2015 Thor ACE 29.3 first impression
I purchased a new ACE 29.3 in April 2015 and returned home on December 29 2015. I lived in this unit for 9 months performing my retirement job. I traveled to Kansas city, Wichita, Indianapolis, but stayed mostly in Ottawa IL before returning home in Jacksonville FL.
The handling, maneuverability, and gas milage was better than expected. I would rate these items very good.
Most of my issues were either Cold temp/rain related, or learning curve related. The following list of items are in no particular order.
Storage space: My coach has an outside kitchen. I would not buy a unit with this option again due to the loss of storage space. My coach does not have the outside TV option, but the compartment for the outside TV is still there which is located under the bathroom sink. I ended up removing the false wall and extending the shelves under the bathroom sink which gave me 6 inches deeper shelves AKA more storage. I added a shelf above the toilet and under the cabinet. I like the fact that you can still sit in the pilot/co-pilot seats with the bunk bed down. I can put stuff on the bunk and still use the seats and table for my lap top. Since being home I have purchased a storage box which mounts to the receiver hitch. It is lockable and rain sealed, but I have not actually used it yet. The benches under the dinette were screwed shut, I removed the screws and use the area under the dinette benches for more storage.
SAT TV: When I did the bathroom sink cabinet mod I found a TV cable there. It was for the outside TV which I do not have. I found the other end of this cable behind the antenna booster plate not connected. I ran this cable through an existing hole in the floor under the bathroom sink, resealed the hole. brought the other end through the wall by the antenna booster plate. I got lucky here as I was trying to figure a way to get a sat hook up.
Boondocking: During the few times I did dry camp, I discovered what I am going to call an alternator charging flaw. I have posted this issue in a thread on this forum called "alternator charging flaw" so I will not go into detail here. In short, I found myself in a situation where I could not start the genset so I ended up installing a blue seas battery switch part number 11001 in the coach so I could start the genset from the chassis battery.
Night driving: There are no curtesy lights (dome lights) which you can turn on from the pilot seat. I installed a pair of dome lights above the pilot and co-pilot seat on the ledge where the bunk rests on (when it is down). I wired these lights to an existing wire above the steering column just under that little panel above the dash gages. The wire is black with a blue stripe. The thumb wheel by the headlight switch is a reostat for the dash lights but also has a detent position which activates the black/blue wire. The detent position works with the key either on or off. The side cameras that come on when you turn on the blinkers is useless at night when passing as the headlights from other cars distort the image.
Fresh water tank: There is not a way to fill the fresh water tank when hooked up to city water on the city water connection. I will soon be adding a by pass line with valve so I can fill the fresh water tank with out having to disconnect the hose and move it to the opposite side of the coach.
Propane: I added an extended stay line and got a 40 lbs tank so I would not have to move the coach during the 8 inch snow fall we had in Ottawa IL (Chicago) right before thanksgiving.
Skirting: BIG help during cold weather. I got the one that attaches with suction cups and used rocks to hold down the bottom. I was very surprised to find the suction cups worked very well even with the winds experienced in the Chicago area. This became very important because of the water freeze 'weak point' on the coach. The weak point is where the water line goes from the pump into the coach which passes through the bottom of the slide out and is only protected by a rubber flap. At the point where the flap is the water pipe is exposed to outside air. I used an electric space heater (with built in thermostat) placed in the bay just aft of the gray/black dump valve. I set the thermostat as low as it would go (55 degrees). After skirting and space heater I had no water freeze issues even with temps as low as mid teens. Also, I could tell the heater worked less.
Stair well: The stair well and shoe closet still is a cold area in the coach. I will soon be insulating this area from under the coach with foam panels.
A/C unit: Even in the Chicago area the single A/C unit is not good enough. So I know it will not be good enough in the south during the summer. I have purchased, but not yet installed a second A/C unit for the bedroom.
Bathroom Door: The track fell from the ceiling. The Screw holes were striped out. I fixed this by adding 3 L brackets to hold the track up and in place. I still have full functionality of the door and it is much more sturdy. The cosmetics were downgraded a little, but it is much more sturdy.
Pantry door: Always seems to open during left turns. I added another latch to this area.
Slide out rain leak: On one occasion I had water coming in above the stove with the slide out in. The water was standing on top of the counter top behind the stove and on the stove itself. I traced this leak to the stove hood vent. I sealed around the outside portion of the stove hood vent. This seemed to fix this leak. Since then, on one occasion, with the slide out in, another leak. This time the stove top and counter top was dry, but the water was standing on the floor at about mid point length wise on the slide out just in front of where the rubber seal flap touches the floor. I have yet to figure out where the source of this leak is.
Over all: I like the floor plan and functionality of this coach. It has adequate room for a 30 footer. It drives well, and is easy to fuel even at tight gas stations. Power from the V10 is more than adequate.