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Old 12-21-2012, 01:26 PM   #1
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Cost to own Gas vs Diesel MH

I am currently in a 5th wheel which I like. The costs seem very very low. I am now thinking my threshold for cost to own can be higher. I am only interested in cost of ownership after purchase. (The purchase price I do know). Insurance, fuel mpg, license plates, maintenance, etc. Just trying to get an idea how much things cost.

After purchase price of 5th wheel and truck I have spent $100 on oil change and front tire rotation. $450 insurance for both truck and trailer.

This was for one year of ownership. 6,000 miles on the truck and 3,000 miles on the trailer.

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Old 12-21-2012, 02:03 PM   #2
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Don't forget to figure in depreciation if you anticipate ever selling it, or longevity if you do not. It will be significantly better for a diesel.


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Old 12-21-2012, 02:08 PM   #3
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You'll pay more for oil and general maintenance on a class A be it gas or diesel. Simply because of the oil capacity. Filters about the same gas or diesel, both oil and fuel. Ie: our coach holds in excess of 20 plus gallons of oil! Just paid $300.0. For the oil, filter and entire lube job. Tires are a large expense, if needed. Our insurance policy for the coach runs about $1600.00 per year. Many factors are in play here, your location, value of the coach etc. However, I can pull into a campground, hook up power, water, and sewer, air down, level, slides out, relax and have a cold one in ten minutes or less. There are many other amenities of course. IMHO if traveling a class A DP is hard to beat. Good luck.
Clay & Pebble.. Miss Butter our sweet Goldie (Jan. 2005-Jan. 2015) Sissy our Border Collie
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Old 12-21-2012, 02:17 PM   #4
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Hi tuffr2,
I'll try to provide a view a bit different than you might be expecting. The fuel that powers the coach should be way down the list of considerations. Everything is more expensive on a diesel powered coach vs a gas powered coach. The question is, is the additional cost worth it? I think you'll find the answer comes down to many other items, not the actual cost. Consider:
1. Floor plan sells the coach. You'll live in the coach far more than you will drive it.
2. What is the weight of the vehicle you will tow? Most gas powered coaches have a limit of 5K lbs. Diesels have weight limits of 10K to 15K lbs.
3. How much stuff do you need to carry. Diesels carry much more weight than gas coaches.
4. I know your didn't want is considered, but the major cost difference is the purchase price. The difference is well into 5 figures.
5. Annual maintenance, for a diesel will run $800 to $1200+ if you have a dealer do it. This is oil (measured in gallons), oil filter, fuel water separator, fuel filter, chassis grease, air dryer. The cost is about $300 if you do it yourself.
6. Every 3 years you'll need to change the engine air filter (about $75).
7. Every 3 to 6 years you'll need to change the coolant (measured in gallons).

If you are married all the above matters not. Once the wife see the floor plan she wants, that will end the cost discussions. The only topic you'll be able to put forth is will it haul the towed vehicle and all your stuff? Really, this is how it works.
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Old 12-21-2012, 02:47 PM   #5
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Clayobx......20 GALLONS of oil? what kind of engine and pan do you have in that rig? I have a 400 ISL and it holds about 7.3 gal. I am hoping you meant to say quarts....LOL
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Old 12-21-2012, 02:53 PM   #6
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Ok...Gas person here...almost the same MPG per ft and the Diesel is 60-80 cents more a gallon? And the cost per vehicle is higher...why?
2015 Forest River Legacy....2 Harley's and one Mini Cooper
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Old 12-21-2012, 03:02 PM   #7
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Hi, I guess I will add my 2 cents here. Diesels cost more to operate and maintain than gas units. They also cost more up front and diesel fuel is more exopensive.
How long do you expect to drive it and do you expect to be a fulltimer?
A gas Class A can be setup faster than a diesel as we don't have to dumb air or build up air before we can move. Air brakes are different than hydaulic brakes.
Sorry but I like the gas units and my floorplan is great. Yes if you take DW to look at Diesel pushers they will probably go for diesels but a lot of them don't drive or maintain them. There are also good floorplans in Class A gas units. go to www.winnebagoind.com and check out there Class A's namely the Adventurer and you will see some nice floor plans.
Good luck and have a Merry Christmas!
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Old 12-21-2012, 03:25 PM   #8
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Diesel pushers are more expensive to run because the fuel cost, thanks to our wonderful government, is much higher than it should be. But, it will be smoother and quieter, have more torque for going over those darn Rocky Mountains, (can't stay away, they are so beautiful.) and they will haul a lot more stuff. Of course those 20 to 28 quart oil pans are more expensive to replenish, but then, you only do that once a year, or every 10,000 miles or so. Fuel filters etc., are a few bucks at NAPA, and if you get a Cummins you can do that stuff yourself, because Cummins engines are usually accessable from the bedroom, or through side hatches. Cats, not so much. If you drive a lot, gas fuel will be the biggest cost savings, if you stay in campgrounds most of the time, then diesel fuel cost won't be that much of a factor.
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Old 12-21-2012, 03:42 PM   #9
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I have personally owned 1 ton gas and 1 ton Diesel trucks - so can say that now-a-days the gas truck is cheaper to operate. That was not always the case when Diesel was half the price of gasoline.

Of course, that is not factoring in the L-O-N-G-E-R life expecting from a Diesel over the similarly equipped gas pick-up truck.

So, I think it is almost a wash - but the Diesel has a higher cost at purchase (new or used). And, it will just take a while to pay-back the capitol investment as the Diesel keep running and running.
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Old 12-21-2012, 03:59 PM   #10
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This question is a tough one to answer. You are comparing apples with grapes. I prefer the DP to the gasser because I like the smell of jet fuel in the morning. I also like the truck chassis under me while I am careening down the interstate. Fuel cost me about 50 cents a mile. That is the only expense I track. The rest is just like having a vacation home. I am sorry that I can't provide more information other than I have had both a gasser and a Class A DP and I prefer my DP hands down.
2003 Newmar Kountry Star 3905, Freightliner XC chassis with CAT 330. Winnie the black lab, pretty Airbus captain wife, retired airline pilot with 11 grandkids. UH-1 pilot (Huey) U.S. Army 1967-1983. RVN 68-69. Northern Idaho my summer home.
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Old 12-21-2012, 04:21 PM   #11
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Cost per mile

I spend just over a $1.00 per mile including everything for my gasser. I do all my own maintenance. Diesels will be over $1.25/mile due to the extra $.30-.90 per gallon for diesel, if you do your own maintenance, If you don't do your own work expect large bills, but as much as 100% more for diesels and their complexity.
So if your "rich" go diesel, I get there almost as fast for much less. I can spend what I save, on more trips.
Full Timers.
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Old 12-21-2012, 05:02 PM   #12
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My thoughts

The person who owned mine previously moved up to a DP...he told me that he thought it was a better investment as he planned at 60 to use it for the rest of the years he was able to drive..I am only 57 but plan to use this one for 5-7 more years even though its a 2000 HR Endeavor..

Most of the repairs and maintenance I can do myself...or I can use the companies Fleet Mechanic...

I manage an HVAC service department with 65 trucks..most are Vans and some larger V10s but a few Diesels...and they are costing me a small fortune..

I like my 36 with its floor plan and two slides...but from my thoughts the gas for me is better at this time.
2015 Forest River Legacy....2 Harley's and one Mini Cooper
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Old 12-21-2012, 05:39 PM   #13
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Ok - let me ask for more specifics.

1. What do you pay for insurance? 2. What do a new set of tires cost mounted balanced and disposal of old tires? Plus alignment?
3. Gas oil change vs Diesel oil change
4. Transmission fluid change - his much?
5. License plate
6. Windshield replacement

Fyi - I would be full time and would move every week or two in the spring, summer, fall but in winter I would stay put in Florida or Arizona. I would put 6,000 miles / year on the rig.
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Old 12-21-2012, 06:29 PM   #14
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Tuffr2, The insurance on my 2005, 36' dp is $1000 a year and $500 if its in storage, I'm currentlt getting 8mpg with no modifications, air filter $40, 2 fuel and 1 oil filter at about $20 each, 7 gallons of oil, I cant give you any figures on brakes coolant or tranny, but they would be more than a gasser, The Freightliner chassis is definatly a pleasure to drive over my Avalanche with 28' in tow, Good luck in your search

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