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Old 12-02-2018, 03:31 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Vegas 24.1
State: Texas
Posts: 7
THOR #12852
Excessive Play in Steering Wheel

I am new to RV'ing. My wife and I bought our 2019 Thor Vegas 24.1 last September. Since that time, we have taken it out 4 times, with the longest trip being for 11 days and about 1500 miles. While we have enjoyed it very much and encountered little in the way of issues, I do have concerns over the excessive amount of play in the steering of the vehicle. Under normal conditions (with little or no wind), I am constantly having to correct the steering to stay in my lane. The vehicle seems to bounce from stripe to stripe even when I make the most gentle corrections. Then there are times when it gets windy. One day driving through central Texas we encountered what I estimated to be 15 to 25 mph gusting crosswinds. These winds would cause the RV to make extreme movements (3 to 5 ft) before I ever had the opportunity to bring the unit back under control. I understand that RV's, especially the smaller/lighter ones like my Vegas, are basically shoeboxes on wheels and that wind does impact the drivability. That said, I don't think it is normal to for the steering to mimic that of a carnival ride. Nor do I think it is acceptable to have to constantly fight the steering wheel to keep from getting killed on a windy day.

I have brought this issue to the attention of the folks I bought the unit from. They have been responsive in that they said they took it to a local shop specializing in RV wheel alignment. The report back didn't identify any issues nor did they offer any recommendations for what could be done to "tighten" up the steering.

My apologies in advance for the long-winded dissertation. But my questions are this: 1) has anyone one else who owns a Thor Vegas, ACE or the like, encountered anything similar to what I describe, and 2) if yes, what, if anything, were you able to do about it?

Many thanks for your feedback.

David and Lisa Ray
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Old 12-02-2018, 03:36 PM   #2
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THOR #7074
Yes, We all do in some way or another. See my signature for my "steering" upgrades.
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Old 12-02-2018, 03:45 PM   #3
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THOR #12852
Thanks for the quick reply. I'll check out the alternatives you suggest. Regards.


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Old 12-02-2018, 04:57 PM   #4
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THOR #6826
I would suggest you visit another dealer to ďtest driveĒ another coach and see if it handles similarly. (Itís not really fair to dealerships to do that but itís worth considering in order to confirm your impressions that there is something amiss). I put a steering stabilizer on mine though not for your issue and I didnít notice much difference in steering. But others claim it tightens it up. Good luck!
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Old 12-02-2018, 05:36 PM   #5
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The alignment police will be here soon, but before that try these things. Tire pressure adjustment, not filled to the max like your door pillar suggests. Back down the fronts a few pounds, leave rears at max. Try it first, it's free. If you are still wandering, a steering stabilizer will most certainly help, Safe-T-Steer is one of the best.

The thing is, the steering is a reciprocating ball type, it will never seem tight. When I go from miles of driving the rv, I become use to the steering input required to keep it between the lines. Then I jump in the toad (Wrangler) and for the first few miles I'm all over the road from too much input to the wheel.
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Old 12-02-2018, 06:13 PM   #6
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THOR #7074
For 20 yrs drove Illinois to Florida many times a year never had a chance to head out west. I never added extra anything while driving that route. Last couple years we headed out west and..... With the Western Winds we got our ass kicked, not like driving my usual route all those years.
I had dreams of me sleeping in the rear for once on a trip while my kids can take over driving for awhile..... Never Happen.
My point is that, IMO when you travel west of the Mississippi it is a whole different driving experience with REAL WIND conditions. I look at the posts and can see most with steering issues & road handling are from out west. Everything I added helped from mods to tire pressures. I can drive to Florida one handed 70 mph. I feel that if you have a "stock" Axis or Vegas out west you're going to get pushed all over the road. Been there. Safe Travels Everyone!
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Old 12-02-2018, 07:12 PM   #7
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Great suggestion. Thanks.
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Old 12-02-2018, 08:03 PM   #8
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It's been my humble opinion that these RVs need to be regulated better. My initial ride in my consisted of a couple bridges, the latter with my wife beside me in her car, pointing to the sewer cover, which the dealer left the door unhooked and unlocked. The door was dangling a couple inches above the hwy. The whole ride was a nightmare. My Axis was all over the road. I felt like I was steering a T-CUP in a CARNIVAL RIDE.

If Thor thinks they are not culpable for playing ignorant to the steering and suspension issues (overloading the e-450 platform, in addition to the steering boxes), they are wrong.

These Ford conversions are unsafe, and IMO, Ford (and Thor) should be class-action sued for their knowing that Ford is (and has been) putting out a dangerous product, i.e. known "free play" in the steering box. I tightened mine in a Sportsmobile I had, and will do the same to this one if its of similar design.

Replace the garbage sway bars and shocks (see my thread on that). I decided to keep my 2006 Toyhauler because I know it's built right. This new Axis? POS
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Old 12-02-2018, 08:11 PM   #9
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"alignment police" !? really sheesh (call me a cop because I do think you should get an alignment if you haven't but it sounds like you might already have). In everyone's defense (at least those of us you consider the "alignment police") is that Thor does recommend an alignment (our couch had 3 stickers strategically placed around it saying "alignment required" when we picked it up, and during the walkthrough the tech said to get one within the first 100 miles or so).

Having said all that. Have you ever driven an Econoline van? There is play in the steering wheel (note that Axis/Vegas units have a lot more in common with Ford based class C's than ACE, Windsport, etc. despite the external similarities). I believe that there is something in the steering box that can be tightened up to reduce the play, however, I don't think you'll ever eliminate it as its in the geometry of the E350/E450 steering mechanism.
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Old 12-02-2018, 09:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
"alignment police" !? really sheesh (call me a cop because I do think you should get an alignment if you haven't but it sounds like you might already have). In everyone's defense (at least those of us you consider the "alignment police") is that Thor does recommend an alignment (our couch had 3 stickers strategically placed around it saying "alignment required" when we picked it up, and during the walkthrough the tech said to get one within the first 100 miles or so).

Having said all that. Have you ever driven an Econoline van? There is play in the steering wheel (note that Axis/Vegas units have a lot more in common with Ford based class C's than ACE, Windsport, etc. despite the external similarities). I believe that there is something in the steering box that can be tightened up to reduce the play, however, I don't think you'll ever eliminate it as its in the geometry of the E350/E450 steering mechanism.
1. AFTER Thor adds all of their weight on, what does that leave us, 400lbs or so? Thor should be doing the alignment prior to customer acceptance. If you have a problem with that, I could care less.

2. While attempting to be witty, Jimmy The Greek, your reading comprehension left you. You'd have read that I had built a Sportsomobile e-350 4x4 van and had the same problem. I was able to correct 50% of it, which is still 100% worse than any Dodge or Chevy...
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Old 12-02-2018, 11:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewAxisOwner View Post
1. AFTER Thor adds all of their weight on, what does that leave us, 400lbs or so? Thor should be doing the alignment prior to customer acceptance. If you have a problem with that, I could care less.

2. While attempting to be witty, Jimmy The Greek, your reading comprehension left you. You'd have read that I had built a Sportsomobile e-350 4x4 van and had the same problem. I was able to correct 50% of it, which is still 100% worse than any Dodge or Chevy...
Well the "alignment police" remarks was a reply to "nosticks" and not you.

In addition my other comments were really addressing the original post, not you directly. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

In addition to all that: I'm only saying this is how it is and not how it should be. We can all agree Thor should be selling something that we don't have to spend a year getting right--it should be right out the door.
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Old 12-02-2018, 11:42 PM   #12
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THOR #7074
I for one did take the advice of this forum and did get an alignment first thing. The difference was amazing instantly. The alignment even aligned the Ford Logo on my steering wheel that was crooked.
Worst time to get one is after you see the tires wearing unevenly.
Alignment $$ or Worn tires $$... was easy choice for me.
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Old 12-03-2018, 12:53 AM   #13
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State: Texas
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I have been driving Ford based motor homes for over 20 years as well as plain old Econoline vans since the early 80's and have not experienced loose steering. What I have had to do is get the front end aligned and adjusted the air pressure on all my motor homes. I have also added a Saf-T-Plus to my newest class a. Thor does not align the front ends on their entry level mohos because they do not know if the user knows how to properly load their new pride and joy. An improperly loaded coach will have drive-ability issues. Getting your coach aligned after loading will improve the handling.
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Old 12-03-2018, 06:53 AM   #14
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State: Alaska
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dray6935 View Post
I am new to RV'ing. My wife and I bought our 2019 Thor Vegas 24.1 last September. Since that time, we have taken it out 4 times, with the longest trip being for 11 days and about 1500 miles. While we have enjoyed it very much and encountered little in the way of issues, I do have concerns over the excessive amount of play in the steering of the vehicle. Under normal conditions (with little or no wind), I am constantly having to correct the steering to stay in my lane. The vehicle seems to bounce from stripe to stripe even when I make the most gentle corrections. Then there are times when it gets windy. One day driving through central Texas we encountered what I estimated to be 15 to 25 mph gusting crosswinds. These winds would cause the RV to make extreme movements (3 to 5 ft) before I ever had the opportunity to bring the unit back under control. I understand that RV's, especially the smaller/lighter ones like my Vegas, are basically shoeboxes on wheels and that wind does impact the drivability. That said, I don't think it is normal to for the steering to mimic that of a carnival ride. Nor do I think it is acceptable to have to constantly fight the steering wheel to keep from getting killed on a windy day.

I have brought this issue to the attention of the folks I bought the unit from. They have been responsive in that they said they took it to a local shop specializing in RV wheel alignment. The report back didn't identify any issues nor did they offer any recommendations for what could be done to "tighten" up the steering.

My apologies in advance for the long-winded dissertation. But my questions are this: 1) has anyone one else who owns a Thor Vegas, ACE or the like, encountered anything similar to what I describe, and 2) if yes, what, if anything, were you able to do about it?

Many thanks for your feedback.

David and Lisa Ray


Change out a Ford steering stabilizer for a Roadmaster.
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Old 12-03-2018, 01:50 PM   #15
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Model: Vegas 24.1
State: Florida
Posts: 579
THOR #5313
We have a 2016 Vegas 24.1. So far the only change we have made is match tire pressure and add a Roadmaster Reflex damper.

On initial trips, we found after unit sat for two weeks it required more effort on trip out than trip back (85 miles) to keep straight. When I swapped in Reflex damper I found that OEM damper required a lot of movement to start damping. The Reflex damping worked immediately out of box. That cured difference on trip out/back. We went with the Reflex for return to center feature.

I adjusted tire pressures to match load after Cat scale trip. Ended up at 76 front/76 rear. After a couple thousand miles, crown wore off front tires and unit is comfortable to 80 MPH. Winds can still be an issue but not white knuckle as earlier.

Our unit was used with less than 2,000 miles, we are now over 19,000 miles and front tires are wearing even, no cupping or any sign alignment off.

There is a dead spot on center which my racing people tell me is characteristic of E350/450 Ford chassis. They also said you will hardly notice after a few thousand miles. They were right.

I would like to add heavier sway bars at some point but it is not an urgent matter. Wife is comfortable driving the Vegas with or without 5,500 lb open racecar trailer.
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Old 12-03-2018, 02:06 PM   #16
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THOR #8860
"I have brought this issue to the attention of the folks I bought the unit from. They have been responsive in that they said they took it to a local shop specializing in RV wheel alignment. The report back didn't identify any issues nor did they offer any recommendations for what could be done to "tighten" up the steering."

Who offered this opinion?
Was it this Guy?

http://www.thorforums.com/forums/att...1&d=1543845981
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Old 12-03-2018, 02:45 PM   #17
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Model: 2017 Axis 25.4
State: Arkansas
Posts: 2,611
THOR #12231
I guess Im lucky.... my Axis drove very straight right from the CW lot. But after I installed the HD sway bar, Rear track arm and the Saftey Plus Steering stabilizer I LOVE the way my Axis drives. I dont get pushed around very much by the big rigs anymore. Sure on Windy days in can feel it but I have no problem staying in my lane.

Do what they recomended above and you should be much happier.

Perhaps you are use to small cars with rack and pinion steering? These RV's drive like a truck/van so you cant compare the two.

How many miles on your rig? If low miles I would think there is nothing wrong with the steering components.
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Old 12-03-2018, 03:03 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Denman View Post
Who offered this opinion?
Was it this Guy?

http://www.thorforums.com/forums/att...1&d=1543845981
Don't blade Marty!


Dray, cross winds can be brutal even if anticipated. Look for a good (recommended) alignment shop, change shocks and sway bars (repeating that Thor builds to the chassis's max). The difference is night and day. The steering stabilizer is a bonus.
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Old 12-03-2018, 03:25 PM   #19
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THOR #8860

I've always figured that you've just got to keep a bit tighter "grip on the reins...".
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Old 12-03-2018, 04:07 PM   #20
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Model: Vegas 24.1
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THOR #12852
Much appreciation to all those who replied. Lots of different suggestions, but lots for me to work with. As a newbie, I just want to say I am impressed with everyone's willingness to assist. Thanks again!


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