2013 Thor Windsport 33G
More and more Class A floorplans are being offered with a bunkhouse for the kids or grandkids, but for those who don’t travel with children, that space is often underutilized. Thor Motor Coach has designed a multiuse area, the Adapt-a-Room, which transforms the traditional bunk bed space into multiple configurations. Use the Adapt-a-Room, offered on the company’s 2013 Windsport 33G and Hurricane 33G, as bunk beds, or convert the space to a large wardrobe, booth dinette, storage area or kennel.
Earlier this year, the Windsport and Hurricane received an exterior refresh with stylish new front and rear caps and a brand-new color gelcoat body finish and graphics package, giving buyers the choice of colored gelcoat, partial- or full-body paint.
We picked up our test coach from McMahon’s RV (www.mcmahonrv.com)in Westminster, Calif., and headed off to put the restyled bunk bed gasser through its paces. Our destination was the village of Oak Glen, Calif., and a big piece of fresh apple pie.
Stepping into the motorhome’s cockpit is easy thanks to a low-profile doghouse design and the swiveling leatherette captain’s chairs; an optional ($518) six-way power and swivel driver’s seat is also available.
The dash is classic Ford: simple and uncluttered with twin analog speedometer and tachometer gauges, perfect for new drivers. Matching sweep style fuel, oil pressure and fluid temperature instruments surround the main display. A centered driver information screen, with dash controller, provides a single trip odometer function as well as outside temperature, distance to empty and total engine hours (for those who perform maintenance based on operating hours rather than miles driven). A GPS is not offered in either the Windsport or Hurricane, but twin dash-mounted 12-volt DC outlets are provided for an aftermarket GPS or other devices.
Audio entertainment comes in the form of a multifunction, touch screen stereo with weather channels and provides AM/FM/CD/MP3/USB and iPod connectivity. The 5.8-inch touch screen also connects with the optional ($893), but very useful, heated remote exterior chrome mirrors with integrated side view cameras and a color rear view camera with sound.
On the copilot’s side of the cockpit is a convenient 18-by-19-inch flip-over dashtop workstation. The workspace is sized to hold most large format atlases or a laptop, and there are DC and AC outlets in the desk’s recess for powering electronics. Twin two-speed comfort fans are provided, but unfortunately are powered from an ignition-controlled circuit. We found the fans perfectly suited for quietly circulating cabin air while camped and hope the company will rewire them to coach power instead.
Cockpit visibility from either seat is excellent thanks to the large panoramic one-piece windshield and fixed sidelight panes. The panes help the copilot keep an eye open for approaching curbs and for the driver to assess lane changes or road hazards. We’d like to see this feature in every motorhome.
Powertrain and Performance
As we headed toward Oak Glen, we made a slight detour up Cajon Pass and back down to test the mettle of the Ford V-10 and TorqShift transmission. Turning 2,200 rpm on a 65 mph level cruise, the leaf spring suspension calmed steering-wheel-transmitted road vibration from all but the most broken concrete surfaces, greatly assisted by the Bilstein 4800 series shocks.
Cockpit noise was measured at 74 decibels at 65 mph on interstate asphalt, which made conversations and hands-free cellphone use no problem. And kudos to Thor Motor Coach’s cabinet shop staff for not only creating a striking interior but one with tight cabinetry joints and secure attachment points. We thoroughly enjoyed the rattle- and squeak-free ride.
Once pointed uphill on the initial 5 percent grade, the V-10 began to introduce itself to us maintaining 55 mph in fourth gear while turning 2,800 rpm. As the grade approached 7 percent, speed dropped a bit while the TorqShift program selected a lower gear, allowing the Triton to start turning up the exhaust note to 3,700 rpm and heading to its peak horsepower point. Third gear temporarily interrupted our chat but Thor has done an admirable job insulating the doghouse area from road and engine noise intrusion at all but the highest rpm.
Downhill travel was as controlled and effortless as the climb. Despite the moderate side wind, the nearly 12-foot body overhang behind the rear axle never overpowered the factory sway bars or created an uncomfortable wander. Speed was kept in check by a combination of engine braking from the TorqShift’s tow-haul auto-downshift programming with periodic service brake applications.
Once we arrived at our destination, we wandered through Oak Glen’s shops and orchards and ended up at Apple Annie’s Restaurant and Bakery (www.appleanniesoakglen.com) for the true purpose of this stop — finding apple pie a la mode. A single order of Apple Annie’s delicious 5-pound “Mile High Homemade Apple Pie” only hints at the size. A single slice, along with the ice cream, can easily satisfy two.
Setting up Camp
With our sweet tooth satisfied, we headed for the full-service 63-acre Canyon RV Park (www.canyonrvpark.com) in Anaheim, Calif., one of our favorite campgrounds. Situated along the Santa Ana River and wetlands area, the RV park offers 140 shady sites with full hookups, and 30- and 50-amp service. Centrally located to Southern California’s major visitor’s attractions, it’s a perfect place to use as a base camp.
Setting up was pushbutton easy. After ensuring we had adequate slideout clearances and terra firma, one button activates the standard-equipped auto-level jacks and two more deploy the Schwintek-equipped slide room mechanisms, transforming this fun driver into a roomy, home away from home.
The popular Dream Dinette overlooks the campsite and drops with minimal effort into a 36-by-69-inch sleeping area. The queen flip/fold sofabed with pneumatic mattress shares space in the streetside slide along with the L-shaped galley, creating a comfortable place to socialize or watch the overhead 26-inch cockpit flat-screen HDTV. The galley’s inch-deep laminate countertops hold the 60/40 twin-basin sink and high-arc faucet. The dark overhead glazed cherry cabinetry surrounding the cabin and cockpit continues into the galley.
A three-burner Atwood range and oven with a Frigidaire microwave with built-in hood moves out with the galley slide to create room for a handy 12-by-22-inch fold-up countertop extension without impeding the aisle. Cookware and utensil storage in the galley base cabinet and full-extension drawers should hold everything needed for the active and always hungry family. The curbside 6-cubic-foot, two-way, two-door Norcold refrigerator shares its cabinetry surround with a useful pullout pantry using adjustable hook-on 6-by-21-inch baskets, completing an efficient and functional galley.
Also on the curbside is the aforementioned Adapt-a-Room, which is housed in a 12.5-foot slide. By night, the 30-by-76-inch and 27-by-70-inch bunks provide a comfortable place to sleep, read or watch a movie on the pair of optional ($1,043) 13-inch LCD TVs with DVD player. By day, the two-piece upper bunk can be folded down from each end using a clever hinged support frame, creating a small facing dinette with seatbelts and a small pole table. Remove the cushions and the space can be used as a 6-foot closet, with full-length hanging rod, or stow pet kennels and other cargo.
The bath is the standard fare one-room privacy design with HVAC directional outlets. An embossed design 40-by-46-inch shower tub/stall includes 6 feet of headroom plus a bit more from the domed skylight. The matching wood storage cabinet above the porcelain commode supplements the vanity base cabinet and three-shelf mirrored medicine cabinet.
The bedroom is another highlight with its large 32-by-26-inch rear wall window to enjoy the sunrise or sunset. The room is cross-vented by the window above the head of the 60-by-74-inch walk-around platform queen bed. You can also select the optional ($893) rear roof air conditioner that connects to the cabin’s ductwork, but also requires the optional ($1,988) 5.5 kW generator upgrade. Twin nightstands, which are 29 inches deep, incorporate a small bookshelf underneath the tops — a feature we hope gets copied in every motorhome bedroom. Plenty of storage is available in the wardrobe and drawer module that fills the remainder of the bunk’s slide space. An optional ($443) 19-inch LCD HDTV is also available with cable connection to the A/V distribution box in the cockpit.
Outside, an array of saddlebag storage compartments is provided along with a pair of small pass-through chambers. An enclosed utility compartment keeps dump valves out of the way. Optional ($225) holding tank heat pads and ($1,493) dual-pane window glass create four-season capabilities.
But the big story is the new whole-body colored gelcoat finish and matching powder coated trim that will be available by the time you read this. Offered in Autumn Fire and Sand Dollar, the new high-gloss tan finish and vinyl graphics package results in a savings of $8,550 over the available full-body paint. According to the company, annual maintenance and damage repairs are no more difficult than conventional white gelcoat bodies and the new colors are matched using color codes from samples taken from actual color batches applied to each motorhome and referenced through the coach’s VIN.
So whether you’re looking for a large-family motorhome or one with the ability to comfortably handle occasional guests and extended trip cargo, the Windsport 336G provides unexpected benefits you may not have considered in only 33 feet.
FUEL ECONOMY: 7.5 MPG
0-60 MPH: 24.4 SEC
40-60 MPH: 10.2 SEC
MODEL: FORD F53
ENGINE: 6.8-L FORD V-10
SAE HP: 362 @ 4,750 RPM
TORQUE: 457 LB-FT @ 3,250 RPM
TRANSMISSION: 5-SPEED AUTOMATIC WITH OVERDRIVE
AXLE RATIO: 4.30:1
BRAKES, F/R: DISC WITH ABS
SUSPENSION, F/R: I-BEAM AXLE, TAPERED MULTI-LEAF SPRINGS WITH STABilizer BAR/SOLID AXLE, TAPERED LEAF SPRINGS WITH STABilizer BAR
FUEL CAP: 80 GAL
WARRANTY: 3 YRS/36,000 MILES
EXT LENGTH: 33′ 4″
EXT WIDTH: 8′ 3″
EXT HEIGHT (WITH A/C): 11′ 11″
INT WIDTH: 8′
INT HEIGHT: 6′ 8″
CONSTRUCTION: STEEL AND ALUMINUM FRAMING, VACUUM-BONDED FIBERGLASS SKIN AND ROOF, 1.5-INCH POLYSTYRENE SHEET INSULATION
FRESHWATER CAP: 50 GAL
BLACK-WATER CAP: 44 GAL
GRAY-WATER CAP: 44 GAL
WATER-HEATER CAP: 6 GAL
LP-GAS CAP: 21 GAL
AIR CONDITIONER: 13,500 BTU
FURNACE: 34,000 BTU
REFRIGERATOR: 6 CU FT
CONVERTER/CHARGER: 50 AMP
BATTERIES: (1) 12-VOLT CHASSIS, (1) 12-VOLT COACH
AC GENERATOR: 4 KW
BASE MSRP: $112,440
MSRP AS TESTED: $118,660
WARRANTY: 1 YR/15,000 MILES; STRUCTURAL, 2 YRS/24,000 MILES
(WATER AND HEATER, FUEL, LP-GAS TANKS FULL; NO SUPPLIES OR PASSENGERS)
FRONT AXLE: 5,740 LBS
REAR AXLE: 10,625 LBS
TOTAL: 16,365 LBS
GAWR, F/R: 7,000/12,000 LBS
GVWR/GCWR: 18,000/26,000 LBS
ROCCC: 1,635 LBS
GAWR: GROSS AXLE WEIGHT RATING
GVWR: GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING
GCWR: GROSS COMBINATION WEIGHT RATING
ROCCC: REALISTIC OCCUPANT AND CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY (full water, no passengers)
Thor Motor Coach