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2 mods I am wondering about


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I've seen no on demand water heaters in Olivers, but perhaps someone retrofitted.

We use a tankless gass water heater/shower combo at our camping property in NC, and it works great, but it's an outdoor only (unvented) unit, hooked to the water supply and an LP tank. We love it.

Installed a tankless in our new house. Had an electric tankless years ago, and I'd give that a big huge thumbs down. Gas is better for tankless, in my opinion.

 

Sherry

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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The electric instantaneous water heater we had in our house kept up with the demand ok, but it had to be sent in for repair every 12-18 months. And it took a lot of power. That's why we eventually replaced it.

For the relatively small demand of a travel trailer, I'm sure a tiny electric would keep up, but would be useless for us most of the time, as we usually camp without hookups, and make our own power with the solar panels. Based on our experience with the home hot water heater, and its high power demand, I doubt we could power an electric instantaneous water heater with the inverter. Honestly haven't recently, either, except for the larger gas models for our home.

 

Sherry

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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  • 2 months later...

I've had electric on-demand heaters (Titan) in my houses for 20 years, and love them. They're small and efficient. I'm on my way to the factory in a little over a week, and those are the two mods I was going to ask about.

 

The Titan I have in the house wouldn't be good for a camper, but I would recommend it highly for home use. There are two propane rv heaters that have marginal ratings, Atwood and Girard. "Instant" does depend on the length of the lines, since water in the lines has to be displaced before hot water reaches the outlet, so there is no difference between on-demand and conventional in this sense.

 

Nature's Head composting toilet is the brand I was looking at. No black tank is needed, and water use is kept to a minimum, because you don't flush it away. Boondocking extended!

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BTW - This is the water heater I've recently found, and it has better ratings than the Atwood or the Girard I mentioned. Simple installation, a constant temperature, less weight, less space and less propane are all good reasons for it. I've seen some negative comments on the noise on another forum, but this one SAYS it's quiet. I'll be researching further.

 

http://www.precisiontemp.com/rv-and-tra ... d-trailer/

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Now I'm curious, too, though our original water heater works fine. Looks like the Atwood and Girard are both designed as direct replacements for a typical 6 gallon Atwood water heater (what we have). The Precisiontemp is designed as a 10 gallon replacement. I don't think it would fit in the space molded in for the water heater in my 17 ft. Oliver, but the other two would. I don't know if that's different on the new, longer Legacy Elite II.

I found good reviews, and mixed reviews for the Atwood and Girard. I could only find 1 review of the precisiontemp, and that was on their site. Couldn't find any on Amazon, my "go to' review spot. It's a lot more expensive than the other two, as well.

Sherry

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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I had a wonderful visit with the Oliver team in Hohenwald, and have decided to go with the standard water heater. My original reason for the change was to save space, but the tank is located in an inaccessible space, so there's no reason to change.

 

As far as the composting toilet, Robert said that could be done. I want the toilet to save water for boondocking. Since it doesn't use any water, all the water would be available for better uses. I may go ahead and have the plumbing roughed in - for resale and as a practical matter, because this isn't extensively proven technology - especially not in the Oliver. The Nature's Head toilet is a little bigger than the standard Oliver toilet, but will fit the space nicely.

 

I'm also looking at composite propane cylinders. They weigh up to 50% less than the standard steel cylinder. I like the lighter weight, because I'll have to lever them out for refilling, and that seems a good option. I believe the 31# vapor will fit under the hood. According to the website "it holds 210 percent more propane than you will get from many propane exchange companies and still weights less than the standard 20-pound steel tank." http://www.vikingcylinders.com/shop/lif ... -lb-vapor/

This reminds me of scuba tanks - some people just wouldn't think of diving with an aluminum tank - but the advantages over steel are so great that aluminum tanks are now standard.

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We bought the composite tanks for our boat several years back. Local suppliers have been a bit unfamiliar, though the composite tanks have been used for a long time in Europe. They check carefully on the dates, hem and haw, and eventually fill. When we bought ours, composite tanks couldn't be recertified. They are much lighter, don't rust (so important in our salt water/salt air environment), and I think, safer, as they won't "explode" in a fire--theoretically, they melt and burn.

However, we stayed with old school steel tanks in the travel trailer. Can be exchanged in a pinch, don't get the stink-eye when refilling at suppliers, and fit neatly in the space we have. We might look at that again with the advances in tanks in the last few years. I see that some of them, like the Vikings you're looking at, can be re-certified.

Propane lasts longer than you might think in the travel trailer. We rarely had to refill in 60 day trips, not even 60 days in Canada in the late fall. We run on propane and solar most of the time. No electrical hookups, usually. The refrigerator doesn't use much, and we usually cook over a campfire, if we can, other than morning coffee on the stovetop, perhaps soup for lunch. Unless temps dip below 40s, we don't usually run the furnace much, either.

We look for Tractor Supply locations with propane fills when we travel, if possible. We feel we get the best fill and best deal. Metered, and we pay only for what we get. Don't care much for the unmetered places.

I'll be interested in seeing how the composting toilet works for you. I think it's a wise idea to rough in the usual plumbing for resale, or change of heart. I've looked at composting toilets, and incinerating toilets, for the offgrid "dream cabin in the woods", someday. Hadn't really thought about the travel trailer, but it could be an intriguing option.

Sherry

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Found this video of a composting toilet retrofit. The owner was self-admittedly not a handyman, but apparently loves the results from his comments: http://www.gonewiththewynns.com/install-composting-toilet

Obviously, a factory install would be neater.

Would you use the black tank for extra grey?

 

Actually, the Wynns have done several very informative posts on installing, and using, a composting toilet. Quite informative. A link to a page of several videos made by them:

 

This one, on prepping and dumping, really answers a lot of questions. Of course, they're working on a brand new, unused toilet, so the ick factor is minimized:

 

Sherry

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Hi Sherry,

 

Yes, the Wynns were the ones who originally started my thinking about the composting toilet. I'm sure glad it won't be a retrofit!

 

Since I'm planning to have the plumbing rough-in, I'll leave the black tank as is. If the shower drains into the black tank, there'd still be a need for it.

 

With a single person using it, I don't think emptying it will be a frequent chore - the Wynns muck it out (as I remember) about once every six weeks with full-time use. The extra fluid tank is a good idea, especially if I'm away from a convenient disposal site - thought there was a funny picture (in my head) of a running dispersal described by the Wynns.

 

Deborah

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The Wynn "running dump" with the urine collector also left a weird tmi video in my head as well....lol.

 

Hope it all works out for you. I think from looking at all the drawings that it should fit nicely in the space. The shower doesn't "normally" drain to the black tank in the Oliver, so you might want to ask for that change. It would give you some extra collection space for grey. I don't know. Grey water is the least of the hassles for disposal...

 

Hope you have a great holiday weekend.

Sherry

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Also, have you considered adding solar to your new trailer? We love ours. Really extends our stays in many places, eliminates most generator use. I don't do well with noise and fumes, so we run the generator as little as possible, even our tiny, low db, low fuel consumption 1000 Honda. We leave the big gen at home for hurricane/power source interruption for the house. Sometimes, we've managed 60 days without generator. And I have to say, that's just awesome, for me.

We did ours as a retrofit. My husband Paul figured out that we had the space on the side, when most people who added solar at that time did it as original equipment, on the center line of the roof. Oliver did an awesome job with the saddle brackets to sidemount the panels. 200 watts of solar, with the two batteries, has been a pretty good match for us.

Sherry

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Solar is definitely on the list! They can install more than 200W, now, so maybe I won't need a generator, but I'm still going to have the basket and the quick connect.

 

When I was planning to buy a Lil Snoozy, I had to design most of it, myself, so I learned quite a bit about solar. Right now, I'm torn between four "golf" batteries or three 12v ones. But since my build is dependent on my selling a house, it might be a while. Meanwhile, I'm planning and dreaming.

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Good thread. I missed that one. Very informative.

Blodn, I sent you an email, as it looks like pm isn't working for you. My email address starts with **. The heading says something like "from Sherry on the Oliver Forum" Please watch for it in your spam filter box. (Never a good idea to put your email address out there on a forum, I'm told...)

Tks.

Sherry

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Deborah, are you on Facebook?

I see that the Wynns are at a rally with Technomadia, who are members on this board. They full-timed in an Oliver for a number of years before buying their vintage bus conversion.

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Sent a message, as you're friend request button is blanked out for me. Take a look at Oliver and Fiberglass travel trailers. Love to have you in the group there, too.

Sherry

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Good morning, Sherry. I changed the (I suppose) default friends setting to accept every request, and am already a member of the the Fiberglass RV Oliver group. Thanks for the invitation!

 

Have you joined the Oliver group on RVillage? I haven't really seen the advantage to that site, but it's new and there are nine people in the Oliver group - managed by Cherie of Technomadia.

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Hi, Deborah,

Sorry to say, I haven't joined the RVillage group, though the people who developed it, Technomadia, are friends. Maybe in the future. Right now, I'm involved in about as much social media as I can handle, and not camping as much as I'd like.

Hopefully, I'll get around to being a helpful member of Rvillage someday.

Sherry

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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