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John D:

 

I have enjoyed your "How To" on the efforts to protect the Mouse.  Craftsmanship is supreme, and it certainly keeps a ton of potential damage away from your hull.  Again, thank you for posting the additional  pictures.  After last summer's trans USA tour with our Ollie, I saw the light when I found road spray/grime on the front left and right side of the trailer.  I know I need better protection than what I had.  As a result, for some time I have wanted to ask you about your systems:

 

A  I was wondering what aerodynamic impact you have felt as a result of the installation of your system?

 

B.  It would be really fun to see pictures of it from the side at highway speed!  Hopefully to assess the turbulent airflow impacts on the mud flaps.  This would be helpful so as to:

Gauge the probable angle of deflection of debris as it travels down the underside of the trailer.

Optimize location of the flaps at speed.

Assess the effectiveness of the as weighted flaps at speed.  Possibly to optimize the hang angle by increasing/decreasing the lower edge weighting.

Over time, I will emulate some, if not all of the systems you have so painstakingly designed, fabricated and installed.  Thank you for doing so and for sharing the details in the "How To" section of our forum!  Unfortunately, it is very likely that my efforts will be over several years.  Would it be possible for you to rank order the systems installed or purchased (Stone Stomper)?  By doing so, I can emulate your efforts in the order of most effective first.

Stone Stomper Gravel Guard under the tongue of the Mouse.

Truck rear tire mud guards

Stone Guard in front of the Mouse step.

Transverse stone guard behind the steps and in front of the twin axles

Trailer rear mud guards

Other?

John I again thank you for your efforts here on the Oliver Forum.  You consistently offer from the heart advice and many good ideas.

 

Geronimo John

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Geronimo John, thanks for the very kind words. I do appreciate them.

 

I see my underneath guards as a system, much like a football players protective gear, he would not be safe if he left one piece off.

 

I don't know the overall aerodynamic impact, that would be very hard to measure. All the stuff hanging down surely blocks a lot of air moving between the hull and the ground, but it is designed to fly back closer to horizontal at higher speeds. And the Stone Stomper almost completely eliminates the pesky low pressure zone between TV and trailer. I haven't noticed any impact in mpgs, but I really don't care. I want the protection, I will accept any drawbacks. It's like adding big off-road mud tires to your truck, you know they will kill your fuel economy, but you need them for the remote places into which you venture.

 

The Stone Stomper is the primary and most important mod. It knocks down all the junk being thrown up by the TV. In fact it is so effective that in a heavy downpour at 60 mph the back window of the TV stays almost completely dry. On dusty roads there is no dust accumulation on the front of the Ollie or the back of the TV. There are NO chips whatsoever on the front of the hull or abrasion on the A-frame. All that muck is channelled underneath the tongue and frame of the trailer. It truly is amazing and I wonder why they don't have a USA distributor for them.

 

There are usually down sides, and they are that the stuff going under the trailer hits the frame and hull. So you need those skirts. Plus the massive dust cloud exits out from under the tarp right at the lower fridge grill, so the inside of that opening and the coils gets very dirty. I will eventually install a 12V compressor fridge and seal off that outside area completely.

 

The two front skirt aluminum mounts are also the rear mounts for the Stone Stomper (since you shouldn't just bolt the support brackets to the hull gelcoat). The skirts are 18" wide and protect the bottom of the hull, the black water rinse connection and the front  of steps, which otherwise are very exposed.

 

The center skirts are the full frame wide and protect the axles, springs and suspension. These and the front two are 1/8" thick cloth-reinforced neoprene similar to conveyor belt material. They are weighted and reinforced at the bottom with twin strips of heavy gauge stainless steel. They are intended to fly back at highway speeds and hang down more vertically at lower speeds. I have never tried to take a video, that would be educational, for sure.

 

The rear mud flaps protect the underside of the hull and the rear bumper from stones and dirt thrown up by those big trailer tires. These rocks normally will erode the water connections on the left side and back - do you really want your drinking water connections to be covered with road tar and muck? - and will badly pockmark the front of the bumper. Ricochets will go up onto the rear platform and also strike the rear hull and lights. Mine are commercially made flaps 12" wide x 18" tall, and much stiffer and not intended to fly back. They are very effective at stopping this damage.

 

TV mudflaps. They are not really needed at all with a Stone Stomper. It has a wide flap that catches a lot of those rocks. Having longer or wider mudflaps on the TV might help, but you run the risk of dragging them on a gravel road if they are too long. That is bad because it sends up a really heavy rooster-tail of rocks.

 

Here is the order I would do this, keeping in mind that I did ALL the work myself - paying a shop to do all this would be very expensive. With this approach you can assess each step and decide if you want to keep going with more protection.

 

1 - Rock Tamers on the TV. Relatively cheap, they are reasonably effective except on gravel roads where they just don't have enough coverage. Be sure to rig them so that they will fly at a 45 degree angle at high speed. This means having a static position that is maybe 20 or 30 degrees back. That way they knock the rocks downwards onto the road, not back toward your TV. This is how the Aussies do it.

 

2 - Rear mudflaps on the Ollie. Very easy and inexpensive way to protect the plumbing and back end of the Ollie.

 

3 - Stone Stomper. Replaces the Rock Tamers entirely. Way more effective at protecting the front of the Ollie and the back of the TV. Disadvantages are cost, fabrication of rear mounts and center support (to hold up the fabric during turns) and day to day PITA. It isn't hard to hook up to the TV but it always is in the way, one way or the other. If you are driving at high speeds on the Interstate for days at a time it probably makes the most sense to remove it for that part off the journey. I don't bother. Sometimes you encounter road construction or chip sealing even on fine highways and the SS stops rocks and tar in their tracks.

 

4 - Front and center skirts. Do them together, it is the same materials and technique. That will greatly reduce the chaos underneath the trailer frame. If you don't drive on a LOT of gravel, you probably should never worry about these items.

 

Keep in mind that the tires you choose for your TV will also greatly affect how much stuff they throw up. I run open tread mud tires and they don't throw up stones on the typical fine gravel of graded county roads. A tighter tread like my snow tires throws up way WAY more crud. The narrow gaps grab and release the rocks. You can hear a constant barrage of stones hitting the wheel wells, that just doesn't happen (as much) with the mud tires.

 

My approach is 180 degrees from armoring the front of the Ollie. That stops the rock chips but it doesn't do a thing for damage at other locations. OTH it is certainly fast and easy to have a shop spray your hull. But cost is very high.

 

Read and watch here: ... https://www.outbacktravelaustralia.com.au/driving-towing-towing/stone-stomper-trailer-protection-january-2016?A=SearchResult&SearchID=152319746&ObjectID=6762797&ObjectType=35

 

and here: ... 

 

After watching the video on the first link you are probably thinking, "that is really time consuming to hook up." It is a little, initially, but when you need to access  your rear hatch you simply disconnect a couple of bungee snaps on one side and drop down the fabric. Just remember to reconnect before travel. I prefer to not unhitch at all, and to leave the SS attached everywhere. If I have to unhitch, I pull the fabric back and underneath the frame and clip the front outside snaps to the rear mounts. That way the fabric doesn't blow around and it looks neat and tidy.

 

I hope this helps.

 

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/

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JD,

 

After my last trip through BC, Yukon, and around Alaska, I mostly agree with you. The amount of damage gravel roads, roads under construction, and the like do to a TV and tow behind RV is amazing. A few hundred or thousand miles of dirt and gravel can be enormously destructive to the undersides of a vehicle. I had similar questions as Geronimo John, thanks for the reply. I still believe protecting the "frontal" hull is also something I need to figure out. I have a few ideas - and as I try them out, I'll post results.  From a suction cup mounted "bra" to an aluminum deflection shield, mounted to the front basket, I have ideas. The energy - questionable.

 

RB

 

 

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2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

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