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Old 03-17-2016, 04:11 PM   #15
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It isn't the nature of the beast at all - and why should a new owner have to turn himself into an RV technician as soon as he drives out of the dealers yard.
It's the nature of MOST manufacturers. That's the reality of it. Thor is pretty high of manufacturers that live up to that sort of reality.

What the OP should have done was never drive it off the yard without a multi-hour PDI, which would have short circuited one batch of those repairs. But many consumers don't know this and end up unhappy.

I'm not apologizing for Thor. Hardly. I'm responding - like many of you are to a realistic way for the OP to get things resolved. Thor isn't as good as many of the higher end manufacturers and I don't think the OP can just take it back to Elkheart (paid or unpaid trip). Typically Thor is going to force the OP to hit a "dealer network" - meaning the 1 dealer where he bought it that's most likely to attempt the repairs.

Many of the OPs repairs are likely trivial - for instance the wipers. Others are more significant, but I don't see anything that would necessitate a factory repair (such as a major fiberglass repair).

My <rant> theory is below:
As long as Thor continues to dominate the market, they're going to continue to put products out like this. Why? Because it's good for the bottom line:
1) Many factory defects don't ever get addressed by Thor because they are fixed by end owners. The line can continue to pay current wages and put out at the current rate. Improving quality would mean increasing assembly time or spending more time in wages / PDI inspection.
2) Most repairs can be pushed off on dealers. Dealers get to sell a brand, so they agree to repair that brand at whatever labor rate Thor deems appropriate. It's not negotiable. Thor dictates. This is why there is no real "nationwide" dealer network - as repair reimbursement is below market rates.
3) There is accounting for actual quality. RVs are to niche' to have consumer reports on actual quality. Data simply isn't available. As such consumers that are "new" have no objective data to look at. They're sold on the 15-year "roof warranty", which really only covers the TPO material. Dealers sell "trim level" as quality. It's absolutely not. Dealers sell "forever warranties" - which, based on what I've read actually has a real measurable impact on sales, even though that warranty simply necessitates $200-$300 of high-markup maintenance and covers very little.
4) There is no direct data accounting for market reputation and impact to the bottom line. Meaning Thor (and their sub-brands) doesn't really know how much money they're losing due to reputation. They can't project what improving quality would do for market share.
5) Consumers simply don't buy RVs like they do new cars. And likely there isn't a lot of brand loyalty.
6) A 1-year warranty isn't a lot of time, especially when many repairs start at 30-days between assessment, approval, parts, and actual repair....
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Old 03-17-2016, 04:38 PM   #16
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marcdohc,

I am sympathetic with your issues and sorry you're having them. THAT SAID: Thor DID tell you that chassis issues have to be handled by Ford, right? Have you contacted Ford's Motorhome Division to report the chassis issues (crabbing, overdrive button(which is the tow/haul mode), and the clunking sound): Several of us have had to have the king-pins replaced right from the factory - mine were causing a clunk when I hit bumps. There have been some issues with the new 6-speed apparently not downshifting in tow/haul mode when going down hills like it's supposed to. The crabbing sounds like it needs a drive-line inspection and 4 wheel alignment.

Thor will step up for the coach issues - keep them informed. I've had no luck with Ford in my area - they seem to be unable to fix my issues/warranty work and some dealers don't seem to like to work on trucks they didn't sell at the dealer level in the Wash DC area where I reside. I've been to three different ones with differing results I have heard good things about Ford dealers elsewhere, though. You'll need to find a good one. Ford's Motorhome Division should be able to point you in the right direction. Keep them informed, too.

Motorhomes are a unique animal. Ford won't honor warranty repairs from unapproved shops - including Thor. Thor won't be (and probably can't be) held liable for Ford chassis issues and the Dealer can't do the Ford warranty stuff unless Ford approves or the warranty all be voided.

Ford won't cover "tire" issues.....that's the tire company - even though Ford bought, mounted and balance the tires on the wheels and then installed them on the MH.

Your Dash air is probably not a Ford product, BTW. Your dealer/Thor should be able to handle that one.

I'll bet your dealer didn't mention this division of labor.....Hang in there, it gets better.

best,

dave
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Old 03-17-2016, 06:24 PM   #17
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. ......Typically Thor is going to force the OP to hit a "dealer network" - meaning the 1 dealer where he bought it that's most likely to attempt the repairs.......
OP bought the RV in Michigan and is now in Massachusetts, getting warranty repairs by that dealer is not realistic. (Particularly when that dealer hustled him off the lot with repairs pending). Trying to handle the repairs himself through Thor has got to be frustrating.
I have found Thor to be very accommodating in authorizing repairs submitted by my dealer.
Thor's responsibility begins with providing the OP a local dealer where repair actions can be initiated.

There have been several posts here where dealers do not want to service units bought elsewhere. That sucks. My dealer advertises on his Webb page he does warranty repairs on all makes and gives priority to on the road repairs. (Carpenters Campers)
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Old 03-17-2016, 08:13 PM   #18
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2) Most repairs can be pushed off on dealers. Dealers get to sell a brand, so they agree to repair that brand at whatever labor rate Thor deems appropriate. It's not negotiable. Thor dictates. This is why there is no real "nationwide" dealer network - as repair reimbursement is below market rates.....

Just to be curious, but where do you get this information from? As a Service Advisor at a large dealership I can tell you for a fact that manufacturers do not dictate our labor rate. ALL manufacturers pay our standard labor rate. Your right when you say the labor rate is non-negotiable, just the wrong side of who deems it non-negotiable.

Our standard labor rate is $120.00 an hour whether it's customer pay or warranty. The manufacturer knows this when they try to get us to carry their brand. In most states it is against the law to have a retail rate and a warranty rate that are different.

To the OP, don't know if you have worked with your selling dealer to get THOR to give you answers and return your calls. We have on occassions arranged for the manufacturer to come pick up a unit, take it back to the factory, make all repairs, and return it.

I got tired of not getting any answers from the manufacturer of my previous coach so I sent certified letters to several people and promptly got my calls returned, and good follow through on my issues.

Sorry you are having these issues and hope you get them taken care of soon.
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Old 03-18-2016, 07:51 AM   #19
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Thor's responsibility begins with providing the OP a local dealer where repair actions can be initiated.
In my (Keystone/Thor) manual, that's the responsibility of the owner, not the manufacturer.

Conversations with dealers begin with "did you buy it here"?

After they determine if you bought it there they can give you an estimate of when they can look at it. Technically they can't outright refuse warranty work (some do) - but they can give you an unreasonable service date.

I've talked to Thor about it - they've indicated that they are aware of the problem with "some dealers".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian W View Post
Just to be curious, but where do you get this information from? As a Service Advisor at a large dealership I can tell you for a fact that manufacturers do not dictate our labor rate. ALL manufacturers pay our standard labor rate. Your right when you say the labor rate is non-negotiable, just the wrong side of who deems it non-negotiable.
Dealer service bay and techs that have worked in the industry. To be fair, I only know about Keystone (owned by Thor) - perhaps their other brands are paid differently (Airstream/Thor) . I the Keystone/Thor case, Keystone approves an amount of work, not a rate, but the effect is the same.. IE, I don't actually know that they approve a labor rate, but I can tell you that the amount of work that they approve for a repair is can be under-market and that dealers would rather do non-warranty work that's fully funded.

Don't believe me? Try getting *any* warranty work done on the road in one of Thor's typical brands.

For instance, when I had my roof replaced under warranty, I was told that Keystone paid about 2/3 of market rate and that's out of the service manager. I don't know if that was in hours or dollars an hour.

If all manufacturers paid market rates and market times for warranty repairs, we'd have real "nationwide" networks. And some brands do have real nationwide network. I've got zero issues taking my Ford or Dodge to a non-purchase dealer for warranty work.

When dealers are rejecting warranty work as a rule (if you didn't buy it there) - or indicating they don't have time, ask yourself why they'd do that at $120/hr?
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:37 AM   #20
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The rates aren't as bad as you are being lead to believe. We make a nice sum of money off warranty work, as do our techs. All the manufacturers are almost identical on their flat rate hours. We could care less if it's warranty work or customer pay. We quote customer pay service from the Service Management Guide, or as our techs call it the flat rate manual. The rates in it are almost identical to the manufacturers. And yes, I am intimately aware of this particular manufacturers flat rates.

I am only guessing here, but my opinion is the reason that some dealerships don't want to deal with warranty is because it can be a hassle submitting pictures for every little repair and entering non stop data. If your dealership is set up to handle warranty work, and staffed appropriately, it's easily handled and you learn to adapt. We have a staff of three who do nothing but warranty claims. If warranty didn't pay fair rates why would we have a full time staff to do them? We do because we make good money doing warranty work.

One of the problems that I see the OP has is he bought from a distant dealership to save some money. We have people from all over the country buy from us. The problem as the OP has found out, and many complain about on here is getting timely service done at a dealership he didn't buy from. We service units people bought from other dealerships, but people that have bought from us don't get pushed to the back of the line. A safety item is a whole different story. We do traveler repairs all the time if it is a safety issue, such as no air conditioning in the summer or no furnace in the winter.

It's an absolute shame what the OP is going through REGARDLESS of manufacturer.
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Old 03-18-2016, 10:19 AM   #21
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In total deference to all Thor product owners, I too would never think of buying a Thor product. Also, I believe the dash AC is part of the Ford chassis and a known problem with Ford for a number of years. That unit should be added to the list of items the OP should have taken care of by Ford.
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Old 03-18-2016, 03:46 PM   #22
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The truth is no matter how much you pay 180,000 or 2,000,000 they all have problems it's a crap shoot.
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Old 03-18-2016, 04:13 PM   #23
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The truth is no matter how much you pay 180,000 or 2,000,000 they all have problems it's a crap shoot.

Aint that the truth........Unfortunately.

My last unit was a complete nightmare the factory told me would take..........wait for it.............9 MONTHS to fix! Needless to say things got ugly at that point.

I really do feel for the OP. Hope he can get it straightened out and start enjoying it.
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Old 03-18-2016, 04:37 PM   #24
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If it were me, I would drive it to the factory, park at the front door, and demand to see the top official at that facility. Don't move until you do. Then take them through a personal walk through and demand they take it in and repair EVERYTHING!
Remember, you can attract more bees with honey. Or do they say....
I'm feel bad for you. This has to be an awe full experience with the amount of money you spent.


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Old 03-18-2016, 04:44 PM   #25
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The thing I have found with warranty work is that checking back with the dealer at least weekly is important. In my case they told me that the warranty work was approved promptly and parts were ordered, but when the parts were not shipped promptly I had to step in and "push" them to check on why and get the parts shipped. If I had not checked and pushed I think my repair might still be in the waiting for parts stage.

The other thing I have found is that if you factor the fuel cost and value of time to round trip to the dealer for warranty repairs that it's better to just fix all the small issues myself even if I have to spend a little bit on parts. If you have the skills to self fix things this is the way to go on the little stuff.
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Old 03-19-2016, 02:46 PM   #26
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I am going to ask a stupid question...did you do a comprehensive pdi before you took possession?

I do sympathize with all your troubles. We have a 10 year old Damon Daybreak that had minimal problems.
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Old 03-21-2016, 01:06 PM   #27
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The rates aren't as bad as you are being lead to believe. We make a nice sum of money off warranty work, as do our techs. All the manufacturers are almost identical on their flat rate hours. We could care less if it's warranty work or customer pay. We quote customer pay service from the Service Management Guide, or as our techs call it the flat rate manual. The rates in it are almost identical to the manufacturers. And yes, I am intimately aware of this particular manufacturers flat rates.

Brain, I understand what you're saying and appreciate your feedback. However, as a Thor owner:
1) I've found it VERY difficult to get non-purchase dealer warranty work, unless it's something highly profitable (a roof job).
2) I see this echo'd with other owners. Some dealers flat reject.
3) It's difficult / impossible to get Thor to allow for on-the-road repairs, where as other manufacturers will work with mobile repair stations.
4) I know that Thor cuts corners on repairs - for example, on my roof job, they wouldn't authorize a Luan over-deck or replacement of roof deck in a re-roof case. When I asked about it, I was told that it "causes" more problems than it solves, but pretty sure that Alpha won't stand by their warranty if re-roofed over the same material. If you want, I can cite photos of what these roof jobs look like when the OSB comes up.


If warranty work was paid out at the same rate and same number of hours, I'd think that any authorized repair facility that wasn't busy would take on work. That simply doesn't seem to be the case..
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Old 03-21-2016, 01:07 PM   #28
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The truth is no matter how much you pay 180,000 or 2,000,000 they all have problems it's a crap shoot.
This is true. But there are huge differences in after-the-sale support both on the dealer and the manufacturer side.
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