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Old 01-02-2018, 01:24 AM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
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THOR #6634
Rough Trip

I just got back from a trip to the Florida Panhandle and I feel like I've been beaten with a stick. Eleven months ago I traded in my little Navion for a Thor ACE 29.4 thinking I'd avoid repair issues, at least for the first year or so. However, I've had more trouble with this RV in eleven months than I had with the Navion in eight years. Here's what happened on this trip.

1) After filling up with Propane before I left my hometown, somewhere along the way I developed a propane leak. I lost just over a half tank of propane before I tightened the nut where I was losing the fuel. More on that later...

2) During a LIGHT rain with very little wind my awning collapsed. One of the braces pulled out of the exterior wall. The vinyl ripped right down the middle and one of the support bars broke in half while the other bent to a point that it could not be repaired. I discovered that the awning was held in place by eight sheet metal screws that had been screwed into the fiberglass walls with no backing (I compare it to installing a stairway railing to a wall by driving screws into the sheet rock but missing the studs.) OK, I realize you aren't supposed to have an awning up in the rain, but this rain was so light that everyone in the park had left their awnings up. A quick drive through the park revealed that of the 51 awnings that were still extended, mine was the only one damaged.

3) During the trip home my back-up camera began malfunctioning. Whenever we hit a bump it would flicker and often it would go off completely. I discovered if I hit the dash right below the monitor like Fonzie it would come back on. Unlike Fonzie, however, my fix was not permanent. When I hit the next bump it would flicker again and go off.

4) As I approached Northern Arkansas the temperature dropped drastically. When I reached my house just before midnight on New Years Eve I turned the furnace up to 75 hoping that keeping the RV at that temperature would keep the pump and pipes from freezing. The plan might have worked except that because I had lost so much propane (see problem 1) I ran out during the night and our propane dealer is closed for New Years day. In anticipation of running out, I brought in two space heaters as back-up but I guess they couldn't keep up enough to save the pipes. I've drained the fresh water tanks, the water heater, and both waste tanks, but the pump won't even hum. I should mention that I had hoped not to have to winterize because I'll be taking my wife in for eye surgery on Wednesday and we planned to stay in the RV during her recovery).

OK, so where do I start.

1) The propane leak appears to be fixed now, and I'm hoping to slip away from work tomorrow to get by the propane dealer for a refill.

2) The awning is not salvageable and even though I bought every warranty known to man, it appears that the warranty won't cover the damage. They say they only cover manufacture defect and could only discover if that was the case if I could have gotten the destroyed awning to a Camping World for an assessment. But because my son and I had already taken the awning down, it was impossible for them to determine if it was a manufacture defect or not. We did take photos and I passed them along to the Panama City Camping Word, but they tell me that my chances are doubtful at best.

3) I'm hoping I can pull the Axxera radio/monitor and that I'll be able to find a simple short that will be easy to fix. But does anyone know if this type of unit just pulls out using slide tools on the side (like we used to do with a car radio?) Or will I have to disassemble the entire dash?

4) Finally, I take full responsibility for the freezing mess. Despite my plan to use the RV later this week, I obviously should have winterized before I left Florida. Having said that, what are the chances now I'll get out of this without having to replace a pump and do a lot of pipe repair. I've got space heaters in the RV now and a heat lamp directed on the pump. It's 11 degrees tonight and should only reach 24 degrees tomorrow.

Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.
HC in North Central Arklansas.
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Old 01-02-2018, 01:38 AM   #2
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Yes on removing the radio, but if your side cameras work OK the problem is probably at the switch box which is underneath the removable panel in front of the steering wheel.
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Old 01-02-2018, 01:45 AM   #3
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You might be able to fix the monitor issue more easily. I have had this same problem a few times. You can reach up under the dash from right in front of the center console and feel the wires. Then just run your hand up the wires to where they plug in and make sure they are tight. I can usually fix that problem that way with my ACE 30.3.
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Old 01-02-2018, 03:45 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Moondoggie View Post
4) Finally, I take full responsibility for the freezing mess. Despite my plan to use the RV later this week, I obviously should have winterized before I left Florida. Having said that, what are the chances now I'll get out of this without having to replace a pump and do a lot of pipe repair. I've got space heaters in the RV now and a heat lamp directed on the pump. It's 11 degrees tonight and should only reach 24 degrees tomorrow.

Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.
HC in North Central Arklansas.
With any luck the PEX water pipes and faucets are ok. The pump may be sensing pressure in the system, so it's not turning on... maybe? That sucks about the awning. I think if ours ever self destructs I may just have an older style pull out installed.
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Old 01-02-2018, 11:25 AM   #5
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On the monitor issue:. Besides just reaching under and up under the right of the dash and pushing in connections. You can remove the access panel in front of the steering wheel. Stuffed to the right is the switching box for the three cameras. Our situation was the box was bad but our son was able to repair it. I believe a new box is about 100.00. our cameras did the same in bumps. Hitting the dash helped bring them back on temporarily.
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Old 01-02-2018, 11:50 AM   #6
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Your monitor problems are most likely caused by the video switch box under the dash. Check the connections, but if theyíre ok then you probably have a bad box. The switch boxes are not very reliable and lots of owners, including myself, have had to replace them. The box looks like this:

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Old 01-02-2018, 12:23 PM   #7
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It seems that things can only get better from this point forward...
About the awning.. Since you have pictures, and they can inspect the rig, to see that the mounting screws were in the wrong place: you should be able to make a strong case for a manufacturing defect.
Don't give up on it!
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Old 01-02-2018, 12:41 PM   #8
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wrong model
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Old 01-02-2018, 01:25 PM   #9
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I agree about not giving up on the awning being covered under warranty, extended or otherwise. However, based on some friends experience with CW you will probably have to fight with them over every single repair.

The pex should be okay unless some fittings got froze so solid they expanded too much and were damaged. Even if the water pump is toast you can replace it with a high end one for less than $250.00 yourself in about 5 minutes.

Good luck.
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Old 01-02-2018, 04:58 PM   #10
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THOR #6634
not much change yet...

Thanks Everybody. I was considering a cheaper awning. The one I had in my old rig just fastened to the top of the RV. Problem with that is now that my support arms are gone, I've got a row of holes in the fiberglass at each end of the rig. Since the holes are just outside the door they are hard to miss (though I have the original screws in the holes now to block the rain. That makes it a little better, but the column of holes nearest the door has one hole with a bunch of putty around it, as though they drilled in the wrong place and tried to correct it.

Just thinking out loud here but has anyone ever bought an awning and replaced it yourself? Wondering how hard it is to do. I'm not a great mechanic but I think I can beat the job Thor has done on mine. I've had two people now tell me the awning may run as much as 1700 installed. I'm sure this is an expensive one. It runs pretty much the length of the RV excluding the cab. And of course it's motorized...

I was able to get propane this morning. The rig is outside with the interior temp set at 75 (It's 15 degrees and sunny here today). I'm hoping the heat from inside will radiate to the outside compartments and maybe thaw out the pump. I've had the heat on now for three hours and no change that I can see. is it possible there is a reset or something on the pump that I haven't found yet? Again, just thinking out loud.

The good news, I guess, is that there is no water on the floor of the rv yet. That may be something. And I'm not seeing anything dripping from underneath yet.

I haven't reached under the dash yet, or checked the panel on the steering wheel. I'll take a look at that my next trip outside.

Thanks for all the help. I'll keep you posted
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Old 01-02-2018, 05:12 PM   #11
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Good luck: our fingers are crossed for you!
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Old 01-02-2018, 09:41 PM   #12
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Since the awning was 'storm damage', may be worth a chat with your RV (auto) insurance. Possibly a claim under your comprehensive coverage if Thor won't cover it as defect.
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Old 01-02-2018, 10:30 PM   #13
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But then there'll be a deductible for him to deal with...
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Old 01-02-2018, 11:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moondoggie View Post
Thanks Everybody. I was considering a cheaper awning. The one I had in my old rig just fastened to the top of the RV. Problem with that is now that my support arms are gone, I've got a row of holes in the fiberglass at each end of the rig. Since the holes are just outside the door they are hard to miss (though I have the original screws in the holes now to block the rain. That makes it a little better, but the column of holes nearest the door has one hole with a bunch of putty around it, as though they drilled in the wrong place and tried to correct it.

Just thinking out loud here but has anyone ever bought an awning and replaced it yourself? Wondering how hard it is to do. I'm not a great mechanic but I think I can beat the job Thor has done on mine. I've had two people now tell me the awning may run as much as 1700 installed. I'm sure this is an expensive one. It runs pretty much the length of the RV excluding the cab. And of course it's motorized...

I was able to get propane this morning. The rig is outside with the interior temp set at 75 (It's 15 degrees and sunny here today). I'm hoping the heat from inside will radiate to the outside compartments and maybe thaw out the pump. I've had the heat on now for three hours and no change that I can see. is it possible there is a reset or something on the pump that I haven't found yet? Again, just thinking out loud.

The good news, I guess, is that there is no water on the floor of the rv yet. That may be something. And I'm not seeing anything dripping from underneath yet.

I haven't reached under the dash yet, or checked the panel on the steering wheel. I'll take a look at that my next trip outside.

Thanks for all the help. I'll keep you posted
Just a thought, but have you checked 12v fuses for the pump? Or check to make sure you have 12v power at the pump with a meter,?
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Old 01-03-2018, 01:34 AM   #15
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THOR #6634
some progress

The pump kicked in today around 2pm, so I know it's not broken but...
The only faucets I could get to run were the cold taps on both the bathroom sink and shower. the cold tap does not work on the kitchen sink and none of the hot water taps are working as of 8pm. My theory is that the bathroom is on the sunny side of the RV while the lines from the water heater are on the side nearest my house where the sun doesn't hit the RV directly. I see where our forecast for tomorrow is calling for a high of 34, so I'm hopeful something may happen then. I've been pretty impressed by the durability of both the pump and the lines. I''m not seeing any signs of leakage either inside or outside of the RV. Maybe my luck will hold as I wait for the hot water lines to thaw.

I was also able to reach up behind the radio and found a plug that seemed like it might have been lose. I pushed it into place and when I started the RV the rear camera came on, but I have not had the rig back on the road so I don't know if it will still work after I hit a few North Central Arkansas potholes.

I complained to Thor about the lack of response I've had (in the past) with Camping World in North Little Rock. They suggest I try a new dealership about an hour from my house (2 hours closer than the NLR Camping World.) I'm hoping I can get them to at least file for warranty coverage. My plan is to visit them when the temps get a bit warmer. Maybe they'll have some ideas for Awning replacement.

Feeling a little better about things tonight. We'll see how things progress.
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Old 01-03-2018, 04:33 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moondoggie View Post
The pump kicked in today around 2pm, so I know it's not broken but...
The only faucets I could get to run were the cold taps on both the bathroom sink and shower. the cold tap does not work on the kitchen sink and none of the hot water taps are working as of 8pm. My theory is that the bathroom is on the sunny side of the RV while the lines from the water heater are on the side nearest my house where the sun doesn't hit the RV directly. I see where our forecast for tomorrow is calling for a high of 34, so I'm hopeful something may happen then. I've been pretty impressed by the durability of both the pump and the lines. I''m not seeing any signs of leakage either inside or outside of the RV. Maybe my luck will hold as I wait for the hot water lines to thaw.

I was also able to reach up behind the radio and found a plug that seemed like it might have been lose. I pushed it into place and when I started the RV the rear camera came on, but I have not had the rig back on the road so I don't know if it will still work after I hit a few North Central Arkansas potholes.

I complained to Thor about the lack of response I've had (in the past) with Camping World in North Little Rock. They suggest I try a new dealership about an hour from my house (2 hours closer than the NLR Camping World.) I'm hoping I can get them to at least file for warranty coverage. My plan is to visit them when the temps get a bit warmer. Maybe they'll have some ideas for Awning replacement.

Feeling a little better about things tonight. We'll see how things progress.
Moondoggie, good to hear you are making progress. Hopefully, the warmer temps will help out. Wish you luck with the awning. I had the same experience when I reached under the dash and found a loose connection. On our recent 4770 mile trip, it occasionally did the same thing. I would reach under and resecure the cable and would be OK for a couple more days. Once we get some warm weather, I want to get under there with a mirror or something so I can see what I'm doing and try to make a more permanent fix.
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Old 01-03-2018, 11:21 AM   #17
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Moondoggie, put a hair dryer turned on high in the cabinet where the water heater is and then close the door. You’ll probably have to let it run for a while but that will get some heat built up and should free up your water lines. Good luck!
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Old 01-03-2018, 01:08 PM   #18
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You probably realize this but if your pump is working you will know real soon if you have a leak as it will not shut off. Good luck
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Old 01-03-2018, 01:44 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moondoggie View Post
The pump kicked in today around 2pm, so I know it's not broken but...
The only faucets I could get to run were the cold taps on both the bathroom sink and shower. the cold tap does not work on the kitchen sink and none of the hot water taps are working as of 8pm. My theory is that the bathroom is on the sunny side of the RV while the lines from the water heater are on the side nearest my house where the sun doesn't hit the RV directly. I see where our forecast for tomorrow is calling for a high of 34, so I'm hopeful something may happen then. I've been pretty impressed by the durability of both the pump and the lines. I''m not seeing any signs of leakage either inside or outside of the RV. Maybe my luck will hold as I wait for the hot water lines to thaw.

I was also able to reach up behind the radio and found a plug that seemed like it might have been lose. I pushed it into place and when I started the RV the rear camera came on, but I have not had the rig back on the road so I don't know if it will still work after I hit a few North Central Arkansas potholes.

I complained to Thor about the lack of response I've had (in the past) with Camping World in North Little Rock. They suggest I try a new dealership about an hour from my house (2 hours closer than the NLR Camping World.) I'm hoping I can get them to at least file for warranty coverage. My plan is to visit them when the temps get a bit warmer. Maybe they'll have some ideas for Awning replacement.

Feeling a little better about things tonight. We'll see how things progress.
Just a thought for next time. You don't need to keep the inside at 70+, because your furnace should have ducts going into the storage areas with water. In my 30.3, I have four compartments with Pex, the one with the outdoor fridge unfortunately has no furnace. I think they believe the heat from the fridge running along with only 1/4" ply between it and the house will keep it warm.

The other compartments are fed by the furnace. To save fuel, you could set your temp to something like 50* inside. However, even that likely won't be enough, especially if like mine, your dump area is fed from a heating duct on the other side of the coach (pass through compartment where the black/grey tanks are). So, you really need some supplemental heat in those compartments, since they have zero insulation. For mid 20's, I've found the little fanless heaters intended to reduce humidity (davis dryers) work good.

For the temps we've had in Arkansas this past week, you need more. In case you are caught in this situation again, I would buy a few 200 watt ceramic heaters Honeywell and Lasko both make some that are around $20 or less a piece (honeywell's has tip over protection, which I think is better) and you would likely be OK if you had your coach set to 50 or so and had heaters in the bays with Pex, BUT that's really pushing the limits of these ACE's and their minimal insulation.

I was due to go up to Branson last week with my sister and her family, and I bailed, because I didn't trust my ACE in those temps, including the possibility of the regulator freezing.

Good luck, hope you escaped with little to no pipe damage. The awning situation sucks and is disappointing. I'll be sure to use mine only on sunny, windless days.
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Old 01-03-2018, 01:46 PM   #20
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THOR #8860
My fingers are crossed, and I'm hoping that the warmer temperatures will end up proving that there is no further damage...
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