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Old 10-26-2018, 11:14 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
State: North Carolina
Posts: 17
THOR #13548
New member - long time RVer

Hi,
Karen and I are long-time RVers and just traded in our 2011 Damon Avanti 3106 Class A diesel for a 2018 Freedom Elite 24FE on a Sprinter diesel chassis; that is called "downsizing" from 32' to 24'. Our first RV was a 1966 VW camping van (I told you that we were old) that we bought new when stationed with U.S. Army in France. Since then, we've owned Class A, B, C, travel trailer and a popup trailer. We loved the Avanti but as we got older thought a smaller one might be a little more safe.
I am retired from the Army; Karen just retired after 44 years as a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, and we take our motorhome to Key West Naval Air Station in mid-December staying three months (we don't like cold NC weather). While there about 8 years ago, a lady we had previously met with her husband arrived and parked next to us. Found out that her husband had died but she still wanted to come to Key West. But, her husband had always done everything setting up the RV so she asked for assistance. As I began helping, another military retiree on the other side came over and also began to help. Others then began assembling around us and this turned into an RV101 class that we have continued teaching twice a year for eight years. We were both surprised how little RV salespeople educate the buyers on how to setup and operate their RV. We tell the class that we are both "school-trained"... at the school of hard knocks... meaning we've made a bunch of mistakes over the years. I ended up taking the handouts of info and published a book that I sold to the folks at the RV park for what it cost me to have it printed.
One of the mistakes I just made was in not researching the new RV purchase as what I thought was "standard" on this motorhome was not there. I saw the online Thor brochure where the features information indicated that it had a radio that was XM satellite ready.... but an XM module cannot be added to this radio; am currently looking at a work-around. Also thought that a solar controller came as "standard" but will have to add this. For the Sprinter, the Mercedes Benz owner's book mentions a tire pressure warning system but found out it doesn't come on the RV models. So, will use the TPMS from the old Avanti. So, lesson-learned... check out all the features on a new RV before you sign on the dotted line.

I am/will be adding the following that we had on our Avanti:
* ARP (absorption refrigerator protection) a device that detects when the refrigerator "boiler stack" is getting too hot (this can happen when RV is not level and also for other reasons) and shuts it off to protect the unit until temperature of boiler goes down.
* Add another 12 volt coach battery (not enough space for four 6-volt units). We dry camp a lot and may also consider installing a TriMetric 2025 RV Battery Monitor to have a more accurate reading of battery status.
* Add MaxxAir / MaxxVent 12 volt vent fans at front and rear vents
* Added bidet hose to toilet
* Have an auto parts store fabricate a pipe to divert exhaust from generator to rear of coach (requirement in Key West). The slide prevents use of a Gen-turi which directs the exhaust up and over the coach.

Looking forward to your responses.... Sorry to be so lengthy on the initial post.
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Old 10-26-2018, 11:31 PM   #2
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Welcome to our group!
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Old 10-27-2018, 01:06 AM   #3
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Old 10-27-2018, 01:34 AM   #4
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Welcome! I am an Army retiree with a 2017 Compass 24TX which is a MB Sprinter. I've only been RVing for the 2 years that I've owned the Compass, but I've spent a lot of time repairing and moding it while putting over 16,000 miles on it already. I've not made it to Key West yet, but I'd love to pick you brain about it when I make plans to. I'll also so be glad to discuss any questions or concerns that I might be able to help with the Sprinter.
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Old 10-27-2018, 02:12 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Gladinwj View Post
Welcome! I am an Army retiree with a 2017 Compass 24TX which is a MB Sprinter. I've only been RVing for the 2 years that I've owned the Compass, but I've spent a lot of time repairing and moding it while putting over 16,000 miles on it already. I've not made it to Key West yet, but I'd love to pick you brain about it when I make plans to. I'll also so be glad to discuss any questions or concerns that I might be able to help with the Sprinter.
Lots of stuff there. Got a couple of RV campgrounds, also military one on Boca Chica, where the PX, Commissary and bar, restarant very near. Lots of parades and special occasions, plus boats, Mallory park for the sunsets, tourist attractions, roosters running loose around there, Civil war fort. Tourist bus helps cause sometimes parking is hard to find nearby or take a motorcycle. Might want to go to Ebay and buy a DVD of the place before you go. Oh yeah, the highway connecting the islands is terrific to see. Take a camera with you.
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Old 10-27-2018, 02:15 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Cason61 View Post
Lots of stuff there. Got a couple of RV campgrounds, also military one on Boca Chica, where the PX, Commissary and bar, restarant very near. Lots of parades and special occasions, plus boats, Mallory park for the sunsets, tourist attractions, roosters running loose around there, Civil war fort. Tourist bus helps cause sometimes parking is hard to find nearby or take a motorcycle. Might want to go to Ebay and buy a DVD of the place before you go. Oh yeah, the highway connecting the islands is terrific to see. Take a camera with you.
Forgot that National Geographic had an article on these islands... and long ago I worked there, then I went back in 2016 for a week.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:24 PM   #7
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Model: 24FE
State: Colorado
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THOR #13356
2018 Freedom Elite 24FE on a Sprinter diesel chassis

Hi Reid! We just got the same setup! And since we're new RV'ers (formerly pop-up camper to 28' Forest River pull trailer now RV) we may be signing up for one of your classes! I enjoyed your post - and thank you for your service!

Have a couple of Q's - I hope you don't mind:

First question that popped to mind - where you going to put the extra battery? I sure don't see room for one!

Second question & more general - does shore power charge the chassis battery on this thing? My first indication is "no," since we had our rig in for warrantee work (took 2 months!) the chassis battery was deader than a doornail. We jumped it to get it home, and I plugged it into shore power thinking it would charge the chassis - but hopped in and tried to start it in the morning - still dead. So now I'm trickle-charging the chassis battery (by way of those jump-start terminals under the hood - the battery is buried underneath the cab floor and as far as I can tell is inaccessible without a cutting torch!). So unless something else is broken - I don't see shore power charging the chassis battery...

Anyway thanks in advance - hope we cross paths at some point
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Old 01-23-2019, 12:33 AM   #8
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Welcome and congratulations on the new coach
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Old 01-23-2019, 01:06 AM   #9
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Old 01-23-2019, 01:15 AM   #10
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State: North Carolina
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Originally Posted by rpmasson View Post
Hi Reid! We just got the same setup! And since we're new RV'ers (formerly pop-up camper to 28' Forest River pull trailer now RV) we may be signing up for one of your classes! I enjoyed your post - and thank you for your service!

Have a couple of Q's - I hope you don't mind:

First question that popped to mind - where you going to put the extra battery? I sure don't see room for one!

Second question & more general - does shore power charge the chassis battery on this thing? My first indication is "no," since we had our rig in for warrantee work (took 2 months!) the chassis battery was deader than a doornail. We jumped it to get it home, and I plugged it into shore power thinking it would charge the chassis - but hopped in and tried to start it in the morning - still dead. So now I'm trickle-charging the chassis battery (by way of those jump-start terminals under the hood - the battery is buried underneath the cab floor and as far as I can tell is inaccessible without a cutting torch!). So unless something else is broken - I don't see shore power charging the chassis battery...

Anyway thanks in advance - hope we cross paths at some point
I removed the existing 12 volt battery under the second entry step and installed two Interstate batteries of same mfg date. It was quite a challenge to reroute the heavy battery cables out of the way to fit the batteries in...

Shore power does charge the house battery but apparently not the engine battery. I initially had a problem with engine battery but found that there was a switch / breaker underneath house battery area but further to the rear (follow the heavy red battery cables). Just turned a lever and problem fixed.

The engine battery is underneath drivers feet. To get access, remove the star screws on floor level plastic side panel by door (tool in your tool kit), lift the foam mat and there it is; however, after I found this and jumped the battery to start engine, found that there is a 12 volt jumper cable underneath hood (where you connected trickle-charger) and really no need to get to engine battery. Flipping the switch/breaker mentioned above fixed the engine battery charging problem. Perhaps this is your problem as well.
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Old 01-23-2019, 06:26 PM   #11
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THOR #13356
I found the breaker that goes to the house battery, but flipping it didn't change my problem (trying to start the chassis using the house batteries). I don't think there is an emergency start switch in this chassis. My guess is to save costs Thor tried to keep the Sprinter chassis as stock as possible - no special wiring anywhere. Guess I'm stuck with a jump-starter.
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