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Old 01-11-2012, 02:16 PM   #1
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Size of Engine

Going to look at six DPs on the week-end and was wondering...which size of engine is best?

1999 Fleetwood American Coach is advertised as 300 Cummins. $55,000.00
2004 Monaco Cayman is advertised as 315...no brand. $78,900.00
2004 Coachman is advertised as 330 Cat. $85,000.00
2002 Fleetwood Discovery is advertised as 330 Cat. $69,900.00
2004 Monaco Safari Cheetah is advertised as 330 Cat. $86,900.00
1999 Safari Continental Panther is advertised as 425 Cat. $79,900.00
And 2000 Fleetwood Discovery is only advertised as a Cummins. $53,900.00

Is bigger always better?

Thanks
Barbara
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:30 PM   #2
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It all depends. How big it the coach? Are you going out for weekend campouts or full timing? Are you going to tow a toad? Do you live and plan to camp in the mountains or on the plains? Or a combination? Are you taking 5 kids and tents and camping gear?

Answer all those questions and get back to us.

Nah, I'm just kidding. Bigger is always better. Buy as big an engine as your wallet can afford. The fuel mileage is going to be within an MPG or so whether you buy a 525 hp or a 300 hp and it's nicer to not work the engine so hard.
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:52 PM   #3
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The "best" sized engine is the one that comes with the rig/floor plan/features/condition that "best" meets your needs.

You are driving a small fraction of the time versus the living time. Focus on those items that make a difference during the greatest amount of time you use the rig. That's not likely to be engine size. How it has been cared for is of far greater importance.
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Old 01-11-2012, 08:05 PM   #4
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[QUOTE=AloraDanin;1054868]Going to look at six DPs on the week-end and was wondering...which size of engine is best?

1999 Fleetwood American Coach is advertised as 300 Cummins. $55,000.00
2004 Monaco Cayman is advertised as 315...no brand. $78,900.00
2004 Coachman is advertised as 330 Cat. $85,000.00
2002 Fleetwood Discovery is advertised as 330 Cat. $69,900.00
2004 Monaco Safari Cheetah is advertised as 330 Cat. $86,900.00
1999 Safari Continental Panther is advertised as 425 Cat. $79,900.00
And 2000 Fleetwood Discovery is only advertised as a Cummins. $53,900.00

Is bigger always better?
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
We travel alot so a Diesel Pusher is a must. For me, you can never have too big an engine. I have a 34ft , 23,000 lb coach with a Cat 330 HP with 860 ft lbs of torque and it is great. That same engine is used all the way up to 40 foot coaches. Then it's not so great.
Also make sure you are getting a coach that you can still get parts for. There are alot that have gone out of buisness.
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Old 01-11-2012, 08:09 PM   #5
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Size is relative. On my old Gulfstream, I have a Cummins B5.9 which lists as 160 HP, and my MH weighs around 16K. So if you have a MH that weighs 35K and your HP is 350, that means we are about equal. As said before, much depends on what you need your MH to do. Last May and June I went from Texas to the West coast, up to Washington, over to N. Dakota, and back south to Texas, all pulling my 4K pound toad. Slow going up mountains but not slower than big rigs in truck lane. Got around 8-9 mpg for the trip. Weight, speed, elevation is what you need to be looking at. Then jump in with both feet. RVng is great fun. Best of luck to you in your travels.

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Old 01-12-2012, 07:15 AM   #6
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Didn't a "wise" sage once upon a time say that 10 HP per 1,000 lb of GVW is OK? Or was it gross combined weight?
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:59 AM   #7
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I might choose the floor plan I like the best and then evaluate the engine capability. We had a 300 Cat in a 36 foot Itasca - it was adequate, even towing a Honda Element. There were problems with the crankcase vent blowing on the radiator and causing dirt to build up on the radiator. While we loved the Cat, the current 425 Cummins in a Damon Essence, a larger and much heavier coach, levels the mountains out west very adequately. There is no oil residue on the radiator with this coach either.
As someone said, you only drive a small amount of time compared to the total time spent in the coach. I guess it all depends on how big a hurry you are in to get to your destination vs comfort.
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:41 AM   #8
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2000 Fleetwood Discovery is only advertised as a Cummins. $53,900.00
NADA average Retail is $37,010 to $40K depending on model for it.

It has a 5.9L ISB 275 HP 660 ft lb torque and will get you up any hill.
If it is a 2005.5 a ISB 300 HP in it.
Both have the Allison 6 speed in them.
Not as fast as a 425 but you will have no problem of getting 10 MPG with it.

My 9 year average is 10.282 MPG
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:51 AM   #9
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As said above, bigger is relative to weight pushed.

You will be looking at several MH candidates. Focus on condition and floorplan. Pick one or two candidates and then ask if the engines are adequate for your use.

A quick rule of thumb is at least minimum of 1HP for every 100 lbs of load, including the toad.

We have about 120lbs per HP and go 35mph up steep grades. But, we still get to the top.
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Old 01-12-2012, 05:54 PM   #10
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Rule #1: Don't go by the HP rating. Ask about torque!

Barbara, the first question I ask when looking at a motorhome is what engine is in it. I want to know exactly what engine it has. After all, that's why we buy a motorhome instead of a house.

Rule #1: Don't go by the HP rating. Ask or find out what the torque rating is (I say find out because most folks will not know). Torque is what pushes your heavy rig down the road, HP is a calculated number derived from torque & RPM.

A good example is you can have two different 350 HP diesel engines that have vastly different torque ratings. Try to find a motor home with at least 1000 ft lbs of torque.

Some sales people will tell you not to get the larger engine because it will use more fuel. I disagree. A higher torque engine will drive with less throttle applied and get the same or sometimes even better fuel mileage. What determines fuel mileage is weight and wind resistance and almost all diesel motorhomes get about 8 mpg.
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Old 01-12-2012, 06:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vito.a View Post
A good example is you can have two different 350 HP diesel engines that have vastly different torque ratings. Try to find a motor home with at least 1000 ft lbs of torque.
Even two engines with the same torque rating can be vastly different. It depends on the torque curve more than the actual amount. Our ISC has 1200 Ft lbs from 1400 to 1700 rpm, which is a much wider spread than most, even the ISL 400/425 doesn't match that.
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:27 PM   #12
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If I was gonna vote on that list the 2004 Chetah would be my pick. Just my $.02!
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:35 PM   #13
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The last thing I would consider when buying a RV is the engine size. The layout is SO much more important.

I have a gas engine on a 36' RV and have managed to get around the U.S. a couple times and drive in western mountains all the time.

I've never seen an RV that couldn't climb a mountain no matter what size engine it had in it.
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Old 01-13-2012, 05:53 AM   #14
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Hi AloraDanin,
The previous posts all provide good information. Consider focusing on the Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR). One HP per 100 pounds will provide "adequate" power. For me adequate means fine for cruising and almost all situations. Mountains will require some patience.

As to torque, forget it. For motor coach applications, there is an almost automatic relationship between HP and torque. When you get more HP you get more torque.

Once I do the above mentioned calculation, I forget about the automotive stuff. Focus on the floor plan and does the coach meet your needs for how you will use it. If the floor plan does not match your needs, any coach will be the coach from hell as long as you own it.
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