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The Technomadia Oliver - Construction Diary

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I have been chronicling every step of our process in getting an Oliver online here:

 

http://radven.livejournal.com/tag/oliver

 

So far I've posted about everything from picking the ideal solar controller to deciding upon fabrics and tiles.

 

Today - Robert sent me the first construction photos from the factory floor!

 

Here are the photos of our Oliver's shell being born:

http://radven.livejournal.com/132274.html

 

I've also started a Flickr set for all the construction photos here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/radven/set ... 655574383/

 

I will update this thread whenever new photos head my way.

 

I'm excited!

 

- Chris

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Ah, I remember those days fondly . . . seeing pictures of the "Wonder Egg" during its 6 week gestation cycle was great fun. Your anticipation is palpable. Enjoy this time of your "baby's" birth. :lol: There's nothing like it!


Pete & "Bosker".    TV -  '18 F150 Super-cab Fx4; RV  - "The Wonder Egg";   '08 Elite, Hull Number 014.


Travel blog of 1st 10 years' wanderings - http://www.peteandthewonderegg.blogspot.com


ABBCMBNBNLNSONPEQCSKYTALAKAZARCACOCTFLGAHIIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNJNMNYNCNDOHOKORPAPRSCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYsm.jpg

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Hi Chris,

 

Looks great - I'm sure that you're like a kid just before Christmas.

 

Seeing these photos reminds me how much the Oliver construction is like a modern sail or power boat. I think that the full fiberglass inner liner really makes a difference in terms of structural integrity, durability, weatherproofing, etc. There are some trade-offs in terms in layout flexibility, but all in all the net result is well worth it.

 

I'll be interested to see additional photos as your new rig progresses down the line!

 

Stuart

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I've gotten another batch of photos from Robert.

 

See them and read my journal update here:

http://radven.livejournal.com/136235.html

 

I've also created a Flickr set chronicling all the photos I've gotten so far:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/radven/set ... 655574383/

 

The two bottom shells have been attached to the frame, and it looks like they are in the process of attaching the inner top shell.

 

Next Wednesday we will be stopping in to visit the Oliver factory on our way up to St. Louis. It will be exciting to get to look at our trailer in person while it is under construction. I can't wait, and I imagine I will be taking 100's of pictures... *grin*

 

- Chris

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Chris, thanks for posting all your pictures and all the information. I'm sure it is helpful for all of us who are interested in these trailers.

 

Do you know how many trailers Oliver can have in production simultaneously?

 

In your conversations with Robert did you find out if you have to unroll the entire shore power cord in order to use it, or just the length you need to reach your outlet? I know you are opting out of the power cord reel, and so may I, if it ALL has to be unrolled before using it.

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The shore power cord can be used with any length unrolled. Presently at my home I have a hook up mounted inside the building where the is stored. I only have to extend it about 4 feet. The power reel is a really nice option. I would not have considered deleting it. I doubt that you would gain over one cubic foot of "extra" storage space. And that space would be virtually inaccessable under the front dinette seating area.

 

As far as the number of units in production at one time, I have been to the factory 4 times over the past 4 months. There have always been about 5-6 trailers coming down the line in various stages of construction. There are usually 2-3 more sitting there waiting for pickup. It is fun to be able to drop in and see your Oliver under construction.

 

We only had a couple of major mods made to our trailer. We had our tongue made longer to enable the rear gate of our Jeep to open without hitting the generator mounting. We also had a 2 inch receiver mounted on each of the aft ends of our frame rails. This will allow me to construct a basket to carry misc. stuff on the outside. We also opted for the twin bed model (in a modified form-there were certain aspects of the original design we didn't want to lose.) There is a considerable amount of "extra" storage space with this configuration.


Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

      ALAKAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMA       ABBCMBNSYTsm.jpg

 

 

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Thanks Scubarx, I will keep the power cord reel. I just did not want to have to unroll all 40 feet of cord every time I hooked up to shore power. Often electrical reels have to be totally unrolled in order to avoid the excess heat of the current.

 

My wife and I are also wanting to know more about the twin bed option, primarily to gain the extra storage it affords. I haven't gotten the opportunity to talk to Robert yet and Michelle Sisco is new to Oliver and not that familiar with the trailer yet.

 

Can you give us some idea of how much extra storage can be gained with this option, and how accessible and convenient is that extra storage. I understand you give up the large table and the sleeping capacity is reduced from 3 to 2 with the option. It also appears that you gain some food preparation space just to the right of the stove with this option.

 

Please tell us more about the twin bed option. Anything you can tell us that would help us make an informed decision would be much appreciated.

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In your conversations with Robert did you find out if you have to unroll the entire shore power cord in order to use it, or just the length you need to reach your outlet? I know you are opting out of the power cord reel, and so may I, if it ALL has to be unrolled before using it.

 

The winder works just like with a garden hose - you only need to unwind the length you need. I couldn't imagine a system that required the full length uncoiled - egads!

 

- Chris

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DougI, are you not also planning to upgrade to a quality converter/charger, which would then require the deletion of the power reel for space reasons? Perhaps you have found something that fits in the location of the standard charger? Based on your recommendation in another thread, I'm also considering a smart charger and battery monitor; however, I'd rather keep the power reel if possible.

 

For those that have the power reel, I assume you can use one hand to control the switch and another to drag a towel on the cord to wipe off any water/dirt before it enters the trailer? I'm assuming that this would be a difficult area to clean otherwise.

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Yes, Herm, I would like to keep the power cord reel AND have a good inverter/charger with a good amp-hour meter to monitor amp-hours consumed and amp-hours restored to the two battery bank. Some of these inverter/chargers are rather large and weigh almost 40 pounds. We will likely have to try to find a smaller and lighter unit, like a Xantrex Pro Sine 2.0, which I already have in my existing trailer. I would have to remove it from my existing trailer and have it installed in the Oliver. You can often get factory reconditioned units, as I did directly from Xantrex, for a good savings compared to buying a new unit.

 

Since I haven't had the opportunity to talk with Robert about my trailer, I don't know if I can have both the inverter/charger and the power cord reel. I bet we can get both, but that remains to be seen.

 

With a good smart charger, we could recharge our battery bank from 50-60% discharged to 85% charged in about an hour of generator run time, or maybe less. Maybe the stock set up is better than I think it is at recharging the batteries quickly. We can ask Robert what he thinks about the stock unit. If it will recharge the batteries quickly from 50-60% discharged to 85% charged with an hour of generator run time, then that is about all we can realistically hope to accomplish. If that is doable with the stock units, then we can get small inexpensive portable inverters to power our satellite receivers, which pull very little AC current, and use 12V coffee makers to brew coffee and use 12V hair curlers for the ladies. That would cause us not to need a hard wired inverter as much. We could run other stuff, like power impact drivers or hair driers directly off our outside portable generators. Not the best set up, but doable.

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Here is the battery monitor that I have in my existing RV. I love it. I am asking Robert to put it in my Oliver if he feels it will be compatible with the Oliver (I don't know why it wouldn't be).

 

Check it out here:

 

http://www.amplepower.com/products/batmon/

 

These people serve the sailing and boating folks, who place their very lives in their battery monitors reliability.

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I haven't had the chance to speak with Robert either yet...considering our late pickup dates, he's probably got more pressing issues to deal with. It seems the first thing we need to know is the dimensions of the space where the stock charger sits. Then, we can hopefully find something to fit, assuming the stock unit is inadequate. If you've already got a nice converter/charger, I'm sure you like to be able to re-use it in the Oliver. I doubt you'd recover the full value if sold with your 5er.

 

I also feel I can make do without a high-watt inverter, which should also encourage energy conservation. Like you said, those high-power devices can always be just plugged directly into the generator. Thanks for the tip on factory-refurbished units...I can't believe what some of those units (especially the true sine wave ones) cost!

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We only had a couple of major mods made to our trailer. We had our tongue made longer to enable the rear gate of our Jeep to open without hitting the generator mounting. We also had a 2 inch receiver mounted on each of the aft ends of our frame rails. This will allow me to construct a basket to carry misc. stuff on the outside.

 

Scubarx,

Do you have any pictures of the extended tongue and the receiver hitch mod? I really like your ideas and think this might work for me as well.

 

Thanks,

Kyle

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Hi Kyle,

 

I posted this same response in another thread, but will repeat it here in case you missed it there....

 

I am at work today, but I will try to get some pictures of the modification up tonight after I get home.

 

I know a picture would be better than all these words but basically, what I had Daniel do is to weld a piece of aluminum tubing onto the rear of each frame rail. They are mounted far enough from the end of the rail to still allow the rear bumper to fold down. He drilled a hole thru each to receive a hitch pin. My plan is to build a rear carrier that utilizes both of these at the same time by sliding into and extending between each of them. I will fabricate the frame of the carrier to bring it up once it clears the rear bumper. This will eliminate any chance of it dragging when going thru any low spots. Although it would, I don’t plan on this rack being required to carry huge amounts of weight, probably 100 pounds or less. I plan to make it out of 1 inch tubing and expanded wire.

 

If you go to: http://www.flickr.com/groups/oliver-trailers/ you can see some pictures that I posted of the under construction. Pict 5075 and Pict 5094 shows the longer tongue and, if you look closely in Pict 5105, you can just see the receivers welded under the frame rails.

 

I'll take some new pictures tonight that will show the finished product and how it looks.

 

Any other info I can share, I will be glad to do so...

 

Steve


Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

      ALAKAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMA       ABBCMBNSYTsm.jpg

 

 

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Robert gave me a call yesterday to let me know he had seen my Construction Update #3, and he wanted to point out a few areas I had gotten my photo descriptions wrong. I had assumed that the photos showed the top inner shell being attached to the bottom two shells, when in fact the inner top and bottom shells are actually joined together first, and the entire inner egg is lowered into the bottom shell at once.

 

He apologized for causing my confusion over the order that the shells are assembled because he had missed taking a photo of a key construction step while he was out on vacation. He then sent me some more photos to make sure I was able to understand and document the entire construction process.

 

Have I mentioned just how awesome the folks at the Oliver factory are?

 

Here is the newest construction update post, with many more pictures:

http://radven.livejournal.com/137451.html

 

I'll attach a few more photos of our Oliver here too.

 

One thing Robert let me know is that with our Oliver they are trying a new ceramic insulation as a replacement for the Lizard Skin they had been using. It shows up in the pictures as a tan area. If it works well, I imagine that it will become the new Oliver standard.

 

Cheers!

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Late on Friday I got an email from Robert at the Oliver factory:

 

"I had to get these to you for the weekend, too “sweet”.

 

Sweet indeed - we have solar panels!!!

 

Look at all the photos here: http://radven.livejournal.com/137695.html

 

What an exciting thing to see before the weekend. I can't wait to see it all in person next week!

 

- Chris

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Chris, that really looks nice, and functional.

 

i just may opt for the same thing on mine, and leave off the satellite dome, especially if I can get an XM satellite radio installed.

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I am also envious of what you got there! Those panels fit a lot better than I would have imagined. Are those the AM100 panels, and did Oliver fabricate the custom mounting hardware? I couldn't tell from your photos...where exactly does the wiring penetrate the roof? Would it be feasible to remove the panels, say for seasonal storage?

 

Thanks for sharing!

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I am also envious of what you got there! Those panels fit a lot better than I would have imagined. Are those the AM100 panels, and did Oliver fabricate the custom mounting hardware? I couldn't tell from your photos...where exactly does the wiring penetrate the roof? Would it be feasible to remove the panels, say for seasonal storage?

 

Yep, they are two AM100's joined together. Oliver came up with the custom mounting brackets to allow for this. It looks like they have done an excellent job.

 

I'm not sure where the wiring will enter the trailer.

 

As for seasonal storage - why? Solar panels are designed to be outdoors and in use for 30 years straight, in all weather conditions. I'm not sure what season you would ever want to store them...

 

- Chris

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Chris, what are your plans for raising and lowering your panels? I assume it has to be done manually. A step ladder, carried on or in your Jeep, perhaps?

 

Do they tilt from either side or just from one side? Do they tilt fore to aft as well as side to side?

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Chris, since you are using your trailer for long-term living, I wondered if you chose the twin bed option (with more storage) or the standard double bed (with more dining and sleeping capacity)?

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Hi Doug,

 

Tali and I chose the twin bed model (with modifications) for the in part for the extra storage space. In a unit this small storage is at a premium. With this option, you get a drawer under the rear sleeping space that would have been the area under the table in the standard Oliver. This drawer is easily the capacity of the other three combined. You also get extra counter space of about 4 square feet. Under that counter there is another storage area of the same size. This area is more difficult to access as you get to it from under the drop-leaf table that is installed in lieu of the standard rear dinette, but we find it very handy to store items that you don't need very often such as extra soft drinks, water, canned goods, etc. An added benefit to this area is that items can’t slide out of it during travel.

 

In Oliver’s standard twin bed option you also lose the front dinette. We choose to keep that and to make it into the bed when needed. We felt that this was the best option for our needs.

 

This modification gives us more storage, more floor space, more counter top area and generally a more open feeling/look to an already small space.


Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

      ALAKAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMA       ABBCMBNSYTsm.jpg

 

 

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Chris, since you are using your trailer for long-term living, I wondered if you chose the twin bed option (with more storage) or the standard double bed (with more dining and sleeping capacity)?

 

I couldn't imagine full time living without a bed big enough to cuddle in. Egads!

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Scubarx, thanks for the info. I did not realize that with the standard twin bed option you loose the street side dinette for two people. That's good to know. I thought that area stayed the same. I don't understand what takes the place of the area underneath the street-side table for two when you opt for the standard twin bed option. Do you get a third extra storage cabinet there as well?

 

Tell me, which table do you end up using the most? The street side table for two, or the curb-side table for two that attaches to the isle side of the extra storage cabinet where you put your canned goods, water, etc.? I was wondering just how convenient that curb-side table was, since someone has to sit on the rear bed to eat off it and since it obstructs access to the storage cabinet to which it is attached. I wonder how life would be for you without that table? It would force you to take up the street side bed every morning and put it back down every evening so you could have access to your only table in the trailer during the day.

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