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Towing Question


Dwain Kitchens

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I've only been towing an Ollie for 5 years so more experienced owners may want to chime in, but in my opinion the answer seems to be "it depends". I'll explain...

The Oliver is a smooth, nicely rounded trailer and is *generally* very well behaved on the highway... *assuming* a bunch of things like: properly sized & inflated tires, no excessive speeds, properly sized and equipped tow vehicle, load-leveling Anderson hitch (if indicated by your tow vehicle/trailer combination), neither trailer or tow vehicle are overloaded or excessively top-heavy, etc.

That said, heavy traffic, bad weather, rough or slippery road conditions or cross-winds require more caution. Heavy cross-winds or extremely gusty winds can be dangerous on their own, and even more so if a large truck passing from either direction either adds to the "gust velocity" that the tow vehicle or trailer are exposed to, or temporarily shields you from the gusty winds and then you become rapidly "exposed" again after they pass.

Slow down, stay focused on your surroundings and maintain a good grip on the wheel. If it gets too bad, find a safe spot to pull over until its safe to continue.

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Tom & Holly

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite I #409 - 2017 Silverado 1500, 5.3L Gas, 4x4 Z71, Dbl Cab, Std Bed

 

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It's much less stressful if you have a substantial tow vehicle. Not just pulling power, but lots of mass with good brakes, so your trailer doesn't overpower your truck. For an Elite 2 many here prefer a 3/4 or 1 ton truck (although many are towing successfully with 1/2 ton trucks, too). No-one ever complained they had too much tow vehicle.

Try to load your trailer evenly, or even biased toward the front a bit. Heavier tongue weights enhance stability.

Plus, everything @ADKCamper said above.

For maximum stability in a towable, go with a fifth wheel. They have the pivot point above the rear axle, which stops any of the tail-wagging-the-dog you can get with travel trailers. (Although Olivers are some of the most stable bumper pulls.)

Lots of options out there, including special hitches, too.

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Stephanie and Dudley from CT.  2022 LE2, Hull #1150: Eggcelsior.

Tow vehicle: 2016 GMC Sierra 6.0 gas dually 4x4.

Our Oliver journey: Steph and Dud B's RV Screed

Where we've been RVing since 1999:

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I started towing trailers with my dad, when I was in high school. It was scary. I still remember.

Since you're new to towing, before you order a trailer, you might consider renting a small trailer from outdoorsy or rvshare a few times. Stay off the interstate,  take smaller roads, see how you feel. When/if you do get a new Ollie, drive the small roads vs the interstate for awhile. You'll get the hang of it.

Our little Ollie tows remarkably well, but there is a learning curve to towing. Take heart. No one was born with those skills. Everyone has to learn, sometime. It just takes some time and practice.

And, get some practice before towing with a new tow vehicle, if that's what you decide on.  Starting out with a new vehicle, plus a new trailer, plus never towing before, is a prescription for anxiety, imo. 

 

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

Florida and Western North Carolina, or wherever the truck goes....

400 watts solar. DC compressor fridge. No inverter. 2 x 105 ah agm batteries .  Life is good.


        
 

 

 

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Dear kitchens,

No need for anxiety. I think ADKCamper's advice is very good. Having a substantial tow vehicle (3/4 ton) makes your towing much more comfortable but is less maneuverable is tight spaces.  In general, don't put yourself in a position of feeling you need to be in a hurry or cover a lot of ground in a day. If the weather or road conditions become bad, just find pull off the road. Avoid city traffic until you gain some experience. Even with experience, we usually plan for low traffic times when going through big cities. Hitting the road at 4am to beat LA traffic makes for a low stress day. We live 5 hours north of San Francisco. We often plan to stay north of the Golden Gate aways off the 101 near Pt Reyes State Park and go through the city very early the next morning. This relaxed low pressure and flexible schedule makes for low stress travel.

As stated before, never be in a hurry when towing your trailer. Backing up is a skill everyone has to learn. A classic situation is having to make several attempts backing into a camping spot and you are holding up traffic. You have two choices, continue to work at parking and know that everyone has been in this position. Put your head in a space you do not pressure yourself about them waiting or pull out and go around for another approach to your parking space. Within reason, ether choice is ok. If the folks behind you have a problem, they need to get a life. Hey, we are all out here camping and having a good time. 

The Oliver tows very well but for sure you need to slow down or just take the day off from towing if you find yourself with a substantial cross winds on two lane roads. ADKCamper talks about "gust Velocity".  This is a very real situation. In my youth, was driving fast crossing the Montana prairie between Great Falls and Billings with strong cross winds. Every time I would pass an oncoming truck, the truck would block the crosswind, my car would move toward the truck as the truck blocked the crosswind. After clearing the truck and its "vacuum effect" and again being exposed to the crosswind would "blast" my car a few feet to the opposite direction. I was foolishly / fearless racing down the road until I passed this one oncoming truck and the blast was so powerful it ripped the front hood latch welds apart. The hood of the car buckled / folded the half way to the windshield.  

The moral is to do some planning, practice driving on the backroads, use common sense, don't be in a hurry and enjoy being on the road.

 

 

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 2016 Legacy Elite II, Twin Beds, Hull #124

Tow Vehicle: 2019 Ford F250 4x4  / Short Bed / Crew Cab / 6.7 Diesel

Fieldbrook, Ca

 

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4 hours ago, Dwain Kitchens said:

When large trucks pass, is this scary, or is pulling a TT fairly easy.

It’s not scary.  We’ve towed our Oliver over 80K miles.  Big trucks have been no problem.  We usually stay at 65mph or less.  If the weather is bad (rain/wind) we slow down.  I don’t know what your tow vehicle is but with at couple of different half tons and now a 3/4 ton the Oliver has been very stable, we’ve never experienced any sway.  The few times we’ve had to brake hard the Oliver tracked behind us perfectly. Don’t get stressed.  Take it slow when you begin and plan ahead.  Check out gas stations before you pull in to ensure you have room to get in and out.  When backing into your campsite take it slow.  I mean very slow.  It will give you plenty of time to adjust - don’t be too proud to stop, pull out and start the backing in process again.  You’ll do fine.  Mike

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Texas Hill Country | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram 2500 6.7L

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Hi Dwain, 

I agree with what has been said.

I have towed several trailers and boats through the years. Nothing has towed as well as the Oliver. I believe the contours of the Oliver help a lot in crosswinds. The double axle is very nice too. The size of your tow vehicle will have some impact. But, even with a smaller, but adequate, T.V. I believe it would be very difficult to have a better towing experience for a full sized travel trailer than you will have with the Oliver. I was quite surprised how beautifully our E2 towed! 
Good luck! 

Kirk

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Kirk and Carrie Peterson

Twin Falls, Idaho

2018 Ram 3500, with overland conversion: Rooftop tent, water, stove, Battle Born batteries, lockers, onboard air, raised air intake, Warn winch. 

2023 Elite 2, twin beds, delivered December 5, 2022 Truma package, lithium platinum package.
Hull #1305

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I will admit I’m the worst passenger when we are towing! Even though it’s been a few years that we’ve had a camper (still newbies) I’m never relaxed on travel day until we reach our destination. I think I say SLOW DOWN a million times to my husband every trip even though he’s not speeding (I do this even when we aren’t towing..lol) I worry more about the crazy drivers around us then us towing the camper.   However, the Oliver tows beautifully even when trucks pass us by. 
 

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2021 Dodge Ram 1500 

2021 Oliver Elite ll 

Hull #732 

Michigan 

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17 hours ago, Dwain Kitchens said:

I have never had or towed a TT.

I don't want to be stressed on a trip.

When large trucks pass, is this scary, or is pulling a TT fairly easy.

Thanks!

Dwain

Depends on your tow vehicle. For lighter vehicles (less than a 3/4 quarter ton) Anderson's would probably give you great comfort. My 3/4 ton truck and no anderson does fantastically around big rigs. To me, no push.- not scary.

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Dave & Terri Mazone

2022 LII Hull #1019

TV: 2001 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD diesel, Crew Cab (4WD)

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Invest in a backup camera for your trailer, it's worth it, as well as a good brake controller for your tow vehicle. Also tow mirrors with upper and lower sections which make it easier to keep an eye on the wheels when you're making tight turns or backing.  

Mirror1.jpg

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Tom & Doreen • 2023 Elite ll • Hull #1321 • 2023 Tundra Platinum Crew Max • Cheshire CT 

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6 minutes ago, Tom and Doreen said:

Invest in a backup camera for your trailer, it's worth it, as well as a good brake controller for your tow vehicle. Also tow mirrors with upper and lower sections which make it easier to keep an eye on the wheels when you're making tight turns or backing.  

Mirror1.jpg

Love this photo!

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2021 Dodge Ram 1500 

2021 Oliver Elite ll 

Hull #732 

Michigan 

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On 3/27/2023 at 1:48 AM, Katjo said:

I will admit I’m the worst passenger when we are towing! 
 

Me too! 

My worst anxiety inducing situation is merging onto busy interstates. "Please let me in, please let me in, please ..." is my prayer.

Chris (not Duke) 

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Chris & Duke Chadwell
🐾Maddie & Baxter🐾
Elite II Hull 292
2022 F-250 Lariat 7.3 Godzilla 4x4 Lakeland,FL
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14 minutes ago, ShallowGal said:

My worst anxiety inducing situation is merging onto busy interstates.

Just let the pups hang out the window and with those eyes they will melt the heart of even the nastiest driver - no problem.🤩

Bill

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2023 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing, Max Payload, 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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43 minutes ago, ShallowGal said:

Me too! 

My worst anxiety inducing situation is merging onto busy interstates. "Please let me in, please let me in, please ..." is my prayer.

Chris (not Duke) 

Ugh…yes! I’ve said that same prayer.🙏🏼🙈

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2021 Dodge Ram 1500 

2021 Oliver Elite ll 

Hull #732 

Michigan 

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1 hour ago, ShallowGal said:

My worst anxiety inducing situation is merging onto busy interstates.

Just pretend you’re driving the Subaru!

Mossey

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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL  
2017 LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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4 hours ago, ShallowGal said:

Me too! 

My worst anxiety inducing situation is merging onto busy interstates. "Please let me in, please let me in, please ..." is my prayer.

Chris (not Duke) 

Another Oliver owner taught me this. You're about to merge or change lanes, activate your blinker, assume the attitude that you're not asking for permission but rather you're indicating your intentions, don't try this with anything bigger than you.

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Steve, Tali and our dog Rocky plus our beloved Storm, Maggie, Lucy and Reacher (all waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)

2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD SRW Diesel 4x4 

 

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I would say that for me, towing is a skill that was easily learned. When I first started towing, I was anxious, but quickly learned that if my TV “fit through” the trailer would generally follow. My anxiety quickly dissipated with practice, and of course the more you practice towing, the more camping you get to do! Most other drivers I find to be respectful and courteous on the road. There is no shame in going at a speed you are comfortable with in the lane that fits you best. Happy trails!

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Robert and Cheryl, Louisville, KY, Legacy Elite II Hull #1390 Oliphino, TV F250 Tremor

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Once you do venture onto a three lane interstate I find that staying in the center lane with the cruise control set at the speed limit or just below, you will rarely have to touch the gas pedal, the brake, or change lanes.  Easy cruising, you’ll almost forget Ollie is behind you.  The crazies will zoom past you on the left (mostly) and you won’t be in the way of the people that want to exit.

UNLESS…. You are in a state that doesn’t allow large trucks, buses or trailers in the left lane…then you will need to pay special attention to your mirrors… on occasion you will need to pull into the right lane and let them by…

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GrayGhost

 

2015 Legacy Elite II Hull # 98

 

2020 F150 3.5 EcoBoost

 

 

 

 

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Lots here to digest. I will reiterate the most important thing is never hurry to do anything when towing unless its a true emergency. If you miss your exit, it's ok, you will figure out how to get back on track. In three lane traffic, flow with traffic in the middle lane. You can own your space in the middle lane if you flow with traffic. Never feel the pressured to move over unless you are the bottleneck from not flowing with traffic.  From the middle lane you are in the position to be the courteous driver to let people in your lane.  Make sure you manage a safe distance in front of your rig. Aggressive drivers will tend to fill this space ahead of you but just back off a little to create new space ahead so you are never tailgating then continue flowing with traffic. If someone is pushing you from behind, it is up to them to go around if you are flowing with your lane of traffic. 

In heavy traffic, actively track all traffic beside and behind in your mirrors so you know where you can safely move if you need to change lanes. I think of alert/active defensive driving in traffic as hard work to eliminate truly stressful situations and emergencies. Your LEll is only 7 feet wide, it's easy to see and track everything alongside and behind with even modest towing mirrors.  Towing is an acquired skill that is not difficult learn. Get clear in your head the task at hand, get out there and practice. If you are a good alert driver, you can be great at towing a modest sized trailer. If you are not a good driver, it's time to get your head in the game. And least of all, don't let a backset driver stress you out. If they think they are such a great driver, let them drive. 

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 2016 Legacy Elite II, Twin Beds, Hull #124

Tow Vehicle: 2019 Ford F250 4x4  / Short Bed / Crew Cab / 6.7 Diesel

Fieldbrook, Ca

 

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@Dwain Kitchens

I don’t know what TV you are going to be using if you purchase an Oliver or any TT for that matter. I can say that having really large electronically adjustable defrosting featured tow mirrors is one of the nicest visual tools to have when towing. The wonderful feature we enjoy when towing the Oliver is it’s only the width our TV and we do not have to extend our Ford Super Duty mirrors at all. The lower blind spot mirrors are an invaluable tool as well.
In my experience larger mirrors are very critical to a safer towing experience. You will find they are a really invaluable and you will come to really appreciate larger tow mirrors when backing into a campsite especially in low light conditions.
If you’re open to suggestions, consider going to a truck dealer of your choosing and sit it a truck with large tow mirrors and then compare it to a truck with standard mirrors. It’s a 💯 game changer.

Just another thing to consider about when you decide on a TV.

Patriot🇺🇸


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2020 OLEII - Hull #634 aka-  “XPLOR” 

2021 F350 6.7 liter Diesel Lariat Ultimate Tremor 

 

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Scary?  We previously owned an Airstream 24' Sprinter - that was much more scary when it was windy or when passing/passed/meeting semi trucks.  JMO.

Charlie.

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Arizona | 2020 Oliver Elite II Twin bed Hull #617 | 2021 Ram 1500 e-Hemi 4x4

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Thanks for all the comments everyone! Lots to consider. I am confident I can do it, just want to make sure I don't add complexity to my life. We are now all about simplify. If I do get an Ollie, I will be getting the Elite single axle and I would prefer to an SUV, perhaps Toyota Highlander or something similar.

Again, thank you for your comments.

Dwain

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54 minutes ago, Dwain Kitchens said:

If I do get an Ollie, I will be getting the Elite single axle and I would prefer to an SUV, perhaps Toyota Highlander or something similar.

The Highlander is VERY marginal in stressful country - high, hot, or headwinds. For local travel in the East it would be OK. You would have to buy the non-Hybrid, which is a shame, because the Hybrid Highlander and RAV-4 get superb fuel economy….

https://tractionlife.com/toyota-highlander-towing-capacity-specs-up-close/

John Davies

Spokane WA

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SOLD 07/23 "Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 32” LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel, Maggiolina Grand Tour 360 Carbon RTT.

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