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Author Topic: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle  (Read 27629 times)

gartash

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Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« on: January 02, 2012, 09:07:58 PM »
Hi. I am new to this forum and looking for some advice. We currently own a 18 foot bumper pull, but looking to go with a larger 5th wheel hopefully this year some time. We will also be purchasing a new tow vehicle. I am debating whether the extra money for a diesel engine is worth the extra cost on the price tag. We will be doing some mountain traveling where the power will be helpful, but not all of our trips will be this straining. We are considering at this time the Chevy 2500hd whether it be gas or diesel. Any suggestions, opinions, or thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you.

aterry

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2012, 10:30:17 PM »
I have a 2008 Chevy 2500HD with the 6.0 Gas engine and it does ok, but not great. I live in SW Missouri and we have some pretty decent hills around here and I struggle a little  with our 8000 pound 5th wheel. I'm ok if I can get a good run at them but if it's one long continuous hill I start really slowing down about half way up. I wish I would have waited and gotten a diesel. From everyone I talked to there is no comparison. One instance I remember I was pulling up a steep hill and only going about 40 when a 2500HD diesel pulling a 5th wheel about the same size as mine passed me like I was sitting still - - the speed limit was 70mph. The gas trucks are definitely cheaper but I think in the long run you'd be happier with a diesel especially if you are going to be traveling in the mountains.

Also - I get about 10mpg with my trailer....a lot of the Chevy 2500's only have a 26 gallon tank. I didn't realize that when I bought mine and it drives me crazy to only be able to go 260 miles on a tank. 200 safely. I know the diesels have a 34 gallon tank and I've heard they get better mileage.

Hope all that helps.
Andy
2011 Canyon Trail
2009 Chevy 2500HD Duramax
SW Missouri

donn

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2012, 10:38:44 PM »
Before buying ANY trucks, first you must decide how much trailer you are going for.  Gas motors are fine for towing up to about 10,000 pounds.  Anything over that get a diesel.  Also please forget a 2500 (3/4 ton) trucks.  You will run out of load capacity long before you get much trailer.  A fifth wheel will place approx 20% of it's loaded weight directly over the rear axle.  So even a 10K fifth wheel will put 2000 pounds on the truck.

edjunior

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2012, 07:13:45 AM »
If you do any mountain/hill towing at all, you will be glad you got a diesel.  You're going to see some opinions where a gasser will be fine, but believe me, you will be much happier with the diesel, even without the mountain/hilly towing. 

I don't believe you need to "forget a a 2500".  Unless you get into the 5th wheels that are pushing beyond 12,000 GVWR, a 2500/250 should be just fine.  But you do have to be aware of the weights and buy a truck that will be capable of handling it.  In other words, look at and buy your trailer first.  Then you can be sure and get enough truck to match it.

One more thing...always use GROSS vehicle weight rating (GVWR) when figuring your weights, not the dry weight.
Ed.....KF5INW
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Foto-n-T

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2012, 08:55:02 AM »
Each response above brings up a valid point but the over-all consensus you're going to get from those of us who drag these things around is that diesel is the way to go. On the other hand you have to gauge your decision based also on how much traveling with this rig that you are going to do. If your simply heading out for a weekend once every month or so you might not need the added expense of a diesel truck. Conversely, if you plan on part-timing or snow-birding you'll definitely want a truck without spark plugs.
Joe

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rvpuller

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2012, 08:55:39 AM »
Before buying ANY trucks, first you must decide how much trailer you are going for.  Gas motors are fine for towing up to about 10,000 pounds.  Anything over that get a diesel.  Also please forget a 2500 (3/4 ton) trucks.  You will run out of load capacity long before you get much trailer.  A fifth wheel will place approx 20% of it's loaded weight directly over the rear axle.  So even a 10K fifth wheel will put 2000 pounds on the truck.


Don't believe this about a properly set up gas truck, we started pulling a 16K 5ver in 01 when our Ford V10 gas truck after we traded in our 12K 5ver. Our present trailer and truck grossing at 24K has been in 49 states and 6 provinces over Berthoud Pass (11307 ft) in CO pulling out 14.5 ft boat behind the trailer every year. Just look at all the class A motor homes that are gas they are all over 10K and pulling cars behind them without any problems. Unless it's a light trailer I would go with a one ton but the ratings on most of the trucks have really changed in the last few years so I would do my own homework to make a decision on what TV in best for your situation.

Denny     
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Joezeppy

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2012, 09:09:10 AM »
If you can (or if you "want to") afford the diesel, go for it - yes, they make towing easier. However, I stuck with gas when I purchased my 2010 Sierra. Here are my thoughts:

I have a 2008 Chevy 2500HD with the 6.0 Gas engine and it does ok, but not great. I live in SW Missouri and we have some pretty decent hills around here and I struggle a little  with our 8000 pound 5th wheel. I'm ok if I can get a good run at them but if it's one long continuous hill I start really slowing down about half way up.
Our TT weighs in at about 8,500 lbs. I am actually quite happy with my gasser's performance. I still slow down on the hills and get passed by the diesels but overall,  this motor is much stronger than the 2002 6.0L I replaced.

Also - I get about 10mpg with my trailer....a lot of the Chevy 2500's only have a 26 gallon tank. I didn't realize that when I bought mine and it drives me crazy to only be able to go 260 miles on a tank. 200 safely. I know the diesels have a 34 gallon tank and I've heard they get better mileage.
I also get about 10 MPG overall towing. Diesel milage will be better. I know with the gas motor, gas tank size depends on box length: 6.5' = 26 gals and 8' = 34 gals. Not sure if that holds true for the diesels or not.

Also please forget a 2500 (3/4 ton) trucks.  You will run out of load capacity long before you get much trailer.  A fifth wheel will place approx 20% of it's loaded weight directly over the rear axle.  So even a 10K fifth wheel will put 2000 pounds on the truck.

I disagree (with "forget the 2500" comment) - based on my owner's manual, the 3500 identical to my 2500 actually has slightly LESS load capacity since the truck is heavier and they have the same 18,500 GCWR. Also, if you move up to a diesel engine, the diesel engine is heavier so it will lead to lower load capacity (which translates to pin weight). You have to look at ALL the numbers, not just max tow rating.
Joe & Kim
Upstate NY - Kuyahoora Valley
2010 GMC Sierra 2500HD - 6.0L
2010 North Country 27BHS TT

livinlife

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2012, 09:42:04 AM »
I had 1997 Dodge dually work truck with a gas v-10 pulling a 24 ft. cargo trailer around 10,000lbs.  Didn't hold up. Traded for a 2004 Dodge Ram dually with a 5.9-liter Cummins turbo diesel.  It was a difference of daylight and dark!  The diesel ran like a sewing machine, never broke down.  Personally I prefer the ton over the 3/4 ton.

Mopar1973Man

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2012, 09:57:38 AM »
I'm also a DodgeRam 2500 Cummins Diesel powered... Much more torque for pulling heavy trailers and cost of operation is much less than any gasoline power tow vehicle. I'm pulling a 31' Jayco Eagle Travel Trailer (8,500# GVWR) and my gross combine weight is roughly 16,080# the last time I checked. I've zero problem pulling over a 6-7% grade and last trip I was getting 14.1 MPG...Hard to touch with gasoline powered vehicles.
Mopar1973Man (AKA: Michael Nelson) located out in the state of Idaho with...
2002 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L Cummins Turbo Diesel
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Derby6

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2012, 01:03:12 PM »
the over-all consensus you're going to get from those of us who drag these things around is that diesel is the way to go.

What he said.
If you can afford it, get the Diesel--you won't regret it.
I'd say go with the 1 ton vs 3/4 ton as well.  I don't think the price diffrence is that great between them and this way as you upgrade trailers, you know your good to go with a 1 Ton Diesel...
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aubreyshaw

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2012, 01:35:23 PM »
What about the price difference in gas vs diesel FUEL right now?  It's about .60 per gallon MORE for diesel fuel where I live.  Will the better fuel efficency with a diesel even this out?  Do you really get better with diesel?
RVing With Young Kids
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Foto-n-T

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2012, 02:08:22 PM »
Yes diesel costs more today than it did prior to 2007 when the government forced us into using ULSD (Ultra-Low Sulphur Diesel) versus the easier to produce LSD (Low Sulphur Diesel). The fuel mileage difference probably won't make it cheaper on fuel to operate but the cost of the fuel is only a part of the equation.

Gasoline engines DO NOT have the life-span of a diesel engine. My truck currently has 340k on the original engine (Cat) and I would expect to see at least 500k on this particular small diesel motor. I personally have seen Ford Power Stroke (International) 7.3 liter V8's go in excess of 750k. If properly cared for a light truck or medium duty truck diesel engine will outlast any light truck gasoline engine by 400% (my opinion).

You also need to factor in the transmission attached to either engine. Automatic transmissions behind diesel engines are engineered for a much higher torque rating and in general should prove to be more durable. Having said this, as a professional driver I loathe towing a heavy load with an automatic transmission. There's a reason you don't see too many of them on Class 8 trucks. It doesn't mean they won't work, it just means that when you break an auto you'd better have DEEP pockets.

It's all a matter of what best suits "Your" needs. Having a Medium Duty Truck can be a major pain when it comes to using it to run small errands. Having a Light Duty pick-up with a diesel engine can be a financial disaster if you mainly use it for short trips and a lot of starting and stopping. In these cases a gas engine would probably be better. But if you're going to use the truck for long trips where the engine gets started and not shut off for 12-14 hours at a stretch this is where the diesel engine shines. Diesel engines DO NOT like to be treated like gas engines when it comes to short trips and and run times.
Joe

2008 Victory Lane
1998 Freightliner FL50
Cody, WY when it's not covered in ice.

skirk55

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2012, 07:27:42 PM »
My wife and I pulled our fifth wheel from pa to nc and back. My Dodge diesel  made the trip easy. Hills are easy now. Exaust brake a must. Truck stops for fuel is very nice to get in and out. Mileage much better than gas. Torque with a diesel is better than a gasser.

bailer6334

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2012, 07:54:41 PM »
Either gas or diesel will work when the combined truck/trailer match is correct. Just as you are upgrading now most of us have upgraded several times(unfortunately) as our requirements have changed. Only you can evaluate which is the best truck for your needs. As most have suggested choose the trailer you want first. If you can get a accurate loaded weight that will drive the truck decision. As a general rule most use 20% of the trailers GVWR for payload info. This is for a 5th wheel only. Either way you go, highly recommend you look at a 3500 HD (1 ton).

FYI, I pull a 12K 5th wheel with my 2011 SRW 4X4 DMAX and with only 5800 miles on her, hand calculated I "average" 12.51MPG towing, in town empty 14.4MPG and hwy empty 18.6MPG. All in all I'm very happy with these numbers. While gassers may get better MPG in town and hwy, a diesel will generally out perform towing.
One other item I will mention is on new diesel trucks the "Exhaust Brakes" are outstanding. Especially the GM's.

Good luck on whatever you decide.
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Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2012, 09:13:49 PM »
Diesel fuel has about 15% more energy than gasoline, so any price difference that exceeds 15% means you are paying more per mile. Gas is running about $3.26 a gallon where I am today, so diesel could cost up to $3.75 and be cost effective.  Diesel prices are running from $3.60-$3.85 in the same area.

Efficiency - how much fuel is needed to move a given weight, is a different question. I'm not sure any fuel is inherently more efficient than another, but a diesel engine runs at much lower RPMS than gas for equivalent horsepower and torque and I think that would reduce power loss due to mechanical "slop" as well as reducing long term wear. The less things move, the less is lost to friction.
Gary
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2004 American Tradition
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Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

rvpuller

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2012, 09:24:03 AM »
The biggest problem with the average gas truck on the lot is it's set up with gears that belong in a low rpm diesel truck, gas and diesel motor are two different animals and they need to be geared differently to be a good pulling motor. Gas motors are higher rpm motors and need lower gears (higher numerical numbers) to keep the motor in its power range just like a diesel needs higher gears to keep it in its power range. You will also find that a gas motor with lower gears will get better millage pulling and empty (if you keep our speed down empty) than one with higher gears because the motor doesn't have to work as hard also the running gear like the transmission will last longer because of less stress. Class A motor homes don't have this problem because they come with the right gears from the factory unlike trucks that you have beg a dealer to order one geared the right way because they all believe that higher gears mean better mileage. You have to remember that the newer generation gas motor are made to run at higher rpms compared to older ones. I have to LOL when I here someone say they would never pull with a gas motor again but when you question them they had a gas motor with high gears so it had to work its butt off to pull their trailer but the diesel just cruises along with the same gears and rpm but the gas motor was not in its power band like the diesel. We started RVing in 1978 and every used truck we bought before we started buying new I had to change the rear end gears to make them pull the intended load also keep a eye on the tire size because bigger tires raise the final gearing where the rubber meets the road.

Denny

Denny   
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2013 F350 DRW 6.2 V8 4.30 gears
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Wyotraveler

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2012, 01:31:02 PM »
You can't buy a V10 anymore so if you go with a gas engine it will be the small V8.

I bought the V10 because it was the 6.8L and gas was cheaper than diesel. Plus service was cheaper. My next vehicle is going to be a diesel because the little V8s don't pull mountain grades very well.
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jje1960

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2012, 05:05:57 PM »
No regrets here, love the diesel going up the grades with our unit.
Jim
2011 Ford F350 DRW 6.7 Diesel
2011 Cougar SRX

nuffsaid

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2012, 08:36:21 PM »
I have driven many different vehicles with both gas and diesel engines and came to the conclusion over 20 years ago that diesels are meant for towing. Does this mean that their overall operation will be cheaper? No, but the towing experience will be more enjoyable. With the new high power diesels, there is no comparision with the exception of tires. A gas engine vehicle will get more life out of it's tires because it doesn't have the torque to peel the rubber off like a diesel. As far as mileage goes, if you drive the same trailer at the same speed, the diesel will get a little better fuel ecomomy than the similar gasser, but add a head wind, or lots of hills and the diesel will greatly out pace the gasser. The other thing about the diesel is you will have the ability to easily maintain the posted speed limit which might not be so easy with the gasser. When the guys with the gassers say they get 10 mpg towing their big fiver, let's have them run it next to me towing my 5er. I will get an honest 10-11 mpg with a gvw from 20 to 26k I have yet to see a gasser that can match  this mileage with the same type load. I used to have a new Dodge 3500 with a V-10 and 5 speed. I towed a fairly heavily loaded  20ft enclosed trailer from Worland, Wy to Cheyenne, Wy about 400 miles. Between Casper and Cheyenne running down I 25, I got 3.8 miles per gallon. Nuff Said!
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Wyotraveler

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2012, 09:57:11 AM »
No question about it, my 6.8L V10 won't do the job that my 7.2L diesel did, especially over the passes. I would have kept that diesel except it was 2WD. Didn't like walking a couple of miles up hill to our ranch in the winter time. LOL. 
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pricejh

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2012, 12:10:40 PM »
Well,  we purchased out trailer based on the theoretical towing capability of my old truck, a 2011 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner with the V-6 and an auto.  Bought the lightest 25 footer we could find with the amenities we wanted.   Thhe Onyx is abut 4,400 lb empty and can grodd out at around 6,000#.  After pulling the trailer a fairly short distance (about 50 miles) I decided that the little Toyo was just a little too little. 

I traided the Toyota on a Dodge 1500 with the 5.7L V8.  Yes, I would have liked a big diesel.  No, I'm not willing to spend my entire income paying to commute to work everyday.   I'm not planning on dragging it up over Berthod Pass nor any of the other 10K western passes.  Between Knoxville and Austin shouldn't put too much strain on the engine and SE flatlands and the hills in Appelachea shouldn't be too hard on the vehicle.  I hope. 
John Price
2011 Onyx 25RB
2011 Ram 1500 5.7L Hemi

Lowell

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2012, 01:05:44 PM »
So much of the decision depends on how one uses their truck and how often.  In 2005, I bought a new truck and TT.  Since then, less than 5% of the miles put on the truck have been used in towing the TT.  The rest of the the miles were put on the truck in both long distance travel and around town running.  For our use, the gas truck has been the right choice. It does a find job for us in the mountains out west, gets good milage towing (9-12mpg) and traveling w/o TT (19-22 mpg).  If we were to go to a larger RV, and full timing, a diesel would make sense.  It is very important when deciding on the RV type and/or tow vehicle how you are going to use it.  And from what I have read on this forum, a lot of folks change their mind after the first couple of years.

While we haven't changed our TT, I would now give up those bunk beds for a couple of Lazy Boy Chairs, so I guess I'm in the last category too. Grandkids grow too fast.
Lowell

2005 Cherokee28A TT
pulled by 2009 Dodge 1500 Crew Cab 4X4
KF7YET

Tempe, Arizona

mtfordguy

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2012, 02:27:32 AM »
And even tho I am new here,, I will add my two cents. I have a 99 Dodge diesel  1 ton dually, and before I got it I pulled with a 3/4 ton single rear wheel, and I will have to say, I really like how stable a dually is when towing, altho it has to be a 4x4 cuz they dont get around very good when roads are slick.

fishinjim

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2012, 07:26:16 PM »
I towed a tt with a v8 explorer for a couple of summers. I didn't like it much. An under sized and under powered tv is no fun.
We now have a 30' fiver and I pull it with a '99 f350 drw v10 gasser. I'm loving it.
Went to disneyworld and the combo towed fantastic. Diesel would be nice but I couldn't pass up the truck I bought. It's a beauty and treated with tlc.

Too much truck is never a bad idea.


aterry

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2012, 08:33:45 AM »
Well I have a confession to make. I've been wanting a diesel for a long time and after reading this post I just couldn't take it any longer. I had a 2008 Chevy with the 6.0, I traded it for a 2009 Chevy with the 6.6 Duramax. I haven't pulled my trailer yet but I'm really anxious to. From what all of you say I should notice a huge difference. One thing I have noticed is how much better the gas mileage is. I was getting around 12mpg with my old truck with no trailer - this one easily hits 17-18mpg with no trailer. I even saw 20mpg once! So far I'm really impressed with a diesel overall. I wish I would have skipped the 6.0 engine and went straight for the diesel.....but hey, live and learn!
Andy
2011 Canyon Trail
2009 Chevy 2500HD Duramax
SW Missouri

jje1960

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2012, 12:38:46 PM »
Cool, congrats on the new truck!  Love the big diesel, wish the price of it would come down a bit around our home!
Jim
2011 Ford F350 DRW 6.7 Diesel
2011 Cougar SRX

Mopar1973Man

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #26 on: January 20, 2012, 07:24:36 PM »
Congrads... You won't be sorry... Diesel engines are the workhorse of trailers...  8)
Mopar1973Man (AKA: Michael Nelson) located out in the state of Idaho with...
2002 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L Cummins Turbo Diesel
2000 Jayco Eagle FBS 296
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Phil Hyde

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #27 on: January 22, 2012, 09:46:58 AM »
One great advantage of diesel fuel that hasn't been mentioned is the ability use an auxiliary fuel tank.  Deducts from payload capacity, but greatly extends range.
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aterry

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #28 on: January 22, 2012, 02:31:13 PM »
One great advantage of diesel fuel that hasn't been mentioned is the ability use an auxiliary fuel tank.  Deducts from payload capacity, but greatly extends range.

Yeah, I have thought of that. That was a huge disadvantage when I had my gas truck. But with the better MPG out of the diesel I may not end up wanting it after all. Honestly after 300 miles or so I'm ready to get out and stretch my legs anyway.
Andy
2011 Canyon Trail
2009 Chevy 2500HD Duramax
SW Missouri

Foto-n-T

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Re: Gas vs Diesel for towing vehicle
« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2012, 08:03:45 AM »
It's not so much being ready to get out and stretch, the main advantage of an aux tank for us when we had the pick-up was being able to "shop" for fuel.
Joe

2008 Victory Lane
1998 Freightliner FL50
Cody, WY when it's not covered in ice.