Originally Posted by Wilber
Brand new to this forum as we are considering a 2015 Thor Four Winds 35 SK Super C Motorhome. As with our previous RVs I’m trying to know the good, the bad and the ugly about this company’s products, experience has taught me there’s no better, trustworthy or balanced source of information than these forums so thanks to all who are reading this.
The dealer has winterized the thing so can’t check the water system easily, no test drive yet either but yesterday I went over it in their showroom and like what I see. The F-550 Chassis/diesel powertrain gets consistent praise and few complaints. How many MPG do you average?
The Shwintech slide system gets slammed pretty good on the net but when I ran it (coach on rubber but their shop was reasonably level) it preformed flawlessly, very quiet and smooth. I’ve had hydraulics (just as smooth), under slide gear drive track (not so much) and cable actuated (Maintanence heavy) but the Swhintec makes the most sense. Have you had significant issues?
Couldn’t try the LCI auto levelling system either (their touchy about that showroom floor!) and again the frickin internet is biased towards the negative. I like the bidirectional hydraulic system, our Itasca Meridian had a spring return design that required a pry bar to help it into its stored position. Your experience with this leveling system is greatly appreciated.
I could go on all day (this is a major purchase after all as you can appreciate) but my biggest concern is the Whirlpool residential refrigerator. We plan to travel for an extended time (months God willing) so boondocking will be the norm 5 days outta 7 a lot of the time. With say 6 hrs travel and 500 AHrs (so 250 available) in the house can we avoid the nightly generator auto start feature? It’s there for the microwave, air conditioners, the DW’s hairdryer etc. but wondering if we watch our power consumption can we go day to day on the chassis charge?
The fridge is fed by a Xantrex Pro 18 KW Inverter. What have you found with these residential fridges?
These forums are such a joy to read and I look forward to sharing our ad(and miss)adventures with you all. Enjoy the day!
Welcome to the forum! I'm a fellow Canadian from Vancouver, B.C. I've only had my 2018 Compass 23TB for about 2 weeks. It hasn't even been out for it's shakedown yet!! And - I'm an RV newbie. So take my thoughts for what they are worth in your own estimation.
What I will say is this: I researched SOLIDLY for over a year before I began physically going to dealerships and touching and feeling and test driving units. Aesthetically, that's a completely personal thing so I won't even go there (I happen to like interiors that are modern, simple, and Euro style) so that was one of the things that attracted me to the Thor Compass specifically. Also, I was looking for something smaller than a Class C (I despise the look of the over cab bunk area LOL totally personal thing) but larger than a Class B Van Conversion like the Hymer or Volkswagen or some of the other Sprinter/Transit conversions. So, I ended up being rather limited in scope for my research to a few models (basically the Winnebago Fuse, Nexus Viper, Leisure Unity, Phoenix Cruiser, and Thor Compass/Gemini.) I researched extensively. What I found (from reading these types of forums, tons of reviews, videos, even documentation from the RVIA) was that every single manufacturer has "common" issues that plague the RV industry as a whole. Things like the speed at which they build them, quality control processes (that are in some cases lacking), and literally what kind of day the guy on the assembly line is having all play a part. So, I went into this expecting to have to deal with deficiencies and do some troubleshooting on my own no matter which brand I bought.
I also think that there are some factors that are less to do with manufacturers and more to do with the dealers. What types of services do they offer? How efficient is their booking/service/deliver process? What type of warranty work can they do? How responsive are they? Do they offer Coach-Net subscription? This was one of the biggest things that helped in my decision and had nothing to do with which brand to go with. One thing I will say is based on my research it appears Canadian RV dealers (as well as the Ministries of Transport and various Provincial Consumer Protection Branches) have much more regulated and consumer friendly environments than in the US. Not perfect, for sure, but in my estimation and based on what I've read, definitely better.
I actually considered multiple options including: a) build from scratch (buying a chassis and then contracting a specialist company to build the RV on to it), b) buying pre-owned, or c) buying new.
Ultimately what landed me with the Thor Compass was the following:
1) 24/7 Technical Support - yes I've already used it, and yes it was an easy and excellent experience.
2) Aesthetics combined with Utility: Thor has some ingenious floor plans combined with interior decor that creates a really modern and useable space and some really cool storage concepts.
3) Price: For the build quality, the pricing is very competitive (and how much you negotiate will depend on your abilities and the dealer's BATNA (Best alternative to a negotiated agreement = a.k.a. how much they'll give before you both walk away - yes, I negotiate for a living so this part is a science to me.)
4) Chassis: Though I love Mercedes, and arguably Mercedes makes a really nice chassis, when you come down to nuts and bolts (and trace back how all the parts are manufactured and their methodology) you really are paying a premium for a simple symbol on the front of the unit.
5) My Dealer: Made all the difference in the world. Ability to negotiate, extras added on (solar panels, water pump bypass kit for winterization, upgraded tires, etc) and ability to DEAL with any deficiencies.
Specifically, re: the fridge, power consumption, etc. I Plan to do a fair amount of boondocking as well (just haven't had the chance yet) but I've done a few nights of driveway camping while I've been looking in every nook and cranny for deficiencies. The three way fridge in my unit (LP, DC, AC) is AWESOME. The in-line water heating system - AWESOME - no problems with it at all. I have solar panels installed and it's keeping the batteries nicely topped up (though I've had it connected to shore power for a couple of days while I run tests on the microwave and stove and A/V system etc.) Slide works like a dream, is fairly smooth and quiet and based on me inspecting every inch of it looks well sealed and very solid.
So, conclusion on Thor: You get what you pay for, no better or worse than any other brand. Expect to do some troubleshooting and have some deficiencies like every other brand. What I believe sets Thor apart: Look and feel, floor plan options, design (very few actual design flaws in terms of how things are arranged and placed), and overall "bang for buck" (including purchase, fuel, maintenance, and mods.)
Hopefully that helps!