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Old 10-19-2015, 09:48 PM   #1
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2016 Bounder vs Challenger

Hello everyone.

My wife and I are looking at class A motorhomes with bunk beds. We're interested in the 2016 Fleetwood Bounder 36H LX and the 2016 Thor Challenger 37TB.

When I "build" either unit on the manufactures websites I get an MSRP of $161K for the Bounder and $182K for the Challenger. I've been researching both makes, and found that most folks find Thor's quality and customer service lacking compared to Fleetwood's.

I'm curious about the price difference. Why is the Thor $20k more then the Fleetwood? We live in an area in which we would have to travel at least 8 hours one way to look at both manufactures. We are leaning towards the Bounder because of a few features we like better and the lower MSRP, but we don't want to make a $100K+ mistake.

So which one would you choose?

Thanks Everyone!
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:47 PM   #2
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Can't help you with the price difference but between the Thor and the Fleetwood I would take the Fleetwood.

Be sure to check out the Tiffin line up before you buy.

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Old 10-20-2015, 06:10 AM   #3
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Just pricing difference. We sell both. I can tell you you don't get more with the challenger to justify the price difference. Could be that one is optioned higher than the other? Anyway, I did the same thing. Compared challenger with bounder and when I was done crawling under and looking in every nook and crannie I knew that the bounder had better components and better build quality. Not to mention I've had great experiences with fleetwood factory service and warranty. In my mind, no question which one to buy.
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Old 10-20-2015, 06:12 AM   #4
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I should mention that I actually wanted the challenger over the bounder. I loved the challenger floor plan that had the mid entry with the front living room and atrium eating area but once I looked past the fluff the bounder won out, hands down.
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Old 10-20-2015, 07:55 AM   #5
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We looked at both as well, for the money we bought the Challenger, our stickers at 181k but we bought ours for 109k it was a 15 and the dealer just received 16 models. Ours is a 37kt and we love this floor plan. The biggest issue is get a good dealer. Most all RVís have issues, its a house driving down the road. Thing go wrong.

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Old 10-20-2015, 09:52 AM   #6
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Thanks for the information!

We looked into a Tiffin 35QBH and a Newmar 3306, and we like what we've read about build quality and customer service. I also like that they have molded fiberglass roofs and are built on a 24k chassis instead of a 22k. However they both lack a 1/2 bath, king bed, washer/dryer, and residential fridge. Those items are very important to us--> (DW).

When I built both I basically added every option available for each unit. The FW has more that is optional that the Thor comes with standard, but even with everything selected you still only get to $161K on the FW. I know that the FW is about a foot shorter then the Thor, maybe its that extra foot that counts?

It seams that FW made a nice jump in features (fluff) this year. Armless awnings, LX package, 7kw gen, cord reel, solid surface counters, etc.
Where as Thor added a bigger fridge, and glossy hardwood cabinets.

I know I've got to get past the fluff and get into the meat and potatoes of the motorhome. They are just so far away, and its difficult to make a comparison on the internet. I appreciate the advice from everyone here.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 10-20-2015, 10:50 AM   #7
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I would look at some of the components between each. What kind of jacks does it have and the manufacturer, HWH, Big Foot, Lippert etc. Also, electric of hydraulic. This goes for the slide out mechanics too. Hydraulic or mechanical (I don't think any class A's have the cable system you find on some TT's). What about the converter and is there a inverter on one or the other or both? Fridge, residential or traditional electric/gas. How many batteries, 2 or 4, 12V or 6V?. I would assume 50amp service in both? AC units, 13.5 or 15.0. Heat pumps or heat strips with each? Water storage, 60, 70, 80 gallons? What size waster tanks? How smooth is the fiberglass outside walls? I've seen some Thor products that they look like a rolling sea (Georgetown has some of the best fiberglass in my opinion). If the coaches are close in meeting your needs I would go with the one that has the best rated service, mechanicals and fit and finish. Good Luck!
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Old 10-20-2015, 11:51 AM   #8
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hydrocarbon - we did a lot of looking at coaches with bunks. Settled on the Challenger 37TB. Reasons:

1. Wheelbase of 252" that creates a wheelbase ratio of 56. Makes driving fairly easy and ride very good.

2. Exterior storage of 210 sq ft with several pass throughs.

3. 80 gals each of black and grey water.

4. Bunks make into a closet, sofa or bunks.

5. Two awnings covering most of curb side.

6. AutoGen.

Wishes it would have:

1. French door frig.

2. Reclining sofa.

Experience after 6 months and 13,000 miles is probably the same as most others for the first year. Ankle biters with fit and finish (loose screws, rattles, locks sticking, etc). Major issue was a problem with leveler pump. I also had a drivers window shatter (it is safety glass so no one injured) - I didn't cite this as a major 'cause not sure why it happened.

Good experience - the Thor Consumer Reps have been great. They work very well and have stood behind every repair..

Best Experience - Jake Shell (service manager for Paul Sherry RVs) has been very supportive and easy to work with. He and his team are the best. This is our second coach, gotta say a good buying price is always nice but a good buying price with super service - well it just doesn't get any better.
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Old 10-20-2015, 10:00 PM   #9
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Look at the Tiffin Allegro Open Road 36 LA. It has everything but the king bed.

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Old 10-26-2015, 01:37 PM   #10
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Look at several coaches, bought the challenger. We simply liked it better.
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Old 10-26-2015, 05:53 PM   #11
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From looking at both online they each have their positives and negatives. I'm currently trying to quantify each one.

Thor positives:
Better cabinets (I think)
Slightly better TV viewing... Still needs an extenda sofa
longer WB
8K hitch (small + since towing over 5k will probably put me over GCWR)
sunken stovetop with covers
adjustable TV mount in LR
Ice and water in door

Thor Negatives:
Schwintek slides
2 separate sewer dump connections (basically need to dump twice)

Fleetwood positives:
10 Gal Water heater
7kw gen
speakers on exterior TV inside compartment
armless awnings
2 furnaces
15k a/c with HP
Power gear slides (...I think)
Magna inverter
I like the dash layout better
I also like one screen for GPS and one to keep an eye on the toad via the rear camera.

Fleetwood negatives:
Poor TV viewing area
Not sure if bunks are convertible into something else, Winnebago has a good idea of converting into a table and chairs.
wet bay is under a slide out
cooktop cant be used as counter space.


Most of these items are small and something I could live with. (Hey, if they were perfect no one would have a reason to buy next years model right?) I hope I can get the chance to compare them side by side. I think it might come down to the best deal it can get...I'm leaning FW anyway but I won't know for sure until I can compare.


Thanks everyone!
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Old 10-26-2015, 07:20 PM   #12
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Check out the 30th Anniversary Bounder package. It now includes cooktop covers that match the countertop. There is a document on Fleetwood web page (www.fleetwoodrv.com/bounder) that documents the features.
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Old 10-26-2015, 07:59 PM   #13
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If you don't go with the anniversary pkg, atwood makes a cover for the stove top or in my opinion the better choice is a stove top cover that camping world sells. It is made of that plastic cutting board material, comes in black and will not slide on top of the stove even while traveling. Much better factory service from fleetwood. Schwintek slides alone would be a deal breaker for me. They work but only when installed perfectly and the actual box of the slide needs to be perfectly square. Even then, nowhere near as reliable as the power gear. Add in the magnum inverter and big gen and its not even a competition.
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Old 10-26-2015, 08:24 PM   #14
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hydrocarbon - you've done exactly as I would do and did. Laid it all out looking at pluses and minus. You've gotten lots of inputs. I'll offer just a little more - why not.

When you add a washer/dryer - you'll want the doubled capacity grey water capacity (40 gal in the Bounder - 80 gal in the Challenger). The Splendix 2100c can use 15 gals at a time.

My wife and 3 grand kids would often shower 1 after the other. With the hot water heater LP and electric heaters on - never ran out of hot water. Not sure how it works out that way but it is super.

After an 8500 mile trip through mountains and deserts and going coast to coast, the 5KW generator never once failed or did I lose power.

The longer wheel base was a big deal for us to add stability it raises the wheelbase ratio.

Now the slides. Our Schwintek works but lots of other folks report problems. Most of the problems I read, are in the longer slides and/or when a refrig is on the slide.

We spend a LOT of time in our coach. At some point (when grand kids out grow the bunks or simply have more important things to do), we will probably go to a 4 slide model to get even more room in the front of the coach. But the 37TB is super for us here and now.

At the end of the day - enjoy - we do.
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