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The New Ownership experience and Realistic Expectations


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I found Oliver trailers sometime during 2017 - I was seriously considering a class C 4wd - of the Elkhart clan. After much consternation - it finally jelled in my mind - the  trailer was the more flexible platform - with a 4wd TV. I toured the Oliver factory - visited Oliver at least twice before purchase - and we took Ollie home July 2018. As someone with decades of manufacturing experience - I recognized Oliver was perhaps at the top of the heap in RV manufacturing - but just decent -in the whole.  Has my ownership experience been perfect, great, good, met my expectations, or worse.

Since I began reading this forum - a constant reoccurring theme has been the  various questions, concerns, and praise for the OLIVER quality level - and in a few threads - some -  second guessing the purchase altogether.  Personal consternation over real  or perceived quality issues that arise within days, weeks- or months of delivery. And too their credit - forum members are always eager to help - often with personal experience on an issue.  We see repeat issues, we see obvious defective build issues, we see a very responsive service group and we see owner mods that make Ollie better, and we see a community of like minded caring Oliver Owners - a preponderance of them with previous RV experience - or - who are handy with tools, and repair procedures - and have no problem fixing many of the minor things that can go wrong with RV ownership.  Lets face it - The modern Oliver RV is a complicated multi system RV that relies on its many parts to work correctly - together- to deliver the experience a new owner expects. As good as the forum experience aids and supports the Oliver brand - when your Ollie let you down - soon after writing that check - good intentions don't help much.

So what is a reasonable, realistic customer expectation level for the new Oliver owner at purchase. Is it acceptable to have any of the systems inoperative - at delivery- or within days. Is it ok for a system to be less than fully installed. Is it ok for the delivery day process to be less than top shelf. Is it ok that the service department is relied upon to carry the day - too often. Or, does knowing RV's are historically hit and miss on the quality front, and with Oliver's reputation in mind, we look past the initial disappointment. It's not a Toyota after all. (I couldn't resist poking)

Your opinions - your feedback - are important - here - and to me - I can be very critical on the subject - but I attempt to temper my comments - and expectations, due to my time in the trenches of manufacturing hell. I believe Oliver is connected to this forum - as it is a feedback loop, and an important first hand accounting. I also believe - we owe it to ourselves, a personal responsibility -  to educate and learn about our purchase - and try to understand the issue at hand. But where does the line of responsibility begin and end.  You put $$ down, eagerly waited months, happy anticipation for delivery day, and you fully expect your high dollar purchase will be 100% perfect - right?  Well - at least be fully usable.

So, after 2.5 years of med/heavy use, at least 4 trips to Oliver service for R n R, a few phone calls for info on this or that, does my experience meet my expatiation. Well - mostly - because I expected less than perfect. I understood the Oliver was only as good as its components and the build process - itself. And I inform and educate myself on the product, as best as I can. Yea Oliver is better than SOB, so what, I bought an Oliver, Would I buy my Oliver again. Probably. But if I was a normal ordinary customer - new to the RV world, my view  may be less generous.

I don't bleed Oliver, that is Scotts job, but I do care about the brand and how customers feel about their purchase - as I represent Oliver with my purchase and continued use. It is much more pleasant to promote than to defend.  So, for those of you out there with less than favorable experiences - hang in there - Oliver will get it right, for the satisfied of you, happy trails, and for the rest of us, well - we're  never satisfied anyways - well - not for long. 🙄

RB

OFD

 

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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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3 hours ago, BackofBeyond said:

I believe Oliver is connected to this forum - as it is a feedback loop, and an important first hand accounting.

I have a lot of respect for a company that doesn't censor customer feedback/issues on the forums they host and pay for. I don't expect a flawless product because I've read a large percentage of the posts made here over the years; I do expect a trailer that far exceeds the standards found in the rest of the industry. I also have expectations that each year, the quality of the product will improve. This is especially the case when the price increases are outpacing material costs and general inflation.

I'll be documenting my trailer's build quality and trouble spots because I want companies like Oliver to succeed and constantly improve. A public forum creates the perfect "feedback loop" for better or worse. Hopefully always the former! 😁

Edited by Jairon
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2021 Oliver Elite II, Hull #748

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I'm a prospective buyer and very much appreciate this forum.  I've never owned an RV.  And my number 1 concern is not having headaches after purchase.  

I do get kind of spooked when I read about people having maintenance issues.  I'm wondering what kind of learning curve is involved and how self-sufficient and handy one must be to get into the RV lifestyle.   I'm hoping for nothing more than annual maintenance.  Is this realistic?

Thanks

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10 minutes ago, Cool Ghoul said:

I'm hoping for nothing more than annual maintenance.  Is this realistic?

Maybe.

There are so many differing systems and components in and on all RV's all being produced by differing manufacturers that the odds of something(s) not working properly are better than they should be.  Being somewhat "handy" is usually not really all that difficult and most of this kind of stuff is fairly easily learned by simply watching some YouTube and listening to what respected contributors have to say.  Yes, there are some things where the discussions tend to get more "technical" than is really necessary for the "casual" observer.  But, that is really no different than a couple of engineers talking about the inner working of the internal combustion engine when all one might care about is that if the car will get you to the grocery store or how does one wash it.

On balance, the more you know about your RV the better prepared you will be to take appropriate measures when a situation presents itself.

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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13 minutes ago, Cool Ghoul said:

I'm a prospective buyer and very much appreciate this forum.  I've never owned an RV.  And my number 1 concern is not having headaches after purchase.  

I do get kind of spooked when I read about people having maintenance issues.  I'm wondering what kind of learning curve is involved and how self-sufficient and handy one must be to get into the RV lifestyle.   I'm hoping for nothing more than annual maintenance.  Is this realistic?

Thanks

For the most part, and for many folks, annual maintenance is probably it. And, you can have that done at your local rv shop, too. Campingworld, or local shops, offer good prices on winterizing and annual checkup.

As in most new purchases, you may have a few hiccups. That's why most of us strongly recommend some time not too far from hohenwald the first few days.

Here on our forum, we seem to attract a lot of the extremes. The brand new, never ever had an rv before, or, the technical geniuses, highly experienced rv owners. On balance, it's really nice we have both, but I  can see where it can be intimidating to new owners, novice campers.

Frankly, I've been camping, and rving, much of my adult life, and a lot of the highly technical stuff requires second and third reads for me.

I'll say this. Don't let the technical talk scare you away from getting a trailer, of any brand. The most important thing, to me, is to get out, and enjoy the great outdoors our country (and Canada, when they let us back in:) ) has to offer.

And, if all the jargon and stuff makes you nervous, you can go two ways. Scale back, get the minimum options. And/or, dive in, study up, watch the videos in the University,  rent an rv or two, and learn at least the basics.

Everybody is new the first time. None of us were born with the knowledge or skills. It's a learning curve, but, oh, so rewarding. 

 

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2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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There will be headaches and a learning curve, and more than just routine annual maintenance.  That’s just the reality of towing a small house down the road.  But I’ll say that from what I’ve seen on this forum and the Oliver Facebook page, at least half of the issues that new owners have with their Oliver tend to be user error from just not understanding the Oliver or the general towing and campground hookup topics.  Being prepared and having a good toolbox when traveling with the trailer means that headaches get solved a lot quicker and easier.   So best to study up, watch the YouTube and Oliver videos, read the manuals, and be well prepared. 

A basic example is the refrigerator.   At home you don’t have to worry about checking on 3 different energy sources to make sure your home fridge stays cold.  In the Oliver (or most any RV for that matter) it’s a 3 way fridge that can run from DC power, AC power, or propane depending on the situation, so making sure each of those sources is available and working properly when needed is an essential.  

We’ve only had a couple very minor issues with our Ollie in two camping seasons now.   More issues with the campground hookups. 

There was just a very recent example on this forum of a new Oliver owner that had never towed or owned an RV before, and “didn’t have time to read the instruction manuals”.  They had some issues with their new trailer and their new tow vehicle, some due to user error and some legitimate trailer problems.  They may have been expecting the romantic vision of life on the open road, but their reality was very different and they were not a “happy camper”.   

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2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull #461

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Primary - 2019 Ford F-250

Backup - 2019 Nissan Armada 

 

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14 hours ago, Cool Ghoul said:

I'm a prospective buyer and very much appreciate this forum.  I've never owned an RV.  And my number 1 concern is not having headaches after purchase.  

I do get kind of spooked when I read about people having maintenance issues.  I'm wondering what kind of learning curve is involved and how self-sufficient and handy one must be to get into the RV lifestyle.   I'm hoping for nothing more than annual maintenance.  Is this realistic?

Thanks

We picked up our new OTT in November. It’s our second camper, but our first new one. It was also a pretty big purchase for us. Like you, I got pretty spooked by reading about folks having issues with their new campers. Part of the problem for me was having 5 months of waiting til we took delivery during which I could obsess about OTT on this platform... which I did (still do.. )... which lead to worries some times, second guessing at other times. In the end I realized that buying an Oliver is much like anything else.. you just have to hope you get “a good one”.. A camper that was built by folks on top of their game, and that it was done on a “good day”. These things are, after all, built by people, who have good days and bad days just like all of us.. So we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best.

we lived in our E2 for the first two months we owned it, and will be back on the road for 6 weeks soon. I feel like in that time we’ve gotten to know it pretty well, though Im sure there will still be surprises.. it is, after all, an RV. 
The majority of issues have been because of us.. learning new systems, occasionally putting common sense on the shelf... The other issues have been related primarily to components, which are being dealt with by Oliver. As time has passed in #685, the more we’ve been overall impressed with the construction and workmanship, and the more we feel like it was a good decision for us. 

With our first camper, a Casita, we soon learned that “stuff happens”.. it just does.. we had no experience.. zero.. We learned to deal with it, make simple repairs and what not, and those times  became part of the overall experience. It’s been the same with #685.. we’ve run into issues here and there, and self inflicted or otherwise, we have learned from them and gained confidence... and we are loving it.. 

if you do decide to pick up an OTT, keep plugging away at this forum.. keep track of bits of info that might come in handy in the future.. dealing with stubborn door locks, tilting the camper one way or another to make the gray water drain better .. stuff like that.. and marvel at the other stuff.. like the  amazing mudflap modification someone just did, or NCeagles  pre cold weather camping study, or the amazing minutia that folks like JD focus on... its quite a group to say the least, and always there to help..

 

 


 

 

 

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Mark & Deb..2020 Elite II..Dearie..Hull #685..2016 Tundra

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I've never owned an RV before my Oliver and in the beginning I was frustrated with things going wrong. It did take awhile for the kinks to get worked out, but one thing I will say the service department folks have assisted me on the phone several times and simply being able to talk with someone is priceless. Part of my research into why I bought an Oliver was the good customer service. If you are new to Rving just understand things happen with rv systems and more likely than not you will have some issues. Now that everything is operating as it should I'm a happy camper and you will be as well. 

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Like @Mcb, we picked up our new Oliver in November, 2020.  I took the time to learn as much as I could reading manuals and posts on this forum and many others.  I then did the same thing as Mcb - crossed my fingers and hoped for a "good" Ollie with no major problems.  Well, 3 months into ownership and I'd say my expectations were still set a bit too high.  I have a list of 17 items that I have dealt with or I am still dealing with - I think most if not all should have been caught in any good quality check.  Many of them have been trivial and I've been able to fix them myself.  Others have required a ticket with OTT Service and they have been absolutely STELLAR in every way.  Thank goodness!  I have 3 left on my list and they are pretty big in my mind because I can't do them myself. 

I am certainly still enjoying the Oliver in the meantime - nothing has been serious enough to stop that!  I just look forward to a day when maintenance is the main concern.

I'm not publishing my list on the forum, but I'm happy to share it with anyone interested via PM.  And Oliver does know about most if not all - I'm not shy about opening tickets.

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John and Anita

2020 Oliver Elite II, Hull 688

Tow Vehicle:  2006 Silverado 2500HD Crew Cab.  6.6L Duramax

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17 hours ago, Cool Ghoul said:

I'm a prospective buyer and very much appreciate this forum.  I've never owned an RV.  And my number 1 concern is not having headaches after purchase.  

I do get kind of spooked when I read about people having maintenance issues.  I'm wondering what kind of learning curve is involved and how self-sufficient and handy one must be to get into the RV lifestyle.   I'm hoping for nothing more than annual maintenance.  Is this realistic?

Thanks

Mr. Cool - I would imagine normal maintenance will be about all you need to think about, but honestly, there may be some things you will discover - that as you deal with them - will give you a better understanding of your Ollie. In my experience - the more I did normal simple maintenance, winterized, used the boondocking water features, greased the running gear, changed bearings, found the best tire pressures for my situation, added TPMS, and on - the  more comfortable I became with my Ollie. 

And if your one of those folks who is always looking to make something better - well - this forum has the expertise to show you the way. 

At no time have I regarded my Oliver as anything less than a really good TT. I am always amazed at how well it works off grid, how comfortable we are in BFE, and that I was so smart choosing Oliver.🤣 

As others have alluded to - take the time to fully appreciate your Ollie - and it will return the favor.

The worst angst you will likely experience - will be the waiting for delivery day!

RB

OFD

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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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Cool,

I 2nd, 3rd, & 4th the sentiments above.  
We were a Sept 2020 PU date, and all but one of the issues we had were associated with understanding what we were reading/viewing from Ollie Univ.  And the Library they give you with the delivery.  The only Non-User issue we had, Ollie Service was able to explain how to resolve, and I fixed it and we were good.  

If you actually have a  Non-User  issue, well OTT Service is a phone call away (and if you are at DCSP, a short trip away), and they will walk you thru a resolution or be "Opening up a Ticket , to resolve it.  
On the Forums, describing your issue will either get you a helpful response towards resolution or a recommendation to call Customer Service and open a Ticket.  The more experienced owners on this forum know the difference between something which can be fixed via Forum Discussion and an Issue that needs to be resolved by Oliver.   

If a company does not stand With You on a major purchase and follow through with Customer Service, then word gets out, and they will lose their base and future customers and they will go out of business, simple as that.  So far all I have seen is “Oliver is in this for the Future".  

I kind of equate new OTT ownership to Parenting; well at least for the first born, you have 9 months to prepare, and then the delivery day arrives and  Holy-Cow what do we do now .  Oh Yah, I remember reading about that, or I remember seeing that... Oh is that what they meant???  
The one good thing you have available to you here on the Forum, is a lot Aunties & Uncles that have many hundreds of years accumulations of Ollie Parenting.   So you can always Crowdsource for the resolution.  

And if you are into Mod's, well chances are someone (JD et. al.) has thought about it, is working on it, or has Dun-It...  And with each Mod, comes a new variation, which garners accolades from others.  I look at the OTT Forums as the Test Lab for possible future OTT enhancements, and the Future is Exciting.

My buck-two-eighty-five's worth,  now we are just waiting for "Oliver TT Weather"...

Bryan

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Maggie & Bryan | Arnegard, ND | 2020 LE II (Twin Setup) Hull #665 | 2010 GMC 1500 ExtCab Sierra SLE 

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