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Author Topic: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher  (Read 11432 times)

gary41

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Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« on: December 19, 2005, 08:39:40 PM »
We are considering going to diesel power, and have come across a couple of 1998/1999 Newmar Mountain Aire 3758 FL's that are powered by a 5.9L Cummins UPFRONT...has anyone had any experience with these or similar units?  I don't think this type of chassis/engine is being marketed any more.   Just wondering the pro's and con's.  Any input would be appreciated.  :-\
1996 Winnebago Vectra-Ford 460 w/Banks PowerPack and Transcommand

Ron

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2005, 09:20:16 PM »
One major consideration when deciding on a front mounted Diesel is NOISE.  You might consider getting an intercom to hold a discussion with the passenger with a front diesel where as  a diesel pusher is very quiet.
Ron & Sam-home is where we park it. Currently located   HERE

Jim Godward

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2005, 11:44:47 PM »
Gary,

>> I don't think this type of chassis/engine is being marketed any more.<<

I just got my Christmas CD from Freightliner pushing their new chassis, FRED, short for FRont Engine Diesel, so they are back!  VBG
Jim
Jim & Pat Godward
2001 Dutch Star
AC7PO & KD7ZDM
Belgrade, MT

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2005, 08:29:40 AM »
The only significant drawback to a gas chassis is the engine noise up front. With a diesel puller, I would think it would be much worse.  I owned a big diesel pick-up when we had a fifth wheel and noise in that wasn't bad at highway speeds, but that engine is out front rather than right under your feet.

I would want to test drive it extensively on roads that are othewise quiet - little traffic and smooth road surface. See how much noise there is in the cabin.  Play the stereo and have a conversation. Even then its hard to judge what it would be like for 3-4 hours of driving.
Gary
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blueblood

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2005, 09:53:45 AM »
The only significant drawback to a gas chassis is the engine noise up front. With a diesel puller, I would think it would be much worse.  I owned a big diesel pick-up when we had a fifth wheel and noise in that wasn't bad at highway speeds, but that engine is out front rather than right under your feet.

I would want to test drive it extensively on roads that are othewise quiet - little traffic and smooth road surface. See how much noise there is in the cabin.  Play the stereo and have a conversation. Even then its hard to judge what it would be like for 3-4 hours of driving.

The new Cummins diesels are much more quiter than in past (~80%) and seven decibels less at idle and FCCC is saying that the noise will be equal to ort less than today's gas models. We'll see what public thinks.
Leo

Jeff

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2005, 09:57:34 AM »
I was at Gaffney Freightliner last week and saw the FRED. Did not get a chance to drive one but those there that did said it was comprable to a gas coach for noise.

dsl4us

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2005, 03:52:30 PM »
Our motorhome would be a "FRED", that's a new one on me. Noise wise I don't consider it too bad. The loudest part is when the fan clucth kicks in, have never ridden in a pusher so can't compare. The engine is a 190HP 5.9L Cummins with the P7100 injection pump, compareable to my '98 Dodge/Cummins that is 180HP with the same "P" pump. However the motorhome has much less Diesel rattle, most likely due to timing differences.

What is the price difference between a pusher and puller?
I can see where a pusher would have more open space under the floor for storage and water tanks.
I managed to get into our coach for under $18k. That was the advantage of an older unit that needed a little work ;D.
1992 GeorgieBoy Cruisemaster 32' Oshkosh Chassis
5.9L Cummins/Allison (Front engine, rear drive)

blueblood

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2005, 04:56:36 PM »
Our motorhome would be a "FRED", that's a new one on me. Noise wise I don't consider it too bad. The loudest part is when the fan clucth kicks in, have never ridden in a pusher so can't compare. The engine is a 190HP 5.9L Cummins with the P7100 injection pump, compareable to my '98 Dodge/Cummins that is 180HP with the same "P" pump. However the motorhome has much less Diesel rattle, most likely due to timing differences.

What is the price difference between a pusher and puller?
I can see where a pusher would have more open space under the floor for storage and water tanks.
I managed to get into our coach for under $18k. That was the advantage of an older unit that needed a little work ;D.


The noise will be much less than yours. Check out a Dodge RAM pickup truck made today with a Cummins siting next to one made over a year ago. Your likely to question whether it even has a diesel in it. The one new motorhome using the FRED that I've seen is the Allegro Bay version of the gas. It has GVW's up to 26,000 and GCVW up to 30,000 - lengths up to 38 ft. The gas sells for ~$117,000 MRSP; diesel will probably be in neighborhood of $120,000 or so.  May be able to buy for ~ $ 90,000 on street.  ???
Leo

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2005, 05:12:59 PM »
I don't think there is any inherent price difference between pusher and puller.  However, a puller chassis is often also an entry level chassis and there may be other cost saving factors that create a price differential but also contribute to more noise, harsher ride, etc.  Some previous puller models have had 4 or 5 speed trannys, leaf springs instead of air bags, hydraulic brakes instead of air, etc. 

With a pusher you lose substantial rear storage space, inside and out, but gain space back with the cavernous "pass through" mid storage made possible by the lack of a driveshaft running down the center.   With a pusher the engine room encroaches on the rear bedroom, typically costing under-bed storage and/or makng a raised platform in the rear. With a puller, the engine room is under the driving area and typically creates a raised area there, often called a doghouse if it is a center "hump" but in todays pullers the raised front is likely to be pretty much flat.  All this is generalities - individual models will vary widely but there are always tradeoffs.

Fan noise is a biggie in a puller  (gas or diesel) - you really hear the cooling fans cut in when hill climbing or at 95+ temperatures. You are also aware of downshifts. Tire noise should be about the same in both, but air suspensions seem to transmit less noise than springs.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
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dsl4us

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2005, 08:21:09 PM »
Quote
The noise will be much less than yours. Check out a Dodge RAM pickup truck made today with a Cummins siting next to one made over a year ago. Your likely to question whether it even has a diesel in it.

On the new HPCR injected engines they are very quiet. However the years he stated, '98/99, those are right in the noisy era of the truck versions. Those could be powered by a 12 valve motor with a P7100 injection pump or a VP44 electronic pump with a 24 valve ISB. Alot of the 24V truck motors are louder than the 12Vs. But being in a med duty chassis they get to use different fuel mapping and timing so they may not be as loud, which seems to be my case.

Dan
1992 GeorgieBoy Cruisemaster 32' Oshkosh Chassis
5.9L Cummins/Allison (Front engine, rear drive)

dsl4us

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2005, 08:26:32 PM »
Quote
  Some previous puller models have had 4 or 5 speed trannys, leaf springs instead of air bags, hydraulic brakes instead of air, etc. 

You hit the nail on the head with our coach.
4 speed allison, mono beam front axle with leafs and hydraulic brakes.
Definetly entry level for a Diesel but sure beats a class C or a P30 chassis. I figure general maintenance should see this chassis going 300K, I know the powertrains are built for it.

Dan
1992 GeorgieBoy Cruisemaster 32' Oshkosh Chassis
5.9L Cummins/Allison (Front engine, rear drive)

Karl

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2005, 09:11:24 PM »
Having a gas rig, I can agree with Gary's assessment of the tranny shift noise, and you know when the fan kicks in even tho' it's got a variable speed hydraulic clutch. Electric fans can be even worse due to their relatively smaller size and higher speed operation; they're either on or off.

The doghouse doesn't bother me all that much because I drive for several hours at a time and don't have to swing around or climb over it too often. The occasional inconvenience and added noise is relieved to a large extent by the additional under-bed storage and the fact that I spend much more time parked than driving. Besides, having recently installed a much freer-flowing exhaust system, I don't even hear the fan, tranny, or engine anymore. Really have to get that resonator installed again! ;D ;D ;D 
Karl (Cheesehead) Kolbus   Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "...holy cow ...what a ride!"

BernieD

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2005, 09:47:50 AM »
Having a gas rig, I can agree with Gary's assessment of the tranny shift noise, and you know when the fan kicks in even tho' it's got a variable speed hydraulic clutch. Electric fans can be even worse due to their relatively smaller size and higher speed operation; they're either on or off.


Karl

I find that our hydraulic fan, located just behind the driver's side rear wheels, is noisier than the "jake" brake on our coach. I can hear it whenever it kicks on, even tho it is about 35' away. However, with a front engine vechicle, the fan should come on less since it is in the air flow as opposed to a side mounted diesel engine radiator which needs the fan to get cooling air over it.
Bernie & Marlene Dobrin
Home is Goodyear, AZ
Missing our Travel Supreme

Karl

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2005, 06:07:12 PM »
Bernie,
Quote
I can hear it whenever it kicks on, even tho it is about 35' away.
Really - I wouldn't have thought youd be able to hear it at all. You're right about the front air flow. The fan mostly just idles unless it's quite warm or you're really hauling up a long, steep grade.
Karl (Cheesehead) Kolbus   Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "...holy cow ...what a ride!"

BernieD

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2005, 06:11:27 PM »
I wouldn't have thought youd be able to hear it at all. You're right about the front air flow. The fan mostly just idles unless it's quite warm or you're really hauling up a long, steep grade.

It is a very large radiator and a very large fan  ;D
Bernie & Marlene Dobrin
Home is Goodyear, AZ
Missing our Travel Supreme

macleay

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2006, 12:29:26 PM »
This is an old thread, but I searched for any input on diesel pullers, because we bought one at an RV show yesterday.  It's being ordered from the factory.  It's a 2007 Gulfstream Sun Voyager, and has a 300 HP Cummins Freightliner engine in it. 

The diesel pullers were more expensive with the same or less options, at least the ones we looked at.  The entry level Gulfstream diesel puller was the Crescendo, and they were $116,000.  The one we eventually ordered had a fantastic, three-zone floor plan, so was more money.  We were told by the factory rep that the engine runs very quietly, that the diesel engines that have come out in the past few years are not at all like the ones we've had in trucks.  Gulfstream has been making thiis puller for about a year and they've had very good results so far.  While we realize we're taking a chance somewhat by trying a newer product, we wanted to upgrade from our gas MH and this was the only realistic alternative financially. 

If anyone has had any experience with this make/model, or any Gulfstream puller, I'd appreciate hearing from you. 
2007 Gulfstream Sun Voyager #8389
Toad:     1999 Honda CRC
www.northwestjewelry.com

Tom

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2006, 12:45:37 PM »
Congratulations on the new purchase. I haven't seen any of the new diesel pullers up close, so I'll need to get to an RV show sometime soon.

Please be sure to let us know if it lives up to expectations.
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

macleay

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2006, 02:36:32 PM »
I sure will.  However, it looks like it's going to be 8-10 weeks before delivery, unless they can find one in stock with the options we've ordered.  So it may be awhile before you hear back from me about the rig! 
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Shayne

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2006, 03:12:05 PM »
Not sure where I read it but the review on the front diesel  was not as friendly as it should have been.  But then that may have something to do with Gulfstream entry units themselves.   Good luck.
Old, Stubborn, Opinionated, Set in my Ways, and Independent,  IMHO

macleay

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2006, 03:26:35 PM »
Oh, that's not good  :(  If you run across the review, please post the link.
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Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2006, 09:40:05 PM »
I am looking forward to hearing your report on your new puller after you take delivery. First hand reports on rigs using the FRED (front engine diesel) have been few and far between.

Question: Did you test drive one?  And then compare it to a gas puller? A diesel pusher?  Yes, diesels are much quieter than they used to be, but are they quiet in an absolute sense?  And radiator fans are just as noisy as they ever have been. Salesmen have pipe dreams and besides, they are trying to put food on the table for their kids. It is not conducive to straight talking...

In my opinion, no puller is going to be as quiet as a pusher. I drive a late model gas puller and it is indeed much quieter than our previous generation gas puller, but there is still an engine right under my feet. It's not terrible, but no way does it compare to placing the engine and radiator fans 30-40 feet behind you.

Workhorse has recently begun to offer a pusher chassis that is available as either gas or diesel, depending on the price point.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

macleay

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2006, 10:22:36 AM »
No, we didn't test drive one.  It actually was an impulsive purchase, and it remains to be seen if it was a mistake.  One thing--we weren't unhappy with our gasser with its noise and lower power, so in our minds, this can only be an improvement.  We wanted a diesel because of the longevity of the engine, and anything else we get is a benefit.  So what will make us happy wouldn't necessarily make others happy, particularly those that have and love pushers.

I agree it makes sense that the front engine has to make more noise than one located in the rear.  And you're right and I should have mentioned, we take everything any salesperson says with a grain of salt.  Two things--we bought this rig from the dealer we bought our gasser from last year, and we like and trust them, plus we will hope the warranty will help if there are problems.  Not to say that there aren't nightmare lemon rigs, but I'm keeping positive thoughts!  ;D

I'll be sure and report back when we it--you're right, there's a serious lack of information on these rigs--I've done a lot of searching SINCE our purchase  :-\ and just can't find much. 

If you hear anything in the meantime, please post the link.

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Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2006, 05:26:39 PM »
Quote
and it remains to be seen if it was a mistake.

Mistake? I doubt it, since you apparently were not expecting an improvement in noise levels.

There are a lquite a few front diesel Class C's running around, but the FRED Class A still hasn't caught on. I think most buyers who are willing to plunk down the extra $$ for a diesel are also opting for a rear engine as well. May as well have all the benefis rather than just some of them.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
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2007 GMC Acadia
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Jeff

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #23 on: September 17, 2006, 09:23:17 PM »
Mistake? I doubt it, since you apparently were not expecting an improvement in noise levels.

There are a lquite a few front diesel Class C's running around, but the FRED Class A still hasn't caught on. I think most buyers who are willing to plunk down the extra $$ for a diesel are also opting for a rear engine as well. May as well have all the benefis rather than just some of them.

Gary:

I think a quick start for Fred may be a victim of timing. I doubt there are many manufacturers jumping to invest in a new line of vehicles in a contracting market. I listened to a presentation from the CEO of Freightliner Custom Chassis last spring who acknowleged the slow down on new orders. The judgement on Fred may be delayed until enoujgh units get into the marketplace to measure customer acceptance.

Some of the best new aircraft development I experienced were in slow markets when there was time to make sure it was right and customers demanded excellence when they did buy.

Shayne

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2006, 09:42:18 PM »
It may well sucome to the same fate as the old Expedition, by Fleeetwood I think, back in the 80's that had the gas pusher.  They couldn't get enough air to it to make it function properly and pulled it from the market.  Some had as much as 30K miles on them but many less the 12K.  Many of the 89's have been refurished and Ford V10 installed, some with diesel, and some still have the 460 in them.   The Trannies have been changed and the rest of it completely redone.  Beautiful 32' rig with great mileage and drives like a dream.  At least the one I drove did.
Old, Stubborn, Opinionated, Set in my Ways, and Independent,  IMHO

Ron

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #25 on: September 17, 2006, 09:51:53 PM »
I didn't know the Expedition came in anything but a diesel pusher.  Have known several owners that have indicated complete satisfaction with the Fleetwood Expedition.
Ron & Sam-home is where we park it. Currently located   HERE

Shayne

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #26 on: September 17, 2006, 10:17:54 PM »
They were in 89  Here is what the guy in Arkansas has done with them
http://www.special-interest-veh.com/page_1.html
I drove the one with red scrolling and white background with blue on the bottom.  Sweetest driving for an RV I've ever been in.
Old, Stubborn, Opinionated, Set in my Ways, and Independent,  IMHO

macleay

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #27 on: September 17, 2006, 11:00:34 PM »
Assuming there aren't design defects that will cause cooling problems, etc, there is a market for a lower-end diesel-powered motorhome.  I am not a mechanic, nor do I know much about the mechanics of a motorhome  ;)  so I'm going a lot on trust, which to many of you is a silly thing to do.  But we loved the floor, plan, it had a diesel engine, and was affordable for us.   

What I didn't do was research this before we purchased it, and although I have spent the better part of two days on the internet, I haven't yet found one other owner of one of these rigs!  So I guess I'm the guina pig, and I will report back to anybody who is interested in how this works out! 
« Last Edit: September 17, 2006, 11:10:17 PM by macleay »
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rjsimms

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #28 on: September 18, 2006, 07:21:42 AM »
I have an older diesel puller. It is a 98 Newmar Mountian Aire. As stated perviously in this thread, the main thing is the front noise. But, it is only noticable when the cooling fan kicks on, which isnt on very long on mine. We really like the floor plan, and that was the main deciding factor on us purchasing this model. Wanted the longevity of the diesel also.

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Diesel Puller vs: Diesel Pusher
« Reply #29 on: September 18, 2006, 08:49:37 AM »
Quote
I didn't know the Expedition came in anything but a diesel pusher.  Have known several owners that have indicated complete satisfaction with the Fleetwood Expedition.

Ron,
Shayne is talking about a previous model also named Expedition, back in the 1980 era.

Quote
I think a quick start for Fred may be a victim of timing. I doubt there are many manufacturers jumping to invest in a new line of vehicles in a contracting market.
Jeff,
I don't think that's it, for two reasons. (1) the FRED is intended to provide a lower entry price point for a diesel, just what is needed when the market gets soft and (2) the advantage of a FRED platform to the MH manufacturer is that the same floor plans as are used for gas pullers also work for diesel pullers. This is what helps keep the price down.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL