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Old 10-12-2014, 10:59 AM   #1
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Axis Owner's Report - new coach, new RV'rs!

We’re the (generally) pleased owners of a new-to-us Thor Axis. There isn’t a lot of first-hand info on the Axis available so I thought I’d post a fairly detailed account of the first 8 weeks and first trips. Hopefully some will find it useful.

Since the Axis is probably best considered an “entry-level” class A I’ll try and write from that point of view. It might be useful to other new Axis owners or those thinking of purchasing one. I’ll divide everything up into separate posts to keep any one post from being too long.


The Trip(s)
Our first trip was a quick weekend to a local state park. The drive was 40 minutes up Ute pass outside Colorado Springs, CO. The park is electric-only, and the weekend was quite pleasant.

The most recent trip was a bit longer – Colorado Springs to Camp Verde, Arizona (just south of Sedona), and then the Grand Canyon over a planned seven days. Total planned distance was right at 1500 miles. Yes, we made the classic noob mistake of drastically under-estimating travel times and regretting it. We ended up skipping the canyon and adding that time to the homeward leg.

The Rig
A late-2014 Thor Axis. We’re the second owners. The first folks bought it, took one trip, had some health issues, and decided they couldn’t enjoy the motorhome life anymore. They had it less than 60 days. We stumbled on it the day they dropped it off at Camping World on consignment. We couldn’t buy it (or even negotiate a price) for three more weeks until the state (Colorado) returned the title so it could be re-sold!

The unit was pretty-much like new with one major exception. We learned, just before we signed the contract, that motorhome warranties don’t transfer. We’d be on our own, with a new unit, of a brand-new model, and no support from Thor. I worked for a motorhome dealer in college (yes they had motorhomes in the Dark Ages!). Based on that experience I had a pretty good idea we really didn’t want to go it alone.

We quickly negotiated a one-year Camping World Extended Service Plan to be included in the price we originally agreed. It fills part of the warranty gap covering most major component problems, but it doesn’t cover all of the fit-n-finish issues that seem to be a mandatory part of owning a new unit. Thankfully, not a lot has changed in the way motorhomes are put together. The skills I learned over a couple of summers in the late 70s still apply. Framing and skinning seem to be vastly improved, and some materials are new, but on the inside things seem to be pretty much the same!

Ours was built late enough in the model year to benefit from most of the 2015 changes. That means we have the shower controls in the shower rather than a hose to the funky controls in the lavatory sink. We also got the updated window-shades (I think), and all interior lighting is LED. We didn’t get the cool LEDs on the awning.

The coach also came with most all of the available options including
  • Second coach battery
  • Oven (would have preferred not to have it. It eliminates two drawers and they substitute a regular microwave for the convection oven/microwave)
  • Bedroom TV
  • Outside TV – another one we’re not likely to use much!
  • “Attic Fan” in bedroom
  • 15,000 BTU AC
  • Holding Tank Heaters
  • Winegard In-Motion Satellite Dish - The original owner added this. We haven’t enabled it yet!

To provide campsite transportation we tow a Can Am Spyder RT-S on an Aluma UT-10 trailer.

Next - the chassis...
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Old 10-12-2014, 11:27 AM   #2
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The Chassis

As I’m sure most are aware, the Axis sits on the venerable Ford E350 chassis and has a 6.8L, 305hp Triton V10 (gas). The tranny is a 6-speed (5 speed + overdrive) automatic. The chassis has performed well so far. The V10 has plenty of power to move the coach along at 75 (if you want to go that fast) on most interstate highways. On the long, ugly climbs out of the Verde valley into Flagstaff and up the west side of Wolf Creek pass (way on up the Great Divide ) we were able to maintain a comfortable 45mph in third gear at 3500 rpm. This let us pass the semi’s, while being passed by all the cars of course.

You do need to be aware of the “Tow/Haul” switch located on the end of the shift-lever. This modifies the computer-controlled shift behavior and does some mostly nice things.

It delays up-shifting to ensure that the engine is working most efficiently when you need power. It also enables automatic downshifting on downgrades. If the computer senses the vehicle accelerating with the throttle closed it will start downshifting the tranny to maintain a more or less constant speed. If you need more aggressive engine-braking simply step hard on the brakes and the computer will downshift even further.

This feature works great and nearly eliminates the need to worry about manually downshifting. The only time I needed to override it was on the downhill side of Wolf Creek where I had to manually downshift to second to keep the speed down.

There are two minor issues with the Tow/Haul function you should be aware of.
  1. The first is that the default is “Off”. You have to remember to re-engage it every time you start the engine. Kind of a nuisance until you get in the habit.
  2. It doesn’t play well with the cruise control. With the cruise on at interstate speeds there were several times where it would kick the tranny into third at 65 mph, shooting the RPMs up into the 5500+ range. I don’t know if it’s bad for the motor, but is sure hurt my ears!

Since max torque is at 3200 RPM I’ve gotten in the habit of anticipating the downshift. I’ll tap the brakes to turn off cruise and let the coach lose speed as needed, keeping the RPMs in the 3200-3500 range. I’m not sure it’s necessary, but it works for me.

Gas mileage so far is what we expected. Cumulative is 8.9 MPG. The best we’ve done is 9.24 between Munds Park AZ and Cortez CO. Early in the last trip it felt like the engine was “tight”, like it wasn’t broken in yet. Given that there were only 3500 miles on it that might well have been the case. By the end of the trip it felt like it was running much more easily, and the mileage came up even though we were climbing most of the trip. I don’t know if there really is any difference though. The “feeling” may just be me getting used to the coach.

Handling is, well, schizophrenic. On good roads with light winds it’s a pussycat. It tracks well and seems quite stable. On bad roads, in heavy crosswinds, or being passed by big-box semi’s it turns into a nightmare tiger where you hold on with both hands and fight. You must maintain a vigil on the left-hand mirror. You do not want to be caught with one hand on the wheel and a glass half-way to your face when a 45 foot box-trailer passes!

This kind of explains the contradictory opinions on handling you'll find in various places around the web.

We were running light (I haven’t weighed it yet) with ½ tank of water, empty black and grays, mostly empty basement, empty bedroom cabinets, and two adults. I wouldn’t think we were over 15,000lbs. Tires were at the recommended 75 lbs in front and 65 in the back. I’ve heard that running heavier will help. I’ll be having an alignment done in the spring - loaded, and will ask for the caster to be increased if it’s not already toward the top end of the range. I’ll also be adding a Safe-T-Plus to help with the lurches and add a measure of safety should we have a blowout.

The only real quality issue we’ve had with the chassis was found during preparation for the second trip. In checking the tires I found I couldn’t get a reading on the right, inner dual. In fact I couldn’t get air in or out! I had no idea what the problem might be, so of course I panicked.

It was a Saturday, so there wasn’t any place close that could look at it for me. We finally called Good Sam roadside service. They came out (coach parked in the driveway), told me it was a defective extension, removed it, and topped up the tire (all were 10 to 15lbs) low.

The quality issue was that the coach had been “delivered” twice and, in theory, had been thoroughly checked and passed inspection each time. Since the defective extension passed no air you got a zero (goose egg) reading when you checked its pressure. It pretty much guarantees that no one ever actually checked any of the tires during the “42 Point Quality Checks”!

Next, the coach interior…
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Old 10-12-2014, 06:57 PM   #3
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The Interior

We’d started looking at rigs after a friend told us about all the fun they were having in their RoadTrek. We looked at Class Bs a couple of times over a year or so, but finally decided they were just too small – and really expensive for the size!

We moved up to look at B+'s, and found a couple that we liked, but the biggest beds we could find were the miniature “RV queens”. The B+'s were the right size but we didn’t think we’d like the small beds. We’ve always had a king. The thought of not enough room, and crawling over one another to get up just didn’t sit well.

I finally found the Winnie Via online and thought that looked like it might work for us. We went to Camping World wanting to look at one. They didn't have one, but they had just taken an Axis on consignment (having sold it new several weeks before). The salesman explained it was based on the same concept, with a similar floor plan, but built on a Ford gas chassis instead of the Merc diesel.

What We Like
We liked the Axis the moment we saw it. The layout is perfect for us. We’re nearly retired with grown kids. We want a coach for just us, with the option to take a grandkid or two, but really didn't want more than that. I wanted something short – no more than 40 feet including a trailer or toad (we’re 41.5 feet with the trailer). I’d kind of wanted the Mercedes diesel, but the $12,000 premium it adds to the price of a coach buys a lot of regular unleaded!

The Axis “feels” larger than a B+ or C of the same length. Being able to swivel the front seats, and use the small table the fits between them is great. In fact, after using both the small front table and the larger table that sits in front of the couch we've decided that the small table works best. Setting up the larger table takes up a lot of space and makes access to the cabinets over the couch difficult. Since these are our “pantry” it’s nice to be able to get to them easily.

The beds are good, and better with the addition of 3” memory foam toppers from Costco. It’s great that they take standard linens and blankets. We've only used them in twin-bed mode. We like having the aisle open with access to the drawers for all of our night stuff. It would be nice if there were some kind of storage instead of the cushions between the beds for glasses, Kindles, and a clock. I’ll probably build something over the winter.

The kitchen in tight, but functional and everything works well. Cooking is definitely a one-butt operation though! I’d probably trade one burner for a bit more counter space, but there is enough with the counter-extension raised.

While there isn't a dedicated pantry there is plenty of storage. We have yet to make a dent in the cavernous cabinets over the beds.

Useful Things to Know
Here are a few things we “discovered” that might be useful to other newbies like us. In no particular order:
  • The water heater is HOT! It’s set at 140 degrees and cannot be changed. It’s set that way to let you take a longer shower, but I feel it’s dangerous. You can buy a 120 degree thermostat from Amazon, and they are easy to install. I’ve got one, and will install it before we use the coach again.

  • The bathroom sink drains into the BLACK tank, not the gray tank. This led to the Mystery of the Full Black Tank and took me some time to figure out. I had my iPhone plugged into the stereo system and cranked up a bit. At some point I turned on the pump and washed my hands in the kitchen sink. Then went to the back to test out the beds. I’m sure the test didn’t last more than 15 or 20 minutes. When I got up I shut off the pump and locked up the bus.

    When we got ready to leave the next day I checked the status panel out of habit. LP – Full, Fresh Water nearly empty??, Black Tank FULL???? Ask DW if she’d used the facilities and maybe stood on the pedal? DW says no. We scratch heads all the way to the closest dump. And wonder for the rest of the trip.

    Several days later it dawns on me that the bathroom faucet was open when I turned the pump on in camp. It must also have been open during my nap – er test, but the music was loud enough that I couldn’t hear it run. At 1.5 – 2.5 gallons per minute it doesn’t take long to fill the black tank!

  • The low-point drains are inside the coach, under the passenger-side bed. There are three. One for the fresh water tank and one for the hot and cold lines.

  • The hot water heater does have a winterization bypass. You get to it by removing the grille under the closet. There is also a siphon for sucking up anti-freeze. It is under the bed with the drain valves. Be sure to close the valve between the tank and the siphon and open the siphon-side valve so it will draw.

  • The refrigerator has nifty-little latches for keeping the doors open while in storage. This keeps mold and mildew from growing. But, they won’t hold when the coach is in motion so check them if you move the bus while using them.

  • There is a switch, way in the back of the top shelf in the cabinet over the sink. It turns on the antenna booster and must be ON to use the over-the-air antenna to watch TV. It must be OFF if you are hooked up to cable or have a satellite system. I am 5’ 10”, and I can’t quite reach it. A stool helps!

  • The turn-signals have an alarm that comes on when you've left a signal on. It’s a high, steady tone with no other indication what's going on. It can freak you out for a minute the first couple of times it comes on! A chassis feature, but I forgot to mention it there.

Things That Could Be Better
  • The only real “design flaw” from our perspective is the shower. It really is small, and the use of a curtain instead of a surround actually makes it feel more cramped. The curtain has to be quite large to ensure complete coverage with the net effect that it’s always in the way. I’m thinking about have a surround made. We’ll see.

  • A faucet with a sprayer would make it much easier to wash dishes without drowning the countertop. Another upgrade in the offing I expect.

  • The kitchen counter extension is quite useful, but the hinges don’t latch in the “down” position. It swings forward on every stop then crashes back into the cabinet. I’m going to put a nice cherry disk on the cabinet and Velcro on the disk and the bottom of the extension to keep it in place during travel.

  • The captain’s chairs are OK, but not great. Not a lot of adjustment and no lumbar support. I also find that the seat pan is tipped up just a bit too much in the front. I should be able to adjust that with a couple of carefully placed washers. We also haven’t been able to swivel the seats all the way around to face into the living area. We haven’t really needed to, but if it’s possible we haven’t figured out how. It may require the application of a rubber chicken.

  • The low-point drains are under the passenger-side bed platform. The driver-side platform has storage under it with some easy-access lids built in. No such luck on the other side though. You have to lift the whole platform to get to the drains and siphon fitting. Yet another project.

  • The driver and passenger-side cubbys (speaker enclosure, cup holder, and whatnot) are too low and too far forward to be easy to reach while belted in. I’m going to pull the passenger side and see if I can’t build a more useful replacement incorporating a book/magazine holder and phone charger. I’m a cabinet-maker (hobby) so I should be able to come up with something. Out of cherry perhaps to sort-of match the rest of the cabinets. If that works I'll tackle the driver's side.

  • The Jensen stereo does a great job of controlling an iPod or iPhone, but the old-style cable, really?

Quality Control – or Lack Thereof…
Having worked in the service department of a motorhome dealer I expected there to be myriad little things that need attention. Unfortunately, Thor has significantly exceeded my expectations . And some of them aren’t little.

Starting in the back and working forward:
  • The bed platform is made up of four pieces of low-density fiberboard laid out like a jigsaw puzzle where none of the pieces fit. Instead of laying flush with each other they were too big and sat cockeyed in several spots. Several edges were cracked and/or broken due to the misalignment. I pulled them all out and worked them over with a belt sander until they fit nicely.

  • The low-point drains pass through 1” holes in the floor. No sealer in the holes. Can you say critter highway? Filled with expanding foam.

  • The bedroom fan motor has started making a really obnoxious hum on the two lower settings (4-speed fan). It appears to be a no-brand MaxxAir OEM unit. I’ll have to see if I can get a replacement motor.

  • The shower curtain is 2 inches too short. Had a nice river out the bathroom and down the steps after the first shower. Ordered an “extra-long” shower curtain liner from Amazon and installed it. It was way too big. But after a quick trim it works well and the bathroom now stays dry. Also added a “curtain-keeper” corner to help keep the curtain in the shower pan on the toilet side.

  • The shower surround has separated from the wall next to the sink. Haven’t figured out a fix for this one yet.

  • There is an aluminum-sheet trim piece on the shower-side of the medicine cabinet and the vanity. The piece on the vanity had a razor-edge burr from top to bottom waiting to give someone stitches in the thigh. It had also started to separate from the cabinet, and someone had stuck a huge sheet-metal screw through the corner to try and keep it in place.

    I removed it. Cleaned up the knife edge, removed the original adhesive and reattached it, sans screw. It looks nice now and won't slice anyone.

  • No caulk in the bathroom. None, nada, zip, zilch. It’s watertight now though!

  • We noticed that the stop holding the bathroom door closed was wobbling. When I tried to tighten up the screws I got that no-resistance sinking feeling that tells you they are stripped out. I took it down to examine it and found two pilot holes in the ceiling that the installer had just plain missed. Screwed it in there and got a good bite. Thankfully it still covered up the installer’s mistakes.

  • The microwave fascia is bent in the middle. There’s a really nice crease. Someone probably tried to install it alone. No fix that I can see. Will probably replace with the much more useful microwave/convection oven anyway. Then we can use the unwanted gas oven for storage.

  • With the oven option we only got one kitchen drawer. We loaded it up with pans (lightweight aluminum) and headed down the street on our first trip. On the first right turn at the bottom of the hill the drawer came crashing out.

    Not sliding out, crashing out. The slides hadn't been attached in the back – at all – no screws, no screw holes; the screws in front had easily pulled out of the LDF fascia. It took me four hours, some re-design, and a lot of swearing to get the slides in secure and square. I had to glue in plywood blocks to provide some meat for the pulled-out front screws.

  • While working on the drawer I found a coil of 20 to 30 FEET of coax cable stuffed under the drawer. It’s connected at both ends so I just tried to wind it up neatly so the drawer would open and close.

  • The rubber step treads were installed with an adhesive that turned to axle grease at temperatures over 60 degrees. Really dangerous! The tread would slide out from under your feet if you stood on it for any length of time. I removed the tread, cleaned off all of the goop, and reattached the tread with good, fiber-reinforced, double-sided tape. This is now the subject of a Thor recall. Get it fixed!

  • The cockpit side curtain rails are installed wrong. They don’t extend far enough back so there is a gap. They should butt up against the valence. I’ll try and move them if they are flexible enough. Otherwise they’ll get replaced. No stops on the other end. Pull to hard and you have to thread the curtains back on the track.

  • Dangling wiring in and under the dash has been tucked up neatly – mostly. There was a nasty rattle behind the instrument cluster. Took off the top (two black screw-latches on the top dash piece) and found a relay on a long wiring loom just floating around. It has a screw-attachment hole, but no screw. It will get one.

  • The Dash Doesn’t Fit – At All.

    This is the worst of all of the issues and the only one I don’t yet know how to fix. The dash is a complicated set of pieces that should seal the cockpit from the engine compartment. It doesn't fit at all. There are ¼” gaps everywhere, and a 1” gap on the passenger side. We get air and noise infiltration directly from the grill. It should seal to the windshield, but again, nothing. It wouldn't be much worse if the windshield were simply not there. In hindsight I really can’t imagine how we didn't notice this pre-purchase, but we didn't and now I have to figure out how to fix it.

  • Like many others our washer pump was DOA. Still waiting on a replacement (noticed pre-purchase and dealer agreed to fix). As documented elsewhere I found an OK replacement at Advanced Auto Parts.

  • Screws, screws, screws – as others have noted there were screws everywhere. I have enough to start a hardware store. Washer-head cabinet screws, self-drilling sheet metal screws, and machine screws. It’s ludicrous! And everywhere I found a cache of screws I found piles of sawdust to go with them.

    In addition to screws everywhere I found instances where the wrong screws were used. The worst case was the grille under the closet. They used 1 ½“ screws to screw together two ½“ panels. This left four sharp pointy bits protruding ½” into the cavity where there is plastic plumbing and aluminized Mylar heater vent tubes just waiting to be punctured.

    None of the machine screws were vibration-proofed. No lock washers, no Loctite, zip. We pulled into Kayenta, AZ for a leg-stretch. When I went to lock the door I noticed the latch was standing proud of the door and there was a significant gap. I checked it when we got back and all three screws were loose and backed out over 1/8th an inch. I tightened them up and checked them again when we got home. Loose again, including the additional two that come in from the door edge. I’ve removed, cleaned, and Loctited them all now.

After all that, we really do like the coach. I’ll get everything fixed, and add a few upgrades, and it will be great. It is really disappointing that any company would do that bad a job though. We don’t anticipate buying another rig anytime soon, but if we do it’s a good bet it won’t be a Thor.

And finally, the outside.
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Old 10-12-2014, 07:28 PM   #4
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Interesting read. Thanks for posting it.

FWIW the King bed was an automatic deal breaker for us. It's Queen or nothing. ;-) Otherwise we liked the look of the unit.
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Old 10-13-2014, 12:46 PM   #5
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We, too, are new owners of an Axis (24.1), and your posts are very helpful to us! We just brought ours home, and you have given us many ideas for checking over our motor home more thoroughly. We're quite sure the PDI missed something!

Thanks so much!
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Old 10-13-2014, 01:11 PM   #6
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If you typed that all on a phone I'm giving you three gold stars!🌟🌟🌟
14 Newmar Ventana LE 3845, eze-tow, bunch-a-tractors
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Old 10-13-2014, 03:49 PM   #7
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AxisCamper - you're most welcome. I'm glad it was useful.

FarmerSteve - No gold star. Submitted from my PC at home. I'll try to get the last installment written tonight!


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Old 10-13-2014, 06:54 PM   #8
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And Finally, the Exterior

The exterior of the Axis is pretty straight-forward and pictures abound. It does look a bit like a box-van bread truck, but the look grows on you. It’s kind of fun that it is so unusual. Folks will stop and ask about it. I filled it up yesterday and the lady in the cashier’s booth came over and asked what it was. She said it looked great and she was going to buy one.

Stuff We Like
  • There is lots of storage – for a 25’ coach.

    Two big bays in front, one on each side; two shorter, longer bays curbside, and a good sized pass through at the back. We’re still collecting gear, but so far we are a long way from filling them up. There is a long access door street-side that opens on the black tank. I have no idea what that’s about, but it should make a good place to install tank washers.

  • The awning is nice and large and works well. It comes fully extended with little slope. The slope is adjustable (see the owner’s manual). I steepened it to about half to ensure it sheds water instead of pooling.

  • I installed MaxxAir vent covers (the original version) on the bathroom and living room vents. It’s nice to be able to leave the vents open in the rain or while driving. I was going to add a cover to the bedroom fan, but I’ll wait until I get the hum issue fixed. I may have to replace the whole fan. If so I’ll do both at once.

Useful Things to Know
  • The Dump Connection

    A lot has been written about the awkward angle of the dump outlet. Many folks have complained, and one guy went so far as to have his dealer cut the pipes and reposition the outlet. This is really unfortunate and speaks to a lack of training for the dealers. The angle is not a problem.

    Let me repeat, the angle is not a problem -

    THE DUMP OUTLET SWIVELS!!! (please forgive the shouting)

    Up for travel, down for hookup and dumping. Take firm hold of the outlet and give it a solid push. It will move – up or down. It takes a bit of effort, but it works great! Apparently no one has told the dealers or service departments about this.

Things That Could Be Better
  • The dump fitting being under the slide is a bit of a nuisance, but that is probably the most logical location.

  • Haven’t found the tranny dipstick or the engine oil filler. I found a post that said the oil-fill is back of the chassis battery, but I haven’t looked for it yet. I assume the tranny dipstick is accessed via the doghouse.

  • The oil dipstick is about a mile and a half long. Really hard to get back in.

  • Neither the second coach battery nor the chassis batter can be serviced while installed. I’ll be pulling them for the winter and will install a remote watering system before I put them back in the spring.

  • There is no provision for storing the sewage hoses and fittings. I have them in a large Rubbermaid box in the pass-through, but really don’t like that. I've seen several do-it-yourself solutions but most mount under the coach and with the really low stance of the Axis they won’t work. Still noodling on this one.

Quality Issues
  • The genny was low on oil the first time I checked it – it barely registered on the dipstick. I topped it up and had the oil changed after 20 hours. It’s ok now.

  • The trim below the entry door is falling off. It appears to have been “glued” on with silicone sealer.

  • The two front basement bay door hinges had pop-rivets that were coming out. The only way that happens is if they aren’t installed right to begin with. I drilled them out and replaced them. I added a couple more to make sure the doors are well supported.

  • The black tank heater started to peel off the tank. The front ¼ was flapping in the breeze. There was no evidence of adhesive residue which is interesting as I think these things are usually peel-n-stick. The manufacturer’s website said to use 3M 90 spray adhesive for repairs. It sure stuck it down well. We’ll see if it holds.

I think that’s about it, at least for now. We’ve started to winterize the beast. I need to make some barn-mat pads to get the tires up off the gravel at the storage facility. These will be used as levelers in the future. I also have to take measurements for winter woodworking projects, pull the batteries, and install the ADCO wheel and coach covers. Then it’ll be a monthly visit to check on things until spring.

Time to start planning next year’s trips! DW’s said something about a cruise?!?!?!

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Old 10-18-2014, 07:33 PM   #9
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Awesome write up. Thanks for taking the time to do this. We are seriously considering one as our first RV. Possibly the only thing causing us pause is the drivability. This was our first ever RV test drive and it wanted to wander on the highway and a lot of left/right sway on side roads. Especially after hitting a nice pothole. Seems like a day long drive would be a chore. Going to have to drive a few other motorhomes to see if it was just this one or motorhomes in general.
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Old 10-30-2014, 07:33 PM   #10
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The Groswald write-up is terrific. My 2014 Axis 24.1 has many of the same issues mentioned in your post. I have looked for the oil filler cap behind the battery, and see nothing (even if there it would be impossible to access). The transmission fluid dipstick is in the center area in the engine compartment, and is also a mile long. Can't find the transmission fill location either. I have had a big issue with house batteries - believe that the Jensen radio in standby is drawing a significant amount of power. Refer to oakglen26 post on Thor Forum for details. Thanks for a great post.
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Old 10-31-2014, 07:51 AM   #11
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Join Date: Oct 2014
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Thanks a lot for this great post. It cleared up a lot of questions in regards to my Axis 24.1. Very helpful and interesting information indeed. I've yet to find the oil fill on mine either and agree about the length and toughness in getting the dipstick back in place. I had to move the air duct vent hoses around a bit to see the transmission dipstick. Regarding the dump hose connector, I bought a clear 90 degree connector that fits on perfectly and goes thru the large access hole with the un-screwable cap. I then connect my drain hose to the clear connector. Makes it really easy to see when the tanks have emptied out too. I store all my hoses and associated equipment right there in that compartment for now. Thanks again for the mods list!!

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