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Old 07-13-2012, 06:43 PM   #1
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CAT vs Cummins

We are looking at a couple of Allures. 2 have Cat C9 @ 400hp and 2 have Cummins ISL 400hp. All have Allison 6-speed autos. All of these rigs have 35k plus mileage. (just warming up for a diesel). CAT is std and Cummins was optional. CAT has exhaust brake and Cummins has two-stage Jacobs engine brake.

We are looking for our first MH and I'm not knowledgeable enough to pick one engine combination over another. As the more I read the more confused I become.

We will be traveling the Mid-West, South, Northwest and Alaska with a 5k# toad.

For those with experience of these combinations, what will one do better than the other; acceleration, stopping, hill climbing, going down the hill, mileage and ???

Thanks in advance for sharing your insight.

John & Diann
2014 Dutch Star 4364 - 2011 CRV EX-L AWD
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Old 07-13-2012, 06:50 PM   #2
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I have previously owned a coach with a Cat and I currently own one with a Cummins. I consider both to be well suited to motor home service. If the only consideration is the choice of engine then I would pick the Cummins because of the engine compression brake. It's truly more powerful and versatile than the exhaust brake.

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Old 07-13-2012, 06:52 PM   #3
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Both those engines have the same advertised HP and are in the 1200 ft-lbs of torque category. Some people will say "Cat doesn't build RV or truck engines anymore and that is a concern." IMHO that is a non-issue, the Cat dealer network services thousands of truck engines in use throughout the country and a dealer is never far away.

Personally, I would make the choice based on the fact that the Cummins has a true compression brake. That's what we have with our C12 and I love it. From what I can tell there is no comparison between a compression brake and an exhaust brake. We've done lots of mountain driving and a good Jake takes the "thrill" out of going down hills.
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Old 07-13-2012, 06:56 PM   #4
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Get the one your DW likes the floor plan in. And hope it has the Cummins.
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Old 07-13-2012, 09:26 PM   #5
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John T - We have a CAT and it works as expected. We have had nearly no issues with it. Cummins are also very good motors. But as others have pointed out an engine brake works better than an exhaust brake. This shortcoming is well know and if you get some price compensation because of it it might be worth it. Either way CC's are great coaches.
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Old 07-13-2012, 09:39 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Triker56 View Post
Get the one your DW likes the floor plan in. And hope it has the Cummins.

Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!!
2009 45' Magna 630 w/Cummins ISX 650 HP/1950 Lbs Ft
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Old 07-15-2012, 03:19 PM   #7
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Cummins was an option and should increase the value of your coach.
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Old 07-15-2012, 03:27 PM   #8
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Add my vote for the engine brake. I think which engine is a toss up but the engine brake is the big deal. When descending steep grades I love knowing that I can hit the second stage of the engine brake and it's like throwing out a big anchor.

Rick, Nancy, Peanut & Lola our Westie Dogs & Bailey the Sheltie.

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Old 07-15-2012, 05:40 PM   #9
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Part of my 400ISL exhaust brake is the use of the variable ratio turbo. I'm not a mechanic but called the factory because my coach manual said to lube the "pac brake" I believe it was called. The manual had not caught up with the engine manual and I was very confused. The turbo helps with low speed acceleration and is some part of the exhaust brake. I can tell you going down hills the brake is plenty strong with my rear radiator setup. On a side radiator you don't get the advantage of the fan drag. That said I changed my fan out with one from Source Engineering and lost some of my downhill effectiveness but the reduction in engine noise and increase in acceleration and mileage was worth every penny. Having four slides and pulling a heavy load I am right at 40K lbs. Hill climbing was decent but would not set any records. Stock I believe I have 1200 ft lbs of torque. Knowing the ISL 425 model was probably just a comuter mod I found a chip that installed in 30 minutes and with the fan change and the chip change this thing gets 1.5 mpg better and really performs on hills. I suspect I have close to 500 hp now. One of these days I will get it on a dyno.

But I must agree with the previous answers. Get the one your wife loves. You live in it longer than you drive it.
Myron & Deborah
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:44 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by littlebaler1 View Post
Cummins was an option and should increase the value of your coach.
On our 2005 Intrigue (quad slide, tag), the Cat 525 was the option.

We had a Foretravel with the Cummins engine and have found both to be very good engines. We have had no issues with our exhaust brake (3 stage), having used it doing quite a bit of mountain driving - did just what it was supposed to do. As to servicing, have never had a problem with either engine in getting routine servicing done - plenty of authorized service providers.

My preference is with the Cat - seems to be a stronger engine, IMHO.
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:21 AM   #11
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Thanks to all that replied. I can get either seviced locally. Yup! It's all about the flooor plan.

We're still hunting.
John & Diann
2014 Dutch Star 4364 - 2011 CRV EX-L AWD
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Old 07-16-2012, 02:17 PM   #12
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I have a 2004 Allure with the Cummins ISL, it's and excellent engine. However both are quality engines. Rather than looking for a particular engine brand look for one that has been well maintained.
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Old 07-16-2012, 03:31 PM   #13
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Cummins for obvious reasons, and they have a great level of corporate customer service.

36ft Damon Intruder Class A - 37ft National Sea Breeze LX Class A
-Past RVs: 19ft Sportsman, 24ft Jayco, 30ft Coachmen Mirada. We had some good times.
"Im a car guy...you've been warned" lol
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cat, cummins

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