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Old 08-24-2016, 12:29 AM   #1
Junior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Miramar 33.5
State: Texas
Posts: 9
THOR #5220
2016 Thor Miramar 34.3 – Problems and Solutions

The coach was purchased new in April 2016. As of August 2016 the following significant problems have occurred.
• Engine alternator not charging coach battery
• Outside kitchen door will not remain closed
• Windshield wipers failed
• Slide will not extend

In subsequent replies you will find a writeup of each problem and what was done to fix it. It is my hope that this information will help others who have the same or similar problems.
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Old 08-24-2016, 12:30 AM   #2
Junior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Miramar 33.5
State: Texas
Posts: 9
THOR #5220
Thor Miramar ‘16 – Engine not charging coach battery

On the trip home from the dealer it appeared that the coach battery was not being charged. The immediate problem with this is that the coach battery will only run the refrigerator for several hours.

On this coach the inverter panel is near the entrance door and its default display, when turned on, is the coach battery voltage. So as you drive down the road you can check this. On 12 volt lead acid battery systems, as a rule of thumb, if the voltage is lower than 13 volts the battery is not under charge. I read the manual to verify that the engine should charge the coach battery (actually 2 x 6 volt batteries in series). Then from research on this site and others I found out how the coach should be wired and found a detailed document from the manufacturer that showed exactly how the BIRD should work. Assuming nothing, I located all of the relevant components and verified that they were all connected correctly. The BIRD, the Trombetta and the coach battery are all located in the first outside compartment behind the driver’s side front wheel.

The Trombetta is the brand name for the relay (or solenoid in some descriptions) that can tie the engine battery to the coach battery. This relay is energized by either the emergency start switch on the driver’s console or by the BIRD (Bi-Directional Isolator Relay Delay). The Trombetta was checked by pressing the emergency start switch and measuring the voltages on either side of it before and after activation.

The BIRD was checked against the document provided by the manufacturer, Intellitec. It is supposed to close the relay when, after a brief time delay, it is clear that one battery is being charged and the other is not. Since all components and all voltage test points are there in the same compartment it is straightforward to test the BIRD’s operation under scenarios of engine on, shore power off and engine off, shore power on. The BIRD was not pulling the relay as documented.

I spoke with the dealer’s service department. They would not send me a new BIRD but said they would send me one if I sent them the old one and their testing verified that it was bad. So I cut the wires to the BIRD, tested it out of circuit, wrote my testing up and mailed the BIRD off to the dealer. Contrary to promises made to communicate results and status, I heard nothing and my emails and voicemails were not returned but about three weeks later a package showed up in the mail from Thor – it contains a new BIRD. This one was tested on the bench, it works as documented. It was installed and proper operation was verified.

My strong feeling at this point is that the dealer is not going to do anything that looks like warranty work without involving the manufacturer, which at a minimum will cause communication and bureaucracy delays while the customer’s coach sits.
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Old 08-24-2016, 12:31 AM   #3
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Miramar 33.5
State: Texas
Posts: 9
THOR #5220
Thor Miramar ’16 - Outside kitchen door will not remain closed

On the trip home from the dealer the outside kitchen door (a panel about 4 ½ feet by 5 feet) located near the rear passenger’s side of the coach came open at highway speed. After a good solid slam the rest of the trip completed uneventfully. Next trip, before departure, the door was slammed solidly and verified by shaking and pulling. Down the road a bit it came open again. The next time it happened the door was Gorilla taped so that it cannot come open until we get home.

The latch on the kitchen door is the same as all of the other outside compartments, none of which have opened up on the road. The latch appeared to be working as designed, which is a spring loaded tongue that goes into a receiving bracket mounted to the coach. My guess is due to the size of the panel it gets a lot of wind buffeting and this movement and vibration cause the spring loaded tongue to work its way back enough to open the latch.

I could have gone to the dealer at this point but did not. My thinking was that this door needs a solid, positive locking mechanism and that the dealer and the manufacturer would insist upon fixing the existing latch. This would all take time and aggravation to resolve in the best case.

For about $15 from Amazon I purchased a locking t-handle latch, the kind you see on equipment boxes on trucks. With just a little trimming this fit in the existing opening in the door and the mounting screws fitted up well enough. There is not a lot of stress on the screws, the lip of the new latch is what the door pulls against. A new receiving bracket was fabricated out of 3/16” steel plate and was mounted to the coach with Grade 5 hardware, replacing the existing bracket that was already showing signs of deforming and was mounted to the coach with three of the self-drilling self-tapping sheet metal screws you see so many of in motorhomes.

From the outside the new latch was a shiny polished stainless steel and since the shape of the new latch was not an exact match for the old one some of the door panel was the wrong color. The old latch was taken to the local automotive paint store, the paint color was matched, and a small quantity of paint was obtained along with some acid etch primer for the stainless steel parts. This was all spray painted, and while not up to professional standards, looks good enough to my untrained eye.

As of several thousand miles later the door problem seems to be solved.
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Old 08-24-2016, 12:32 AM   #4
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Miramar 33.5
State: Texas
Posts: 9
THOR #5220
Thor Miramar ’16 – Windshield wipers failed

The first time significant use was made of the windshield wipers they failed. This was at highway speed in a gusty rain storm. The wipers came to an abrupt stop with the driver’s side wiper nearly off the windshield to the left and the passenger’s side wiper disappearing from sight (from inside) down toward the grill. At the next available stop I wiggled the passenger’s side wiper to see if it had come disconnected from the wiper mechanism and was startled when both wipers began moving and went back to their normal resting place. It turns out this is because the wipers are on a self-resetting fuse and when the mechanism is stuck the fuse will apply power every few seconds and then promptly kick out again. That evening I looked at the mechanism under the grill and it looked OK and the wipers actually worked, which was a surprise. I did get and apply some Rainex for the trip home, however, and they did hang up again on the way home.

A careful examination of the wiper mechanism revealed that if the passenger side wiper received a little extra push right at the end of its travel (such as a gust of wind) it would go “over center” and would hang there, securely stopping the whole wiper mechanism until it was manually pulled back from over center.

Once again, I could have gone back to the dealer. Wiper problems for these coaches are extensively documented on the Web and a solution would have probably been worked out – subject to an unknown amount of time that the coach would be out of service.

My solution was to fabricate a small bracket with a stop on it that attaches to the existing mount that secures the passenger’s side wiper. The stop prevents the wiper from going over center. I also tightened the nut that holds the arm to the wiper motor. So far, after only light use in the rain, the wipers have worked fine.
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Old 08-24-2016, 12:33 AM   #5
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Miramar 33.5
State: Texas
Posts: 9
THOR #5220
Thor Miramar ’16 – Slide won’t extend

When I went to extend the front slide the last overnight stop of a multi-week trip the right slide motor of the long front slide did not activate. We spent the night with the slide in and drove home. After reading about the Schwintek mechanism I found the slide controller and noted the LED trouble code it was indicating which was that the right motor was inoperative. There was documentation on the Web about the connections from the controller to the slide motor. Checking the plug going to the right motor against this document, and against the other side motor, it was clear that something was wrong with the motor since the two motor power wires show an open circuit.

The motor is accessible from inside the coach by taking a piece of metal trim off. This piece of metal also appears to be a part of the structure that holds the slide movement assembly to the coach. It is held on by several of the ubiquitous self-drilling, self-tapping screws and three of those screws are on the motor side of the trim panel. One goes below the motor, no problem. The one up from there goes in about where the middle of the motor is. This one had broken off – the nub of the screw was still attached and the rest of the screw was stuck to the motor where the big magnet is. The top screw – see below.

At this point I could detach the motor wiring harness (about 6” long) from the coach connector. Some ohm meter work showed that the coach wiring was OK but the motor power circuit was still open.

To get the motor out for inspection the slide must go out a few inches to remove a screw that secures the motor from the outside. I put a reasonable amount of pressure on the slide (with the motors disconnected from the controller as advised by the documentation) and it would not budge. At this point I called the dealer and asked for a service appointment soonest. The best they would do was a month in the future even though I bought the coach there, it was only 4 months old, and it seemed for sure to be a warranty issue. I suppose I could have started up the chain of command at the dealer to make my case as to why this was unacceptable but I didn’t.

After applying between 150 and 200 pounds of force on the right side of the front slide I was rewarded by the whirring sound you hear when the slide extends. This noise is from the gear train that allows the small motor to move the large, heavy slide. After removing the access screw from the outside the motor was removed. With the dust cover removed the armature contacts (where the power goes to the rotating part of the motor) were revealed and the ohm meter showed a typical value for a small DC motor of this type. Careful examination of the wiring harness and how it attaches to the printed circuit board on top of the motor revealed that the nylon header that attaches the wires to the board was bent just a bit to one side just enough to break the metal of the header as it goes through the circuit board. The fix was to remove the header and solder the wires directly to the circuit board. Strain relief was provided by some liquid electrical tape where the wires enter the circuit board. The motor was reinstalled and the slide works just fine.

So what pushed the nylon header out of position and broke it? It is pretty apparent that the top screw of the trim panel, when it was installed, did the damage as it came through the mounting material and continued about ¾” into the motor’s space. Just a little bit to one side and all would have been fine, a little to the other side and it would have been a clean, immediate break and would have been found when the slide wouldn’t deploy. But the way it was a few thousand miles of road vibration and a few slide deployments shifted things and a break occurred.
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Old 08-24-2016, 02:54 AM   #6
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Challenger 37TB
State: Pennsylvania
Posts: 410
THOR #4486
Sounds like the moral to your issues is that your dealer has let you down. Not surprising. My experience has been similar. The dealer pushed things to Thor taking no responsibility. All they care about is getting your check or your signature on the loan documents. Granted, there are some dealers out there that are the exception but they are rare. As you have done, diagnose the issue, know the resolution and contact either the dealer or Thor for assistance. I have given up on my dealer and deal with Thor only. My contact at Thor has been great.
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