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Old 03-17-2017, 12:37 AM   #1
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THOR #6443
Class A No Front Bumper

How to protect front end against small/minor impacts. I am concerned without front bumper serious damage can occur. I own a 2017 Thor Vegas and plan to travel across country.

Thanks
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Old 03-17-2017, 12:41 AM   #2
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You could get a bra made that will cover the front. The biggest danger is from flying rocks and other small debris.

Our Axis was less than a year old when it got this:

This was just to the right of the passenger side fog light.
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Old 03-17-2017, 01:20 AM   #3
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None have had front or for that matter rear bumpers for many years. Other than a clear shield, or front bra, to protect against flying rocks etc., there is really no way to protect against impacts, other than to avoid them.
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Old 03-17-2017, 01:30 AM   #4
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I have my unit now since 2002 and still have to see any damage to either the front or rear bumper area (where a bumper would be). The way more defensive driving style one has while driving a motorhome may be a reason a bumper is not needed.
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Old 03-17-2017, 02:27 AM   #5
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I cannot say that a front bumper is not needed. I saw a DP last weekend that sustained major fiberglass damage to the right front end. I am guessing that if it was torn apart, they would also find structural front end damage. This is now part of the choice between a Class A and a Class C. I do think about it periodically but I don't worry about it. I can see a day where some type of front end crash protection will be a requirement. More $$$$$.
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Old 03-17-2017, 02:51 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by axis earl View Post
I cannot say that a front bumper is not needed. I saw a DP last weekend that sustained major fiberglass damage to the right front end. I am guessing that if it was torn apart, they would also find structural front end damage. This is now part of the choice between a Class A and a Class C. I do think about it periodically but I don't worry about it. I can see a day where some type of front end crash protection will be a requirement. More $$$$$.
'Crash protection' has always been geared more at protecting passengers from injury/intrusion than preventing damage...
Car bumpers (if I recall correctly) now only need to sustain a 3 mph crash without damage... (used to be 5...) Most impacts are far more than that - and sustain moderate to major damage to their bumpers and underlying structure.

I'd still take the steel bumpers on my 76 Suburban any day...
Two people hit that beast... one rear ended it - their car looked like an accordion since someone rear ended them first... one side swiped it - the front bumper acted like a can opener ripping off their right front fender and name of car - plenty to help the police find them when they ran from the scene...
The first incident cost a little polishing compound to get the other car's paint off the rear bumper... the second took driving the Suburban against a solid object to push the edge of the bumper slightly back into place.
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Old 03-17-2017, 02:59 AM   #7
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How to protect front end against small/minor impacts. I am concerned without front bumper serious damage can occur. I own a 2017 Thor Vegas and plan to travel across country.

Thanks
Have you looked under or behind front cap to see if there is any type of steel beam or sub-bumper attached to frame? The Ford E-Series comes from factory with what appears to be bumper mounting flanges at end of each frame rail. I think these flanges are where a standard van bumper bolts to. Perhaps there is a steel beam under the plastic or fiberglass cap.
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Old 03-17-2017, 03:30 AM   #8
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I don't see anything behind the front fiberglass to hit other than the radiator.
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Old 03-17-2017, 12:40 PM   #9
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Vehicles these days are designed to absorb the energy of the crash (saving the passengers but not necessarily preventing damage as gmc alluded to above).

Look closely at the picture Chance provided of the frame. You can see the frame behind the bumper flanges looks more like an accordion than straight frame.
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Old 03-17-2017, 01:19 PM   #10
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Vehicles these days are designed to absorb the energy of the crash (saving the passengers but not necessarily preventing damage as gmc alluded to above).

Look closely at the picture Chance provided of the frame. You can see the frame behind the bumper flanges looks more like an accordion than straight frame.
That's correct Jamie. My old E-Series van is built the same way with the front section of the frame rail formed like an "accordion" to make it deform easier at the very front. Even so, there is a very strong-looking bumper that bolts to the very front of frame to help transfer impact loads back to vehicle (same as in Class Cs).

Without a bumper across the front, if you hit a tree or pole in very center between frame rails, it would push radiator and engine back too easily in my opinion. Of course, most motorhomes are not know for being built for safety.
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Old 03-17-2017, 01:54 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Chance
Without a bumper across the front, if you hit a tree or pole in very center between frame rails, it would push radiator and engine back too easily in my opinion. Of course, most motorhomes are not know for being built for safety.
Oh yeah: One of the other "campers" that was at Thor's Factory Service center with me had extensive damage to the front of their DP Class A and they had just brushed up against a curb. I think the expectation was that it was going to take 2 or 3 weeks fixing that (along with their other repairs).
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Old 03-17-2017, 03:13 PM   #12
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Front bumper crash protection on a Class A certainly is a concern. What is even more of a worry is the sidewall structure if you roll one of these over in the median. I witnessed two such interstate roll over crashes and the coaches literally come apart and you are left with debris and framework. That is why I'm getting the Safe-T and that is why I never run 75 and 80 down the interstate in my Class A.
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Old 03-17-2017, 04:00 PM   #13
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For highest safety I'd stick to a modern Class B. The welded steel body with air bags, crumble zones, tested seats and seat belts, etc. makes me think there is more protection in a crash. Plus I think it would be easier to avoid a crash in the first place.

I don't even want to think of a roll-over in a large motorhome. And the idea of a large slide room scares me even more. In a roll over accident I'd expect slideouts would probably not stay connected to remainder of coach.
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Old 03-17-2017, 05:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Chance View Post
Have you looked under or behind front cap to see if there is any type of steel beam or sub-bumper attached to frame? The Ford E-Series comes from factory with what appears to be bumper mounting flanges at end of each frame rail. I think these flanges are where a standard van bumper bolts to. Perhaps there is a steel beam under the plastic or fiberglass cap.
My motorhome (F53 chassis) has a pretty beefy steel plate mounted behind the fiberglass cap to protect the engine, etc.
But this real solid bumper would do nothing to protect the fiberglass.
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Old 03-17-2017, 06:52 PM   #15
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My motorhome (F53 chassis) has a pretty beefy steel plate mounted behind the fiberglass cap to protect the engine, etc.
But this real solid bumper would do nothing to protect the fiberglass.
That's very true, which is why I assumed Captain Kirk was asking about protecting more than the fiberglass. In any crash protecting the front cap would be the least of my concerns.
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Old 03-18-2017, 02:48 AM   #16
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Class A RV's and for that matter any rear engine bus type vehicle is pretty fragile in the front end. Large motorhomes are, frankly not build to withstand any kind of impact, and certainly not a roll-over. I had a 41 foot DP for eleven years, prior to the Gemini, and though I avoided any damage, by being a very cautious driver, I always worried about the unavoidable impact and the effect it would have on us inside. I frankly do feel a bit safer in the Gemini, though the house would likely fall apart, in a serious impact crash, the cab area we sit in while in motion, should stay intact, or at least more so then the DP.
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