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Old 03-20-2012, 07:35 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by laj View Post
Not to impose something different but what goes up must come down With a diesel you also have the jake to come down on
I have seen some gassers with fairly warm brakes
The ability to come down a mountain safely is more important than how fast you can go up. Most rigs with a diesel have some sort of exhaust braking which aren't readily available on a gasser. The exhaust brake is a big plus on the downhill side (of the mountain) but still isn't a guarantee that you won't fry your brakes.

With either gas or diesel engine, going up or down, the key still is having your transmission in the proper gear.

2001 Monaco LaPalma
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:40 AM   #16
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In our 2011 Winnie, when I put the tranny in tow/haul mode, it will shift down on its own and the gas engine helps to brake. Diesel engines must have Jake or exhaust brakes since without fuel they basically free wheel.

2011 Winnebago Adventurer 35P
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Summers in Silverton, Colorado.
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Old 03-20-2012, 02:53 PM   #17
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We had a 2007-36 ft Gas MH with a V10 362 HP Ford gas engine. Now have a 36 ft DP with CAT 350 HP. Both have been made it up many long and steep mountains throughout the USA and Canada without a problem. We were and are towing a Jeep Wrangler.

-up and down the mountains no problem with either. (We live in the mountains)
-going down the hills much easier with DP exhaust and transmission braking.
-much prefer the Allison transmission vs Ford
-often do not use air brakes going down hills
-ride much nicer with DP air suspension
-mpg very similar
-use the right gear and getting to the top will not be a problem with gas or diesel

Enjoy the ride.

Gary D
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2015 Subaru Forester
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:02 PM   #18
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In my opinion, there isn't a good way to compare gas vs diesel motor homes. The gas units will cost less initially, will weigh less, will not have the Exhaust brake, most likely will not have air brakes, or air suspension. Most diesel units will have all of the above if they were manufactured newer than the mid 90's.

For me the most important consideration is safety. In our travels we have visited and stayed in 38 states so far. We have run into very high winds, steep climbs up to 10% grade, and more importantly step descents. For all these conditoins, I prefer the diesel. The coach is much heavier and, with air suspension, isn't effected much by high winds, truckers, etc. The climbs up hills is generally easier, but most importantly the descents are safer. With the exhaust brake on and transmission in the proper gear, our present coach will maintain the speed we maintained on the climb, while descending without using much braking, most of the time no braking. Speaking of braking I believe the diesel brakes being larger will last well past 150,000 miles if taken care of at all, and in my experience, stop better.

Our first coach was a 30' gas unit with 7.4L engine. It was a great coach until we got into the southern Rockies. We had seom difficulty climbing, we had to watch the temperature gauge for overheating, but the real problem was the descent. I had to use a lot of braking to manitain a safe descent speed. On long long descent, the brakes started to fade due to heat. Also going across Texas, New Mexico, etc. the wind blew us around a lot. For me this wasn't as safe as I wanted to be.

Of course, that's just our opinion. Many RVer's are quite happy with their gas units.

Jim and Lynda
Jim and Lynda, (Sophie, Jake, attack trained killer Shi-Tzus :-))

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Old 03-20-2012, 08:14 PM   #19
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Our first coach was a 99 Ford V10, a 36 Ft Fleetwood. It would absolutely climb anything, though there was some drama involved sometimes. Toughest we did was Teton Pass. That was 20 miles up followed by 20 miles down, twisting and turning the whole way from Idaho to Jackson hole.

That poor ole V10 was in first gear, 4500 plus rpm, screaming like a prop driven fighter the whole way. I did send my wife and son ahead in our toad, no sense risking the family.

On the way down I was passed by several loaded dump trucks with smoking brakes, saw them in the emergency sand trap a few miles later.
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Old 03-21-2012, 02:45 AM   #20
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Have never had my V-10 overheat or had my brakes fade going downhill, but I agree with most of what you said.
However, I couldn't find a 35'+ dual slide diesel pusher in my price range.

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Old 03-21-2012, 10:55 AM   #21
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My first and last MH a 1990 Holiday Rambler 35' with a 454 gas did fine in Fl. flat lands but in the mountains going up hills was slow and it over heated many times. It took me 2 hrs to climb I-75 coming out of TN. into GA because I would have to pull over, wait 20 minutes until it cooled down, go another 1/2 mile, pull over etc.... I had the radiator flushed before the trip and replaced the coolant too.

Maybe the newer Ford V-10's are much better but I would buy a diesel if you can afford it.
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Old 03-23-2012, 07:20 AM   #22
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I've had 3 Fords over the last 20 years and the most recent 09 F53 chassis in tow-haul mode is much improved on the downhill, just apply brakes for a short time on the decline and it downshifts nicely and uses engine braking, uphill is usually steady 35 mph on the steep mtns, but that will depend on your Gross Combined Weight

I usually spend every summer criss-crossing the continental divide

Gas is fine, as said, deisel is better if within your resources
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Old 03-23-2012, 07:36 AM   #23
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I have had both, a gasser and a diesel and if you can afford the DP you will not go wrong. My gasser would get me up the hills but I would need to always stay behind the trucks in the truck lanes when some slowed down to 25 MPH I did not have the reserve torque to to pass them. Remember it is not horsepower but torque that chimb hills. Now I can pass the slow trucks and maintain 50-55 MPH with ease. The engine brake is another big plus, there is no need to use your normal (service) brakes until you are almost at the bottom of the hill. Your service brakes on a DP should last for almost as long as you own it.
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Old 03-23-2012, 03:26 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by jimmyjnr View Post
We have a sightseer with chevy 8.1 , we live in CO and travel the i70 west over the mountains , never exceed 2500 rpm equates 45-50 mph. easy up and down .
Yes , a 500hp pusher would be quieter and faster but a gasser is what we can afford .
Don't stretch yourself financially Just enjoy the adventure
Safe travels everyone
The difference there is the Vortec engine. Loads more torque. The transmission is probably an Allison which will give you the braking power better coming back down. One thing to remember is at 100,000 miles have the transmission totally drained and screens cleaned. Total drainage means the torque converter also. It will save you loads down the road and the transmision will outlast the RV. I wish I had the GM 8.1 V8 instead of the Ford V10.
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Old 03-23-2012, 04:34 PM   #25
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The way we approached buying our RV was value for the dollar...pure and simple. If we could have bought a DP for 38K less than what NADA listed as low retail, that's what we probably would have bought. However, we did concentrate on gassers because that's is what I'm more comfortable with and that gas is cheaper than diesel. The maintenance costs were another factor. Also, if it was to be a gas model, I wanted the Allison transmission, and the Vortec 8.1 engine was the only way I could get it. In the end, it was the 8.1/Allison package coupled with the perfect(to us)floor plan that sold us...and that we did well on the price point.

Sure, there were times on some steep grades in the mountains out West, Canada and Alaska that we could have used the torque of a diesel, but in the long haul we are very happy with that we have. This is our first 'A' and like it so much, it will probably be our last. Bob
Jan and Bob

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Old 03-24-2012, 07:40 PM   #26
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Eight years and 98,000 miles on our W22 with the Chevy 8.1 we have climbed and descended 13% grades (Big Bend NP to Presidio TX) been over the Rockies in the US and Canada and plenty of time in the Smokies and Blue Ridge Parkway. As others have said we may do slower and we may do it noisier, but we do it!

We always start DOWN a grade in 1st or 2nd and work up to the gear that will hold with minimal braking for the descent. It isn't a compression brake, but diesels require those because they don't provide useful engine braking naturally.

We are shopping for a DP now because I want one and can afford one.
Paul Rocking down the road in our '12 Phaeton 36QSH, (in service May 2012 ) We tow an '11 4 dr Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon - Read my blog at goldberg-online.net AKA RVM86
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Old 03-24-2012, 08:00 PM   #27
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It is all about power to weight. Diesel coaches are almost all heavier. Take the HP and divide it by the weight. Compare it for both types you are considering, but take into consideration the weight of your intended toad.

Diesels get better fuel mileage relative to the weight they are pulling (or pushing), but they also cost a whole lot more. The premium for the big CAT and transmission in my rig over the smaller (400hp) diesel engine was $20,000.

If you find a gasser that you are happy with, ask yourself this - how much is avoiding an extra hour a year going up hills worth to you?
2006 Patriot Thunder C13 Allison 4000
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:36 PM   #28
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I have owned both gas and diesel. Both of my motor homes have climbed hills pretty well. But both have had good power to weight ratios.

B Bob
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diesel, gas

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