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Greetings from Michigan - upgrading to 2 5/16 coupler?


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I have an Elite ll on order which is scheduled for production in May. Can't wait!

We've traveled to all 50 states and provinces of Canada as a family of 3. We accomplished this goal by the time our daughter graduated HS. The vast majority in tents, a class C and a 5th wheel, so we are not new to camping, towing and enjoying the outoors.

We just purchased a new tow vehicle - '22 Ram 2500. 

Any experiences with upgrading the coupler to a 2 5/16? I'm going to inquire if OTT will upgrade for me at the factory with a fee.

 

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We're using a 2-5/16" ball to tow an LE2 with a '21 Ram 2500.  The larger ball may provide the most benefit if using the Anderson weight-distribution hitch (larger ball surface reduces wear).  We chose it for the extra ball surface and extra strength (which is almost certainly overkill), even though we are not using the WDH.  Oliver did upgrade the hitch to 2 5/16" -- there was an extra fee, but I don't recall quite how much.

2021 Oliver LE2
Ram 2500 diesel

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Welcome to the Forums.

It is not very hard to do yourself, or Oliver service will do it prior to delivery. I think it is very worthwhile, especially if you have other trailers with the large coupler. And it can dramatically reduce ball wear when using the Andersen hitch. Though this wear may depend on how well your coupler is made inside; they are pretty rough as delivered and the high spots can damage the ball quickly. The Andersen and the Bulldog are not great matches…. the coupler is very hard (forged steel) and the ball is relatively soft. However, with your TV, you do not need anything fancier than an appropriate drop 7500 pound dead-weight ball mount and a regular hitch ball.

https://olivertraveltrailers.com/forums/topic/3483-how-to-upgrade-the-bulldog-coupler-and-andersen-hitch-to-2-516/

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, Safari snorkel.

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We’re using the 2 5/16”  ball to tow our 2021 LE2 with 2020 Ford F250.  Like Fritz said, it’s probably overkill but I thought it worth the extra cost.   We are not using WDH, tows very easy.   I called Service well before production date and set it up.   They installed it during manufacturing, not after the fact.  Upon delivery, I had to pay an additional Service fee, can’t recall how much, but reasonable. 

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“Ramble” - 2021 Legacy Elite II #797;  2020 Ford F-250 6.2L V8

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Thanks for the advice and tips. I realize its most likely overkill, but there is certainly a pattern of that with me. Good to hear that OTT will do it in production. And I am a Troll. Grew up and was educated in PA, then purchased a business in southern Michigan which I ran for 33 years and sold it a few years ago. We will most likely be doing some remote consulting for a few years. 

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Looking forward to our delivery of our LEll in May 2022. Just bought a 2017 Ford F250 for a TV. I've been planning on getting the Anderson WDH but it sounds like I may not need it. We go through the Rockies frequently and tend to drive at or a bit above the posted speed limits on the flats, (much more conservative on the down grades).  What's the consensus on using a WDH with the F250?  Also, It seems like the larger ball/coupler is a good idea, I think we'll go that route regardless if we end up with the WDH or not. 

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Albert - my wife and I bought a 2021 F250 this year and we don't feel the WDH is remotely necessary.  It tows quite easily and there is no sway whatsoever.  We bought the F250 to have a better overall towing experience and to avoid the need for a WDH.  We towed with a 2020 Toyota Tundra before the F250 and there was also no sway with that truck but there was a fair amount of jounce.

We also had Oliver install the larger 2 5/16" bulldog and I'm glad we did.  This upgrade from Oliver was around $250 if I recall correctly.

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2021 Elite 2 Hull # 832 "Bucket List"

2021 F250 7.3L Gas / 4.30 AR

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4 hours ago, albert said:

What's the consensus on using a WDH with the F250? 

With an F250 I don’t think you need to worry about an Andersen hitch.  I used the WDH for 5 years with smaller trucks but when I got my 2500 last year I took the Andersen off and now have about 10K towing miles without it.  Absolutely no issues.  Mike

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

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With a 3/4 ton truck a weight distribution hitch is not "required" by any truck manufacturer.  Given that there is no "discount" for the Andersen, you have nothing to lose by waiting, test the towing experience and if you are happy then nothing more needs to be done.  Obviously, if you are not happy or if you feel that the Andersen gives you added benefits (such as additional safety margins or the like) it is reasonably easy to install.

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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Albert, welcome to the forum. Especially if you are brand new to towing, you might want to seriously reconsider towing above the posted limit. There are members here who have talked about towing at 85 mph, and that makes me shudder. The Oliver brakes are typical trailer junk, so you need to be aware of that too. When working properly, they are just barely adequate. But usually they don’t work well….. Plus you burn a whole lot of extra fuel.

The Andersen hitch is very easy to install, and you will find it discounted online, so take it off your order build sheet. What is Oliver charging for an installed one? I have seen the hitch itself for as low as $512 delivered. Use the money you save to buy a generator😀

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, Safari snorkel.

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2 hours ago, John E Davies said:

The Oliver brakes are typical trailer junk, so you need to be aware of that too. When working properly, they are just barely adequate. But usually they don’t work well…..

While I very much agree with the overall sentiment of John Davies (JD) post above, I very much disagree with the quoted statement above.  I'm guessing that JD has had a negative experience with drum brakes (perhaps to include those on his Oliver) but I've been towing various camping and boat trailers for over 50 years (oh my!) with only one hydraulic boat trailer brakes ever causing any problems at all.  Specifically, the brakes on my Oliver have performed very well over the past six plus years and can still be made to fully stop the Ollie's tires from turning - yes, I do test them and I do inspect the components of the braking system at least once per year.

Basically drum brakes were invented in 1899 and have been used on a fair number of trailers and vehicles since then.  According to Haynes.com, "drum brakes provide more braking force than equal diameter disc brakes", "drum brakes last longer due to increased friction contact area versus a disc brake", "drum brakes are cheaper to manufacture", and, "drum brakes have slightly lower frequency of maintenance due to better corrosion resistance".

Basically the reason we now have disc brakes on most of our vehicles is because, "disc brakes deliver better performance in both wet and dry conditions" as per napaonline.com.  Certainly this is true when brakes are "heavily" used or abused.

While the brakes on our Olivers are reasonably typical in that they are delivered from a respected manufacturer - Dexter - who also supplies a number of other trailer manufacturers, this does not mean that they are "junk".  However, it does mean that the inherent "problems" of drum brakes still do apply to those used on Olivers and we should be aware of these potential issues.  Drum brakes will experience "fade" when used heavily (i.e. long downhill runs where the brakes are heavily used or when a driver "rides" their brakes) thus causing the driver to have to apply even more force to the brake pedal to get even the same braking force.  In extreme situations this fade can even cause a major loss of braking power - such as when "the pads or drums become "glazed".  Drum brakes are slightly more susceptible to malfunction when used in off-road conditions versus disc brakes because debris can more easily become lodged in the parts of the drum brakes.  And, drum brakes are somewhat more difficult to inspect for wear in that the drum must be pulled in order to inspect the brake linings (however, this should be done at least annually anyway when the bearings are greased).

Are drum brakes the absolute best braking technology ever invented? - Obviously, the answer to that question is a resounding NO.  But, are they "junk" and more specifically, are the brakes that Oliver uses "junk"?  Again it would seem that the answer is a resounding NO.

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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1 hour ago, topgun2 said:

While I very much agree with the overall sentiment of John Davies (JD) post above, I very much disagree with the quoted statement above.  I'm guessing that JD has had a negative experience with drum brakes (perhaps to include those on his Oliver) but I've been towing various camping and boat trailers for over 50 years (oh my!) with only one hydraulic boat trailer brakes ever causing any problems at all.  Specifically, the brakes on my Oliver have performed very well over the past six plus years and can still be made to fully stop the Ollie's tires from turning - yes, I do test them and I do inspect the components of the braking system at least once per year.

Basically drum brakes were invented in 1899 and have been used on a fair number of trailers and vehicles since then.  According to Haynes.com, "drum brakes provide more braking force than equal diameter disc brakes", "drum brakes last longer due to increased friction contact area versus a disc brake", "drum brakes are cheaper to manufacture", and, "drum brakes have slightly lower frequency of maintenance due to better corrosion resistance".

Basically the reason we now have disc brakes on most of our vehicles is because, "disc brakes deliver better performance in both wet and dry conditions" as per napaonline.com.  Certainly this is true when brakes are "heavily" used or abused.

While the brakes on our Olivers are reasonably typical in that they are delivered from a respected manufacturer - Dexter - who also supplies a number of other trailer manufacturers, this does not mean that they are "junk".  However, it does mean that the inherent "problems" of drum brakes still do apply to those used on Olivers and we should be aware of these potential issues.  Drum brakes will experience "fade" when used heavily (i.e. long downhill runs where the brakes are heavily used or when a driver "rides" their brakes) thus causing the driver to have to apply even more force to the brake pedal to get even the same braking force.  In extreme situations this fade can even cause a major loss of braking power - such as when "the pads or drums become "glazed".  Drum brakes are slightly more susceptible to malfunction when used in off-road conditions versus disc brakes because debris can more easily become lodged in the parts of the drum brakes.  And, drum brakes are somewhat more difficult to inspect for wear in that the drum must be pulled in order to inspect the brake linings (however, this should be done at least annually anyway when the bearings are greased).

Are drum brakes the absolute best braking technology ever invented? - Obviously, the answer to that question is a resounding NO.  But, are they "junk" and more specifically, are the brakes that Oliver uses "junk"?  Again it would seem that the answer is a resounding NO.

Bill

 

I agree 100% These Brakes work fine.... Sounds to me like someone has some serious issues that they are attempting to project onto others.,.,.,. Just Sayin

Edited by fairmontrvpark
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 I was not implying that Dexter brakes are junk, just drum brakes in general. Well, some Dexter parts are junk, like their China made bearings and seals, and the chafe-prone undersized cross- axle wiring. And their “Nev-R adjusters” that often don’t adjust. 

I have struggled with hydraulic, electric and surge drum brakes for fifty years, both on my trucks and my trailers. I am not new to this. If you have had great experiences with them, I am glad for you, consider yourself lucky.

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, Safari snorkel.

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8 hours ago, topgun2 said:

And, drum brakes are somewhat more difficult to inspect for wear in that the drum must be pulled in order to inspect the brake linings (however, this should be done at least annually anyway when the bearings are greased).

I believe the drum brakes Oliver is currently installing are mounted on Dexter "Nev-R-Lube" axles.  Dexter touts those axles as a "sealed cartridge bearing system," with a 5-year,100,000 mile warranty. 

So, even though I won't have to annually grease the 8 sets of wheel bearings on the Elite II I am committed to receive next year, I will plan to the pull all four drums annually to check the brake shoes.  Thanks for the reminder!

That said, I am with John Davies on this one.  Having worked on many sets of both drum and disc brakes on my vehicles over the past 40+ years,  I  prefer disc brakes by a large margin.  If Oliver offered them as an upgrade, I would pay that premium.

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Hull #?

Central Idaho

2019 Tundra Double Cab 4x4, 5.7L with tow package

 

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WOW! Thanks for all the feedback, I'm loving this!

I'll remove the WDH from my build order and get one later if needed. As for the brakes, I too have had mixed experience with trailer brakes. Pretty much what I've seen is (except for air brakes on a big truck) the trailer brakes are not generally worth much on the big down grades, hence the reason I went for the bigger TV so I could hold it back more with the drivetrain instead of the brakes. It's the strongest reason for getting a diesel that I know (so you can have a jake brake) but I'm not ready to spend the money on that and anyway, unless you plan on a LOT of road time, the added expense otherwise very hard to justify. 

 

Thanks everyone for the feedback, it's very helpful, I appreciate your insights and look forward to meeting you on the road

 

a.

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On 11/22/2021 at 10:21 AM, Mike and Carol said:

I didn’t realize how big a difference a diesel makes on braking.  With the air brake on I rarely touch the brakes on downhills and slowing.  Mike

It makes a huge difference especially on heavy trailers.  I also find many people adjust the trailer brake bias too high to make up for weak TV brakes. 

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I have the 2" ball with a Andersen WDH and pull it with my 1500 RAM rebel. 

No problems what so ever. I think the large ball is overkill and no necessary (unless you have other trailers with the larger ball).

2018 Oliver Elite II, Hull #354 | 2018 RAM 1500 Rebel 4 x 4, 5.7 Hemi

 

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6 minutes ago, dewdev said:

No problems what so ever. I think the large ball is overkill and no necessary (unless you have other trailers with the larger ball).

Just to head off a small stampede of owners that think otherwise....... the issue is not strength of any of the Anderson components.  But rather wear of the ball itself.  This is especially the case of those needing extra weight distribution (Ergo high chain tension) such a Sequoia's, Land Cruiser's, and some half-ton trucks.   The increased size of the 2 5/16 ball provides a larger contact wear surface at the ball.     

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Tug:  2019 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat, 3.5L EcoBoost, Max Trailer Tow, FX-4, 4X4, Rear Locker

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