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Old 06-23-2011, 07:51 PM   #1
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Class A Gas Question

We purchased our first motorhome 8 months ago, a 32ft Coachmen Class C. We bought the Class C to see if we & the kids enjoyed traveling & camping before taking a larger financial plunge on a Class A.

Well - We love it and all of our children (7 & under) love to go. We are now thinking about upgrading to a Class A whether it be a gas or diesel.

The question I have is do any of the gas guys feel their RV is underpowered? If we would go the gas route, we would be looking in the 35 - 37 foot range. My thoughts are more weight, bigger box, etc then my Class C, but still the same engine & transmission.

Lets hear some thoughts...
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Old 06-23-2011, 07:58 PM   #2
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Very subjective, everybody has a different opinion!

Our '88 17' Type B had a 460 and the trailer towing package, great power (only 8,88#'s) but never got over 9mpg even after putting a Gear Vendors overdrive on it. Our '98 32' Type C was OK, traded it for a 35' Santara, w/460 Ford, put a Banks kit on it and it ran much better. Traded it for a 38' single slide 2000 Dutch Star with 300 CAT, not enough and too costly to uprate. Traded it for a 41' triple slide 2002 Dutch Star 350/1050 Cummins. Then put a Banks kit on it, now 435/1200 and it's much better, but not great in my book!!
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:13 PM   #3
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I'm not a gas guy anymore but I think your thoughts are correct, some people will say DP's are a waste of money but not me. I went from a 2004 ford V-10 not a bad coach but no comparison on power. They will probably get where they are going close to the same time but it's nice to set cruise control and forget about the hills and a quite ride to. In the 35-37 ft range is pretty much still a gasser range.
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
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I'm not a gas guy anymore but I think your thoughts are correct, some people will say DP's are a waste of money but not me. I went from a 2004 ford V-10 not a bad coach but no comparison on power. They will probably get where they are going close to the same time but it's nice to set cruise control and forget about the hills and a quite ride to. In the 35-37 ft range is pretty much still a gasser range.

If we went the diesel route, we would purchase something in the 40' range. But most gasser's top out in the 35-38' range.

We pull a CRV as a toad and to roll down I-95 with traffic sometimes it sounds as if we have lit the thing on fire and are about to take off.
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:32 PM   #5
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I have a 2002 Dutch Star 35 footer with a 330 CAT. Has enough power for me, I may not have the biggest horse in the barn but I pull a 2006 saturn ION and it seems to me that it does a good job. Had one gasser and there is no comparison for power if you pull a toad.
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:34 PM   #6
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As long as you still have the Class C, I recommend that you take your time and look into and learn about the Class A choices. That Class C will teach you a lot about motor homes as well. I bought an 'entry level' 30 foot gas Class A to learn on. I found that it did everything I could ask for and I have been happy with it – so for now I’m keeping it. I haven't taken it into the 'big' mountains yet so I can't help you on serious climbing power. This 30 foot, 12,000 lb. gasser is great on the flats and Appalachian mountains. Through ownership (and IRV2) I learned a lot about motor homes. A conclusion I drew as to gas/diesel/push/pull was that you should go with what you are comfortable with. I like to do most of my own work. The gasser is more like a (really big) car - simple shocks, disc brakes, power steering, one radiator, etc. If you can work on a car you can do most work on a gasser. The 'Workhorse AutoPark system' was the only big item I struggled with for awhile – when it works it is great. I determined that for me the big DP rigs were too complicated (for me and seemed quite expensive to purchase/maintain). If money isn't an issue - diesels rule. The gassers are easier on the bank account. Maybe a summary would be: For family camping - gas. To full time and travel a lot - diesel.
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:44 PM   #7
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"The question I have is do any of the gas guys feel their RV is underpowered? If we would go the gas route, we would be looking in the 35 - 37 foot range. My thoughts are more weight, bigger box, etc then my Class C, but still the same engine & transmission."

Overall I consider our 38' 21,230lb v10 powered coach adequately powered, however when climbing 6-7%+ grades it's underpowered.

Insofar as the amount of time we spend climbing those grades is minimal compared to the time we spend cruising on level terrain, I can live with those short "underpowered" periods of time.

We have the "Banks" system on our coach which helps a bit in the power arena, and just this month I've installed one of those 5 Star Custom tunes, so will be interesting to see if there's any power improvement on our upcoming trip to WA state.

For the small amount of time we spend traveling annually, I can't justify owning a diesel pusher, not so much because of cost, but rather the low usage factor.
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Old 06-23-2011, 09:05 PM   #8
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Our gasser (3 valve Ford V10) is fine for the way we use it (vacations, weekends, etc). Gas mileage is not great (7-8MPG towing the toad) but it in our case it would take a lot of gas to pay for the extra cost of the diesel. Also we could not find our 2 slide with bunks for the kids floorplan (which we love) in a diesel anyway!

The coach runs fine up the hills we have (8% grade for 5 miles up to Boone NC, for example), especially since I put in the tune from 5 Star. Handling has been improved with a rear trak bar and moving the links on the front sway bar (there's a thread here called "Cheap Handling Fix" that details this).

Even with the cost of these improvements it still does not come close to a DP cost, plus the diesels did not come with our floorplan (did I mention we love our floorplan, too bad Newmar does not sell it any more).
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:58 PM   #9
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I certainly understand the allure of a diesel pusher but the cost was prohibitive for us. Like you, I travel with a young child. We bought the class A after nearly 12 years of 5th wheel ownership. The essential floorplan feature for us was bunk beds. I can't recommend them enough to people who travel with children. Having a dedicated space for the kids is wonderful. It is also nice not to have to close down the living room for the night when they go to bed or have to convert a dinette or sofa nightly.

To answer your question, my 32' 2011 with the 3 valve V10 doesn't seem underpowered at all. In fact, it has more power than I expected. We haven't hit the Rockies yet but we have done several 6% grades and I felt as if we had enough power with enough to spare for a toad. I haven't towed with it as we don't have a toad at this time. Our current vehicles are not towable 4 down but we intend to rectify that later in the year and I'm confident we will have plenty of power.

I'm no drivetrain expert but I think the smaller class A's and the class C's with the V10 are geared differently which may account for why the same engine can handle the extra weight.
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_D View Post
Very subjective, everybody has a different opinion!

Our '88 17' Type B had a 460 and the trailer towing package, great power (only 8,88#'s) but never got over 9mpg even after putting a Gear Vendors overdrive on it. Our '98 32' Type C was OK, traded it for a 35' Santara, w/460 Ford, put a Banks kit on it and it ran much better. Traded it for a 38' single slide 2000 Dutch Star with 300 CAT, not enough and too costly to uprate. Traded it for a 41' triple slide 2002 Dutch Star 350/1050 Cummins. Then put a Banks kit on it, now 435/1200 and it's much better, but not great in my book!!
OOPS!!
(only 8,88#'s) should be (only 8,800#'s). Our present DSDP weighs 13,600 on the front axle alone.
We bought the DSDP because we were planning on going full time but it just hasn't happened yet due to deaths in the family.
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:27 PM   #11
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I am fine with my gasser. I got plenty of power to tow our Suzuki behind me. When I am on my motorhome I am on vacation not a race!
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Old 06-24-2011, 02:57 AM   #12
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We went from a 34' class a with a 460 to 37' class a with a v10. Plenty of power for us. My reasons for not buying a diesel.....would not use it enough and I know nothing about diesel engines.....I like to do most of my own work if possible.
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Old 06-24-2011, 04:50 AM   #13
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Gas or Diesel, gas coaches are less expensive to own and operate, fuel cost between gas and diesel is about the same all of them get 7-10 mpg not a big deal. Diesel coaches generally drive better, ride better, have better brakes, more power, and more load compacity. However they cost a LOT more $$$ to maintain, and buy. The bottom line is power wise you don't spend a lot of time cilming 6-10% grades, most Rvs travel 60-65 MPH anyway, you spend more time parked camping. Find a coach that fits your family's needs, that's priced comfortably in your budget and enjoy it.
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Old 06-24-2011, 05:04 AM   #14
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i can't add more then everyone else. we love our unit, it is quiet and smooth. hills don't bother the motor at all. great unit.
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