rvupgradestore.com Composet Products Fridge Defend
RV Life Magazine RV Park Reviews RV Trip Wizard

Author Topic: $30K class A gasser of $55K diesel pusher - what would you do and why?  (Read 1323 times)

oldryder

  • ---
  • Posts: 42
Never had a motorhome before.  Been shopping for about 5 months.  Have a pretty good idea of what stuff sells for and what the various differences are.  Also aware of the numerous watch outs for a used RV.

Looks like I can get a nice condition 2 or 3 slide gasser approx. 32` with 25 - 50,000 miles for about $32,000.

For $20,000 more I can get a 2 or maybe 3 slide 36 - 38'+ DP with 40 - 70,000 miles.  either option is OK for us financially.

I expect to be towing a car or pick-up in either case.  RV is for road tripping and visiting out of state family and friends.  Not full timing.  2 of us plus occasionally 2 guests.

I would budget $2000 in 1st year expenses for the gasser and twice that for the diesel.  Tires, if needed, would be extra.  A shop that does service work for my business vehicles will do an inspection for $200.

I can park it at home.  Any good reason to prefer one option over the other?

Thx for advice.  This forum has been a great help.

Mark in MN

SeilerBird

  • ---
  • Posts: 12683
  • Good things are illegal immoral or over 1000 watts
I think that the gas vs diesel argument can best be explained by the fact that it is not really a choice of the two it is a question of choosing the right RV for the job. If you are going to be towing in mountains then a diesel is your best choice. Only doing flatland mostly and a gasser will do just fine.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
Favorite 2017 shots:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/y0HbMU5KYa2hx02E3
My portfolio:
https://goo.gl/photos/Cx4SaYhGfYFShSty7
My Grand Canyon shots:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/Nc1AT8tQp25wJwfm1

johnaye

  • ---
  • Posts: 229
We have had both gas and diesel in the last three years.  We prefer diesel when driving as it is quieter.  IMO, it also tows better.  On the other hand, diesel is much more expensive to maintain.  However, the best answer to your question is for you to get the one that has the best floor plan for your needs.
John and Becky
2004 Alfa See Ya DP
2008 Honda CRV

Experience comes from mistakes.  I have a lot of experience

Utclmjmpr

  • ---
  • Posts: 3382
For a dozen reasons,  only YOU can make that decision.>>>Dan
38' American Tradition 38TT/330 turbo Cummins
Jeep liberty 4 down
72 VW Baja 4 down
Cedar City, Utah
USAF vet. 59-63
The difference between intelligence & stupidity is: intelligence has it's limits
      Albert Einstein.

Kevin Means

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 4193
    • Tactical Flying
Assuming both RVs have acceptable towing and weight capacities, I wouldn't be overly concerned about the gas coach climbing grades a few MPH slower than a diesel pusher. You're going to be spending a lot more time living in the coach than driving it on mountain passes, so its comfort and livability would be much more important to me than its ability to climb mountain grades a little faster.

$20,000 buys a lot of gas and/or fix-ups, and a diesel pusher will cost more to maintain and operate. I always recommend that buyers should buy the coach with the floorplan and amenities they want, not the engine they want. They just seem to end up happier RVers.

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 960 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

Utclmjmpr

  • ---
  • Posts: 3382
 1. You don't have to budget that much for the diesel
2. The Gasser will "waste" 6 to 8 feet of front end space for the engine
3. For the difference in money the diesel obviously has much more useable internal space.
4. Hands down the diesel would be better for towing anything.(especially the pickup)
5. Did I mention more space in the diesel?? & better ride.??
                                                                                       >>>Dan ( You think I own a diesel?)
                                                                 
« Last Edit: March 18, 2018, 05:03:45 PM by Utclmjmpr »
38' American Tradition 38TT/330 turbo Cummins
Jeep liberty 4 down
72 VW Baja 4 down
Cedar City, Utah
USAF vet. 59-63
The difference between intelligence & stupidity is: intelligence has it's limits
      Albert Einstein.

beaverfever

  • ---
  • Posts: 462
as long as i am spending your money,i would go with the diesel pusher. air ride,towing capacity,much quieter plus air brakes and engine brake

KandT

  • ---
  • Posts: 1058
The air ride is nice.  But I am comparing an e450 to a DP.  Don't know about an A gas. 

I personally don't find my Cat 350 to be some sort of speed demon on the hills.  It is faster than the truckers and slower than the cars.  I can floor it and not do the speed limit so don't feel like there is infinite power.  Of course, it does weigh about 28,000lbs (pretty light at just 36 feet) so it is pushing a lot more than my old 14,000lb e 450.  My math aint so good but I would say about double ;)

I went from 16 inch wheels to 22.5 inch wheels so that handles the bumps completely differently.

In the end if you have the right attitude you will enjoy either one. 

If they are both in good shape, I would worry more about having the right plans and people than the engine!!!

People and places sure mean a lot more to a good trip than things!
2005 Winnebago Vectra 36RD
American Car Dolly
2009 Accord Toad
It's not a problem.  It's a project!

Charlie 5320

  • ---
  • Posts: 2121
1. You don't have to budget that much for the diesel
2. The Gasser will "waste" 6 to 8 feet of front end space for the engine
3. For the difference in money the diesel obviously has much more useable internal space.
4. Hands down the diesel would be better for towing anything.(especially the pickup)
5. Did I mention more space in the diesel?? & better ride.??
                                                                                       >>>Dan ( You think I own a diesel?)
                                                               

[The Gasser will "waste" 6 to 8 feet of front end space for the engine]  How in the world did you come up with this?

There is NO more space in a 34ft pusher than there is in a 34ft gasser, don't be ridiculous.


To the OP, if the coach is going to be sitting most of the time go for a gasser. Will be a lot less head aches. When you're not traveling full time it doesn't make much difference even pulling in the mountains. I'd buy the coach I like best being a DP or a gasser.
2003 National Dolphin 5320
496  8.1  Workhorse

98 Damon Daybreak 3130
GM Vortech 454  4L80E
SOLD

Isaac-1

  • ---
  • Posts: 1013
Using a shop that maintains your business vehicles to check out the RV may be a good idea for the chassis and engine related systems, but will likely do little good on the RV house side of things.

For example do they know the importance of inspecting the roof for leaks (most RV's die from wood rot caused by leaks).  How about leak down testing the propane system, or inspecting the RV refrigerator for potential fire hazards, recall retrofits, ....?  How old are the carbon monoxide or LP gas detectors (they should be replaced every 5-7 years and cost $75-$100 each.  Do they know to check the date codes on the tires, since most RV tires age out before they wear out, unlike commercial trucks.

As to that $2,000 budget in the first year, on a coach of any type, sure you might get lucky and keep to that budget, though it is easy to spend 3 or 4 times that even on a coach that is generally in good shape, just on routine items, and updating systems on that $20,000 - $30,000 15 or so year old coach.  One thing to keep in mind here is that rubber components (hoses, belts, bushings, etc.) tend to have a 10-12 year life expectancy, and while most people think about tires, radiator hoses, and maybe fan belts, there are a lot of other rubber parts in a motorhome.  You also have suspension and steering bushings, rubber brake lines, fuel lines, etc.

So there is plenty of opportunity to nickle and dime your way though a $2,000 per year budget, but there is also the chance of any number of major components failing, and blowing that budget out of the water, either on the chassis or the house side, an RV refrigerator by itself typically cost around $2,000 to have professionally replaced, and they typically have a 12-15 year life, so if original on that $20,000 coach, will likely be approaching the end of their expected life, the same goes for RV roof top air conditioners (another $1,500 or so to replace), ....
2002 Safari Trek 2830

Utclmjmpr

  • ---
  • Posts: 3382
Re: $30K class A gasser of $55K diesel pusher - what would you do and why?
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2018, 07:56:33 AM »
  Charlie,, Motorhomes are measured from bumper to bumper, on a B or C class rig the front end is all engine compared to the A class. Evan the A has "wasted" space for the "doghouse" and noisy as hell when under load.>>>Dan
38' American Tradition 38TT/330 turbo Cummins
Jeep liberty 4 down
72 VW Baja 4 down
Cedar City, Utah
USAF vet. 59-63
The difference between intelligence & stupidity is: intelligence has it's limits
      Albert Einstein.

jagnweiner

  • ---
  • Posts: 1267
Re: $30K class A gasser of $55K diesel pusher - what would you do and why?
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2018, 08:07:43 AM »
Mark-

For our first motorhome, we went with a 37' diesel and have no regrets.  Spent $40K to purchase and in the five years we've had it, have maybe $4K in repair and maintenance costs.  Of those, $2K was for slide and jack repairs unrelated to the fact that it was a diesel.  Got maybe another $500 in new shocks and sway bar bushings, also not unique to diesels.  The only diesel-specific problem I've had was contaminated fuel ("algae") and was able to resolve that myself by cleaning out my fuel tank.  If I'd had to pay a shop for that, it could have gotten ugly. 

My suggestion would be to drive both.  You will find the diesel much more enjoyable to drive.  Our use is a lot like your projected use, vacations once or twice a year.  We've gone out to Utah and to the Northeast, with some additional Midwestern trips mixed in.  Headed out to FL next week. 

One tip if you do pursue a diesel:  Have the chassis and engine checked out be a good diesel mechanic.  It's well worth a few hundred bucks to catch any potential issues before hand.  Mine had a leaky oil filter housing that the seller paid to repair.
-Scott
2000 Itasca Horizon 36LD

SeilerBird

  • ---
  • Posts: 12683
  • Good things are illegal immoral or over 1000 watts
Re: $30K class A gasser of $55K diesel pusher - what would you do and why?
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2018, 08:17:44 AM »
A diesel costs more than a gasser but is worth more on a trade in. It is a wash. A diesel costs more to maintain than a gasser but the diesel lasts longer, so it is also a wash. A diesel gets better gas mileage than a gasser but the diesel gas is usually (but not always) more expensive, so that is a wash. In my opinion the net cost of either one is the same. It is a question of the right tool for the right job.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
Favorite 2017 shots:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/y0HbMU5KYa2hx02E3
My portfolio:
https://goo.gl/photos/Cx4SaYhGfYFShSty7
My Grand Canyon shots:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/Nc1AT8tQp25wJwfm1

Larry N.

  • ---
  • Posts: 5251
  • Westminster, CO
Re: $30K class A gasser of $55K diesel pusher - what would you do and why?
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2018, 08:43:57 AM »
Mark,

As some have mentioned above, the DP likely would be a quieter, more pleasant, less tiring drive, have a lower center of gravity, and it's going to be more resistant to gusty crosswinds, but the gasser can certainly do the job just fine. While it's not always the case, DPs tend to be built with better quality materials and to have more amenities. The DP will also likely be a little better insulated, handling extremes of heat and cold a little better.

But even with all that, the condition of the rig and how well you like the floor plan must be a major consideration for you. For shorter trips, (in state, or nearly so) the gasser is probably a better choice, mostly due to expense. For longer trips, some clear across the country (which is what we do), I found that the diesel, though more expensive to operate, has been a better choice for us. There've been quite a few times that the strong, gusty winds we occasionally see here in the west would have slowed us down, or even made us stop for a while in a gasser (that happened to us in the gasser I used to have), but in most cases I can keep going in the DP and, usually, not even have to slow down, and I'm not as tired at the end of the day.

So much depends on your needs and what both of you think about the specific rig you're considering, but as mentioned above, condition and floor plan have to be the major consideration.
Larry and Mary Ann N.
2016 Newmar Ventana 3709 -ISB6.7 XT 360HP
2015 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited toad
Formerly: Trailmanor 2720SL, Bounder, Beaver
  de N8GGG

RedandSilver

  • ---
  • Posts: 1240
Re: $30K class A gasser of $55K diesel pusher - what would you do and why?
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2018, 10:18:48 AM »
Since I didn't see it mentioned I will go for it.

You plan on towing a vehicle, right?

Did you know you can't backup a vehicle attached to a MH?

With a Diesel you normally fuel with the trucks and it's a straight thru lane so no need to backup.
With a Gas unit there is a good chance you will be fueling with car's in the mix and many fuel stations are not RV friendly.
Sometimes there will be no issue getting filled with gas - other times it might be a nightmare on a good day.  Something worth considering.

But Floorplan will be one of the most important things to consider as you will be living in it more then driving it.

Good luck with what ever you buy and PLEASE come back here and let us know what you went with and why.  It will help others - possibly.
2002 Rexhall Rose Air  Cummins 8.3  350hp
West MI Summer   Central FL Winter

Frank Hurst

  • ---
  • Posts: 589
Re: $30K class A gasser of $55K diesel pusher - what would you do and why?
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2018, 07:51:59 PM »
I have owned both.  Biggest advantage is the engine brakes and air breaks on the diesel  you can drive slower and still get there. Stopping and not hitting something is more important.
Frank & Hilda Hurst
2003 Phaeton
2004 Malibu
Semi Retired Relief Veterinarian

KandT

  • ---
  • Posts: 1058
Re: $30K class A gasser of $55K diesel pusher - what would you do and why?
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2018, 08:41:11 PM »
I have owned both.  Biggest advantage is the engine brakes and air breaks on the diesel  you can drive slower and still get there. Stopping and not hitting something is more important.

Yes to your point when I was in heavy traffic around DC recently I left the engine brake on which gave me (I think 300 HP of braking power) and then of course I had the air brakes.  Together they worked well in sync. 

Now I will say that in Pennsylvania, the e450 seemed to handle the downhills in tow mode without me having to ride the brakes.  I just kept her slow.

I am not sure what speed the diesel brake cuts out but I sure liked having it in that heavy traffic!  Of course the engine brake is great for long descents too (a must in fact).
2005 Winnebago Vectra 36RD
American Car Dolly
2009 Accord Toad
It's not a problem.  It's a project!

Humanaquarian

  • ---
  • Posts: 95
Re: $30K class A gasser of $55K diesel pusher - what would you do and why?
« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2018, 08:59:37 PM »
I vote for the the gasser. More $$$ left over-youíll need it!and Iím a diesel fan but t I also know what it takes to maintain.
2011 Coachmen 220LE

Free advice -itís worth what you paid for it.

KandT

  • ---
  • Posts: 1058
Re: $30K class A gasser of $55K diesel pusher - what would you do and why?
« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2018, 09:30:34 PM »
I vote for the the gasser. More $$$ left over-youíll need it!and Iím a diesel fan but t I also know what it takes to maintain.

What am I doing wrong?  I change the oil, maybe the fuel filter and let her rip?  what is all the maintenance I am suppose to be doing?
2005 Winnebago Vectra 36RD
American Car Dolly
2009 Accord Toad
It's not a problem.  It's a project!

Lou Schneider

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 8425
Re: $30K class A gasser of $55K diesel pusher - what would you do and why?
« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2018, 11:12:34 PM »
What am I doing wrong?  I change the oil, maybe the fuel filter and let her rip?  what is all the maintenance I am suppose to be doing?

Take a look at your maintenance manual.   There are reasons diesel pushers seldom get past a routine maintenance stop for less than $500-$1000 unless you're skipping stuff.

Oil filters, air filters, fuel filters, 3-4 times more oil than a gas engine, air dryer in the brake system, SCA protection in the antifreeze, and I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting about.  It all adds up.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 11:16:59 PM by Lou Schneider »

Larry N.

  • ---
  • Posts: 5251
  • Westminster, CO
Re: $30K class A gasser of $55K diesel pusher - what would you do and why?
« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2018, 07:32:54 AM »
Lou chirped it. And look at the size of the air filter -- mine's over $100 just for the part -- that diesel takes a LOT of air in with its fuel*. Thankfully I normally only have to do it once a year (or 15,000 miles), and some items might be good for two or three years, but they must be checked, else you'll someday find yourself in limp mode, at best.


* Even a diesel pickup has a much larger exhaust pipe than the same unit with a gasoline engine.


Larry and Mary Ann N.
2016 Newmar Ventana 3709 -ISB6.7 XT 360HP
2015 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited toad
Formerly: Trailmanor 2720SL, Bounder, Beaver
  de N8GGG

Ernie n Tara

  • ---
  • Posts: 3557
  • Life is Good - Together
Re: $30K class A gasser of $55K diesel pusher - what would you do and why?
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2018, 09:04:35 AM »
I've had both and liked both, but I traded the gas mh for diesel and never looked back. Why? Floor plan/amenities and higher quality construction even on a lower end dp. Maintenence is higher, but perhaps not quite as bad as some would have you believe. Using the diesel pumps is a definite benefit but not one I had considered.

Ernie
Ernie 'n Tara

2011 Winn Journey 34y
2012 Jeep Rubicon - Dozer (orange - kinda)
2006 Jeep Wrangler

Charlie 5320

  • ---
  • Posts: 2121
Re: $30K class A gasser of $55K diesel pusher - what would you do and why?
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2018, 09:07:25 PM »
Never had a motorhome before.  Been shopping for about 5 months.  Have a pretty good idea of what stuff sells for and what the various differences are.  Also aware of the numerous watch outs for a used RV.

I expect to be towing a car or pick-up in either case.  RV is for road tripping and visiting out of state family and friends.  Not full timing.  2 of us plus occasionally 2 guests.

I would budget $2000 in 1st year expenses for the gasser and twice that for the diesel.  Tires, if needed, would be extra.  A shop that does service work for my business vehicles will do an inspection for $200.

I can park it at home.  Any good reason to prefer one option over the other?

Thx for advice.  This forum has been a great help.

Mark in MN


Here is a very good buy. But it won't last very long. But it WILL need tires as they are original.

https://www.pplmotorhomes.com/used-rvs-for-sale/class-a/2003-national-rv-dolphin-lx_rv-38652
« Last Edit: March 22, 2018, 09:10:33 PM by Charlie 5320 »
2003 National Dolphin 5320
496  8.1  Workhorse

98 Damon Daybreak 3130
GM Vortech 454  4L80E
SOLD

KandT

  • ---
  • Posts: 1058
Re: $30K class A gasser of $55K diesel pusher - what would you do and why?
« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2018, 09:58:19 PM »
Take a look at your maintenance manual.   There are reasons diesel pushers seldom get past a routine maintenance stop for less than $500-$1000 unless you're skipping stuff.

Oil filters, air filters, fuel filters, 3-4 times more oil than a gas engine, air dryer in the brake system, SCA protection in the antifreeze, and I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting about.  It all adds up.

I changed the air filter when I bought it and yep it was something like $150 but holy cow that baby was huge - I would think it will last a long time!  I guess I just don't get to drive it enough to need as much maintenance as others.  If I put 10-15K on this year I would be surprised.  That's only about one oil change.
2005 Winnebago Vectra 36RD
American Car Dolly
2009 Accord Toad
It's not a problem.  It's a project!

JoelP

  • ---
  • Posts: 534
Re: $30K class A gasser of $55K diesel pusher - what would you do and why?
« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2018, 10:13:35 PM »
There are features only available in DPs, the noise is well behind you and running at lower RPM when climbing a grade and diesel fuel islands seem easier to navigate especially when towing a dinghy. I assume that air brakes would stop better, although they are more complex systems.  I presume that an air suspension would also give a better ride.

I chose a gasser because I feared the maintenance expense of diesel and the incremental costs of the rig.  I compensated the difference in torque by adding a Banks Power Pack at far less cost than the incremental cost of a DP. If I had it to do again I am not sure that I wouldn't buy diesel if i liked the floor plan better.

This is a tough call that only you can make.
Joel from San Jose

2010 Itasca Suncruiser 37F
8.1L Chevy Workhorse with Banks PowerPack
2016 CMax Energi Hybrid dinghy

GA_Boy

  • ---
  • Posts: 175
Re: $30K class A gasser of $55K diesel pusher - what would you do and why?
« Reply #25 on: March 26, 2018, 03:41:25 PM »
A diesel costs more than a gasser but is worth more on a trade in. It is a wash. A diesel costs more to maintain than a gasser but the diesel lasts longer, so it is also a wash. A diesel gets better gas mileage than a gasser but the diesel gas is usually (but not always) more expensive, so that is a wash. In my opinion the net cost of either one is the same. It is a question of the right tool for the right job.

Well stated.
Marvin

rs72z

  • ---
  • Posts: 6
Re: $30K class A gasser of $55K diesel pusher - what would you do and why?
« Reply #26 on: March 26, 2018, 04:56:29 PM »
Let me start by saying my experience is with older coaches. I had a 95 Winnebago 30' 454 engine. I loved it except it was noisy and would kick down out of over drive on any hill. I pulled a 20' enclosed trailer with it and it did fine, just couldn't get in any hurry.
 I stumble across a 98 Overland diesel pusher 42', 8.3 cummins 330 hp, that needed some work on it for a very reasonable price. I took my first trip in it last weekend and oh my gosh there just isn't any comparison in power, ride or braking. I do all my own maintenance work so that's not a consideration for me.

 Comes down to what the user wants and is comfortable with.
97 warrior p30 chassis 30'