Longevity of gas engines vs. diesel van engines

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

pedalinjoy

Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2018
Posts
6
Hi!  I would appreciate any knowledge shared about longevity (average to expect) and performance/reliability of a gasoline engine in either a Ford Transit or a Ram Promaster. 

At first, I only wanted to consider a diesel engine (even a Sprinter if I could afford one), but the more I read about diesel, the more I was discouraged due to the emissions issues and the overall maintenance cost factors.  If I want to live full-time in a nice van, say for 5 years, would a gasoline engine in a van purchased new (Transit or Promaster) realistically yield enough mileage before things started really getting expensive to maintain on that engine? 

This vehicle would be my "home" and only vehicle for the duration of time I chose to live in it, and I'd hate to put a lot of money into a van conversion with an engine that didn't have a long enough life, realistically, to make doing so a wise investment. 

Any opinions based on experience with Transits and Promasters would be greatly appreciated! 
 

Len and Jo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 25, 2005
Posts
1,365
Five years is a very short time for a modern gasoline engine.  Your first 3 years is of course covered by the manufactures warranty.  Our van is now 18 years old with 160,000 miles and there has been very little engine issues.  So five yeas should be a piece of cake.  You might want to go to your local library and check out the Consumers Reports Annual Auto Issue for engine frequency of repairs.
 

Lou Schneider

Site Team
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
11,257
There's very little difference in the life expectancy of a LIGHT diesel engine (like those used in vans, pickup trucks, etc.) and a modern gasoline engine.

Now, if you're talking about the large, HEAVY DUTY diesels like those used in large diesel pushers, that's another story.  You're comparing apples to oranges (or a light duty engine to a heavy duty engine).

Diesel engine durability is mainly a myth.  An engine's life is determined more by how it's designed, not the type of fuel it burns.  Heavy duty engines are being made that burn natural gas or propane, they use spark ignition and have a throttle plate to maintain a uniform air to fuel ratio just like gasoline engines, and they're durability in transit buses and other heavy duty applications are just as good as the diesel engines they're replacing.
 

gravesdiesel

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 22, 2017
Posts
212
Location
Northeast Georgia
Lou Schneider said:
There's very little difference in the life expectancy of a LIGHT diesel engine (like those used in vans, pickup trucks, etc.) and a modern gasoline engine.

Now, if you're talking about the large, HEAVY DUTY diesels like those used in large diesel pushers, that's another story.  You're comparing apples to oranges (or a light duty engine to a heavy duty engine).

Diesel engine durability is mainly a myth.  An engine's life is determined more by how it's designed, not the type of fuel it burns.  Heavy duty engines are being made that burn natural gas or propane, they use spark ignition and have a throttle plate to maintain a uniform air to fuel ratio just like gasoline engines, and they're durability in transit buses and other heavy duty applications are just as good as the diesel engines they're replacing.
The Cummins ISB 6.7 inline 6 used in the Dodge Ram trucks is classified as a "Medium Heavy Duty" engine.  It is the only engine in a "pickup' with that classification because it is also used in medium trucks, buses and motorhomes.
Those city buses that burn natural gas are actually diesel engines which have been set up for natural gas instead.  The engine itself is a modified diesel engine.  Diesel engines are built more rugged by design because they have to withstand much higher compression and generally higher torque.  Diesel fuel has a higher lubricity than gasoline which also helps with longevity.

The Ram Promaster and the Ford Transit are available with diesel engines.  We have two Sprinter 3500 cab/chassis vans with diesel engines in our forklift service company.  They are surprisingly strong and fuel efficient for their size.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
74,926
Location
At my Silver Springs FL home
Adding to Len and Lou's good advice...


In 5 years you might expect to travel anywhere from 30k miles to 100k miles, but that entire range is well within the capability of even a light duty gas engine.  You can reasonably expect 200k or more from a modern gas engine, even with just routine care.


The much-vaunted million-mile diesel reliability is widely misunderstood by laymen. It refers to the need for a basic engine rebuild, e.g.. new pistons or valves.  Most of what laymen think of as "engine" includes things like the water pump, alternator, fuel pump, starter, or injectors, etc.  After all, you are just as stranded when they fail as you are if a piston rod breaks. It's just easier to fox.  Those components have about the same lifespan in a gas engine as in a diesel.
 

Murray

Active member
Joined
Sep 23, 2018
Posts
28
Len and Jo said:
Five years is a very short time for a modern gasoline engine.  Your first 3 years is of course covered by the manufactures warranty.  Our van is now 18 years old with 160,000 miles and there has been very little engine issues.  So five yeas should be a piece of cake.  You might want to go to your local library and check out the Consumers Reports Annual Auto Issue for engine frequency of repairs.
As far as I'm aware new dodge rams come with 6 years warranty?
 

John From Detroit

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2005
Posts
25,375
Location
Davison Michigan
In the old days Diesels were noted for serveral things including LONG LIFE.. But today's gas engines are way better built and computer controlled and often go 200,000 miles or more rivaling the reliability of Diesels. 

Personal experience: I blew up one Gas engine but it was not a natural death. It was Murdered.
THe engine failure was secondary to something else that turned out to be accident damage.  THe nature of the damage would have ruined a Diesel engine as easily and quickly as it did my gas engine.
(Failure of oil cooler line due to a pot hole re-positioning it and cutting it in half)

When re replaced the engine. We installed protection for the new oil line and I inspect it as well to insure it don't happen again.

But a Diesel engine would have failed the exact same way had I had one.

I expect the engine in this RV to outlast me.. THe one in my car is doign well as well. it's a 2001 with I have not idea how many miles (OVer 200K) and the only "ENgine" work that has been done is replace two of the 4 motor mounts and one idler pulley with belt
 

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
121,079
Posts
1,218,915
Members
126,100
Latest member
coachklc
Top Bottom