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Old 07-15-2013, 12:17 AM   #1
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Diesel Motorhome engine size

We are searching for an older Class A diesel. We want to pull a 2002 Nissan Pathfinder 5 speed. I have read that only a 300 HP or greater engine should be considered in a 30ft plus Class A. I would like to get some feedback on this from owners. We live in Washington State and drive I - 5 to CA once or twice a year. There are some steep grades along that route. Even going over the coast range can be a struggle for our old 460 Class C.

Is the V 10 strong enough if I go with a gas motorhome?
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Old 07-15-2013, 01:08 AM   #2
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Your question usually gets a boatload of replies.
I'll jump in first if I can type fast enough.
Class A diesel MH 1hp per 100lbs of GCW is a number most owners will be happy with.
I usually add with torque 3X that of HP , 300 HP you want 900 Ftlbs torque. with peak Torque and hp within 1000 rpm of one and other.
I run I-5 & I-84 with my 300 Hp 860 ftlb , 32,000lb Class A with toad. and am happy with the performance. And economy 9+ mpg.
Others will be along to say it's not enough and that torque doesn't matter.
Gas powered I can't comment on.
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Old 07-15-2013, 01:41 AM   #3
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HP is measured by the amount of torque ONLY and a time (RPM) component is thrown in to CALCULATE HP.
Dyno's don't measure HP, only torque and RPM are measured.
So Torque DOES matter!
Also, the spread of the torque matters!
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:11 AM   #4
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Hi vizsla3,
If you'll be happy with the performance is a personal preference question. It depends on your tolerance for using the truck lane on long grades. Consider this to determine where the coach might be. My coach and toad street weight, loaded for travel, is 37.5K +/- a couple hundred pounds. I have a Cummins ISC 330 HP, 950 ft lbs of torque engine. I travel the Great Smoky Mountains quite a bit. Long uphill grades require patience. If I can keep my momentum, there is no problem. I'll get up the hill without getting in the truck lane. However, if the momentum is lost, its is in the truck lane as it is difficult for the coach to gain back the momentum. Not impossible, but difficult.

What does all this mean. See if you can get the street weight (real weight) of the coach and your toad. Based on the above combined with the weight you'll be carrying should provide a view of where you'll be.
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Old 07-15-2013, 03:53 PM   #5
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My first MH was a 30' gas rig with a V10 and I pulled a trailer with my toad at about 5500lbs. Then a 34' diesel with 300hp Cumins pulling 6500lbs. I do a load of mountain and desert driving and while more power would have been nice I never felt like there was a problem.
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Old 07-15-2013, 06:19 PM   #6
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Check the RV dealers in your area, for stock on all types of Class A s in the length your looking for . For this road test floor plan doesn't matter.
Gas powered will be a lighter unit. V-10 Ford or 8.1 Workhorse Chassis.
5.9 ( ISB ) Cummins powered,
and C-7 ( 3126 B or E ) Cat powered or 8.3 ( ISC ) Cummins
Road test all the same day on the same stretch of highway.
I have no doubt that if you drive all the possible units you will soon be looking for a C-7 or ISC powered unit with a floor plan and price that suits you.
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:22 PM   #7
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When towing, I have to slow it down significantly on major inclines (going east on I84 over the Blue Mountains in Eastern Oregon, climbing west on I90 out of the Columbia Gorge at Wanapum Dam) but I have had no real problems in the Coast Range. We did an 8,600 mile cross country trip two years ago and the only real issues I had were the big ranges out west. I've got the older 275HP V10; the newer units have almost 100 more.

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Old 07-15-2013, 09:35 PM   #8
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Depends on how big a hurry you are in as to how many ponies you need. Remember, the bigger the horse the more hay it eats.
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:48 PM   #9
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Had the first V 10 in a 1998 A Body 35 foot Winnebago and pulled a 1990 Toyota 4 runner 4X4 over some pretty steep hills and although I got passed never felt the need for more horses. Went over one pass just out of Teluride,CO that had me a little concerned and was down into first gear but made it fine.

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Old 07-15-2013, 09:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stuhly View Post
Remember, the bigger the horse the more hay it eats.
IMHO this statement is a gross over-simplification. I have a 425 HP Cat C-12 with 1550 ft-lbs of torque and I like its power and performance with a ~32,000 pound coach and toad. Using a Silverleaf to calculate fuel economy we get a very consistent 8-8.5 mpg pretty much independent of driving conditions. Sure, I could constant "floor" the pedal and probably reduce this somewhat, but I do drive fairly hard and this is what we've gotten over 30,000 miles of driving. It's just like driving a car, having the power does not necessarily mean using it at every stop light. I happen to enjoy not having to use the truck lanes to climb hills; I'm not in a hurry, but I hate to have to trudge up a hill behind the logging trucks!
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Old 07-15-2013, 11:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip426 View Post
Your question usually gets a boatload of replies.
I'll jump in first if I can type fast enough.
Class A diesel MH 1hp per 100lbs of GCW is a number most owners will be happy with.
I usually add with torque 3X that of HP , 300 HP you want 900 Ftlbs torque. with peak Torque and hp within 1000 rpm of one and other.
I run I-5 & I-84 with my 300 Hp 860 ftlb , 32,000lb Class A with toad. and am happy with the performance. And economy 9+ mpg.
Others will be along to say it's not enough and that torque doesn't matter.
Gas powered I can't comment on.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_D View Post
HP is measured by the amount of torque ONLY and a time (RPM) component is thrown in to CALCULATE HP.
Dyno's don't measure HP, only torque and RPM are measured.
So Torque DOES matter!
Also, the spread of the torque matters!
Both have very good points.
What one calls performance may be totally Not to some one else.
These new 400HP/800TQ pickup diesel pickup trucks have spoiled some people
(at least IMHO) into thinking they expect a power/weight ratio like that from all diesels.
Many 18 wheel OTR truck pulling 80K (and more) have only about 10-20% more HP and 20-40% more TQ with well over Double and triple the weight.
The guys in the OTR truck understand they must slow on the hill and mountains.
THere was a time not all that long ago when 1 ton trucks had 190HP and 370TQ (there were both gas and diesels with those kinds of numbers in the 80s)and that was considered more than adequate.
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Old 07-15-2013, 11:30 PM   #12
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I don't know if it fits but go East of Eugene Or. down to Kalamath Falls and come out at Weed the hills are not as bad and the scenery is great
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