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What we learned during our plant tour and purchase, August 12, 2022


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Thoughts and discoveries from yesterday's tour and purchase in no particular order. I'll add more if I think of anything.

Anita was very helpful and knowledgable. When she didn't know an answer, she said so instead of faking her way through.  I appreciate that. When we scheduled our tour, I selected the 1:00 slot. Anita countered that the plant gets unbearable in the afternoons, and suggested we schedule the 9:00 tour instead. As it was 91 out, I really appreciated that!

The plant works four 10 hour days, so Friday was mostly inactive. This is good because you can hold a conversation and get closer to the assembly line, but you can't watch employees at work. Seeing the final inspection area where any errors were noted by employee name was interesting. Making the offender responsible has to be beneficial.

We toured with another couple. We knew that was going to be the case beforehand,  but by their response, I'm not sure they did. This might be offputting if you're not comfortable discussing questions in a group. Having spent 40 plus years in manufacturing, I had a lot of questions. This might have taken away some of the time the other couple could have been asking questions. We weren't rushed, and they said they were okay with the time given, but if I were them, I might have preferred to not have me along. 😉

I was taking photos of the wiring and plumbing between hull halves, and Anita stopped me. It seems an email was sent out just the day before that photos are no longer permitted during plant tours. This was somewhat irksome, as I want to know what's behind the walls. Especially with no wiring diagrams available. Several surreptitious photos may have been taken anyway...

The 2023 fabric is different than the previous offered material.  It seems softer, but maybe thinner and not as rugged or course feeling. Deb has samples of both and I'll try to post a photo later. The Midnight fabric is also darker.

No Truma furnace or AC were on the line, as they are still building 2022 models. No Victron components were on the demo unit, but the Truma AC was. It's as quiet as reported!

They resumed Elite I orders and builds due to an overwhelming number of orders placed when it was announced they would stop for a redesign.  That's now on hold. The rumored larger model is still being considered with no timeline discussed.

Forgot a huge point as far as I’m concerned, and caused us to change what we were going to order. 
When Sue and Matt offered to let us visit them to see their Elite II Twin, we found that they had the upgraded KTT mattresses. Deb and I didn’t see the value of that $1750 option until we laid on their bed. Thick, comfy, and much more firm than I expected. We were sold on the upgrade. 
Fast forward to this past Friday and our visit to Hohenwald. We sat in the demo trailer, and I asked Anita if they had one with the upgraded KTT mattress. She said that I was sitting on the upgraded mattress!! Go look at the option list. It no longer says KTT. They can’t get enough mattresses from KTT, so they are also getting them from Takata. And the buyer does not get to choose which they get!

Deb and I both thought that the Takata that we were sitting and later laying on felt cheap, soft, offered no support, and definitely not worth the upgrade! Deb was sitting on it, and not just on the edge, and the mattress compressed enough that her thigh was resting on the edge of the mattress tray. Very uncomfortable! I said it felt like an old worn out mattress in a cheap motel. 
By comparison, the  standard free cushion felt luxurious! Not as great as Sue and Matt’s KTT, but much better than the Takata. Anita said the difference in support was because Sue and Matt had Hypervent and the Takata didn’t. Can’t be that much difference!

So, we saved $1750 and $850 by ordering the standard cushions and no Ultra fabric upgrade, and Oliver lost whatever profit they make on both. 👎👎👎👎👎

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We both found the Nature's Head toilet very uncomfortable. As someone who takes a while for things to happen, I don't think it would work for me. We ordered the standard toilet with the intention of likely replacing it with an AirHead composting toilet instead.

Placing our order was painless, and picking the delivery date to fit our schedule was nice. There were earlier days available that didn't work for us.

Here's where we're at right now:
- Elite II Twin Bed
- Standard Mattresses
- Standard Fabric - Midnight 
- Hypervent
- Omnidirectional Antenna (local weather etc. if we don't have cell service)
- Street Side Awning
- Frosted Doors
- Convection Microwave
- 20 Gallon Propane (to keep tongue weight down)
- Front/Rear Propane Quick-Connects
- Standard Toilet with possible AirHead composting replacement
- Full Truma Package AC, Furnace, Water Heater and Antifreeze kit
- Largest Lithium Package
- No Backup Camera: Probably add our own later
- Anderson Hitch
- Aluminum Storage Basket
- Basement Door
- No Graphics

67C8F37D-5C8B-4668-9E6D-4C29CC732087.thumb.jpeg.a75b6d79cfb56aacf19fb6a24ebb6bf6.jpeg794F1047-77DA-4A16-89C6-3C6608E4F7EC.thumb.jpeg.42d17bd7a3e3022ccdf2ec4f6df8b5b1.jpeg

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Steve - Northern Ohio, USA
Wandering around on occasion, always lost.
2021 Toyota Land Cruiser - 5X8 Hiker Highway Deluxe Squaredrop Trailer
2023 Oliver Elite II Twin on order - due March 28, 2023

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Thanks for all this info.  It's very helpful.  I'm doing the reverse of you...doing a plant tour after order.  Our tour is scheduled for Sept 11.  Did Anita show you samples of the new countertops for 2023?  I understand they no longer will be fiber-granite but instead will be solid surface acrylic.  Congratulations again on your order.

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Southern Arizona | 2021 Ford F-150 | 2023 Oliver Elite II on Order 

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I’m curious about the photo restriction.  We took lots of photos on our tours and some came in handy later.  Anita gave us our first tour in 2015 before we ordered.  Things were a bit more relaxed back then.  Mike

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

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2 hours ago, Steve and Deb said:

Having spent 40 plus years in manufacturing, I had a lot of questions. This might have taken away some of the time the other couple could have been asking questions. We weren't rushed, and they said they were okay with the time given, but if I were them, I might have preferred to not have me along. 😉

LOL, I have had that personality trait pointed out to me more than once. Anita was a real Southern sweetheart (I hope I am allowed to say that) when we visited in 2016, we did not do a tour then or ever. 

I am 90% sure you will want to add rear airbags, you can try towing first to see how it feels, but I was pretty unhappy, the stock LC200 springs are really soft (that is why it is so great on rough roads). If you were to install an Old Man Emu suspension, I don't think you would need them. The OME kits, even the base version, are engineered for load carrying ("real truck duty") rather than for hauling kids to the soccer match. I think you have the Heritage Edition, is that correct? That may come with stiffer springs in back, you could check at IH8tmud.com.

Firestone W237604164 Coil-Rite Kit

https://olivertraveltrailers.com/forums/topic/2059-land-cruiser-200-towing-thread/

Congratulations, are you going to sell your current trailer this season or wait?

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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2 hours ago, John E Davies said:

LOL, I have had that personality trait pointed out to me more than once. Anita was a real Southern sweetheart (I hope I am allowed to say that) when we visited in 2016, we did not do a tour then or ever. 

I am 90% sure you will want to add rear airbags, you can try towing first to see how it feels, but I was pretty unhappy, the stock LC200 springs are really soft (that is why it is so great on rough roads). If you were to install an Old Man Emu suspension, I don't think you would need them. The OME kits, even the base version, are engineered for load carrying ("real truck duty") rather than for hauling kids to the soccer match. I think you have the Heritage Edition, is that correct? That may come with stiffer springs in back, you could check at IH8tmud.com.

Firestone W237604164 Coil-Rite Kit

https://olivertraveltrailers.com/forums/topic/2059-land-cruiser-200-towing-thread/

Congratulations, are you going to sell your current trailer this season or wait?

John Davies

'Spokane WA

Thanks John. I’ve already had the Firestone link as well as Redarc’s brake controller bookmarked for months. 😉

As noted on MUD ( I’m Slow paddler), the HE model has very slightly larger wire diameter for the coils, but I think one fewer turns. Consensus is a barely stiffer spring. My fridge is mid-ship, so the only weight aft is just junk. No rear seats, and the 60% second row seat is out. So no stiffer springs unless I get a 24 gallon tank down the road  

At least two more outings planned for the Hiker this year. We may keep it and let our daughter and her fiancé use of if they store it for us. Else sell it to them. I could sell online for about 30% more than we paid for it, but theyretent camping now and would appreciate the enclosed box. 

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Steve - Northern Ohio, USA
Wandering around on occasion, always lost.
2021 Toyota Land Cruiser - 5X8 Hiker Highway Deluxe Squaredrop Trailer
2023 Oliver Elite II Twin on order - due March 28, 2023

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Please read the last posts on this thread about how to route and plumb the airbag hoses, it is really important and some installers will not consider the reasons for doing it this way.

https://olivertraveltrailers.com/forums/topic/2059-land-cruiser-200-towing-thread

John Davies

Spokane WA

BAE0BFA5-0341-4BE7-BF47-3D84A020AD57.jpeg

"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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Thanks John. I’ve read and bookmarked that thread when I first joined here. Similar posts on MUD, too. Definitely two separate lines instead of two combined. Seems common sense. :shrug:

I appreciate the input!

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Steve - Northern Ohio, USA
Wandering around on occasion, always lost.
2021 Toyota Land Cruiser - 5X8 Hiker Highway Deluxe Squaredrop Trailer
2023 Oliver Elite II Twin on order - due March 28, 2023

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2 hours ago, Steve and Deb said:

Thanks John. I’ve read and bookmarked that thread when I first joined here. Similar posts on MUD, too. Definitely two separate lines instead of two combined. Seems common sense. :shrug:

I appreciate the input!

Yer welcome. Two separate lines with enough extra to leave them looped over or beside your cargo… if that matters to you. I hope you will add any appropriate LC200 pics or tips to that thread as you get yours fixed up. 

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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Original post edited to include our thoughts on the change of upgraded mattress supplier. Short version: KTT and Takata are both available, but the buyer doesn’t get a choice in what’s supplied. 

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Steve - Northern Ohio, USA
Wandering around on occasion, always lost.
2021 Toyota Land Cruiser - 5X8 Hiker Highway Deluxe Squaredrop Trailer
2023 Oliver Elite II Twin on order - due March 28, 2023

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1 hour ago, Steve and Deb said:

Original post edited to include our thoughts on the change of upgraded mattress supplier. Short version: KTT and Takata are both available, but the buyer doesn’t get a choice in what’s supplied. 

You might want to call KTT. they are located in CT. Maybe you could buy their mattresses direct.

We have the KTT mattress and love them. 

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1 hour ago, Steve and Deb said:

Original post edited to include our thoughts on the change of upgraded mattress supplier. Short version: KTT and Takata are both available, but the buyer doesn’t get a choice in what’s supplied. 

Steve,
We did not like the southern mattresses with spring coils that we purchased prior to picking up our Ollie. Way too many pressure points for our comfort level.  We sold them to another Ollie owner with full disclosure of our intentions to replace with memory foam. We purchased a Casper 10” Element and now enjoy deep sleep on what we call our “my cloud” 😴😅
There are other much less expensive mattress options out there if you choose to get creative. 

 

 

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On 8/13/2022 at 9:19 AM, Steve and Deb said:

They resumed Elite I orders and builds due to an overwhelming number of orders placed when it was announced they would stop for a redesign.  That's now on hold. The rumored larger model is still being considered with no timeline discussed.

Steve and Deb, when you said "That's now on hold" did you mean that you were told that the redesign of the Elite 1 is now on hold?   

 

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1 hour ago, Norman said:

Steve and Deb, when you said "That's now on hold" did you mean that you were told that the redesign of the Elite 1 is now on hold?   

That's what I understood Anita to mean. They had the newsletter article about no further orders on the Elite 1, and the response was very heavy from people wanting to order before the shutdown. So they resumed orders and production of the current Elite I for the foreseeable future.

If you're waiting for the redesign to make a decision, I certainly would contact Oliver directly to be sure. I may have misunderstood.

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Steve - Northern Ohio, USA
Wandering around on occasion, always lost.
2021 Toyota Land Cruiser - 5X8 Hiker Highway Deluxe Squaredrop Trailer
2023 Oliver Elite II Twin on order - due March 28, 2023

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Tom and I visited the plant on July 21 and the only issue we had was the softness of the mattresses and dinette cushions. We too were surprised that the mattresses in the Elite II were the upgraded mattresses and decided not to purchase them after we sat on them (they flattened down to almost nothing when sitting; less so when we laid down on them). We are going ahead with a purchase from Southern Mattress company in NC as we are used to the feel of a standard mattress and not confident that foam mattresses will work for us. Too bad we didn't get a chance to see if the KTT mattresses would work for us. Tom noticed that the dinette cushions were not that firm, but we are not aware of any upgrade for them through OTT. So, if that is an issue after we pick up the trailer, we may need to upgrade them later. 

 

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51 minutes ago, Tom and Doreen said:

So, if that is an issue after we pick up the trailer, we may need to upgrade them later. 

If you find the seat cushions to be too soft, you can always replace just the foam.

I know a few people have done that. 

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3 minutes ago, Tom and Doreen said:

Are there zippers in the cushions which would make the foam replacement easier?

Yes. There is a single zipper on one long side. I have had my covers off several times to hand wash. It can sometimes be a little finicky to get the foam back in, but it is OK.

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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23 minutes ago, John E Davies said:

Yes. There is a single zipper on one long side. I have had my covers off several times to hand wash. It can sometimes be a little finicky to get the foam back in, but it is OK.

If the new foam is too stiff to squish/sort of fold at the sides a bit and stuff it in, use thin plastic, like a piece of dry cleaning bag, to make the foam slide easier. After inserting the foam, slide the plastic out. 

I wash the covers on my patio furniture once or twice a year. No issue.

Do treat the zippers with a zipper lubricant/protector, especially of you live in a hot/humid climate. Makes them last longer/not stick. Oliver's upholster uses high quality thread and zippers. Really makes a difference in longevity.  After fifteen seasons, trailer stored or used outside 24/7/365, I've only seen one tiny thread pop. I think that's pretty remarkable. (As you may have guessed, I've done a bit of upholstery in my life.)

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On 8/15/2022 at 8:21 AM, dewdev said:

You might want to call KTT. they are located in CT. Maybe you could buy their mattresses direct.

We have the KTT mattress and love them. 

I did call KTT and spoke to one of the owners. The issue is not supply, the issue is that Oliver is not ordering them. After speaking to Oliver, they said there were shipping issues e.g. because of the way they are packaged some are getting damaged in shipping and the other mattresses (Tochta) comes rolled up in a compressed bag. 

We didn’t like them either and took them off our list as well.  If you want the KTT, like we do, call Dick at KTT. He said he would sell two mattresses for $1,400 plus freight to your house.  We will be going that route.

Brian

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Brian and Brandelyne

Paris, TN

2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty 7.3L V-8 (Gas), 10 Speed, FX4, Max Tow Package

2023 Oliver Elite II Hull #TBD, Expected Delivery Date 3/08/2023

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