It has been, it’s been every week living in the Oliver daily. Thought that was enough time to sum up some thoughts about what I like, what I dislike, and what I would change if I could.
Here she is at my campsite within the wilds of Pennsylvania. I must say, I don’t have any complaints about towing her or parking in a tight spot. I used to be capable of get her parked, backing in, at night. It was no sweat really, because the backup lights are intense, and you may turn on all the exterior flood and ground lights.
Also, leveling is made easy with the 3 point electric jack system. It only takes a couple of minutes. I take advantage of a level bubble inside setting on the counter to check for level. The one on the tongue is a bit off considering it is location. The problem in being perfectly level isn’t so much for the refrigerator, but for the grey and black tanks and their dumping. If you’re cocked too low, you then is not going to get as much storage in the grey tank and both are more slow to dump. So get her level and you will be good in that regard.
Cold weather performance has been excellent. As you can see here, that is what a good looking spring morning in PA looks like today:
Being the cheapskate that I am, I’d prefer to not gobble up my propane using the furnace if I can get away with it. So I have been just running the overhead heat strip and my ceramic cube heater instead. Luckily, I brought the cube heater to make use of within the space in between the hulls, as I believed that if I ran the overhead, that the floor would get cold. Well, it didn’t work out that way. I just set the cube under the dinette and blow out down the hallway.
Here you see the temps I’m getting on electric alone:
Sensor 1 is the skin temp. #2 is in the bathroom. #3 is the space between the hulls and #4 is the cabin temperature there by the door where the display is mounted. Quite comfortable and never so cold under the floor. If I run the gas furnace, then the intra-hull temp is generally around 10 degrees lower than the cabin.
So far, I’ve haven’t noticed any sweating inside or condensation buildup in between the hulls.
Another thing that I’ve liked is the wet bathroom. I find that it is extremely easy to keep clean – I essentially hose it down after each shower. It seems to dry OK if I keep the door cracked open about an inch, or leave the roof ventilator open. At 24″ square or so, the actual space for showering seems OK as well. I suppose should you were to hang out in the trailer for the day, you’d need to at the very least dry the floor or get some sort of dry-tek mat for the floor so you can use the toilet without getting your feet wet.
OK, now for the stuff I don’t much care for, or would change.
Believe it or not, I left from home without checking the water heater. I just assumed it worked because I flipped the switch and the light came on. Big mistake. First day I had no hot water. A cold shower makes for a cranky boy, that is certain! Turns out, with a quick call to the factory, that upon delivery, they leave the water heater in bypass mode. The assumption is you will winterize, or want it winterized. So I needed to turn the valve for the tank to fill. There’s a thermocouple on the water heater that turns it off if there is no such thing as a water inside. Good idea!
I was asked by a reader if the refrigerator sitting low (on the floor basically) was an issue. I say no. It is a trade-off to get the microwave up high and the pantry cabinet up high, you must have the fridge down low. It is just the best way the layout needs to be. I find that is an effective trade-off actually. I’m in that pantry quite a bit, and it’s extremely convenient to have that microwave at eye level. So it is worth it in my opinion. If you just had to have the refrigerator up high, I suppose you would change the microwave to a drawer type and put that on the bottom. I’ve seen those starting to look in B-vans lately, so I assume that could be a possible alternative to request, do you have to be ordering a new trailer.
Outlets. Oh how I wish that I had given more thought to outlets. First let me show you the kitchen outlet in all it is splendor:
At first blush, you might imagine that location is terrific. Well it is not. It is a pain in the keester actually. The cords hang down and rest against often hot surfaces. On some items, like my coffee maker, the cord is barely long enough. Also, there are only 3 other outlets within the rig – one is under the dinette, one is within the media cabinet and one is in the closet. If I were to do it over again, I might want the kitchen outlet within the wall, just above the back-splash. It might need to be GFI in fact, because this is a wet area (they could all be that already, but the reset is on the outlet within the closet). The one within the dinette area I might put between the table top and below the window. I’d add an outlet in the world around the nightstand, because it could be nice to have a lamp there and plug in my laptop. In all fairness to Oliver, I could have made these changes and added as many outlets as I might like, but I did not think about it, or request anything. So this one is on me. I suppose, down the road, I could take my trailer back to Hohenwald and have these changes made. I would.
The 12v and USB ports locations are also not very well thought through (by me). The one over the kitchen is simply useless in that location. Being within the ceiling, it’s much too high to use a standard charging cable. I also would not need to set my phone by the stove for charging anyways. So this outlet would be better moved to the night stand area too.
The 12v and USB outlet under the dinette is ok where it is. You possibly can plug in your phone and set it on the table. Having the 12v port by the floor is probably good, as this port is most certainly used for a 12v refrigerator or freezer chest that you simply’d want on the floor anyways.
The circuit breaker panel is a bit of a disappointment. The door opens the opposite way of what is should, so it blocks your view of the breakers (opens left, but should open right). None of the breakers are marked as to what they’re for and there’s nothing in the manual. I discovered this rather shocking (sorry for the pun) from a builder reminiscent of Oliver, considering I’ve bought trailers for less than $10 grand with labeled circuits. Also, the 12v fuses are usually not marked Editor’s Note – I found the markings for the circuit breakers – they were on the backside of the access panel door – because it turns opposite, it is hidden from view unless you crawl under the table and look for it. Thought they were missing since the front face of the panel was not marked., and shouldn’t have lights for the blown circuits. One model up of this panel has the lighted fuse panel (that is, if a fuse is blown, just a little LED light shines so you already know which one to replace). My work around for that is to buy replacement fuses with the led lights built into them. I got a variety pack for $20 on Amazon. So I must go through the means of marking what circuits do what and labeling all myself.
The thought of the tanks between the hulls is a superb idea, but in practice it has some shortcomings. To fit, the grey tank and the fresh tank are long and shallow. The black tank is up front with a protracted pipe to the back of the trailer for draining. It also makes for some slow dumping times. Additionally, it makes for the potential of debris being left in that drain pipe if you do not rinse pretty thoroughly – so it is smart to use that black flush port every time you dump. Also with the grey tank, it tends to overfill and back up into the shower pan at 80% full on the gauge. It probably has something to do with where the drain pipe from the bathroom enters the tank – does it enter on the highest or the side? My guess is the side, based on the backup at 80%. It is a minor quibble within the grand scheme. You possibly can prevent the backup by closing the backflow valve (located by the toilet), but then the bath sink and shower don’t have any approach to drain, aside from in the shower pan. I have not had any issues with the fresh tank. It seems to fill to the highest and drain properly. To this point, I’ve had no leaks or drips of any kind.
Hooks and towel bars. I should have gotten another hook. There isn’t a place to hang your towel while you are in the shower. So there needs to be one outside the door on the curb side of the trailer so you possibly can pop open the door and grab your towel. There’s a hook within the cabin already, but I hang a jacket on that. With it is location on the road-side, it’s not in a great place for a towel anyways. Inside the bathroom, there is a hook and a towel bar. Both are OK to use to hang a wet towel, but I think the bar is just too low (or my towel is just too big) as I don’t love hanging my towel near the toilet. There can be no towel bar in the kitchen for a dish towel. There may be a nice space below the counter-top and above the drawers to put one. What would be nice is a stainless grab-handle along your entire length of this surface.
So I have ordered a pair hooks and a towel bar for the kitchen that matches what came from Oliver. I’m OK installing these myself. But I need to say, if I would have given it proper thought, I could have had these items done by Oliver. I just didn’t think about hooks or bars.
The trash. There is no good place for the trash or a trash can. To this point, I’m hanging a bag on the grab handle within the entrance way. It makes me take out the trash every morning, as it is kinda in my way. So maybe that is a good thing in spite of everything.