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Old 02-19-2020, 12:18 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2020
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2020 Palazzo 37.4~the first 365 days

My family has slowly moved up from a tent, to bumper pull camper and eventually a 5th wheel. This year we decided to go all-in and get a DP motorhome. I’ve decided to keep a 365 Day journal of the purchase and first year usage of a Thor Palazzo 37.4.



Day-5: We first saw the P37.4 at an RV show in Salt Lake City on 16 February 2020. We did some research and decided to take the plunge on 19 FEB. We have two young children but decided against the bunk model because it didn’t offer any real separation more than the overhead bunk and we like that the kitchen was much better in layout and size.

We have been RVing recreationally for about six years. We decided to trade in our truck (2018 Chevy Silverado 2500 cummings diesel) and our 5th wheel (Keystone Montana 3950BR). Part of that decision is that Utah doesn’t tax you (@7+%) on the trade in amount. We got an offer of $48,000 on the truck and $47,000 on the trailer. So that is $95,000 we won’t pay sales tax on which really makes the trade-in value a little over $100,000 for both. The show price was $198,995 and we also budged them off that price to $197,995. We are hoping to get a sub-5% APR for financing.

We will not opt in on the nanocoat or extended service contract. We may look at an extended service contract as we get towards the end of this first year. We decided to pull the trigger on the Good Sam roadside assistance platinum complete which covers tires and wheels in addition to towing, gas, etc. at $190/year. Right now it looks like Progressive through USAA insurance has the best coverage for the price. At $1,400 per year it has all the coverage and more that we found elsewhere plus $0 deductible for windshield repair and replacement.

If all goes according to plan we will drop off the truck and trailer and pick up the P37.4 on Monday 24 February. Now, most of my research is going into what I think we “need” to get versus what we should “want” to get and some leftover that are “need/want?” because I’m not sure which category to put them (i.e. tire pressure monitors, lift kit, anti-sway/stabilizing bars, snap pads).

We plan to tow our 2011 Jeep Wrangler so I’m also looking at what we “need or want” for that as well. Obviously, we need the tow bar and accessories but also want some extra storage capability with some cargo racks etc. I’ll try to put a lists together to post and hopefully get some help from you all!
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Old 02-19-2020, 04:10 PM   #2
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Good looking rig. Good luck and enjoy lots of great adventures with it.
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Old 02-20-2020, 09:14 AM   #3
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Nice pics. looks fun. I would love to see your rig sometime. I look forward to your journal with pics. Great idea. Enjoy every minute with the kids in there. Be safe.
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Old 02-20-2020, 01:37 PM   #4
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D-4

Day-4: I have been doing a lot of research and ordering. Today I ordered the following for the P37.4:
  • ~AstroAI ATG230 Digital Tire Pressure Gauge 230 PSI for $16 on Amazon.
  • ~Truck Systems Technology TST 507 Tire Pressure Monitor w/ 10 Cap Sensors for $589 on Amazon. I plan on putting the on the six coach wheels and the four Jeep wheels.

I’ve asked the dealership for a quote on the Anti-sway/stabilizing bar and the lift kit to avoid front end damage. I’ve also asked them to update the firefly. MTF.

I also am looking into what it would cost to add one more 100W Solar panel. I went out to look at the batteries and I didn’t see room to add any more. The only option would be to eventually get “gel” batteries to hold more juice and sustain for longer off-grid.

Here is a look from the back of the coach:
P37.4 Hall

The cabinets are high-gloss and solid, like in their higher end models. Seem well made.

Ordered for the 2011 Jeep Wrangler “toad”:
  • ~Demco SBS Air Force One Supplemental Braking System for Motor Homes with Air Brakes - Proportional - SM99243 from etrailer for $1,180
  • ~Roadmaster Nighthawk All Terrain, Non-Binding Tow Bar w/ LED Lights - RV Mount - 8K - RM-676 from etrailer for $906 (it was around $1,200 on their website but I found it for less so they honored the price and also will give me a 10% kicker…starting to really like etrailer.com)
  • ~Roadmaster Universal Hy-Power Diode Wiring Kit Item # RM-154 on etrailer for $72
  • ~With the wiring kit apparently I need a Roadmaster Automatic Battery Disconnect with Switch for Towed Vehicle w/ Supplemental Braking System Item # RM-766 on etrailier $200
  • ~And again with the wiring kit I need a Pollak 6-Pole, Round Pin, Trailer Wiring Socket - Vehicle End - Item # PK11609 on etrailer for $7

I did not buy the Roadmaster Battery Charge Line Kit for Towed Vehicles Item # RM-156-25 because I’m not sure I need it, doesn’t make sense if I’m disconnecting the battery to also need a battery charge line.

I haven’t ordered the base plate because there are three options and even etrailer is not sure which one I need since I have the Call of Duty (COD) bumper. It has d-rings, but they are only .5” thick so they are looking to see if the adapters work and if not, which base plate I need for that bumper. Etrailer customer support has been second to none thus far.

Jeep

Jeep 2
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Old 02-20-2020, 01:43 PM   #5
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Absolutely! We will probably "camp" it in our front yard for a week to get it all situated and take care of the DIY projects. If the weather is nice maybe you could swing by? We live in Ogden by zipcode but really we are more Uintah/South Ogden.
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Old 02-20-2020, 03:06 PM   #6
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Congrats on the new rig. Sounds like you have done a lot of research to get it all sorted our and hooked up. Enjoy.
Mike
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Old 02-21-2020, 12:02 PM   #7
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Yes, congratulations.

Please continue with your interesting blog.
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Old 02-23-2020, 05:10 PM   #8
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D-1

Day Minus 1:

I went in to relook a few things on the coach Friday. When the salesman couldn’t answer some of my more technical questions, he took me back inside and called a Thor rep in Denver. I believe is name was Collin and he was able to answer all my questions and the salesman actually helped me keep up with what I had wanted to ask him and took notes on the answers. Pretty satisfied so far with Sierra RV.

I found out that they would update the “firefly” software, which is the nav/radio/rear camera. I also was told that putting any kind of air lift on the coach would void the warranty from Freightliner (this came from the service department calling Freightliner directly before ordering the part). I was told that perhaps if I took it to Freightliner and they put on in their shop it might be ok, but definitely not a dealership.

As for the anti-sway/stabilization bar, it was recommended to wait until I got the coach and felt I needed it. If I want it, it is a pretty easy install later. I wouldn’t think this would void the warranty since it’s a “bolt-on” part and will not change the suspension or frame in any way. But you can bet I’ll make sure.

The service manager also told me I could take the coach to the Cummins shop in SLC and they could program it to get 40-50 more hp. He warned that only Cummins could alter the engine codes, or it would void the warranty. I will need to investigate this, depending on the price, I’m interested in more power (I mean who isn’t? 380 hp just sounds better than 340)

I am also going to wait on any solar or battery upgrades. Since the generator can be set to auto-start at a voltage that I set, I’m not sure the juice is worth the squeeze on adding any capability there. Besides, the battery box has no room to add batteries.

We have gotten a lot of tips on what to do at the pick up including an inspection cheat-sheet. The best one I think is from the Changing Gears website RV Inspection Checklist because you can download it so MSWord and make any changes you want to it. There is a lot to look over!

P37.4 Floor Plan


I think next on our list is looking into to ways to save on fuel. Not sure if we should get a “gas” credit card or something like the TSD program https://www.tsdlogistics.com/services/fuel-program/ where you sign up and it will debit your checking account at the end of the month. I’m not sure why you can’t just pay with cash yourself? You also must use the truck lanes to get a discount. If anyone uses this let me know how you like it.

I also ordered the base-plate for the Jeep, I will see if it works when I get it and let you know which one it was. We are looking forward to tomorrow! Let it be a smooth one!
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Old 02-23-2020, 05:29 PM   #9
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The TSD Logistics fuel program works as advertised. They debit your bank account the night of the transaction and email a final invoice that shows the amount you saved, the commission to TSD (10% of the amount *saved*) and the amount debited from your account. There are multiple threads on iRV2 about the program.


As for 'why ain't cash cheaper', it probably has to do with labor costs (primarily). With the TSD card in the wallet of your Loves or Pilot/Flying J app, you can start the diesel pump from inside the coach, pump your fuel and leave without ever going inside to the fuel desk; multiply that by the commercial drivers using electronic payment and a fuel station can sell more fuel per hour. You'll find the truck diesel lanes much friendlier to the length of your coach and toad, too. Google Earth is a useful tool if you're unsure of your next fuel stop layout.


Good luck and safe travels!
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Old 02-23-2020, 11:37 PM   #10
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Jason,
Is that king bed in the master folded while underway or can you sleep on it on the road??
Looks like you are going to have a fun coach.
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Old 02-25-2020, 05:42 PM   #11
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It has to be in the "reclining" position in order to bring the slide in. It looks like there is room to keep it flat but the cabinet across from it that holds the washer and dryer also is on a slide and comes in, so there isn't room with both slides in.
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Old 03-09-2020, 09:48 PM   #12
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Week 1

Beatrice IV
Week 1
We picked up our new motorhome. It would take waay to long to describe all that happened, but we did end up with what I think was a mechanic giving us the walk thru. He knew most of the answers to any mechanical questions, but there were several questions I asked about the firefly system, Entertainment system, etc. that he just said “I don’t know, that is a good question” but that was it. He didn't know how the radio/nav system worked or the washing machine and so on and so on. They double booked us and the guy who normally does it went with someone with a bumper pull trailier while this guy walks us through our $200,000 motorhome who normally doesn't do it. Our appointment was at 2 p.m. At one point the finance needed us to come in and sign so they could go home and when we came out they locked the doors behind us.

So, the dealership ended up closed and locked up while we were still out in the parking lot transferring some of our equipment from our old 5th wheel into the motorhome. There was nothing major wrong with the coach, the most annoying thing was that the floor bubbled up when the furnace was on. By the end of week one it is back at the dealership to get most of the small stuff knocked out. There were things that they said they would fix before we drove it off the lot, but the mechanic drove of in a side-by-side at one point and just didn't come back....

We finally made it home I got the rig set up at the house. Over the week I was able to figure most things out with some on-line research and looking up schematics and manuals on Thor’s Owner website. In the "owner resources" section you can put in your VIN # and get pretty much everything you need. A very nice feature. https://www.thormotorcoach.com/owners/

One thing I was a little surprised about is that the coach only has one port to connect cable going into the RV, but it did not have a connection inside. So if you hooked to cable it automatically went to the TVs, but if you have DirecTV or Dish, you had to “run it in the window” or drill a hole in the roof. My Montana 5'er had both a cable and satellite connection on the outside.

I used the schematics to determine that behind the antenna boost plate there was a splitter than the cable ran though. Even though many on-line post said that you couldn’t use the “camp cable” to connect the satellite, I thought I would try it any way. Here are some Pics of before and after:

No Place to connect Satellite Box

The white cable runs out to the water port area

Split the cable before the antenna power booster so the two will work at the same time.

Now there is something to connect a satellite box to inside the A/V cabinet next to the switch box.



It works! And doesn’t look like a DIY job gone wrong. Glad I didn’t start drilling holes in the roof. Let me know if this works for you.

I only had it home for a few days, but I noticed that with the automatic generator start (AGS) the generator would kick on when the volts reached 11.8 but it would never charge it up enough to shut off and I couldn’t lower the votes low enough for it to shut off on the firefly. It would eventually hit the 120 min “max run” time that I set for about 1.5 hours. Is this normal? The generator would never charge the batteries above 12.9.

This next week or so I hope to get my jeep fitted out to tow and maybe take it out for the weekend to really test everything out before we take it very far from home.
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Old 03-09-2020, 10:33 PM   #13
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Well done in spite of a CRAPPY DEALER.

Your generator probably has to run for many hours to recharge the batteries. 90 minutes is generally not enough.

Keep posting.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jlorne View Post
Beatrice IV
Week 1
We picked up our new motorhome. It would take waay to long to describe all that happened, but we did end up with what I think was a mechanic giving us the walk thru. He knew most of the answers to any mechanical questions, but there were several questions I asked about the firefly system, Entertainment system, etc. that he just said “I don’t know, that is a good question” but that was it. He didn't know how the radio/nav system worked or the washing machine and so on and so on. They double booked us and the guy who normally does it went with someone with a bumper pull trailier while this guy walks us through our $200,000 motorhome who normally doesn't do it. Our appointment was at 2 p.m. At one point the finance needed us to come in and sign so they could go home and when we came out they locked the doors behind us.

So, the dealership ended up closed and locked up while we were still out in the parking lot transferring some of our equipment from our old 5th wheel into the motorhome. There was nothing major wrong with the coach, the most annoying thing was that the floor bubbled up when the furnace was on. By the end of week one it is back at the dealership to get most of the small stuff knocked out. There were things that they said they would fix before we drove it off the lot, but the mechanic drove of in a side-by-side at one point and just didn't come back....

We finally made it home I got the rig set up at the house. Over the week I was able to figure most things out with some on-line research and looking up schematics and manuals on Thor’s Owner website. In the "owner resources" section you can put in your VIN # and get pretty much everything you need. A very nice feature. https://www.thormotorcoach.com/owners/

One thing I was a little surprised about is that the coach only has one port to connect cable going into the RV, but it did not have a connection inside. So if you hooked to cable it automatically went to the TVs, but if you have DirecTV or Dish, you had to “run it in the window” or drill a hole in the roof. My Montana 5'er had both a cable and satellite connection on the outside.

I used the schematics to determine that behind the antenna boost plate there was a splitter than the cable ran though. Even though many on-line post said that you couldn’t use the “camp cable” to connect the satellite, I thought I would try it any way. Here are some Pics of before and after:

No Place to connect Satellite Box

The white cable runs out to the water port area

Split the cable before the antenna power booster so the two will work at the same time.

Now there is something to connect a satellite box to inside the A/V cabinet next to the switch box.



It works! And doesn’t look like a DIY job gone wrong. Glad I didn’t start drilling holes in the roof. Let me know if this works for you.

I only had it home for a few days, but I noticed that with the automatic generator start (AGS) the generator would kick on when the volts reached 11.8 but it would never charge it up enough to shut off and I couldn’t lower the votes low enough for it to shut off on the firefly. It would eventually hit the 120 min “max run” time that I set for about 1.5 hours. Is this normal? The generator would never charge the batteries above 12.9.

This next week or so I hope to get my jeep fitted out to tow and maybe take it out for the weekend to really test everything out before we take it very far from home.
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:45 AM   #14
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Join Date: Feb 2020
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Week 10

Week 10:
Well, the Virus hasn’t helped me keep up with my plan to keep a record of my first 365 Days. Now I find myself on Week 10! Since Week 1 we have camped a few times (once the parks opened back up). I will need to put some reflection in anything that has occurred. Our rig has been in the shop a few times to get some of the issues we found on the initial inspection fixed. Overall, the Palazzo is holding up well and we love it!

On the Jeep, I’ve gotten the lights wired, battery cut-off switch in and tested it all out. For the Rig I’ve got two solar panel extensions (sitting in my garage until I can work up the courage to drill holes in the roof). The two 190W panels along with the factory installed 100W will just about max out what my controller can handle. https://gpelectric.com/products/over...expansion-kit/

As we get ready to head down to Sand Hollow State Park (near St. George, UT) for the upcoming weekend, I have some questions I wanted to throw out there:

-How fast do you drive on the highway? Some speed limits here in Utah are 75 mph, but that seems a bit fast to me, so I’ve been staying under 70 mph.
-Any last tips before I tow a vehicle for the first time (besides don’t back up!)
-Any tips before I install the new solar panels?

This will be our first trip more than an hour away from home. I hope the weekend trip is an enjoyable one without any issues, fingers crossed.
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