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Old 10-14-2017, 09:56 PM   #1
CSR
Junior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Aria 3901
State: Minnesota
Posts: 24
Aria 3901 – Initial Thoughts/Experience

We recently purchase a Thor Aria 3901. Here’s a breakdown of our impression and experience after our initial shakedown period.

SHAKEDOWN SUMMARY:

We took multiple trips, roughly 2000 miles over 8 weeks, rough roads, long hills, fast paced interstates, high traffic areas, tight spots and a wide range of weather temps and conditions. We tested/used nearly every feature (i.e. utilities, appliances, generator, jacks, furniture, wet bay fill and dump, doors, drawers, compartments, windows, buttons, etc.).

STRENGTHS:
  • Great floor plan. Thoughtful layout with lots of space. Super functional – better than we expected.
  • Spacious master bath with large shower. Very nice, plenty of elbow room.
  • Surprisingly comfortable bed. Tilt bed is great for extra space in bedroom when getting dressed. Plenty of room for two people to work around each other.
  • Ceiling ducted AC/Heat pump (noticeably quieter than the standard exposed ceiling flush mount systems). Bonus – The heat pumps worked better than we expected. A nice feature. This coach has dual heat pumps. Many comparable coaches have one or none.
  • Substantial storage inside & out. I’m not sure we’ll ever use all of it. We like the slide storage tray too. We’ll probably install another one.
  • Large convection microwave.
  • Induction cooktop works great and offers extra usable countertop space.
  • Perfect sized refrigerator. Not too big & not too small, just right.
  • Reclining theater seats and the 55-inch TV. VERY nice! A comfortable and fun way to watch shows while away from home. BONUS – All TV’s are Smart TV’s – We streamed our favorite shows nearly every evening.
  • Very easy to drive with a smooth, stable ride. We experienced 22-26 mph winds from all directions across hundreds of miles and it handled very well through it all. No white-knuckle moments. I was also pleasantly surprised by how well it maneuvered in and out of tight spots.
  • Washer and dryer (more so the dryer than the washer). Want to wear your favorite shirt twice in the same week or did you get dirt on your only clean pair of pants while out exploring? No problem, wash the single item in the sink (very little water use) and toss it in the dryer. Problem solved! Or if you want to get fancy, warm your towel while you’re in the shower.
  • LED light dimmers in the living room & kitchen.
  • We used the fireplace a lot. Sometimes just for ambiance and other times to quietly warm the room a bit.
  • Nice cockpit. Attractive dash/instrument panel. Comfortable driving experience. My co-pilot LOVES the electric foot rest on the passenger seat.

WEAKNESSES:
  • Weak acceleration. Plenty of power to haul, but the weak acceleration does take some getting use to. Takes long hills okay. If get-up-and-go is your thing, this may not be the coach for you.
  • Basement storage doors do not seal completely.
  • Several drawers/cabinet doors are crooked. Come on Thor…, don’t make it so easy for the critics!
  • The “Hard Buttons” (black plastic buttons with white labels) on the Firefly multiplex controls are not backlit. You need to memorize the button positions to ensure you click the right one in low/no light. Also, the layout of the hard buttons in the bathrooms could be improved. Example – The buttons are positioned too close together so it’s easy to select the wrong button. In the half bath, the water pump button is located next to the light button. We’ve found that people often accidentally turn the water pump off or on while attempting to turn the light on or off.
  • No brace to secure the lower right front cap/hood to the chassis frame. As a result, the front cap shudders under stress and/or strong head/cross winds. It should be easy to fix, but seems like it could be a manufacturing or design oversight. I’m curious to know if any other Aria 3901 owners have found the same issue.
  • I wish I could say I am surprised by this one, but I can’t. The full wall slide has been a bit problematic, but nothing we have not been able to manage so far. The full slide often extends and retracts out of alignment. Most recently, the full slide started requiring a lot of finesse to get it to fully retract. The other slides work great. NOTE – Operator error? Any things is possible, but I suspect not. We ALWAYS take care to operate the slides under full power and ONLY when the coach is level. And, we always allow the motors to reset for a few seconds after the slide is fully extended or retracted.
  • The single handle shower valve would be a strength, but unfortunately, it’s far too touchy. Bumping it ever so slightly will cause a sudden blast of cold water (kind of funny) or a scolding rush of burning HOT water (NOT funny).

IMPROVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR THOR (If they are listening):
  • Note most of the items cited under weaknesses above.
  • Did I mention backlit Firefly control panel buttons?
  • Add a low profile raised rail on the edge of the left side of the kitchen counter top to help restrict items from sliding off and falling behind the adjacent theater seat.
  • Add dimmer lights to all LED lights. Most of the LED lights are far too bright.
  • Convert the single large pullout drawer under the kitchen sink into two separate pullouts. Mount the doors directly to the front of the pullouts. Doing so will eliminate the need to swing open both doors just to get to one side.
  • Offset the heights of the selves in the pullout pantries allowing storage for taller items (e.g. Think cereal box).
  • Add wood studs behind all walls where fixtures are mounted for improved stability (e.g. Towel rings, toilet paper holders, lights, handles, etc.).
  • Replace existing bathroom sink faucets with faucets that extend a bit further over the sink. It would be nice to get both hands under the faucet without cramming them up against the back of the sink.
  • The pullout storage above the vanity in the master bath is a creative concept for use of space, but the slide out shelves frequently fly open while traveling. Also, the shelves limit the size of the items you can store. A larger open cabinet design might prove to be more functional. Example – A large cabinet would allow users to store towels and other larger relevant bathroom items. Plus, it would weigh less, be faster and less expensive to build, and probably result in less warranty support (more saved time and money).
  • Reconsider the placement of towel racks/rings in the bathrooms. Towels that hang just above the toilet present a certain unsanitary factor that render them impractical for use. In the 3901 master bathroom, a typical bath towel hung on the rack hangs down over the button to flush the toilet. In the small bathroom, a regular hand towel hung on the ring nearly touches the toilet.
  • As a standard, add a junction box to roof with a through hole to the interior of the coach to accommodate wires for common upgrades like wifi and/or cell boosters or other similar upgrades.
  • Add a 110v receptacle above or on the sides of master bed.
  • Disclaimer – I don’t have a suggestion for how Thor could improve this one and I realize most coaches may have a similar problem, but it is something that is we find incontinent. The furnace air intake is centrally located in the main living area next to the fireplace (good for proper furnace function and efficiency), but the fan is very loud. When it’s on, the loud fan disrupts your ability to hear the TV or music. More often than not, temps usually drop in the evening and throughout the night, which is also the most common time for people to be inside watching TV and/or listening to music.

Although our Aria 3901 is not without its drawbacks (noted above), overall, we’re VERY happy with it.
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Old 10-14-2017, 10:04 PM   #2
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Brand: Still Looking
State: California
Posts: 32
Wow.. You cant ask for a better review than this.. very detailed and specific.. Thanks for the input.. glad your enjoying it.
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Old 10-15-2017, 03:52 AM   #3
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Brand: Still Looking
State: California
Posts: 9
Scrap that!

Thanks CSR, I obviously found it! Some great observations and thoughts, helpful ideas. If I'm not mistaken, there is a 110 outlet on at least the right side of the bed above the nightlite. As I said, not sure on arrival date for ours, but looking forward to so many improvements over our Flair. Did the awning over the entry door do you any good? Doesn't cover the door very well in the front. Noting that, not sure which make or model it was, I found one that the awning went a few inches past the windshield to compensate for that. Nice on the Thor also is that the entry door goes more than 90 degrees open! Please keep the info coming!
Thanks
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Old 10-15-2017, 04:20 AM   #4
CSR
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Aria 3901
State: Minnesota
Posts: 24
The small awning over the entry door is near pointless if you ask me. A friend of mine called it "cute". So there is that...!
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Old 10-16-2017, 04:57 PM   #5
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Miramar 35.2
State: Maryland
Posts: 4
We have a '17 Miramar with fullwall slide (contains recliners, kitchen, fridge, washer/dryer, large bedroom closet).

We too had some minor issues with it retracting..nothing major, just some alignment issues where I would run it all the way back out and "try again".

Now, before we pull the slides in , I do the smaller slide, the raise the side of the coach with the large slide UP a little...let gravity aid it coming back in vice the slide motors fighting it. Seems to work pretty well.

ARIA appears to be a pretty sweet rig!
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Old 10-16-2017, 09:36 PM   #6
CSR
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Aria 3901
State: Minnesota
Posts: 24
Full Wall Slide - Thanks for the gravity assist tip!

Hi stvdman,

Thanks for reaching out. Your gravity assist method is pretty clever. I’ll have to give that a try next time I run into trouble. When we dropped our coach off for warranty work, one of the techs mentioned that they had another Aria 3901 in the shop recently with similar full wall slide symptoms. In that case, the techs discovered that the two slide motors for the full wall slide had separate gear ratios. As a result, one motor was performing faster than the other. We’ll see what they find with ours.

Thanks again for the gravity assist tip!

Best regards,

CSR
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Old 10-19-2017, 09:36 PM   #7
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Aria 3901
State: Idaho
Posts: 9
Smile great review.

We purchased our 18 Aria 3901 Sept. 2, but were not ready to use it until the last couple of weeks. We did two trips, one to Northern California (left just hours before the fires started) and one to north eastern Washington/north western Idaho. About 2500 miles in 8 days. I agree with 99% of the above review. We had some issues, most should be easy to remedy, and the coach is in for service right now. The suggestions made were great. Some have maybe been already addressed by Thor. Our towel holders don't seem to be in the same place as yours. The biggest issue we encountered was that the GFI in the 1/2 bath trips pretty much every time the engine is started. Sometimes it wouldn't reset until we were plugged in to shore power. The entry steps quit working. After we returned home, I noticed that the wiring for the steps was kind of just hanging behind the steps and we had driven though some pretty hard rain and snow going over the Blues. After a couple of days in the driveway, they started working again. The rear toilet was not secured to the floor. Very weak flow to the kitchen faucet. Black tank flush does not allow any water flow into the tank. And our fireplace fan didn't blow, which didn't make the dear Wife too happy. There were also a few other minor issues that I hope will be taken care of during this visit to the dealer. But, overall, we are very pleased with the driving, living experience. No, it's not the fastest rig up the hills, but I found the whole driving experience to be wonderful, and the comfort of the coach is wonderful. We have had two previous gassers over the last 19 years. We loved them both, but this is definitely a couple steps above.
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Old 10-19-2017, 11:34 PM   #8
CSR
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Aria 3901
State: Minnesota
Posts: 24
Thanks for the feedback!

Hi m1noel,

Thanks for the feedback! Congrats on your NEW Aria! I'm glad you're you like it!

We recently dropped our Aria off for warranty work. We'll see how that goes. Overall, we're pretty optimistic. Our dealer has been very accommodating so far.

Our punch list includes some similar items:
  • The stairs stopped working a few times. Had to tap the stair motor to get it work a couple of times. Some people say it's the motor sticking, others say it's the wire connection. Tapping the motor resolved the problem for us.
  • The GFI in the small bath trips frequently.
  • Our fireplace blower worked fine, BUT the fireplace would randomly shut off and could not be turn back on for 30+ minutes. It was NOT the blower shutting off after the thermostat temp was reached. The entire unit would shut off. I suspect this may be due to some overheating fail safe. Our dealer was familiar with the issue and they felt confident they could fix it.
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Old 10-20-2017, 02:36 PM   #9
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Aria 3901
State: Idaho
Posts: 9
Let us all know how the repairs go. Mine is also in for repairs. I'm quite interested in the breaker issue we both have. I read on another forum that this is an issue in other 3901s. I hope there is a good fix.
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Old 10-20-2017, 09:39 PM   #10
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Aria 3901
State: Idaho
Posts: 9
Ours has 110 outlets on both sides of the bed platform. Really had to look for them, but they are there.in
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Old 10-20-2017, 11:52 PM   #11
CSR
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Aria 3901
State: Minnesota
Posts: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by m1noel View Post
Ours has 110 outlets on both sides of the bed platform. Really had to look for them, but they are there.in


Sounds promising. We've looked around for a 110 outlet back there a few times, but didn't find one. Are they hidden in a cabinet or covered by the mattress?
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Old 10-21-2017, 12:04 AM   #12
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Outlaw 29H
State: New York
Posts: 1,221
You did a really great job on this review: thanks for telling It like It is!
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Old 10-21-2017, 02:59 AM   #13
CSR
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Aria 3901
State: Minnesota
Posts: 24
Hi Bob,

Thanks for the kind feedback! Glad you like the post.
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Old 10-21-2017, 04:13 AM   #14
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Aria 3901
State: Idaho
Posts: 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by CSR View Post
Sounds promising. We've looked around for a 110 outlet back there a few times, but didn't find one. Are they hidden in a cabinet or covered by the mattress?
They are on both sides below the mattress a bit and on the sides of the bed pedestal. I was looking for them and didn't see them until my wife pointed them out. I wish the unit was here so I could give you better info.
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Old 11-08-2017, 02:54 PM   #15
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
State: Tennessee
Posts: 5
Dimmer switch

Great review! We just picked up our Aria this past Friday and are finding out we have a lot to learn. We started out with a Class B, then a Class C, this is our first Class A and all in a year and a half!

I am sure I will be asking lots of questions but I would like to know, where are the dimmer switches?
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Old 11-08-2017, 03:58 PM   #16
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Aria 3901
State: Idaho
Posts: 9
For the lights in the kitchen, living room, just hold the on/off button down. Foe the headlights, it's the turn signal stalk.
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Old 11-08-2017, 11:12 PM   #17
CSR
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Aria 3901
State: Minnesota
Posts: 24
Congrats & Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terrasmom View Post
Great review! We just picked up our Aria this past Friday
Hi Terrasmom,

Congrats on your new Aria! Thanks for joining in on the conversation.

- CSR
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Old 11-08-2017, 11:15 PM   #18
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Model: Outlaw 29H
State: New York
Posts: 1,221
CSR,
So when are we going to see some pictures of your rig?
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