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MountainElite 05-11-2016 11:19 PM

2016 Freedom Elite - Yea!!!
 
Good day. We're pretty much brand new to Class C RVs, though we have camped in travel trailers for quite a long time. All I can say is I'm glad I didn't know how much better a Class C was than a travel trailer a long time ago because it would have changed some major decisions in my life.

We bought our 2016 Freedom Elite 23H just a little over 2 weeks ago and immediately took it on a 4,200 mile trip from the mountains of North Carolina to the southern Texas coast, up to Pierre, South Dakota and back to our home in the Smoky Mountains.

The coach performed flawlessly. Before purchasing the RV we did a lot of research and found some reviews that painted the Freedom Elite line of coaches in a fairly unfavorable light. However, reading a little deeper it seemed a great number of those unfavorable reviews were based on the writer expecting a lot more than (I though) they should in an entry-level motor home.

Based on that, we decided to purchase the Freedom Elite from our nearby Camping World in Hendersonville, NC, south of assville. The folks there were great, very professional and made the entire transaction mostly seamless. They even worked hard to get the coach to us a day early because of forecast thunderstorms on the scheduled delivery day.

Of course, as with any vehicle, there were a couple of burps, but nothing worth excessive griping. One piece of trip below and behind the driver's door was not screwed on properly, but fortunately it did not fall off until after we returned home. It was easy to replace and I even added some silicone sealant to seal the exposed wood. I had read another posting regarding a gap in the rear wheel wells that would allow water intrusion when driving in rain, so I filled and sealed that gap. A single screw fell out of the counter side table, but was easily replaced, and on the retractable awning, one of the pistons seems a little more "aggressive" when it comes to lowering the arms to put a tilt on the awning. One side just doesn't want to stay down, but that may ease a bit with more use.

There was one quality control issue that came up before we departed on our trip. My bride noticed the passenger-side backup light was not working as I backed down our driveway. I unscrewed the backup light cover and found quite a bit of condensation in the fixture. Upon further investigation I found the foam gasket that sits between the light fixture and the fiberglass had been torn in installation and did not seal the light fixture. After removing the entire fixture from the coach I found water had intruded into the wood under the fiberglass as well. The backup light was not working because the wires on the bulb had corroded. I pulled all the lights out and used a wire brush on them to remove the corrosion, replaced the bulbs and everything worked. I took the brand name and model number from the light fixture and called Command Electronics to request a replacement gasket. Even though the gasket was obviously torn during installation and it was not their fault, they were kind enough to send me a replacement at no charge. It was waiting for us on our return. Kudos to Command Electronics!

On our trip we encountered hills, some mountains (small - not the Rockies), some stop-and-go traffic, highways and back roads. We were in headwinds seemingly everywhere we went, but that's just my usual luck. Part of the time we were driving in 90-degree heat, and part of the time we were driving in the 40-degree range. We almost never ran the truck air conditioner, and only ran the generator while driving to power the coach AC for about half of one day. Over our 4,200-mile trip we averaged just about 8.8 miles per gallon at an average speed of 60 miles per hour.

Both times I have communicated with Thor Industries have been fantastic. I e-mailed their customer service and gave them my VIN number, and they then e-mailed me engineering drawings and wiring diagrams of my coach. Not sure if I will use that, but having them makes future decisions and trouble-shooting a lot easier. I also received a call from our "personal concierge" who gave me contact information and helpful numbers in case something goes wrong.

One thing I would like to have received with the Freedom Elite would be a spare tire. I fully understand the arguments against trying to change an RV tire by yourself, but even if you're not doing that, you have to have a spare in order to use the TIRE CHANGE service from any of the Roadside Assistance programs given/offered by Camping World, Good Sam or Ford. So, I'm looking for a spare tire/wheel combo to carry.

So, you can put us down as satisfied customers at this point. I'm sure enough of the coach that we have discussed taking it across Canada over to the great northwest, and then back across the northern states to our home, avoiding California at all costs. :coolsmiley: And to be clear, I have no financial interest in Thor. This review contains just our first impressions and I understand anything can change on our next trip out. If that happens, I'll update, but for now, even with the understanding this is an "entry level" motor coach, we couldn't be more pleased. If you have any specific questions, I'll be happy to answer them. Thanks for letting us into your group.

Bruce Fields
Fines Creek, NC

P.S. Oh yeah, one thing I'd like to change. Can anyone find a way to get me 25 miles per gallon in this thing?

Jegdrum5050 05-11-2016 11:34 PM

Sounds like a great trip! That's one way to get to know your coach for sure. Welcome from Florida! And to many more happy trails

BCRacing24 05-12-2016 08:00 AM

I'd sure like a Diesel option in the Class-C line (non super-c).....That would net +15 mpg, and I'd be happy with that :)

DocMike 05-12-2016 11:47 AM

Bruce,

We live near Hickory NC. If you want that good gas mileage set your gauges about 4 miles East of Asheville as you start down I-40 heading towards Old Fart. You can coast most of the way and should get close to 15MPG :).

I got 35 MPG on my wife's Navigator a few years ago! Yep, downhill with a tailwind!

Doc

MountainElite 05-12-2016 12:17 PM

Good advice
 
Thanks for that. We would have opted for a diesel engine as well, perhaps in a Navion or something similar, but we didn't have the extra $25K sitting around at the time. :facepalm: As for the downhill run, I get that. We can put our car in neutral, leave the top of our driveway and not have to put the car back in gear for about 6 miles down the road. I wouldn't try it with the RV because I don't want to take some of those corners that fast... :)

JamieGeek 05-12-2016 01:04 PM

Even the new replacement gaskets on those tailights will eventually crush and allow water in. Members here have all tried different things to prevent that (replacing the light fixtures, replacing the gaskets, using silicone, etc.). My solution was Flex Seal; see that in this thread:
https://www.thorforums.com/forums/f27...axis-1433.html

DocMike 05-12-2016 01:36 PM

SORRY,

The towns name is Old Fort!

Doc

pjciii 05-12-2016 04:33 PM

Hi Bruce
the DW and I bought the 2016 22fe back in NOV last year and for the price point I have 0 complaints. I replaced the 6 gallon hot water heater with the AQUA-GO instant hot water heater. the DW loves that. put in a digital thermostat by LUX (2 wire) and a rear wall mounted e-heater. changed to a better shower head and insulated under the front bunk. I like winter camping also. the best was for 149.00 got the front end aligned. this will save on life of tires...forget about the debate on who should pay, its well worth it...I am glad to hear from another freedom elite person. I love my class C...happy travels

patrick

Larry 05-12-2016 05:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DocMike (Post 34336)
SORRY,

The towns name is Old Fort!

Doc

:) Yeah, I think old fart is in the other direction. :lol::D

ulsterman50 05-12-2016 06:01 PM

Welcome to Rving and the Freedom Elite. We've had our 28H for a year now, put 9,000 miles on it. Only issue was a stick slide out which was repaired this spring under warranty. I put in the upgrades front and rear sway bars, which greatly improved the handling. Front alignment scheduled for this coming Monday. I have no complaints with our Freedom Elite.

MountainElite 05-13-2016 01:09 AM

Hey Campers,

Thanks for all the comments and info. We have been discussing one of those shock absorber looking things that you attach to the steering. I've read it dampens out the side forces of wind, semis passing, ruts, etc. They are pretty proud of them though. I'd be open to thoughts on them if anyone has experience with them.

I think I missed the original point on this portion of the forums - intro. We're mid-50s, retired and living in the western North Carolina mountains, miles away from most anything civilized. We spend a lot of time trying to better the land we live on. We travel with a 4 year old Blue Heeler that adopted us after walking up out of the forest.

Not much else to add right now. The last Big Bang Theory for the season is on and... well, you understand.

Bruce

KNMIB 05-13-2016 03:35 AM

Welcome this is the place for information of great value. We have a Four Winds 23U which I think is the same as a Freedom Elite and we love it. Have fun and be safe.

MountainElite 05-17-2016 08:33 PM

Good info, JamieGeek
 
My solution was Flex Seal; see that in this thread:
https://www.thorforums.com/forums/f27...axis-1433.html

What a great idea. I've seen that stuff at Lowes as well, and it looks like a good way to head off a problem. Knowing that these seals will once again harden and decay, it's a good way to fix it before that happens. More fun stuff to do!

bruce

ulsterman50 05-17-2016 11:58 PM

Make sure you get a front end alignment. Thor doesn't do it, just had
Mine done at8k miles and it was way way off

MountainElite 06-05-2016 06:00 PM

Front end alignment.
 
Thanks for that tip. We're going to schedule that as soon as the fine folks doing a bridge replacement down below our mountain get to a point we can safely drive across again. Right now it's a muddy, tight mess, but they are working fairly fast. Perhaps by the end of the month? My question would be - do we install a steering stabilizer first and then get the alignment or alignment first and then steering stabilizer? My initial thought would be to install the stabilizer first so Ford can fix any errors I introduce during the install. Thoughts?

pdeter 06-05-2016 07:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MountainElite (Post 34384)
Hey Campers,

Thanks for all the comments and info. We have been discussing one of those shock absorber looking things that you attach to the steering.

I have a Freedom Elite 28H and love it. Never a problem. I installed the Safe-T-Plus steering control on mine and it helps a lot. You can find informationi here - Safe-T-Plus - The Steering Control Specialists | Helping motorists' vehicles steer safer, less, and with peace of mind.

ulsterman50 06-05-2016 07:51 PM

2016 freedom elite
 
In my humble opinion the upgraded swAy bars will do more for improving handling than the steering mod. You already have one there from the ford factory. They don't affect the alignment so you can put them on anytime. Four bolts each, takes about 3 hours to replace front and rear

pdeter 06-05-2016 08:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MountainElite (Post 36440)
Thanks for that tip. We're going to schedule that as soon as the fine folks doing a bridge replacement down below our mountain get to a point we can safely drive across again. Right now it's a muddy, tight mess, but they are working fairly fast. Perhaps by the end of the month? My question would be - do we install a steering stabilizer first and then get the alignment or alignment first and then steering stabilizer? My initial thought would be to install the stabilizer first so Ford can fix any errors I introduce during the install. Thoughts?

I put my steering stabilizer on first about 6 months before I had the wheels aligned and it was a pain to get it adjusted correctly because it is difficult to get the front wheels perfectly straight by eye or touch. But I got it after about 4 tries.
When I got the wheels aligned, which were way out BTW, they adjusted the stabilizer while it is on the rack with the front wheels perfectly straight and test drove to ensure no further adjustments were needed. So it may be beneficial to put it on, then head straight for the alignment. Save yourself a few hours of crawling under the RV performing the adjustment.

MountainElite 06-05-2016 08:53 PM

What I thought...
 
Thanks for that info. I did notice there is a smaller steering stabilizer on the front wheels, but didn't know if a beefier one would work better. Since we have the smallest Elite it's not that big a problem, but it might make the drive easier for my bride. Still researching.

But thanks again for the responses.

KNMIB 06-06-2016 02:54 AM

We added a safety-plus and really helped especially in wind. I did it to help if I have a front tire blow out


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