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Old 01-19-2014, 07:49 AM   #1
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Elkhart Tips

I have had a few problems with my coach (one of them from the big slide), so I'm heading to Elkhart. I've been pretty heartbroken over all the things that have gone wrong but remain hopeful that Thor will restore my faith and my Palazzo. I bought new so I wouldn't have to mess around with repairs but have learned via the people in this forum that this is not necessarily the way things go in the rv world.

I learned about going to Elkhart via the people on this forum, I've read nothing but positive stuff about the results but it's all been pretty vague. Hence the reason why I'm starting this thread. Please share what you can about your trip(s) to get your rigs fixed at Elkhart. I'm interested mostly in how to ensure I get the best service possible but would also like to read about what to expect during my stay.

Thanks,

Riover
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:57 AM   #2
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We stayed in a local hotel while THOR had our coach for four days for repairs. We thought that would work better since they would not have to return the coach to us each day to stay in it overnight in their parking lot. In hindsight, that was a mistake. Better you stay right at the repair facility and stay on top of the work EACH DAY, for as long as it takes. Also, the TDC had a rally there during our repair visit, so the techs were kept very busy servicing them. Hopefully, you won't have that problem.
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Old 01-19-2014, 08:38 AM   #3
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Have a detailed list of your problems. Go over them with the tech the first morning.
Every afternoon be there to go over what the tech did to your coach that day.
Bring your toad to sightsee during the day time.
Fill up with diesel BEFORE you get into Indiana.

There are probably more suggestions.
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Old 01-19-2014, 08:38 AM   #4
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I have been to Thor twice, the first time was a post sale once over and they fixed everything on my list (all small stuff) plus a bunch of small thing they found themselves. They have seen a ton of coaches so they kind of keep their own list of thing they find on other coaches so they just check and fix as necessary.

My second visit was after I was out of warranty and I developed a water leak that I could not find the source and I was in the area for a FMCA Great Lakes Regional Rally so I made an appointment. Thor found the leak plus they discovered that my water pump housing was cracked and they changed the water pump. I was not charged anything for the post warranty visit.

We stayed in our coach onsite every evening so we spent our days sightseeing in the local area. They returned our coach every afternoon 3:30-4:00 PM and they even dumped our holding tanks and filled our water. They put it on the jacks, extended the slides and plugging on our electric.

I would suggest that you have a punch list to give them and if you notice something during your stay just tell them and they will fix it. Great bunch of techs and the service manager debriefed us at the end of our visit. Very professional!

The Thor Diesel Club (TDC) has its International Rally late in the year and this year it is 5-10 October so I do not think you will be running into delays because of them. What happens during the TDC Rally is everyone can submit a list, up to 3 issues, and Thor will fix those items. If you are out of warranty the only thing you may be charged for is the cost of parts.
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Old 01-19-2014, 09:04 AM   #5
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Just got back from Thor factory service center @ Elkhart -- our third trip there, but our first with this coach, bought in September.

The first thing you need to do is give them a VERY complete list of problems/concerns when you first make your appointment, then update it a few weeks before you go, then again when you arrive. The main reasons for this are for scheduling, and so they can order parts (yes the factory is there, but many parts come from outside suppliers). When you check-in your coach, they will walk the coach with you, and discuss every item on your list (and add more if you have last-minute additions, within reason). So far as I know, most if not all appointments are set for Mondays, and they schedule as many coaches as they think they can do that week.

We have never stayed in our coach, because we aren't early risers, and they start at 7-something. This last trip, we actually brought our coach to Elkhart (600+ miles) and left it there, planning to come back and pick it up a week later. We dropped it off the Friday before, to avoid the Monday morning check-in crowd. Because of the holidays, and the Polar Vortex (which shut down Thor for a couple of days), it ended up being closer to a month, which actually worked out fine. However, if you're bringing yours in winter weather, either bring it winterized, or make sure you have a clear understanding with them that it's not -- Elkhart can get very cold.

Last but not least, remember that these aren't the folks who messed up your coach, they're the folks who will fix what the folks in the factory messed up. They are as amazed as you are by some of the things that happen (or don't happen) during manufacturing. They are the best techs that Thor has, and they will go way out of their way to make you happy, so treat them nice! And when they're done, you will be pleasantly surprised at how thorough they were, and how they fixed other things that weren't on your list, that you may not have even noticed.

Good luck at Camp Thor!
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Old 01-19-2014, 11:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crabby Mike View Post
Just got back from Thor factory service center @ Elkhart -- our third trip there, but our first with this coach, bought in September. The first thing you need to do is give them a VERY complete list of problems/concerns when you first make your appointment, then update it a few weeks before you go, then again when you arrive. The main reasons for this are for scheduling, and so they can order parts (yes the factory is there, but many parts come from outside suppliers). When you check-in your coach, they will walk the coach with you, and discuss every item on your list (and add more if you have last-minute additions, within reason). So far as I know, most if not all appointments are set for Mondays, and they schedule as many coaches as they think they can do that week. We have never stayed in our coach, because we aren't early risers, and they start at 7-something. This last trip, we actually brought our coach to Elkhart (600+ miles) and left it there, planning to come back and pick it up a week later. We dropped it off the Friday before, to avoid the Monday morning check-in crowd. Because of the holidays, and the Polar Vortex (which shut down Thor for a couple of days), it ended up being closer to a month, which actually worked out fine. However, if you're bringing yours in winter weather, either bring it winterized, or make sure you have a clear understanding with them that it's not -- Elkhart can get very cold. Last but not least, remember that these aren't the folks who messed up your coach, they're the folks who will fix what the folks in the factory messed up. They are as amazed as you are by some of the things that happen (or don't happen) during manufacturing. They are the best techs that Thor has, and they will go way out of their way to make you happy, so treat them nice! And when they're done, you will be pleasantly surprised at how thorough they were, and how they fixed other things that weren't on your list, that you may not have even noticed. Good luck at Camp Thor!
I can't agree more with Mike.
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Old 01-19-2014, 12:19 PM   #7
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It would be nice if when taking delivery of my new unit in 4 weeks, it would be perfect! YA Right! LOL I will return to earth now.
Yesterday, My mom called, came home from store with new microwave oven, made a grinding noise, she returned to store, brought home another, plugged it in, and it would not even turn on. (she spent $145.00) Well known name brand. She is heading back for #3. ANYWAY.
In advance, I am aware that I will have issues, I have always wanted to explore Elkhart. Lots of Geocaches and a museum that would be cool
Thanks for the info on your previous experiences.
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Old 01-19-2014, 01:30 PM   #8
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I agree with all that have already replied, in my case I chose to stay at a local hotel as my repairs were difficult to halt at the end of the day. The large slide update requires the coach to be disassembled for more than a day and I thought they could do a more complete job if they didn't have to stop, reassemble the coach and bring it back out side for me to stay in. My concerns were confirmed when I talked to Tom Overton, he said it would make their job easier if they didn't have to reassemble each night. If yours is a 2013 and they are going to update to 2014 specs, they will have to remove the upper gear track, fill the holes that were left, repainting the side of the slide and the new motor channel, then install the new upper track lower on the slide. You can decide what is best but I would talk to Tom and see what would make the job flow better. When mine was there they also fixed rear sealing problem that causes dirt and soot to settle in the rear bedroom. The tech said that this is such a common problem that they check every DP that comes in for this defect.

They also fixed every problem, no matter how small and like has been mentioned even find things you didn't know we're there. They will do the PDI that should have been done on delivery.

Good luck,

Bill
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Old 01-19-2014, 01:38 PM   #9
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The number of stories = the number of RVers who have been there.

I drive a Damon, this is a THOR brand.. I have one bit of advice CALL AHEAD.

Make an appointment with the factory and talk to them

I have made three visits to the factory.

First was by car only, NO rv, just taking the tour and getting some info.

Second was by appointment, Had to have work done on my optional self-removing windshield.. You see. I'd not ordered that option and wished it removed (re-cut and replaced) this is a 3 day job.. I called ahead, made an appointment for the day after the FMCA GLASS rally (About 30 miles away) showed up the night before the appointment and hooked up to the power cord they had left there for me to plug into.

Next morning they knocked on the door just as we put the breakfast dishes in the sink, We hopped in the towed and went to see the movie RV staring Robin Williams..

That night they parked it on the apron and we slept in our own little (RV-Queen) bed.. Next morning well. We visited friends in the area.

And so it goes.. After day 3 we took it back home All fixed.

Some plants will do that, some won't.

Final trip was a suprise visit, Of course all I wanted to do was pick up a part.. I planned to install it myself later.. But.. They did it (around 8 or 10 screws pull the old one off put the new one on and replace screws DO not crawl under rig, do job standing up.).

Suggestion: IF you are a member of the MOOSE.. The lodge in Elkhart has no RV facilities other than boondock grade parking.
But when I was there they had a nice restaurant.
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Old 01-19-2014, 02:06 PM   #10
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The number of stories = the number of RVers who have been there.

I drive a Damon, this is a THOR brand.. I have one bit of advice CALL AHEAD.

Make an appointment with the factory and talk to them

I have made three visits to the factory.

First was by car only, NO rv, just taking the tour and getting some info.

Second was by appointment, Had to have work done on my optional self-removing windshield.. You see. I'd not ordered that option and wished it removed (re-cut and replaced) this is a 3 day job.. I called ahead, made an appointment for the day after the FMCA GLASS rally (About 30 miles away) showed up the night before the appointment and hooked up to the power cord they had left there for me to plug into.

Next morning they knocked on the door just as we put the breakfast dishes in the sink, We hopped in the towed and went to see the movie RV staring Robin Williams..

That night they parked it on the apron and we slept in our own little (RV-Queen) bed.. Next morning well. We visited friends in the area.

And so it goes.. After day 3 we took it back home All fixed.

Some plants will do that, some won't.

Final trip was a suprise visit, Of course all I wanted to do was pick up a part.. I planned to install it myself later.. But.. They did it (around 8 or 10 screws pull the old one off put the new one on and replace screws DO not crawl under rig, do job standing up.).

Suggestion: IF you are a member of the MOOSE.. The lodge in Elkhart has no RV facilities other than boondock grade parking.
But when I was there they had a nice restaurant.
Good point on the appointment! Both of my visits were by appointment and from my observations there is no room for those without an appointment. Unlike some other manufacturer shops where they schedule on a first come first served basis.
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Old 01-19-2014, 03:55 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the feedback so far, keep it coming.

Couple of questions, anybody have pets with them during their visit and what did you do with them (maybe a kennel)?
The other question is does Thor do any kind of training or classes on operating/maintaining the coach?

Sometimes I feel so helpless when it comes to this stuff, then I realize that most of the knowledge I need is not some innate information that one is born with.
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Old 01-19-2014, 04:20 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the feedback so far, keep it coming.

Couple of questions, anybody have pets with them during their visit and what did you do with them (maybe a kennel)?
The other question is does Thor do any kind of training or classes on operating/maintaining the coach?

Sometimes I feel so helpless when it comes to this stuff, then I realize that most of the knowledge I need is not some innate information that one is born with.
Trust me... none of us are..... it helps if you have been in boats for the last 40 years. The power of this forum is awesome!
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Old 01-19-2014, 04:26 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the feedback so far, keep it coming.

Couple of questions, anybody have pets with them during their visit and what did you do with them (maybe a kennel)?
The other question is does Thor do any kind of training or classes on operating/maintaining the coach?

Sometimes I feel so helpless when it comes to this stuff, then I realize that most of the knowledge I need is not some innate information that one is born with.
When I was there the Thor facility they had two waiting areas. There is a small one adjacent to the Customer Service Receptionist/shop and another one across the street the size of a doublewide trailer. Thor is pet friendly and I have seen pets in both waiting areas but mainly the larger one across the street.

Thor, to my knowledge does not have training courses for the coach however the chassis manufacturer, Freightliner, has a two day course called “Camp Freightliner”, I attended and it was great! You can also attend seminars at rallies sponsored by companies like Good Sam. These rally seminars cover everything from proper tire pressure to convection microwave cooking. There are other organizations like “Escapees RV Club” that have a “Knowledge Boot Camp”, that teach a wide range of subjects, see attached link: http://www.escapees.com/NonMembers/Knowledge.aspx
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Old 01-20-2014, 02:11 PM   #14
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When you call Thor, and schedule service, do they tell you the estimated time for repairs?
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