Oliver | Luxury Fiberglass Travel Trailers, Campers & RVs › Forums › OLIVER CAMPERS › Towing an Oliver › CAT Scale Visit.
- March 17, 2016 at 10:22 pm #12942
Today was a rainy day here in New Hampshire, so I drove to my local CAT Scales to weigh my travel trailer and new tow vehicle. After reading all the threads on the Anderson WDH, I felt the need for a few metrics to guide me in deciding if I needed to purchase a WDH in June.
My goal was to complete a first weigh with full gas tank, no gear or passengers. The second weigh would include a full tank, passenger and full camping gear.
Prior to setting off to the scales, I located the factory installed labels (total of three) in the door jam and under the bumper near the hitch receiver. The following information was provided:
1. GVWR = 7050lbs.
2. Load capacity with passengers and gear = 1777lbs.
3. Max load in front axle = 3525lbs.
4. Max load on rear axle = 3800lbs.
5. Without WDH, Max Towing = 5000lbs., Max Tongue = 500lbs.
6. With WDH, Max Towing = 12,100lbs, Max Tongue = 1210lbs.
After taking delivery of the tow vehicle, I added a tonneau cover and tool box which would lower the value in line #2. I knew the first weigh at the CAT scales would help me adjust the figure. In fact the figure was adjusted to 1650lbs.
The CAT Scale weight tickets provided the following:
Weight #1 – Steer Axle = 3100lbs, Drive Axle = 2300lbs, Gross Weight = 5400lbs.
Weight #2 – Steer Axle = 3200lbs, Drive Axle = 2700lbs, Gross Weight = 5900lbs.
So what does all this information tell me?! Since I hope to camp in cold weather with the possibility of snowy road surfaces, I need to be concerned with maintaining good steer axle weight as it relates to the rear axle. You can see the effect of loading the truck bed. If I added a tongue weight of 500lbs the front and rear axles may be equal in weight. My preference would be to have some additional weight on the steer axle to avoid understeer effects, especially on slick roads.
With this information, I will be seeking the installation of the Anderson WDH for weight distribution as my next step. (I suspect the sway benefits will be less critical.) Once back home, I will be returning to the CAT Scales for three additional weigh recordings to determine the effectiveness of the Anderson WDH. Without the actual scale recordings I would be unable to quantify the value of the WDH as it relates to weight distribution.
BuzzyMarch 30, 2016 at 7:03 pm #20494
Thanks for this post.
I will be picking up our Oliver the week before you pick up yours. Our TV will be a 2016 F-150 with the V-8.
I was wondering if the WDH was something I should consider.
At this time I think I will go without considering the Oliver weight will be about 3k lower than the 9,000 rating for the truck.
Hopefully I wont have to contend with as much snow and stuff as you will, but would appreciate your thoughts on going without the WDH.
Or, certainly from any others who are towing with an F-150 or similarly rated TV without a WDH.
Thanks in Advance,
Gregg & Donna Scott and Piper the Westie - The Flying Sea Turtle - Hull # 145 Western NCMarch 30, 2016 at 8:58 pm #20498
Greg and Donna,
You’re going to get opinions on both sides of this issue. Even though it is not NEEDED with my 2011 F-150 Eco-boost, I chose to get the Andersen WDH. My reasons for doing so were it helped to reduce "bounce" and for the added insurance during possible emergency situations. Certainly there are other ways of reducing "bounce", but, I’ve not heard of anything that can help with the emergency stuff. As Buzzy points out, there are other reasons for getting a WDH too, but, as you will hear or can read elsewhere on this forum, there are reasons to not get one too.
Good reading and good luck.
2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"March 30, 2016 at 9:17 pm #20499
Not to step in on the conversation and everyone has an opinion on this matter on any forum but…..if you look at any truck or vechicle tow weight rating you have to look at the bottom of the charts or the asterick and you will see that the weights are shown when using a WDH and are cut in half when not using one. I had a F150 when I picked up my Oliver and loved the truck but I was on the max when not using the WDH so I did choose to use the Anderson just as a safety feature. The Oliver towed as well as my previous trailer a Casita, only the extra weight was noticeable, Tracked well. Thanks Gary
Gary & Jona
2016 Silverado 2500 Diesel
Legacy Elite II Hull 81March 31, 2016 at 1:39 am #20502
I am considering adding the Anderson WDH.
Do you have the one that has chains that attach to a triangular plate?
It is advertised as a no-sway, no-bounce hitch with urethane springs.
Here is a link:
http://www.andersenhitches.com/catalog/ … hitch.aspx
I was wondering if the Oliver would be able to fit the brackets under the fiberglass cowling.
If Oliver can get this one on the trailer I am thinking to go for it.
Can’t be too careful eh?
Gregg & Donna Scott and Piper the Westie - The Flying Sea Turtle - Hull # 145 Western NCMarch 31, 2016 at 2:00 am #20504
I am the other side of this discussion. I bought and used the Anderson for several months and it does work. Maybe it is just me but the thing is just too hard to hook up. I have arthritis and crawling around on the ground, stooping, tugging, sweating, all were more than I was willing to endure. That said My truck does dip about 1.5 inches when I hitch up. My solution was to add air bags with an on board compressor. A switch under the dash pumps them up to where the truck is level and voila…no bounce, good steering, and I am happy. You can order auto leveling on most new trucks and when the day comes to trade in the Avalanche I will gladly pay the price.
By the way. My Ollie does not sway. Even in 40 mph wind crossing the bay bridge in Pensacola Easter weekend she is Rock solid with no whoop d doos.
Then there is ScubaRX who last I heard uses nothing to enhance his back end.
Current 2007 Airstream Classic Limited 31
2015 Oliver Legacy Elite II (Sold)
2016 Ram 2500 HD 6.7i Cummins turbo dieselMarch 31, 2016 at 1:08 pm #20508
I picked up my Elite II a few weeks ago and towed it about 900 miles before returning to Iowa. I tow with a 2015 VW Touareg TDI with the standard Bulldog hitch. On the way home, I had a few hours of driving with a sustained 20-25 mph crosswind with gusts of over 40 mph. No sway, no white knuckles. I have not experienced any bounce issues either. I weighed my camper at an IDOT weigh station when I arrived in Iowa. The Ollie weighed 5100 lbs. with less than 20% in the fresh, grey and black tanks. My Touareg weighed 6,000 lbs. (GVW is around 4,900 lbs.) The Touareg has a towing capacity of 7,700 lbs. without a weight distribution hitch.
VW specs say no weight distribution hitches so I didn’t consider the Andersen hitch.
2016 Elite II Twin Bed Hull #126
2016 VW Touareg TDI
States I've visited with my OllieMarch 31, 2016 at 1:12 pm #20510
Yes, the chains and fittings do fit under the cowling. When the chains are removed one can barely even see the brackets that the chains attach to. Also, I partially agree with trumptguy in that re-attaching that triangle plate can be a bit of a pain – at least at first. Mine had two problems when first delivered – there was a little bit of welding that had not been ground off and it impeded the path of the pin that is placed through the triangle attaching it to the hitch (bottom of the ball). Also, I think that it was the paint or just the two surfaces getting used to each other, but, simply getting the triangle plate into position on the bottom of the ball was a bit difficult at first. This first issued was taken care of with a dremel grinder and the second was cured after our second trip. Certainly, the Andersen is not any more difficult to use than the Equalizer I had on a previous camper and I would say that it might even be a bit easier. The Andersen is also quieter and more appealing to the eye AND it works with the Oliver while the Equalizer would not work without cutting away some of that cowling. The one pin connect and dis-connect works great as long as your TV and Ollie are in approximately the same line as when you disconnected them, the bottom of your ball and the inside of the collar on the triangle are reasonably clean and you have raised the nose of the Ollie in order to give the chains plenty of slack.
Obviously life is more simple when one uses fewer "things" and I’ve never heard one person say that the Oliver was subject to sway or even having ANY problem with passing trucks or cross winds. But, for me, the Andersen is "cheap" insurance.
2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"March 31, 2016 at 1:14 pm #20511
Oh boy, I do like a good discussion on weigh distribution. Please keep in mind, I am new to RVing! I rely upon this Forum to help me obtain a “reality check” on my thoughts. Clearly, there is no one best practice. Each driver, tow vehicle and travel trailer is different and may use their equipment in different ways.
As a case in point, I will be equipping my Ollie and truck to primarily facilitate dry camping. I have completed planning four camping trips for when I return from Tennessee. The sites are in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont. I will be dry camping at all four sites. I will be gathering my metrics on water, electricity, propane and tank capacity. As part of my testing I may be determining the effects of near capacity tanks on tow vehicle handling. My offseason camping in Northern New England may require this knowledge.
I understand this is not the typical way an Ollie camper might use their travel trailer, so understanding weight distribution might be irrelevant to their needs.
For me, additional metrics are needed. I know one gallon of water is equal to 8.34 pounds. My Oliver Elite II will come equipped with Fresh Water Tank = 32.5 gallons, Grey Water = 32.5 gallons and Black Water = 18.5 gallons. Full tank capacity (Unlikely but an important metric to understand.) = 696 pounds.
I am estimating a travel trailer dry weight of approximately 5200 pounds since I am adding a number of options to the base unit. My gear in the travel trailer for 5 to 7 days is estimated at 450 pounds. Liquid in my tanks could be 600 pounds since I may not have access to a dump station until I get closer to home. That gives me an estimated total weight of 6250 pounds. The tongue weight could be approximately 10 percent of the total resulting in 625 pounds. These totals point me in the direction of using a weight distribution hitch and being careful how much weight I add to my truck bed so I do not exceed my steer axle weight limit.
Since many Ollie owners may not equip their trailers with the same options I have selected and most campers prefer to dump their tanks prior to towing, their metrics will be very different.
BuzzyMarch 31, 2016 at 1:36 pm #20514
Buzzy, that’s a very thoughtful comment:
"Oh boy, I do like a good discussion on weigh distribution. Please keep in mind, I am new to RVing! I rely upon this Forum to help me obtain a “reality check” on my thoughts. Clearly, this is no one best practice. Each driver, tow vehicle and travel trailer is different and may use their equipment in different ways."
And, imo, so true.
2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4
2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12March 31, 2016 at 1:48 pm #20516
Please feel free to improve on my written thoughts and planned camping techniques. I tend to be a "Happy Camper". But now, I hope to be a "Happy Ollie Camper"! Time will tell.
BuzzyMarch 31, 2016 at 8:07 pm #20520
I see where your tow vehicle will be a 2016 Ford F150. Did your truck come with the Pro Trailer Backup Assist as an option? If so, have your been using the feature?
My truck came with the option and next week I plan to begin programming the system with the first of three different size trailers. The goal is to master the skill of setting up a travel trailer with the four required measurements then calibrating the system to facilitate the “hands free” trailer backup function. When you couple this feature with tow mirrors and a wireless camera on the trailer, it could prove useful to a user like myself who lacks extensive towing experience. Of course if it does not work correctly, it could made for a humorous YouTube video!April 1, 2016 at 10:23 am #20522
Thanks for the info everyone.
Have decided to add the Anderson WDH.
The Anderson site has some great videos on this product. I figure the extra $ and time setting up are worth it.
I am not so much a numbers guy but do get peace of mind from Over Engineering something.
Will post reviews after we get home.
Gregg & Donna Scott and Piper the Westie - The Flying Sea Turtle - Hull # 145 Western NCApril 1, 2016 at 1:28 pm #20521
Our F-150 will have the Pro Backup Assist. That feature put the F-150 over the top. And, we looked at everything for the TV.
We ordered our truck and it is expected to come in mid to late May. I looked at the hitch for the Ollie and think the sticker will be able to fit on that Aluminum Raised rectangle area. That looks like 7-22 inches from the ball.
This will be vastly superior to spending hours in an empty parking lot developing the trailer skills needed.
Let’s keep in touch as we get closer to pick up day.
Thanks again for your posts… very informative.
Gregg & Donna Scott and Piper the Westie - The Flying Sea Turtle - Hull # 145 Western NCApril 14, 2016 at 9:34 pm #20620
Today was devoted to getting acquainted with the F150 technology. More specifically, I was testing the Pro Trailer Backup Assist and the Dynamic Hitch Assist. Keep in mind this was my first time towing a trailer. My goal was to hook up a small trailer and begin the learning curve. To add to the challenge I planned to work unassisted so that I could solo RV with no concerns regarding handling my Oliver travel trailer.
Prior to beginning my work I watched a YouTube video on the Pro Trailer Backup Assist (PTBA) which I would highly recommend. It helps organize your thought process for gathering the data and loading the figures into the productivity screen.
https://youtu.be/vL8VMeKIQkA?list=PLLG- … BD6i1i-ynG
I found it was incredibly easy to set up and the PTBA system works like a charm. I was blown away with how easy it is to back up the trailer I used during the test. Next week I will progress to a longer dual axle trailer and repeat the process.
I will admit I was equally impressed by the Dynamic Hitch Assist (DHA) which makes it incredibly easy to hitch up the trailer to the ball receiver.
Hey Gregg, if you experience is like mine, PTBA and DHA will blow your socks off!
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