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John E Davies

“RV Industry Death Spiral” articles

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StoicJim mentioned this in passing in another thread. It is so important I thought it should have its own thread.

 

“SUN CITY, Ariz. — At the request of many readers, RV Daily Report has compiled all eight editorials from the RV Industry Death Spiral series into one document that is available to download today.

 

The series of editorials which looked at critical problems with every segment within the RV industry including, manufacturers, suppliers, dealers, campgrounds, associations, RV owners and the RV media, has been read by nearly 80,000 people from around the world.”

 

https://rvdailyreport.com/industry/download-rv-industry-death-spiral-complete-series/

 

I heavily researched RVs and Oliver in particular before buying two years ago. I knew a lot of this info, but much of it was brand new to me. I have no regrets at all about buying “Mouse” but I also have no illustions about the very sad state of the industry in general, including camping areas.

 

If I had to buy another RV tomorrow, it would either be a new Ollie, or one by two other manufacturers, Earth Cruiser or XP Camper. I would not touch a different brand with a thousand foot pole. If Oliver Travel Trailers wants to truly distinguish itself as a premier brand, it should completely abandon the crap RV appliances that it uses and, like those other manufacturers, use high quality marine units that don’t constantly break. When they do need service you can get it done at any boat repair shop.

 

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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Too dam right about the RV industry.  I bought a 2001 Airstream used in 2003, and by 2006 it was springing a new leak every year in spite of being properly maintained.  The water would leak down between the aluminum shells and wet the insulation and then hit the plywood subfloor, under a cabinet of course.  The subfloor was covered in carpet underlayering, then carpet, then plastic, then cabinetry.  No way to dry it out.  Huge sections of the floor rotted.  When I did pull the cabinetry I was shocked at the sloppy fit and finish of EVERYTHING from the access holes to the wiring to the woodwork.  The outer panels had filigree corrosion here and there and are a nightmare to replace.  The design of the heater vent admitted water to the venturi box under the sink. The torsion axle can go bad on one side, not the other, but it has to be replaced as a unit.....and we are talking $$$.  Much easier to work on an Ollie.

 

But it did look nice with a pink flamingo out front........

 

Now IMHO the Ollie could use moulded sills over the windows (ALL RV's need this), and a marine AC mounted down low, say, in the closet.  I like your idea about marine appliances, but at least you can replace those in the Ollie pretty easily.  But it's the best unit out there for anywhere close to the money.

 

 

 

 


Hull #389.


Options:  Stowage basket, propane connects.


Tow Vehicle: 2007 Ford F250 V-10, 4WD, Crew Cab, Long Bed.  Stock.


Recovering Airstream Owner (The Silver Sieve)...it was a rolling apocalypse.  Fridge was quirky and ruined food (famine).  Had weird electrical problems, circuits with breakers thrown still carried some current (possible fire).  Leaked (flood).  Mildew from leak gave me cold-like symptoms (pestilence).


"Socialist revolutions have a peculiar habit of starting out with a guy dressed in a work shirt and ending up with a guy dressed like Captain Crunch."

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Based on less than 500 units sold in the past ten years, if Oliver were using marine appliances costing more money than the industry standards, how many thousands more would the units have cost and how many fewer people would have been willing to plunk down even more money than they did in the first place?  No one will ever know. I’ve owned two Oliver Travel Trailers over that period of time. I understand that there are those that have had, and maybe we’ve been fortunate, but we’ve never had an appliance issue with either one.

 

At about $265K for the Earth Cruser (you could spend from $580K to $720K and get one of the really nice ones) I’m willing to bet not a single Oliver owner was willing to buy one - better appliances not withstanding. I’m happy with what we have, but if I had a another million or so in savings I’d get an Earth Cruser as a tow vehicle.


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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At about $265K for the Earth Cruser (you could spend from $580K to $720K and get one of the really nice ones) I’m willing to bet not a single Oliver owner was willing to buy one – better appliances not withstanding. I’m happy with what we have, but if I had a another million or so in savings I’d get an Earth Cruser as a tow vehicle.

I think you have your Earths mixed up. The EarthCruiser is made in Bend OR and their low end model with diesel appliances is about $110k plus the price of the truck. .... http://www.truckcamperadventure.com/2018/12/in-the-spotlight-earthcruiser-exd-expedition-camper/

 

A much better specced EXP built on a Fuso 4wd starts at $225k. .... https://earthcruiser.com/our-vehicles/earthcruiser-exp/

 

XP Campers start at $60k plus the truck. ... http://xpcamper.com/versions/v2-compact/..... But that is a pretty spartan unit, though it has diesel appliances and solar, their V1 starts at double that.

 

Earth Roamers ..... if you have to ask, you can’t afford one.

 

An Ollie plus a nice new truck is say $110k. If you already have a truck, $65k. But I know of no other pull trailer that is anywhere as nicely put together. OTH you don’t have to pay that much more for good appliances. And you would lose the scary propane system....

 

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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Thanks for starting this discussion.  Not yet a Oliver owner till June. Can't wait,  was a former Airstreamer 2016 30'  my thought, it was the top of the line. Not really. As mention by other post I had similar problems. Could never get any warranty work done. We full timed across country for a year . Getting any work done dealers 2-4 weeks to get appointment. Even on the road thought we'd go to the factory to get warranty work done. 2 to 3 month back log.  The wife and I went back To a home. And sold the Airstream. We wanted to down size to a 25' twin A.S until I found out the 2019 was more than I paid for the 30' in 2016 list $101,000 best price $86,000 I told the dealer that Airstream has lost the middle class buyer, Me.  That the quality isn't worth the value. And they will have a down turn soon. Of course the dealer didn't care.  A Google search for the best travel trailer Oliver came up the best. Although having many RV in the past I never heard of Oliver.  I contacted Oliver  and  looked at an owners 2016 in my area. Great idea. I was sold. Hands down better quality than any trailer out there.  Looking forward to a February date for plant tour and  finalize options before the build. Thank you Oliver and the Oliver members.

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http://www.thedrive.com/new-cars/8175/the-mighty-265000-earthcruiser-4x4-is-a-preppers-fantasy-machine

 

https://www.caravancampingsales.com.au/editorial/details/unimog-earthcruiser-tops-780000-111445/

 

Sorry, my info came from these two sites. I’ve never researched them as there is virtually no place in America that needs their capability to get to and I’m not planning a trip to Australia


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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I think that the EC's have risen in price substantially over the past few years.  At the time we were debating our Ollie, I think EC's were in the $160k-$$240k range.  They were just on the edge of us thinking that they weren't that much more than a top of the line truck and Ollie combined.  But now it seems like they start around $240k or more.  That Unimog thing was a one-off custom deal I'm sure.  You can imagine that they're a pretty small company and like Oliver of old, are willing to customize about anything.  At those prices, they should.

 

We ran across a pair of EC's in Big Bend a while back, and I have to say that they looked like they were having a blast.  They could definitely go further into the park than I'd be willing to take our Snowball.  I've talked with owners and the company owners and have had the opportunity to really check out the EC's in person.  I think what would surprise you, Steve, is how similar everything is to Oliver.  Same concept, similar detailing, and they share a lot of hardware.  The owners seem cut from the same cloth, albeit wealthier, lol.  I'd say that they are to an Oliver exactly what an Oliver is to a Casita.

 

Apart from that Unimog, they're also reasonably sized.  Their wheelbase isn't much more than a long bed truck.  Interior space is a bit more cramped than an Elite II, but I think their layout is more efficient so it's probably a wash.  Interior storage is probably close, but the Ollie's storage is much more convenient.  EC's really lack in counter space, so I think you'd notice the size difference the most when cooking.

 

I'd love to see what they could do with a trailer, but I think they're all in on integrated vehicles.

 

I'm just glad they exist so when people talk about how expensive an Ollie is, I can say, "Yeah, expensive but worth it.  But those Earthcruisers - now that's a questionable purchase."

  • Thanks 1

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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I've said before, and still believe, that Oliver needs to add a customization department; or spin off a group as a separate company.  That way, they could handle special requests like they used to, without interrupting their production line.  It would be an extra amenity that would set them apart even further from the crowd.  Then if people wanted higher end packages, they could be easily accommodated, and Oliver could continue to learn from owners requests how to improve what they offer on the line.  Old timers know that much of what makes Oliver's trailers what they are today came directly from owner modifications and requests.

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Overland, thanks for the EC comments, have you personally seen the new model at an Expo? Any comments?

 

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One big drawback to any of the truck mounted units is the cabin entry height. Not so easy as an Ollie for most older folks....

 

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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Yes, I talked to the owners of that rig for a good while.  They're interesting people - if I remember right, they said they went from a big Airstream to an EarthRoamer, to a standard EarthCruiser and now to that.  If that trend is any indication, then they'll join the Ollie camp shortly.  The only comment I'd say about that model is that it felt the same as their other two models, just slightly smaller.  They essentially went to EC and said can you build this, and EC said let's try.


Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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We got a tour of an xp v1 rig a few years back at a carwash in Fairbanks. It was a great 4 x 4 unit, but very expensive, and I  found the mostly underseat storage , tiny fridge, and super tiny bath to be really inconvenient for full timing, as these owners were. That said, it was familiar white molded fiberglass, in and out, and they could certainly go places in Alaska and the Yukon where I would hesitate to drag our Ollie.

 

Their v1 came with a powered hard side popup top to afford about 3 extra ft of headroom when stationary, and lessen wind resistance and clearances when traveling.  Quite a tradeoff, though. Everything had to be stowed in the tiny kitchen for the top to be lowered. The wife lamented about a cabinet door or something that had inadvertently come open while lowering the top, cracking the glass top of the diesel cooktop.

 

These units are, or were, not customized, except for listed options.  At least not then. The owner told me that the xp builder was convinced that he has everything figured out to optimize space, and that was the way it was to be built...

 

Sherry


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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The other drawback to these types of units is that you can't park it and leave in your vehicle.  That is precisely why we decided on a pull trailer vice a motorhome.

 

Hobo

 

 


2018 Elite II, Hull #414 (the very last 2018 produced).  Trailer name "2 HOBOS" .   2006 Dodge 3500 Megacab, 4x4 with 5.9L Cummins diesel.

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Yep, a lot of overland types don't think about that.  When my wife an I were first getting back into camping and trying to figure out the best route to go, we payed a lot of attention to how others were doing it.  I remember being camped at Bryce and a guy with the standard decked out Tacoma with a roof top tent camped across from us.  He spent about 30 minutes setting up his camp and I was thinking that was pretty cool.  The next morning, he spent the better part of an hour packing up, in the rain, and I thought, well that's not as easy at it first seems.  Then that night he came back to the exact same spot and repeated the process.  And the next.  That was when we decided that a trailer was probably a better route.

 

On the other hand, if you're forced to break camp every day, then that does encourage you to explore and camp in different spots.  And vehicles like the EC really do cut down on setup and takedown times vs a truck with a roof top tent.


Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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