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Old 12-18-2011, 10:17 PM   #1
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Cat vs. Cummins

I'm just starting to research purchasing a DP sometime this year ( single rear axle). I would like to hear from folks with experience on the merits and downsides of Cat. vs. Cummins engines. I have spec. sheets for C7, C9 and C12 but they only tell the numbers and not real performance with the specified torque ranges. Similarly, I have Cummins spec. sheets and again, lots of data... I'm looking for real world performance feedback.
1. towing
2. hills & mtns
3. side radiator vs. rear radiator
4. maintenance ... parts and service throughout Canada and USA
Thanks
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:35 PM   #2
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Where's the "popcorn smiley"?
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:38 PM   #3
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Both are top quality units. I couldn't choose between those two.
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:42 PM   #4
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My coach has a Cummins ISL 400. I tow my signature toad that weighs about 5800 lb. It does just super in the mountains so I have no complaints. I live in the mountains so flat roads are a rarity here. I've had both rear and side radiators and love the side radiator I have now. I doubt I'd purchase a coach with a rear radiator again. I do my own maintenance, or 95% of it, so that's not an issue. Part are available at most dealers and bigger diesel repair facilities. Cat and Cummins engines are both excellent choices so going either way is a good choice.
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:47 PM   #5
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If you are buying a new unit, I am given to understand Caterpillar no longer markets a highway engine. Kinda' limits our choices. I can't give you any numbers but I have a Cat C7 in my 2007 Fleetwood Providence. I tow my wife's 2007 E550 on a dolly in our Colorado mountains and during football season we go all over for Air Force football. I haven't yet thought I needed more power. Nope, not once. I70 East up to the Eisenhower tunnel is a long, hard pull. While I won't pass any cars, I pass all the trucks and for the most part I can do 40-45 up the grade. You'll find that our RV engines are rarely pushed hard. If you will, a diesel engine in an RV leads an easy life compared to other applications for these engines. HTH
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:58 PM   #6
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Durabil welcome to the forum. You didn't say what age or brand coach that you are interested in. Older coaches will likely have smaller engines in the same size unit than those of more recent build. If you're looking at new coaches, you're looking at Cummins. My advise is find the coach brand and floor plan with the features you want. If it's DP and been serviced right you will have a good engine be it CAT or Cummins.
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Old 12-19-2011, 06:04 AM   #7
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Disclaimer: I've never owned a Cat.
Last week at a Freightline dealer while buying oil, was discussing the "state of the world" with a tech who offered, "a Cat cost more to maintain than a Cummins".
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Old 12-19-2011, 06:24 AM   #8
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I have owned both, I have a 400 Cat now and like the torque better than a Cummins. As for the cost of maintaining I can't see a difference. Both are as good as the other. As for a rear radiator, never again will I own one. I do my own service and like the side rad much better. Find a good quality coach that is backed by the factory and enjoy.
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Old 12-19-2011, 07:29 AM   #9
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The best one is the one in the coach with the floorplan and layout that suits your needs and desires.

I wouldn't pass over any coach just due to engine make. Engine size maybe.
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Old 12-19-2011, 07:46 AM   #10
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Hi:

Currently run a 45 ftr. w. a 500 ISM Cummins. No problems. We like Cummins only cause we have one and can't give ya experienced comparison. HOWEVER!!....I sometimes wish I had a Cat cause I'd love to say......."IF IT AIN'T A CAT.....IT'S A DOG!!!!" Just sayin.

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Old 12-19-2011, 10:49 AM   #11
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I have had both. The Cat was more expensive to maintain and was noisier mechanically than my current Cummins.
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Old 12-19-2011, 12:39 PM   #12
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Old 12-19-2011, 01:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Durabil View Post
I'm just starting to research purchasing a DP sometime this year ( single rear axle). I would like to hear from folks with experience on the merits and downsides of Cat. vs. Cummins engines. I have spec. sheets for C7, C9 and C12 but they only tell the numbers and not real performance with the specified torque ranges. Similarly, I have Cummins spec. sheets and again, lots of data... I'm looking for real world performance feedback.
1. towing
2. hills & mtns
3. side radiator vs. rear radiator
4. maintenance ... parts and service throughout Canada and USA
Thanks
Durabil,
You have all the specs sheets which means you have the "real world" answers. Questions about Towing and/or hills & mtns will all be subjective responses upon which no reasonable or responsible conclusion can be drawn.

Side radiator vs rear radiator I can't address, but according to earlier posts may be a factor if you do your own servicing and maintenance. I don't.

Parts and service availability might be obtained by going to both the Cummins and Cat websites and looking for service center locations across the countries.
Hopefully they will have a "brag blurb" about how many centers they have across the US and Canada and maybe maps pointing them out.

Cummins also has some (48?) of their sites designated as Coach Care which means they cater to RVs and some of their techs have been to RV equipment specific schools.

Also, if the rigs you look at have a Freightliner chassis, that manufacturer has similar centers for RVs called Oasis centers. Even so, almost all Freightliner centers will work on Motorhomes.

Diesels are diesels are diesels. For a real emergency or serious breakdown, I have heard good stories of Cummins engines being repaired at Cat service centers and vice versa.

It is good to do research and prepare yourself but keep in mind that many (not all, many) posts only report failures or bad things. For every post about problems/horror stories about Cat, Cummins, Freightliner, there are thousands (tens of thousands?)that have not had problems and don't post anything.

This is an excellent forum to learn from, but be skeptical of subjective answers, look for "it happened to me" stories and references to documentation or websites that have the "real" answers.

The best answer was posted earlier. Find the floor plan and motorhome you like and the rest will more than likely take care of itself.

The difference between Cat and Cummins, in my opinion, is kinda like the difference between Ford and Chevys . . . and that, my friend, is a question that really has no definitive answer and will continue to be a source of friendly arguments long into the future.

Good luck and best wishes for the perfect motorhome.

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Old 12-19-2011, 01:31 PM   #14
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In our price range we had pretty much 2 choices ISC or C-7 we leaned toward the 8.3 ISC purely for torque reasons, from everything I could find reliability and maintenance were roughly equal.

The engine was not at the top of the list however, floor plan, side radiator, full size queen bed, table/chairs, diesel generator, and holding tank size were all above it. If we'd have found one with a C-7 that fit we'd have jumped on it.
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The above post is just my experience/opinion which is worth exactly what you paid for it.

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