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Old 02-19-2016, 11:32 PM   #1
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2016 Axis 24.1 Front End Alignment

I took the new Axis to my local Ford dealer that services RVs in my area. Told them that the steering pulls to the right when coming to a stop and wanted it checked out. I was told today that it was in need of an alignment and that Ford does not cover the costs. The service advisor told me that he was going to contact Thor to get cost reimbursement authorization. Anyone deal with this yet with the 2016 model? We have about 2700 miles on it now.
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Old 02-19-2016, 11:46 PM   #2
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Actually look through the owner's manual (the Ford E-350 one that came with the coach) I think Ford is supposed to cover it. If you find it in writing in that manual you can simply show the dealer.

Even if they don't usually Thor does.
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Old 02-20-2016, 12:20 AM   #3
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On all Ford chassis prior to 2016, it was under the Ford warranty. The alignment was included free if conducted within the first 12000 miles or 12 months. Check the Ford documentation that came with the RV. Look in the warranty booklet.

In the Ford Warranty Guide (my 2015 Ford F350) on page 14 notes that Ford will “replace or adjust certain maintenance items when necessary, free of charge during a limited period. This offer includes “wheel alignments and tire balancing will be provided during the first 12 months or 12,000 miles in service, whichever occurs first.”
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Old 02-20-2016, 01:09 AM   #4
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4 Wheel Alignment

Ford claims that they align the chassis at the factory, and that once a coach builder drops a body on top of it, it should be aligned again, by the coach builder.

This is true. In my coach the alignment was way, way, off. Once the front end is aligned, the entire chassis will also need a 4 wheel alignment. This is not an easy, or cheap alignment, if it is out, and they all are. You will need a proper heavy truck alignment center for this check, and fix. Not the local tire dealer.

Expect the entire procedure to cost $500 to $1000, depending on how far out the rear wheels are. Even just a front end alignment on this chassis is more costly, and centering the steering wheel properly is also more involved than most.

THOR may or may not pay for the front end. They usually won't pay for the rear, 4 wheel alignment. Ford won't pay. You must have these alignments done first, for you to have any chance of the coach driving correctly. Many find the need for after market fixes, but until you have made certain the entire motor home is moving down the road straight, you should not spend money on anything else.
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Old 02-20-2016, 01:39 AM   #5
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Ford does align the chassis at the factory. But the E-350 and E-450s are going to have a heavy body put on it by someone other than Ford whether delivery van, ambulance, or RV. The Ford warranty wording is very specific -- they (Ford) will conduct a front end alignment free of charge during the first 12000 miles or 12 months. That is irrespective of the one they did before the stripped chassis left the factory.

Here is what I did. I called Ford customer service and asked them for the closest commercial Ford truck dealer near me. I called that dealer and read them the paragraph from my warranty guide. The service manager said indeed they will perform a front end alignment free under warranty as long as I come in before the 12000/12month period is over. I told him I would bring the RV in when the 7500 mile oil change service is due and have them do the front end alignment.

The reason for finding a commercial Ford truck service is to ensure they have the right equipment. I doubt any RV dealer has the proper Ford alignment equipment for a E-350/450 chassis.
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Old 02-20-2016, 04:22 AM   #6
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wow i did not know that about the alignment i will call tomorrow and make sure i get the full alignment there doing it already , thanks felker .
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Old 02-20-2016, 04:49 AM   #7
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Mine pulled to right also. Factory installed left caster had 0.25 shim they added a 2.0 shim and it drives fine now. I paid for it as I had a Safe-T-plus added.
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Old 02-20-2016, 07:56 AM   #8
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F 53 Chassis Alignment

It's good to know that Ford stands behind the E Series chassis.

When my F 53 was in for alignment at a Ford Commercial Truck dealer last week, they made it plain that is was THOR's, or my responsibility to pay. I was copied on emails between the dealership and THOR. The front end only was over $500, THOR paid. The 4 wheel alignment was an additional $300. THOR refused to pay that, so the dealer said they did the work anyway.

My point remains. Before spending any money on aftermarket fixes, make sure your suspension and alignment are to spec. They are usually way out, and need to be correct first.
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Old 02-20-2016, 02:49 PM   #9
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My F53 alignment was checked under warranty at the Ford heavy truck center. I have never had Ford question a front end alignment on anything within the first 12,000 miles. I have owned 19 Ford products in the last 30 years.

I will say that my RV alignment appointment at the truck center was made by my service advisor at the dealership that services my cars. I showed up for the appointment, the RV alignment was checked and it was right on the money, and the truck center's service manger bid me a good day.

Now in my case, since I shot the alignment wad early on, I no longer have that option available closer to the 12K mark like I usually do with my cars.
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Old 02-20-2016, 10:28 PM   #10
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Front End Alignment 24.1

The Ford dealer is calling Thor on Monday to get them to pay for the alignment. I'll let you all know. It is slightly irritating that I noticed the pulling to the right when stopping during the initial test drive and when we did the walk around at the dealership I told them I wanted it corrected. The service tech took it out, brought it back in a few minutes, said that the tire pressure was low. Live and learn.
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Old 02-28-2016, 01:18 AM   #11
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2016 Axis 24.1 Alignment

Well, the Ford dealer flat out told me that they are not responsible for the alignment once the coach is placed on the stripped chassis. Thor initially refused... the RV dealer where I bought it said they would try to get Thor to pay for it and never called me back. I called Thor myself when I received their warranty welcome letter in the mail. The warranty person initially told me that since I lived in CA, it already had over 2500 miles on it and he had no idea what could have happened to it on its way.... wow, I was stunned by that statement. The Thor guy on the phone finally told me to get the alignment done at my expense, send the before and after spec sheets and he would see what he could do. Here is some advice.... don't buy anything until everything is the way you want it.
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Old 02-28-2016, 05:44 AM   #12
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Thor warranty

This has been my experience with THOR Warranty Service all along. The first words out of their mouths, on everything, is its not our problem, we aren't responsible, we aren't going to pay. Then later, they sometimes pay all, or part of the bill.

Of course, by then they have delayed the repairs, asked for unreasonable documentation, and irritated everyone to the point that any good will they hoped to earn is out the window.

Is it better to have bought new, and gotten the warranties? On the one hand, the build quality is so questionable you want the feeling of security a warranty brings. On the other, having to wait forever for repairs, and arguing with THOR makes using the warranty more trouble than it's worth, especially given the exhorbitant price you paid.
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Old 02-28-2016, 11:49 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by winder1
This has been my experience with THOR Warranty Service all along. The first words out of their mouths, on everything, is its not our problem, we aren't responsible, we aren't going to pay. Then later, they sometimes pay all, or part of the bill.
Thor seems to be very erratic in this regard. Many people have had the same experience as you but, conversely, many people have had Thor be responsive and cover the warranty items in an expedient manner.

I've often wondered if this Thor behavior is related to the brand and/or plants that the units have come from (myself and other Axis/Vegas owners mostly have had positive results from Thor; have you talked with other Windsport owners to see if their experiences were similar?)
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Old 02-28-2016, 12:52 PM   #14
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All,


This if from my experience this past August and is on another thread here on the Forum:


"Totally different topic but; I have seen your name on some earlier Posts pertaining to on trying to get a Front end Alignment work done under warranty. My problem is excessive play (back and forth) in the steering wheel at Highway Speeds. It was noted during the PDI back in May. Well, today I received the following clarification from Thor Warranty Division:
1. If the problem is Toe-in/Toe-out it is covered by Thor but for a very limited time following purchase and only up to a set amount.
2. If the problem is Caster or Camber then it is to be covered by Ford Warranty.
3. I must get the work done, pay for it, then send in a copy of the bill along with a copy of the Specs both before and after."

"I have an appointment to get it done locally at a (namebrand) Truck and Tire Alignment Shop...any specific suggestions as to what to mention to the mechanic? The Ford Dealership near my RV Dealer does not do RV work and the next nearest Ford Dealership said Ford has no Warranty on Front End work (I have the 2015 Manual, and even printed out page 14 that states one year coverage). I do not think they were interested."


When I got the Alignment done (Clark Truck and Tire Alignment Shop) just the Toe in was incorrect. They fixed that, I sent the bill to Thor and got reimbursed. The drive was improved then I added the Safe-T-Plus stabilizer and it is back to finger tip steering and smooth sailing.


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Old 02-28-2016, 02:28 PM   #15
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I'm at a loss to understand this whole affair with what the Ford warranty states about front end alignment within the first 12000 miles or 12 months. The statement in their guide is very specific, yet the descriptions of what owners have encountered seems to run counter to the actual words.

1. Who drives a Ford stripped chassis around as it comes from Ford? The answer is obvious -- no one. That stripped chassis is going to have a second party put something on it. That could be a commercial refrigerator delivery box, commercial goods delivery box, ambulance box, or "house" of a motorhome put on the frame. So when a Ford dealer tells someone the only front end alignment covered is the one that was done when it came from the factory is inconsistent with the words of the warranty. Are we to assume that the stripped chassis sat for 12 months or had 12000 miles put on it while it remained stripped? Does the statement in the warranty say anything about whether a second party modification was completed or not? Again, I go back to why does Ford build stripped chassis in the first place? You'd get awful cold and wet driving it around in its stripped configuration, and it would be awfully difficult to put anything behind your seat without it falling through the open space in the frame.

2. When I operate my car and don't exceed the load limits, does the manufacturer of my car cover alignment problems discovered during the period of my warranty? The answer is yes. So Ford's stripped chassis is designed to have something put on it. If that something is within the weight carrying design of the stripped chassis and it then disrupts the alignment why is the second party manufacturer of what was put on the chassis responsible for the alignment and not Ford?

3. As long as the modification put on the stripped chassis by a second party conforms to the weight carrying limits of the chassis design, why is Ford not responsible for any impact on the alignment? To my way of thinking, that is EXACTLY why Ford has the statement regarding covering an alignment within the first 12000 miles or 12 months. Is that a recognition that the subsequent modification by a second party MIGHT effect the alignment? In a perfect world wouldn't the best option be for Ford not to do an initial alignment until the modification was complete? But that is impractical since the second party facility is not collocated with the Ford factory.

These are just some of my observations and it intrigues me that there are so many different interpretations from Ford dealer service managers of what to me is fairly simple and explicit words in the warranty. I am going to try to get a clarification from Ford corporate warranty division regarding this alignment. My sense is that they have a lot of dealership service departments that are not well informed.
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Old 02-28-2016, 02:54 PM   #16
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Ed,

Please do, even when you get an explaination...the explaination is confusing.

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Old 02-28-2016, 03:49 PM   #17
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Sent off an email to Ford Customer Service asking meaning of warranty wording.

For reference: Here is the exact wording in the 2015 E-350 Warranty Guide. Notice the asterisked items from page 13 and their explanation on page 14:

Maintenance/Wear
The New Vehicle Limited Warranty does not cover: (1) parts and labor needed to maintain the vehicle; and (2) the replacement of parts due to normal wear and tear. You, as the owner, are responsible for these items. See your Owner’s Manual. Some examples of maintenance and normal wear are: • oil changes • oils, lubricants, other fluids • oil/air filters • tire rotation/inflation • cleaning/polishing • clutch linings • wiper blades* • wheel alignments and tire balancing* • brake pad/lining*
Page 13

* Ford will replace or adjust certain maintenance items when necessary, free of charge during a limited period: • Wiper blade replacements will be provided during the first six months in service, regardless of miles driven. • Wheel alignments and tire balancing will be provided during the first 12 months or 12,000 miles in service, whichever occurs first. • Brake pad/lining replacements will be provided during the first 12 months or 18,000 miles in service, whichever occurs first.
Page 14
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Old 02-28-2016, 05:24 PM   #18
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Ed,

It appears to be very clearly written, but when lawyers get involved one little word makes all the difference.

Recently I learned the difference between "will" and "shall" when it comes to law. "Will" can be argued and is open to intrepretation; but "Shall" can not be argued and is not open to intrepretation.

Doc
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Old 02-28-2016, 05:29 PM   #19
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I was a doctrine and policy wonk on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and we had the very same issue involving "will" and "shall." Many of my peers said it was "fairies dancing on the head of a pin" issue. I never used the word "will" in anything I ever wrote. It was always "shall" because of the no interpretation rule and it was a directive word not a consideration word.
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Old 02-28-2016, 05:36 PM   #20
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Ed,

Let's hope those "fairies" are not dancing at Ford, but from what I got during my phone calls was a lot of "song and dance "(the old Razzle Dazzle as sung about in the musical "Chicago") and fine-hair splitting.

Good Luck

Doc
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