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Old 07-07-2017, 10:34 PM   #1
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New Thor Researchers

Hello, All.

My wife and I have been following the FR forum for some time now and have been concerned that the quality of their product and long turn around time for service have been worrisome to us. We are both retired and looking for a Class C home that is similar to the FR Sunseeker 2400W. We love the open floor plan with the one slideout. We also think the Mercedes Benz engine is what we want. I stand 6' 7" tall so having the longest bed available is important. We are both looking forward to following this Thor forum as we plan to make our decision to buy by the end of this year or the beginning of 2018. We are also in the beginning stages of planning a trip to and around Alaska next summer after we get any bugs worked out of the unit we buy. Any input or advice from the experienced folks in this forum will be appreciated.

Thanks!

The (Retired) Librarians
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Old 07-07-2017, 11:05 PM   #2
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Thor Motor Coach builds all gas class Cs in plant 650 along with the small diesel class Cs. The planned production is over 20 coaches a week. You will read about 15 total complaints a year about the Thor class Cs After all, it is the Internet. I have owned my Hurricane (a product of plant 750 for 17 months and 15,800+ trouble free miles). I did stop by MHSRV to have two minor electrical issues fixed (blown fuse that I couldn't find and a loose wire to the water heater). I made the appointment the day before and was in and out of the dealership in 65 minutes.
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Old 07-07-2017, 11:10 PM   #3
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Yes you see a lot of complaints on this forum, rarely do people list the good things. Almost any brand forum you go to will read the same as this forum, all brands have problems. The dealer and their service department are what make the difference. This is our second Thor, the first had only one minor problem and this one only a couple of minor problems that were easily corrected. Would I buy another Thor, absolutely I would!!!

Look at floor plans you like, preferably with a king bed considering your height, and go from there. Visit a dealer that carries what you like and go try out the inside to see if it suits your needs. I'm 6-2 and sleep comfortably on our king, 6-7 might be a different story but I'm sure you understand. Best of luck in your search!
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Old 07-07-2017, 11:21 PM   #4
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Dave & Myra,

Is your king sized bed in a class c home? If so, what make and model, please.

The Retired Librarian
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Old 07-07-2017, 11:26 PM   #5
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Dave & Myra,

Is your king sized bed in a class c home? If so, what make and model, please.

The Retired Librarian
Sorry, no. We have a 30.5' Windsport 29M class A, which we love!

We used to live not to far from you in Florence, passed right by you on 75 every time we headed to Indiana to see family! Beautiful area!
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Old 07-07-2017, 11:53 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by bigskyline View Post
Hello, All.

My wife and I have been following the FR forum for some time now and have been concerned that the quality of their product and long turn around time for service have been worrisome to us. We are both retired and looking for a Class C home that is similar to the FR Sunseeker 2400W. We love the open floor plan with the one slideout. We also think the Mercedes Benz engine is what we want. I stand 6' 7" tall so having the longest bed available is important. We are both looking forward to following this Thor forum as we plan to make our decision to buy by the end of this year or the beginning of 2018. We are also in the beginning stages of planning a trip to and around Alaska next summer after we get any bugs worked out of the unit we buy. Any input or advice from the experienced folks in this forum will be appreciated.

Thanks!

The (Retired) Librarians
I'm not sure you are going to find a Thor similar to the 2400W. I know, because I was first very interested in the 2400W, then decided the Mercedes platform wasn't for me (I'll address that in a bit) and so decided on the 2430/2431 GTS floorplan (one is Forester and one is Sunseeker, don't remember which is which) on the Ford E450 platform. So, why I didn't get it.

My first hesitation was after spending a bunch of time researching things on the Forest River forums site, I became very concerned about quality. So, that was my first hesitation. In addition, I didn't really like the small shower, which many don't mind especially if they plan to use campground showers, but my wife and I wanted a bigger shower, but it was really the quality complaints on the Forest River forums that made us pause. In addition, the new Forest River models were being built with the Lippert MyRV tablet system and they have had a LOT of problems. So much that they are about to start adding manual switches back for the awning, slides, lights, etc. in addition to the tablet (when at a dealer, they couldn't pull the slide in because the tablet system broke and they couldn't reset).

So, I moved on to looking at Nexus RV next, which has an identical (nearly) floorplan of the 2400W/2430/2431 on a Ford E450. I mostly read good things about Nexus and they have tons of options, but they are relatively new and you have to go to an independent RV mechanic for warranty and Nexus reimburses you or you go to a mechanic in a network and they pay direct. This approach concerned me, but ironically now I think that would be FAR better than what I hear about many Thor dealers, since you get to choose who you want to work with. I mostly read good things about Nexus, so in theory, I think it's the floor plan you want from a coach maker that makes fewer coaches and hopefully much fewer issues.

I then started looking at Pheonix Cruisers, because they have a rabid fan base that love them. I convinced myself that I could live with twin beds, as otherwise their floor plans were nice (2551/2552). Maybe not as stylish as many coaches, but seemingly well built (key word, seemingly). They will work with you. So, if for instance the twin beds aren't long enough and you want them longer, they will go as far as lengthening the coach a foot or two to make the beds longer. They have a power twin bed that will slide out to make into a King, but the kicker is that you then have to climb out over the head of the bed to get to the bathroom or possibly lay across in the other direction and only one is near the bathroom (see floor plan to see what I mean). If you want more outlets. No problem. In motion satellite, no problem. Solar? No problem. Etc.

Then, I started spending time on the phoenix river forum and for instance a recent thread was "2017 slide -- a river runs through it?" and it's a series of people talking about leaking issues. Multiple other issues being discussed on the forum, but my sense is it's still much better than the mass produced models.

So, in the end, the wife and I just recently put a deposit in on a 2018 Vegas 25.3, which has most of what we want, with the exception of a living room area a bit tighter than we would like (can't beat that full wall slide in a 25' or so length on the 2400w/2430/2431 floorplan). I came to the conclusion that if you by an RV whether a Thor or a Forest River or a Tiffen or a Renegade or whatever, you are going to have issues and it comes with the territory.

Now, a few final thoughts, if you read this far and as librarians, I assume you like reading so have.

First, while they haven't announced it yet, Forest River is replacing the 2430/2431 (Ford E450 version) with a slightly longer floor plan, that has a marginally bigger shower and it's a rear bath arrangement. Instead of a full wall slide, it has the queen bed on a wall slide, then a fixed cabinet I believe, and then the couch, or dinette on a slide. So, it's very much like the 2400W but with two slides instead of one (the queen slide I think goes out farther than the living slide, which is why it's no longer full wall, so there is room to walk past the bed to the bathroom).

So, why did I swap to the Ford from Mercedes. A few reasons. First, I think many if not most people driving around in Mercedes based coaches are over the weight limit of the chasis and don't even know it. Many of them only have 900-1000lbs of CCC (cargo carrying capacity), which means that you, your wife, your luggage, gear, fresh water or anything else you put in the coach other than a tank of gas, needs to be less than 900-1000lbs or so (varies a bit by coach) or you are overweight.

While they are mostly reliable, when there are problems, if you are rural it can be a bear to find a repair shop to work on them and at times they have to order parts in from Germany (see horror story posted on Rv.net a couple days ago). The generator is undersized (again, due to weight limit on coach), in that the dealer said that if you have AC on and run microwave you might pop the breaker. Again, due to the weight limit and Mercedes rules about chassis modification, you won't find any with auto levelers at most you will find stabilizers and if you wanted to do it after market, you don't really have the capacity to have a 200-250lb leveling system installed, because then you would be down to 700lbs capacity for EVERYTHING other than gas.

So, in the end, I don't have a good alternative to the 2400W, other than the mirror RV which is the Nexus RV 25P (link below), if you really like the full wall slide in a small coach.

https://nexusrv.com/product/2018-pha...gas-motorhome/

I do strongly suggest you do some more reading about the limitations of the Mercedes chassis and make sure you are comfortable living withing the weight limits and other limitations of that chassis. Everyone loves how they drive, but beyond that there are a lot of disadvantages beyond the $15-20,000 premium over identical Ford E450/350 models.

Good luck.

P.S. Since this is so long a post, I haven't gone back and proofed for typos, so please excuse any you found.
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Old 07-07-2017, 11:55 PM   #7
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Dave & Myra,

Is your king sized bed in a class c home? If so, what make and model, please.

The Retired Librarian
From what I've seen, the only options for Kings in short coaches are twin beds that can be converted to a king or some of the corner beds are "kingish."

Beyond that, it seems like I was seeing them when you got into the gas class A's in the 30-32'+ range.
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Old 07-08-2017, 12:27 AM   #8
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Dear "no typos"

Thanks a million for your perspective. We librarians just read it all:-) We have had a concern about the amount we could add to an MBS class c home, but thought the almost double mileage compared to gas might make it a better choice. I will take your comment to heart along with looking at other units you have suggested.
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Old 07-08-2017, 12:39 AM   #9
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Dear "no typos"

Thanks a million for your perspective. We librarians just read it all:-) We have had a concern about the amount we could add to an MBS class c home, but thought the almost double mileage compared to gas might make it a better choice. I will take your comment to heart along with looking at other units you have suggested.
Might want to check out something like this to work out the math on what the break even is in terms of miles driven. I would guess that it would take at least 100,000 miles driven, and possibly closer to 200,000+ miles before the improved MPG would offset the extra cost of the Mercedes chassis (also factoring in the higher cost of diesel and DEF cost.

https://www.thefitrv.com/rv-tips/gas...d-my-thoughts/

when I was doing research, it was 15-20,000 more for a MBS compared to Ford E350/450 on the same floor plan (when you could get the same floor plan). They have a higher MSRP and dealers don't discount them as much, claiming they don't have as much of a margin on the MBS chassis.

I think for most people get sucked in by the perceived savings of better MPG, but will actually struggle mightily to ever actually have that increased MPG offset the higher initial cost along with the slightly higher cost of diesel.

Just more food for thought.
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Old 07-08-2017, 12:55 AM   #10
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You also want to look at the maintenance costs and availability of maintenance. Oil changes in the Diesel can run you several hundred dollars while the V-10 is around $40. In addition any where you go (think Alaska and NE Canada - I have done it twice) you can always get someone to work on a Ford and get parts. I have run the figures for me many times and I can't justify the diesel. That is not to say that it might be worth it to you.
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Old 07-08-2017, 01:08 AM   #11
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Super D,

Your experience is invaluable to The Retired Librarians. I did do the gas vs. diesel calculations and found the following:

For gas at $2.20/gal travelling 100K miles at 7 miles per gal. will cost about $31,427.00

For diesel at $2.60/gal at 14 miles per gal. cost is about $18,571.00 (DEF not incl.)

Given the difference in oil changes, initial cost, finding mechanics, and cargo weight issues, looks like we need to rethink what we've thought.

Anyone else have thoughts on gas vs. diesel in a class c MH?
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Old 07-08-2017, 01:56 AM   #12
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Thor Motor Coach builds all gas class Cs in plant 650 along with the small diesel class Cs. The planned production is over 20 coaches a week. You will read about 15 total complaints a year about the Thor class Cs After all, it is the Internet. I have owned my Hurricane (a product of plant 750 for 17 months and 15,800+ trouble free miles). I did stop by MHSRV to have two minor electrical issues fixed (blown fuse that I couldn't find and a loose wire to the water heater). I made the appointment the day before and was in and out of the dealership in 65 minutes.
How would I know if my coach was built at the 650 or 750 plant.
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Old 07-08-2017, 02:11 AM   #13
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Thor Motor Coach builds all gas class Cs in plant 650 along with the small diesel class Cs. The planned production is over 20 coaches a week. You will read about 15 total complaints a year about the Thor class Cs After all, it is the Internet. I have owned my Hurricane (a product of plant 750 for 17 months and 15,800+ trouble free miles). I did stop by MHSRV to have two minor electrical issues fixed (blown fuse that I couldn't find and a loose wire to the water heater). I made the appointment the day before and was in and out of the dealership in 65 minutes.
I have to disagree with the 15 total complaints a year... Maybe in past years that was true but definitely not this year. By late March factory repair was booked till late June and all the local factory shops were booked as far and some farther out into the year. This doesn't take into consideration any dealer repairs around the country... I love my coach but it was a piece of crap when I received it and if not for fixing many of the things myself it would still be waiting for repairs. Yes they all have issues but this year was a banner year for Thor producing crap to keep up with demand. No doubt some of the coaches were fine and yes there are happy customers, but let there be no confusion as to the amount of issues with Thor products this year. I'm a previous owner of a Keystone Cougar that like most had normal issues and was a quality product. Thor advertised my coach on a E450 and sadly it was built on an E350 and they are like .. whoops... Sue me... I once was a happy owner of a Thor product but am now disappointed in management... not the coach! #ThorLacksIntegrity
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Old 07-08-2017, 02:15 AM   #14
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Super D,

Your experience is invaluable to The Retired Librarians. I did do the gas vs. diesel calculations and found the following:

For gas at $2.20/gal travelling 100K miles at 7 miles per gal. will cost about $31,427.00

For diesel at $2.60/gal at 14 miles per gal. cost is about $18,571.00 (DEF not incl.)

Given the difference in oil changes, initial cost, finding mechanics, and cargo weight issues, looks like we need to rethink what we've thought.

Anyone else have thoughts on gas vs. diesel in a class c MH?
As you have already noted there are big differences in maintaining a diesel vs a gas coach. Our Windsport averaged 9.1-9.2 mpg on our last 600 mile trip, I attribute part of this to switching to Mobil 1 full synthetic and keeping cruise control at 62-63 mph. I've had both diesel and gas, no preference, mostly depends on the application it's being used for. Gas engines, mostly all Ford now, can be serviced in just about every town, not so much with a diesel. With a diesel you will also have to have a diesel generator or one that runs on propane, also another expense. A lot to consider!
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Old 07-08-2017, 02:53 AM   #15
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Just curious, at 6-7 have you sat in the drivers seat yet? My friend wouldn't fit in the drivers seat of an E450 chassis at 6-4. He did fit in a Class A and most likely will fit in a Ford diesel chassis(class C), cab is different. I'm a ford guy and have a diesel truck. The dealer convinced me on the E450. I'm glad I went with the gas. It does fine in mountains and maintenance cost is much less. There are also a lot more gas pumps in the word than diesel, easier in and out.
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Old 07-08-2017, 03:11 AM   #16
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As you have already noted there are big differences in maintaining a diesel vs a gas coach. Our Windsport averaged 9.1-9.2 mpg on our last 600 mile trip, I attribute part of this to switching to Mobil 1 full synthetic and keeping cruise control at 62-63 mph. I've had both diesel and gas, no preference, mostly depends on the application it's being used for. Gas engines, mostly all Ford now, can be serviced in just about every town, not so much with a diesel. With a diesel you will also have to have a diesel generator or one that runs on propane, also another expense. A lot to consider!
On all the MBS coaches I looked at, including the 2400W, the generator is only 2.3kw, which is not very big. The same coach with a gasser will have a 4kw generator.
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Old 07-08-2017, 04:57 AM   #17
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Super D,

Your experience is invaluable to The Retired Librarians. I did do the gas vs. diesel calculations and found the following:

For gas at $2.20/gal travelling 100K miles at 7 miles per gal. will cost about $31,427.00

For diesel at $2.60/gal at 14 miles per gal. cost is about $18,571.00 (DEF not incl.)

Given the difference in oil changes, initial cost, finding mechanics, and cargo weight issues, looks like we need to rethink what we've thought.

Anyone else have thoughts on gas vs. diesel in a class c MH?

Just that most motorhomes don't get driven that much, so it may take many years to accumulate 100,000 miles. You may consider that in payback estimates.

I've seen data showing that the average motorhome gets driven only about 5,000 miles per year. At that rate it would take 20 years to achieve those savings.
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Old 07-08-2017, 06:07 AM   #18
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Sidenote, while I've ordered a Vegas, last year when I started down the path of researching an RV, when I first walked into a dealer I said, "I'm looking for a Sprinter based RV." I had 100% intention of getting an RV on the Mercedes Sprinter chassis and it wasn't until I had done many months of research that I realized it wasn't for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chance View Post
Just that most motorhomes don't get driven that much, so it may take many years to accumulate 100,000 miles. You may consider that in payback estimates.

I've seen data showing that the average motorhome gets driven only about 5,000 miles per year. At that rate it would take 20 years to achieve those savings.

In addition to that, the MPG on the gas used in the calculation above is on the low side for gas. Based on feedback in forums, I've seen that the Ford's typically get 9-11, some claim a bit lower, some a bit higher, so 10 MPG is probably a safe comparison point. The sprinter based coaches 14-16, again, some reporting higher, some lower, but most seemed to be in that range, so lets say 15.

So, instead of 100% better fuel economy 7 to 14, it's more like a 50% improvement at 10 to 15.

Also, you will be lucky to only pay any less than $13k more for an MBS vs Ford, and several thousand more than that on like for like coaches is not unheard of. There is a reason why the Ford E series is the number one chassis for coaches.

So, if you figure 10/15 Ford/MBS, then the 100k savings is only $4000 (after the $600 on DEF). If we go with 9/16 (Ford/MBS) then we are about $7500 fuel savings.

That doesn't factor in higher maintenance costs, as mentioned above, which is why I said that it's possibly 200,000+ miles payback on fuel savings (also doesn't take into account interest on the higher loan amount if you finance, or lost investment income if you pay cash).

So, bottom line, when it comes to the Mercedes platform, fuel savings is fools gold when it comes to savings. It doesn't mean that the MBS might not be the perfect choice, it just shouldn't be based on fuel savings, because you just won't see that return ever pay off. Instead, the decision on MBS vs Ford needs to be based on which coach gives you the features and value for your money.

If it's about diesel payback, then the only real option in class C's is the crop that are starting to popup on the Ford transit diesel. Similar, possibly higher, MPG to the Mercedes, but without the price premium, and typically slightly higher CCC (cargo capacity) due to it being a lighter weight platform than the Mercedes. Downside is that I've mostly only seen smaller, tighter floorplans with it (Winnebago Fuse, Thor Compass, Sunseeker 2370TS, etc.)
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Old 07-08-2017, 01:34 PM   #19
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The other positive for a diesel that I factored into my thinking is that at 100,000 miles, the diesel is just getting broken in while the gas engine is considered old at best - which makes a difference in resale value. However, 100,000 miles for me is 10 years and most of the coach "systems" will need to be replaced and I don't keep a motor home that long anyway.
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Old 07-08-2017, 01:35 PM   #20
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I have sat in the MBS models and have enough leg and shoulder room. I have not sat in any other model, I'll have to see how that works. I expect it may be an issue as I own a Ford 350 Super Van and that is kind of tight for my frame. Wife and I will be looking this week, so I'll sit in some Ford 450s to see what they're like.
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