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Old 06-14-2013, 02:58 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Huntington Beach
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Gas versus Diesel for widow

So for all you experts out there, I am a widow and will be full timing in about 2 years and am starting the process of shopping for my MH. I have looked as sizes, which I prefer to remain small because of the National Parks I wish to visit. I will be towing a 2012 Ford Escape with me...I have a long time friend who wishes to go on this adventure with me and I am concerned about the difference in two women maintaining a gas versus diesel motorhome since we are not really mechanically inclined but are willing to learn...So go ahead opinions greatfully accepted...

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Old 06-14-2013, 03:14 PM   #2
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Not to mess your thinking...... please explain your definition of 'small'.

2017 F350 Lariat Diesel Dually, White, Hitch Kit.
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Old 06-14-2013, 03:23 PM   #3
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If you're not mechanically inclined a diesel will definitely cost more to maintain, even though it usually needs service less often.
2009 45' Magna 630 w/Cummins ISX 650 HP/1950 Lbs Ft
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Old 06-14-2013, 03:35 PM   #4
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With the proper training, there is NO reason two woman can not take care of DP MH. Yes there will be a huge 'learning' curve but nothing that can not be over come. Not sure what you are considering length wise, but in the 34-38' class you have lots to choose from. While there are lots of people towing with a gas rig, I prefer the DP.
It will be interesting to see what the other responses will be.
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Old 06-14-2013, 03:37 PM   #5
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Are you buying new or used? If new, everything should be under warranty. If used, the extended warranties the dealers sell are usually not worth the paper they're written on. Diesel has more power and usually a little better mpg (longer travel times between fillups) but diesel fuel is more expensive so it's a tradeoff on costs. Diesels cost more to maintain, oil changes are 2-3 times that of gas powered vehicles. A well maintained diesel will usually outlast a gas motor, but most people don't keep the same RV long enough to benefit from this. gas motors are inherently quieter and don't require as much "warmup", annoying to other RVers if you leave early mornings. Most diesels use two batteries and you should replace them both even if only one goes bad. Sub freezing weather can cause issues with diesel fuel gelling, but if you're in warm weather all the time, not a problem. I prefer a diesel, but I do almost all my own maintenance. Don't know if any of that helps, I told my wife if I check out, sell the diesel and get a small gas class "A".
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Old 06-14-2013, 03:39 PM   #6
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Looking at 29 to 34 feet in length...thanks to all of you so far...I guess I should mention I would like to stay around 80,000 for the cost of the rig, used.
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Old 06-14-2013, 03:42 PM   #7
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Thanks Road dogs...we will be traveling to Florida each year for a couple of months and then slowly working our way back West following the good weather down south...so not worrying about ice...if I see ice, back to So. Cal for me.
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Old 06-14-2013, 03:44 PM   #8
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What I worry about most is being able to go cross country pulling my toad and not overheating or burning up the engine on the grades.
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Old 06-14-2013, 03:50 PM   #9
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There are many things to consider. I have been a widow for many years. My husband and I started camping in the 1970s. In 1999 I bought a gas motorhome. I was able to sell the house in 2001 and haven't looked back. I love fulltiming.

In 2007 I sold the gas coach and bought a diesel. Great decision even though I could do the basic maintenance on the gas coach myself (oil change, tune up, lube etc). I get several more mpg with the diesel than I did with the gas. IMHO the ride of a gas coach isn't close to a diesel and the diesel is much more quiet too. It also has better power if you are planning to do much hilly driving. I believe you also have more carrying capacity in a diesel vs gas of same size. Important to me as a fulltimer.

A diesel will cost more up front and maintenance will be a bit more expensive. Even with that I am very glad I made the switch from gas to diesel.

As far as the National Parks go, I am sure others will be able to help on this, but my gas was 34' and I always got in a park even when 30' was the limit. Current one is 36' and have gotten in parks with much smaller length limits also. Usually the problem is low branches.
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Old 06-14-2013, 03:57 PM   #10
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Thanks Olive, it is always nice to hear of other women who are able to stay on the road without a man in their life...So much to think about, probably will come down to finding the perfect gem short DP...may be a while before I find her, but I will keep looking and keep looking to you all in the forum for help and advice...Thanks to all of you who have responded..Anybody out there pulling a 3500 pound toad with a gaser and getting good results.
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Old 06-14-2013, 04:28 PM   #11
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We're pulling a 3560 lb Honda CRV behind our Allegro 36LA (gasser). We have had no problems through the mountains of Kuntucky and North Carolina. We have not been out west yet. On our list though.
Since your not doing any of your own maintenance then gas or diesel really doesn't make much difference. Diesel maintenance is MUCH more expensive than gas but as mentioned earlier is required a little less often. Gas coaches are less expensive. I have no opinion on a comparison of handling. My gasser handles very well though.
For parks I'd stay at 40 feet or less but don't short change yourself on length. We have a 36 ft and have not had any issues with length. Go for the floor plan that fits your life style.
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Old 06-14-2013, 04:31 PM   #12
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We have been pulling a VW Jedda Diesel with our old 1985 Airstream Deisel for several years with no problems. We use a tow dolly. We just now have purchased a Journey DP, (330 Cat), and this will certainly have much more power than the Airstream.

In your suggested price range you should have no problem finding a nice used DP. We just bought one for considerably less. Also although a diesel is more expensive to purchase and maintain, it is far less trouble keeping it maintained. ie longer periods between oil changes ect.

DPs are also much quieter and being heavier ride smoother.,

Good luck.
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Old 06-14-2013, 05:35 PM   #13
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There are two shorter diesels you may want to consider based on your cost desire. One would be a 34 Alpine (mine is a 2001). They were made up until about 2007, when Western RV went out of business. There is a very good forum here that provides incredible help. I would not worry about the out of business part. The other is an early 2000s Country Coach at 32. I do not know how many years they were made, but they are nice coaches.
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or a couple of different trailers
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Old 06-14-2013, 06:01 PM   #14
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I would worry less about gas or diesel and think "floorplan". A gasser will tow 3500lbs and get you where you want to go without major problems and so will a diesel. A gas may be a little slower getting over the mountain but it will get you there. But, think about after you park for a while. Is the floorplan livable and comfortable? And make sure you can get to everything you may need while stopped at a rest area without putting out the slides. Like the refrigerator and the bathroom. And the bed if you stop at a Walmart overnight.

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model 29a
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diesel, gas

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