better system over all, that we had originally ordered... This is a good thread to completely read thru for anyone interested in learning more about solar. Reed
  4. Exactly... But the newer trailers will or should keep improving as they come out because Oliver implements our fixes into the next generation of trailers. I still have a list that's waiting for a call back from them now, but one by one , each issue has been taken care of.
  5. The Scamp Camp South West RV Rally was lots of fun and I was able to really check out a 12 x 12 Clam. They are nice and it was surprisingly warm for having no heater on. The outside panels made adjusting the inside temp easy. There were just a few of us at this small Rally, but it sure is a nice area here in Sedona, Az. http://lakeshoreimages.com/18trip/scampcampsw.html Once again, Goldilocks was visited by many people on Viewing Day. It was lots of fun with lots of good people :)
  6. </span> Haha Steve :) So you have 3 panels on your roof- side by side? I know Oliver told Overland that they would add a third small panel but not another full 160... I think it was a 100watt. The 320 with the Blue Sky is a great set up :) Reed
  7. After getting the new magnets installed, the 3 stack of drawers weren't solid. I pulled them back out and found that the 1 x 2 board that held the magnets had simply 1 screw holding it in from the top... The other screw on the bottom that was at one time screwed into the 1/8" access door, was no where to be found. With nothing holding the 1 x 2 to the bottom and being that it was cut 1-1/2" too short to make a solid connection to the base... Now as an after thought, it would have been best to just cut out the 1 x 2 and replace it with one the right length that fit tight, top to bottom... but, I bought a 3" L Bracket, which did the job and the drawers are all secure. There's no way that they will come out now with the new magnets holding them, and the tension is easy to adjust simply by moving the magnets up or down the board, so that just enough touches the strike plate to give the drawers enough tension to keep them in place. I fixed them this way because I still wanted working, self closing drawers; and this way they actually snap closed into place, tightly to the magnet. It's a nice, secure sound :) Reed
  8. A lot has evolved this year and most for the good :) We had already left for Howenwald before our hull # could be given to us as it came off of the line. Oliver has had lots of growing pains this year, but from what I've seen, each trailer has a lot less problems :) Reed
  9. Hi Sherry :) What Solar controller came with your 2008? Is it the Blue Sky? We really use our solar because it more or less is free energy. We use the microwave quite a bit, plus we cook with an induction cooktop when we have the batteries charged up enough to do it. Full charge tops out at 12.7vdc for us and generally after dinner, because we have plenty of solar, this time of year when the sun sets around 5pm, we pull the batteries down to around 12.2vdc on most evenings, while cooking. We already use more propane for heating and hot water this time of year, and being able to use the solar for cooking really saves on our propane use. We use the Cobb Grill outside most every day; and that coupled with the induction burner and microwave cooks all of our dinners, unless it's raining. During the summer we prefer to park in the shade because that way we don't need a/c, so the Solar Suitcase over the last 3 years has proven itself to be the most important tool that we have in our solar set up. When we have the power to use, we use it, if not... then we use propane and a generator to charge the batteries. Because we park in the shade, an MPPT system will give us the "Maximum Power Point Tracking" that we need, which is why we chose the Oliver in the first place... Then Oliver switched over to the cheap and common "Pulse Width Modulation" Zamp system after we ordered ours and we were told that it would come with the Blue Sky System... The old school PWM systems came around in the 80's, while the MPPT is state of the art. Both the Blue Sky and the Zamp systems price tags from Oliver was $2800 for the Elite II. Once again, it's just my opinion and many other sob campers... Zamp is overpriced for being old school 1980's technology. Having a Blue Sky system prewired by Oliver and then installed elsewhere after picking up your trailer will give you the best Solar package out there. But... If you are on a budget, for $300, a 100watt Renogy Solar Suitcase or 2 will be cheaper and out perform either Zamp system used in the Oliver models because you will be able to put them in the sun and angle them for maximum Solar input. When Oliver installed the Blue Sky System they didn't even offer an external side port for adding more panels because it wasn't needed. Now with the Zamp they sell, it's and option that needs to not be passed up... Unfortunately, this needed external port being offered these days by Oliver speaks for itself... They are guiding you into adding more pannels because generally people with a PWM or Zamp system can match the MPPT system by adding a 3rd pannel. So the Blue Sky needed 320watts to make a great system, which is what fits on the roof - 160watts x 2 = 320. Or now 160watts x 3 = 480 watts needed for the Zamp. They give you an external port for a reason now... If you buy the Zamp, you Will need it... Reed
  10. I've been using cushions to keep the drawers from opening until today... Yesterday I found the magnets that I've been looking for at Ace Hardware, they are 07217, 25lb magnets made by "The Magnet Source". They're more then strong enough to hold the drawers closed by themselves and they fit the original strike plates installed in the Oliver's perfectly. I had thought originally about just doubling up on the original magnets until I saw these Yesterday. I just had to mark and lower the middle and bottom drawer screws on mine, the top drawer lined right up. I had some good 1/2" sheet metal screws with a socket head that made them easy to install and though it says that it will hold 25lbs, it's maybe 6lbs of pull to open the drawers. So they are snug but still easily opened by anyone. Here's more pics and a pic of both the old and the new... major difference. I ended up screwing them in all of the way and then backing them out 1/2 a turn. I also adjusted the strike plates out enough to hit the magnets and hold solid. We will be heading down a washboard road here in a day or so to really put them thru the test... Well, I will be going really slow anyway... but still :) Reed
  11. We use these when driving, they work really well holding everything in place. Then we take them out after arriving. We have the doubles, they work best. https://www.amazon.com/Camco-44073-Double-Refrigerator-Bar/dp/B0006IX7WY/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1513259662&sr=8-5&keywords=rv+refrigerator+door+holder
  12. I have the 3/8 cable and padlock around it securing it to the trailer that you see in the last pic in the above post. The Amazon page with the Solar System is a link for you to start with and to see the prices. That page has both MPPT & PWM systems listed and you can follow the other links in there to start yourself down the path. Basically the kits just need to be mounted and wired into the battery. Where the Solar Suitcase just has the standard battery cable clips that you connect straight to the battery and it comes complete as a plug and play basically. [attachment file=IMG_20171213_132446.jpg] The Suitcase gives me the option of being able to tilt it for full sun contact and being able to charge the batteries in the winter when the sun is never overhead. Plus it's $2000.00 cheaper then the Zamp and is a great starting system. I've had mine for over 3 years and if I didn't need it with the 320watt Zamp system that I have... you wouldn't be seeing it. One more thing is that you really need to take into consideration as far as peoples recommendations here goes are... Are the people commenting actually using their trailer right now, or are they giving you Solar info based on how well it worked in the summer time, while their trailers are sitting somewhere in storage right now... Because it really makes a difference. All Solar will work great in the sun, when it's full summer and right overhead. I'm in Arizona today, in my trailer, and the sun peaked out here at close to 45° off of the horizon started going back down. The suitcase is pointing right at it and it is my main set of panels right now. One of the reasons that I am here is to learn about upgrading my Solar on the roof. In this pic, you see Marks Bigfoot and our Oliver. Mark put in the Bogart Tri-metrics 2030-RV - 400 watt system and total cost was around $1400 and it beats the Zamp hands down. He also is using his Renogy Solar Suitcase, just like I am on the front of his trailer. We have circled the wagons and are ready for anything. Reed
  13. Remember that when driving, the trailer gets fully charged by your tow vehicle, so if your stopping for the night at Walmart, Solar doesn't work at night anyway and when you drive off in the morning, your car will charge the trailer right back up to full... There's no need to use Solar in a temporary stop because your trailer will be fully charged already from your tow vehicle. Reed
  14. Basically I'm saying, do your research! I did... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015DEY2TM/ref=psdc_2236628011_t2_B06VY9DVY9 My other pic didn't stay in the post above, so here it is, pointed right at the sun. I took both pics at 8am here in Sedona, Az.
  15. Yup, I still have the solar on top of my unit but look at the difference in the angle that I can get with the Suitcase and also look at the shadow being cast behind it. Enlarge the pic to see it clearly. The wire just comes out the battery door while being protected by the rubber seal. This time of year, the sun doesn't go up over your head, it just comes up and follows the horizon around a bit, then goes back down; so having a flat panel on the roof like you see in my pic has no chance of pointing at the sun at all - all day... So I'm getting more amps and full charging capability out of the Solar Suitcase that I have pointed directly at the sun. Being that the Elite has a has a marginal 200watt system in the first place, you would be better off just not buying it because you will get more watts out of the Suitcase being pointed at the sun. Why is Oliver charging $2300 for a 200watt system that doesn't even tell you how many amps it's putting out? The Suitcase here is only $260.00, it tells you the amps, volts, etc... Pretty much a no brainier... https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Watts-Monocrystalline-Foldable-Suitcase/dp/B00HR8YNK6/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1513178363&sr=8-3&keywords=Renogy+100+watt+solar+suitcase Or here's another one - $200.00 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XWL79L7/ref=sxr_sxwds-rbp_1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_p=3346373122&pd_rd_wg=ZEz1m&pf_rd_r=9XM21JF7CEREGERK1ZZK&pf_rd_s=desktop-rhs-carousels&pf_rd_t=301&pd_rd_i=B06XWL79L7&pd_rd_w=85Epv&pf_rd_i=Renogy+100+watt+solar+suitcase&pd_rd_r=bf159435-2b1d-41c2-98ca-7e4598213709&ie=UTF8&qid=1513178363&sr=1 Personally, after doing my research, I can honestly say that I got ripped off on the Zamp Solar... I was told by the Oliver Sales team that The Blue Sky 320watt MPPT system was what was being installed on my trailer and to me, that was a high price, but worth it because Blue Sky is top of the line. I didn't find out about the bait and switch until I picked up my trailer, and then I'd never heard of Zamp and didn't know their reputation of selling their systems for way more then they're worth... Learn the difference between an old school PWM Solar System and the new state of the art MPPT systems. Take the time and make your own decisions. Anyone offering advice that has a trailer made before this year (2017), has the Blue Sky System, which is a really good system and unfortunately you will hear them say how great their system is, but the reality is that Oliver doesn't put this great system into their trailers anymore... So they can say all of the great things they want too about theirs and it's all true, but your Zamp system isn't even in the same ball park... Save yourself a THOUSAND dollars or more and put in your own 200watt system. There are many great systems to choose from, here's one - https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Monocrystalline-Solar-Starter-Wanderer/dp/B00BCRG22A/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1513178363&sr=8-2-spons&keywords=Renogy+100+watt+solar+suitcase&psc=1 [attachment file=IMG_20171213_075727_1.jpg] Reed
  16. The Renogy Solar Suitcase doesn't need a port... It has its own controller built in and only costs a few hundred dollars. I have mine clipped right on to the battery and the wire runs safely out the battery door, no need for drilling, no need for any Zamp port or any different wiring. Having a fixed system that can't be pointed at the sun isn't getting the most bang for your buck :) I will take some better pictures after the sun comes up here in a couple hours. I simply clipped on the battery clips, then closed the door and locked it. Then I have a safety cable padlocking it to the trailer so it won't walk off. I'm in a safe place, but I bought the cable and it's part of the system.
  17. After looking at the options for the Elite and being on a limited budget, I would not order any options that you can not put in yourself at a later date. I would definitely not waste my time with a 200watt Solar system because you will get more out of a 100watt Renogy Solar Suitcase that you can point directly at the sun. I have the Zamp 320watt system in my Elite II and still I always use the Renogy Solar Suitcase to charge my batteries. Especially this time of year when the sun is low on the horizon. The Zamp solar panels just point up and have basically no adjustment. You can do so much better getting Solar on your own or just by pointing the 100watt Renogy System at the sun that it blows the Elite 200watt system totally out of the running. You can get a way better 200watt system for under $1000.00, so be sure to ask Oliver how much they are going to charge you to put in their Zamp system... Zamp has partnered with other RV companies as well and are known by consumers to be good, reliable, and way over priced... If it's just going to be you... do you need an inverter? Regardless, if your getting it with the microwave then, yes get the inverter but if not, then you can put your own inverter in later. Karen uses ours daily with an induction cook top and the microwave, but that's 2 of us. If you want to get the inverter, then get the Lifeline Battery Upgrade. No microwave, no induction cooktop, no inverter = no need for extra batteries that you can put in later. Personally, I would get both the inverter and the batteries. The only other option that I would consider is the Truma water heater because in the long run, it saves water and propane. Honestly, none of the rest matter to me because I can put in my own options, exactly where I want them and when I can afford them. Reed
  18. Hello and Welcome :) We have limited mobility also and the best additions are a grab bar outside the closet because you can reach it in the bathroom and when coming in from outside. Then the screen door bar and then the curtain rod over the door in the bathroom because it's strong enough to use for pulling yourself up. Then we have also added quick disconnects to all of the water inlets and I use a chair most of the time when setting up. With these additions, mobility is doable. Reed
  19. Thanks :) We live in the snow and the stock tires just spun... Lol...
  20. I measured the ground on mine at 8.6vdc if I remember, here's the link - http://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/2015-oliver-elite-ii-12-vdc-negative-connection-issue/
  21. The Comfort is what sold me on the Silverado, I liked the F150 but I have a lot more room in the Chevy. Scotty, have you checked your trailer ground? There's a big thread on it. I had the disconnect issue with my Mercedes and had to use the TowReady also, but then I found that I had the bad ground issue with my trailer, ran a ground from the 7 pin connector straight to the trailers frame and the disconnect issue disappeared allowing me to take off the TowReady. Now my trailer charges right away strait from the TV also. Reed
  22. I've been stuck with all 4 wheels off of the ground before, while crossing a wash in our big 76 crew cab long bed, then I have also had it bottom out off-road many times. It still gets the job done but tearing up the underside became normal. I really like the short wheelbase on my 78 Chevy Step Side and that truck is a brute with Detroit Lockers front and rear, making it a great ranch truck and we use it to drag trees and pull boulders mostly. But it's a beast and these days our older backs need a better ride while towing, then what that old work truck can give. With the Oliver community, like the Casita and overall Fiberglass trailer community... Going with just what is needed is part of the fun. Plus I wanted the short bed for the shorter wheelbase for off-roading. I ended up putting the Yakima Box from my Mercedes ML up on the roof, and right now that holds our chairs and heavy coats and clothes that we don't use every day, along with our trailer decorations, Solar lights, etc. In the last 5 years, we have gone from summer long tent campers being out for 4 months strait into today, basically full timing in our Oliver. Technically we're not considered full timer's because we still have a home and we still go home every few months to take a break. But this year we are trying out being Snow Birds for the first time and are now wintering here with our Oliver in Arizona. I guess the point is, we have really downsized from back in the tent days and are doing just fine not carrying everything that we can think of that we "might" use. Right now, we're using maybe 2/3rds of the short bed and mostly it has my box of leveling blocks, extra Solar, generator, gas, bbq, tables and screen tent in it. Plus it has room for groceries, etc. We've really cut down on the extra gear that we don't use and we are close to having the perfect set up for us by taking out things that just sit there every time we get home. I really thought about putting a shell on the truck bed, but figured that with more room, comes more places to put more junk... :) And the idea is to take less these days and I'm just saying, we have plenty of room with the short bed and the crew cab. I like being able to see out the windows and over the bed of the truck, which is something that you just don't have with a shell on the back.Yes, you can see fine with a shell, with the mirrors, but there's still a big difference with being able to just look out the back window with the Tonneau cover. I've had plenty of Shells in the past and needed them for all of the equipment needed for different jobs over the years and eventually moved to a Suburban with double back doors for keeping things dry and easily accessible. So... this is my first tonneau cover since highschool... and I like it :) Being in the desert, we need to think about extra water, so we bought a 45 gallon bladder tank that can either be put on the roof, in the truck bed - or on top of the tonneau cover (which is aluminum and rated to hold 350lbs). So, I have 2 options for the extra water and up on the roof, under the roof rack is going to be my first place to try, being that this will allow me to still open up the sliding tonneau when needed. Lots of our friends have different tonneau covers and shells. And I really like the sliding Roll'nLock, so I went this route... But now, after thinking about hauling water... a roll up would have been a better choice for the bladder, being that I could put the bladder up by the window and still reach the back half of the bed by rolling back the cover... Hind sight is only learned over time :) lol. And if I end up hauling it on top of the cover, I will put it on the back end and see if the cover will still slide back with the extra 320lbs of water that I will be carrying in Quartzite at the next Rally. I do really like the Roll'nLock cover though and so far it has done a good job of keeping things dry, though with it being new, and now this new need for carrying more water, it has given me second thoughts... I'm rambling a bit, it's my time of the morning 6am and it's time to get up and make some coffee :) The whole point of this post was to say that I like the shortbed because it still gives me plenty of extra room to add more "stuff" if needed, and it keeps me thinking about what the next item will be. There's another thread that goes over different types of tonneau covers, but right now for me, I can see where the roll back styles can make a difference as long as they have the ability to carry more cargo on top because the fold ups and the slide like I have will be harder to maneuver around with extra gear or in my case, water stored on top. http://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/bed-toys-for-the-truck/
  23. Bill, I guess it's just preference cause to me it looks like great clearance for wheel travel offroad and was a practical selling point for the type of driving that I do. I'd never thought about it before and I like the different look of the whole thing, while knowing that I won't be even close to scraping fenders off-road. John, I would do some research, I can't see why you couldn't run high octane and many cars require it for best performance as you know. Because if your at 10,000' high octane is the way to go for power. The first time that I actually added Octane Boost to my tank, I took it up to around 105 octane and I could really feel the difference, it was flat out incredible. I was moving my sister from Los Angeles back to Auburn, Cal. Either way, it was expensive but the additive was well worth it because the milage increase along with the power increase made the summit a breeze. It came with Good Year A/T's that to me, had a tread pattern for streets and they proved themselves to be worthless off of the pavement when they started spinning in my driveway, forcing me to switch to 4wd to keep from tearing it up. So my son works for Wheel Pro's and recommended the Nitto Ridge Grapplers for towing and I love them. The A/T's took 32psi and I have 50 in the front and 60psi in the back with the Ridge Grapplers. They stick to the road a lot better and have an aggressive enough tread pattern to retain decent milage, while still giving me good all around offroad performance... I can back up in my driveway in 2wd again... Lol. Before - Too much Chrome for me... After - This is my first set of Ridge Grapplers and I trust our son, he knows his tires and the places that I need to be able to get into off-road :) Dave, I carry an extra 5gallons for the generator, but its dual purpose. You can get a 34 gallon tank but with all of the gear, 26 works fine for me. I don't let myself get caught short and these days, there's gas stations everywhere and we haven't had a problem even taking it down to almost empty. The nice thing about the new trucks is that they tell you how many miles you have left to go before needing a fill up. I think of back in the day, when you had a standard 15 gallon tank... I'm averaging 13.2mpg towing under normal flat conditions in the valleys on the freeway, so the milage is good enough. We will be off-road today here in Sedona, Az having some fun down here in the sun :) Reed
  24. As far as the truck itself goes, it is comfortable and is a joy to drive. Being that I opted out of the Duramax, I went ahead and bought the top of the line High Country with the Max Tow Package. This gives me a max towing capacity of 11,000 lbs with the 8 speed automatic transition. I chose the 4x4 package for 2 reasons and mostly for the low range that really is needed when backing the Oliver up my driveway. And for the automatic locking differential also known as limited slip posi-traction, which if you know what you are doing, makes for an excellent choice for driving under slippery conditions. All of the trailering options that I chose come standard with the High Country but I did opt out of the trailering mirrors because I wanted the automatic folding mirrors for when off-roading. Back in the day, before everything became automatic, getting a posi rear end was a bit more dangerous to drive because when you hit ice with both back tires spinning, it would allow the truck to slide sideways a lot more easily. But these days with all of the sensors built in and the ability to change your trucks ability to match the road conditions, posi is a good safe option that will allow all 4 tires to spin instead of the old school 2 opposing front and rear tires with the least amount of traction spinning, while the other 2 that are firm on the ground aren't allowed to grip by the differentials. I've always opted for the posi when I have had the choice and I have spun out on icy roads more then once :) But today, in this truck, you have lots of choices to choose from and AWD or All Wheel Drive is one of the choices that I really enjoy. Most of the time when towing on gravel roads, I will choose AWD because it is one of those quick shift on the fly options that puts the tires with the most traction in control. Before choosing the Chevy, I did drive and look over every other option available with a tow capacity of 7000 lbs or more, and I chose this vehicle for the Comfort and all of the adjustments that can be made to the seat while driving. Plus it has 2 program-able seat choices that are locked into the memory, that make it easy to switch over when on those long haul days. For me, the Chevy was as comfortable as my Mercedes as far as driving, with plenty of extra leg room, less the vibrating seats that Mercedes offers that really does also help when driving long distances. More to come... Reed
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