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Ken_Judy

Making the decision to purchase an Oliver vs. Airstream

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Like many Oliver Owners I ran across the name Oliver Travel Trailers quite by accident,  whether it was a random mention in a You Tube video or something else on the internet.  After selling my last trailer (a 2000 HI-LO) the search was on.  Things quickly got narrowed down to an Airstream.  The salesman had a used model which had just sold and he mentioned that it had a small dent in one aluminum panel which necessitated a $3000 reduction in the price.  To replace any panel is at least $3000… ouch!  He said there was an Airstream rally out in Wyoming where over 100 Airstreams had been totaled by a hail storm.  When the Oliver came to my attention the worries over hail, leaks, and rotten plywood floors were moot.  In addition, all the pros were still there.  Compact size and wind resistance and great tow ability, not to mention things you would have a hard time getting from Airstream like 340 watts of solar, 400AH AGM batteries and a composting toilet.  Well after a factory tour a year ago January and the rally last May, the order went in in June and we picked up hull #381 in September.  I know I am preaching to the choir here but there are many on the forum who are still on the fence.  Jump in the water is fine.  Here is a link to a great channel on You Tube from Airstream Owners giving their opinion of long term ownership.  The part where they pull up carpet revealing wet plywood floors makes me cringe. Enjoy

 

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Hey Ken and Judy!

 

If you look at my profile, you will see that I named my Airstream "The Silver Sieve."

 

If I wanted to design a TT to rot itself out, I couldn't do better than an Airstream.

 

Replacing one axle and the AC?  The nearest dealership wanted $5000.00.

 

I told them that I wanted Sandra Bullock to call me "Big Daddy" but that wasn't going to happen either.

 

It is somebody's hunting camp now and I am towing an Ollie.

 

No regrets.

 

 

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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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Ken & Judy -

 

I viewed that video earlier this morning.  As it was playing, I could not help but compare my Oliver on a point by point basis.  Not only did the Oliver compare favorably on the Airstream negatives but it also did great on what Loloho thought were positives (for the Airstream).  Kind of like having the best of both worlds!

 

Bill

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

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Mingy, I'm sure that once Sandra hears you upgraded to an Ollie, she'll give you more respect.

 

That video pretty much sums up what I learned when researching trailers.  I do think they're beautiful, and I don't fault anyone for buying one so long as they know the pros and cons beforehand.


Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Ken & Judy –

 

I viewed that video earlier this morning. As it was playing, I could not help but compare my Oliver on a point by point basis. Not only did the Oliver compare favorably on the Airstream negatives but it also did great on what Loloho thought were positives (for the Airstream). Kind of like having the best of both worlds!

 

Bill

 

I was thinking the same as I watched it.  There are a few common negatives, like price and (for some) size; and some common positives, most of which I think the Oliver is even better at, like ease of towing, aerodynamics, maneuverability, community, etc.

 

And then we've got that hail thing licked.  And while we can't claim to be leak free, at least none of us will be replacing the entire interior if we find one.


Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Ken & Judy,

 

We seriously looked at Airstream before purchasing Ollie, our third camper.

 

Our first camper, an early Chalet folding camper, had a wood floor and it eventually developed floor rot. Guess most Airstreams in the US have wood floors except for some Argosy trailers. Also considered completely rebuilding an Airstream replacing the wood floor.

 

We were camping on the Blue Ridge Parkway when we had the pleasure of touring the first Oliver we had ever seen. It was absolutely beautiful inside and out. We could not find a used one for sale and Oliver was not building trailers at that time. We waited and found a good deal on a used 2015 LE2 in this forum's classified section during 2016. I can easily say our Ollie is holding value, too.

 

Agree, "Jump in the water is fine".

 

 


Bill

LE2 Tundra

 

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Airstream where to start. They made top travel trailer for 2019 I think they made the top only by tv advertising and celebrity hype.  I owned a 30’ serenity I also thought they were the best quality not true. Constant rivet popping,water leaks, squeaking floor, wet floor hard to dry out due to water leak, China bomb tires two blow outs. Very low ground clearance bottomed out almost every time trying to get into fuel stations state parks with any type ruts. For get it. Did I mention 4 weeks to two months wait list for service at any dealer. Why? must be a lot of repair work. Made a costly mistake once I don’t think I’ll be making a second with the Oliver.

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24999C6F-1A7F-48D5-9338-3C4480181E57.thumb.png.cda6b5f41a3da561b202d4b5abd235e1.png

 

That is your typical construction for a “better quality” RV, the pic is an excellent way to see what NOT to have in a legacy trailer. How many leak points, marginal materials and water traps can you see in that screen capture?

 

https://www.venture-rv.com/products/sonic-travel-trailers/construction.html

 

I think Oliver Trailers should make a similar graphic showing a cutaway Elite II.....

 

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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Only one way to work on that Sonic.

 

With a match.

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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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Only one way to work on that Sonic.

 

With a match.

 

 

Mingy,

 

Now let's not get too snarky here.  Those of us with Ollies are fortunate not to have a unit with all the problems inherent in many stick-built units. (or hail magnets)  "Stickies" do come in at a price point some can just afford to help them get their family out making smores around a campfire, or dipping a fishing pole into the water. It's about getting out there, after all.   While they will not have the stamina of an Ollie.  They do serve a purpose during their comparatively brief lives.

 

Pete

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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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We to have been going back and forth between the Oliver Elite II and the Airstream 23FB and this week decided to go with the Oliver. We own a Casita at this time and have fallen in love with the fiberglass trailers over the last two years. When camping at rallies we toured many Olivers, Escapes, and Bigfoots and always told ourselves that the Oliver would be our next trailer. I have to admit that we almost went with the Airstream, but something keep telling me the Oliver was what we really wanted and a trailer built the way I like stuff done, 1st class all the way. The airstream defiantly has more room, duct-ed A/C, bath with a separate shower, Nev-R-Lub wheel bearings, etc., but I think once the fiberglass thing bites, your hooked. We know we made the correct decision with the Oliver and will never look back.

Two different trailers, where the Oliver says camping at its best both in a camping ground, or boondocking, where the Airstream for me says, camping grounds only.

 

trainman

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Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #489, 2019 RAM 1500, 5.7 Hemi, 4X4, Crew Cab, 5'7" bed, Towing Package, 3.92 Gears.

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We haven't taken possession of our Oliver yet (will pick up 1 May) but I have a close friend who owns an RV repair facility and he HATES Airstream.  He has shown me where the beauty is only skin deep on them.  He said inside the walls, and floors they are a mess and prone to lots of issues to include wood rot, insulation failing, etc.

 

In his opinion, the build quality of the Airstreams really doesn't differ much from any other stick built RV.  Shiny, pretty, fancy, - yes. (at least for a while). But overall, people pay way too much for the stigma of owning an Airstream.  He grimaces at the mention of working on one but they do keep him gainfully employed.

 

His assessment was a major reason we went Ollie.

 

 


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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Our story is the same as many others. Started looking at Airstreams after seeing them on the road and thinking they were the pinnacle of trailers. Looked at a number of different dealers, RV shows, etc. Joined Airforums (still there). It was on Airforums one day that someone mentioned Oliver in a thread about Airstream quality issues and I went to their web site and the rest is history. We saw one here at the Bluebonnet Rally then found out we had a neighbor with one (Pete) who was hosting a small caravan passing through San Antonio (#50/81/82). After talking to Pete, Steve, Gary and Lee it was a no brainer! Mike

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Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram Rebel 4X4 5.7L Hemi

ALAZARCACOFLGAIDILKSKYLAMDMSMOMTNENVNMNYNCNDOHOKSCSDTNTXUTVAWVWYsm.jpg

 

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As for the Airstreams, the interiors seem to appeal to me, the mixture of materials, material textures, and layouts appear well thought-out.  Although the  "spacecraft" looking exterior give the RV a cool factor, it, in fact, represents a weak point in the design. Given the frailty of the external material to damage, and the subsequent leaking and eventual floor rot, any prospective owners should be very wary.

 

Given that the construction methodology of the vast majority of RV's are "stick built", covered in a skin, I view the Airstream as very similar, but covered in a substandard shell. Other than looks, I would rather have the various layups most RV manufactures use on their exteriors. Add to this a very low ground clearance, limited options, and a premium price, an Airstream is just a standard issue RV, with expensive lipstick.  It is my opinion, sure, and thousands of Airstream owners would disagree with me. Not dissing the brand, but explaining why I do not believe the Airstream is the top "quality" brand.

 

Were I to scrutinize the Oliver build in a similar fashion, it would be mostly directed to the materials used in the interior. It is not a quality issue, but more a interior design kind of thing. As great as the Oliver BOM (Bill of materials) is on the important stuff, the cushion material, fabric selection, and perhaps ducting layout could use a little more attention. Again - my opinion.

 

To be clear, we purchased our Oliver after viewing the build, carefully examining the materials,  design intent, and manufacturing process. I'm a function guy. Looks are indeed usually just skin deep.  I will admit, the initial price shock was hard to overcome, but you do get what you pay for. I fully expect our Oliver to look and function as well in ten years as it did the day we took ownership.

 

RB

 

 

 

 

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Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"

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We returned from our maiden voyage in our Oliver Elite 2 on March 18. It was a 3500 mile trip and 39 nights in the Oliver. On this trip, I spoke with numerous Airstream owners. One of  owners, who had recently purchased a 25' Airstream was very interested in how our Oliver towed. I told him that it pulls like a dream. He said I see you do not have Sway Control Hitch. I told him that my 2500 Duramax did not need it to pull the Oliver. He could not believe what I was telling him. He said so your Oliver doesn't sway when a truck passes you? I said not yet. He then explained to me the motion that his Airstream produces when being passed by big semi trucks is not good. He was towing his Airstream with a Tundra and a sway control hitch. He mentioned that he had visited Oliver but made the decision to go with Airstream  because of the interior layout. He almost sounded disappointed with his purchase of the Airstream . I am so thankful that Oliver tows nicely behind my truck. If I had to worry about sway control whenever a Semi Truck passed me, it would not be fun.

 

We did not purchase many upgrades except Solar, AGM Batteries, large propane tanks and television antenna, I am now looking to upgrade the mattresses for the twin beds and dinette cushions. Those are my only two downers thus far. I have had a couple of warranty issues but I have full faith in them getting repaired this week so we can get on the road again.

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