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Old 12-27-2013, 09:24 AM   #1
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Driving Characteristics - DP v. Gasser

I don't want to start another "Diesel versus Gas" kerfuffle, and most of what I need to know was posted by Tedguard01 on page 4 of the "Fuel Mileage" thread. But I don't want to make a mistake and buy a unit that I'll be unhappy with in a couple of years. I'm interested in learning about two aspects of motor homes, and I'm looking forward to hearing your experiences and opinions.

My first concern is getting pushed around on the Interstates by passing semis and other motor homes. We have friends who bought an older gas Holiday Rambler as an upgrade from their smallish fifth wheel, and the wife is having a hard time coping with the lean of their RV when they get passed. I also get apprehensive when we get passed when driving with our tow-behind trailer. My assumption is that a DP, being much heavier and having air suspension, would be much less susceptible to this phenomenon. But I also suspect that newer gassers may be improved in this area as well. Your experiences?

My second concern is with the available torque in the Triton. When we tow our trailer down I-95 in North Carolina foothills, our tow vehicle downshifts until the engine sounds like its going to fly out of the hood. Granted it is only a V8, but we "only" weigh about 13,000 pounds combined. Can I expect the Triton to do the same? Should I be able to maintain 60 - 65 MPH on those rather modest grades? I've read that DPs handle hilly terrain better, but what are they like? Do they do a lot of downshifting, but are quieter since the engine is in the back?

Thanks in advance for your council.
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Old 12-27-2013, 09:31 AM   #2
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Welcome to IRV2! The DP is certainly quieter - go for a test ride and you'll be convinced. As to being blown around, I'm afraid that physics will always win, and yes, you'll see some of that with the DP, despite the extra weight and air suspension. In my humble opinion, it's not nearly as bad compared to a gasser.

DPs are quieter going over mountain passes (we live in the San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado). Once established at the optimum RPM and appropriate gear, they simply climb the grade - in relative quiet - a benefit of having the engine in the back.

Hope that helps!
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Old 12-27-2013, 09:45 AM   #3
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The DP will still slow down on grades. All rv's do, as do semi's. its a fact of physics.
The pushed by semi's is some what determined by the difference in speed, yours versus theirs. If you are driving 55 on the freeway the semi's will blow you off no matter what you are driving. If you are running 65 or above their overtake rate is much slower and you only feel a small movement to the right as they get to your rear corner and then a small pill back to the left as they get fully alongside you. At the slower closing rate this is easy to handle and you can even begin to anticipate it. Air bag suspension on a DP helps greatly, and the more bags the better (cost goes up accordingly).
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:13 AM   #4
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Air push in traffic

I've owned pu campers, a couple of class c's, a 32ft winni Gasser and last a Monaco DP.
The 4w pu & camper always got pushed around but there's nothing more able to go almost any where,was easy to park. The class c's I was able to make pretty good on freeway,with oversized sway bars but for me airlift air bags were the greatest improvement in sway and in crosswind correction. In the 24 and 28 foot range still easy to get in and out of places, and to park.
The Winnebago- was similar it turned into a pretty good freeway rig with airbag addition, sway bars and shocks. It had better ground clearance than the c's and for it's size still was very nice to get around in.
Now my Monaco is better than my previous best on freeway with out mods. It's also the longest and heaviest but at this time in life my wife and I appreciate it's comfort. So each vehicle was great in it's own way. Some offered great access to difficult areas- others were in between and finally the Monaco -- you pretty much stay on level firm surfaces. But on the freeway I think it's king. Other diesel pushers of different brands are great as well -- I've driven a few as a shuttle driver for a dealer in Sacramento. I find that with in a brand there are certain models and engine combinations that are noticeably better than others. If you're going used, you want min of 300 hp the 330 cat engine is a really good performer in a 38 foot mh. I have a 390hp m11E cummins which was one of the first electronic controlled fuel injection engines, in fact the original owner of my rig ordered that engine and must have paid dearly for it. I believe the 8.3 was pretty common in Monaco in 94 and is also a good performer in the mid sized pushers. Beyond that when you start looking at a specific vehicle-- I'd bet someone on IRV2 owns one and can tell you what to expect.

Again, I've found that within a product line often there is one that is a little better so keep asking questions as you are -- it takes a little time to get informed -- but isn't that part of the fun of rving?

Hope I've helped.
Loren
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:27 AM   #5
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My DW has a severe back injury and if we had a gasser, she would not be able to ride in it. When we got ours we test drove a c b a gasser and when we drove the DP we were sold!! Drive one yourself and make the choice as you and DW are the deciding factor.
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:32 AM   #6
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You'll get there in either one...that said, the DP will be quieter. Generally, you'll have more HP and torque with the later model DPs, but you be pushing more weight. On the other hand that "more weight" generally translates into more amenities and upgrades as you move from gas to DP (pls, folks, not a statement as to preference, just a general statement). You really have to weigh what you want, how your, going to use it, and cost. For us the DP was the choice, full timing and traveling in the West. JMHO and good luck with your search.
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProjectPro View Post
I don't want to start another "Diesel versus Gas" kerfuffle, and most of what I need to know was posted by Tedguard01 on page 4 of the "Fuel Mileage" thread. But I don't want to make a mistake and buy a unit that I'll be unhappy with in a couple of years. I'm interested in learning about two aspects of motor homes, and I'm looking forward to hearing your experiences and opinions.

My first concern is getting pushed around on the Interstates by passing semis and other motor homes. We have friends who bought an older gas Holiday Rambler as an upgrade from their smallish fifth wheel, and the wife is having a hard time coping with the lean of their RV when they get passed. I also get apprehensive when we get passed when driving with our tow-behind trailer. My assumption is that a DP, being much heavier and having air suspension, would be much less susceptible to this phenomenon. But I also suspect that newer gassers may be improved in this area as well. Your experiences?

My second concern is with the available torque in the Triton. When we tow our trailer down I-95 in North Carolina foothills, our tow vehicle downshifts until the engine sounds like its going to fly out of the hood. Granted it is only a V8, but we "only" weigh about 13,000 pounds combined. Can I expect the Triton to do the same? Should I be able to maintain 60 - 65 MPH on those rather modest grades? I've read that DPs handle hilly terrain better, but what are they like? Do they do a lot of downshifting, but are quieter since the engine is in the back?

Thanks in advance for your council.
Tag axle will be more stable than non-tag, also. I hardly notice semis passing in our current DP.
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:39 AM   #8
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The Class A gas we now drive is a 2005 on a W24 chassis. The amount of difference between this and the 2008 DP we previously drove is not substantial regarding the effect of wind & passing trucks, etc.
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:57 AM   #9
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Certain gas chassis handle better than others. Since I only buy gently used RVs I can only speak about chassis pre 2010. But IMHO (after owning 4 gassers and 2 DP) a the W24 is the best stock gas chassis out there and is the closest you will find to a DP, I own this one currently (traded a DP for it). If I wanted an even steadier track I have lots of aftermarket options that I could add to it but for me it’s still a single handed driving event when passing or being passed so why bother.

Can DP go faster up hills – almost always yes and if racing up a hill is important for you buy a DP with an upgraded engine straight from the factory. Before I switched to full-timing I used to be in a hurry to get to places since I had limited time. I lived in the pacific northwest and traveled over the “real” mountains out west all of the time. We would rack up 2-3,000 miles in a 2-3 week period on the coach and I “needed” the DP to do this is ease. Now that we are full-timing I’m racking up about 400-600 a month and have no desire to blow up the passes, instead I tuck in behind a semi, keep my rev’s low, put it on cruise control for optimum MPG and relax.

I should also note that I have the Chevy 8.1 on my W24 and wouldn’t have traded in a DP for a Ford engine, NOTHING wrong with the engine at all, I just don’t like the way it shifts and the high RPMs and subsequent howl that it makes when you do want to go a little faster. Besides I have an Allison transmission on mine and that simply can’t be beat.

Bottom line is if you need to get places and are racking up a lot of miles than a DP makes a lot of sense. It also makes sense if you just “want” one or the floor plan you love is only available with a DP or you have extra cash and don’t mind parting with it. For US, the switch to a gasser made sense, we have a floor plan we love . . . . but we might take an extra 15 minutes to arrive at our destination. Ohhhhh, DW wanted me to say that the extra $100K in the bank account is also a nice added bonus – it allowed us to do a beautiful helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, something we would have bypassed without that extra $$$$.

Good luck in your decision, just remember there really is no right answer, whatever works for you and your pocketbook.
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Old 12-27-2013, 05:15 PM   #10
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I recently traded our 2013 36LA (gas) for a Phaeton 42LH (DP)
Your first concern; in our 36LA we did did feel the push, and sometime pull, of passing a semi. It was not as bad as some reported and both myself and DW soon got used to it. We felt there was no need for any handling mods. The Phaeton has no perceptible push.
For normal driving the 36LA required more attention to keep from wandering within your lane. The DP much less so, it's almost like driving the Honda.
Second concern; we pull a CRV and had no problems with the 36LA. It will pull the same grades as a DP. You might have to get in line with some of the semis but I usually do anyhow, even with the Phaeton. Many of the steeper grades have spectacular scenery and I am more than happy to slow down and enjoy the sights.
The noise of the 36LA when climbing was annoying and something you would simply have to get used to. The V10 at 5K RPM has quite a roar to it. The DP is much, much, much quieter.
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Old 12-27-2013, 06:56 PM   #11
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Like Selah, we have had both - an Allegro 32CA and a Phaeton 36GH. The Allegro was not too bad with passing trucks but cross winds could add a few twitches. Overall, we never felt that it needed any suspension upgrades. Tiffin gas coaches typically have long wheelbases and low rear overhangs which helps a lot with handing. We tamed the engine somewhat by adding a 5 Star tune kit.

The Phaeton is a completely different driving experience. Less prone to cross wind twitches (but it will still move around) and more resistance to passing trucks make it a pleasant driving experience.

If you can afford a DP and plan to use the MH a lot, that would be or should be your first choice.
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Old 12-28-2013, 06:42 AM   #12
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We love our 34, if there were a consideration it would be noise. Our gas is louder than our diesel was.
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Old 12-28-2013, 06:45 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProjectPro View Post

My first concern is getting pushed around on the Interstates by passing semis and other motor homes. We have friends who bought an older gas Holiday Rambler as an upgrade from their smallish fifth wheel, and the wife is having a hard time coping with the lean of their RV when they get passed. I also get apprehensive when we get passed when driving with our tow-behind trailer. My assumption is that a DP, being much heavier and having air suspension, would be much less susceptible to this phenomenon. But I also suspect that newer gassers may be improved in this area as well. Your experiences?

Go faster so other vehicles don't pass you.

My second concern is with the available torque in the Triton. When we tow our trailer down I-95 in North Carolina foothills, our tow vehicle downshifts until the engine sounds like its going to fly out of the hood. Granted it is only a V8, but we "only" weigh about 13,000 pounds combined. Can I expect the Triton to do the same? Should I be able to maintain 60 - 65 MPH on those rather modest grades? I've read that DPs handle hilly terrain better, but what are they like? Do they do a lot of downshifting, but are quieter since the engine is in the back?
Earplugs or...turn up the radio.

Thanks in advance for your council.
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Old 12-28-2013, 07:01 AM   #14
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Our Newmar on the W22 Workhorse chassis performs great for us. The chassis is bone stock (no mods whatsoever) and as mentioned in a previous post the closing rate of semi's and busses can effect the movement of the coach somewhat. Being we travel at between 60-65 the closing rate doesn't effect our coach to a point of feeling any loss of control at all. We have plenty of power with the 8.1 mated to the Allison and as far as noise??? Well, as compared to our 94 coach it's a non issue to us. I don't know how they insulated the doghouse but there is virtually no noise to speak of when then trans shifts down to a lower gear. All I can say is that our coach is PURE comfort to us. Good luck in your search and hope you find the unit that works best for your needs.
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