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Old 08-18-2013, 03:52 PM   #1
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Small Class A Diesel Not Worth Sacrifices?

I'm trying to research our options (too many choices) for an RV. My wife wants a 16' Bambi or a popup trailer (so cramped!), but I've got my eye on a 45' diesel pusher. My wife doesn't want a huge monstrosity... I do. But being frugal/cheap, I figured a small FRED or small DP with promises of 12-14 MPG would be a win-win (Avanti claims 14.3, Tiffin claims 12-14, Newmar more realistic at 8-9): I get better fuel economy, my wife gets a smaller coach.

So I was hoping to get something along the lines of Damon's claims of "80% better fuel economy." (Ha.) But as I research fuel efficiency on iRV2, I'm finding users mostly reporting 9-10 MPG on their small diesels (Breeze, Avanti, Vesta), not too much better than much larger coaches getting 7.5-8.5 (especially with Banks kits). So now I'm thinking why give up on space, luxury, and power for a lousy 10-20% better economy? I'm wondering if a 40' tag axle DP is the sweet spot for power, ride quality, spaciousness?

Any sage advice would be welcome! Please be gentle with me... I'm just learning and trying to narrow down my options. Thanks in advance!

David
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Old 08-18-2013, 03:55 PM   #2
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Why don't you look at Winnie's VIA? It's diesel, about 25foot A, about 15 mpg.

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Old 08-18-2013, 04:00 PM   #3
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If I drive my Entegra Aspire 42DL as shown by the factory I can get 10mpg easily. Just hard to monitor RPM and maintain that over worrying about speed going.
Diesel engine puts out only so much torque at set RPM ( Torque moves weight, Horsepower equals speed) Maintain engine specific RPM pulling hills etc and let speed be what it is and MPG gets better. Actually worked for me, went from 7-8 to 10 MPG!
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Old 08-18-2013, 04:02 PM   #4
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We are in the same situation. No way we are going 40'. Have you looked at Lesisure Travel Vans built on the Mercedes Benz Sprinter chassis or any of the Super C motorhomes? At this point we realize we need to attend a major RV show and look at everything possible. Including Class A gassers, Class C gassers, Super C's diesels and mini DPs. I am sure there are others of us looking for the same product that doesn't quite exist.
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Old 08-18-2013, 04:07 PM   #5
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Don't make the sacrifice! We went from the tent, pop up, TT,all a for us. Bought our first coach 39 ft, Fleetwood Excursion. Good coach, not enough room for the four of us for long hauls. Large Golden Retriever, fat Border Collie, buy what you can afford obviously but buy right or you will go through the same drill as I did!
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Old 08-18-2013, 04:08 PM   #6
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Get a 45 foot with tag axle and pull a pop-up behind it. Let her stay in the pop-up.
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Old 08-18-2013, 04:43 PM   #7
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We had a Beaver Patriot, 40 foot, twin slides with a Cummins 400 ISL that gave us 8.5 to 9 MPG on average (winds, topography, ETC). We (I) decided to cramped for long trips... went to a 45 foot four slide, 500 HP Cummins ISM and never looked back. The Essex gives us 7.3 MPG, on average, cruising at 60 MPH! I think that was an equitable tradeoff... MPG for square footage and driveability (Comfort Drive System)!! Go big and be done with it...
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Old 08-18-2013, 04:55 PM   #8
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That is a huge disparity between the two mentioned. That said, here are some of my thoughts, as scattered as they might be.
Fuel mileage is much more important for a car than an RV. Cars are a necessity that you drive daily, RVs are a luxury that you use occasionally. You camp in a Bambi, you travel in a MH. The mileage difference between towing a Bambi and driving a MH is not a great as it first sounds. On a 2K trip the difference between 7mpg and 15mpg is about $556 based on $3.65/gal.
For that extra $556 you get working toilets, a shower, two or three burner stove with oven, TVs, comfortable bed, significantly more room, separation of space, and a great view when driving. You don't mind being cooped up inside a MH for two days because of rain, not sure you could say that for a Bambi.
Of course you have to weigh the initial cost. There is a great difference in a Bambi and just about any MH. Then there is the expense of maintaining a MH which is a lot more, let me repeat that.. a lot more, than required on a Bambi. Where will you store either and at what cost.
There are people in pop ups and very small TT that would never want a class A or fiver. Conversely there are those in 5ers or MH that would not like a pop up. Those are two different life styles and I don't think you can realistically compare the the based on money and particularly on MPG.
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Old 08-18-2013, 05:00 PM   #9
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Have you considered a 5th wheel? We went from a pop-up to a small 27' fifth wheel to a 31' fifth wheel. I get an honest ~low 11 to ~mid 12 mpg and we have plenty of room for two, sometimes three + three small dogs. I spent about three months trying to figure out what would work best for us- MH, TT or 5th wheel and the fiver won. If I had it to do again, I would still choose the 5W. Just something to consider......
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Old 08-18-2013, 05:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clayobx View Post
Don't make the sacrifice! We went from the tent, pop up, TT,all a for us. Bought our first coach 39 ft, Fleetwood Excursion. Good coach, not enough room for the four of us for long hauls. Large Golden Retriever, fat Border Collie, buy what you can afford obviously but buy right or you will go through the same drill as I did!

Very good real-life advise! We did the same thing.
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Old 08-18-2013, 05:23 PM   #11
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If money is no object, MPG does not matter.
With my Palazzo towing a Honda CRV I get 11+ MPG keeping speed below 65. Check the many Palazzo owners' comments in the Thor Owners forum and you will see similar.

It is big enough for us. With some of the really big coaches I wonder what they do with all that space and how long does it take to set up all those slides. But if I had money that was truly disposable I would consider something bigger.
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Old 08-18-2013, 05:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clayobx View Post
Don't make the sacrifice! We went from the tent, pop up, TT,all a for us. Bought our first coach 39 ft, Fleetwood Excursion. Good coach, not enough room for the four of us for long hauls. Large Golden Retriever, fat Border Collie, buy what you can afford obviously but buy right or you will go through the same drill as I did!
We're on our 4th coach in 3 years for pretty much that reason.
Except that our fat cat stays home.
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Old 08-18-2013, 05:39 PM   #13
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This just my humble opinion, but the best advice I could give, is do what the little lady says! If you do it without her blessing, you will pay a terrible price! It's not worth it, trust me. If she wants a pop-up, buy the pop-up, after she's spent a few night's in that thing, you will have her blessing to buy anything you want. Make sure your first trip, is on a good rainy timeline. This is from a man who has learned his lesson. LOL!!
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Old 08-18-2013, 05:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clayobx View Post
Don't make the sacrifice! We went from the tent, pop up, TT,all a for us. Bought our first coach 39 ft, Fleetwood Excursion. Good coach, not enough room for the four of us for long hauls. Large Golden Retriever, fat Border Collie, buy what you can afford obviously but buy right or you will go through the same drill as I did!
I have to agree with you. We went from pop-up, to r-pod, to 34 foot TT to our 36 foot MH. Could have saved some serious money had we bought the MH first.
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