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Old 03-12-2005, 04:03 AM   #1
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Looking at a couple of new MH, now the choice is basically cat or cummins. Have read where cat requires more maintenace such as valves adjusted, ect more often then cummins. Looking at maintenance costs down the road, can anyone help me out on this. Really like the cummins engine but don't want to exclude the other coach due to the cat engine.
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Old 03-12-2005, 04:03 AM   #2
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Looking at a couple of new MH, now the choice is basically cat or cummins. Have read where cat requires more maintenace such as valves adjusted, ect more often then cummins. Looking at maintenance costs down the road, can anyone help me out on this. Really like the cummins engine but don't want to exclude the other coach due to the cat engine.
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Old 03-12-2005, 04:36 AM   #3
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Derek, either is a good engine but like you have found out the Cat does require more maint. The cost of the oil changes is a little higher too. I think that they both have about the same number of repair faciliities. Good luck and enjoy the hunt of the new rig!
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Old 03-12-2005, 04:52 AM   #4
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We had a choice between the 350 hp Cat or the 370 hp Cummins and decided to go with the Cummins even though it was an extra cost item.

I made that decision after a lot of research and talking with owners of each. Both make good engines but I came to the conclusion that the Cummins had the edge so I ordered it.

Three things came up which tilted the decision in Cummins favor.

First, I ran into a couple of Cat owners that had the latest series (C7 I believe) that said that their engines had computer engine management problems. They said Cat was aware of it and working on a solution. One guy, an owner of an MDT, had his reprogramed twice and the runability problems had not been solved.

Second, I went with an Onan generator in the new MH. Since Onan is owned by Cummins, I thought that might be a service advantage to be able to get service at one location for both.

Lastly, I have read a couple of posts here and on a couple of other websites, that some owners of Cats have gone for service at their Cat dealer and felt like second class citizens. Everbody else but Rvers got the first rate treatment. Now I don't know if there is any truth to that, but I would not want to experience any such situation.

In addition to the above I like Cummins variable gate turbo design and really liked it when I test drove a 370 hp 1200lb/ft equipped motorhome. YeeeeHaaaw!

I can hardly wait to get back to Colorado to flatten some hills!
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Old 03-12-2005, 06:05 AM   #5
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Str8Shooter:
Second, I went with an Onan generator in the new MH. Since Onan is owned by Cummins, I thought that might be a service advantage to be able to get service at one location for both. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>I vote for reason #2! Another good reason as well to opt for the optional "Quiet" Onan 8.0 KW diesel generator. Some of the OEMs will give you a Generac Diesel and that may complicate getting service at times. I like the idea of an "Onan/Cummins" repair facility. One stop shopping.
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Old 03-12-2005, 06:07 AM   #6
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Both Cat and Cummins are both great engines. The quality is excellent and you'll get lots of life out of either one. It is true that Cat has a slightly higher maintenance requirement (initial valve settings, etc) than the Cummins but that's not a big issue. Cat did have a number of issues with fuel economy and performance when the 3126E was changed over to the C7 but those have all but gone away and they've reflashed the ECMs of the bad ones so I wouldn't be concerned about that either.

The biggest difference between them is power. The Cat C7 series is not that larger of an engine as far as displacement goes. It's a 7.2 liter engine, whereas the Cummins ISL is an 8.9 liter engine. The Cat C7 comes in 330 or 350 HP but both have 860 ft-lbs of torque. The Cummins ISL typically comes with either 370 or 400 HP and puts out 1,200 ft-lbs of torque. Plus, the Cat gets it's peak HP at peak RPM and the horsepower curve chart shows a gradual increase in power. This means that your 350 Cat will be putting out around 270 HP at normal cruising RPM. This means that you'll be downshifting to kick the revs up on the steeper grades. The Cummins ISL has a much fatter power curve. The power literally jumps up the graph early on in the RPM band. This means that you'll be cruising in the 340 HP range, which won't necessitate as many downshifts. Even the 330/350 HP Cummins ISC engine, which has 1,050 ft-lbs of torque, has a better curve than the Cat. But then, it too is a larger displacement engine than the C7.

Another thing I have found is the noise level. I have also found that the valve train design of the Cat is noisier than the Cummins and also the larger Cummins engine has more water jacket area around the cylinders. This tends to muffle the cylinder detonation noise. Standing alongside a motorhome with a Cat and doing the same with a Cummins powered engine reveals the difference. Again, it's not a big thing and the Cat is not objectionable, but there is a difference.

In my case, the power advantage won out. But, not everyone is as power crazy as I am so you may be happy with the Cat's power level. Test drive them both and see what you think. If you really like a particular coach but it only comes with a Cat I wouldn't exclude it on that basis. You won't go wrong with either engine. You just have to decide if the advantages of the Cummins are important enough to you to affect your coach buying decision.
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Old 03-12-2005, 06:17 AM   #7
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When I was shopping for my DSDP I drove a 330hp Cat and a 370hp ISL Cummins. The Cummins had a big power edge. There have been complaints about a certain percentage of newer 330 Cats being under powered because of the new smog regulations. I don't know if the one I drove was one of the Cat's that wasn't operating properly. I have also read where owners have said their 330hp Cat had plenty of power. It sounds like a crap shoot whether you get a good or bad performing newer 330hp Cat. Good Luck.
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Old 03-12-2005, 08:26 AM   #8
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Both good engines. Drive them both and go for the floor plan you like best. People are very biased when it comes to their brand loyalties, myself included, so I won't tell you how much I love my Cat.
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Old 03-12-2005, 02:52 PM   #9
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I agree with other posters who have said both are good engines. My preference to Cummins is service. Where ever you travel it seems that when you come into a town you invariably see the big Blue sign with the white C on it. Cummins is there to service the trucker and they want to find service facilities quickly.

On the other hand Cat is more interested in the bulldozer trade and their shops are at times off in some industrial park that you have no clue as to where it is. Cummins shops many times have extended hours with some of the real big ones being open on Sat. or even 24/7. Cat more times than not is M-F and 8-5. Cummins many times have very clean shops and customer lounges and even have hook-ups for overnight RV service stays. Cat shops servicing buldozers and road graders at times are loded with mud and since bulldozers are trucked in and dropped off their is no need for a customer lounge and I have never seen one with RV hook-ups.

Our 1st MH had a Cummins; the second had a Cat and when we were looking for # 3 it definitely was going to be a Cummins and we are happy that we are back with the Cummins.Ken Roberts,'04 DSDP...
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Old 03-13-2005, 05:40 AM   #10
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My coach is on a Freightliner chassis with a Cat engine and that's where I would take mine to be serviced. They are authorized to work on Cat and Cummins and have some Oasis dealerships that cater to motorhomes. There are hundreds of Freightliner dealerships throughout the country, so I wouldn't be concerned at all about service with either engine.
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Old 03-13-2005, 12:53 PM   #11
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We bought a National RV on a Freightliner chassis with the Cat 330 hp engine. At our first rally with friends, someone with a Cummins commented on how much quieter the Cat is than his Cummins. I think the difference was simply that ours was brand new. Freightliner service has been timely, but since they're basically truck service areas, they don't take care with the carpet, etc. Next time I'll put down plastic runners.
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