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mountainborn

Trailer loading, how critical is it ? Just take a look:

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This photo was taken in Miami Arizona, we were pulling with no weight distribution hitch and no sway bar. We were headed to our campground assignment at 10,800 feet in New Mexico. To get to our campground we had to climb LaManga pass and climb 3000 feet in five miles. The formula for success is balancing your loads and keeping a low center of gravity.

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I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth 08' Oliver Legacy Elite HULL NUMBER 0003(sold)

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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.

 

 

 

 


John


"I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt."


LE2 #92 (sold),   Black Series HQ19   

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For me, the scary thing is that I just might be the one driving beside or behind those people when that axle decides to let go.

 

Bill


2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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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.

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John


"I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt."


LE2 #92 (sold),   Black Series HQ19   

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RASPY said "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."

 

Just received a message from my sister. Here is a part of it:

 

Me too, last month we took the trailer in for service and they found four cracks in the frame, couldn't even give the trailer away, we paid $2,700 on fixing it. Seems like when it rains it pours.

 

I won't call the manufacturer's brand name, but the experience is sadly pretty common. This really makes one appreciate the sometimes referred to as "overbuilt" Oliver frame.

 

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I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth 08' Oliver Legacy Elite HULL NUMBER 0003(sold)

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In addition to proper loading, a stand alone sway control unit could be used, too. I'm in the installation process with this unit, plan to check pickup/trailer turning clearance and adjust cable lengths today when the rain stops.

 

This may not be the final location for the Sway Control, will see. Did not drill any holes in the Ollie hitch/frame during installation, used aluminum angle to mount. Our Ollie comes in at 4960 pounds ready to camp with empty fresh, grey, & black tanks. Not using a WDH for now, but wanted to try this sway control since the Tundra manual requires a trailer sway control for trailers over 2000 pounds. We have not had any stability issues with the Ollie. Will post installation thread after completed installation and testing.

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Bill

LE2 Tundra

 

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I won’t call the manufacturer’s brand name, but the experience is sadly pretty common. This really makes one appreciate the sometimes referred to as “overbuilt” Oliver frame.  

Be aware that while the Oliver frame is overbuilt and very strong, aluminum can and does crack when subjected to lots of stress. Steel is much more tolerant of abuse and is easier to repair when it does fail. Very few welders are capable of doing quality work with aluminum - it takes a good deal of experience and a certain amount of artistry to "run a pretty bead" in aluminum.

 

Oliver frames are beautiful and hell for strong. One reason I wish that they would offer a much better suspension is to reduce the likelihood of cracks developing due to rough usage twenty or thirty years after they are delivered. The rubber EZ Flex equalizers should help in this respect, but it is not ideal.

 

Can anyone comment? Have any owners seen frame failures due to other factors than collision or mishap?

 

BTW I have had a marine grade aluminum utility trailer that has seen hard use for thirteen years, but when not bouncing around on forest roads it leads a sheltered indoor life. I have yet to see any cracks. I have never overloaded it.

 

Another BTW a friend has a new Jayco TT and it has had countless issues in the few months since he bought it. It amazes me that consumers put up with the garbage construction and horrible engineering that goes into nearly every RV on the road. Why do they keep buying this stick and staple junk without rebelling?

 

Rant over.

 

Thanks,

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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This really makes one appreciate the sometimes referred to as “overbuilt” Oliver frame.

 

Here's additional Ollie frame photos taken earlier this year during a factory tour:

 

Frame upside down in the frame weld fixture:


Bill

LE2 Tundra

 

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I don't know about the Oliver frame being over-engineered.  Intuitively, it looks strong, but the only evidence we have that it lives up to its appearance is the fact that we don't have people complaining of failures.  Thats good evidence as it goes though.  I remember being told that Oliver strengthened the frame at some point - I don't know the motivation behind that.

 

Perhaps it's academic.  I don't know what effect the frame stiffness has on towability - perhaps some.  More importantly, I don't think the overall stiffness of the frame is as important to an Oliver as it is to many other brands.  On most trailers, the frame is truly the foundation off of which everything is built.  On the Oliver, the hulls seem structurally sound enough on their own, so the frame mostly serves to distribute the loads from the suspension.

 

One nice bonus of that arrangement is that if the frame ever did fail, I feel like it would be fairly easy for Oliver to lift the hull off the frame for repair or replacement, rather than writing off the entire trailer like you'd have to with the cheapy stick built brands.

 

What's important to consider on the Oliver frame is the tongue section and how well it absorbs vibration and loads from both the trailer and the tow vehicle.  Welded aluminum is always a cause for concern - it's a tricky weld in that it is very easy to overheat the aluminum surrounding the weld, which causes it to loose strength and become brittle.  That said, a good welder is a good welder, and Oliver seems to have some good welders.  One thing I like about their design is that the weld joints are staggered so that there isn't a straight line of joints going from side to side that are subjected to direct bending forces.  The staggered arrangement means that each joint for the most part experiences only shear forces.

 

For highway driving, I would put all the trust in the world in it.  I'm a little nervous about long-term gravel road use because of the constant vibrations.  I agree with John that the EZ Flex equalizers are a good buy if you plan to take the trailer on rough roads.  I'm considering going a step further with the Center Point equalizers but that may be overkill and isn't an easy swap out like the EZ Flex. http://www.lci1.com/center-point

 

One thing I'd like Oliver to offer, perhaps as an upgrade, would be a set of gusset plates at the key stress points of the frame that are huck bolted to the frame.  Again, that's arguably overkill.

 

I'm definitely looking forward to Bill's thread on his sway control unit.

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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So, what does loaded too heavy in the trailer's rear look like out on the highway ? Here is a look:

 

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I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth 08' Oliver Legacy Elite HULL NUMBER 0003(sold)

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Larry,

 

Testing the Hayes electronic Sway Master on the Ollie yesterday. This unit dampens sway quickly, very impressed with this unit. Did not have sway issues with the Ollie before installation. Installed this unit because the Tundra's manual requires a sway device when trailer is over 2000 pounds.

 

Making 180 degree turn checking clearance:

 

 

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Bill

LE2 Tundra

 

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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.

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John


"I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt."


LE2 #92 (sold),   Black Series HQ19   

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Bill,

 

Thanks for the information about the Sway Master. Like you, I haven't experienced any sway issues towing my Ollie with the naked Bulldog hitch, but better safe than sorry. I have a Prodigy RF brake controller. I contacted Hayes and their technical support people did some research and concluded that I can use Sway Master with the Prodigy unit. eTrailer confirms.

 

Don

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Don

 

2020 Conqueror UEV 490 Extreme Platinum

 

 

2019 Ram Rebel

 

 

States I visited with my Ollie (Sold October, 2019)

 

 

States Visited Map

 

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Bill, Thanks for the information about the Sway Master. Like you, I haven’t experienced any sway issues towing my Ollie with the naked Bulldog hitch, but better safe than sorry. I have a Prodigy RF brake controller. I contacted Hayes and their technical support people did some research and concluded that I can use Sway Master with the Prodigy unit. eTrailer confirms. Don

 

Don,

 

I will post a installation thread this month. Sending information to Oliver for them to consider, too.

 

Thanks!


Bill

LE2 Tundra

 

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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.

Do you have and pictures, or better yet, video you can share? This is the scenario I am most interested in: how well the trailer performs when the road goes away.

 

Thanks.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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Making 180 degree turn checking clearance:

 

I am unclear - did the unit clear your bumper before any other part of the trailer touched? If not, you are 3 inches from possibly expensive damage to the sway control.

 

Can it be relocated to the top of the A frame? It would be much better protected there, and you could even make a spray/ rock guard for it.

 

I have "hard jackknifed" a trailer a few  times over the decades and it inevitably happens when you find yourself in a tricky, unexpected situation and you are either in danger, in a hurry or just tired. It is very important to minimize the damage to both trailer and TV that occurs when this happens.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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John,

 

That photo shows while making a 180 degree turn, Sway Master position with no parts contacting. Placing the Sway Control on top could come close open tailgates, depending on mounting bracket space needed in addition to the Sway Master height.


Bill

LE2 Tundra

 

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John,

 

No pictures yet,   My stomping ground is Death Valley, Saline Valley, the Eastern Sierra and Nevada backroads.    Pix soon, I hope.

 

I've already got my heavy duty greaseable equalizer and bushing kit ready to install.  Love the clean undercarriage, proper weight distribution and 16" LT tires with no plumbing hanging down.


John


"I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt."


LE2 #92 (sold),   Black Series HQ19   

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John, That photo shows while making a 180 degree turn, Sway Master position with no parts contacting. Placing the Sway Control on top could come close open tailgates, depending on mounting bracket space needed in addition to the Sway Master height.

Well, your photo shows an 80 degree turn, not a 180, but it still looks like you would smash the unit if you reverse the TV just a few more inches. Did you actually check to see what finally hits when you reach the very end of jackknifing?

 

Have you thought about installing a ball mount that extends to the rear about 4 more inches? That would probably eliminate the clearance issue entirely, at the sway control.

 

I'm not trying to be a PITA, I just think you might be risking expensive damage that can easily be avoided.

 

But I am still completely in the dark on what hits what.... something has to touch, eventually

 

John Davies

 

Spokane wA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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John, No pictures yet, My stomping ground is Death Valley, Saline Valley, the Eastern Sierra and Nevada backroads. Pix soon, I hope. I’ve already got my heavy duty greaseable equalizer and bushing kit ready to install. Love the clean undercarriage, proper weight distribution and 16″ LT tires with no plumbing hanging down.

Please start a new general Offroad Towing thread with pics and comments. Maybe other current (adventurous) owners can add more media and comments.

 

I am looking forward to this!

 

Thanks.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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John, That photo shows while making a 180 degree turn, Sway Master position with no parts contacting. Placing the Sway Control on top could come close open tailgates, depending on mounting bracket space needed in addition to the Sway Master height.

Well, your photo shows an 80 degree turn, not a 180, but it still looks like you would smash the unit if you reverse the TV just a few more inches.

 

John,

 

The 80 degree hitch angle seen in the photo was taken while 1/2 way through a 180 degree turn (reversed rig direction of travel 180 degree LH turn) in a small cul-de-sac. Did not back up.

 

Hope that helps,


Bill

LE2 Tundra

 

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