Gas Verses Diesel

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Steve

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Feb 12, 2006
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Hello Everyone,
As we all know the price of any fuel is costly, but what I am attempting to deceide is to go with a diesel or with gas operated.
Diesel prices are outragous but I am aware that they last longer in the long run than gas engines do.
Any tips on this subject.
Steve
 

cheryl

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I am sure most will say go D not G if you can afford it for the power.  We went with gas due to the up front cost, fuel cost and we have seen those D units slow down just as much as we do on some hills and mts.  We have a V-10 in our unit and we average 7.9 mpg of course we are not flying down the road, after all if you fly you don't see as much.  Maint cost much more on D units.
Good luck.
C
 

Ron

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Well having had both a Gas rig and 2 Diesel rigs I would not even consider a gas powered MH.  Unless you are going to get something pretty light I would say go diesel. 
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Most diesels will be a rear engine configuration (aka diesel pusher) and thus be substantially quieter in the driver/passenger seating area. 

The transmission is a huge factor in motorhome or tow vehicle performance and drivability. If you are thinking of older used models, most diesels will  have a far superior transmission (Allison 6 speed) but more recent gas models have 5 or 6 speed trannies as well. Workhorse has had a 5 speed allison standard since 2002 and Ford upgraded to 5 speed in 2005 (I think). Workhorse now has an Allison 6 speed as standard equipment on their RV chassis.  Avoid diesels with less than 6 speed trannies - there are some older ones with only 4 speeds, usually coupled with the 190-230 HP Cummins engine. These are usuallt pretty wimpy.

The diesels will be available in higher GVWR/GCWR ratings if you need a larger rig to carry heavy gear or tow a large, heavy vehicle. Modern gas rigs max out at about 24,000 Lbs GVWR and 26,000 lbs GCWR. That's enough for a real nice 36 foot coach towing a 4000 lb. Beyond that, you will need a diesel powered rig.

Used mid-high end diesels will also have a multitude of other features that will contribute to your enjoyment. Independent front suspensions and air ride and/or leveling are two examples.

You probably won't drive a diesel RV long enough to get much advantage from the longer life or the somewhat better fuel economy. The fuel economy will, however, offset the higher fuel price a bit.
 

Ned

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A big factor in the diesel vs. gas decision is how much will you use the motorhome?  If you're going to full time, then a diesel is almost certainly the better choice, but for occasional vacations and weekend trips, it's hard to justify the (much) higher inital cost and higher operating expenses.
 

Betty Brewer

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Steve said:
Hello Everyone,
As we all know the price of any fuel is costly, but what I am attempting to deceide is to go with a diesel or with gas operated. Diesel prices are outragous but I am aware that they last longer in the long run than gas engines do.
Any tips on this subject.

Steve,

I hope my husband does not read this but Imust tell you, we first purchased a gas rig.  I could not possibly see why we needed a diesel at a much greater cost.  Well, the noisy and hot engine up front coupled with nearly 20 miles an hour hauls up long steep grades made a believer out of me.  We traded the gas rig for a diesel, suffered the depreciation on the new unit and then paid the higher price for the new diesel rig.  It would have been much less expensive in the long run to just buy the diesel first, which is what he wanted to do.
I don't think speed on the flats is an issue of difference but you sure do feel it on  on ramps, hills and long upward grades.  Just a female perspective.  If you even think of a diesel, do it and save the in between step.

Betty
 

Tom

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An article in our library, edited by Gary, also provides some interesting reading. Click the Library button above, select Tech topics, then click Gas or diesel?.
 

Beerman

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Hanna City, Illinois
I have only been a RV owner a little less then a year but I bought a 1991 ultrastar it has a Chevy 454 (gas). I can only use it at most 10 days a year so that's why I went with gas. My RV is only 33 feet so its not huge, no slides or anything I don't lose almost any power going up hill. I have only been in Wisconsin and Illinois haven't tried any major hills like Colorado or anything. I was told by the salesman that due to my minimal usage that gas was the way to go.
I think I would go Diesel next time when I can get more use out of it.
It is also being able to go to any auto parts store if ya need a repair.
Brian
 

Jeff

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Beerman:

We owned four gassers before buying our Tradewinds when we were getting ready for full timing. Without a doubt the gas coaches were less expensive to own and we enjoyed every one of them. I have not educated myself enough yet to feel very comfortable doing maintenance on the Cat.

Diesel has these advatages for us over gas:

1. Load and storage space.

2. Smooth ride including IFS.

3. Quiet ride from pusher.

4. I love the smell of diesel when I spill it refueling.( NOT!)  ;D ;D

For those who care the insurance, depreciation and maintenance are higher on the diesels. They cost more and when they break the parts and labor are high.

For us it is worth it!
 

Woody

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From reading all of the posts I guess the consensus of opinion is that for us part=timers a gas coach is probably the best unit to buy. For someone planning to go fulltime I think a diesel would make the most sense.
I would love to drive mine through the Rocky mountains but without the power of a diesel and a compression brake I think it would be a rough trip.

Woody
 

Jeff

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Woody said:
From reading all of the posts I guess the consensus of opinion is that for us part=timers a gas coach is probably the best unit to buy. For someone planning to go fulltime I think a diesel would make the most sense.
I would love to drive mine through the Rocky mountains but without the power of a diesel and a compression brake I think it would be a rough trip.

Woody:

We have driven the Rockies and all over the Cascades in a Pace Arrow equipped with a Banks system and towing a CRV euipped with M&G braking. We had no problems other than gearing down on long downgrades to keep brakes cool. I would never worry about driving the mountains with today's gassers.

Big difference from earlier trips with our older underpowered gas m/h's. ???
 

Karl

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I am full-timing in a 38+ foot gasser and am, overall, quite pleased with it. An aftermarket exhaust system helped the power considerably, and a soon-to-be-added modification to the transmission (Banks TransCommand) will bring the somewhat soft shifting of the Ford E4OD up to snuff. Even without the mod's, mountains roads and on-ramps are no more and no less difficult than a similarly powered and loaded diesel. Cost was a definite consideration and given my druthers I would have prefered a diesel, but that was not in the cards. For your use, a gasser would be perfectly fine, and will cost less to purchase and maintain. Expect more engine noise, but it's not excessive. Mileage will probably be better with a diesel, but right now diesel fuel costs more than gas, so it's probably a wash.
 

Woody

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Jeff /Washington said:
Woody:

We have driven the Rockies and all over the Cascades in a Pace Arrow equipped with a Banks system and towing a CRV euipped with M&G braking. We had no problems other than gearing down on long downgrades to keep brakes cool. I would never worry about driving the mountains with today's gassers.

Big difference from earlier trips with our older underpowered gas m/h's. ???

Jeff,

Did you have the Banks compression braking ??
I can understand the added hp provided by the Banks Power Pac but I've always been told that extended use of lower tranny gears to downhill brake was awfully hard on the transmission.

Woody
 

Jeff

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Woody said:
Jeff,

Did you have the Banks compression braking ??
I can understand the added hp provided by the Banks Power Pac but I've always been told that extended use of lower tranny gears to downhill brake was awfully hard on the transmission.

Woody

Ours was still running strong at 68,000 miles when we traded. I had added Trans Command when the Banks was installed.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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There is a world of difference between today's gas chassis motorhomes and the overweight, underpowered, noisy, ones of the late 80's and early-mid 90's. No comparison at all between, say, a 2002 or 2003 gasser and a 10 year older version.

That said, a diesel will still nearly always have an edge in performance and be notably quieter in the driving area. If the price is within your reach, do it.
 

Smoky

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After 9 months in a diesel pusher, I relate perfectly to Ned's and Betty's answers.

I think it would be a terrible mistake to full time in a gasser, but of course, but I did not see if you were fulltiming, most timing, or weekending.  Maybe I missed it?.

The only advantages I see in a gasser is the lower initial cost, and the easier self maintenance.

Diesel's are expensive to acquire, not question about it.  If you try to save money on a diesel, you must either buy used, or make some difficult compromises in terms of size and features. 

We were lucky that early on Bernie Dobrin gave me a heart to heart talk about the importance of buying a good diesel if you are going to live in it.  His persuasion was so good, that I was able to stand up to my Admiral, two years later.  Betty's answer reminded me of my Admiral.  We would look at an expensive diesel, then step into a very pretty gasser like the Scotsdale, or a Southwind, and she would immediately fall in love with all the amenities.  We found over and over again, that at the same price level, the gasser always offered more cosmetics and amenities for the dollar.

I held to my guns.  My concession was that she got to pick all the options involving furniture, decor, kitchen appliances, flooring, floor plan, etc.  But in return I called the shot on engine, chassis, electronics.  As for cost, we had to sell most of what we owned (home, land, furnishings etc) to afford a house on wheels that would be reliable and last us many years.  We wanted to be debt free so we paid cash for everything.

You need to take a firm look I think, at how you plan to use your RV.  Heavy use?  It is tough to get a gasser to last a decade on heavy use.  Light use and light budget, a gasser makes a lot of sense.  But think about down the road.  As Betty's experience shows, if you don;t anticipate the future, depreciation will make it harder to correct your course.
 

Ron from Big D

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Woody said:
From reading all of the posts I guess the consensus of opinion is that for us part=timers a gas coach is probably the best unit to buy. For someone planning to go fulltime I think a diesel would make the most sense.
I would love to drive mine through the Rocky mountains but without the power of a diesel and a compression brake I think it would be a rough trip.

Woody

      You do not need a compression brake or exhaust brake for a gas powered rig.  The engine already provides it.

 

Just Lou

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The Gas v/s Diesel discussion always intrigues me.

There are as many reasons for buying a particular type MH as there are MH's.? It's as simple as that...OR...as complicated as that.
I'll state right up front that, given my "druthers" I'd have a plush DP under me right now and heading southwest with nary a reservation anywhere.....? and possibly no forwarding address.

That said, I'll tell you what I have, why I have it, and that as yet I'm not at all sorry for the choice.
After nearly fifty years in the pressure packed corporate world... with five kids, one divorce, three heart attacks and two open heart quadruple bypass surgeries to show for it, I decided I want to experience Alaska via RV before I die.

My first impulse was to hook the 4X4 to the old Coleman pop-up and head northwest, but my current "volunteer" Admiral and RedDog (the pound hound) wouldn't hear of it so I bought a used? ?GASP!!? ? Fleetwood Bounder "Gasser" for the great adventure.? ?

My reasoning....
I can afford it without endangering my Grandkids education funds and/or inheritance..
Why leave a $300K DP-MH in my will to five kids who couldn't afford it collectively much less individually?..
I'm hard of hearing so the engine noise doesn't bother me, bother me, bother.....  Huh???
My circulation is bad so I enjoy the added cabin heat ...
I've had a blast adding battery banks, inverters, headers, sound systems, tow bars, TX controls, tires etc.. etc..
(all with info I've gleaned from this forum, thank you)

Seriously, each persons own economic and real life situation should dictate their choice.? This (the whole RV thing) may not turn out to be a lifestyle changing experience for me, so why force it to be, by burning bridges through massive debt or selling of homesteads, etc....

Should the Good Lord see fit to allow me a few more years after this upcoming Alaska trip (quality of life permitting) I'll have that Diesel Pusher with all the creature comforts I can afford.  In the mean time I'll keep Boundin' along.  Hope to meet some of you folks along the way.

Sorry for the ramble.. I think I'm getting cabin feaver and need a trip soon....? ?


? ?


 

Smoky

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Lou:

Sounds like you made the perfect decision for your situation.

I do not think there is one right or wrong answer on this popular question.  The important thing is for a prospective buyer to take plenty of time to work through the pros and cons from their own unique circumstances.  The worst thing is to make a hasty decision.
 

motojavaphil

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I have towed with three diesel pickups and one gas.  DP for me is the way to go.  I like torque and the smoothness of the tow.  When I upgrade to a MH it will be with a DP.  If I stay with a 5r it will be with a diesel P/u.  Just look at what the truckers use.  If you can afford it I'd vote for the DP
 
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