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Old 08-29-2010, 07:12 PM   #1
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Gas or Diesel?

I am looking to buy my first rig - going FT and have decided on used Class A 36-40'. I had my mind made up on a diesel pusher vs. gas, but now a few people on various sites have said not a good idea....

My thought was diesel was safer in the event of mountain driving, longer lasting engine, better fuel mileage, etc. I like the idea of the Jac brake....

Thoughts/opinions?

By the way, if it makes a difference, I am a 41 yr old single female and will be doing this alone/solo. Never driven an RV before but have hauled a lot of horses (5th whell and bumper pull) up and down mountains of AZ, CO, NM. I am in NC now but know I will be going across the country and back into AZ/CO/NM and possibly a lot of other places with steep grades. I don't want to plummet in a 27,000+ MH bullet off the side of a mountain...
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:03 PM   #2
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Go diesel. You will have no regrets.
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:08 PM   #3
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we love are diesel.its a 34' class c .personal prefince it's what u want. drive on condition of road & weather.seems to run cooler and power when pulling a toad.but it's what you want your paying for it.
safe travels
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Class A 36-40'
As georgetown350 said "Go Diesel"
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:10 PM   #5
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My choice is diesel. IMHO the vast majority of problems with motorhomes is not with the drive train but it's with the other systems. I think the overall operating costs or gas vs. diesel is probably about the same over a period of years. An air brake, rear engine diesel coach will provide more comfort and safety. There will be others with different opinions.
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:24 PM   #6
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I have a diesel and love the powertrain. One thing I have noticed on reading different R.V. blogs is that the deisels are more prone to overheating problems. I read about more diesels being stranded on the side of the road. Just read today how one owner is paying $1,200 to have his serpentine belt replaced on his 350 Cat!! If you are religious about changing the fluids & filters as sugested in your manual (oil, fuel, hydraulic, air cleaner & brake drier) then that alone will buy a lot of fuel versus the much cheaper oil filter & air cleaner filter on a gas rig.
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:37 PM   #7
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We own a gas MH, but if I was going to do what you are planning and travelling where you plan to go, I would go for a DP. JMHO.
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:50 PM   #8
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Three and a half years ago I had never driven an RV either and bought a Diesel for EXACTLY the reasons you listed. I wasn't so concerned about making it go... I just wanted to make sure I could STOP it! Now we've just completed our first year of full timing and love our decision.

Once you decide to go with a DP... brace yourself for the maintenance cost though.
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:04 PM   #9
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Thank you everyone, so much, for your input. My gut instinct was telling me to go with the diesel, mainly for safety reasons and longevity.

What kinds of maintenance costs do I need to brace myself for on the DP?

Again, thank you all!
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:21 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by wheelsup711 View Post
What kinds of maintenance costs do I need to brace myself for on the DP?
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.
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:25 PM   #11
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I am a single female so probably won't be doing any of that for myself, no. Not that I can't - wasn't allowed to get my license as a child until I could practically build an engine from the ground up (dad's a mechanic) but that was a different ball game and a long time ago.
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:26 PM   #12
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And thanks for the input Kix!
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:33 PM   #13
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You're welcome for the input. I understand that changing the fluids may not be your cup of tea but still I think you should be familiar under your rig. And mainly for the reason you don't want to change your own fluids. "I am a single female " Getting under and familiar with your rig "afford you the opportunity to look for impending problems while you're under the rig. " And that's true for gas or diesel.
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:35 PM   #14
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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.
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