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Old 03-25-2016, 12:26 PM   #1
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Engine question while shopping

So how many miles can you get from a class A gas motorhome's engine? Versus a diesel? I know diesels are more expensive and have more power and a disel engine will last longer. Two adults and 2 school aged kids. So traveling will be limited to summer vacation, spring and fall breaks. Will a gas engine work for us or will we regret it? We would need a toad as well. Trying to decide between a fifth wheel and a motorhome.
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Old 03-25-2016, 12:44 PM   #2
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You're bound to get answers both ways on this topic of gas versus diesel.............they've been talking about this for years.

Honestly..........with your situation two adults, two kids, summer vacation and a couple of other school break periods..........save your money and go gas.

If you do the basic maintenance of any RV gas engine (most likely Ford V-10 these days) your motor will be the least of your concerns. Your situation almost guarantees you'll never out wear the motor of a gas engine.

Just sayin'
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Old 03-25-2016, 12:50 PM   #3
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As with any vehicle it depends on how well it has been maintained and serviced. Maintenance records are important. Have heard this discussion before with some saying a gasser will last ( well maintained) up to 150,000 plus. In a campground we worked last summer several came through at 100,000+ and one had over 200,000 and he was headed home to trade it in. One over the other, you will get many recommendations from both sides, but really boils down to your wants, needs, floorplan ect. How are you travelling? going west through many mountain areas, do you have a toad already? If not will need to match weight. Most gassers I have looked at had a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds, some new units may have more. More toad carrying capacity with diesel. Some recommend that if you are full timing consider a diesel for carrying capacity and towing capacity. For the limited times you are using it you may wish to consider a gasser. Costs will even out over time, diesel oil changes costs more but do them less frequently, one example. With the fifth wheel, you will also need to figure on buying a tow vehicle and despite what salesmen tell you do your own research on capacity to tow the fifth wheel you want to purchase. More important to me is not the towing, but can your vehicle safely stop the fifth wheel you buy. All comes down to your wants and needs, no one unit fits or meets the needs of all JMHO.
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Old 03-25-2016, 01:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenandterry View Post
You're bound to get answers both ways on this topic of gas versus diesel.............they've been talking about this for years.

Honestly..........with your situation two adults, two kids, summer vacation and a couple of other school break periods..........save your money and go gas.

If you do the basic maintenance of any RV gas engine (most likely Ford V-10 these days) your motor will be the least of your concerns. Your situation almost guarantees you'll never out wear the motor of a gas engine.

Just sayin'
Yep, no reason to go diesel for that use, in fact for our use a gas rig would be better. Right now the DW's health stops us from going very far.
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Old 03-25-2016, 01:07 PM   #5
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I am in your similar situation... I have three kids (13, 14 & 16)... We are what most call, weekend warriors... We put on about two weekly vacations and several weekend getaways.. The past couple years, we have averaged about 33 nights in the RV (mind you, we are limited due to seasons here in WI)..

I am very happy with my decision to go with a gasser.. While I don't necessarily long for the days when my kids are gone... I do long for the days when we can get into our dream rig... the one we will be spending much more time in.. Personally, I cannot see spending the extra money/responsibility on a diesel for my "now" use.. other than our weekly vacations.. we typically stay within a 3 hour radius of Milwaukee.. However, we are very blessed here in WI to have some fabulous state parks which we love..

The only caveat to my recommendation/suggestion/opinion, is if you're in an mountainous region of the country.. if I were to be in an area with mountains, I may be singing another tune.. Additionally.. there are TONS of great deals on DP's everyday.. so, to me.. it wasn't a money thing.. I know I could get a high quality DP at a great price.. its just.. I didn't want to take on the added responsibility of having a diesel (not that there's anything wrong with them.. I just know it's very easy to gas/go FOR ME)..

I wish you all the best... but no matter what type you buy... we all know you'll be happy you did... I'm very proud of the fact that, even with my kids ages, they still look forward to going camping.. and they WANT to go.. which for a teenager, is a big thing..

Good Luck !!

Edit: towing a toad with a gasser shouldn't be much of an issue.. when going without the kids, we tow our HD, but when with the kids, we either take our bicycles, or we have rented a tow-dolly and towed a car..
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Old 03-25-2016, 03:01 PM   #6
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For the traveling you will be doing, I would go with a 5th wheel! After you're retired and want to to a lot of extended traveling, then go for a DP!
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Old 03-25-2016, 03:13 PM   #7
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Seems your RV will be sitting for about 9 months a year. If you get a fifth wheel what will you do with the big truck your will have to have? Daily driver? Sit too? If you already have the big truck for daily use then the fifth wheel would be your lower cost option to be sitting all that time.


If you opt for a motorhome, then as others have said go for the gas model. The Ford V10 is a very strong engine, Ford provides an excellent warranty, and roadside service for new purchases.
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Old 03-25-2016, 03:44 PM   #8
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Not to start another touchy topic, but if you use synthetic oil (Mobil 1, Rotella T-6, etc) and are religious about fluid changes, that V-10 will last a loooooong time.
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Old 03-25-2016, 04:01 PM   #9
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We had several gas motorhomes go over 250,000 miles. Almost all failures before that time was burst coolant hoses. Keep the oil changed and replace worn out coolant hoses and they will run a long time.
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Old 03-25-2016, 04:03 PM   #10
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^^^^. WOW! Was that the 454?
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Old 03-25-2016, 04:06 PM   #11
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We were in the same situation as you a couple of decades back. I still have yet to own any vehicle that I had to replace either the engine or transmission because I put that many miles on it. With our 2 previous coaches, we had them roughly 10 years each & only put about 50k each on them. And we took them all over the west, usually towing a boat. I took care of them, but up to that mileage I don't remember either requiring even a recommended major tune up. I changed the oil myself after every big trip. By about that age other things on the coach were beginning to show there age. And some parks have age restrictions on the coaches they wil allow in. Not to mention the marketing of new technologies we just had to have. It's now just my wife & I. When we got our present coach, a 2012 37' Class A gasser, I really saw no reason for a diesel. And stand by that decision up to the point of stability in windy conditions. While many DP owners have told me that they don't even notice the wind in their coaches, I have had owners of the same coach I have tell me they don't either. We looked seriously at picking up a tag axle Dutch Star about a year ago but it was stickered at twice what we paid for our gasser. At this point I just keep close eye on the wind, occasionally staying put for a day or two longer. I will say that if it weren't for the fact that we usually had our boat in tow, I would probably have went with a fifth wheel. Having said that, even with only 2 teenagers, it was nice to have a situation where I could just remind them to be very, very careful when they had to go to the restroom or just had to have something out of the frig. Keeping them happy on some of those long, long days of driving paid off immensely both then & now that they have their own families.
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Old 03-25-2016, 04:07 PM   #12
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As you can see--lots of opinions on what to do and when. The only thing I would add to the conversation about diesel Vs gasser MHs or 5th wheel, is potential resale value. Hard to wrap your arms about resale on a rapidly depreciating asset but here are a few things you might consider:

1-Initial price on a DP [used] vs the others is higher but if you are only going to keep it for a few years and you dont plan to put many miles on it, you might be able to get a good chunk of your money back [eg, lots of used DPs for sale out there in good shape and with low miles].

2 -you wont have to pay as much up front for a 5th wheel but residual value could be an issue, and as mentioned, it also depends on what other uses you have for the tow vehicle. Except for the smallest models, most 5-ers require [prefer] a 3/4 ton or larger to pull it comfortably.

3 -agree the technology and durability of gas engines has improved significantly, but think gas engines with 100-125k miles are still veiwed as high mileage by the general public.

Good luck with your decision.....
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Old 03-25-2016, 04:15 PM   #13
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Yes. Chevy used to have the market covered. They let it slip away. I retired in 2005. (However I just got home after six hours at the garage, working on a 1991 Allegro.) Most of the high mileage motorhomes are folks that travel around in their work.
One guy sold clothes. (to clothing stores)He had racks in the living room of his coach. He drove from town to town Monday through Friday.
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Old 03-25-2016, 04:36 PM   #14
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1 - get the floorplan you like
2 - get the floorplan you like
3 - get the floorplan you like

Gas vs diesel - both will last longer then 95% of us will use them. I would be surprised is a gas engine wouldn't last at least 200k miles, more then likely other areas would need fixed well before the engine. DP will last a few times longer but again, how many miles do we actually put on these things

With the use you are talking about mileage isn't a concern/issue. Some claim you need to put at least 10,000 miles a year on the RV for a diesel to pay off vs gas.

A gas RV can get you anywhere a DP will go, it will just get there using more fuel (6-8mpg vs 6-12mpg) and at a lower average speed. The $70 oil change in a gas RV will be $300-$1,000 yearly in the DP depending on its size.

If you are where there are mountains the DP will get you up those hills much easier

It's also easier to get fuel in a DP due to truck stops. That was my biggest dislike with the 38ft gas RV I had, pita at times getting fuel pulling a wrangler unlimited.

Ride quality and how the RV deals with wind is also better in the DP, I think the chassis/suspension is the bulk of why they cost more. The gap between the two is closer then it use.

For me its worth the added cost of maintenance for the DP.... But I haven't owned one yet. I have a few floor plans that I like. It's just finding one old enough that fits my budget....
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