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Old 09-23-2009, 07:10 PM   #1
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Cost of owning/operating a diesel rig

O.K. all you diesel gurus out there. I want to go to a diesel rig, 30-34', preferably a pusher so I can get the advantage of air ride. We put on an average of 9K miles a year and live in California so mountains are always in the picture. Tell me about real world MPG, maintainance, etc. I know they are more expensive to maintain than a gasser, but how much more? Any and all info willbe appreciated. Thanks

Craig Heyne & Co-Pilot/Navigator Sharon. 2007 Voyage 33V W20. Brazel's Ultra Power Permormance kit. CAI, Reprogramming, plug wires, Steer-Safe, Suzuki Grand Vitara toad, two spoiled cats and a GPS set to infinity.
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:05 PM   #2
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With that size rig, you should be able to get over 10 mpg pretty consistently provided you dont drive comfortable (both fee flat on the floor. lol). My coach is 45 ft. and it gets a little over 8, even out west in the mountains and up in the canadian rockies. Oil changes every 12-15000 miles or once per year will cost in the neighbor hood of $250-$300 if you have it done at a quick lube site, less if you do it youself, more if you take it to your local rv dealer. You will likely change air and fuel filters more often with a diesel but, in my opinion, the advantages far out weigh other considerations. Good luck with your decision. Gene

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Old 09-23-2009, 10:08 PM   #3
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Your fuel mileage will likely be better than your current MH. When you have maintenance done, it will likely be a more expensive than the gasoline engine. Maybe 50% more. But that can be mitigated if you do it yourself or shop for a better deal. You can also use some of the truck quick lube places for a substantial saving. I used one last year and thought they were very through, as I stayed in the shop and watched them. As long as you don't need drive train repair, or major maintence, it's about the same.

The diesel coaches usually have more bells and whistles on them, so there may be more repairs needed on those items than on the gasoline rigs.
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Old 09-24-2009, 11:21 AM   #4
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Hi Craig,
At 9K miles per year, all your chassis, fuel and engine maintenance will be annually. With the same mileage and all other things being equal my gut feel says your routine maintenance cost will be over double what the gas coach would cost.

That being said, I think you may be focusing on the wrong cost point. One purchases a coach because it meets their needs. Floor plan and other creature comfort amenities are the main considerations. For me, the only reason I have a diesel powered coach is our coach requirements could not be satisfied with a gas powered coach. To me, the fuel used to power the coach is way down the list of important things to consider. The coach's main job is to be our home away from home. What happens when we are stationary is much more important that the type of engine used to get us from one CG to the next.

Consider choosing a coach that meets your housing and towing needs. This may require a diesel engine.
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Old 09-24-2009, 12:06 PM   #5
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Since you are already very knowlegeable of Motorhomes, then the only concern is a diesel (Mr. Rudolph Diesel) over a gas specifics.
- Diesel's of course have an initial increased $$$ outlay that can be substantial over a gas
- Oil changes do not occur as often but cost 3 times more when they do
- Air filters cost more and are more important to keep clean
- Fuel Filter replacement (very important)
- Fuel conditioners and anti gel fuel additives (winter)
- Everything on a diesel is more to repair and replace (lots)
- Block heater
- Glow plugs are not cheap when they go out
- Injectors are BIG bucks to replace
- Turbo's are high ticket item
- Diesel fuel #2 (Higher BTU than #1) which used to be always the least expensive is now runs the same as regular, mid-grade and has gone up as high as premium gas
- Fuel mileage is 30-40% better over the same load as gas. More efficient
- Diesel's burn 95.8 % clean of what is combusted in the chamber
- Diesel is more enviromentally friendly (cost savings)
- more to come...
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Old 09-24-2009, 01:20 PM   #6
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I think Anne & Gene answered your question pretty accurately. Oil & filter change is going to be at least 5x what you would pay of r a gas engine, in the $250-$350 range. I do my own and I pay $75 just for the oil (7 gallons) and another $28 for the filter. Throw in a fuel filter or two, and a $100+ air filter every two years, and the occasional coolant filter, hydraulics filter, etc. and it gets pretty steep. My last 24 month full service at the Freightliner factory was almost $900 (included a coolant change-out).
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Old 09-24-2009, 02:02 PM   #7
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Didn't I see something awhile back that workhorse came out with a airbag chassis with a gas engine. Would that give you all the advantages of a diesel for the prices of a gas engine or was I dreaming?
2005 KSDP 3910-----2007 Jeep Liberty

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Old 09-25-2009, 12:57 PM   #8
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I can't think of a Workhorse model that has a gas engine and air suspension. Even the UFO, which can be either a gas or diesel pusher, is a spring suspension. The R series has air suspension, but it is strictly diesel.
Gary Brinck
Former owner of 2004 American Tradition
Home is in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
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Old 09-25-2009, 02:42 PM   #9
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back of the envelope calculations ... lifestyle

Let's do some back of the envelope calculations ...
9000 miles a year
if you drive 250 miles in a day when you travel in your MH ...
that calculates to 36 driving days a year.
All the other days you use it the fuel for the engine or the suspension doesn't matter ... what matters on those days is the floor plan and storage ...

On the other hand ... if you want air suspension for those 9000 miles ... then buy a diesel coach with air suspension ... it will most likely cost you more ...

In my mind it is inappropriate to try to justify (moneywise) anything about RVing ... it is a lifestyle that my wife and I enjoy and we chose to spend our money to support that lifestyle ...

If I wanted to travel cheaply I would buy a used Ford Escape, stay at Motel 6, and eat balogna sandwiches for lunch ... but I don't want to travel that way ... and I can not justify ($$$) our stlye of travel ... but we enjoy it ... and this is window of our life to do it ...

Friends and family members have heard me say many times "They don't have pockets in caskets" ... my way of saying enjoy your money now because you can't take it with you ...
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Old 09-26-2009, 06:43 AM   #10
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Well said, skigramp!
Gary Brinck
Former owner of 2004 American Tradition
Home is in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
Summers in Black Mountain, NC
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Old 09-29-2009, 08:18 AM   #11
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If you have to ask----you can;t afford it. motorhomes are like sailboats; the only difference is a sailboat is a hole in the water that you fill with money.
A motorhome is ------------the greatest invention since sliced bread.
buy what you can afford; no more. the new ones look great; but if you can;t come up with gas money there worthless.
whatever you decide to buy, it will always cost you more than you planned on spending; (the voice of experance is talking here).
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Old 09-29-2009, 04:07 PM   #12
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A 30-34' DP may come with a ISB that gets over 10 MPG.
Oil change will take 4 gal. & 1 qt. Oil Filter $13.42 including 7% tax.

That is not 5 times more then a gas engine, that changes every 3,000 miles for a total of 18 qt & 3 filters in 9,000 miles.

W/S fuel filter & engine fuel filter $38 including tax.

Did I say it will get over 10 MPG with smooth air ride and a quiet drivers area.
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Old 10-01-2009, 06:41 AM   #13
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A chassis with an ISB engine, especially in the 30-32 foot range, is likely to have spring suspension and solid axles rather than air ride and IFS.
Gary Brinck
Former owner of 2004 American Tradition
Home is in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:21 AM   #14
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Enjoy it now

We have an Allegro 32 Ford gas. We went through the same thought process and finally decided that it wasn't work spending an additional 30K for an Allegro Bay FRED or as much as 70K more for a pusher. Would we rather have a pusher? You bet. But we really enjoy our MH, can take it to the local Ford dealer about 2 miles away and get a complete service for 48.00. We are getting about 7.3 mpg towing. If we got 10 mpg + in a diesel it would take many, many miles to ever cost justify a diesel. I agree with others, buy what you can afford but plan on spending more to maintain it that you thought. Life is a trip. I believe you can enjoy it in a gas coach or a diesel.


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