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Old 08-02-2015, 07:15 PM   #1
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Scared of possible Diesel engine repairs...

Weíre looking for a short coach, around 34-36í. Possibly a 2007 Winnebago Journey/Meridian 34h or Monaco in that size.

We use it maybe 8+ weeks a year, several long weekends and 1 or 2 2+ week trips. We like to travel, 6000 or more miles a year. We donít need/want a larger coach, and we donít need to tow more than 5000 lbs. (we tow a VW). It is just for vacation trips.

The reason weíre thinking about diesel is the ride quality. I think Iíve read (almost) every post on diesel vs. gas on this and other sites over the last 2 years. I understand the differences, maintenance cost, etc..

What scares me are the posts about diesel repair billsÖ It seems that repairs are always thousands $$. Iíve read many posts were people need to sell their DP because of the excessive cost.

I am not afraid of the house repairs, I can do a lot myself, but I am not a mechanic. Iíll need to take it to our local truck shop for repairs.

The alternatives Iíve looked into are a Super C diesel. Because of the accessibility of the engine, I expect service to be a little less expensive.
Generally they do have a better wheel base ratio than the shorter class As so they might handle a little better.

The other alternative is another gas coach. I looked at an Itasca 33c today. DW likes the size and layout, I am not so sure about another ford chassis, but long term service cost/risk will be much lower than a DP.

Am I worrying too much or should I stick to the Ford chassis and maybe install a Kelderman suspension to improve ride quality.
I appreciate your advice.
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Old 08-02-2015, 07:28 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RndmTraveler View Post
Weíre looking for a short coach, around 34-36í. Possibly a 2007 Winnebago Journey/Meridian 34h or Monaco in that size.

We use it maybe 8+ weeks a year, several long weekends and 1 or 2 2+ week trips. We like to travel, 6000 or more miles a year. We donít need/want a larger coach, and we donít need to tow more than 5000 lbs. (we tow a VW). It is just for vacation trips.

The reason weíre thinking about diesel is the ride quality. I think Iíve read (almost) every post on diesel vs. gas on this and other sites over the last 2 years. I understand the differences, maintenance cost, etc..

What scares me are the posts about diesel repair billsÖ It seems that repairs are always thousands $$. Iíve read many posts were people need to sell their DP because of the excessive cost. Not always thousands but if you take it out for maintenance it will cost more. Get a good extended warranty. Plenty of threads here and at RVnet.com to help you.

I am not afraid of the house repairs, I can do a lot myself, but I am not a mechanic. Iíll need to take it to our local truck shop for repairs.

The alternatives Iíve looked into are a Super C diesel. Because of the accessibility of the engine, I expect service to be a little less expensive.
Generally they do have a better wheel base ratio than the shorter class As so they might handle a little better. I doubt if you can find a Class C that will ride like a DP with air suspension regardless of wheel base.

The other alternative is another gas coach. I looked at an Itasca 33c today. DW likes the size and layout, I am not so sure about another ford chassis, but long term service cost/risk will be much lower than a DP. If your biggest concern is cost then a Gasses or Class C may be for you. If your goal is comfort and ride, then DP. Class C with engine forward is noisy and can get hot in front. If you have a generator in one it is likely in the back making it noisy to sleep if AC is needed.
DP engine in rear is quiet going down the road, Genny in front quiet at night to sleep. The list keeps going of advantages of a DP.


Cost is not one of them.


Am I worrying too much or should I stick to the Ford chassis and maybe install a Kelderman suspension to improve ride quality.
I appreciate your advice.
I am not rich and I would not go to a gasser because of all of the above. But you will hear different here also. Good luck.
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Old 08-02-2015, 07:29 PM   #3
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Only thing that I can add is Diesels are very reliable to travel in on the other side of the coin is anything is susceptible to repairs and Maint. issues, You just need to be prepared and do All of the preventive Maintenance beforehand.
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Old 08-02-2015, 07:39 PM   #4
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Any repairs made in a quality shop are going to cost you. Hourly rates are not any higher for diesel than gas, depending where you have them done none are cheap. Have you had a car repaired lately? If you are comparing an older diesel with a new gas then at least for a few years the new gas will be cheaper. Has a warranty and the gas motors are pretty dang good these days. They probably won't have the power, brakes and drivability of the DP but what you save up front will pay for a lot of repairs. That said I have a diesel pusher and would not trade it for two gas, IMO.
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Old 08-02-2015, 07:52 PM   #5
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Our ISX engine has 45,000 miles on it. So far it's had three turbo's and two top end jobs. That's something over $60,000 in repairs, some of which was paid by Cummins under warranty. We ended up paying $22,000 for this last one but we're the second owners of the RV too.
Normally a diesel is very dependable but a few engine types are not. The ISB, ISC, ISL and newer ISX's are. The 2007 -2009 ISX's are problematic, especially the 650 HP version.
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Old 08-02-2015, 08:04 PM   #6
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Mines a 1995 i'd leave in the morning for Alaska in it if I wanted to go ! service them and treat em right and they will run forever !! get a good alison 6 speed and you'll be fine !!
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Old 08-02-2015, 09:50 PM   #7
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I have to agree with Allison 6 speed, and in my opinion if going DP getting one pre 2007 or if you can live with an older Coach pre 2003 to stay away from as much emissions as possible.
Lots of people saying these days you need the big horsepower but with that seems to be a lot less reliability and insane repair costs.
I work at a Ford dealer in a truck only shop and we work on all Motorhomes including DP's all chassis's and engines.
The f-53 v-10 is rock solid reliable but has the poor ride and noise you already know about. I think it's it cheapest in the long run for repair and maintenance,with the torque shift anyway.
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Old 08-02-2015, 09:56 PM   #8
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I like the mechanical fuel injection pre 1998 Cummins and 3060 alison 6 speed ... I service mine myself and work on it ; but''s prety bullet proof if you do your PMs ..
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Old 08-02-2015, 11:21 PM   #9
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We have 167,000 miles on our 21-year old coach. The only repair we have done on the engine are a muffler replacement (replaced it myself), a burst hydraulic hose (about $800), and a water leak that was fixed by replacing the water pump ($2500 including regular service).
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Old 08-03-2015, 12:21 AM   #10
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I had the same questions as you. My first venture into owning a motorhome was a 1991 Holiday Rambler. I'm always working on that motor and things are hard to get at.

I just updated to a 2000 Dutch Star DP. I too was and still am worried about the costs of running a diesel. I first made sure the diesel appeared solid with no blow-by or funny looking exhaust. My engine is solid. When I open the hood to the engine, everything is right there. The belts are easy to get at. So is the alternator and other components. So some of the repairs I'll easily be able to try and tackle myself when the time comes.

Since I feel my motor is solid, I tend to worry more about all the other things that could go wrong. There's a ton of electrical components and the suspension isn't getting any younger. But a 2000 is what I could afford and I'm excited I bought it. Owning a DP fulfilled one of my bucket-list items.
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Old 08-03-2015, 12:45 AM   #11
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Take a look at the Dynamax line of Super C, they are built on Freightliner M2 chassis and the lowest towing is 5,000. Length from 35 to 40' if I remember correctly. The Force has a 6.7L and the DX3s has a 9L engine. I've been told the Force will have a 9L option at some point which will allow it to toe 20K instead of 5K. Street price on the Force is in the $170 area.
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Old 08-03-2015, 01:02 AM   #12
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Something else to think about is the 37' Winnebago/Itasca using the UFO (gas pusher) chassis. I've driven one, and with the coil springs it rides pretty decently. There were some issues, mainly with the fan clutch, I seem to recall, but I bet by now they've all been fixed.

If I were doing a straight replacement of my DP right now I'd be giving those a fair bit of thought...

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Old 08-03-2015, 08:25 AM   #13
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The other thing I forgot to say is make sure if you get Diesel Pusher that it's side radiator not rear. The rear rad adds tons of labour to jobs that should be simple.
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Old 08-03-2015, 08:35 AM   #14
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I think Mr.D said it all, you're not gonna run up a $60k bill for repairs in a gasser in its entire life.
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