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Old 10-14-2015, 03:36 PM   #1
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THOR #1469
Long weekend with the Challenger

Took a long weekend trip with the Challenger 37ND. The trip was approximately 800 miles round trip and 2 campgrounds (a one night stop and a 4 night stop).

No drivability issues with the coach. The only time I had an issue with sideways push was on I85 when a small box truck, yes a small box truck, broke into the right rear zone of the coach and then again when he went past the right front zone. I cannot explain this, and quite frankly, I'm not worried about it.

Overall:

Top priority - add another catch or two to the pantry and top kitchen cabinet drawers. Mine came open twice on the first day of the trip. Both times it happened while making sharp left turns.

Caulk around the rim of the sink. The coach has a bottom mount sink and my wife noticed a small amount of water drops in the under sink cabinet. Using a flashlight below I found two areas which are not sealed correctly and when using the spray head on the kitchen faucet small amounts will spray trough those two gaps.

Axxerra radio - the radio again kept losing power which caused the USB power port (feeding my GPS) to lose power as well. I will make one more attempt at removing the top of the dash and looking for a loose power wire or I may go ahead and reconnect all of the wires and see if that fixes the problem. Then again, I may call Axxerra and get the instructions for having the radio replaced under warranty before my next trip after Thanksgiving.

Passenger seat - I noticed a slight forward lean to the bottom of the passenger's seat (rear of the seat bottom higher than the front). I briefly looked for an adjustment but could not find one. I will look at this a bit more in the days ahead.

Other than that all systems functioned without flaw. No slide issues, no awning issues, and it was a very enjoyable and trouble free trip.

BTW, average was 8.1 MPG without towing and running about 62 - 65 MPH at 2100 RPM.
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Old 10-14-2015, 05:35 PM   #2
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One additional note, as explained by my wife, is the needed modification of replacing the pleated driver's and passenger's window shades with pull down roller shades. She wants the ability to partially lower the shade while travelling South in the afternoon or North in the morning. During this long weekend trip she got blasted by the sun for a couple of hours under both conditions.
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Old 10-14-2015, 07:13 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dstankov View Post
.....cut.....

Passenger seat - I noticed a slight forward lean to the bottom of the passenger's seat (rear of the seat bottom higher than the front). I briefly looked for an adjustment but could not find one. I will look at this a bit more in the days ahead.

....cut....

BTW, average was 8.1 MPG without towing and running about 62 - 65 MPH at 2100 RPM.
Dave, any chance the passenger's seat pedestal may have been installed backwards? Some have a slight tilt to them to make the front of the seat slightly higher, and if reversed that could make the front lower. I'm not sure if that's even possible with your model. You may be able to compare to driver's seat if both are similar (except maybe right versus left hand).


It's a little surprising that a motorhome as large and heavy as yours has approximately the same overall gearing as the much-smaller Axis/Vegas. It confirms that the Axis/Vegas could get by with a V8, or with the V10 and taller gearing.
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Old 10-14-2015, 08:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chance View Post
Dave, any chance the passenger's seat pedestal may have been installed backwards? Some have a slight tilt to them to make the front of the seat slightly higher, and if reversed that could make the front lower. I'm not sure if that's even possible with your model. You may be able to compare to driver's seat if both are similar (except maybe right versus left hand).


It's a little surprising that a motorhome as large and heavy as yours has approximately the same overall gearing as the much-smaller Axis/Vegas. It confirms that the Axis/Vegas could get by with a V8, or with the V10 and taller gearing.
Thanks for the thought on the seat pedestal, I'll take a look at that tonight.

What surprised me the most was the coach's ability to crest an incline at 60 MPH on s single gear downshift when not using cruise control. When using cruise control the same type of include would result in a two or three gear downshift, the dreaded 4K RPM screaming and cresting the hill below 50MPH. My one wish is that along with set, accelerate, coast and resume that Ford would add Pause to the cruise control options.

I will say, however, if I had the 305HP V2 instead of the 362HP V3 things would more than likely be different. I believe the 305 would have resulted in 2250 - 2500 RPM to run between 62 and 65 MPH and fuel consumption would have been greater.

Overall this was a more pleasurable drive than my Class C on the E450 chassis.
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Old 10-14-2015, 10:34 PM   #5
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In my previous post change "include" to "incline"
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Old 10-14-2015, 11:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dstankov View Post

...,cut....

I will say, however, if I had the 305HP V2 instead of the 362HP V3 things would more than likely be different. I believe the 305 would have resulted in 2250 - 2500 RPM to run between 62 and 65 MPH and fuel consumption would have been greater.

Overall this was a more pleasurable drive than my Class C on the E450 chassis.
No doubt the 3-valve design allows the engine to breath better, particularly at higher RPMs. Ford specs show the 3-valve engine makes almost 20% more power in range of 4,000+ RPMs, but only about 10% more torque in the +/- 3,000 RPM range. My educated guess is that around 2,000 RPMs the difference in torque and power is even less.

In normal driving at around 2,200 RPMs in 5th, and +/- 3,100 RPMs after one downshift to 4th (comparing to Axis), the difference in torque and power between the two engines is limited to no more than about 10% or so.

The biggest difference by comparison is that large gasoline Class As can weigh 50% more than compact Class As like an Axis. That's why I'm hopeful that there is a little room to improve fuel economy slightly.
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Old 10-14-2015, 11:40 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Chance View Post
No doubt the 3-valve design allows the engine to breath better, particularly at higher RPMs. Ford specs show the 3-valve engine makes almost 20% more power in range of 4,000+ RPMs, but only about 10% more torque in the +/- 3,000 RPM range. My educated guess is that around 2,000 RPMs the difference in torque and power is even less.

In normal driving at around 2,200 RPMs in 5th, and +/- 3,100 RPMs after one downshift to 4th (comparing to Axis), the difference in torque and power between the two engines is limited to no more than about 10% or so.

The biggest difference by comparison is that large gasoline Class As can weigh 50% more than compact Class As like an Axis. That's why I'm hopeful that there is a little room to improve fuel economy slightly.
Two points

First, I did not mention that during my long weekend I ran the generator while travelling rather than use the inverter. I did this to keep the coach AC running. Also I was not towing a car.

Second, I use an App called Road Trip to track vehicle expenses and when I go back to look at the history on my Class C, last year I logged 6,077.2 miles and the average MPG was 7.83. That was a 31 foot Class C on an E450 chassis with the 305HP V10. For roughly 80 percent of those miles I was towing a Ford Fusion on a dolly.
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Old 10-15-2015, 01:14 AM   #8
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Yeah, most Class Cs must have horrible aerodynamics. My small C with V10 was very light by modern standards (11,500 GVWR chassis) and I rarely got over 8 MPG. At higher speeds between 70 and 75 MPH I got closer to 7 ~ 7-1/2 MPG. And that was without towing or generator.
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Old 10-15-2015, 04:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dstankov View Post
Took a long weekend trip with the Challenger 37ND. The trip was approximately 800 miles round trip and 2 campgrounds (a one night stop and a 4 night stop).

No drivability issues with the coach. The only time I had an issue with sideways push was on I85 when a small box truck, yes a small box truck, broke into the right rear zone of the coach and then again when he went past the right front zone. I cannot explain this, and quite frankly, I'm not worried about it.

Overall:

Top priority - add another catch or two to the pantry and top kitchen cabinet drawers. Mine came open twice on the first day of the trip. Both times it happened while making sharp left turns.

Caulk around the rim of the sink. The coach has a bottom mount sink and my wife noticed a small amount of water drops in the under sink cabinet. Using a flashlight below I found two areas which are not sealed correctly and when using the spray head on the kitchen faucet small amounts will spray trough those two gaps.

Axxerra radio - the radio again kept losing power which caused the USB power port (feeding my GPS) to lose power as well. I will make one more attempt at removing the top of the dash and looking for a loose power wire or I may go ahead and reconnect all of the wires and see if that fixes the problem. Then again, I may call Axxerra and get the instructions for having the radio replaced under warranty before my next trip after Thanksgiving.

Passenger seat - I noticed a slight forward lean to the bottom of the passenger's seat (rear of the seat bottom higher than the front). I briefly looked for an adjustment but could not find one. I will look at this a bit more in the days ahead.

Other than that all systems functioned without flaw. No slide issues, no awning issues, and it was a very enjoyable and trouble free trip.

BTW, average was 8.1 MPG without towing and running about 62 - 65 MPH at 2100 RPM.
So glad to here, I also have issues with Axxerra radio! The Mirror function doesnít work, I can not change the time or date on the radio. Its a great idea but lacks in function!

KC
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Old 10-15-2015, 04:43 PM   #10
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I handled the Axxerra 2 ways. I contacted Axxera regarding service and I can send the radio in but I have to provide a copy of the purchase contract as a receipt.

Contacted Thor and they said to take it to the dealer so they can verify there isn't a loose wire first before replacing. Not sure the dealer will go on a 150 mile test drive to verify the problem or that I even want them to do that. The problem is intermittent so I can see which direction that will take.

I believe I will make one more attempt at checking the wires and if it happens again during my next trip I'll take the coach to the dealer and they can work the issues over the winter.
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Old 10-15-2015, 10:45 PM   #11
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Im going to work through the dealer!!

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Old 10-16-2015, 01:11 AM   #12
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dstankov - had the same issue with the pantry flying open. Our Thor service team installed a J Latch (as best I can remember). DW is on the smaller side and has to use 2 hands to open the pantry now.

We also really enjoy our 2015 Challenger 37TB. Made a coast to coast 7500 mile trip with 3 grandkids this summer - the grandparents, kids and coach all fared well. Found the same thing about the coach and CC. The optimal speed for CC to maintain speeds on most hills is 68 MPH. If I turn the CC off up larger hills and ramp up just a bit, the coach doesn't do the rough 3rd gear slam.

Just an FYI, over on IRV2 Ford forum, TeJay reports a couple of additional and undocumented features of the F53 CC. First is that tapping Res once cuts off CC and then another tap turns it back on at the same speed that is was set at. 2nd was that double tapping (for longer uphill drives) will hold the same gear much longer. Should help eliminate another instance of the 3rd gear slam.

Again, glad to hear things went well. Enjoy - we sure do.
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Old 10-16-2015, 01:46 AM   #13
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bigben

Thanks for the info on the cruise control, I'll have to check that out.

Was planning a month long trip through and around New England but our first grandchild is due in a couple of weeks and momma doesn't want to be too far from home. Looks like the next trip will be to Charleston, SC a couple of weeks sometime between turkey day and Christmas.

I believe after that I'll take the coach back to the dealer and let them have it for a month or two for safety inspection, warranty work and overall service. I figure I'll let the dealer have the coach January and February and then I'll roll out again in March.

Good to here your travels went well.
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Old 10-16-2015, 01:59 AM   #14
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Dave, we enjoy Charleston. And really enjoy the FamCamp at Joint Base Charleston. Not sure you are aware of the website for Military Campgrounds at U.S. Military Campgrounds and RV Parks - U.S. Military Recreation Facilities. It has lots of info.

PS: I was a cavalryman and finished up as a tanker. As we liked to say "Ready and Forward".
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Old 10-16-2015, 02:18 AM   #15
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I check out the Fam Camps from time to time.

I started Cav and finished Ordnance. My second RV was a Army issued rolling beer can called Sheridan.
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Old 10-16-2015, 02:23 AM   #16
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Dave - we stay at FamCamps a great deal. A number of them have great access to the ocean. We really enjoy Key West, Ft Benning at Destin and Camp Lejune.

Was that RV in the form of a M551?
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Old 10-16-2015, 04:29 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by bigben View Post
...

Was that RV in the form of a M551?
None other, the one, the only, Armored Reconnaissance Airborne Assault Vehicle brought to us by the Coors Brewing Company (recycled cans of course). The only vehicle known that could be traveling at 55 MPH and come to a complete stop in less than 5 feet with one pull of the trigger.

True rec vehicle. Go off roading at night and take it fishing the next day. We did however sink one or two of them, along with a M113, in Belton Lake at Fort Hood.

I would say there is just a tad bit of difference with the Challenger.
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Old 10-16-2015, 07:04 AM   #18
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I don't like the way the transmission shift. To accelerate I step on the gas and let it up to shift then on the gas again. This got me to thinking about the transmission shifting. I bought a new 1960 Olds and didn't like the way it shifted gears. I crawled under it and adjusted the accelerator arm on the trans, that fixed the problem. When I get the MH back from the dealer, I will check it out. Chances are the shifting is controlled by a computer or some genie in a bottle. I will talk to Ford about this.
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Old 10-16-2015, 12:12 PM   #19
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fivejackie - Not much done anymore in the way of mechanical linkage. The folks from 5 Star Tune and the way they rework shift points convinced me of this.

Bob: I was involved in the Annual Swimming Requirement of the AARV at Tobacco Leaf Lake, Ft Knox. I can still see the top of that dude after the gunner prematurely moved the "gun tube/missile launcher" from over the right front. I Too funny.

PS: I was year group '76.
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Old 10-16-2015, 03:27 PM   #20
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dstankov - had the same issue with the pantry flying open. Our Thor service team installed a J Latch (as best I can remember). DW is on the smaller side and has to use 2 hands to open the pantry now...
Bigben,

Any way to take a pic or provide info on the latch that was installed?

I was in from 74 - 94.
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