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Old 11-20-2012, 09:35 AM   #1
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XLR Thunderbolt: Any Reviews?

We are considering this Forest River toy hauler with the Arctic Package insulation, and others with adequate insulation as well. I need to research very well before we can make a decision. This is a lot of money for us, even for a used model, and we don't want to financially marry a depreciating headache. No one does. On to my questions....

I'd like any and all feedback and input that one should know and consider.

Would you buy another one?

Unfortunately, I cannot find a construction detail for it, so does anyone know what type of insulation is used re: fiberglass, foam, astrofoil, etc.? I'm assuming they've used astrofoil or something similar to achieve that R-value.

What's your impression of the quality? Did you find a lot of particle board?

How important was the dealer's reputation in your decision to purchase this toy hauler?

Did you do a PDI before you took it home?

As much as I'd like to have an RV, I've been reading about all the problems people experienced with shoddy workmanship and how the dealer and manufacturer did or did not stand behind it, coupled with what I think are extremely high prices in a downed economy (not everyone is affected by that, though), and I think I'm starting to get cold feet about buying one. What are your thoughts on that?
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Old 11-20-2012, 11:27 AM   #2
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Hi

I completely understand your concerns. My husband and I upgraded our class c nearly 4 weeks ago for the 2012 XLR Thunderbolt 35x12. I did all the research before finding it, and joined this forum while waiting to pick up our new RV. I admit that I was almost sorry I was having my husband drive the 9 hour trip, to purchase a unit we had never seen in person, nor did we know anyone who owned one, due to all the conversations from folks who had one problem after another.

We did make the trip, I loved it in person just like I did online. It was pouring down rain, and we did our PDI inside their service center so we could stay dry. The walkthrough took nearly 7 hours, and they never once acted put out to show us all we needed, and wanted to know. After the purchase, they even rode with us in an empty KMart parking lot to give my husband a few helpful hints on hitching, pulling, turning corners, and backing up.

Your dealer has all the power to make you feel you are going to be taken care of, should any issues need to be addressed. Which by the way, when we got home, we had to have someone fix the microwave door, and the fireplace motor had to be replaced.

We do not have the Arctic Package (we have the 4 season though) but if they would have had one, I for sure would have picked that unit over one that did not. We do use space heaters, one in the garage area and one in the living area. When used along with an electric blanket at night, it is so toasty warm inside! I have not read any threads on the arctic pack, so not sure if folks have any issues.

As for the XLR itself.... I love mine and we have one that has not had any issues that make me wish we had picked another model. I suppose if you were to join a forum for another manufacturer, you will also read lots of stories from folks having problems. Good luck on your decisions and whatever you purchase, have tons of fun memories!!!
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:09 PM   #3
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Thank you for the reply, RVChick. How long and what other units did you research?
What was it about the XLR that made you buy?
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:18 PM   #4
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Welcome to the Forum. First off I must say we do not have an XLR but we do have a FR Wildwood 376SRVBS Toy Hauler (42ft.,King Master, dual queen bunks in garage). We got this unit used in April of this year. Its a 2007 model. We did spend several months going to RV shows and drooling over all the new models but could not justify the expense of a brand new unit. I have read posts on this Forum detailing all sorts of problems with brand new RVs and the issues trying to get the dealers to stand behind their product sales. After considering all the pros and cons we decided to look at used models starting with 2011s on down. My feeling is its like a buying a home, after a year or so most problems would have surfaced and the previous owner(s) hopefully would have dealt with them. In some cases the preowned units we looked at had visible problems, which in my opinion is better than not knowing what is or could be wrong with them. Our unit does not have the arctic package, but we recently camped for three nights in 30 degree temps and I did not feel that the toyhauler was inadequately insulated. I had to tune up the generator and replace the converter (less than $200), found a loose ground wire, but that was pretty much it in a 5 year old FR RV. We paid just over $20K for it and are very happy with the results. Five camping trips this year totaling 15 days and no issues.

I do have to say that our next model is going to have the 1/2 bath in the back to keep the kids out of "our" space.

There are plenty of excellent deals on preowned, private sale models that in my opinion should be considered.

Good luck with your purchase!!
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RONXS69 View Post
Welcome to the Forum. First off I must say we do not have an XLR but we do have a FR Wildwood 376SRVBS Toy Hauler (42ft.,King Master, dual queen bunks in garage). We got this unit used in April of this year. Its a 2007 model. We did spend several months going to RV shows and drooling over all the new models but could not justify the expense of a brand new unit. I have read posts on this Forum detailing all sorts of problems with brand new RVs and the issues trying to get the dealers to stand behind their product sales. After considering all the pros and cons we decided to look at used models starting with 2011s on down. My feeling is its like a buying a home, after a year or so most problems would have surfaced and the previous owner(s) hopefully would have dealt with them. In some cases the preowned units we looked at had visible problems, which in my opinion is better than not knowing what is or could be wrong with them. Our unit does not have the arctic package, but we recently camped for three nights in 30 degree temps and I did not feel that the toyhauler was inadequately insulated. I had to tune up the generator and replace the converter (less than $200), found a loose ground wire, but that was pretty much it in a 5 year old FR RV. We paid just over $20K for it and are very happy with the results. Five camping trips this year totaling 15 days and no issues.

I do have to say that our next model is going to have the 1/2 bath in the back to keep the kids out of "our" space.

There are plenty of excellent deals on preowned, private sale models that in my opinion should be considered.

Good luck with your purchase!!
Thank you, RONXS69. Yes, those thoughts regarding the prior owner and dealership working out the bugs crossed my mind. Chalk up another reason to buy used. And yes, let someone else take the hit on depreciation.
We're not exactly in a position to buy new anyhow.

My main problem with the used units, and that is what we are looking for, is that it's often difficult to find the data on insulation values for them. Sometimes it takes excellent research skills to find that information, especially when you are talking less than 2010. I will give kudos to Open Range for providing an archive of helpful brochures on their website. On the other hand, Heartland offers only partial insulation information for current models. I wonder if there is any insulation in their roofs at all, and maybe that's why they don't provide that info. Anyhow, that's what makes buying used a bit more difficult. I'm going to be pretty strict on the insulation issue and would prefer dual pane windows.

Yes, I'd love to have a wet bath by the garage for the kids, too. Better yet, a tent for the kids to stay in.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:53 PM   #6
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Miboje I had been looking online off and on ever since I bought my husband a new 09 Harley Davidson for his birthday. We almost upgrade to a class A but when we got the bike, we knew we wanted the toy hauler instead. Our friend bought his bike after us, then upgraded his class A for an 05 Raptor toy hauler and loves it. It wasn't until this summer that I got more aggressive in my search because we bought land and decided to sell our home and rebuild in the country. My hubby said if we sold our home, we can get the toy hauler...so I spent the next 4 months getting my home ready to put on the market.....it sold in 3 hours! I started searching on Craigslist, on eBay and my favorite was on you tube! We had been to RV shows but they never carried enough toy haulers for me to compare side by side in person, so you tube was where I was able to "see and hear" what they looked like and how they were made. This is how I fell in love with the XLR Thunderbolt. The 4 season was a selling point big time.

I agree with looking at used units, and that was my intention, but I could not find any used XLR Thunderbolts.

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Old 11-20-2012, 01:08 PM   #7
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Well, it's absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for the pics! We actually got to see this model in person at the RV show in Hershey, PA back in the fall, and I fell in love. This floor plan and kitchen is my favorite. Not sure if our TV can handle it without hogging mega amounts of Diesel, though. I'm such a tightwad. I'd like to stay as lightweight as possible, but that means giving up certain things I'd really like to have in the toy hauler.

You are right....it's hard to find them used. And if I was selling the house and had the cash, I'd get too impatient.....lol FR started the XLR Thunderbolt in 2011 ( I believe), which is going to make it extremely unlikely we will find one at what I'm willing to spend, but it doesn't cost anything to drool, want and hope, does it?

We have some time yet, though. I'm not planning on making a purchase until next fall, so hopefully something comes up on a no reserve auction at that time. We've got to pay off the TV first. It's hard to be patient. We could afford to do it now, but I just don't want all that debt at once. If I were in your shoes, I'd have probably done the same thing.
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:10 PM   #8
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Your member profile doesn't state where you're from and/or where you will be doing most of your camping. Having a well insulated RV is always a plus in extreme weather conditions, cold or hot, but unless you are going to make your RV your primary living quarters you may not want to limit your potential choices only to the insulating qualities a small subset of available units. The XLR is a fine looking unit and I believe is a step up rfom the Wildwood Sport series. I don't believe our Wildwood has the best insulating factors available, but we did spend a week in 100+ temps (with one 15K BTU AC) and several nights in low 30 temps with no discomfort or extreme use of the heat and A/C applicances. In fact on our last trip just a couple weekends ago (33 degrees at night) I went around the RV feeling the inside walls for excessive cold temps but was surprised that the inner walls actually felt like room temps and we did not have the thermostat set above 70. We bought our RV as a "starter" unit to test the "waters" so to speak and can't say enough about the quality time and fun we've had thus far. Certainly not making light of your concern for the insulating factors, just trying to keep it all in perspective as I for one know how hard it is to make decisions on a major purchase such as this!

Hope this discussion helps some.
Ron
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:16 PM   #9
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All I can say is WOW!!! That is a bute! My kids would love the stairs to the loft!! I believe Jayco has a model with stairs like that! Obviously you don't have "dirt bike" riding kids, LOL. That's what be bought ours for. Hauling the kid's dirtbikes and four wheelers to WV Hatfields and other riding parks. Nothing but a class road bike should ever touch that garage! I now know what to look for when we upgrade!
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:27 PM   #10
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Wow, that's a beautiful TH. I really like how it has a door on each side of the entertainment center.
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