Is the Oliver Elite II a Four Season Camper? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 11-17-2014, 09:59 PM   #1
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Is the Oliver Elite II a Four Season Camper?

There has been a lot of discussion on various thread about how the new Oliver performs in the cold. Since this has been the coldest weather any one of them has experienced so far, I decided to do a little testing.

First some parameters and disclosures:

I am in Tupelo, MS usually not one of the coldest spots in North America especially in mid November. However, as I am writing this, it is 28̊ outside with tonightís predicted low of 18̊. As a comparison, on this day last year we had a high of 72̊ with a low of 64̊.

Our trailer is inside a metal building. The building is unheated and completely open on one end. It does stay about 3̊ or 4̊ warmer than the ambient temperature inside probably due to the heated trailer sitting there.

Although I do ďwinterizeĒ our trailer, (I drain the water and blow out the lines, no antifreeze) I keep it heated with a small heater I got at Wal-Mart. It sits on the floor about half way down the center aisle pointing toward the rear. I like to keep the interior around 60̊. Sometimes I like to go out there and take a nap or read and I want it to be comfy.

We have two digital thermometers inside mounted more or less at either end of the trailer. One is simply the remote for the Amazon.com: Maxxair 0007000K MaxxFan Deluxe Fan with Remote and White Lid: Automotive which has an onboard digital readout, the other is a La Crosse Technology  Wireless Weather Station Alarm Clock - Walmart.com that you can easily deduce from whence it came. There was one remote transmitter supplied that we mounted under the propane cover outside and it sends the information on the exterior temps. We added another remote transmitter that is mounted inside the refrigerator to monitor the temps there.

cpaharley2008 had tweaked my curiosity about the possibility of being cold sleeping right next to my windows. Since I had purposely designed our beds to top out right at the level of the windows, I wondered if maybe Iíd not thought that through.

We have double pane windows throughout the trailer.

I used a Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer With Laser Targeting to measure the interior and exterior temps. This was all done within about a 20 minute period so there was little to no temperature fluctuation.

Measurements:

The two digital thermometers both read 61̊ for the interior temperature.

All interior walls were within 1̊ of the above interior temperature.
All exterior walls were at 31̊ (just barely warmer that the ambient outside temperature).

All interior window panes were about 59̊
All exterior window panes were about 37̊

The interior of the door was 54̊
The exterior of the door was 31̊

The interior of the door glass pane was 54̊
The exterior of the door glass pane was 44̊

The floor was about 56̊
The ceiling was about 66̊

In the basement and between the shells (where all the plumbing and tanks are) the temps varied from 45̊ to 50̊ as measured on the foil surface of the reflectix insulation glued to the inside of the exterior shell.

Deductions:

There was a 30̊ difference in the temperature of the inside and outside shells.
There was a 22̊ difference in the temperature of the inside and outside window panes.
There was about a 2̊ difference between the interior wall and the interior window pane.
The door is purchased as a standard RV model with a dual pane window and is not manufactured by Oliver. It is obviously not as well insulated as the rest of the coach, but it is at least as good as the coach windows.
There was a 23̊ difference in the temperature of the inside and outside of the door.
There was a 10̊ difference in the temperature of the inside and outside door glass panes.
There was a 10̊ difference in the temperature of the floor and ceiling (heat rises).
The reflectix insulation affords about a 15̊ temperature difference on either side of a single shell. Since each shell has its own layer of reflectix, this accounts for the 30̊ difference in the temperature of the inside and outside shells.

Does all this qualify the new Oliver Elite II as having 4 season capabilities? I couldnít tell you. But I do know that itís below freezing out there right now and not even using the furnace I could easily get the temperature up to about 80̊ inside with nothing more than that little cube heater. Thatís way hotter than I want to sleep.
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:20 PM   #2
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XLNT post Steve, thanks. Sure gives some good number differences. Wonder what the temp would go to after 15 minutes with the cube heater.
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:40 PM   #3
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The other day with the temperatures were in the fifty's I accidentally left it on too high and I found it at 91 degrees inside. The towel rack in the bath was almost too hot to touch. This is not a very expensive heater, I think I might have paid about 20 dollars for it a couple of years ago.
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Old 11-18-2014, 02:40 AM   #4
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Steve,
Thanks for the report, check it again when it is about 30 outside. As far as the door being the weak point, I agree as my 2012 Escape was supposedly insulated but the door was not, upon review Escape now insulates the door and my 2014 door is insulated as is the door window. The only non insulated window is in the bath which I cover with reflectix as well as the o/h vent and it makes a difference. Yours maybe similar.
The weak spot in the Escape's winter use are the metal frames used in the window construction. One can remove the interior trim and place reflectix as a barrier and it should help. The glass panes will be cold, I have used mine down to 15 degrees and they do get cold. Closing the blinds will help with that issue, but you want air on the windows to eliminate condensation? Not sure how the Oliver's blinds will work but if I recall they are plastic trim so they may help with the transfer of cold.
Keep us posted as the temperatures drop, wait you are in Mississippi, it never gets cold there. Right now it is 29 and the wind is howling, about 20 with wind chill effect. Stay warm....
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Old 11-18-2014, 06:24 AM   #5
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Steve, thanks for a great post and taking all the time to make all those temp measurements in downright frosty weather for your part of the country!. 28 degrees in Mississippi, with the humidity, probably felt really cold... but then it was supposed to freeze last nights in parts of Florida, as well. What a winter cold front we've got going on!
I understand even the bathroom window in the new Oliver is dual pane, correct?
Sherry
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Old 11-18-2014, 07:40 AM   #6
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Steve. Thanks for all that work. We will have our cube heater with us Dec. first when we take delivery. With the Oliver insulation package I hope it will suffice in the cold up there. I am a bit concerned about the tanks and plumbing as we will be camping and not winterized. Maybe Robert will let us camp out inside the factory LOL?

I wonder if there is a good 12v heater out there? For dry camping. I bought the four Trojan T105 battery package and have my solar system ready to install. Long haul truckers seem to have just about all the comforts of home so I will start researching some trucker supply sites.

BTW. 30 degrees with a chill of 21 here in Gulf Breeze Florida this morning.


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Old 11-18-2014, 07:42 AM   #7
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What's wrong with the on board propane heater, with 4 trojans you should be good for awhile.
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Old 11-18-2014, 07:49 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the good info Steve. It's reassuring actually.

One thing not considered - if the trailer is outside, you have wind to deal with, but also you have warming from sunlight potentially. It would be interesting to know the effects.

I suppose if you were to be caught in some brutal weather, you could rig up an insulated curtain for that exterior door, as well as some insulating pads to put over the windows (between the window and the shade).

Or you can just run the heater higher - sounds like that cube heater could work to some pretty low temps if you didn't want to burn propane in the furnace.
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Old 11-18-2014, 08:22 AM   #9
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Nothing at all wrong with the propane furnace. In my neck of the woods it is more chilly than cold so we like to use the smaller cube heater. The thought of using my solar panels to produce "free" energy just makes me feel good hence my query about a 12v heater. Redundancy is a good thing when camping. Boy Scout motto..."Be prepared". My motto..."Be over prepared"

"Make your plan, Execute your plan, Plan for the unexpected". Paul "Bear" Bryant
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Old 11-18-2014, 08:33 AM   #10
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Don't' even hope to get warm with a 12 VDC heater. A typical "cube" heater pulls about 10 amps on 120 VAC. That same amount of heat would require over 100 amps on DC. If you want to use battery power, the LP furnace is your very best friend.


If you haven't noticed, one of the ways truckers stay warm in their sleepers is to leave that built in, million BTU heater, called the engine, running while sleeping



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Old 11-18-2014, 09:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Merritt View Post
One thing not considered - if the trailer is outside, you have wind to deal with

IF you're referring to the wind chill factor, remember this: The only effect wind chill has on inanimate objects, such as water pipes, is to shorten the amount of time for the object to cool. The inanimate object will not cool below the actual air temperature.

Since there has been such an interest in the thermal capabilities of all of our fiberglass eggs, Iím wondering just how many people actually plan to camp in sub-zero temps. Iíve never done it, but thatís mostly a location issue with me, if it gets that cold in North Mississippi, Iím probably gonna stay home, throw another log on the fire, pop some popcorn, curl up with the dogs under a blanket and read a good book. Now, having said that, (except for the "log on the fire" part) that all sounds pretty good in the trailer too!!!
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Old 11-18-2014, 09:45 AM   #12
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To that I feel the need to add, (being that I live in an area of extreme climate especially with winter conditions), make no mistake if it is cold and you have howling winds like we often do here in the northern hinterlands that wind will suck the life and heat right out of a house, automobile and no doubt a camper, I don't care how well its insulate or airtight its just the laws of physics. The difference with winter wind is palpable.
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Old 11-18-2014, 09:46 AM   #13
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PS, great job though Steve with all of your research and number crunching analysis.
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Old 11-18-2014, 09:57 AM   #14
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Last night here in Pennsylvannia, the wind was howling all night and the temp dropped to 11 degrees. The "wind chill" was taking it down below zero. While I'd agree that wind chill doesn't effect the temp of the trailer, the wind action does create drafts, force air in some openings/vents, seals, etc as well as draw heat out of any openings by creating vacuums.

With my furnace roaring, the best I could do was 64 degrees inside. I hate this fifth wheel and CAN'T WAIT for my new Oliver to be delivered. I'll be doing my own testing and reporting in February!
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Old 11-18-2014, 01:32 PM   #15
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Now you have me wondering how well my Eggcamper will do in the extreme cold. I have camped in my tear drop as cold as -9. I'm going to have to go out and try the egg when it gets really cold!!!!
Jason
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Old 11-18-2014, 04:26 PM   #16
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saw the "Cold weather camping" in the tittle and enjoyed the read and good info shared.

My wife and i do live in a mild climate weather wise here on the Oregon Coat, BUT we do full time in our RVs (Van Conversion, Parkliner TT, and our main "Home" a 40ft 5th wheel). There might be a few tid bits to pass on...

When we are in our big rig (4 to 5 weeks out of 6 weeks) we are plugged into a 50amp service and run one of the small cube heaters down in the basement at its 750w setting when temps are near freezing (i set up a remote start, and this keeps the basement well above freezing). We prefer the little electric heater as i have to pay extra for propane if i'm filling tanks with the current prices where they are...so i'll save a few bucks a month on heating with electric. Our temps in our Tesla T3970 toy hauler (new this October, traded in the 38ft Mobile Suite) stay about 30 degrees warmer inside running another cube heater at its medium setting of 900w. That is fine with us as we prefer the interior at about 55-60 at night.

When we are winter camping we go to one of the many State Parks in the Pacific Northwest that remain open year round and will use cube heaters in both the Van and Parkliner. The PL has only one outer FG shell with a single layer of Reflectix on it so the little cube will run 80%on/20%off nearly all night at the 750w (rather than 1200w) setting and interior temps are a comfortable-for-us upper 60's for lounging before we head to bed in the Van Conversion. We know this little heater works like this as our two adult kids have spent nights camping in winter inside the PL on electric.

In the van it is a different story...included here as to the benefit of multiple layers (like your Olivers) of Reflectix/Shell. We have a 6 layer sandwich of bubble-wrap/Reflectix/bubble-wrap/Reflectix/Mylar/Hull Liner Fabric. The same cube heater at 750w setting runs at about 20% on/80% off and will keep the van at the same upper 60's...about 1/3rd the power needs as the Parkliner.

Cheers, and happy camping! The Olivers are beautiful rigs.
Thom
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Old 11-18-2014, 05:02 PM   #17
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It is the windows in the Parkliner and van that you will lose the most heat, thermopane windows with the proper insulation will keep you toasty.
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Old 11-18-2014, 05:19 PM   #18
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Thanks for the input Thom. Like you, I put a cube heater in the basement. Makes a big difference. Another thing I do is put one of those pillows in the roof vent - it's a square foam pad about 3" thick with reflectix on one side and terry cloth on the other- keeps a lot if heat from going out the roof.


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Old 11-18-2014, 05:39 PM   #19
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Jim, for sure on the thermal loss on those windows. We put up DIY window covers of Reflectix each night after sunset in both rigs just to keep things cozier inside though we do keep a window or two cracked for ventilation.

Ron, yuppers on the fan insert. We use them in our full time rig since we have such a cavernous amout of room and good air circulation per our desires. Our issue on comfort here on the Oregon Coast has much to do with balancing (in our experience) between temp and humidity. What we can get away with in a 40ft RV (closed up roof vents) we find in the smaller rigs to be a detriment as the two of us in such a small space (our 1/2 ton regular body van conversion) at night is more comfortable with a window cracked and the MaxxFan roof vent cracked for air flow. When our two kids spent a week-of-nights in the Parkliner they thought closing up the trailer tight would somehow create a nicer environment (warmer?)...but in the first two mornings they had condensation and a high-humidity-associated chill...sooooo....Mom & Dad suggested, gasp, that they keep each window just ever so slightly open (1/4"?) (all are jalousie and good in rain) and the MaxxFan cracked. The next morning, no condensation on windows, and no morning chill (associated with high humidity anyway...but then they were on both leave from over in Dubai & Iraq...so anything under 80 was cold!).

Ramblin and dreaming.

I'm going to see what the Oliver 17 footer weighs in at for actual down-the-road use as we really prefer the two-room set up we have (Van/bed + TT/great-room) and would like to keep the AWD van (now out of production). I wish it could happily tow the 5500 or so down the road weight of a 23.6 Ollie, but i'd have to talk Cari into leaving all her gold prospecting gear out except a plastic pan as we'd be over our GCVWR of 12K (Van sits at 7k on scales ready to camp).

Cheers,
Thom
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Old 11-19-2014, 07:57 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Rob Outlaw View Post
To that I feel the need to add, (being that I live in an area of extreme climate especially with winter conditions), make no mistake if it is cold and you have howling winds like we often do here in the northern hinterlands that wind will suck the life and heat right out of a house, automobile and no doubt a camper, I don't care how well its insulate or airtight its just the laws of physics. The difference with winter wind is palpable.
Hey Rob,
You touched on a very important aspect mentioning a trailer being Air Tight.
This is a very important fact of all fiberglass trailers. The inherent attributes of fiberglass over a "Sticky" which has so many seams that leak either the heat or the cool from the AC of a trailer IMHP is of major importance.
With an infinite supply of propane a specific temperature could possibly be obtained across the board in any trailer.
Working towards the aspects of minimum energy IE electric/propane usage is an issue we are focused on improving upon.
Great Thread!
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