Buying a class B (Diesel or gas?)

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New member
Dec 28, 2005
Bromont Quebec Canada

We are about to buy a Safari condo LC class B (20 feet), similar to a Pleasure Way Traverse; it is mounted on a GM frame (Chevrolet Express or Pontiac Savana). The gas motor V-8 a 4.8 liters develops 285 horses and the diesel, a Duramax turbo-diesel of 6.6 liters generates 250 horses. The gas motor will be doing around 18 miles on a US gallon and the diesel motor will get 21 miles on a gallon.

It is a long term buy and we will be doing around 15 ks per year; it will serve also as our second vehicule because it is very versatile.

I know it is a great feeling to drive a diesel and it has a very big load charge but here in Canada they ask us 7000$(Can) to achieve such a motor.

My heart goes with the diesel motor but is it worth the cost? Is the future with diesel ou gas?

Please give me your toughts. By the way, excuse my English since I am a French canadian from up north!


Jim Dick

Moderator Emeritus
Feb 11, 2005
Titusville, FL

I am certainly no expert on this matter but do work for a dealership part time that handles the Roadtrek Class B RVs. They are now using the Freightliner chassis with the Mercedes diesel. Their claim is 22 mpg. I don't know if this is true or not but the unit seems to have good pickup and runs fairly well. Keep in mind I only get to drive them for propane and fuel which is only about 5 miles. The one thing I don't like is there is no tilt adjustment for the steering wheel. If one is built for that setting it is fine. If not it could be a problem on long trips. Roadtrek, as you probably know, is a Canadian company.


Well-known member
Jul 30, 2006
In speaking of the future, there is a future for both.  Modern "flex-fuel" gas engines can run off of renewable ethanol while any diesel, regardless of setup, can run renewable biodiesel.

Gas engines make up for their poorer mileage and shorter service life by being cheaper and lower per-gallon fuel costs.

Diesel engines make up for their higher fuel and up-front costs with lower per-mile costs and much longer service life.

What makes the difference from a cost perspective is how long you plan on keeping the rig before you sell it.  The last cost comparison stated that it would be about 120,000 miles before the fuel savings of a diesel would offset the extra cost of the engine.

The diesel has other advantages going to it, however.  If you plan on towing anything behind your rig, the gas engine will seem anemic and loose mileage, while the extra torque of the diesel will allow it to pull with ease and minimal drop in mileage.

I personally prefer diesels.  I like the way they pull with authority, how they get great mileage, and how I can run anything from biodiesel to jet-fuel in the tank.  What works for you, however, depends on what you plans and preferences are.

P.S. if you do get the Duramax, don't ever let it overheat.  The aluminum head is great for weight reduction and heat dissipation, but if it overheats you'll blow a headgasket and stuff breaks.

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