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Old 02-19-2017, 12:30 AM   #1
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New rig woes with a Thor Aria

Last week my wife and I picked up our new rig, a '17 Thor Aria 3901, and sailed into the sunset. And luckily we had read enough about what it meant to get a brand new coach not to be too disappointed when the problems started showing up...

Disclaimer: we are new to RV'ing so there will be some newbie questions coming from us

*) Water heater stopped producing hot water two days in. This Aria has an Atwood gas/electric water heater; everything worked fine for the first two days and on the third day there was no more hot water. On the control panel we have both "Electric Heater" and "Gas Heater" turned ON, the propane tank valve is open (and we get heat from the furnace), and water (from the city) is otherwise flowing. I started looking online to see how do diagnose a water heater but nothing is obvious so far I tried turning everything off and on again, no luck. A lot of what I see online talks about heater switches with colored lights, but the new Aria has this integrated control system with a little screen that shows ON or OFF, no other failure indication. Any recommended diagnosis steps for a brand new system like this one? I want to think it is something very obvious...

(side question: where can I find the water heater fuses on the Aria? haven't found them yet...)

*) Water in the basement. We drove yesterday from LA to San Jose (trying to escape the Storm of the Decade, but driving through lots of rain) and once we arrived I noticed water in pretty much all the basement bays. One of them had a little pool of water, the others were either really damp or with water drops left and right. What is a common cause of water in the basement? I could imagine the door seals leaking but given that all the bays had water I am wondering what else could be going on?

*) Shrieking noise when dumping air before leveling. When we rented the Damon Aria (DP with air suspensions), we had to dump air before leveling and when we did so there was just an expected "Shhhhhhh" noise that didn't bother people around much. In this Aria dumping air creates an ultra-loud shrieking noise, a.k.a. we are torturing a giant beast, and the few times we have done it the neighbors came out to see what was going on. I saw couple of threads here where people talk about similar issues but no real solution. Are we alone? Should we hope folks in RV Parks get used to it when we arrive?

*) Chassis battery low. A couple of times now we drove a decent amount and set camp for the night and plugged into 50A shore power. In the morning we go to start up the coach and the Freightliner dashboard shows "Battery LOW!". Brand new everything. How can this be? Is anything drawing power from the chassis battery that we should be aware of? (to my knowledge everything chassis-related is turned off, like driving lights, car stereo, camera monitor).

Thanks for any insight you might have about these questions
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Old 02-19-2017, 04:41 AM   #2
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I can't help with any of your questions, except to offer moral support and hope it gets better for you down the road.

You can call Freightliner about the battery low question. They have a 24 hour helpline.

We are still at dealership with our new Ventana and had to sort out an issue with hot water. Our Oasis system pump for hot water failed and they replaced it Friday. So far everything else seems to be working, but we have not left yet.

Don't get to discouraged, these things take a great amount if patience to work out the bugs. Best of luck and hooe you get back to living the dream soon.
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Old 02-19-2017, 04:54 AM   #3
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None of those things are "normal", so you definitely have some problems that should be fixed under warranty.

The water heater is possibly a simple thing, a diverter valve in the heater bypass got moved and water is not flowing through the heater itself. This can also be caused by a clogged check valve in that same plumbing. Mineral salts in the water can gum up the check valve enough so that it doesn't open and you only get cold water from the hot faucets.

Water in the basement can be road spray from either inadequate seals around the doors, or unsealed holes in the bays themselves where electrical or water lines run through them. Condensation is also a factor in general dampness, but any actual pools of water indicate leaks.

The shrieking air suggests a valve that is not fully opening and the high air pressure is screaming as it rushes through a narrow crack. You may need a chassis air shop for that, rather than an RV dealer, cause they usually know more about air suspensions. However, the dump valves were probably added by Thor, so I would get their advice on where to take it for that fix before I actually did anything. Your coach probably has a Freightliner Custom Chassis, so I'd be looking for a Freightliner Oasis (motorhome-qualified) shop if you need a chassis place.

The low chassis battery is a real issue. I don't know if your coach charges the chassis batteries from shore power (some do not), but there should not be any significant drain on them while parked anyway. Get Thor dealer help.
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Old 02-20-2017, 10:43 PM   #4
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Thanks for the comments, everything is helpful as we navigate the first weeks of ownership.

On the water heater front, good news I believe we have hot water now! After finally being able to take a look at the water heater trap door (need a ladder to reach it, it is pretty high on the Aria) I noticed two things: 1- the 2A fuse was blown an 2- the metal deflector "grille" in front of the exhaust was resting on and digging in the red input to the "E.C.O", and I believe it might actually gone through the little plastic sleeve and made contact. I bent it out of the way a bit and replaced the fuse and the heater came back alive. So far so good, waiting to see if the fuse blows out again for some other reason...

The coach has been stationary in the heavy CA rain in the past couple of days and I believe the basement hasn't gotten more water so I might be leaning towards the "road spray" theory for now, I'll wait until things dry up a bit.

(However I discovered water pooling in the rear backup light, will take a look after the rain is gone).
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Old 02-20-2017, 11:08 PM   #5
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My wife and I just returned from the factory where Thor had our rig for a couple of months doing warranty work on our 2016 40' Tuscany ETE. The Tuscany XTE was discontinued and replaced by the Aria this past year. One of the items was most all storage bays got wet in rain storms. They replaced all the bay door seals with an upgraded seal. They all appear to seal now. We were still getting water in the bay with the slide out when Thor returned the coach to us. I found there is an accessory door at the front of the bay that's used to access the propane tank. The a cover was too large and the seal was undersized allowing water to enter there. I redesigned and reinforced the cover this past weekend so hopefully that will be water tight. I also noticed in one of the battery compartments and one of the electrical bays there are factory drilled holes in the bottom of the compartment which lets in water. Am planning on calling the factory to se if there is any reason they can't be sealed.
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Old 02-20-2017, 11:19 PM   #6
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Water heater.....

The 2A fuse on circuit board BLEW because of the short caused by the grille cutting thru insulation on RED wire to ECO (Energy Cut Off---high temp t-stat)
You should wrap that section where grille was making contact with electric tape or liquid electric tape (easy to use.....Home Depot/Lowes/ACE).
Need to 'seal' that cut insulation to protect from elements which could cause corrosion and future issues.
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Old 02-21-2017, 09:31 PM   #7
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I know nothing about your coach other than they sure look nice, but I can tell you that Thor Motor Coach is your friend. I purchased a new '17 Thor Hurricane and Thor has been very helpful. Call the 24 hour number your dealer should have given you and they will try to help you. Questions, getting service, even how to properly use items on your coach. Email: warrantysupport@tmcrv.com or 1-877-855-2867. I have had a few problems with my coach, but I can't say enough about the help I have gotten from Thor.
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Old 02-21-2017, 09:52 PM   #8
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(Just moved this thread to the Thor Industries forum which seems more appropriate).

@Oldman5145 thanks for the pointers, I will try calling them for our next issues to see what happens there.
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Old 02-22-2017, 06:00 AM   #9
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not sure if your new(Congrats!) Aria has plywood constructed 'box' compartments like our Palazzo, but...

we just came back to western NC from GreenvilleSC via the mountains on Hwy64, with a slight drizzle/rain during the 4 hour ride....

while I had 'resealed' all of my compartment doors last year to solve an ongoing water intrusion issue, I found more water in both the Main passthru compartment, and the Water bay, on both sides. (!!) ughhhh! I thought I had already solved this problem!

Where could this water be coming from!???

my thought now is that it has more to do with the chassis underneath, and not the bay doors... ANY holes drilled by the factory for wiring, plumbing, etc.. are going to be suspect, ESPECIALLY if they are the 'forward' wall of the bay, or are near the TIRES.
I've gone underneath the coach, looking at every inch of possible areas that could be allowing the intrusion, but it's really difficult to diagnose.
While I've foamed or silicone sealed every possible crack, crevice, opening and connection point, there's no way to really know until the next ride in the rain... : /
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Old 02-22-2017, 06:21 AM   #10
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Your chassis batteries may be toast. Many coaches don't charge the chassis batteries when plugged in. As a result, if your coach sat for several months before you bought it, the chassis batteries may have totally discharged, which will ruin them. There are parasitic loads on the chassis batteries that will drain them over time. When we picked up our new-to-us coach, the chassis batteries were less than a year old and would not hold a charge.

If your coach doesn't charge the chassis batteries when plugged in, I recommend:

AMP-L-START Starting Battery Charger/Maintainer - Overview Page

Good luck!

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Old 02-22-2017, 06:45 AM   #11
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The LOW BATTERY light, when you turn on the key, is most likely normal.

The engine has electric " intake air " heaters that draw high amps. They warm the intake air to cut down on smoke when the engine is cold.

They run for a few minutes and draw more then the alternator can produce, at idle. If you watch your volt gauge, you can watch the volts recover, once they have cycled.

If your batteries were bad, it would crank slow or wouldn't start.
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Old 02-22-2017, 10:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterT View Post
not sure if your new(Congrats!) Aria has plywood constructed 'box' compartments like our Palazzo, but...

we just came back to western NC from GreenvilleSC via the mountains on Hwy64, with a slight drizzle/rain during the 4 hour ride....

while I had 'resealed' all of my compartment doors last year to solve an ongoing water intrusion issue, I found more water in both the Main passthru compartment, and the Water bay, on both sides. (!!) ughhhh! I thought I had already solved this problem!

Where could this water be coming from!???

my thought now is that it has more to do with the chassis underneath, and not the bay doors... ANY holes drilled by the factory for wiring, plumbing, etc.. are going to be suspect, ESPECIALLY if they are the 'forward' wall of the bay, or are near the TIRES.
I've gone underneath the coach, looking at every inch of possible areas that could be allowing the intrusion, but it's really difficult to diagnose.
While I've foamed or silicone sealed every possible crack, crevice, opening and connection point, there's no way to really know until the next ride in the rain... : /
When my wife and I had one of our boats that we would cruise the San Juans with, it had an evasive leak that I chased for months. I finally found it by taking a large piece of colored chalk 3" or 4" long and laying it flat on a surface that I suspected was the culprit, I'd coat the entire section with chalk. I Would then run the boat until I found where the water was running in. Water running over colored chalk is easy to spot. By the way it was the last place I suspected. Might give this a try.
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Old 02-23-2017, 03:05 AM   #13
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I am really sorry you are having problems with your new coach. We also just purchased a new coach and are sure we will experience our growing pains as well.

We hope you will get quick resolution on these issues so you can enjoy yourselves and your new coach. Don't get discouraged, this forum is a great place for help and support.
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Old 03-01-2017, 11:00 AM   #14
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Twinboat is correct....as long as the ambient air temperature was low enough to warrant the intake heater. What was the temperature in the mornings that it happened?
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