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Old 09-11-2013, 04:46 AM   #1
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Gas or diesel

We currently have a small motorhome the wife and I love. It has and does everything the bigger MH does and even has some options I would have to add to some new ones but I am pretty sure it is too small to stay in for long periods. A little too much togetherness. In preparing for retirement we have been looking at some larger class A's. it started with gas and we have now moved on up to diesel. I don't want to spend a fortune because it drives and rides so nice because the reason to drive is to get there and enjoy the ride. we will be enjoying life rather driving the majority of the time. I'm not even sure DW and I will REALLY enjoy being gone through the winter having never been gone more than three weeks. I know we will be the ones to ultimately decide but I am hoping others out there can weigh in on how they made their decision on their rigs. I do not intend to buy a new diesel but I might in gas. We really like the Winnebago Journey a lot, the layout, drivability etc. on the other hand a gas rig would not be as much cash out of pocket. I think we would be in a MH for 5 - 6 months out of the year with travel to pretty much all the states except Hawaii lol! Am I talking on a lot more expense and maintenance on diesel or a little over gas? A lot more fuel cost or a little. I can see the obvious advantages like the ride and power but are there others that are maybe not so obvious. Having never owned a large MH I do not know.

As you can see we are totally confused as to what we want to do so we elected last night to do nothing at all. We will go down south this coming winter and try it in our small MH unless we hear from enough people that have had both gas and diesel that we can decide or we come to a decision otherwise. I know I have got to stay away from the dealers as we are ready to buy now. I do not like making decisions that way. Impulse and emotions are not your friends. IF Phoenix Cruiser made Class A units i would be there a minute to look it over. They make a quality unit IMHO.

I am sure I have left out many details so ask any questions and I will try to answer mornings or evenings.

Thank you,


2001 HR Scepter 38 PBD, Roadmaster Chassis, 8.3 Cummins, 2013 Honda CRV with a Roadmaster Sterling tow bar and SMI brake system
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Old 09-11-2013, 05:06 AM   #2
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No reason to ever buy new, gently used DP if budget allows.

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Old 09-11-2013, 05:21 AM   #3
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Congrats on the upcoming retirement. I have very little experience with motorhomes. We were tent camping two years ago then last summer had a 30ft TT then about six months ago bought an older diesel. I think based on what I read on these forums the fuel cost would be negligible between diesel vs gas. I think a diesel would get a little better mileage but the fuel costs a little more.
I also think maintenance would probably cost a little more with diesel (bigger tires, filters, more fluid capacities,etc). I've never even ridden in a gas motorhome but I would think the engine noise would be greater and maybe heat too. It sounds like you will be doing more camping than traveling so I wouldn't get hung up on drivetrain. I think I would recommend what others have said on many other posts similar to yours. Focus more on the floor plan and livability.
I also agree with you on not getting excited and emotional. That can cost more money than 10 years of maintenance. The new car smell wears off really fast.
1994 Holiday Rambler Navigator
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Old 09-11-2013, 06:50 AM   #4
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Over the last 16 years, we have moved from a gas Class C to a gas Class A to now a diesel Class A (we also have a small gas Class B now that I use for solo camping trips as my wife does not have enough room in it!).

Moving to a diesel is a different world from a gas model. A few of the changes:
1. MUCH easier to fill up at a gas station. Ever try to pull a gas class A with a toad into a typical gas station? It is VERY tight and many you can't fit into. With a diesel, we pull into roomy truck stops and fill up with the truckers. A lot less aggravation.

2. Smoother ride. With all that extra weight, you don't get blown into the shoulder when a truck passes you.

3. More room. There aren't many 40-foot gassers out there and that extra 5 feet of space make a lot of difference. Bigger bathroom (or a 2nd one!), bigger bedroom, bigger kitchen.

4. I never seemed to get better mileage with my diesel. Maxes out at about 6-7mpg.

5. Maintenance is more expensive but the Cummins engine runs well. A few broken belts, AC compressor, alternator have failed but engine is sound.
Tom and Katharine
'07 Winnebago Tour 40TD, 400hp Cummins
RVing for 19 years & 150,000+ miles
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Old 09-11-2013, 07:14 AM   #5
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Some thoughts.

Personally I would say drive both and see if that pushes your decision to one side or another.

Then set a budget amount and floor plan preference.

Of the total cost of ownership I think owning a diesel and the increased maintenance cost is minimal. Don't think that this would be a deal breaker.

If looking at used a (this is a example) 2004 is not much different then a 2006. So you might be able to save some money and purchase a older unit and do some interior customization to your liking.

Now that we have our Adventurer for three years we have a "must have" list for what we would want in our future motorhome. Since we are not retired and drive around 5-7 K a year a diesel would not make the top of our list.

Best of luck with your findings.
Gene & Ginger 04 Winnebago Adventurer 33V, Workhorse, 11 Subaru Forester (Toad), Blue Ox Aladdin, BrakeBuddy, ScanGaugeII, BatteryMINDer, KONI FSD's
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Old 09-11-2013, 07:23 AM   #6
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With the diesel you will get a better ride, less noise up front, more power and basically the same mileage. Maybe a little better but not enough to make up the great difference in price between gas and diesel YMMV (pun intended).

You will also have increased cost. For example, our Cummins takes 24qts of oil and a $25 or more filter. Change it myself for around $100, pay someone more like $200. Interval is 10,000 miles or 1 year. We never reach the 10,000 so even though it is a PIA I change it every year. You can have it analyzed but that is a different topic. Tires are five to six hundred each but the ones on a good size gasser aren't much cheaper. If you are looking to keep it for a long time the diesel will by far outlast a gasser. The big diesels in RVs are the same as in big trucks that can average 100K miles a year. With proper but more expensive maintenance it will go a million. We RVers rarely do that though.

The resale value will be higher with a diesel but so what, you paid more to start with.

We use ours for six months at a time to be snowbirds. Went from a new gas class C that was very nice but like you find too small for that amount of time. Bought used to get more bang for the buck and have had it for four years with no immediate plan for a new one. Having it paid for helps with that.

Our original plan was to do a lot of touring but we found that we love it so much in the summer at our sticks and bricks house we don't want to leave. In the winter we want to be warm so we head south and it gets parked more than it moves. I think for that reason we could have got by with a gas class A but after driving the diesel would never go back.
Mark & Nancy
2004 Winnebago Vectra 40KD
Shep dog, R.I.P. Kenzie dog Toad 2015 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler
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Old 09-11-2013, 10:03 AM   #7
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I've never had a gas MH. We pulled a 5er for 10 years before getting the MH last spring. It was a huge decision for us. We were getting ready to take a long trip out west and a deal came up unexpectedly on the MH. Neither of us were sure we really wanted a MH since we had been very happy with the 36' 5er we had. We could see the advantages of traveling long distances in the MH, such as stopping anywhere for a potty break and pulling into a Wal-Mart for a quick overnight stay.
We made the decision to get the MH, take it on the trip (which turned out to be 7000 miles through 13 states and two months long), and then to decide when we got back whether to sell the MH or the 5th wheel. By the time we got back we had fallen in love with the MH! Even then we decided to keep the 5th wheel a few months to be absolutely sure we had made the right decision. A few months later we sold it!

There are certainly pros and cons to a DP!

Pros- Incredibly comfortable to drive and ride in!

VERY quiet when traveling, you hardly know the engine is running!

Ability to stop anywhere, start the generator, and have all the
comforts of home! Everything you need is on-board.

Fantastic panoramic view through that giant windshield!

Easy and quick setup at the campground.

Engine will normally go at least 500,000 miles with proper

Cons- Higher initial cost. We got a 2002 with 85,000 miles that was
in the 70-80 thousand dollar range. We simply could not afford
a new 40' DP! We've been VERY happy with that decision!

Higher maintenance cost. To minimize that we have the routine
maintenance done at Speedco. The yearly maintenance, including
generator service, is less than $300.

Higher repair cost. It's a BIG gamble here. If you have a serious
problem with that diesel engine or the transmission it can cost you
big bucks! That's why it's so important to only consider buying a DP
with COMPLETE maintenance records!

It's a big decision! Take your time, kick a lot of tires, weigh all the options, then make it and hope for the best!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
Joe & Annette

2002 Monaco Windsor 40PBT, 2013 Honda CRV AWD
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Old 09-11-2013, 10:36 AM   #8
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This is an issue tossed around sooo many times on this forum that suggesting a search would require most of your retirement years! . DW and I started many years ago with tents, pop ups, TT, then our first class A. I also poised your question in our decision to go gasser or DP'S. frankly had no idea, so hopefully you will receive info that is truly helpful in your decision. We were fortunate at the preliminary point of our search to happen upon a gentlemen refinishing one of our s/b baths. He was a retired RV salesperson with over twenty years of work with one of the largest RV dealers in NC. Our initial thoughts after hours of scouring Internet adds was gas class A, reason cost! He simply stated "do yourself a favor a buy a DP." Don't take the stress physically or mentally of daily driving pulling a toad and then the set up, you'll be exhausted and soon learn to dislike the lifestyle. Fortunately we followed his advice and bought our new to us, DP. We have never looked back, love the lifestyle, now own our maybe last coach and just love it and the people we run into. Try to buy your last coach first! It may not be your last but you won't loose time nor money. Remember, " All of us are trying to outrun TIME!!"
Clay & Pebble.. Miss Butter our sweet Goldie (Jan. 2005-Jan. 2015) Sissy our Border Collie
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Old 09-11-2013, 11:56 AM   #9
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We purchased a 2005 Sun Voyager in 2011 with 24K on the speedo it is a gas 38 foot MH but it has been a money pit, needing new rear tires before we take the next long trip due to tire years are up not tread. We had to put a few things on it like satilite dish and get some roof/interior repairs but I think after the tires are installed in the Spring we may be able to stop spending so much on it. Gas miliage is 5-7 per gallon. A wise old owner told me keep your speed down and save money so we now tow a taod and keep the speed between 55-60 max. Example we travelled to Key West from Cincinnati and returned in 2011 and it cost us $1465 in gas round trip. Sounds allot but when you add 4 adults travelled and that is cheaper then an airline ticket. We paid $100 a day to stay at a KOA in Key West but it was better than going on a waiting list at the near by Coast Guard military site. We always have fun just don't get out often between full time work and family must attend functions. Hopefully the leasure time will increase as I reach beyond my 66th birth year in 2014. Loyality to our aircraft customers keep me working as there is no one younger working currently that knows how to fix them so I consult daily to keep their fleet of F4 Phantoms flying. Hope some of this helped.
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:08 PM   #10
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I am now in a 5th wheel that I really like. It sits parked in Pa. In the summer and then Fla. in the winter. I looked at most gas and used 2007/2008 40' DP.

When my DW and I start to travel we plan to try it in our 5th wheel. We are however thinking if we do not like it we will buy a 40' DP. When I last looked at these DP a few things I learned.

1st - I would get a DP. I could not pull the trigger on a large 37 or 38 foot gasser with a small 6.8 gas engine.

On a DP I focused on floorplan then chassis. You have to learn that Winnebago improved their chassis in 2008 (went from Evolution to Maxxum). That Fleetwood improved it's chassis in 2009 (went from ??? to Power Bridge).

I wrestled with - I can buy a new gasser for the price of a 2008 DP.

In 2013/2014 - the gas MH's are really nice. 22.5" tires, 3 slides, etc. etc. But the chassis just is not as good as that on a DP.

Good luck
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:08 PM   #11
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Just a thought along a different path. If you do decide to hold off and travel this winter in your smaller MH, be sure to take your title with you. You very well could end up needing it when you trade mid winter. Good luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:56 PM   #12
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We bought a new gas rig after a lot of looking we purchased our one and only MH. We will wear it out in about fifteen/sixteen years then be done so we figure we get the best of both worlds over time the fresh new rig and the well maintained older one.

One decision for us was exactly what our range would be and we knew we would be west coast seasonal users so a diesel (which then cost quite a bit more) would be just too much rig financially. If I made an error I did not look further at used diesels.

The end result is we really love our coach and feel we made a good choice. It fits our needs /wants perfectly. We also know that for those who may have a different dynamic in their way of living are smart to get diesels. In the end a diesel is a great ride generally speaking and has many advantages over a gas rig, those mentioned already.

So much depends on where you see yourself in the same picture. If you intend to put 10,000 miles per year on a coach, then diesel, if you will stay in your coach for more than six months out of the year, diesel, if you are unable to pare down the amount of stuff you want to bring along, if having more room in your coach devoted to living than is afforded in a gas rig, diesel. If money is no object then, diesel. If you just want to show off (I mean no disrespect a stroke of the ego is just fine), diesel and so on.

We do not fit in the above paragraph so we have a gas rig, happily.
I do all my own stunts
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Old 09-11-2013, 06:27 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by HabitatGuy View Post
Just a thought along a different path. If you do decide to hold off and travel this winter in your smaller MH, be sure to take your title with you. You very well could end up needing it when you trade mid winter. Good luck with whatever you decide.
This was a plan we had all along as we think we will do that. Trade in the middle of winter.

Everyone, I appreciate all your input. I definitely have learned some things from everyone and gave me some new perspectives to ponder. Thanks to all of you.

2001 HR Scepter 38 PBD, Roadmaster Chassis, 8.3 Cummins, 2013 Honda CRV with a Roadmaster Sterling tow bar and SMI brake system
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Old 09-11-2013, 07:17 PM   #14
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Motorhome choice

You are in the same dilema we were just in.
Choice was either a 2007 mint shape diesel 42' pusher or a new 2013 Tiffin Allegro 36LA gas both priced at $115,000
2007 was already dated with tube style tv's old dated decor etc.
2013 is brand new, 2 baths, 3 large lcd tv's.
We have noticed many fulltimers park their diesel pushers most of the time only moving to escape the cold winters so how much travelling is really done?
Our gas coach is quiet, gets similar fuel mileage, less complicated, may not ride quite as smooth as the diesel coaches but comfortable none the less, plenty of storage, beautiful decor and more than adequate for our needs.

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