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Question for Northerners


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We live in the Northeast and would really like to use our soon-to-be Oliver to get away in the winter. Not full-season snowbirding, just a month to go to Quartzite, etc. We could leave it winterized until we hit warmer areas and wouldn't travel when there was snow on the roads. Then we could wait until clear weather is forecast to re-winterize and head back home. What worries me is the road chemicals. Even when the roads are dry there's usually still salt on the surface. We could find a carwash down south then stop at the firehouse a couple miles away from our house to rinse it off on the way home. Is that enough? It seems a shame to have an almost-4-season camper and park it for the whole winter. Do other northerners venture south during the winter months? Or do you just winterize in the fall and wait until spring to camp again?

Stephanie and Dudley from CT. Tow vehicle: 2016 GMC Sierra gas dually. Current RV: Rockwood Signature fifth wheel.

Oliver LE2 on the way in July!

ALAZCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKYLAMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNMNYNCNDOHOKORPASCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYmed.jpg.e6391b9064a3f8f0951751f985664135.jpg

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Sounds like a plan to me. How lucky to have a firehouse carwash a few miles from home!

When I was a kid, I could take my car to the bus barn carwash in Minnesota winters. It was heated! What a luxury it was, to wash my Maverick indoors, in shirt-sleeves, in the middleof bitter winter.

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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I've been a volunteer firefighter/EMT for a long time. Use of one of the bays for vehicle work is definitely one of the perks. Nice set of tools in there, too.

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Stephanie and Dudley from CT. Tow vehicle: 2016 GMC Sierra gas dually. Current RV: Rockwood Signature fifth wheel.

Oliver LE2 on the way in July!

ALAZCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKYLAMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNMNYNCNDOHOKORPASCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYmed.jpg.e6391b9064a3f8f0951751f985664135.jpg

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Thank you for your volunteer service. Those of us who spend a lot of time, and own property in rural areas, recognize and appreciate what you and your friends do. 

Here in rural wnc, much of our emt/fire service is manned by people like you.

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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There are those on this Forum and elsewhere that talk about the horrors of using one of our Ollies with its aluminum frame on the chemical filled roads of winter.  Even though I rarely use my Oliver in winter, I would not be concerned about it as long as there was a way to get those chemicals greatly diluted and/or removed reasonably soon after exposure.  In addition, is is fairly likely that a great majority of your driving for something like Quartzite  will be on Interstates.  These roads tend to get enough traffic so that within a fairly short period of time any chemicals that might be used are dispersed fairly quickly (note: I'm not talking about far northern interstate here but those that are generally traveled by someone from the northeast headed to/from Quartzite).  Bottom line - I'd go for it.  Yes, there is some (I believe minor) risk of some small pitting in your frame from chemicals but most of that frame can not be readily seen and (after all) your Ollie was made for you to use.

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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It is all about your comfort level with the cosmetic appearance and accumulative long term damage. All you have to do is look at a pickup truck with an aluminum utility bed or an aluminum snowmobile trailer to see what will most likely happen to your trailer.

The first Ollie I ever viewed was being lived in full time and had been up and down the country from Oregon to Quartzite a few times. The suspension and axles were solid rust, the frame was very ugly (no more gloss on the Diamond plate) and the chrome  parts like grab bar and latches were pitted and rusty. The galvanized steel subframe still looked good. The hull still looked pretty nice. It is really hard to hurt that part, which is why you see 75 year old boat hulls lying around with everything else rotted away... But the owner appeared to be a slob (the interior was a mess too) and he did not appear to care in any way. You can’t fix abuse. 

From a more personal experience, I had an aluminum utility trailer for a dozen years, made from the same marine grade materials as Ollies. It never went anywhere in winter, until once I had to help my daughter move furniture in January. I was unable to rinse it off promptly due to the sub freezing temperature, and the frame and tub were a mess afterwards. It took the shine completely off.

I bought a beautiful set of polished truck wheels which I believed to be clear coated. I drove them home on roads just damp with deicer. A few days later they were all pitted with ugly grey spots. I took them back to the store and convinced them to take them back as defective, and bought painted wheels.

Salt and mag chloride are highly destructive, they destroy bridges and over the road truck equipment. They wreck concrete and rust steel rebar. The underside of my older vehicles are a mess, even though I try to rinse them as often as I can, weather permitting. (My five year old concrete driveway is already spalling where I let them drip before putting them inside…😳) My 2013 Land Cruiser is a prime piece of equipment, but I can count on having to drill out rusted bolts if I have to work on it underneath.

You can use your Ollie on those roads. You just need to understand what will happen, and that it will harm the resale value. “Mouse” stays parked indoors once the salt trucks get going. After five years the frame and suspension still look very good. Please, I would really like to see some closeup pics of Ollies  that are used for ski camping when all the quarter car washes are closed for the winter. We do have some owners who haul them over nasty roads and can’t rinse them off …

Your mileage may vary, as they say. I hope it stays looking nice.  But I doubt it. If you can live with the situation, go for it.

FYI mag chloride has long been used in warm weather to keep down dust on gravel forest and farm roads. It is hydrophilic and keeps them damp. Normally. Be aware when towing over those surfaces when they are very wet, and rinse the salt off your frame and also the TV frame.

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, Safari snorkel.

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Interesting reading about corrosion from road treatments: "Aluminum oxidation actually enhances the stability of the aluminum. The oxidation layer will form and stay microscopically thin, preventing further oxidation. This protective layer will stay in place until it gets scratched off or cleaned with an acid wash, at which point it will regenerate." (https://nhtrailers.com/aluminum-trailers-vs-steel-trailers/). Also from https://www.truckinginfo.com/151041/trailer-report-controlling-corrosion, a commercial trucking publication: "Aluminum stands up well because a protective oxide coating forms on its surface, and the oxide renews itself when exposed to oxygen. But the oxide breaks down in the absence of oxygen or if acidity becomes high."  So, it appears oxidation on the aluminum frame is more of a cosmetic issue than a structural concern. Of course, there is still the steel undercarriage to be concerned about, as well as the hitch/wiring. But, if you're going to go out in the winter, an Ollie will certainly hold up better than it's steel-frame competitors.

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Stephanie and Dudley from CT. Tow vehicle: 2016 GMC Sierra gas dually. Current RV: Rockwood Signature fifth wheel.

Oliver LE2 on the way in July!

ALAZCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKYLAMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNMNYNCNDOHOKORPASCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYmed.jpg.e6391b9064a3f8f0951751f985664135.jpg

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I believe that one should remember the premise from which this thread was started - fairly short duration of driving on POSSIBLE chemical treated roads with a wash occurring both during and after the exposure.

As I stated above - I would not worry about taking my Ollie on this kind of trip under these kind of circumstances with these kind of sensible measures to minimize any potential harm.  Actually this is the same kind of care that I have given my vehicles for years.

Surely there is little doubt that extensive damage can be done to the Oliver and/or a tow vehicle by the kinds of chemicals used on our roads in winter IF nothing is done to blunt the attack of those chemicals.  But I do not think that is the case that S,D,B is talking about.

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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We each have differing thoughts on how to use our trailers.  We bought ours to use and go wherever we want whenever we want.  I’ve got some nicks and chips on the front from gravel roads and I have a less than pristine undercarriage due to some snow driving.  But, we’ve had fun and our 6 year old trailer still looks new and will continue to be used for travel adventures.  We had someone walk by while we were in Branson last month and asked about the age of our Oliver, when I told them they were surprised it wasn’t new - and that was with bugs on the front and mud and dirt on the sides after traveling through Colorado and northern New Mexico.  These trailers are sturdy and clean up well!  Just go camping!!  Mike

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Texas Hill Country | Elite II #135 | Ram 2500 6.7L

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If you visit any seaside harbor you will likely see a forest of aluminum masts, booms, tuna towers and all manner of structures made, primarily of 6061 T6 aluminum, much of which is unpainted and unanodized.  6061 alloy holds up extremely well in harsh marine environments.  After nearly 40 years of living in saltwater year round, the 6061 aluminum mast, boom, downwind poles and most other major rigging components on my 35' cruising sailboat are virtually unscathed.  Yes, you will get an extremely thin dull coat of aluminum oxide built up but that is not a bad thing as it offers a level of protection to the alloy.

A freshwater rinse after use on suspect roads is worthwhile but I would not sit up nights worrying about occasional exposure to road chemicals ... I would worry more about the steel axle frame.  The aluminum Oliver frame will undoubtably outlast most of us owners.

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