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Old 03-05-2016, 10:30 PM   #1
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THOR #3776
A few questions about the 2016 Thor Challenger

Hi there! I am looking at trading in my 2014 class C Coachmen Leprechaun 319DS for a 2016/2017 Thor Challenger 37LX. I went to my local dealership today and walked through a 37LX and have a few questions I'm hoping some other Challenger owners can answer for me.

1. I thought that the 2016 Challengers were coming with a 6-speed transmission. I took a picture (see attached) and it says both the Product Year and the Chassis Year are 2016 but then lists the transmission as a 5-speed. Does anyone know when the Challengers starting getting built with the 6-speed transmission? If I decide to buy one, I would be placing an order probably in the next few weeks.

2. I opened up the closet that's listed on the floor-plan as washer/dryer prep but I didn't see any prep. There were some shallow pull-out shelves and at the top, a rod to hang clothes on but I didn't see any plumbing/vents ran to the closet. Was it just hidden? I guess you can't order the Challenger to come with washer/dryer; you have to install it aftermarket? I really liked those shallow shelves and hate the thought of losing them. I wish they could be relocated to the other closet.

3. The dealership said if I order a Challenger, it would be a 2017 model year, but how would I know if anything is changing? I asked the dealership and they told me nothing is changing for the 2017 model year, but is that really true? Don't the manufacturers tweak stuff each year? I don't see the 2017 listed on Thor's website. I particularly want the stainless steel sinks and would be really bummed if I order a 2017 and the sinks are no longer stainless. The same question about the fabric choices; do they change for each model year?

4. Did any of you get the 3-burner cook-top with the oven, or just the 3-burner cook-top and keep the cabinets in lieu of the oven? I have a convection oven in my current RV but never use it because I'm just in the habit of using the "real" oven. Do any of you use the convection oven to cook? Is it a good replacement for a "real" oven?

5. Are the dual-pane windows worth the extra cost?

6. Please tell me about your cabinet and fabric choices. I am thinking of going with the Napa Valley with the Resort Cherry cabinets (assuming they haven't changed when I got to order mine). The Challenger I looked at today had the Laguna decor which I didn't love; I want something a little darker. It appears from the brochure that the Napa Valley will be suitable but it's always hard to tell from a picture.

Thank you for any information you can provide!

-Rhiannon
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Old 03-05-2016, 10:54 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhiannon View Post
Hi there! I am looking at trading in my 2014 class C Coachmen Leprechaun 319DS for a 2016/2017 Thor Challenger 37LX. I went to my local dealership today and walked through a 37LX and have a few questions I'm hoping some other Challenger owners can answer for me.

1. I thought that the 2016 Challengers were coming with a 6-speed transmission. I took a picture (see attached) and it says both the Product Year and the Chassis Year are 2016 but then lists the transmission as a 5-speed. Does anyone know when the Challengers starting getting built with the 6-speed transmission? If I decide to buy one, I would be placing an order probably in the next few weeks.

2. I opened up the closet that's listed on the floor-plan as washer/dryer prep but I didn't see any prep. There were some shallow pull-out shelves and at the top, a rod to hang clothes on but I didn't see any plumbing/vents ran to the closet. Was it just hidden? I guess you can't order the Challenger to come with washer/dryer; you have to install it aftermarket? I really liked those shallow shelves and hate the thought of losing them. I wish they could be relocated to the other closet.

3. The dealership said if I order a Challenger, it would be a 2017 model year, but how would I know if anything is changing? I asked the dealership and they told me nothing is changing for the 2017 model year, but is that really true? Don't the manufacturers tweak stuff each year? I don't see the 2017 listed on Thor's website. I particularly want the stainless steel sinks and would be really bummed if I order a 2017 and the sinks are no longer stainless. The same question about the fabric choices; do they change for each model year?

4. Did any of you get the 3-burner cook-top with the oven, or just the 3-burner cook-top and keep the cabinets in lieu of the oven? I have a convection oven in my current RV but never use it because I'm just in the habit of using the "real" oven. Do any of you use the convection oven to cook? Is it a good replacement for a "real" oven?

5. Are the dual-pane windows worth the extra cost?

6. Please tell me about your cabinet and fabric choices. I am thinking of going with the Napa Valley with the Resort Cherry cabinets (assuming they haven't changed when I got to order mine). The Challenger I looked at today had the Laguna decor which I didn't love; I want something a little darker. It appears from the brochure that the Napa Valley will be suitable but it's always hard to tell from a picture.

Thank you for any information you can provide!

-Rhiannon
The only way to verify the chassis year of manufacture is to run the VIN.

The coach does have w/d prep. In the back of the closet you mention is an access panel. Once that panel is removed you would see the plumbing and electrical outlet for the w/d

Convection oven is well worth it. We have used in a few times in the year we've owned the coach. On my prior class c the regular oven was never lit in the years we owned the coach.

Thor does make some color and minor tweaks between model years. For example, the installed roller shades on the drivers and passengers windows and added theater seating between the 2015 and 2016 years. They do change colors between model years. My coach exterior is Chocolate Silk and that color pattern is not available for 2016. My interior color Monte Carlo is available for 2016 but the other 2 options changed.

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-06-2016, 02:43 PM   #3
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THOR #3774
We are in the process of deciding between the Thor Quantum pd31 vs the Leprechaun DS317. May I ask what you thought of the Leprechaun and why you are switching?
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Old 03-06-2016, 03:16 PM   #4
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Some takes for you:

1. Been watching the 6 speed transmission change over for a few months. I believe the only way you'll be sure to get the 6 speed is go look. While the coach maybe labeled a 2016, which chassis is under it is driven by what was on hand when it being built. So go see.

2. Washer/dryer prep. We installed a combo washer/dryer and love it. When you read it has the prep, it normally refers to the plumbing for water supply. When ours was installed a dryer vent had to be installed. I believe the LX will accommodate a stacked washer/dryer. Lots of discussion on these selection but after having the combo - even if we could install the stacked w/d we would go with the combo.

3. Not sure about the changes. But gotta say, the features in the Challenger line are so plentiful I am not sure how you'd do much better. (Note: the 2016 put in the french door refrig at the expense of giving up a pantry. The french door refrig is sexy but space wise a real pig - we'd vote standard 2 door model and keep the pantry).

4. Absolutely blow up the gas oven and use the convection. Faster and less heat in the coach.

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-06-2016, 03:36 PM   #5
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THOR #1469
When decoding the VIN at VIN Decoder - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums

it appears the VIN listed has the 6 speed trans. I'm not 100 percent positive but it appears that way under the specs.
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Old 03-06-2016, 04:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dstankov View Post
When decoding the VIN at VIN Decoder - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums

it appears the VIN listed has the 6 speed trans. I'm not 100 percent positive but it appears that way under the specs.
The quick way to tell if you are in the coach is to look at the dashboard. If the shift indicator says D321 it is a 5 Spd. D421 it is a 6 Spd - at least in the Axis.
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Old 03-06-2016, 04:52 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ready 2 roll View Post
We are in the process of deciding between the Thor Quantum pd31 vs the Leprechaun DS317. May I ask what you thought of the Leprechaun and why you are switching?
There is nothing wrong with our Leprechaun. I mean, there were some minor things that needed to be fixed in the past 2 years, but apparently that's true for all RVs. The main reason we're looking to trade is that we're really just looking to upgrade. My husband grew up RVing with his grandparents, but I had zero experience. He finally persuaded to give a try and and we both loved with the 319DS floorplan (now the 319MB) and it was within the budget we agreed on for a "starter" RV. We thought the interior and the amenities of the Leprechaun looked better than most of the equivalent Class Cs at that price point.

Now that we've gone on a bunch of trips, I've decided that I really need a king-sized bed! lol I also want stainless steel sinks because I've noticed the beige kitchen sink (not sure what material it is) shows some scratches from where utensils have accidentally scraped the sides. Lastly, I really wanted a bigger shower. There's nothing wrong with the size of the shower in the Leprechaun, but I just wanted it bigger to have more room to wash my long hair, shave my legs, etc.

We went the RV show a few weeks ago and as I was walking through Class As, I saw several bath and a half models and that quickly became another item on my wish list! We have a 11yo son and I thought how nice that he can have his own bathroom to use (other than showering).

So bottom line - absolutely nothing wrong with the Leprechaun and would buy another one in a heartbeat if we weren't looking to go bigger and have more amenities.
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Old 03-06-2016, 05:21 PM   #8
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THOR #3776
Thank you for your replies!

Thank you all for your replies. After doing some more research, it looks like the 2017 models that various dealerships have on order definitely list different fabric options (Bay Breeze, Cityscape, Westwind), one new cabinet option (Pacific Cherry), and a new exterior color called Riverside. So my husband is going to call Mitch (one of the factory reps that emailed him after he requested information on the website) and ask him if they have a new brochure with these new color schemes.

Thank you for the information on the standard oven vs. the convection oven. I think I'm just going to get the 3-burner cooktop so I have the extra storage, and learn how to use the convection oven integrated with the microwave.

Also, thanks for the information on the washer/dryer prep and the fact that a dryer vent needs to be installed. I was thinking the combo washer/dryer is the way to go instead of the stackable units. I'm really looking forward to having a washer/dryer on board!

The 6-speed transmission is the only thing that is worrying me. As in, we really want the 6-speed transmission so I'm hoping at this point all the Challengers being built are on a chassis with the 6-speed transmission. I guess my husband can confirm this when he calls Mitch.

Any thoughts on the dual-pane windows for an extra $1200? Are they worth it?

One more thingd I thought of. The towing capacity of the Challenger. I saw it comes with an 8000 lb hitch, but the difference between the GVWR and the GCWR is only 4000 lbs. If we tow a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (4-door) Rubicon (< 5000 lbs) with the wheels down and we don't load up the RV to the full 22,000 lbs GVWR, then I think we will be OK? This would be mainly on flat land. If we head west to more mountainous regions, we'd probably need to invest in a BrakeBuddy system.

Thanks again for everyone's replies!
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Old 03-06-2016, 05:27 PM   #9
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THOR #3776
Quote:
Originally Posted by dstankov View Post
When decoding the VIN at VIN Decoder - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums

it appears the VIN listed has the 6 speed trans. I'm not 100 percent positive but it appears that way under the specs.
Thank you for running the VIN on the Challenger sitting on my dealership's lot. I didn't think to ask how it's been sitting there. I guess what surprised me was that the paper listed the chassis year as 2016, but listed the transmission as a 5-speed. I guess it's possible the paperwork is wrong, or maybe the 2016 chassis started being produced in late 2015, before the 6-speed transmissions were available?
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Old 03-06-2016, 10:58 PM   #10
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THOR #1765
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhiannon View Post
Thank you for running the VIN on the Challenger sitting on my dealership's lot. I didn't think to ask how it's been sitting there. I guess what surprised me was that the paper listed the chassis year as 2016, but listed the transmission as a 5-speed. I guess it's possible the paperwork is wrong, or maybe the 2016 chassis started being produced in late 2015, before the 6-speed transmissions were available?
All the early 2016 Thor models, at least in the in The Axis/Vegas line, were built on the 2015 Ford Chassis with 5 Spd transmissions. There were still many out there in early February when I was looking at RVs. Supposedly Thor is only ordering the new 6 Spd transmission in all their 2016 chassis. That being said, I would not take a coach without the 6 Spd, nor would I sign anything without confirming it on the coach itself.
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Old 03-06-2016, 11:53 PM   #11
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THOR #1469
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhiannon View Post
Thank you for running the VIN on the Challenger sitting on my dealership's lot. I didn't think to ask how it's been sitting there. I guess what surprised me was that the paper listed the chassis year as 2016, but listed the transmission as a 5-speed. I guess it's possible the paperwork is wrong, or maybe the 2016 chassis started being produced in late 2015, before the 6-speed transmissions were available?
If you look at that coach again, next to the driver's seat on the wall is a sticker which will list the Thor Build date. It is in the incomplete vehicle label. That will tell you the date the coach was built and thereby an indication of how long it has been sitting on the dealer's lot.
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Old 03-07-2016, 12:10 AM   #12
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rhiannon - Welcome to RVers helping RVers - great peeps. A couple of more data points. I am not sure what the dual pane windows do for you. As I indicated, we spend a great deal of time living in our coach and I am not sure what dual panes would have added to our mobile house.

DW was very reluctant to use the convection oven but now enjoys it. She makes meat loaf, cakes, pies, etc As I said, faster and cooler.

My point to singling out the refrig upgrade is I wouldn't expect huge substantial changes. Color schemes etc are probably as big as there gonna get on the inside. The Ford chassis's upgrade to the 6 speed tranny is DEFINITELY worth the wait or haggling to get.
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