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Old 06-17-2017, 08:02 AM   #1
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2016 Thor Chateau 31E intro and questions

Just purchased on 6/13/17 a 2016 Thor Chateau 31E with 4k miles on it.

A little back story, this is my 5th RV. I bought my first back in 2010 or so when I was 31 years young. A 1989 shadow cruiser truck camper, a couple weeks after my wife and I got engaged. We outgrew that quickly and it wasn't long before I sold it and bought a 2005 48 ft vintage toyhauler. We were a part of an off-road race team and the trailer was awesome for that. We tried to camp in normal campgrounds and that wasn't so much fun. My daughter was born and we traded truck and trailer for a 2008 Gulfstream class B+. Upgraded the frame, built a custom hitch, we could go camping and tow the Jeep to the trails. Had a great time with that, but hated the split bath and no jacks (among other things). Started looking at small diesel pushers and ended up with a 2001 Winnebago 32T. The 5.9 cummins in it cost me lots of money, there was more money to be spent. I loved the big bathroom tho. My son was born and we were not having as much fun camping making beds for them up front and tearing them down every morning to eat breakfast.

We searched and searched for a floor plan with bunks that we liked. We were between the Hurricane 34J and the Chateau 31E. It came down to money and finding something that wasn't brand new (let some one else find the factory issues), and the Class C is something my wife can drive if necessary. I loved the v10 in the Gulfstream, not the fuel mileage but the power was greater than the 5.9 cummins, which didn't make fuel as some claim. Our kids are now almost 2 and almost 5, so bunks were a huge part of the decision. I also wanted a big bathroom and not a split bathroom and could do a class c with jacks. We decided on Thor because it's the only manufacture that offers the 8k hitch, I also looked at the frame setup on the 31E on a test drive of one a few months ago and I was satisfied with way the frame is extended, as we still tow our 2004 Jeep LJ on a trailer with us almost everywhere we go.

I didn't get as in depth as I wanted to on the inspection of this Chateau, but I was satisfied with the major parts I did test and inspect. I negotiated the extra cost of the inspections and other bs out of the cost with the CW sales person. There's no Thor warranty, but there's still chassis and power train warranty. Oddly enough, I bleed Ford blue and even with the concerns of the Thor stuff, I have little worries about the Ford chassis and drive train. One of my main concerns going on a trip is, getting there and home.

So, like moving into a house, we have a mess in the garage to put back in the new to us RV that came out of the Winnie. I'm gonna miss all that basement storage, but we'll figure it out.

I've got a few immediate things to figure out. I've done some searching of this forum, but struggle to find a lot of things specific to the 31E.

The first should be easy, just need to look. Does the Ford E450 chassis use the common Ford trailer pigtail for the brake controller?

2nd, I need to find where the main junction box is for all the coax that runs to the TVs in this baby. I have a portable satellite dish for now and would like to access that to be able to get DirectV to at least my main living area TV and the outdoor TV. Eventual plans will mount a dish on the roof as it's supposed to be prewired from the factory.

3rd, House batteries are junk, no biggie expected that, will be going to 2-6 volts that hopefully will fit under the step into the RV.

I've got some other thoughts and ideas for the entertainment/stereo as there appears to be no central location for that to send signal to the other tvs. I'm not against running some cat5 around this beast to make it all work nice. Need to figure out if the outdoor speakers work with the outdoor tv or just the radio in the bedroom.

Lots to learn, will post as I do and add pics along the way.

Fellow 31E (or whatever other models are similar) owners feel free to chime in with thoughts, ideas, and upgrades.

First trip is a long weekend in a week, and then 9 days in Egg Harbor, WI around July 4th.

mac 'wasting no time in hitting the road' gyvr

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Old 06-17-2017, 09:25 AM   #2
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Answered the 1st question. The brake controller wiring should be behind the coin tray. Hopefully it's the standard Ford pigtail as I have one of those laying around.

I forgot I did buy the first upgrade today. The wife doesn't like the analog t-stat for the hvac. Ordered a digital one today. Hopefully the correct one. We have the mach15 15k a/c.

mac 'brake for a/c's' gyvr
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Old 06-18-2017, 09:36 AM   #3
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Found the plug, looks different than the other Ford trailer plugs I've seen before...but prior to this RV the newest I've owned was a 2008 F350 with the factory trailer brake, and before that was 2000 and older, so learned something new.



I ordered Tekonsha 3034-P and since my older brake controller was not plug and play, I decided that a newer RV deserved a new brake controller so I ordered Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ Electronic Brake Control, going to try to get it to fit in the little storage spot so it's easy to see, grab, and out of my way...Amazon says Tuesday delivery...

While in there I found these two butt connectors...anyone know what they do? I couldn't tell where the wires went.


Hoping to get most of the stuff from the old RV into this one today. Then maybe try to figure out where in the heck the coax for the TV's all starts from.

mac 'first trip leaves Thursday afternoon...' gyvr
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Old 06-18-2017, 01:38 PM   #4
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Congrats on the rig! Sounds like you have figured out what fits you & the family, good for you. I/we too have been moving "stuff" from the old RV to the new(to us) WS31 Quantum and adding accessories. I wired a brake notification light into the brake pigtail for our wheels down toad. I didn't like the thought of drilling into the dash, so drilled the coin tray for the 1/4" led light. I didn't see the two butt connectors on mine that you have. While I was in there I wired an El' Cheapo outside thermometer/clock/system voltage device. I velcro'ed it just above the coin tray. We like to know the time/temp at a glance when moving down the road. Also, mounted a bike rack & brush style gravel gaurd to help protect the front of the toad.
Oh, our coach batteries are under the step also. There was just enough heighth clearance to install 2, 6v Interstate deep cycle batteries. Like yours the factory 12v units were toast. We will be heading out this wkend with the grand daughters for their annual vacation trip. The new RV is a "surprise" to them. We will find out how the batteries hold up to the residential fridge on a couple nights of dry camping.
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Old 06-18-2017, 01:57 PM   #5
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The bike carrier I used cleared the tow bar perfectly. Just in case you think about adding bikes, here's the carrier I used; http://www.ebay.com/itm/Swagman-Bicy...1%26rkt%3D1%26
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Old 06-18-2017, 06:42 PM   #6
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Never thought about the temp. I like your idea. We tow the wrangler on a car trailer with the golf cart primarily. We haven't got into bikes...yet.

I did make the plunge on house batteries today at sams. Here's to hoping they fit without getting the welder out.



mac '50/50 with my luck' gyvr
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Old 06-18-2017, 09:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macgyvr View Post

I did make the plunge on house batteries today at sams. Here's to hoping they fit without getting the welder out.
mac '50/50 with my luck' gyvr
We had to unscrew the flip up step to get that last hair of clearance, then they slid in perfectly.
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Old 06-19-2017, 05:46 AM   #8
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Didn't get to the 6 volt batteries today but got 95% moved in.

Found this above the bed in the back.
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Where does that come from?

mac 'things that make you go hmmmm' gyvr
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Old 06-20-2017, 01:30 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by macgyvr View Post
Didn't get to the 6 volt batteries today but got 95% moved in.

Found this above the bed in the back.
Attachment 5346
Where does that come from?

mac 'things that make you go hmmmm' gyvr
Maybe the solar prep wires. They are orange and white on my Hurricane.
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Old 06-21-2017, 06:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpinva View Post
Maybe the solar prep wires. They are orange and white on my Hurricane.
hmmmmmmmmmmmm, can I call Thor to see if they know? I'm having trouble finding wiring diagrams online for this model.

In other news I built some rails for the bunk beds.


The wife stained and sealed them.


mac 'keep the rug rats contained' gyvr
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Old 06-21-2017, 11:25 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by macgyvr
can I call Thor to see if they know?
Yup and while you're at it ask them for the wiring diagrams.
Schematics and Construction Drawings
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Old 06-21-2017, 05:55 PM   #12
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Yup and while you're at it ask them for the wiring diagrams.
Schematics and Construction Drawings
I called and spoke with a dude named Tom and asked him for everything that he had on my unit, including wiring and coax...

mac 'we shall see' gyvr
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Old 06-21-2017, 06:14 PM   #13
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I had that orange/white behind my Coax booster- would love to know what they are for....
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Old 06-27-2017, 12:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macgyvr View Post
Didn't get to the 6 volt batteries today but got 95% moved in.

Found this above the bed in the back.
Attachment 5346
Where does that come from?

mac 'things that make you go hmmmm' gyvr
So this is the satellite wires. The coax and power wires to make it work.

Nice to find, but wtf NO WHERE near my TVs...

mac 'if I ever find that engineer...' gyvr
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Old 06-27-2017, 03:03 PM   #15
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Same boat...

I swear that the engineers who design these things have never set foot in them before. I have seen some of the oddest decisions in campers. I had an old Travel Trailer, that had a mount for the TV, so you could move it from inside to outside. Two main issues:
1) The power cord for the TV went into a hole behind a panel I had to remove a lot of screws to get into. I added a power strip behind the TV so that I could power it there and remove it easily.
2) The mount was right next to the door, on the inside of the fold out handle. If I folded out the entry handle, I could not put the TV on, but if I did not fold it out it blocked the mounting bracket. The only thing I could do was fold out the handle so it blocked the door from opening/closing.

I have the 2017 31E, I know that I would love to have better connection options at each TV location, there is no good way to have some central media player or anything else. And for me, there is the radio in the dash that controls audio in the cab and living area, then a radio in the back that controls the back speakers and the outside ones???

I look forward to seeing what Mods you do. We have not done too much, I have been pretty happy with the layout and coach overall.
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Old 06-27-2017, 03:14 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarylandMatt View Post
I swear that the engineers who design these things have never set foot in them before. I have seen some of the oddest decisions in campers. I had an old Travel Trailer, that had a mount for the TV, so you could move it from inside to outside. Two main issues:
1) The power cord for the TV went into a hole behind a panel I had to remove a lot of screws to get into. I added a power strip behind the TV so that I could power it there and remove it easily.
2) The mount was right next to the door, on the inside of the fold out handle. If I folded out the entry handle, I could not put the TV on, but if I did not fold it out it blocked the mounting bracket. The only thing I could do was fold out the handle so it blocked the door from opening/closing.

I have the 2017 31E, I know that I would love to have better connection options at each TV location, there is no good way to have some central media player or anything else. And for me, there is the radio in the dash that controls audio in the cab and living area, then a radio in the back that controls the back speakers and the outside ones???

I look forward to seeing what Mods you do. We have not done too much, I have been pretty happy with the layout and coach overall.
So last night I pulled the booster out, I added a coax connection to the wall plate and ran the satellite in through my directv box and then back out to the booster. I hooked up my satellite dish to the outside coax input and can now push the signal through all five tvs. It's not the best picture because its not HD, but it works for now. I didn't take pics because I was so excited to see if it worked. If the booster is off the satellite works, if we want locals, we turn the satellite box off and the booster back on and we have local antenna.

I agree that having no central entertainment location and the factory radio controlling the house speakers and the back stereo controlling the back speakers and outside speakers is a real engineering nightmare. I'm going to work on this as time goes on. We have a 10 day trip starting this weekend, so I at least can get the satellite to all the tv's for now. My eventual plan is to run hdmi signal to the living room tv and the outside tv at the minimum. I'm also going to look at putting a house radio where the dvd player is and have it control some speakers (whether already there or I'll install them) so I can have surround sound when watching a movie. I'm going to eventually get the dash radio to just work while moving and get it back on the chassis battery and not the house battery and only use it while travelling. Loosing the time everytime you park it and turn the store button on, is a pita.

I'm hoping to get these 6 volt batteries installed this week in place of the junk 12 volt house batteries.

We've added a few little things in the coach and took it camping last weekend. I'll post some photos here at some point.

Towing my Jeep on the trailer with it this weekend, so that should be interesting.

mac 'trying to make it my happy place' gyvr
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Old 06-28-2017, 12:10 AM   #17
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Had our first camping trip with it over the weekend. It worked well. Kids loved the bunk beds and I loved not making and tearing down beds every day. Had to pull the screws in the top of the outside tv bracket to get an hdmi plugged in for the satellite. Had to take the satellite receiver back and forth to the inside and out. Fixed that last night with my previously mentioned coax modification.
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Only thing we miss from the class A pusher so far is the larger holding tanks...

mac 'ten day trip coming up' gyvr
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Old 06-28-2017, 03:19 PM   #18
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Other mod...

I know that one of the Mods I made for the front TV was to add a sound bar to it. The TV has down facing speakers, and if you push the TV back a little bit, so that it is over the bed, then the sound is all muffled. I was very happy after adding in the sound bar with nice front facing sound. I found a nice bracket to mount the bar on top of the TV. But in order to have it flip back for travel, I make the right side of it lower than the left, trying to prevent it from hitting the front roof. It does not completely prevent it hitting, but I can mostly close the TV during travel. This also helped with pulling out the TV for kids to watch while driving down the road.
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Old 06-28-2017, 03:23 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarylandMatt View Post
I know that one of the Mods I made for the front TV was to add a sound bar to it. The TV has down facing speakers, and if you push the TV back a little bit, so that it is over the bed, then the sound is all muffled. I was very happy after adding in the sound bar with nice front facing sound. I found a nice bracket to mount the bar on top of the TV. But in order to have it flip back for travel, I make the right side of it lower than the left, trying to prevent it from hitting the front roof. It does not completely prevent it hitting, but I can mostly close the TV during travel. This also helped with pulling out the TV for kids to watch while driving down the road.
Which sound bar did you go with? What bracket did you use? Also, have you found a way to keep the TV out while travelling, so it doesn't swing? I think that the dash radio has a dvd player, it would be cool if I could send the video from it back to the front tv so that I could change DVD's from the front seat instead of from the DVD player in the overhead compartment.

mac 'thinking ahead' gyvr
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Old 06-28-2017, 03:43 PM   #20
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For sound bar, I do not recall, it was just one that I had laying around the house not being used that was given to me as a gift.

For the bracket, I bought these from Amazon:
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01GUIEFJC/

As for keeping the TV out, on my coach, on the TV swing arm, there is a knob on the top by the wall, you tighten this down to prevent it from swinging.

The Dash DVD player is a joke, because you can not use it while the coach is in motion, so it is useless as far as I am concerned. If I am not in motion, I will use one of the other TV's.

Hope that helps.
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