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Author Topic: Yet another diesel vs gas question  (Read 958 times)

jbbrick

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Yet another diesel vs gas question
« on: November 17, 2017, 10:38:57 AM »
I'm going to look at a, '04 Journey 34' with the Cat (I think thats a C-7) , I already have an early Adventurer and have always has gassers in my many Rv's. I like the coach and the flat floor, floor plan, etc but I'm worried there may be too much maintenance or expensive repairs with diesel. I've always had Fords, V-8 and V-10 and never had any engine problems. I know they'll go for half a million miles which is longer than I'll live but i don't want a lot of little things going wrong and costing time and money. Any Journey folks or others with experience?  Thanks

Roy M

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Re: Yet another diesel vs gas question
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2017, 11:22:13 AM »
If the unit has been well maintained you should have little to worry about. Yes, diesel service costs more but is less frequent so that is a wash. I have been driving a diesel for almost seven years and have had 0 engine problems, all the power I need and great fuel mileage. I wouldn't consider gas in a heavy coach but that's just my opinion.

Sun2Retire

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Re: Yet another diesel vs gas question
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2017, 11:45:30 AM »
I have a C7 350. Couple things I would spend the money on prior to delivery is a cutout test to see how the injectors are doing and a fuel sample downstream of the HEUI pump to see if itís starting to have issues. I think they can also take the top off the pump to have a look. I would recommend having this done at a Cat dealer, not just a place that says they can work on them. I had to replace the pump and an injector (thankfully both covered under the extended warranty I purchased).


Also get samples tested for oil (which can also show early signs of HEUI failure along with engine condition), trans, rear end and coolant.
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350
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Kevin Means

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Re: Yet another diesel vs gas question
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2017, 12:01:43 PM »
The "million mile" (or half million mile) engine is, in my opinion, largely mythical - little more than urban legend. A diesel engine's block may go that many miles, because they are robust, but the hoses, pulleys, pumps, belts, seals, turbos etc. won't. They'll wear out in about the same time they'd wear out on a gas engine. Modern RV gas engines do quite well, so I wouldn't be overly concened about wearing one out.

We've had three Class A's over the past 23 years. The first one had a Chevy 454, the second one had a Ford V-10 and our current coach has an 8.9 Cummins diesel. They were always maintained properly and we never had any serious (expensive) problems with any of them.

The annual service expenses on our Cummins diesel costs about three times as much as the same service on our gas engines cost. Some of that is due to shop rates, oil filters etc. being more expensive today, but a lot of it is due to the quantities of fluids, and the greater number and sizes of filters used in diesel engines. It doesn't break the bank, but diesel engines are definitely more expensive to maintain.

Not to scare you away from diesels, because I truly believe this was a rare incident, but one Forum member recently posted about the catastrophic failure of his Cummins diesel engine. (I think it was a relatively low mileage 2005 engine.) The estimate to replace it (parts and labor) was $41,000.00. It would probably cost about $10,000.00 to replace an RV's gas engine.

I think it's hard to beat the power, braking ability, smooth ride and quietness of a diesel pusher, and once you get longer than 38 feet, diesel engines are all you're going to find anyway. Yes, they're definitely more expensive to maintain, but most of us who have them feel they're worth it.

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
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SeilerBird

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Re: Yet another diesel vs gas question
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2017, 12:05:56 PM »
How well an engine was maintained has a lot more to do with how long it will last than the type of engine that it is.
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RedandSilver

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Re: Yet another diesel vs gas question
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2017, 12:16:38 PM »
I'm worried there may be too much maintenance or expensive repairs with diesel.

Worry over something that may never happen is a waste of time.

If the coach your looking at has records of service that should help ease your worries.
The PO of my coach didn't give me any records but he said he kept it up and I believed him.
But just to be safe - I replaced almost all fluids and filters. Now I have a baseline to work off of.

IMO I don't think diesels break down more then gas units with the same mileage.
My guess is you will find way more people that now have a diesel and would never go back to a gas unit vs the other way around.
Maybe you'll join them.  ;D
 
IF anything goes wrong - can you do any of the work?  That would save you a fair amount.
I've done all the maintenance on my coach and it's the first diesel I have ever owned.  It's not rocket science - relax you may not have
to do anything except add fuel and check some fluids from time to time.

I don't know much about gas RV units but my diesel manual states 15,000 miles between oil changes but it does take 5 gals of oil
to do a change and the filters are bigger - don't know if that's farther then a gas unit goes. 
2002 Rexhall Rose Air  Cummins 8.3  350hp

jbbrick

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Re: Yet another diesel vs gas question
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2017, 02:38:22 PM »
I know the person selling, he's a member of our WIT club and has taken the coach back to GNR almost every year and had it serviced I think at Oshkosh. Hasn't been driven for over a year, I haven't actually had a close look at it but will soon. I know it's in primo condition but don't know the mileage. Maybe an extended warranty might be advisable for one of these??

Addl: I just looked at Good Sam for an extended repair quote, with 1000 deductible the price is $1800/yr. Have to check further into this.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2017, 02:54:39 PM by jbbrick »

John Canfield

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Re: Yet another diesel vs gas question
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2017, 07:32:30 AM »
The "million mile" (or half million mile) engine is, in my opinion, largely mythical - little more than urban legend...
The Cummins ISX is an engine marketed to over the road tractors that will run hundreds of thousands of miles a year. Detroit Diesels are also very popular for long-haul tractors but bottom line is they will all run for xxxx hours before a breakdown.

My Cummins ISL engine was designed for regional applications - buses, cement trucks, etc. What the design differences are I have no clue, could be rebuild costs, i.e., wet sleeves. The sleeve gets replaced and the block doesn't need to be bored.
--John
2005 Horizon 40AD, 2006 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited
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NY_Dutch

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Re: Yet another diesel vs gas question
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2017, 09:30:04 AM »
Keep in mind that like most of us, you'll spend far more time living in your motorhome than you will driving it. Make the floor plan, furnishings, appliances, etc., a priority in choosing one. All of the available engines/drive lines will get you where you're going and back, making prior maintenance and condition a bigger priority than fuel type.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
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2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
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jbbrick

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Re: Yet another diesel vs gas question
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2017, 11:51:03 AM »
I said above, this is the Cat engine. I think it's a late '03 because they don't list it in the brochure till '04. I saw the coach a few years ago and not he's thinking of selling, a very meticulous guy.. I can do most repairs myself but have never worked on a diesel. My gassers have never been in a shop other than smog tests, I've done it all myself including all oil and lubes. Maybe its also because they've never given me any problems.

kdbgoat

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Re: Yet another diesel vs gas question
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2017, 02:01:26 PM »
If you're a good enough mechanic to do all your own work on your gas engines, you can do most of a diesel. There's a few things that really require a shop, but not much.
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RedandSilver

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Re: Yet another diesel vs gas question
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2017, 02:59:35 PM »
I said above, this is the Cat engine. I think it's a late '03 because they don't list it in the brochure till '04. I saw the coach a few years ago and not he's thinking of selling, a very meticulous guy.. I can do most repairs myself but have never worked on a diesel. My gassers have never been in a shop other than smog tests, I've done it all myself including all oil and lubes. Maybe its also because they've never given me any problems.

So are you going to go look at it?  Please report back if you do and ask any questions you want before or after you buy it.

A very Meticulous Guy is the type of person I would like to buy something from if I was buying anything used.
Chances are he will have records too.

Don't be afraid of the diesel world - most are very strong and run very well if maintenance is done as needed.
Like I said I do my own work and it's my first ever diesel.  Don't be afraid of something that may never give you any problems
just enjoy the trips you will be making.
 
2002 Rexhall Rose Air  Cummins 8.3  350hp

muskoka guy

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Re: Yet another diesel vs gas question
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2017, 05:47:37 PM »
If you rode in a dp, then went for a ride in a front engine gasser, you would HEAR one of the main reasons for getting a  pusher. The engine braking and towing power are just a bonus. Did we mention not having to shoehorn your coach into a gas station. Cheers

John Canfield

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Re: Yet another diesel vs gas question
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2017, 06:25:58 PM »
Absolutely correct!
--John
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jbbrick

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Re: Yet another diesel vs gas question
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2017, 03:13:13 PM »
All that said, I'm not convinced that a diesel is the best choice for me. No, I've never ridden in one but have had 3 A's, 2 C's, truck camper, and more. The front noise doesn't bother me too much but then I've never been without it. Reading the posts and many other forums lately I see what appears to be much more maintenance and restrictions for diesel. More filters, fungus additives, temp watching, cold starting (not a prob, I live in Calif), injector issues, fuel turning to jelly, and more. One poster said you shouldn't take one out unless you go 25 miles to warm it up...I have to move mine around the lot once in a while to switch garages for cars. All these caveats make me kind of wonder if it's the right decision. I always pull into Costco stations with 32' plus a toad and never have issues. Gas is cheaper, diesel is not sold at Costco's although fuel cost is not really that much of a consideration since we usually don't go more than a few hundred miles. A yearly vacation of 2000 or so is also the norm. 

That said, I like the different floor plans, the potential silence, front entry, torque, etc. I'm not afraid of more maintenance and I can do most myself but do I want to?  I know the answers are subjective but the bottom line, is it worth the trouble nowadays with the dependable V10's out there on larger coaches?  Over this holiday weekend I will see a nephew who's a former truck driver, has a 34' Winnie diesel and a lot of experience. I think talking with him may help make up my mind. That plus if the Mrs likes the different interior plans of a rear engine. One more thing, I can't go over 34' and still keep it at home, so a V10 would power anything I'd buy.  I appreciate all the input from those that own one.

BTW Gary, I just read some of your posts on another thread, interesting comments re the stronger chassis, air suspension, braking, etc. All the more to consider.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2017, 04:48:32 PM by jbbrick »

Steve N Dee

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Re: Yet another diesel vs gas question
« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2017, 06:45:55 PM »
Just to chime in, I own a 2005 34' Winnebago Journey with a Cummins ISB engine. I've owned it for 6 years and put about 30,000 miles on it.  Bought it with 32k miles on it.   I previously owned a class C Winnie for 15 years (gasser).  I live in CA also.  I love my diesel.  I would be hard pressed to go back to a gasser.  The power, the quietness, the floorplan, etc, are all worth the moderate amount of additional maintenance cost.  I don't use any fuel additives as they are not necessary in our climate (So Cal). My filters, etc, are not that costly.  I think the fuel mileage and longer maintenance intervals offset a lot, and I pay for all my maintenance as I am not mechanically inclined.  I had one mechanical issue in the 6 years.  An EGR motor.  Cost me 900.00 and 2 days at a shop (on the road).  I would not let the maintenance cost issue influence my decision at all.  JM2C.

Steve
Steve & Dee - Racing towards retirement
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Larry N.

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Re: Yet another diesel vs gas question
« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2017, 07:58:24 PM »
Quote
One poster said you shouldn't take one out unless you go 25 miles to warm it up...

Well, miles will vary, but you need to run it well above idle for 25-30 minutes -- thing is, though, you need to do the same with a gasoline engine. With either one, it doesn't mean you can't start it and go a mile today, then wait a day or two, but it does mean that you shouldn't let it sit for more than a few days without having run it and warmed it thoroughly. With either type, a short run fails to get all the moisture out of the engine and oil, yet builds up some more of each, while the longer run dries out what was in there before AND what is added when you first get it going.

So don't count that as a difference.

Quote
fuel turning to jelly,

It needs to be pretty cold for that to be a problem, and diesel is blended in winter to better resist the cold, but if you have extended periods below zero and you want to operate, then some remedial action will be needed. That being said, though, I've not yet experienced problems through several winters, and I live in the Denver area.
Larry and Mary Ann N.
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KandT

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Re: Yet another diesel vs gas question
« Reply #17 on: November 20, 2017, 04:44:38 AM »
The difference isn't just int he engine but the chassis and suspension as well.  The airbag suspension is a world of difference compared to anything with a steel spring and the heaviness of the build is really a big difference. 

For as much talk as there is about engines in cars, trucks, RV's etc., they seem to be the most reliable part of the vehicle.  Much more likely to have multiple of other problems than an engine go - assuming it had even the bare level of maintenance.   Not saying it is impossible but I would worry more about high quality tires and brakes and steering/suspension systems than how long the engine will last.  Batteries take a beating because they are often stored for a long time between trips. 

If someone is really worried about the engine maybe they would feel better with other forms of travel.  I mean that sincerely not as a wise guy comment.  I love my RV but it isn't for everyone.  There are lots of problems with it and it isn't the fastest or cheapest way to get across the country. 
2005 Winnebago Vectra
American Car Dolly
2009 Accord Toad
It's not a problem.  It's a project!

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Yet another diesel vs gas question
« Reply #18 on: November 20, 2017, 10:11:01 AM »
Quote
Reading the posts and many other forums lately I see what appears to be much more maintenance and restrictions for diesel. More filters, fungus additives, temp watching, cold starting (not a prob, I live in Calif), injector issues, fuel turning to jelly, and more. One poster said you shouldn't take one out unless you go 25 miles to warm it up...I have to move mine around the lot once in a while to switch garages for cars. All these caveats make me kind of wonder if it's the right decision.

Well, there are always plenty of worriers on the Internet, making minor but indisputable facts into major crises.  And if you read widely on gas engines, you will find much of the same advice, e.g. always run it long enough & far enough to thoroughly warm up, use fuel additives during storage, avoid "old gas", keep an eye on the temperature gauge, etc.

That said, you are wise to consider these things, because a diesel engine does indeed cost somewhat more to maintain. At the very least, the amount of oil is much larger, oil filters cost more, air filters are large and relatively expensive, and the air system requires some maintenance that metal springs & hydraulic brakes generally do not. That is weighed against the superior ride, handling and performance of the diesel pusher chassis.  There is no doubt in my mind you would enjoy driving a DP, but that still doesn't mean it is the best overall choice for your needs. A Mercedes 500SL may possess many superior attributes, but a Ford Fusion is still a darn nice vehicle that provides both comfort and performance at a more reasonable price.
Gary
--------------
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Summers: Black Mountain, NC
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gravesdiesel

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Re: Yet another diesel vs gas question
« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2017, 10:59:12 AM »
Cant beat diesel.  Better fuel economy and longer life.  As an advantage, you will have a diesel generator, which will last much longer than a gasoline unit, runs quieter and is more fuel efficient.
2016 KZ Spree 262 RKS
2003 Dodge 3500 4 door flatbed 4x4 diesel, 6 speed
1996 Dodge 3500 extra cab flatbed 4x4 diesel 5 speed
2006 Arctic Cat TRV diesel 4x4 ATV
(2) 1981 Yamaha G1 2 cycle golf carts
Many other diesels on the farm!

TonyDtorch

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Re: Yet another diesel vs gas question
« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2017, 11:32:29 AM »
The "Other" repair costs of an older diesel pushers can hurt too,   a radiator and fan assembly failure can set you back about  $4000.00.

 Many of the new diesels are having DEF control problems and they shut down or go into "limp' mode.

From what I hear it's rather expensive when you have to get a big motorhome towed a couple 100 miles into a town and find a shop that can repair a diesel fuel injector control problem.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2017, 08:30:24 PM by TonyDtorch »

muskoka guy

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Re: Yet another diesel vs gas question
« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2017, 05:15:33 PM »
As far as fuel gelling up, I own four pieces of diesel heavy equipment as well as a motorhome, and have never had that problem. Most of them run all winter as well. I think the potential for a problem would be higher with regular gasoline that has ethanol in it. If your coach sits for any length of time with a tank full of ethanol gas, I would be really worried. When I had a gasser, I would make sure the last two tanks of fuel I put in before storing it for the winter were premium fuel with no ethanol. The gas generator didnt like sitting with ethanol fuel in it either. If you can buy ethanol free gas you might be better off, but here in Ontario that pretty much means buying premium, which gets pretty expensive when you are buying several hundred dollars worth of fuel.

Mile High

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Re: Yet another diesel vs gas question
« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2017, 08:28:52 PM »
I turned a wrench 40 years ago, but technology has kept me out from under the hood for quite a while.  I will say however, my cummins 8.9L looks a WHOLE lot easier to work on than the Jeep that is towed behind it.  :)   It may cost more, but I wouldn't hesitate the get in there myself.
Brad and Dory
2013 Winnebago Itasca Meridian 42E (new to us 2016)
2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
FMCA 457993 / WIT W170238
Denver, CO

KandT

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Re: Yet another diesel vs gas question
« Reply #23 on: November 21, 2017, 06:56:24 PM »
How well an engine was maintained has a lot more to do with how long it will last than the type of engine that it is.

i agree - seems like there is a lot more discussion of engines and transmissions breaking than either actually breaking.  Especially for all the miles that are put on a MoHo.
2005 Winnebago Vectra
American Car Dolly
2009 Accord Toad
It's not a problem.  It's a project!

jbbrick

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Re: Yet another diesel vs gas question
« Reply #24 on: December 06, 2017, 06:24:22 PM »
OK, my final decision is we're going to pass on this coach. Not so much a diesel v gas issue but there isn't enough difference between the 03 Journey and my 02 Adventurer for me to change. I like the floor plan, and the chassis but the interior is very similar to mine and even lacks a few features that we already have. Plus with my home layout I can keep a 32' in the back yard but 34' would mean changing a fence and more hassle getting it in there. Add in the increased cost of maintenance over gas, and I think we'll stick with gas. As others have said, a lot of long distance driving is better with diesel but my monthly and weekend trips, one or two long vacations yearly, gas makes more sense.

All that said, who knows what will come along that I just can't pass up but for now I'm sticking with what I have. Thanks for all the input so far.

 

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