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Old 09-06-2016, 09:56 PM   #1
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Class A: Diesel or Gas?

Still looking for our first RV. We know gas engine makes it cheaper but heard diesel is more comfortable and engine lasts longer. Thoughts?

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Old 09-06-2016, 10:02 PM   #2
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What can you comfortably afford without going into debt?

What kind of traveling will you do? short trip a few times a year and perhaps a 2-week vacation? Are you retired and will be snowbirders for the winter season? Will you be full-timing and traveling constantly? This will come into play as to which one to get.

Do you have extra funds for diesel maintenance?

Either way....a good, quality manufacturer in a used unit (perhaps 2-4 years old) will save a lot of money right off the bat.

They both have pluses and minus's. It just depends.....

Full-timed for 16 Years . . . Back in S&B Again
Traveled 8 yr in a 2004 Newmar Dutch Star 40' Diesel
& 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th wheel
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Old 09-06-2016, 10:12 PM   #3
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Purchasing new or used?
Are you good with a wrench?
Type of use?
Miles per year?
Will you be towing? If so, what and how much weight?
Plan on owning for more than 5 years?

All goes into the equation. No real wrong answers, just what works for your usage, budget, and needs . . .
Scot & Laura Kellersberger
Newmar 4 wheel drive Dutch Star 3891, 2005 GMC Canyon. Demco Tow Bar & Baseplate U.S.Army (ret)
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Old 09-06-2016, 10:17 PM   #4
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Totally agree with twogypsies about the pre-owned coach.

This is an age old question that can (and has, I believe) been debated ad nauseum on this board and several others. You can find a wealth of information here to help guide your decision.

My best advice:

1. Drive both. Not just around a dealership but get them each out on the interstate, and see if the price of a diesel warrants the difference in drivability. Get the RPMs up on a gasser and see if you can deal with the cabin noise. Also both types have different suspension systems so keep that in mind.

2. Look at tons of floorpans - both gassers and diesels have different plans a lot of the time due to the different positioning of the engine - and find one that fits your needs. For us it was a tossup between the 38RE by Thor, and a Winnebago Tour. I loved the Thor, but it was a bit scary to me passing an oncoming semi truck on two lane roads (during a test drive). The other negative was that it only had 1 living room slide. Thats a small detail but can be a big deal when comparing to DPs that have 4 slides. On the other hand, if you want a toy hauler, gas is pretty much your only choice.

Keep in mind if a gasser is more in line with your budget there are also aftermarket accessories that can make it easier to drive. Sway bars, etc.

3. Figure out your budget and stick to it. Supposedly the diesels will last longer, but the funny saying is that when a sales person is trying to sell you a diesel they'll say "Diesels don't even get broken in until 100k miles." But when you're going to trade a high milage one in, they'll say "well we can't give you as much because its got 100k miles." Go figure.

Get out there and drive some - I think you'll be surprised and happy you did.
Todd, Jazz, Zooey, Cooper, & Luna
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Old 09-06-2016, 10:31 PM   #5
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OP, you probably don't realize it but you've just asked the most inflammatory and most argued about thing on vehicle and RV forums. You're likely to get responses that fall strictly on "party lines". Meaning diesel owners will tell you a diesel is the only choice and gas owners will tell you gas is the only way to go.

I'm not trying to give you a hard time at all... I just want to make you realize the responses you are going to receive. I've been casually shopping/planning for a class A for years and find I get the best information in tidbits from somewhat unrelated threads.

Again, not a bad question... just predictable answers and arguments so brace yourself.
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Old 09-06-2016, 10:34 PM   #6
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Yup, as already said, it's all about how you will be using it. We drove 27 thousand miles in 13 months, towing a large SUV behind, so we opted for the diesel.

It cost more up front, but we got more when we sold it.
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Old 09-07-2016, 12:06 AM   #7
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A short question with a lot of answers . I wont debate the two power plants they both do what's ask of them and there's no question the diesel will last longer but the gas will last as long as most need also so I don't put much weight on that. Since most diesels are pushers it make the cab more comfortable but hard for someone to sleep in the back. The opposite with a gas. Most diesel machines are at a higher price point across the board so your budget is likely going to drive your decision.
If full timing a larger more appointed rig will provide more comfort but comes with more cost. My experience was we started with a ford van for camping and it had a bed and ice box .Then we got a trailer for a few yaers and then a 24 ft lifeline with a 440 dodge engine.We then went with a 40ft motorhome with 400hp cat diesel, then went to a 45 600hp diesel.
Our first was what we could afford and started figuring out floorplan and what we wanted.It took 40 yrs to figure it out. If you have the funds I would climb as high up the ladder you can. I think most would agree an older well maintained coach will get you the most bang for your buck.
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Old 09-07-2016, 12:23 AM   #8
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Certainly personal preference plays a big part in the decision process. If looking at a used unit, it does help if you are handy and enjoy doing your own work. If not, find a reliable shop you can trust. Welcome to iRV2, post pictures when you have made your purchase.
Tim & Ruth
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Old 09-07-2016, 03:33 AM   #9
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We travel anywhere from 6 to 13 weeks a year and plan on becoming snow birds next winter. Our MH is gas powered and we tow a Jeep Wrangler TJ. We've had no issues with our rig being underpowered. It is noisier in the cab due to engine location, but is much more reasonable to work on. Would I like a 450HP DP? Sure, we have the money to support one, but the old girl is in great condition and is bought and paid for. I plan on adding insulation on the engine cover in the cab to help decrease the noise (which isn't intolerable) but otherwise will continue to travel in our Fleetwood. Had we gotten a diesel to begin with I'm sure I'd be singing the praises of a diesel rig. We didn't so I'm more than pleased with the 460 Ford. She has yet to let us down.
'97 Pace Arrow Vision 36 with Tag Axel, Ford 460 with Banks Power Pack. 2000 Jeep Wrangler Toad, one miniature schnauzer that rules the roost and a wife that enjoys traveling. Retired FTCS (SS) USN and loving it. FMCA#461483
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Old 09-07-2016, 07:24 AM   #10
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Fuel choice is really a red herring.

Decide what you what you want in a MH. If you want to tow 10 k pounds then there are no gas powered choices. If you want something small, 36', or less there are no rear diesel choices. Find a MH that does and lives as you wish and you will find an engine that does the job. Diesels have different maintenance requirements than gas, there are also added requirements for the pneumatics system, etc.

Scheduled maintenance requirements are a very small part of the total costs. Diesels can have very high unscheduled costs. The only reason to buy and own a depreciating asset like a MH is because you enjoy it.
Jim and Jennie, Cats=Bittles and Potter, 2000 Dynasty 350 ISC
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PROV23:4 Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.
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Old 09-07-2016, 07:35 AM   #11
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I believe that how you plan to use the coach is or should be a big factor in what you buy. If you are going to use it for short trips to the local park a couple of time a year or a two week vacation each year, a gas engined model will serve you better. If you are going to take 5000 mile trips back and forth across the country a few times a year or live in the coach full time, then a diesel powered coach makes more sense.

Our first coach was gas powered and we enjoyed motorhoming so much that we decided to go fulltime. Love the diesel but we've come off the road so things may change.
Roger & Mary
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Old 09-07-2016, 08:02 AM   #12
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Not to be blunt, but do a search. This subject has been discussed to death. Some are happy with gas and the rest are happy with diesel. It's all personal wants and needs.
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Old 09-07-2016, 08:44 AM   #13
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I keep it simple.....If budget allows go diesel.
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Old 09-07-2016, 08:49 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by IASM View Post
...Since most diesels are pushers it make the cab more comfortable but hard for someone to sleep in the back. The opposite with a gas...
Interesting, you actually mean like DH sleeping while DW driving? I never thought someone would/could sleep back there safely while the coach is moving.

My DW and I were looking at a new gasser over the weekend and, in this particular model, the Onan Quiet generator was running under the Master bed. We didn't like the noise nor the vibration it generated. So either running the genset to run the A/C while driving, or while boondocking, wouldn't be something we'd like to hear/feel either while sleeping.

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