Oliver Factory Tour - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-20-2007, 11:53 AM   #29
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While looking over the "innards" of the Oliver, I paid particular attention to the wiring. I had noted that the 07' Oliver I looked at, in Vanburen Arkansas at the River Valley Egg Rally, had a circuit breaker panel near the door. I liked the idea that in an emergency, smoke for example, I could rapidly exit the coach while turning off "stuff" on the way out. Once safely outside, the next thoughts would be to further shut things down, disconnect the battery and turn off propane, before picking up a fire extinguisher.
The propane shut off was in the usual place. I asked about a battery disconnect and sure enough the response was , "in the battery box". The battery box's slide out tray has room for two optional Opitma batterys and has a courtesy light in it.
The wiring is not simply "strung" from point to point, it is in a mesh wire loom and color coded well. While at the station where the wiring was being done, I talked to the technician who stopped referring to his "hook up" sheet and answered my questions about wire sizes, ect.
Because each build sheet is different according to the owners requirements, he had to follow the sheet carefully, before the inside bottom shell is added to the coach. For example: the Ground lighting in it's extremely low location for better visibility, cannot be added at a later time.
Standing quietly in a completed Oliver coach I listened for converter noise. Though all available lighting was turned on, there was no disconcerting humming sound from the converter.
The 08' Oliver had a smaller in appearance roof air unit on it. I asked and it wasn't smaller, but the Oliver staff had discussed a smaller unit because of their insulation R value, the coach just didn't need such a large unit.
If the size of the air unit is reduced, then a boondockers generator size could be reduced. Resulting in greater fuel economy, as well as initial generator purchase cost, and allowing the owner to reap some of the rewards of investing in the latest in technology.
The shore power cord, 45' long, was on a very quiet power reel and the access door had a fairlead roller built into it !
The fiberglass propane tank cover fit well and there was enough room in there that the tanks could be replaced with 30 pounders and still fit well, another great boondocking possibility !
The location of the propane supply line to the coach would lend it's self well to adding an outlet for an outside grill or even a oven to be hooked up. The propane tanks enclosure on the tongue is open on the bottom so no explosive vapors can accumilate in the event of a leak.
I think that the Oliver tour was a look into the future of the industry.
Serious time has been spent thinking about the needs of the end users.
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Old 10-23-2007, 01:30 PM   #30
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Jim Oliver, or maybe it was their sales manager, mentioned that they did extensive testing with both the Torflex and conventional spring/shock axles and the later performed the best in their opinion. I would be curious to know what led them to that conclusion.
I was curious too, and while the Oliver people were responsive, I didn't get a very specific answer.

I think that the key is the use of shock absorbers; they are readily added to leaf spring axles (and stock on the Oliver Legacy), but it seems that the Oliver people did not try a rubber torsion axle with shocks, which are less readily available.

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JI don't know if this is related but most of the serious off-road trailers use a conventional spring/shock axle setup. The Canadian M101 that I have is no different. It's virtually indestructible...
...and many modern military vehicles use various types of independent suspension. A sturdy and effective system can be built in a number of ways.
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Old 10-23-2007, 02:31 PM   #31
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... I think that the key is the use of shock absorbers; they are readily added to leaf spring axles (and stock on the Oliver Legacy), but it seems that the Oliver people did not try a rubber torsion axle with shocks, which are less readily available...
Wouldn't that be redundant though? I thought the Torflex had damping capabilities?
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Old 10-23-2007, 03:05 PM   #32
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I'm having second thoughts about the rear bumper fold down storage. On the surface it seems like a great idea but wouldn't there be a concern about leaving the bumper in the down position all the time and exposing what is stored inside? I understand the bumper has to be in the down position while the drain hoses are being used. The problem seems complicated by the fact that this is the only outside storage (me thinks).
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Old 10-23-2007, 05:15 PM   #33
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Re: Shocks with Rubber Torsion Suspension

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Wouldn't that be redundant though? I thought the Torflex had damping capabilities?
No, and yes... all springs used on trailers have inherent damping characteristics:
  • multi-leaf spring packs have friction between the leaves
    • this is inadequate for most applications, which is why all those leaf-spring pickup trucks have shocks
    • friction is poor type of damping, so in vehicles which have shocks low-friction materials are often used between the sheets to minimize it
  • "slipper" type leaf spring installations have friction between the spring tail and the frame mount
    • this method is routinely used on cheap single-leaf trailers since they don't have inter-leaf friction
  • rubber springs have hysteresis inherent in the rubber material
    • "hysteresis" means that energy is absorbed with distortion and turned into heat, damping motion
    • this damping helps, but was judged inadequate for even the old Mini, which had hydraulic shocks in addition to the rubber springs
    • European travel trailers very commonly use a rubber torsion axle, and shocks are a routine option from the axle manufacturers
    • reportedly, trailers (even with rubber springs) licensed in Germany must have shocks as well to be allowed operation over 100 km/h (62 mph)
    • Airstream has used Henschel Dura-Torque axles (functionally identical to a Dexter Torflex) for decades, and includes shocks as standard equipment... they apparently consider the inherent rubber damping inadequate
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Old 10-23-2007, 06:51 PM   #34
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I'm having second thoughts about the rear bumper fold down storage. On the surface it seems like a great idea but wouldn't there be a concern about leaving the bumper in the down position all the time and exposing what is stored inside? I understand the bumper has to be in the down position while the drain hoses are being used. The problem seems complicated by the fact that this is the only outside storage (me thinks).
I have seen the bumper in the up and the down position. Having it in the down position at the River Valley Egg Rally didn't seem to be a problem while hooked up to the septic line. I would not have anything except some sewer related items in there any how. For example, a box of latex gloves, a black water rinse down wand, a short black water garden hose, a slinky type drain hose support system and some other related items. Security for those items, likely will not be a issue.
However for most of my use ( boondocking ) the bumper would be down only at a dump station.
I think the dump hose might be able to stay hooked up on the tank end making the dump procedure easier.
A 90* fitting and a hole saw would put the drain out of the bottom through the aluminum bottom of that compartment, for those that wanted the bumper in the up position in a RV park.
Because my main use would be boondocking I would want nothing exposed under the coach however.
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