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Old 09-29-2015, 09:08 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Windsport 27K
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THOR #2962
Steering on 2016 Windsport 27K

New to RV'ing and the owner of a new 2016 Windsport 27K.

Just completed the 'maiden voyage' and was considerably surprised by the amount of effort it took to keep the unit in a straight line. I seemed to be constantly steering the unit to keep in in the lane... is this normal?

Not talking about the wind buffeting when traffic passed me ... just the second-by-second left and right adjustments to keep in on the road or in the lane.

Will be taking the unit back to the dealer to fix a few minor issues in a few days and want to address this steering issue smartly. I have seen a couple posts about steering stabilizers AND that they are not standard but an aftermarket item. Is this what I need to keep the unit in a straight line OR is this possibly a chassis issue the dealer should resolve.

Thanks!

Dave
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Old 09-29-2015, 09:28 PM   #2
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THOR #1469
Dave,

The first two things you need to do, if you haven't already

1. Load the vehicle as it would be when travelling and get it weighted. Once weighted adjust the tire pressure to the manufacture's recommendation for your axle weights. Corner weights would be best but that type of weighting may be hard to find.

2. Have the front end aligned. Most Thor coaches have a sticker in place recommending the front end be aligned with the coach loaded.
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Old 09-29-2015, 10:25 PM   #3
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THOR #121
Have it aligned by a truck alignment shop. Unless it is a commercial Ford dealership they will not have the proper alignment machine. either will you RV store
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Old 09-30-2015, 01:28 AM   #4
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THOR #2962
Ok, just to confirm I'm understand ya'all correctly, even though I just took delivery of this 2016 unit and have had only one week-end 'maiden voyage' ya'all are saying that it's MY responsibility to have the front end aligned ... that just seem wrong. One would expect that the chassis at least would function correctly 'right-out-the-box'

Is this standard operating procedure for all new class As or just for Thor units that are on a Ford chassis?

I'm bewildered - I haven't talked to my salesman about this yet (on the schedule for a return visit in about 5 days) but will sure be asking him explain why they allow it to be driven nearly 2000 miles from the plant to their store without knowing that it need an alignment.

Thanks for the input gents.

Dave
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Old 09-30-2015, 02:21 AM   #5
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THOR #121
Pretty much standard industry wide. These frames come standard from Ford, and store in a pool. when the manufacture needs one of a certain length they pull it from this pool, and build the unit on it. Ford nor do the RV manufactures know who is getting what unit, and what design it will be. Some Frames are rebuilt to be longer, and once more you have another party involved
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Old 09-30-2015, 03:10 AM   #6
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THOR #1469
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dapper Dave View Post
Ok, just to confirm I'm understand ya'all correctly, even though I just took delivery of this 2016 unit and have had only one week-end 'maiden voyage' ya'all are saying that it's MY responsibility to have the front end aligned ... that just seem wrong. One would expect that the chassis at least would function correctly 'right-out-the-box'
Actually the alignment is pre-set at the factory, however, it is when you (or we consumers) throw everything else in the box that the alignment needs to be reset. The additional weight of passengers, cargo, food, water, propane etc... will cause the vehicle to track differently thereby requiring an alignment adjustment. This is industry standard and does not apply to only Class A.

As a note, there is generally a label in the coach recommending you have it aligned. The recommendation is also on page 13 of the owners manual.
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Old 09-30-2015, 03:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dapper Dave View Post
Ok, just to confirm I'm understand ya'all correctly, even though I just took delivery of this 2016 unit and have had only one week-end 'maiden voyage' ya'all are saying that it's MY responsibility to have the front end aligned ... that just seem wrong. One would expect that the chassis at least would function correctly 'right-out-the-box'

Is this standard operating procedure for all new class As or just for Thor units that are on a Ford chassis?

I'm bewildered - I haven't talked to my salesman about this yet (on the schedule for a return visit in about 5 days) but will sure be asking him explain why they allow it to be driven nearly 2000 miles from the plant to their store without knowing that it need an alignment.

Thanks for the input gents.

Dave
I have a very hard time accepting that motorhomes can't (or shouldn't) be aligned before shipping because they have to be loaded first. It just doesn't make physical sense to me (although I can imagine other reasons).

Completed motorhomes typically have combined carrying capacities as low as 10% of total weight (and rarely much over 20%), so in proportion to chassis rating it would be equivalent to loading 2 or 4 adults in a mid-size car. And how ridiculous would it sound if Honda said you had to realign your Accord after loading your family? They would lose all credibility.

And if you align an 18,000-pound motorhome with 2,000 pounds of load (totaling 20,000 pounds) does it mean it won't stay aligned if driven empty? In my opinion if alignment is indeed so sensitive to load, it doesn't say much about the chassis in the first place.

One other thought comes to mind: Commercial trucks can easily weigh twice as much loaded as when empty, and they somehow manage without needing constant alignments.

I have yet to hear a good reason why loading a motorhome by so little necessitates getting an alignment, or why the responsibility is shifted to owner (other than manufacturers can because they all do the same).

I'm not saying you don't need an alignment, but agree with you that you shouldn't.
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Old 09-30-2015, 04:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chance
I have yet to hear a good reason why loading a motorhome by so little necessitates getting an alignment, or why the responsibility is shifted to owner (other than manufacturers can because they all do the same).

I'm not saying you don't need an alignment, but agree with you that you shouldn't.
You are thinking from the customer's perspective not the manufacturer's. Since they do every little thing to save even $0.01 the last thing they want to do is have an expensive technician along with their equipment to perform alignments of the units as they come off the line. It is far more cost effective to print out a zillion stickers and have the lackey that drives the coach out of the plant stick them on the wall by the driver.

You also have to keep in mind that they don't produce the volume of vehicles like the auto manufacturers do. For the car companies spending a few $$ to get some automated equipment to perform a task 100,000 times is far more cost effective than paying someone to do that task.
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Old 09-30-2015, 05:30 PM   #9
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Jamie, that's not the bigger picture I see.

My point was that there is no valid technical reason (that I know of) to require the buyer to have to deal with an alignment on a brand new vehicle.

I agree with you that any added cost is probably a major reason they don't do it, but I personally think there are others. I think that by shifting alignment to the buyer, manufacturers and dealers are intentionally distancing themselves from motorhomes that inherently may have poor handling.

I also think that if major manufacturers like Thor, Winnebago, etc. took on responsibility for alignment as motorhomes came off the assembly plant, that it could be done much cheaper overall (looking at it globally). They probably make more units daily than some small alignment shops see in a week, so justifying equipment costs shouldn't be a deal breaker.

Look at it this way: If new owners were given an option to pay $100 to have their motorhome aligned at the factory knowing that they would need to have it done otherwise, how many wouldn't? I doubt many would pass on such an option.

But if Thor, Winnebago, etc. aligned the motorhome, and the buyer was still dissatisfied with steering, handling, stability, or whatever, then it would be harder for manufacturers to shift responsibility to third parties.

Ultimately it's about money, but I doubt the cost of the alignment itself is the real issue. Efficiency alone would suggest aligning one motorhome after the other as they are completed would reduce alignment costs.
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Old 09-30-2015, 05:44 PM   #10
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THOR #2204
Guys, get over it. You will have to pay for the alignment plus you will probably
be looking at adding a steering stabilizer as I did at $500 + plus the install cost.
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Old 09-30-2015, 05:47 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Phil Saran View Post
Guys, get over it. You will have to pay for the alignment plus you will probably
be looking at adding a steering stabilizer as I did at $500 + plus the install cost.
And you are OK with that? Seriously?
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Old 09-30-2015, 05:55 PM   #12
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THOR #1469
Here is the wording from the Owner's Manual

"The front suspension and steering system of this vehicle was factory aligned using highly accurate equipment prior to delivery to the dealership. We recommend that the alignment is checked after you have fully loaded the motorhome according to your personal needs. If necessary, adjust alignment for the loaded motorhome. Thereafter, the alignment should be inspected yearly to help prevent uneven tire wear."

Thor or Ford did the alignment but Thor is recommending that it be checked after the vehicle is loaded.

Keep in mind that although the vehicle is factory aligned, it is driven to the dealer. In some cases this may be over 1000 miles of pot hole infested highways. I've seen vehicles get knocked out of alignment going around one city block.

Also, having a front end alignment prior to delivery can be added to a contract as a condition of purchase. The dealer can accept or reject the offer and the buyer can then purchase or walk away.
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Old 09-30-2015, 05:59 PM   #13
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THOR #2204
Chance,


Ok with it, not really, but I've learned which battles to fight and which to not.
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Old 09-30-2015, 07:02 PM   #14
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Thanks to this forum I knew before we bought our unit that I would have pay for an alignment.
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Old 09-30-2015, 07:36 PM   #15
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Chance,


Ok with it, not really, but I've learned which battles to fight and which to not.
That's very smart. My wife often says I need to learn the same, but it goes against my nature.

I figure that if enough people voice their opinions that certain products or practices need improvement, it may make some manufacturer up their game in order to better compete in the free market. And then other manufacturers will have to follow or get left behind.

Some progress can be driven (no pun intended) by manufacturers, but customers can also have a great influence with their wallets.

I personally don't want to buy a +/- $100,000 toy that needs a crude gizmo added to steering in order to make it drive right. Whether it's Ford or Thor they need to get this simple issue worked out. That's pretty basic engineering in my opinion. And the same with alignment. It's not rocket science.
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Old 09-30-2015, 08:00 PM   #16
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Chance,

I may be older (67) or the same age as you, but I guess I've learned what battles to fight.

I would have preferred to purchase a used MH a few years old and not spend as much as I did, but there is that old saying "a happy wife is a happy life".

Did we really need a bath and a half and have it sleep 7? No not really, but we do have 4 grandkids and grandma wants them to have every possible experience.
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Old 09-30-2015, 08:20 PM   #17
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THOR #1469
Folks, might help to read the book

2014 Model Year Ford Warranty Guide (Except F-650/750, Hybrid and Electric Vehicles)

Page 14, Bullet 2 (from the top of the page)

"Wheel alignments and tire balancing will be provided during the first 12 months or 12,000 miles in service, whichever occurs first."

Note, there is no exclusion for motorhomes as would be required under the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act.

If you paid for your alignment or haven't had one done it is your fault and not Thor or Ford's.
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Old 09-30-2015, 10:15 PM   #18
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THOR #2601
I'm not an engineer but o stayed in a Holiday Inn Express once. My take on what I've read in these forums is that I need a degree in mechanical engineering so I can determine what modifications I need on my front and rear end to improve handling. And of course to keep from killing myself in the event of s blowout. I also need an electrical engineering degree because based on what I've read there doesn't seem to be many RV service centers able to determine why batteries won't charge, won't hold a charge, have no power on shore power, etc. One of the reasons this forum is so important is because it winfs up being the source of last resort to fixing and keeping your RV out of the dealership for weeks on end.

Just saying...
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Old 10-01-2015, 01:41 AM   #19
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Model: windsport 27k
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HI I have had my 2015 windsport 27K for about 10 months now. And I find it very easy to steer. I have had tractor trailers pass me on both sides at one time. And no problems at all. I have to put very little effort to keep straight. The only problem I had was when I first took diverly the steering wheel was off center. The had it corected. Good luck with your new windsport
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Old 10-19-2015, 03:13 AM   #20
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click on my name and read my posts, I have the same unit...
1. yours is most likely out of alignment, mine was 5/8" toe out and caused tire damage after 2500 miles... Thor will reimburse you, but not for the tire damage, so get it done, when it us way out of whack call Thor and start the complaint/refund process. Your dealer has your money so don't count on that.
2. Theses rigs handle like crap. do a CHF ( google it , is switching sway bar positions) with Helwig links in the front and install a Trac bar on the rear. Then you can drive it. And I mean drive it fast if you want 70+ you are in control.. those whipping winds don't mean anything..
3. you will be fixing many other small things, but this rig is great when stopped so enjoy the places you visit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dapper Dave View Post
Ok, just to confirm I'm understand ya'all correctly, even though I just took delivery of this 2016 unit and have had only one week-end 'maiden voyage' ya'all are saying that it's MY responsibility to have the front end aligned ... that just seem wrong. One would expect that the chassis at least would function correctly 'right-out-the-box'

Is this standard operating procedure for all new class As or just for Thor units that are on a Ford chassis?

I'm bewildered - I haven't talked to my salesman about this yet (on the schedule for a return visit in about 5 days) but will sure be asking him explain why they allow it to be driven nearly 2000 miles from the plant to their store without knowing that it need an alignment.

Thanks for the input gents.

Dave
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