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Lithium Pro Package vs Solar Pro Package


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We don't pick our EII until the end of June. I selected the Lithium Pro package. Truth be told, I'm second guessing that choice. I realize I have 3-4 months to change to the Solar Pro Package. Obviously $4,300 difference is a lot of money that can be used elsewhere.

My wife and I come from a truck camper background. When we started the roof top solar package was a 100w Zamp panel on the roof and 2-AGM 12-volt batteries. We had a Dometic 80L compressor fridge. Between the solar and driving to charge the camper batteries, we got by. 50% of our camping was off grid, batteries running fridge, furnace, lights and CPAP Machine. The last 2 years we upgraded to 2-100 Zamp panels on the roof, a new Zamp controller, and new 12v AGM batteries. We also added a Honda 2200i generator.

With the Oliver, we see our camping style changing with less back country, but numerous places without shore power ( National Parks, USFS, BLM).

When we drove 6-8 hours between campgrounds, our batteries were fully charged. Yet others with the same batteries and solar, and a 3-way fridge ran their batteries down when set on 12v. I can't figure that one out. I wouldn't want to drive with the propane on.

I don't think I would have an issue with the lithium package running on 12v while driving. The A/C, microwave, and TV would require the inverter.

Are 4-6v AGM batteries with the 340w solar going to be enough? Will I have problems driving with the fridge on 12v?

I guess there is another side to this. I'm asking myself if the Lithium and 3,000w inverter are way over my head. I have been reading the forum and some issues have popped up between the lithium batteries and the inverter.

Sorry for the lengthy post. I want to get this right, and if I'm good with just the solar package, that $4,300 will be a big help elsewhere.

 

Thanks for your input.

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1 hour ago, John Dorrer said:

Are 4-6v AGM batteries with the 340w solar going to be enough? Will I have problems driving with the fridge on 12v?

We found that our 4 AGM batteries and 320W of solar worked well when we were off grid for extended periods.  I run the fridge on propane while traveling and we were always fully charged when we arrived at our next location.  Mike

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A three way fridge running on DC uses about 15 amps pretty much continually. Your old compressor fridge used way less and cycled on and off depending on temperature. You won’t be able to recharge your depleted Ollie batteries while driving with it set to DC, though you might just keep up with the discharge rate. If the sun is bright, your panels will do the job, but what about grey days? I recommend that you learn to accept the idea of traveling with the fridge set to gas, and if you are super concerned about fire danger get a Gas Stop device for each bottle.

I had 4 AGMs and solar originally, I think the real battery killer is heavy use of the microwave off the inverter. If you don’t often microwave two TV dinners in a row, then you should not have much trouble. But you can’t expect them to last long powering the fridge all day.

FYI: Your lithiums would NOT charge off the truck anyway, without some modifications. Oliver does not even connect that wire to the seven pin harness. You must install a DC to DC charger to get that to work correctly. Does that affect your decision?

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/

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3 minutes ago, John E Davies said:

A three way fridge running on DC uses about 15 amps pretty much continually. Your old compressor fridge used way less and cycled on and off depending on temperature. You won’t be able to recharge your depleted batteries while driving with it set to DC, though you might just keep up with the discharge rate. I recommend that you learn to accept the idea of traveling with the fridge set to gas, and if you are super concerned about fire danger get a Gas Stop device for each bottle.

I had 4 AGMs and solar originally, I think the real battery killer is heavy use of the microwave off the inverter. If you don’t often microwave two TV dinners in a row, then you should not have much trouble. But you can’t expect them to last long powering the fridge all day.

FYI: Your lithiums would NOT charge off the truck anyway, without some modifications. Oliver does not even connect that wire to the seven pin harness. You must install a DC to DC charger to get that to work correctly. Does that affect your decision?

John Davies

Spokane WA

Thank You👍

9 minutes ago, Mike and Carol said:

We found that our 4 AGM batteries and 320W of solar worked well when we were off grid for extended periods.  I run the fridge on propane while traveling and we were always fully charged when we arrived at our next location.  Mike

Thank You👍

 

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1 hour ago, John Dorrer said:

I selected the Lithium Pro package. Truth be told, I'm second guessing that choice. I realize I have 3-4 months to change to the Solar Pro Package.

My wife and I are taking delivery of an Elite II next summer as well.  We haven't yet been required to make a final commitment on upgrades, but we are leaning toward the Lithium Pro Package over the Solar Pro package.  In response to an earlier, similar post inquiring whether to go with wet cell or AGM, I stated the reasons we have tentatively chosen the Lithium Pro Package.  I have edited it to more specifically address your LIFePO4 vs. AGM query:

"We are presently planning to spend the extra $$$$ on the Lithium Pro Package [over the Solar Pro Package], for many reasons:  (1) we view it as "future proofing" (it's a lot easier to have the more robust 3kw inverter and wiring infrastructure installed during construction); (2) we hope to be able to run the AC with just our 2kw generator, which requires the Micro Air Easy Start [included in the Lithium Pro Package] (which is also much easier to install in the factory before the AC goes on the roof);  (3) we want to be able to run the AC, albeit for only a short time, on the batteries; (4) LiFePO4 accepts a full charge much faster than lead/acid, and so is more efficiently recharged with solar; (5) 390Ah of LiFePO4 provides much more usable battery capacity than 400 Ah of [lead/acid/AGM batteries], because only about 50% of lead/acid capacity is usable before recharge compared to 85% with LiFePO4; (6) payload,and therefore trailer weight, is an issue with our 2019 Tundra 5.7L Double Cab tow vehicle, and LiFePO4 saves a couple hundred pounds vs. [AGM] and (7) the increased cost is offset to some extent by the 10-year probable life of LiFePO4 batteries."

I will add with regard to the first point, future proofing, that we plan to own our Ollie for a couple of decades, and we believe that the price of LiFePO4 batteries vs. AGM will continue to drop over that time as lithium R&D costs are recovered.  We do not plan to spend the additional $4400 for the 630 Ah Lithium Platinum Package because we believe 390 Ah will be enough.  But, if, over time, we decide we really want more battery capacity, it will likely be less expensive later, and we can add it without having to also upgrade the inverter or any internal wiring.

I expect you know you will likely get between 3 and 5 years of service from AGMs.  So, over the probable 10-year life of the LiFePO4 batteries, you will be required to replace the AGMs at least once, maybe twice.  Today, you must pay at least $800 for 400Ah of AGM capacity.  And, I note you have purchased a Honda 2200i generator.  If you plan to run the AC using that generator, you will still need to spend the extra $400 for the MicroAir Easy start if you don't opt for the Lithium Pro Package.  So, over time and considering the cost of the MicroAir Easy Start, the "net" cost differential between the Solar Pro and Lithium Pro packages falls more in the $2400-$3100 range, not $4300.

For these reasons, we are still planning to spend the extra on the Lithium Pro Package.  Hope this helps with your decision.

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Hull #?

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In regards to lithium life span, those numbers are based on full discharge cycles. A set of batteries in a home solar installation, where they are deeply discharged every single day, will work orders of magnitude harder than on RV trips with partial discharges. My Battle Borns have been used for one season, and rarely did they ever drop very far below 50% state of charge. In about 45 days of use, the Victron Connect app shows just 12 cycles.

Obviously if you are full timing off grid, you will stress them more, but at the rate I am going they will probably last for the rest of my lifetime….. and be healthy for the next owner. The expected life is 3000 to 5000 cycles. 

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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We can't imagine AGM batteries after having lithium.  There are so many advantages to lithium batteries.  While everyone knows they last longer, few think about the advantages of the built-in battery monitoring systems.  No longer do you worry about over-charging, having to have a trickle charger, depleting them to zero, etc., etc.

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Were it me (and it's not), I'd probably opt for the solar pro, and see how it goes.

Lithium prices keep dropping. You can always add them later, if you actually need them. 

Depending on the weather, (cooler temps), you can actually turn your gas fridge off for a few  hours, if it's cold and full, and be fine, instead of running the 3way on 12v, if your solar doesn't keep up. We used to run ours on propane, traveling,  when we had a 3way. (Unless in areas required by law to turn it off.)

A 3way is least efficient in 12v.  In our case, in the days when we still had a 3way, 200 watts solar, two 12v agm 105 ah batteries, we couldn't keep up running on 12v.

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17 minutes ago, CnC said:

We can't imagine AGM batteries after having lithium.  There are so many advantages to lithium batteries.  While everyone knows they last longer, few think about the advantages of the built-in battery monitoring systems.  No longer do you worry about over-charging, having to have a trickle charger, depleting them to zero, etc., etc.

I agree with the advantages of lithium over AGMs, but our factory AGM/solar set up served us very well over 5+ years.  Anyone who goes that route will be fine in whatever style camping they do.  I’m glad I upgraded to lithium but don’t regret the AGM days (especially since it was the top end upgrade at the time!).  Mike

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2 hours ago, Rivernerd said:

My wife and I are taking delivery of an Elite II next summer as well.  We haven't yet been required to make a final commitment on upgrades, but we are leaning toward the Lithium Pro Package over the Solar Pro package.  In response to an earlier, similar post inquiring whether to go with wet cell or AGM, I stated the reasons we have tentatively chosen the Lithium Pro Package.  I have edited it to more specifically address your LIFePO4 vs. AGM query:

"We are presently planning to spend the extra $$$$ on the Lithium Pro Package [over the Solar Pro Package], for many reasons:  (1) we view it as "future proofing" (it's a lot easier to have the more robust 3kw inverter and wiring infrastructure installed during construction); (2) we hope to be able to run the AC with just our 2kw generator, which requires the Micro Air Easy Start [included in the Lithium Pro Package] (which is also much easier to install in the factory before the AC goes on the roof);  (3) we want to be able to run the AC, albeit for only a short time, on the batteries; (4) LiFePO4 accepts a full charge much faster than lead/acid, and so is more efficiently recharged with solar; (5) 390Ah of LiFePO4 provides much more usable battery capacity than 400 Ah of [lead/acid/AGM batteries], because only about 50% of lead/acid capacity is usable before recharge compared to 85% with LiFePO4; (6) payload,and therefore trailer weight, is an issue with our 2019 Tundra 5.7L Double Cab tow vehicle, and LiFePO4 saves a couple hundred pounds vs. [AGM] and (7) the increased cost is offset to some extent by the 10-year probable life of LiFePO4 batteries."

I will add with regard to the first point, future proofing, that we plan to own our Ollie for a couple of decades, and we believe that the price of LiFePO4 batteries vs. AGM will continue to drop over that time as lithium R&D costs are recovered.  We do not plan to spend the additional $4400 for the 630 Ah Lithium Platinum Package because we believe 390 Ah will be enough.  But, if, over time, we decide we really want more battery capacity, it will likely be less expensive later, and we can add it without having to also upgrade the inverter or any internal wiring.

I expect you know you will likely get between 3 and 5 years of service from AGMs.  So, over the probable 10-year life of the LiFePO4 batteries, you will be required to replace the AGMs at least once, maybe twice.  Today, you must pay at least $800 for 400Ah of AGM capacity.  And, I note you have purchased a Honda 2200i generator.  If you plan to run the AC using that generator, you will still need to spend the extra $400 for the MicroAir Easy start if you don't opt for the Lithium Pro Package.  So, over time and considering the cost of the MicroAir Easy Start, the "net" cost differential between the Solar Pro and Lithium Pro packages falls more in the $2400-$3100 range, not $4300.

For these reasons, we are still planning to spend the extra on the Lithium Pro Package.  Hope this helps with your decision.

Thank You. Lots of great information👍

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44 minutes ago, John Dorrer said:

Thank You. Lots of great information👍

It's useful for me also as we're in the planning stages before we order. 

John and Debbie, Beaverton, Oregon,  2017 Ford Expedition EL 4x4 with heavy duty tow package. 

Present trailer, 2003 Coleman tent trailer

Oliver Elite II is on my wish list

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Lead acid and agm are old (but tried and true) technologies. 

We're on our 5th season with current agm batteries, 2 x 12v x 105 ah. Ideal for us? No, especially with our dc compressor fridge, which uses 60 to 70 ah a day. But, I'm in no hurry to upgrade, as I  hope/suspect they'll last another season or 3. Current cost is roughly $110 a season, plus generator fuel (minimal) when we need it. 

We could and would definitely use the extra ah of lithium, but I'm still on the fence. Will we ever recoup the cost, if we go lithium? I don't know. Would it be easier, for sure. I have to monitor power all the time, and solar input, with the 60 to 70 ah of the compressor fridge, with our puny battery setup, and mostly camping without electricity.  

It's a big decision,  which can be changed up later, imo.

 

 

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Perhaps this is only tangentially related to the topic, but I have a question concerning upgrading to BBGC2 Battle Born batteries.

Has anyone been able to install four of the 100Ah BC2s in their battery compartment? I was assured by a Dragonfly Energy (maker of the batteries) representative that four of these would fit into the slide-out compartment that held our four 6-volt AGMs that I needed to replace in our 2017 Elite II. Has anyone here actually done that, giving them 400-amp hours of power?

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5 minutes ago, Spike said:

Perhaps this is only tangentially related to the topic, but I have a question concerning upgrading to BBGC2 Battle Born batteries.

Has anyone been able to install four of the 100Ah BC2s in their battery compartment? I was assured by a Dragonfly Energy (maker of the batteries) representative that four of these would fit into the slide-out compartment that held our four 6-volt AGMs that I needed to replace in our 2017 Elite II. Has anyone here actually done that, giving them 400-amp hours of power?

If you stand them up like your current AGM batteries you’ll only be able to get three in there.  Some have turned them on their sides and got four in.  Not sure of the specifics of that, but someone will answer.

Here’s what two Battle Borns look like.  If I remove the spacer in the front I would be able to get one more in standing up.  So far two have been more than adequate.  Mike

 

287EDC52-1082-4E64-B788-8DD3CDB6A246.jpeg

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3 hours ago, SeaDawg said:

  In our case, in the days when we still had a 3way, 200 watts solar, two 12v agm 105 ah batteries, we couldn't keep up running on 12v.

For those of us that cover a lot of miles and worry about running the 3-Way on 12V there is another solution:  Per John D's info, the 3-Way needs 15 amps.  A Victron Orion 12 |12 -30 DC to DC charger (for example) run with 4 AWG cables from the TV to Ollie's Lithiums will provide just short of 30 amps.  So all of folks with solar suit cases don't need to duct tape them to the truck any more.   🙂   

And we have about 50% of the Orion still available to charge our Lithium's too.  

The next logical question is what does it cost to power up the 3-Way by the TV or by propane?

GJ

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If you decide to get FLA or AGM, one weird little bonus for the ambivalent is that it won't be too many years before you'll be replacing them anyway and can always slip in Lithium at that point. As for the 3,000W inverter, we had the well documented (remote panel throwing a comms error and inability to update the firmware) issues with the one that was installed when we took delivery in December 2020 but I put in a replacement unit that Xantrex sent me in around June and it's been working fine since replacing the defective one. 

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Jim and  Yanna, Woodinville WA

2004 Ford E250 camper conversion

Oliver Elite II hull #709

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5 hours ago, John E Davies said:

In regards to lithium life span, those numbers are based on full discharge cycles. A set of batteries in a home solar installation, where they are deeply discharged every single day, will work orders of magnitude harder than on RV trips with partial discharges. My Battle Borns have been used for one season, and rarely did they ever drop very far below 50% state of charge. In about 45 days of use, the Victron Connect app shows just 12 cycles.

Obviously if you are full timing off grid, you will stress them more, but at the rate I am going they will probably last for the rest of my lifetime….. and be healthy for the next owner. The expected life is 3000 to 5000 cycles. 

John Davies

Spokane WA

Thank You

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6 hours ago, Rivernerd said:

My wife and I are taking delivery of an Elite II next summer as well.  We haven't yet been required to make a final commitment on upgrades, but we are leaning toward the Lithium Pro Package over the Solar Pro package.  In response to an earlier, similar post inquiring whether to go with wet cell or AGM, I stated the reasons we have tentatively chosen the Lithium Pro Package.  I have edited it to more specifically address your LIFePO4 vs. AGM query:

"We are presently planning to spend the extra $$$$ on the Lithium Pro Package [over the Solar Pro Package], for many reasons:  (1) we view it as "future proofing" (it's a lot easier to have the more robust 3kw inverter and wiring infrastructure installed during construction); (2) we hope to be able to run the AC with just our 2kw generator, which requires the Micro Air Easy Start [included in the Lithium Pro Package] (which is also much easier to install in the factory before the AC goes on the roof);  (3) we want to be able to run the AC, albeit for only a short time, on the batteries; (4) LiFePO4 accepts a full charge much faster than lead/acid, and so is more efficiently recharged with solar; (5) 390Ah of LiFePO4 provides much more usable battery capacity than 400 Ah of [lead/acid/AGM batteries], because only about 50% of lead/acid capacity is usable before recharge compared to 85% with LiFePO4; (6) payload,and therefore trailer weight, is an issue with our 2019 Tundra 5.7L Double Cab tow vehicle, and LiFePO4 saves a couple hundred pounds vs. [AGM] and (7) the increased cost is offset to some extent by the 10-year probable life of LiFePO4 batteries."

I will add with regard to the first point, future proofing, that we plan to own our Ollie for a couple of decades, and we believe that the price of LiFePO4 batteries vs. AGM will continue to drop over that time as lithium R&D costs are recovered.  We do not plan to spend the additional $4400 for the 630 Ah Lithium Platinum Package because we believe 390 Ah will be enough.  But, if, over time, we decide we really want more battery capacity, it will likely be less expensive later, and we can add it without having to also upgrade the inverter or any internal wiring.

I expect you know you will likely get between 3 and 5 years of service from AGMs.  So, over the probable 10-year life of the LiFePO4 batteries, you will be required to replace the AGMs at least once, maybe twice.  Today, you must pay at least $800 for 400Ah of AGM capacity.  And, I note you have purchased a Honda 2200i generator.  If you plan to run the AC using that generator, you will still need to spend the extra $400 for the MicroAir Easy start if you don't opt for the Lithium Pro Package.  So, over time and considering the cost of the MicroAir Easy Start, the "net" cost differential between the Solar Pro and Lithium Pro packages falls more in the $2400-$3100 range, not $4300.

For these reasons, we are still planning to spend the extra on the Lithium Pro Package.  Hope this helps with your decision.

Thanks👍

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9 hours ago, SeaDawg said:

which can be changed up later

While I don't disagree with this I am curious on the cost for this. I was talking to an owner who said the Oliver service center quoted them $25k to upgrade their existing AGM to lithium. That sounded pretty crazy to me. Not sure what size wires come with AGM but do they all have to by upgraded to go lithium? If not where in the world is that cost coming from?

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7 hours ago, Zodd said:

While I don't disagree with this I am curious on the cost for this. I was talking to an owner who said the Oliver service center quoted them $25k to upgrade their existing AGM to lithium.

Doesn’t sound right to me.  We did some clean up on my cabling and replaced the old non-lithium capable PD4045 adding two Battle Borns and I don’t think I spent more than $3K.

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Yeah, if you say retail on 600ah of batteries is $6,000 (high these days), and $3,500 for inverter, cables, etc. (also generous), then that’s $9,500 in materials. I wired my whole trailer in less than a week, and could certainly do it again in 30 hours or less, so with what’s left of the total, that would be over $500/hr in labor. Plus profit on the materials.

Maybe I should think seriously about getting into the trailer mod business. 

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Oliver service is charging $120 per hour labor. Even that seems way too high to me, for a small town shop. They can’t have all that much overhead in terms of payroll and expenses…. Except they have to pay off that new building and the campground. But IMHO a few hours of that would be enough to buy some shade trees😬

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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10 hours ago, Zodd said:

I was talking to an owner who said the Oliver service center quoted them $25k to upgrade their existing AGM to lithium. That sounded pretty crazy to me. Not sure what size wires come with AGM but do they all have to by upgraded to go lithium? If not where in the world is that cost coming from?

If the reported $25K quote for AGM to LiFePO4 upgrade is accurate, maybe Oliver is throwing out deliberately high bids because they really don't want the work?  I expect that, like the manufacturing side, Oliver's Service Department is struggling to keep up with just regular service on the rapidly increasing number of Olivers now on the road.

I had a similar experience recently serving as general contractor on the home we built in rural Idaho during a hot building economy.  We got several outrageously high bids from potential roofing and drywall subcontractors that said to me:  "O.k., we will make the drive and do your job, even though we are really busy "in town," if you are willing to pay enough to put my kids through college."  In some cases I ended up doing the work myself because we were not willing to pay that extreme premium. 

But, we are planning to pay the premium for the Lithium Pro Package on our Elite II because we believe the economics of that factory upgrade make sense.

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Hull #?

Central Idaho

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

 

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1 hour ago, Boonter Jeff said:

John D., 3 -5 years for AGM batteries?  We had AGM batteries on our boat and they lasted for about 10 years.  

My daughter has an eleven year old AGM battery in her Subaru, and it still works fine. That doesn’t mean that is anything near normal. She and you have both been very lucky. My Ollie batteries were acting up by the third season, and tango uniform by the middle of the fourth. Two were shorted out, so I tossed those and limped along on the other two until I bought lithiums….

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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