RV Maintenance, Diesel vs. Gasoline Engines

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Dodgeman

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Jul 13, 2006
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The benefits of a Diesel motorhome over a Gas motorhome are obvious in some areas. That is, quieter running (engine in rear), better fuel mileage, better torque curve, better altitude performance (turbocharged), longer life, etc, etc.
But what about the cost and frequency of maintenance for a diesel vs. gas? It seems that more frequent oil changes with higher oil volume, oil and fuel filter/separator costs, air filter costs, injection pump timing, valve lash adjustments, injector cleaning, fuel additives for cold weather, etc, etc. outweigh some of the advantages. Also, finding a qualified shop to do diesel maintenance is more difficult than for a gas engine.
I'm looking for comments on these pros/cons. Anyone out there that has switched back from diesel to gas, or wish they hadn't made the change to diesel?

Regards,
Dodgeman
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Depends somewhat on the engine you are talking about - newer diesels have fairly long oil change intervals, 15,000 miles or more in some cases.  As for the other maintenance you mentioned, most of it is not done routinely anymore.

But you are right, diesel maintenance is likely to be a bit more than a gas engine and visits to the shop will definitely be higher priced in most locales. If you were hoping to save money by buyng a diesel, forget it.
 

Lou Schneider

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It's like that line about yachts - if you have to inquire about the cost, you probably can't afford it.  :)

I would think twice about buying a diesel right now.  The composition of diesel fuel is changing dramatically as sulfur and aromatics are reduced or eliminated to accommodate pollution control equipment that will be required on new engines in 2007 and 2010.  People are saying the new fuels will cause minimal problems with existing engines, but they said the same thing when lead was removed from gasoline in the 1970s.


 

Kenneth

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I found this on a site,

Will my old diesel engines run on ultra low sulfur diesel?

Older vehicles and equipment will run on ultra low sulfur diesel and will experience a small reduction in particulate matter. Operators of old diesel engines may want to replace gaskets and seals as very old gaskets shrink and leak when running on low sulfur fuels. However, EPA and the Engine Manufacturers Association do not anticipate problems burning ultra low sulfur diesel in old engines. On the other hand, vehicles and equipment outfitted with new emission control technology (e.g. 2007 model year and later heavy duty trucks) can fail if run on the high sulfur diesel fuel.

 

Gary RV_Wizard

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The immediate problem with a 2007 diesel engine will be finding any source of low-sulphur fuel. Few stations have any yet and few plan to carry it, since it will require an additional underground tank and pump during the transition period. Given the sales volumes, stations which now sell diesel will continue to provide fuel for the pre-2007 engines an duse the tank & pump they already have.
 

BruceinFL

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RV Roamer said:
The immediate problem with a 2007 diesel engine will be finding any source of low-sulphur fuel. Few stations have any yet and few plan to carry it, since it will require an additional underground tank and pump during the transition period. Given the sales volumes, stations which now sell diesel will continue to provide fuel for the pre-2007 engines an duse the tank & pump they already have.

Gary,
I saw all kinds of low sulfur on our west trip this year. Was told that that's why diesel prices are so high...not enough low sulfur fuel. All the low sulfur pumps had a sign with the 2007 blurb. You'll probably see a lot of low sulfur on your way back to Ocala this year. (But probably noy in Flying Js.)
 

BernieD

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Goodyear, AZ
RV Roamer said:
The immediate problem with a 2007 diesel engine will be finding any source of low-sulphur fuel. Few stations have any yet and few plan to carry it, since it will require an additional underground tank and pump during the transition period. Given the sales volumes, stations which now sell diesel will continue to provide fuel for the pre-2007 engines an duse the tank & pump they already have.

Gary

I understand that the conversion is already underway. Had a long chat about this issue with the chief trainor for Spartan and his answer was that the fuel being shipped now is the ULSF fuel. As the tanks are refueled, the percentage of ULSF reaches the point where it meets Federal standards. By next year, all diesel fuel being sold will be rated ULSF.
 

Alaskansnowbirds

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BruceinFL said:
I saw all kinds of low sulfur on our west trip this year.

Low sulfur (LSF) is what we have been using for a few years now. What they are switching to is Ultra Low Sulfur (ULSF). Current engines can burn either. 2007 engines HAVE TO HAVE ULSF.
 

CapnD

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Feb 18, 2006
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Florida
I just read the thread and It brought up a question in my mind.  If I buy a 2007 MH will I not be able to go to Mexico or Canada because I cannot find ULS fuel there?  ??? this whole issue of ULS vs LS concerns me.
 

Ned

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It's very likely that a 2007 motor home will have a 2006 engine and will not need the ULSF.  It's the 2008 models that will have the new engines.
 

rankjo

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337
It seems to me that it's not only the engine that incurs the cost of a diesel RV. There is also the airbrake/air suspension question. Friends of mine seem to always be getting those systems attended to. I accept immediately that diesel coaches will do mileages that my gas Winnebago Adventurer will struggle with, and will surmount grades that our gas RVs will have to gear down for, but do most of us actually do that sort of mileage, and do we have trouble gearing down for hills??
Personally, I feel so much better with a gas Ford V-10 (or a GM, I'm not that fussy) and its dependable ordinary suspension and braking system. I get it serviced by the garage in town which also does all the garbage trucks and schoolbuses and vehicles like that, and it has a low hourly rate, and nice guys which help me out with whatever problems I have. (If you live in NB Canada, email me and I will give you a reccommendation).  I hate dealers, and always feel that I'm getting ripped off.
Gas RVs seem to protect me from high maintenance costs, assuming I'm not going to do circuits of the continent.
Would I like a diesel RV?? Sure, if I wanted the luxury, the carrying capacity, and if money was no object. None of those things are goin' to happen, so I'm happy with my gas V10. (but I'm still a little bit jealous). JR
 
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