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Old 01-12-2018, 08:32 PM   #1
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Looking at Aria 3901

Went to the Cleveland RV show and there was one on display. It checks a lot of the requirements but had some questions/concerns...
How are the insulation values of the coach?
It had a booth dinette but no opening drawers under the booth cushion?
Is the 360 engine have enough power? Appears to weigh just over 30000 lbs empty.
For any owners, did you compare it to models from Newmar, Tiffin before you purchased?

Thx, Don
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Old 01-12-2018, 10:59 PM   #2
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It’s pretty new right? I haven’t seen any reports. Wonder if Thor has their own owners forum? If so, you might find some good info there, worth looking anyway.

I would more than happily take a newmar 1st, tiffin 2nd

I also know of a lot of happy Tuscany owners, and mixed love or hate palazzo owners just from reading here and meeting folks in campsites.
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Old 01-12-2018, 11:34 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Don and Kim View Post
Went to the Cleveland RV show and there was one on display. It checks a lot of the requirements but had some questions/concerns...
How are the insulation values of the coach?
It had a booth dinette but no opening drawers under the booth cushion?
Is the 360 engine have enough power? Appears to weigh just over 30000 lbs empty.
For any owners, did you compare it to models from Newmar, Tiffin before you purchased?

Thx, Don
I was in the same boat as you. I'm ready to move from my ACE to a Diesel Pusher. Thor has some great floorplans, so I was looking at the Palazzo and found a floor plan we really liked, and the price is great. However, the more I read, the more problems I read about, including things like virtually no insulation in the basement area, leaking baggage doors and wood floors rotting out (again storage), etc.

I also looked at the Aria, which is a little nicer coach. The more I was researching them, I decide to at least price the Newmars, since based on everything I read, the quality is much better.

What I found surprised me, and that's that a Ventana LE is only a little more expensive than a Palazzo, and a regular Ventana is in the same range as the Aria.

You can't even begin to compare the insulation on the Newmar to the Thor's. It's night and day and Newmar wins by a wide margin. Based on many months of reading on here and ThorForums.com, Newmars also have far fewer problems.

The ONE thing that the Aria has going for it over the Newmar is that they have a few more bells and whistles, like multiplex wiring and the like. So, on the surface, if you walk in both coaches, there are some things about the Aria that will look better than the Newmar.

But, if you spend some time in the Newmar section of IRV2 reading about problems, and do the same on the Thor section, and then go over to ThorForums.com and do the same, I think you will find that giving up a few bells and whistles is well worth a better quality coach.

By the way, the Tiffins (RED comparable to Ventana LE and Phaeton similar to Ventan) are also good. The only knock on them is the insulation isn't as good, but still better than the Thors by quite a bit.
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Old 01-13-2018, 11:37 AM   #4
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The Aria line from Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is so new there are few owners to seek opinions from.

The chassis is more than up to the task and the floor plans are amazing...addressing this new premium "smaller is better" segment. TMC has never put an under-rated chassis in any model...something that cannot be said for a certain boutique brand.

Insulation is as good or better than a hung wall. Being a solid structure (laminate over welded metal frame) here's no chance the foam will sag or hold any moisture like a wall void full of the pink stuff. Hung wall is still used on smaller volume makers for many reasons...including the cost of the giant rigging and machines needed to laminate a continuous wall of these sizes.
And the current laminate is much better than in the "pinch roll" of the past with a "flash" bond under vacuum, pressure and chemical heat. That's why all the large makers (Winnie, Forest River, Jayco, Thor, etc.) use it.

The floor is a similar laminate structure and very we'll insulated.
TMC Bins are all rotocast or metal box...I would steer clear of wood in the bins.

About price point...MSRP's will be surprisingly similar between TMC and the lower volume "premium" brands
-BUT- if you shop around, the actual price after negotiation will typically be measurably lower for the TMC (you pay for their "reputation" and because low volume means less available units to buy). And with a short options list, everything is included with the TMC. The other brands show a reasonable MSRP, but plus-up the price with options that are standard on the TMC.

The after purchase experience is widely published about TMC...because they sell SO many more RV's than any other brand.
To have a good post-purchase experience with warranty repairs (the inevitable "punch list) you must use a reputable service center and keep constant contact with factory Customer Service.
Poor service centers are too common. They will hold an RV for weeks, blame the factory, and just play games - because warranty repairs only pay a fraction of retail repair work.

For buying a new RV from ANY brand...Do not allow these games with good communication to the factory CS, and pick a service center with a good reputation.

We are not affiliated with Thor, but our last and current RV's were Thor products and the RV's and the factory CS was always GREAT!

Best luck
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Old 01-13-2018, 12:23 PM   #5
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Insulation is as good or better than a hung wall. Being a solid structure (laminate over welded metal frame) here's no chance the foam will sag or hold any moisture like a wall void full of the pink stuff. Hung wall is still used on smaller volume makers for many reasons...including the cost of the giant rigging and machines needed to laminate a continuous wall of these sizes.
And the current laminate is much better than in the "pinch roll" of the past with a "flash" bond under vacuum, pressure and chemical heat. That's why all the large makers (Winnie, Forest River, Jayco, Thor, etc.) use it.
Sorry, this simply isn't accurate.

First, when all they do is block insulation BETWEEN the aluminum, then you have massive thermal bridging throughout the entire structure (if you aren't familiar with thermal bridging, please google it).

Having just cancelled a trip to Branson with my non insulated rotocast basement, it's nice from a cleaning standpoint, but has zero R-value.

Anyway, on the wall, here is a video explaining the difference. Yes, this is a guy selling Newmars (a dealer that also sells Tiffin and other hung wall products), but it still gives you a good idea of the difference between the walls and roofs.

Newmar takes care of the thermal bridging (again read, one of the biggest areas of heat loss) by having the entire wall covered in foam insulation, and then filling the voids with fiberglass.

There is no case that can be made for a laminated wall being better insulated.

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Old 01-13-2018, 01:12 PM   #6
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Glad you prefer the hung wall...but the makers love to throw inaccuracies. And that video has all of them.

Fiberglass batten sheet insulation WILL sag and can hold moisture...had that in my 1952 M-43 convert expedition vehicle...replaced it with solid foam block (same volume but better R value and no sag or wicking) Advantage = Laminate wall.

Fiberglass insulation requires air pockets in the fiber to reach full R value as published. Pressed into the wall void reduces volume. Advantage = Laminate wall.

Hung wall requires a larger/deeper void within the wall to carry insulation equal to solid foam = reduced interior RV space. Advantage = Laminate wall

Strength in the wall is from both compression and shear forces. Compression strength is equal in the framing of both designs, but shear strength is spread though-out the laminate wall - across all elements of the skin, frame and solid insulation. Advantage = Laminute Wall

Neither wall adds insulation to the outside the framing. But, no problem because the conduction (yes, that's thermal bridge) is very low between the thick fiberglass exterior and the framework. The thermal bridge in both wall systems is broken by the interior wall layers. TMC uses an insulation layer sheet and interior luan. Advantage = none.

Bins are rarely insulated to the bottom, but can be optioned on all makes. TMC uses furnace heat to freeze-proof water service bins and uses an insulated multi-layer solid flooring system and special made 8'x20' flooring ply through-out with NO wood 2" stringers in the floor (that can sag and flex).

These points assume the wall/floor builds offering equal R-values. TMC motorhomes are all built for true 4 season use. Bin heat should not have been a reason to cancel a trip.

BTW, Tiffin uses Laminate wall design and touts 11 time stronger walls than any hung wall.

Simply put...Igloo coolers and refrigerators share more design points with Laminate RV Walls than a hung wall, and Prevost uses solid foam insulation. If fiberglass stuffed voids were best, don't you think that's what would be used in those applications?

Safe travels
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Old 01-13-2018, 01:36 PM   #7
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Glad you prefer the hung wall...but the makers love to throw inaccuracies.

Fiberglass batten sheet insulation WILL sag and can hold moisture...had that in my 1952 M-43 convert expedition vehicle...replaced it with solid foam block (same volume but better R value and no sag or wicking) Advantage = Laminate wall.

Fiberglass insulation requires air pockets in the fiber to reach full R value as published. Pressed into the wall void reduces volume. Advantage = Laminate wall.

Hung wall requires a larger/deeper void within the wall to carry insulation equal to solid foam = reduced interior RV space. Advantage = Laminate wall

Strength in the wall is from both compression and shear forces. Compression strength is equal in the framing of both designs, but shear strength is spread though-out the laminate wall - across all elements of the skin, frame and solid insulation. Advantage = Laminute Wall

Neither wall adds insulation to the outside the framing. But, no problem because the conduction (yes, that's thermal bridge) is very low between the thick fiberglass exterior and the framework. The thermal bridge in both wall systems is broken by the interior wall layers. TMC uses an insulation layer sheet and interior luan. Advantage = none.

Bins are rarely insulated to the bottom, but can be optioned on all makes. TMC uses furnace heat to freeze-proof water service bins and uses an insulated multi-layer solid flooring system and special made 8'x20' flooring ply through-out with NO wood 2" stringers in the floor (that can sag and flex).

These points assume the wall/floor builds offering equal R-values. TMC RV's are all built for true 4 season use.

Simply put...Igloo coolers and refrigerators share more design points with Laminate RV Walls than a hung wall, and Prevost uses solid foam insulation. If fiberglass stuffed voids were best, don't you think that's what would be used in those applications?

Safe travels
I'm mobile, so can't easily respond to the many completely inaccurate statements.

I'll pick one. Your claim that luan is equivalent to foam board in stopping thermal bridging. Luan has an r value of about .30. Basically nothing, which is why when building with metal studs in homes they use foam (xps or similar) on inside or out to break the thermal bridging.

Also, your contention that the extremely thin fiberglass outer skin has any real insulative value is absurd.

There are lots of reasons to buy a Thor, but to make the claim it's better insulated than a Newmar or entegra with their hung walls is ludicrous.
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Old 01-13-2018, 01:39 PM   #8
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To the OP
My take on a 3901. We spent a lot of time with the Thor reps at the FMCA show in Indy last year. We absolutely love that floorplan. What we especially liked was the drop down front bunk for the grand parenting aspect. Your correct there is no storage under the dinette but as compensation there is that pull out drawer section in the kitchen across from the dinette. The 3901 was the cover coach on the FMCA magazine at that time. The discounting on that coach compared to other comparable coaches from other manufacturers was disappointing. The Aria pricing was so out of line that we found our current T42 for virtually the same price the dealers at the show wanted for an Aria 3901. That was a few months ago and demand for the Aria's is remaining strong so I suspect there is still a premium associated with purchasing one. If the drop down bunk is a must have then Thor has a pretty good lock on that market. Thor has virtually the same floor plan available as the Venetian A40, biggest difference is the A40 uses the Cummins ISL engine not the ISB of the Aria. I have a tread here in this section of the forum chronicling our experience with our T42. I invite you to look at it for an insight into the Thor way of doing things. Nothing outright disqualifying Thor as a prospective coach builder but we're finding our new coach to be more than a little frustrating to get along with. A lot is going to depend on how good Thor is at resolving issues once we get it to their service center in the spring.
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Old 01-13-2018, 06:58 PM   #9
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Oops...meant to say furnace fed heat in the bins are in TMC's Miramar line and price points above. The Aria has this.

The entry level models like ACE and all Class C's require tank heaters to prevent freeze issues.

Hung walls are fine, but better than Laminate? The facts do not agree...and as I have highlighted, except for a few low volume makers, I believe every maker uses a Laminate wall for high strength, low weight and very good insulation qualities.

To be specific, the inner skin of laminate wall designs have an insulating membrane under the luan ply board plus the finish surface...not just luan.
There's no need for an additional layer of bead foam throughout the wall like in a hung wall since the rest of the structure is highly compact and efficient. The bead foam layer is another reason hung walls are thicker.

Finally, the exterior layers of both wall types are very similar in both designs. Being basically an epoxy sheet filled with glass fibers, there is very little conduction of cold or heat.
Plus, the fiberglass and gel coat in both type walls are bedded on a substrate of natural fiber - like a thin ply...because solid fiberglass would be too heavy. Fine for boats, but not RV's.
This is another falIacy - that hung walls cannot delaminate. If water entered at any wall opening (door, window, vent), or at the edge, this substrate can absorb the water and delaminate the surface layers. There is a hung wall type RV parked next to our RV when at the storage lot...it has delamination below the dinette window and adjacent to the entry door.

For real world results...Our legacy TMC built RV (built the same as the Challenger line) has been used extensively in temps well over 100 and down into the teens with chill factors well below zero....no problems.
The Aria line would obviously exceed our experience with the superior factors of the Diesel Pushers systems

To original poster...go look in-person. Check everything personally and you will see the premium RV's from TMC are well worth consideration.

Safe travels
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Old 01-13-2018, 07:01 PM   #10
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Aria 3901

Do check our Thorforums.com for more info. There are quite a few owners on there. I don't know about the exact difference in the R value of the walls, but ours keeps us comfortable without excessive use of the furnace. We haven't had the glorious opportunity to be out in real heat yet though. Can't wait. And no, there are not drawers under the dinette ( I do with there were), but the cushions do lift and there is quite a bit of storage there. The 360 Cummins does ok, but won't win too many races uphill. I too would like the ISL, but it comes at a price like everything else. And the ISB will get you up all the hills and cruises on the flats effortlessly, even when towing a 5000# toad. In the 2500 miles we've put on ours, mostly pulling said toad, we are averaging 9.0 mpg. Better than I expected. And yep, we have had some new coach issues. Thor customer service has been excellent to work with. Getting issues taken care of in a timely manner has been frustrating, but is due to the backlog of work at my dealer who carries a slew of brands and varieties. They say dealing with Thor is no worse than any other manufacturer. And if I could have found a 40' Venetian at anywhere near the same price we paid, I would have, but it wasn't even close. I'll not tell you the quality is better than Tiffin or Newmar, but we did look at and drive both of those. Couldn't find a floor plan we liked as well, and the driving experience was at least as good in the Aria. I really thought I was going to purchase a Discovery 40X which does have the ISL, but the storage in the kitchen and basement were better in the Aria, the floor plan worked better for us. This is our 3rd coach in the last 20 years. I had looked at Thor before and said I would never buy one. Never say never...
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Old 01-13-2018, 07:51 PM   #11
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Oops...meant to say furnace fed heat in the bins are in TMC's Miramar line and price points above. The Aria has this.

The entry level models like ACE and all Class C's require tank heaters to prevent freeze issues.

Hung walls are fine, but better than Laminate? The facts do not agree...and as I have hoghlighted, except for a few low volume makers, I believe every maker uses a Laminate wall for high strength, low weight and very good insulation qualities.

To be specific, the inner skin of laminate wall designs have an insulating membrane under the luan ply board plus the finish surface...not just luan.
There's no need for an additional layer of bead foam throughout the wall like in a hung wall since the rest of the structure is highly compact and efficient. The bead foam layer is another reason hung walls are thicker.

Finally, the exterior layers of both wall types are very similar in both designs. Being an basically an epoxy sheet filled with glass fibers, there is very little conduction of cold or heat.
Plus, the fiberglass and gel coat in both type walls are bedded on a substrate of natural fiber - like a thin ply...because solid fiberglass would be too heavy. Fine for boats, but not RV's.
This is another falIacy - that hung walls cannot delaminate. If water entered at any wall opening (door, window, vent), or at the edge, this substrate can absorb the water and delaminate the surface layers. There is a hung wall type RV parked next to our RV when at the storage lot...it has delamination below the dinette window and adjacent to the entry door.

For real world results...Our legacy TMC built RV (built the same as the Challenger line) has been used extensively in temps well over 100 and down into the teens with chill factors well below zero....no problems.
The Aria line would obviously exceed our experience with the superior factors of the Diesel Pushers systems

To original poster...go look in-person. Check everything personally and you will see the premium RV's from TMC are well worth consideration.

Safe travels
You keep repeating false facts.

1. I'm not aware of any insulating barrier on the inside of the TMC walls. Please provide information on this.

2. Newmar, and I believe Entegra, do not laminate their fiberglass to Luan and then the aluminum/foam structure like a vacuum bonded wall. Instead, they use thicker fiberglass that is glued only to the aluminum. They are not laminated, and therefore cannot delaminate. That's not to say they can't have a glue failure, but cannot delaminate in the same way that laminated wall can.

I own a Thor and have not bashed Thor. Much of the negative associated with Thor is not deserved, while much of it is. Many of the problems are made worse by very bad dealers that are overwhelmed with coaches of many brands that leave the factory with QC problems.

So, I'm not bashing Thor in this thread or any other.

Next to yourself, there are probably only a handful of posters on IRV2 that would make the laughable claim that a Thor is as well insulated as a Newmar or Entegra.

Search on here or Thorforums.com for Thor ___ (fill in the blank) freezing temperatures or teens, etc. You will find that few people venture out in the teens, mostly low 20s is about it.

Due the same on here in the newmar sub forum and you will see people routinely camping in single digits and below zero.

Please, do that and then come back and talk about how much better insulated the Thor laminated wall is.

Now, after you do that, let's talk about insulation in the wet bay (or other basement areas with pex, Thor's sometimes have them in multiple bays) and how well insulated those areas are compared to Newmar.

Finally, go look at the seals on your Thor and then a Newmar. It's night and day in terms of air intrusion.

I like to lay out the pros and cons of different brands based on the literally thousands of hours I've spent on here, Thorforums.com, forestriverforums, and multiple other RV forums researching failure rates, insulation, etc.

But, I really struggle to watch some post false information that could get a new buyer into trouble.

If the buyer is rarely going to be in sub freezing temps and has their eyes open in terms of Thor build quality and rarity of good servicing dealers, then Thor has some of the best floorplans/amenities for the dollars you can find.

BUT, that comes at a price and people should have their eyes open and not be fed false information, even if it's with good intentions.

I strongly suggest anyone that thinks Scarab is right regarding insulation to do the searches I spoke about to get a real life feel about how well Thor's do in single digit temps vs. some of the higher brands.
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Old 01-14-2018, 12:37 AM   #12
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Facts are facts...how about graphics to illustrate:
Attached are 2 hung wall graphics as described by one maker...please notice the sub-layer in the exterior fiberglass...I did not say it was luan...but it is a thin ply:
Click image for larger version

Name:	Essex-2015-07-24-Lightbox.png
Views:	39
Size:	914.3 KB
ID:	188611
and
Click image for larger version

Name:	DutchStar_Cutaway_Lightbox.jpg
Views:	47
Size:	332.6 KB
ID:	188612
And please notice the wood stringers in the floor and kraft paper used in several places to seal the rig

If you want to see the layers of TMC's Laminate wall, watch a few production videos or even better take a factory tour.

And about TMC's bin, door, and window seals. Ours are perfect after 10 years and are as good or better for fitment and function than the comparable from any brand.

Maybe there's perspective here based on the ACE. While it has been the best selling Class A in North America for the last 4 years, it is a true entry level RV....best one there is
Therefore lacking some things like heated wet service bays and true 4 season features like found in TMC's mid-grade gas models and above.

The Aria has it all, from tile floors and fireplace to a 100W solar array and multiplex controls - all standard.

A buyer can pay more, but not going to get more.

Safe travels
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Old 01-14-2018, 12:47 AM   #13
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Old 01-14-2018, 02:01 AM   #14
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Facts are facts...how about graphics to illustrate:
Attached are 2 hung wall graphics as described by one maker...please notice the sub-layer in the exterior fiberglass...I did not say it was luan...but it is a thin ply:
Attachment 188611
and
Attachment 188612
And please notice the wood stringers in the floor and kraft paper used in several places to seal the rig

If you want to see the layers of TMC's Laminate wall, watch a few production videos or even better take a factory tour.

And about TMC's bin, door, and window seals. Ours are perfect after 10 years and are as good or better for fitment and function than the comparable from any brand.

Maybe there's perspective here based on the ACE. While it has been the best selling Class A in North America for the last 4 years, it is a true entry level RV....best one there is
Therefore lacking some things like heated wet service bays and true 4 season features like found in TMC's mid-grade gas models and above.

The Aria has it all, from tile floors and fireplace to a 100W solar array and multiplex controls - all standard.

A buyer can pay more, but not going to get more.

Safe travels
Considering your many posts on this subject, you know that brochure had an inaccurate diagram. There is no wood between the fiberglass and aluminum.

There is so much you've posted that has been wrong. For instance, that in an ACE you must use tank heaters as there is no basement heat. False. There are no tank heaters, it's heated by the furnace. The problem is that the rotocast you bragged about has an r value around zero. Which means being ok to mid 20s, but getting dangerous much below that.

Anyway, if the OP wants anymore info, they can pm. I have a day job, countering disinformation is just a hobby.
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