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Old 03-07-2018, 06:18 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Vegas 27.7
State: California
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THOR #10907
gmtech is in the house! lol. Who?

Haha. How's that for an entry?

I was going to put this in the introductions section, but this is the section I'll most likely be posting in most of the time.

My name is John, or as I'm slightly known around the web, gmtech16450yz. As my screen name suggests, I've been a GM Master Tech for 33 years, I recently quit for awhile just to relax and work on new projects of my own. Too young to fully retire and our union pension I've paid into for 33 years will probably be gone in 10 years when I can finally get any of it.

Instead of filling my first post with a bunch of junk, if anyone wants to find out what I'm about just google my screen name, gmtech16450yz. I'll put a couple links in here at the bottom too, if you only look at one of them, WATCH THE VIDEO. lol. You won't be disappointed.

Soooo, We just bought a Vegas 27.7. We bought our first motorhome when my wife and I were first married back in the early '80's. It was a '73 Tioga 19 foot class C, we had it for over 20 YEARS and went on 150 trips in it, over 100k miles. We loved that little thing. It was still like mint when we sold it about 10 years ago.

The Vegas will also be a good fit for us, but not until I spend a TON of hours on it fixing all the issues! Holy cr@p I've never seen shoddy workmanship to this level in my entire career! Insane! Sure makes you wonder about good old American workers and the direction they've gone in compared to earlier decades. Disappointing isn't even a strong enough word.

I've already spent dozens of hours "fixing" underneath wiring, falling apart panels, front fiberglass cap not attached, poorly routed exhaust, pinched fuel hoses and filler, ready to short out harnesses, 110v power lines wrapped between leaf springs and wheels, etc, etc, etc....... I've also already done Bilsteins, Helwigs, Firestone airbags and a steering stabilizer. I ordered camber/caster bushings and I'll finish my alignment when I put them in. I've already wired in an inverter and a volt/amp meter for the junk coach batteries they put in it. (On my list to replace them too. Ugh.)

The mod I'm doing now is I've completely gutted the front interior to "fix" the horrible assembly and design. I'll be insulating and soundproofing all the under dash areas and the upper front cap areas. There's NOTHING behind any of this stuff as far as sound deadening or insulation. It's actually quite a joke. I took most of the dash apart by hand, the fasteners were so loose I didn't even need tools! I'll be fabricating my own center dash assembly since what came in the Vegas is kind of useless. I'm planning on a huge monitor in the center for a Windows PC and the backup camera also. The stock radio will NOT be going back in.

I'll try to keep you guys updated with pictures and info on my mods. I'm kind of hit or miss though, sometimes I'm too busy to hang out in the forums for days or even weeks. I'm terrible with PM's too, so sorry in advance if I end up not getting back to any of you right away. haha.

What I lack in those areas though, I make up for elsewhere... You guys are going to learn A TON about these motorhomes from me. BTW I've already downloaded the engine calibrations and I can tell you all there is a lot to be gained in power and mileage with tuning. It has a 60 second delay for power enrichment for one thing, and with no knock detection and tuned for 87 octane, there is room for improvement if anyone is looking for it. (Look on the HPTuners website, I've been a main contributor on there for probably a decade and have taught a lot of guys new things about tuning and how to use the tuning programs and hardware.) Let's just say I know a little about how to make engines run better! lol. I've built and tuned everything from 1930's cars and trucks to GTS cars that have raced in the Long Beach Gran Prix. I had my hands on a couple Indy cars too. One of my last projects was doing engine mods to a gas leaf blower. Higher compression, porting and a silencer from a Yamaha YZ85 and the thing is quieter than stock and blows like a MOFO! haha. So once I get some miles on this Ford V10, I'll be able to help you all as best I can.

Here are a couple links,

I have a Yamaha jet boat, I've helped those guys out a lot. This is just one of my threads on there...
https://jetboaters.net/threads/resul...he-boat.16388/

Here's the video I mentioned, it's worth watching...

https://youtu.be/2q9BuzNRc3Q

This is what our brand new Vegas looks like right now... lol.



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Old 03-08-2018, 12:38 AM   #2
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THOR #6874
John, ever thought of living in St Louis Mi ?
I could use a neighbor like you.
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Old 03-08-2018, 12:47 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by rick kirby View Post
John, ever thought of living in St Louis Mi ?
I could use a neighbor like you.
No kidding, we all could use a neighbor like him!

Its funny reading your abridged list of issues thinking to myself: "Yup someone on the forums here has had that, and that, and that..." ! LOL

Welcome, I look forward to reading about your fixes, mods, and enhancements.
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Old 03-08-2018, 02:28 AM   #4
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THOR #10907
Thanks guys!

My pictures didn't show though, here I'll try again...



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Old 03-08-2018, 11:24 AM   #5
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Wow that is some serious deconstruction LOL (and clearly shows why Axis/Vegas units are so noisy).
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Old 03-08-2018, 11:57 AM   #6
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while you are at it,might as well fix your window seals that are going to leak before they delaminate your walls!
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Old 03-08-2018, 12:34 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Djfred View Post
while you are at it,might as well fix your window seals that are going to leak before they delaminate your walls!
Yeah remove and inspect the bottom part of the trim ring around the driver and passenger front windows..they tend to leak there.
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Old 03-08-2018, 12:40 PM   #8
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I'm selling my house, and moving to HIS neighborhood!

Welcome aboard!!
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Old 03-08-2018, 03:58 PM   #9
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Thanks again for the warm welcome guys! I just logged on and looked for this thread and saw the title I gave it and thought "Wow, I came on a little uppity in my first post didn't I?" Sorry. haha. I'm glad you guys took it in the humorous light that I meant it in.

Thanks for the heads up on the front windows! Are they actually leaking in from the outside or is it from condensation dripping through the inside of the frame and onto the walls? I do have the front part of the inner frames loose, I'll definitely look at how it's sealed before I screw it back together.

Yeah, I took a couple things apart didn't I? lol. This is the way I see things like this, which is actually exactly the same as the Yamaha boat I bought... Units like these Vegas and Axis RUV's have the right idea on the basic design. I like the concept of a lighter class C chassis but ditching all the front cab part and building on it like a class A. Class C's have always been a "workaround" as far as dealing with basically putting a big box on a little van front end. There's so much wasted weight by doing that, and the design obviously sucks for aerodynamics. We drove a brand new class C, then drove the Vegas and were amazed at how much less wind noise there was in the Vegas. The front ends aren't exactly pretty, but they're about the best way you can get 70mph air around a big box. That was the other difference, I accelerated onto the freeway in both motorhomes and when I looked down to see how fast I was going in the Vegas, I was at 80! It's much harder to push a class C that fast, even though they were both on E450's and weighed about the same.

Anyway, I can deal with build issues caused by poor workmanship. I can't turn an entire motorhome into something that it's not. The basic design is good. The floorplan is good. The chassis is good. Those are things I can't do much about. My Yamaha boat is exactly the same, I love the basic design. The boat is extremely well laid out, the rear deck alone is amazing and really no other boat is like it. The Yamaha engines are like all Yamaha engines, incredible power, efficiency and durability. But the way the boat is assembled? It's not as bad as these Thor's, but it's pretty bad.

The other factor obviously is cost. These Vegas/Axis motorhomes are pretty reasonably priced, kinda cheap actually. A Cadillac Escalade would have cost as much as we paid for this Vegas. We wouldn't have gotten back into getting an RV if it cost twice as much. So I just have to do a little work on it. Oh well. I'd much rather do the work now than on the side of the road somewhere.

Enough rambling for now. I'll give you guys a heads up on other potential problems I'm uncovering. The front A/C didn't work in one of the Vegas's we drove. I can see why, the line routing is terrible! Ours had a fitting smashed against another line and almost wore a hole through it already. The receiver/drier line had the hood hinge smashing into it, you'd never know it unless you were looking like I am with no dash and the hood closed. A couple thousand miles and it would have worn a hole in that line. Loose grounds everywhere, tons of places for wires to short out also. I could be a valuable adviser at the Thor assembly plant, but I tried that with Yamaha on the boat and realized they just don't care. And they're making more money building them fast and cr@ppy anyway. Sad.

Thanks again for the nice welcome guys, I appreciate it! I try to document more of what I'm doing on any particular project if I know there are good people that appreciate me taking the time to share what I learn. Internet forums are always interesting, they tend to have personalities of their own. This one seems nice!
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Old 03-08-2018, 04:11 PM   #10
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Welcome to the site, I'm glad that you are here. Even though we have a different RV than the Vegas, there is still much to be learned from what you've identified. I've spent much of the last three months doing a lot of fixes myself, I totally understand what you are saying.

I look forward to seeing more progress from your Vegas build
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Old 03-08-2018, 04:25 PM   #11
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THOR #8860
If you opened up a shop that just fixed the mistakes made at the factory: you could retire as a multi-gazillionaire!
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Old 03-08-2018, 04:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmtech16450yz
...
Thanks for the heads up on the front windows! Are they actually leaking in from the outside or is it from condensation dripping through the inside of the frame and onto the walls? I do have the front part of the inner frames loose, I'll definitely look at how it's sealed before I screw it back together.
...
In my case it looks like that when they secured the inner flange they weren't very careful with screw placement and got them too close to the window frame piercing it. If you take the flange screws out and look you'll see what I mean.

With the frame pierced rain water doesn't drain out the drain holes, instead it goes into the wall.
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Old 03-08-2018, 05:05 PM   #13
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On my axis windows,they totally left out the rubber seal around the window on the passenger side! I didnít notice it until my wall swelled from the heavy rain we had as I was preparing for a trip.Before that it was always kept under cover so I had no way of knowing the seal was missing.I called Thor and told them of the manufacturers defect.I was out of warranty by over a year,but this was not something that would have been noticed until the wall swelled.Thor said they would cover it under warranty and that I should take it to my dealer for photos.After driving to my dealer,which I consider very reputable,Thor called me personally and told me,too bad ,I should have noticed it before my warranty was up!After a bit of argument over the situation with Thor,they actually hung up on me! No, I was not nasty with them,just straight to the point!I have since repaired the damage myself,but should not have had to go through this nonsense with them.Check everything on your vehicle,because once your warranty is up,they could care less who you are!Your post is not rambling,but honest about your concerns!While my Axis was under warranty,I will give credit to Thor for repairing what was needed,but a totally missing rubber seal is in my opinion a manufacturers defect!
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Old 03-08-2018, 05:19 PM   #14
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GM tech? What about us Thor GM Owners?

Welcome to the Forum!!

Nice to hear someone with GM experiences on the Forum. Don't have a vegas but a Thor Class C with the GM V8 powerplant drive train. I have been a ford guy, a Volvo guy, a VW guy and now a GM guy. I would love someone who could tell me how to improve the fuel economy in my Class C Thor, besides going slower and travelling empty. My local Chevy dealer says it is a cube van, no one cares about cube van efficiency!!!

What you are describing with your Thor is what many people have experienced a decent overall design, but poorly finished or completed, and a lot of folks who just don't care because they are making money NOW! It is kind of like the US auto industry in 1971. And as you correctly point out many of our RVs cost less than a new Caddy or Lincoln. We would like more quality but can we afford it. Sometimes I think it just comes down to getting folks to do the job right the first time.

Rocky 2014 GM powered Thor Freedom Elite 23U
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Old 03-08-2018, 05:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmtech16450yz View Post
Thanks again for the warm welcome guys!

Anyway, I can deal with build issues caused by poor workmanship. I can't turn an entire motorhome into something that it's not.
There's an old saying: "You can never turn a pig into a swan."
But with enough lipstick and patience: you can still end up with a pretty attractive pig!



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Old 03-08-2018, 08:05 PM   #16
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gmtech, that handle looks familiar from my days on the corvette forums.... Same one? Welcome to the club.
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Old 03-08-2018, 08:22 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Rocky49 View Post
What you are describing with your Thor is what many people have experienced a decent overall design, but poorly finished or completed, and a lot of folks who just don't care because they are making money NOW! It is kind of like the US auto industry in 1971. And as you correctly point out many of our RVs cost less than a new Caddy or Lincoln. We would like more quality but can we afford it. Sometimes I think it just comes down to getting folks to do the job right the first time.
I would have gladly paid an additional $20,000 - $30,000 for the additional time to make sure things were done correctly the first time.

One thing I would really like to see Thor stand behind the product without having to go through a service center for everything. The thought of having to go through a service center (like CW) makes me sick to my stomach. I should be able to document and submit my own warranty requests.
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Old 03-08-2018, 09:48 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Djfred View Post
On my axis windows,they totally left out the rubber seal around the window on the passenger side! I didnít notice it until my wall swelled from the heavy rain we had as I was preparing for a trip.Before that it was always kept under cover so I had no way of knowing the seal was missing.I called Thor and told them of the manufacturers defect.I was out of warranty by over a year,but this was not something that would have been noticed until the wall swelled.Thor said they would cover it under warranty and that I should take it to my dealer for photos.After driving to my dealer,which I consider very reputable,Thor called me personally and told me,too bad ,I should have noticed it before my warranty was up!After a bit of argument over the situation with Thor,they actually hung up on me! No, I was not nasty with them,just straight to the point!I have since repaired the damage myself,but should not have had to go through this nonsense with them.Check everything on your vehicle,because once your warranty is up,they could care less who you are!Your post is not rambling,but honest about your concerns!While my Axis was under warranty,I will give credit to Thor for repairing what was needed,but a totally missing rubber seal is in my opinion a manufacturers defect!


I regret that this response will come across as antagonistic but my opinion is that Thor was correct to decline the repair. Certainly the failure to install a window seal IS a manufacturing defect and Thor acknowledges its responsibility to correct its mistakes. That acknowledgment is the warranty. Warranties expressly cover manufacturing defects and they are for a limited duration. It is unfortunate that circumstances prevented you from noticing the defect in a timely fashion but the alternative is a lifetime warranty- which Thor does not provide.
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Old 03-08-2018, 09:57 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by lazinskm View Post
gmtech, that handle looks familiar from my days on the corvette forums.... Same one? Welcome to the club.

Yep, I've used the exact same screen name on many forums for years. I think the only posts I ever made on that forum was about a huge discovery I made between aftermarket air filters like K&N's and the stock Donaldson filter that comes in the LS7's and LS9's. Guys complained about surging on those Vette's for years and I figured out exactly what caused it and how to fix it. I posted MAF scanner traces showing massive turbulence differences between the air filters and nothing else. What I found wasn't even on a Corvette, but it directly related to Vette's so I figured I'd let that group know what was going on and how to stop the surging.

The sad part is that forum isn't what I would call "nice". lol. I didn't hang out there very long.
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Old 03-08-2018, 10:12 PM   #20
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky49 View Post
Welcome to the Forum!!

Nice to hear someone with GM experiences on the Forum. Don't have a vegas but a Thor Class C with the GM V8 powerplant drive train. I have been a ford guy, a Volvo guy, a VW guy and now a GM guy. I would love someone who could tell me how to improve the fuel economy in my Class C Thor, besides going slower and travelling empty. My local Chevy dealer says it is a cube van, no one cares about cube van efficiency!!!

What you are describing with your Thor is what many people have experienced a decent overall design, but poorly finished or completed, and a lot of folks who just don't care because they are making money NOW! It is kind of like the US auto industry in 1971. And as you correctly point out many of our RVs cost less than a new Caddy or Lincoln. We would like more quality but can we afford it. Sometimes I think it just comes down to getting folks to do the job right the first time.

Rocky 2014 GM powered Thor Freedom Elite 23U

Is yours an L96 or LC8? Doesn't really matter actually, they both have VVT and knock sensors. Both of those help mileage and a good tuner can eek a little more out of them. If you want more power, there are decent gains to be made with ignition and cam timing on those engines. You'd have to run premium to get that power though. (Most) any engine with knock detection will make more power on premium fuel, especially GM engines. GM runs their ignition timing VERY aggressive, and uses the knock sensors to retard it to suit the fuel you're using. Running premium will keep the ignition timing from retarding, which absolutely results in more power and better mileage. Is it enough to make it worth while? It depends on the engine and tune. On some, like late model GM trucks and SUV's, running premium will gain you enough better mileage to offset the price of the premium fuel. So you basically get free horsepower.

On your particular engine on STOCK tuning, I'd run premium fuel if you're towing or driving in hot, low altitude situations. Cold weather or high altitude driving should be ok with regular 87 fuel.
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