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Old 01-12-2020, 02:27 PM   #1
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Model: Venetian A40
State: Idaho
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THOR #17453
A chance visit with a factory rep

Since the beast is in for warrantee work, we missed her so much, we went over to the Daytona RV show yesterday and revalidate our recent upgrade decision. Wouldn't make an even trade for anything we saw yesterday.

While there, we happened to meet Thor factory product manager Kevin Mullis. He helped me gain some insight into some of the relationships owners can expect with the factory and their chosen dealer or service center(s), that previously I didn't quite understand.

Not our first coach, but it is our first ownership experience where warrantee and an extended warrantee product cover service and repair work. I was a bit shocked to learn after the fact, that Thor really doesn't sell parts directly to customers, even after warrantees have run out. I understand some of their logic, but I'm of the opinion most long term motorhomers at some point resort to fixing/adjusting/repairing/replacing a lot of things themselves for economy, remote repairs and simplifying one's life by not having to take the motorhome in for work.

Anyhow it was a good learning experience for myself and hopefully for Kevin too. We discussed some of the issues and reasons ours is in the shop, most of which seem to be common or frequent issues. It did not appear as if the manufacture (well at least not Kevin) is reading these forums, but I sure am glad I don't have to take the dealer's word on how common issues are when I can come here and see that I'm not the only one that has experienced whatever the problem is.

How many of you folks have taken the time to visit a motorhome assembly facility? I may plan to do that if a route through Indiana is ever unavoidable.
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Old 01-12-2020, 02:57 PM   #2
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I took the Thor and Newmar Class A factory tours a few months ago while I was in Wakarusa for factory service.

It was very clear that the coaches are hand built, with all the good and bad that comes from that.

Based on many of the opinions that I have read on various forums, I expected to be underwhelmed by how Thor makes coaches and impressed by Newmar, but I came away slightly more impressed by how Thor does things, in both construction detail and process flow. That said, there were things that I liked and disliked about both.

I enjoyed the tours and will do them again if I'm in the area again.
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Old 01-12-2020, 03:35 PM   #3
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Remember than each Thor MC factory is independent of each other. The major Thor MC plants are 650, 750 and 850. Plants 650 and 750 use batch production, where as plant 850 does custom builds. Over at Jayco, the procedures are different from Thor MC. How things are done at the Diesel pusher Entegra plant are very different from the Jayco gas and diesel plant. I find it is impossible to compare the plants for quality, engineering, or design. Each has its good points and bad ones. Being a retired engineer, I love touring manufacturing plants. I have been through the Airstream plant four times over the past 26 years and visited the Jayco and Entegra plants last year. I visited the Thor plant 750 twice before I bought one of their products.
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Old 01-12-2020, 03:50 PM   #4
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Venetian A40
State: Idaho
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THOR #17453
Wow, great stories. You folks may have inspired me to make a tour trip more of a priority.

To Jtyphoid's point, I think the elitists snobs just need to gang up on someone else's brand to make up for their other inequities... Having just shopped for almost a year before our decision, I will say, "When you compare across similar lines of quality there really is little difference." For crying out loud, same engine, same chassis, same transmission, same leveling system. No coach builder builds their own appliances, so the products tend to get stratified along price and quality channels that hit specific intended missions, lengths and all the budgets from $50k on up. Down and dirty? Our model's floor plan trumped for our intended use, without having to compromise on any thing the competitors were offering in the price range.
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Old 01-12-2020, 03:57 PM   #5
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My problem has never been with Thor's assembly procedures. What chaps my behind is they use the lowest level materials possible and then assemble with zero sense of quality or pride in manufacture. A look at the wiring looms in my coach is proof. One run of wire will be stretched so tight it barely reached and the next will have a birds nest of excess wire tie strapped. It is insane. The factory reps must have to beat their heads against the walls to listen to the same thing over and over as most manufacturers will refine their processes to improve efficiency and reduce defects, but not Thor.
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Old 01-12-2020, 04:03 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Lt Keefer View Post
... most manufacturers will refine their processes to improve efficiency and reduce defects, but not Thor.
One thing is for sure, I will not be letting the dealer tell me I just have to live with the unusable driver's side fuel port. That ball is in the factory reps court now too.
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Old 01-12-2020, 04:13 PM   #7
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Thanks for telling us this, and I hope that yours is better than new: when the work is completed!
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Old 01-12-2020, 06:34 PM   #8
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Model: Axis 24.1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beau388 View Post
Remember than each Thor MC factory is independent of each other. The major Thor MC plants are 650, 750 and 850. Plants 650 and 750 use batch production, where as plant 850 does custom builds. Over at Jayco, the procedures are different from Thor MC. How things are done at the Diesel pusher Entegra plant are very different from the Jayco gas and diesel plant. I find it is impossible to compare the plants for quality, engineering, or design. Each has its good points and bad ones. Being a retired engineer, I love touring manufacturing plants. I have been through the Airstream plant four times over the past 26 years and visited the Jayco and Entegra plants last year. I visited the Thor plant 750 twice before I bought one of their products.
Have you made it North of Seattle (Everett) to take the Boeing plant tour?? Very much worth the trip.
https://www.futureofflight.org/boeing-tour-seattle
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Old 01-12-2020, 07:45 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
Have you made it North of Seattle (Everett) to take the Boeing plant tour?? Very much worth the trip.
https://www.futureofflight.org/boeing-tour-seattle
Yes. The Flight Aviation center in Mukilteo, Wash and the factory tour at Everett were done in 2014 in conjunction with our RV trip to the Olympic Peninsula (Pacific Beach Resort) and a visit to Vancouver Island. Boeing also has a tour in St Louis, MO at the MacDonald-Duglass factory but it not like the Mukiteo and Everett tours.

There is nothing like the Airstream Factory tour where you are on the factory floor with all the noise, hustle and bustle of tying to get 58 Airstream trailers out the door in a week. They do shutdown production a 2 pm on Friday so the last Friday tour at 3 pm is without noise or workers.
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Old 01-19-2020, 04:15 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by BlueWaterSUX View Post
Since the beast is in for warrantee work, we missed her so much, we went over to the Daytona RV show yesterday and revalidate our recent upgrade decision. Wouldn't make an even trade for anything we saw yesterday.

While there, we happened to meet Thor factory product manager Kevin Mullis. He helped me gain some insight into some of the relationships owners can expect with the factory and their chosen dealer or service center(s), that previously I didn't quite understand.

Not our first coach, but it is our first ownership experience where warrantee and an extended warrantee product cover service and repair work. I was a bit shocked to learn after the fact, that Thor really doesn't sell parts directly to customers, even after warrantees have run out. I understand some of their logic, but I'm of the opinion most long term motorhomers at some point resort to fixing/adjusting/repairing/replacing a lot of things themselves for economy, remote repairs and simplifying one's life by not having to take the motorhome in for work.

Anyhow it was a good learning experience for myself and hopefully for Kevin too. We discussed some of the issues and reasons ours is in the shop, most of which seem to be common or frequent issues. It did not appear as if the manufacture (well at least not Kevin) is reading these forums, but I sure am glad I don't have to take the dealer's word on how common issues are when I can come here and see that I'm not the only one that has experienced whatever the problem is.

How many of you folks have taken the time to visit a motorhome assembly facility? I may plan to do that if a route through Indiana is ever unavoidable.

I recently purchased a 2013 Thor Palazzo 33.2. I too found out that Thor will not sell directly to the owner. No problem for some items. One was the plastic thumb latch for the fuel door. Took me a while to find what it was called and the part number. Most of the time it is easy. The relay for the water pump/tank monitor went south. Finding that bugger was an exercise, but Thor, after a call (second contact), was most helpful in getting me the cable drawings for my rig. That enabled me to locate it behind the fuse/circuit breakers/water heater. The part number is on the relay itself and did a search. Had one in three days. So it does take some doing, but you can work around the problem of no sales or part number/description from Thor. Most items have manufacture and part numbers on them via stickers or in the plastic somewhere on the part. There almost isn't any part that you cannot find once you have two of ether manufacture, description, or part number and at least two are on the part.
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Old 01-19-2020, 12:07 PM   #11
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Model: 2017 SynergyTT24Ming Blue
State: Indiana
Posts: 453
THOR #6280
Bucket List?

My Bucket List?
Being tied to a chair while my mother-in-law talks? Not on the list.
Visiting the world's biggest ball of twine? Not on the list.
Sticking Needles in my eyes? Not on the list.
Touring a Thor Factory? Not on the list.

I see no need to visit a Thor factory so I can see first hand what my brother-in-law has been telling me for years and there is a lot of bad. (he is a supervisor at a Thor facility) I don't want to think about how they messed up my coach or yours. I just want to tour the country, camp out in the mountains, lakes, deserts, prairies or wherever the lord directs me. So deal with the bulls*it that comes with owning "any" motorhome and just go have fun in between it.

Anyway, that's what I think.
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Old 01-19-2020, 12:21 PM   #12
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Venetian A40
State: Idaho
Posts: 41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLP View Post
I recently purchased a 2013 Thor Palazzo 33.2. I too found out that Thor will not sell directly to the owner. No problem for some items. One was the plastic thumb latch for the fuel door. Took me a while to find what it was called and the part number. Most of the time it is easy. The relay for the water pump/tank monitor went south. Finding that bugger was an exercise, but Thor, after a call (second contact), was most helpful in getting me the cable drawings for my rig. That enabled me to locate it behind the fuse/circuit breakers/water heater. The part number is on the relay itself and did a search. Had one in three days. So it does take some doing, but you can work around the problem of no sales or part number/description from Thor. Most items have manufacture and part numbers on them via stickers or in the plastic somewhere on the part. There almost isn't any part that you cannot find once you have two of ether manufacture, description, or part number and at least two are on the part.
Yep. Between maintaining my own boats, airplanes and vehicles and a few houses this is pretty much the routine. I was just surprised that Thor's philosophy seems to be in the long run, one of forcing owners to dealerships, which may "save on incorrectly installed solutions" as the best policy for all owners. With every facet of a complex platform like the Venetian being archived digitally, not to mention Amazon, it is my opinion that it would be easy to support customers directly. Especially with smaller repair parts.

I understand how warrantee claim and authorization issues could be complicated here, but what about after a warrantee has elapsed and the customer just wants to get back up and running without a scheduled stop at a dealer...
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Old 01-19-2020, 09:29 PM   #13
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Model: Vegas 24.1
State: Texas
Posts: 59
THOR #13816
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueWaterSUX View Post
Since the beast is in for warrantee work, we missed her so much, we went over to the Daytona RV show yesterday and revalidate our recent upgrade decision. Wouldn't make an even trade for anything we saw yesterday.

While there, we happened to meet Thor factory product manager Kevin Mullis. He helped me gain some insight into some of the relationships owners can expect with the factory and their chosen dealer or service center(s), that previously I didn't quite understand.

Not our first coach, but it is our first ownership experience where warrantee and an extended warrantee product cover service and repair work. I was a bit shocked to learn after the fact, that Thor really doesn't sell parts directly to customers, even after warrantees have run out. I understand some of their logic, but I'm of the opinion most long term motorhomers at some point resort to fixing/adjusting/repairing/replacing a lot of things themselves for economy, remote repairs and simplifying one's life by not having to take the motorhome in for work.

Anyhow it was a good learning experience for myself and hopefully for Kevin too. We discussed some of the issues and reasons ours is in the shop, most of which seem to be common or frequent issues. It did not appear as if the manufacture (well at least not Kevin) is reading these forums, but I sure am glad I don't have to take the dealer's word on how common issues are when I can come here and see that I'm not the only one that has experienced whatever the problem is.

How many of you folks have taken the time to visit a motorhome assembly facility? I may plan to do that if a route through Indiana is ever unavoidable.
We discovered the same thing about Thor not selling directly to owners. Due to our fault our mirror closet door was cracked. It happened when we were enroute to our dealership for the last of our warranty work. When we asked if they had a replacement door in stock they told us they didnít but we could call Thor and they would send us one. Nope. While the Thor customer service guy was very helpful and found the part number for me I had to have the dealership order it and have it drop shipped to us. The dealership seemed surprised that Thor wouldnít take an order from us. It was back ordered so we havenít received it yet. Iím hoping it arrives in good condition. I have no reason to think it wonít.

Pam
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Old 01-19-2020, 09:46 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by BlueWaterSUX View Post
Yep. Between maintaining my own boats, airplanes and vehicles and a few houses this is pretty much the routine. I was just surprised that Thor's philosophy seems to be in the long run, one of forcing owners to dealerships, which may "save on incorrectly installed solutions" as the best policy for all owners. With every facet of a complex platform like the Venetian being archived digitally, not to mention Amazon, it is my opinion that it would be easy to support customers directly. Especially with smaller repair parts.

I understand how warrantee claim and authorization issues could be complicated here, but what about after a warrantee has elapsed and the customer just wants to get back up and running without a scheduled stop at a dealer...

My last RV was a Heartland fifth wheel. Heartland will send any part you want under warranty or sell direct to you after the warranty is over. Dealerships do not always do a good job at fixing or installing. It can be Russian Roulette and the time that they take is a big pain and unwarranted in many cases. If you have a good dealer, stick with them. Heartland allows you to take it to an independent RV repair facility under warranty so long as that they approve of the facility. I never got turned down. I really loved my fifth wheel with the living space, but my back, right foot, and knees screamed that I needed to change. My Thor Palazzo 33.2 is comfortable and will allow me to continue to RV for many more years.
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