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Old 08-29-2010, 09:35 PM   #15
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Oh yes, I plan on spending some time with a diesel mechanic (or fly my dad into town) to learn all the "basics" - definitely. I am not helpless (or want to be) but I think the maintenance I will leave to the professionals.
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:40 PM   #16
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Chas -

Thank you! More useful information. (I write all this down, have quite the notebook going)

The Jac brake was listed on the equipment list on one of the models I was looking at, but it was a 350 HP. I will watch for that, for sure. But either way, the diesel would still be safer/easier to control going down steep grades, correct? More horsepower would seem to indicate more stopping/slowing ability as well. I won't be doing all mountain driving, but it will happen at some point. When I first start out I am staying on the east coast - NC Outer Banks down to the Keys and then....not sure! Possibly do the southern states, go up through AZ and see family in CO and then do the northern states in the summer. That is the general plan anyway. So I know I will definitely have the mountains in the west.
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:40 PM   #17
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Would highly recommend a diesel ISC330 at a minimum but an ISL400 would provide better mileage and engine braking. Good luck with your purchase.
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:41 PM   #18
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Ricko -

Thank you. I am glad to hear of another newbie who loves their MH choice and loves the lifestyle choice. I am just a bit nervous of doing it alone! Well, with two cats, but they really won't be much help in an emergency, ya know?
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:42 PM   #19
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The diesel RV engines I am familiar with (Cummins) require oil change at 15,000 miles or annually. I lube the chassis at the same time. The engine uses about 5 gallons of oil at about $11.00/gallon. Filter is (a guess) $40.
The generator oil is to be changed at 150 hours which is about every 10 months or so for us. About 3.5 qts of oil and a $20 filter
We use a coolant that is good for 5 years.
Transmission fluid every 3 years...4 gals + $80 filters.
Any other maintenance would be about the same as a gas rig. I don't know how much the above maintenance costs on a gas rig and I've guessed at some of the prices.

Since you said you hauled horses around the West, I am making an assumption that you can do at least minor mechanical projects like changing the oil and lubing the chassis yourself. Those are pretty easy tasks and afford you the opportunity to look for impending problems while you're under the rig. There is nothing mystical about diesel maintenance. Just changing fluids.....same as a gasser just larger quantities.
If you elect to have others service your rig then go to truck shops rather than dealerships.
Hi Kix... if I'm not mistaken, my ISL 400 Cummins calls for oil changes every 6k miles or 6 months... or am I missing something?
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:42 PM   #20
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Thank you Chief. There is so much info to absorb and choices of rigs. It's **almost** overwhelming.
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:47 PM   #21
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Ricko -

Thank you. I am glad to hear of another newbie who loves their MH choice and loves the lifestyle choice. I am just a bit nervous of doing it alone! Well, with two cats, but they really won't be much help in an emergency, ya know?
I understand your nervousness but applaud your spirit. You'll do fine. Just keep asking your questions on this forum and you'll have a leg up by the time you hit the road.
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:51 PM   #22
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What KIX said. Our maintenance costs are about the same.

The problem on diesels comes when you have to pay for maintenance. I was chargee $500 to change the engine coolant and $450 to change the front wheel bearing fluid. They really saw me coming. Now, I do all of that myself. A professional engine oil change will likely be $250+. Annual service in Gaffney (Freightliner chassis home) can run $1,200-1,500, depending on whether it is the "heavy" year (with the air brake filter cannister and the power steering fluid change) or not. There is a differential oil change, too.

On the Jake brake. You will have to get pretty high into the horsepower models to get one. Most diesel MHs have an exhaust brake. It is OK but not in the range of the true engine brake made by Jacobs. Don't get fooled. A lot of dealers/salesmen don't know the difference. An engine/compression brake actually alters the valves in the engine. The exhaust brake is just a butterfly valve in the exhaust, usually right next to the turbo. It has an air piston with a rod. If you can look at the exhaust side of the engine, it is pretty easy to see. The best Jake brakes in MHs have two stages, just like the OTR trucks. Like I said, those will come in the 500hp range engines. The button on my console says "engine brake" It isn't.
Hi Chasfm... I do believe the Cummins 400ISL comes with a two stage engine brake. And, your experience with maintenance cost has been right in line with mine.
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:52 PM   #23
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Yes, I am on this site and one other one and stalk the forums reading all I can. The decision was an easy one - I am 41, single (now), no kids, work from home already (take job on the road) - so it wasnt' a question of "why?" it was a question of "why not?"
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:55 PM   #24
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Hi Kix... if I'm not mistaken, my ISL 400 Cummins calls for oil changes every 6k miles or 6 months... or am I missing something?
I'm sure you're correct about your engine. Mine is an ISC 350hp. And I think your engine oil capacity is near twice as much as an ISC isn't it?
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Old 08-30-2010, 07:15 AM   #25
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This is one of my favorite topics, to diesel or not to diesel here is what I have learned:
No one will ever recover the cost of a diesel engine nowadays, no one-not in your lifetime, in fact I don't think anyone will even come close to getting the money back.
In '07, pre-emissions-(an egr only, no exhaust treatment) the 6.0 option from Ford was roughly $6,500 for the engine and another $1,000 or so for the 450 upgrade and you were really rolling the dice with the powerstroke, though everyone we have met with an '06/'07 say that the engine is among the finest they have ever owned. So back then all you had to do is recover the $7,500 PLUS the added cost of the diesel fuel, which for a year or so was very significant.

Now going diesel is hideously more expensive with the various exhaust treatment devices, be it 'blue tech' or the good ole flamethrower, diesels have gotten very very complicated and expensive, yes you will go at least 30% farther on a gallon but cost wise going diesel simply does not make sense.

It has been our experience that service costs are pretty much a wash, sure you will have a heart attack if you get oil changes done at a shop-remember these beasts have an awful lot of oil that has to be changed at about the same interval as cars BUT in the end operating costs are a big non issue when comparing gassers to oil burners-this term refers to the 'old' practice of filling the tanks with heating oil to avoid the taxes on on road diesel fuel. These days, with new engines the practice is suicidal, heating oil still has very high sulfur, 2,000 ppm or so AND the coppers have gotten detecting a mix of on road, off road/fuel oil down to a science, it isn't worth it-the fines are breathtaking.

The old argument of diesel longevity is now also out the window, ANY modern gas engine in a rv will still be swilling fuel alot longer than we are huffing air AND the bigger gassers are producing very near the torque and hp as diesels, sure the rpms are a -bit- higher but the power is there.

Overheating in pushers?, we have spoken to individuals who cite this problem, I guess its the nature of the beast-Dynamax anyone???

To summarize thus far: (capitalize the word -nuts- if you are talking of an emissions compliant edition)
Going diesel to -save- is nuts
Going diesel for more power is kinda sorta nuts
Going diesel for longevity is really nuts

BUT, and its a huge b u t , going diesel has very very compelling reasons;

If you are a tree hugger going diesel is tops on the list of which fuel to burn, diesel fuel uses far fewer resources to refine, produces far less co2 and gets one far further on a gallon of fuel-and it does all this with virtually, compared to gas, NO evaporative emissions-which is a gigantic source of air pollution.

With regard to service you will ALWAYS get far more competent techs at a diesel shop than at a 'dealer', a local 5 star Dodge dealer had our Sprinter for a week and could not fix it-a trip to the Freightliner shop had the van running perfectly in less than three hours, on a SUNDAY, they work two shifts, seven days and the labor rate was $2.50/hr more than Dodge...... A similar experience was had with my brothers Ford diesel, two local dealers could not/would not fix it, a big heavy duty Ford service facility, they only work on 450's or heavier, had it running smoothly in a day.

Perhaps one of the biggest pluses of a diesel is the option for a true jake or exhaust brake-wonderful inventions.

To really KNOW diesels is to love diesels-buy one for 'the children' (I really hate that -term-)


Plus diesels just sound cool.......

Forgot this, plus its very, very difficult to incinerate yourself in a wreck with diesel, certainly possible, but difficult.
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:53 PM   #26
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This is one of my favorite topics, to diesel or not to diesel here is what I have learned:
No one will ever recover the cost of a diesel engine nowadays, no one-not in your lifetime, in fact I don't think anyone will even come close to getting the money back.
In '07, pre-emissions-(an egr only, no exhaust treatment) the 6.0 option from Ford was roughly $6,500 for the engine and another $1,000 or so for the 450 upgrade and you were really rolling the dice with the powerstroke, though everyone we have met with an '06/'07 say that the engine is among the finest they have ever owned. So back then all you had to do is recover the $7,500 PLUS the added cost of the diesel fuel, which for a year or so was very significant.

Now going diesel is hideously more expensive with the various exhaust treatment devices, be it 'blue tech' or the good ole flamethrower, diesels have gotten very very complicated and expensive, yes you will go at least 30% farther on a gallon but cost wise going diesel simply does not make sense.

It has been our experience that service costs are pretty much a wash, sure you will have a heart attack if you get oil changes done at a shop-remember these beasts have an awful lot of oil that has to be changed at about the same interval as cars BUT in the end operating costs are a big non issue when comparing gassers to oil burners-this term refers to the 'old' practice of filling the tanks with heating oil to avoid the taxes on on road diesel fuel. These days, with new engines the practice is suicidal, heating oil still has very high sulfur, 2,000 ppm or so AND the coppers have gotten detecting a mix of on road, off road/fuel oil down to a science, it isn't worth it-the fines are breathtaking.

The old argument of diesel longevity is now also out the window, ANY modern gas engine in a rv will still be swilling fuel alot longer than we are huffing air AND the bigger gassers are producing very near the torque and hp as diesels, sure the rpms are a -bit- higher but the power is there.

Overheating in pushers?, we have spoken to individuals who cite this problem, I guess its the nature of the beast-Dynamax anyone???

To summarize thus far: (capitalize the word -nuts- if you are talking of an emissions compliant edition)
Going diesel to -save- is nuts
Going diesel for more power is kinda sorta nuts
Going diesel for longevity is really nuts

BUT, and its a huge b u t , going diesel has very very compelling reasons;

If you are a tree hugger going diesel is tops on the list of which fuel to burn, diesel fuel uses far fewer resources to refine, produces far less co2 and gets one far further on a gallon of fuel-and it does all this with virtually, compared to gas, NO evaporative emissions-which is a gigantic source of air pollution.

With regard to service you will ALWAYS get far more competent techs at a diesel shop than at a 'dealer', a local 5 star Dodge dealer had our Sprinter for a week and could not fix it-a trip to the Freightliner shop had the van running perfectly in less than three hours, on a SUNDAY, they work two shifts, seven days and the labor rate was $2.50/hr more than Dodge...... A similar experience was had with my brothers Ford diesel, two local dealers could not/would not fix it, a big heavy duty Ford service facility, they only work on 450's or heavier, had it running smoothly in a day.

Perhaps one of the biggest pluses of a diesel is the option for a true jake or exhaust brake-wonderful inventions.

To really KNOW diesels is to love diesels-buy one for 'the children' (I really hate that -term-)


Plus diesels just sound cool.......

Forgot this, plus its very, very difficult to incinerate yourself in a wreck with diesel, certainly possible, but difficult.
Well said Rough Road... I certainly agree that there's no way to financially justify a diesel. I've come to believe that the best (most honest) reason to go diesel is because you WANT one!

But I didn't think there were many gassers out there that could hold a candle to my 1200# of torque and don't we generally get much more cargo carrying capacity?
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Old 08-30-2010, 02:18 PM   #27
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Not worrying about a push rod blasting through my seat as I'm screaming up a mountain at 4000 rpm, torque, jake brake, no dog house to climb over, no drive shaft to take up cargo space, engine 40 feet away instead of between your legs... Generator 40 feet away when snoozing. These are some of my reasons for having a diesel.
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Old 08-30-2010, 04:10 PM   #28
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RickO, certainly in your instance going gas, if the choice were there, would have been super nuts-there are, and yours is one, instances where diesel is absolutely necessary, you're well over 40K gvw?

For those who are considering a new class A, or other coach with a choice of gas or diesel I believe that a gas would be the best choice, the exhaust treatment devices have taken a toll on fuel mileage BUT if the choice were between a pre-emissions diesel (late '07 and before) and a gasser then there is no decision at all, its the diesel-its exactly as you say, get a diesel because you want one.
georgetown350, I agree; when you have some time look up the numbers on the 6.0/6.4, or the D max or Cummins and then compare them with the popular gas engines used in rv's-of course there is a difference but its not huge. Those great gassers really do get the job done and when you consider the amount of work that they are doing the fuel mileage is incredible, to me anyway-AND they do it all for about 12g's less than a diesel. You have to admit that's compelling in itself.

Thats alot of fuel, brake jobs and beer !!!

My rv of choice would be the Dynaquest 260 with the pre emissions MB diesel, air bags, exhaust brake and a bit of room between you and engine-its NOT 35' or so away, but even two feet is better than right next to your knees.

I forgot all about this; I read a comment from a fellow who made the observation that during the two gas shortages he lived through he never remembered seeing any line at all for diesel, I thought about it and really he is correct. I remember seeing cars thirty and more deep but I could get right in and fuel up - anyone else remember the 'good ole days'??
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