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Old 08-24-2015, 07:27 PM   #1
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Some open questions

We are planning to go full time in about 3 years when I retire early (maybe longer based on the last week). We'll probably buy a MH in about 18 months to 2 years.

I've read over an over to get a DP vs a gas class A. I've also read that a diesel has a higher maintenance cost, but I've not seen it quantified. As I play with retirement budgeting, getting a handle on this cost will help me decide between gas and DP. So, excluding major failures, what is the additional cost for a diesels regular service and maintenance? Am I looking at budgeting an additional $100 a month or $1000 a month?

Now on to question 2. I really like the layout and floor plan of the Thor Challenger 37KT with 3 distinct areas; master bedroom, dinning / kitchen and then front bedroom / living room. This would provide a private area for guests so if I get up early and get coffee or what not I'm not having to disturb guests. Does anybody other than Thor offer a similar floor plan in a higher grade gas or DP coach?

Any finally. Everybody says floor plan first, but do I go with the floor plan of the KT over something like a Canyon Star or a slightly older DP?



In a perfect world I think I'd like an all electric, gas coach with comfort drive
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Old 08-24-2015, 07:58 PM   #2
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There are a number of posts regarding Diesel vs Gas maintenance cost. If you do a search it will answer lots of questions.

I owned a Class C prior to our current Class A. The Class C had a simple electrical system, 12 VDC lights, converter for the battery, no inverter or fancy transfer switching. The Class A pretty much has it all, which makes it more complicated, especially if something doesn't work.

If you are handy and can fix things it will make a huge difference as far as maintenance costs. I am pretty handy. I can buy a part and install it for 1/4 of what it would cost to have someone else do it. I just installed a HW50C surge protector for $220, which normally retails for +$350 + labor ~$100/hr.

Normally the service on a gas engine is ~5k while a diesel will be 15K or annually, so depending on how much you plan to drive will dictate the cost. It use to cost me ~$40 for oil and filter for the Class C, it now costs me $140 (4 gallons of oil, oil filter, fuel filters).

The catastrophic failures are the ones that cost you.
Generator $5500 replaced with used
ECM for Transmission $3500
Radiator $7K but insurance paid for most of it.
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Old 08-24-2015, 08:12 PM   #3
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How you plan to use the coach is a consideration. We have a gas unit, but rarely go more than 300 miles from home. Mostly within a 50 mile radius. Going cross country might be a different animal. For what we do, the gas coach is just fine.
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Old 08-24-2015, 08:27 PM   #4
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I would not base any purchase on having guests. Buy what you and your spouse will be comfortable in.
I wouldn't own a Thor. Just picky.
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Old 08-24-2015, 09:21 PM   #5
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Thanks for the answers. I'm very handy and have done all the work on my heavily modified jeep. But as a full timer my tools would be limited and I assume most camp grounds frown on doing major work at your site.

10k additional for diesel maintenance a year buys a lot of gas. Plus pulling that additional 10k out of my 401k might push into a higher tax bracket and effect insurance rates before medicare. I will have study this a bit more.

Not just for guest, wife and I like the 37KT floor plan too, big window with table on patio side, separate TV area with a door for when I stay up watching TV until the wee hours.

I've spent at least a month going back and forth between the Thor 37KT and Canyon Stars, also been looking at older DP coaches.
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Old 08-24-2015, 09:22 PM   #6
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Oh and as a full timer I'm thinking we will put on 5 to 8k in miles a year maybe more at first.
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Old 08-24-2015, 09:32 PM   #7
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I do almost all the normal maintenance work and frankly I don't see the add'l cost as being that much. Now, if I had to pay for everything then yes a DP is somewhat more expensive.
If you're talking engine repairs, then a DP gets real expensive FAST. Bought the Magna, engine blew 2,600 miles and cost over $33,000 to repair although we only had to pay $22,000 of it. It's the second major failure and the third turbo ($14,000) alone. Luckily for the original owner it the first engine repair and two turbo's were warranty items. We're the second owner so no Cummins warranty.
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Old 08-24-2015, 11:10 PM   #8
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I have my annual maintenance done by Freightline at Gaffney. My routine cost average is about $1100 depending on what level of maintenance is due and whether I have the alignment checked, etc. I think my M3 maintenance might be a little more. I had a generator problem that cost me $250.
That is certainly more than my Honda but I have no idea how that compares to a gas motorhome. The other thing to remember, at least my opinion, is that a diesel is far less forgiving of poor maintenance so I make sure I follow the recommended schedule without fail.
Most of the other expenses doesn't make any difference if it's a gas or diesel. Things like like fridge, antenna, water pump, inverter, etc... Things go wrong or, et out of adjustment
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Old 08-24-2015, 11:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selah View Post
I have my annual maintenance done by Freightline at Gaffney. My routine cost average is about $1100 depending on what level of maintenance is due and whether I have the alignment checked, etc. I think my M3 maintenance might be a little more. I had a generator problem that cost me $250.
That is certainly more than my Honda but I have no idea how that compares to a gas motorhome. The other thing to remember, at least my opinion, is that a diesel is far less forgiving of poor maintenance so I make sure I follow the recommended schedule without fail.
Most of the other expenses doesn't make any difference if it's a gas or diesel. Things like like fridge, antenna, water pump, inverter, etc... Things go wrong or, et out of adjustment
thanks, So closer to 100 a month instead of 1000 a month, what do other budget for regular maintenance?
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Old 08-25-2015, 05:55 AM   #10
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When we were doing a lot of RV shows and rallies we became friends with a several vendors who fulltime and travel the country doing shows, (more than just RV shows). They budgeted $5000 a year for maintenance and repairs, but they said they never spent it all. Now, they are doing a lot more miles per year than the average fulltimer, one Wanderlodge was over 250,000 miles and going strong, so you would expect to replace tires and change oil less often than they do.


It is an RV so you will have to repair things whether it is gas or diesel. As was mentioned before, repairs on a diesel will be more expensive, but theoretically, it should last longer than a gas coach. Periodic maintenance will be more also cost more - 28 quarts of oil versus 6, $30 filter instead of $10, etc.. At 100,000 miles a diesel is just getting broke in right and a gasser is probably on it's last legs.


There is no easy answer, and it is yours to answer for you. In my opinion, a good used pusher "should" be a better value than a new gas coach. Good luck and have lots of enjoyment in which ever path you choose.
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Old 08-25-2015, 06:22 AM   #11
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It is difficult to quantify. Lots of variables. For a similar size, similarly equiped coach $100/month may be about right, but maybe high considering the longevity of the engine and transmission. But a fancy 45' tag with an ISX will be multiples of that compared to any gasser out there. Oodles of the latest systems, 14 gallons of oil, 8 massive Michelins, monster generator, more batteries, etc., etc. It can add up in a hurry.
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Old 08-25-2015, 06:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Filthy-Beast View Post
Thanks for the answers. I'm very handy and have done all the work on my heavily modified jeep. But as a full timer my tools would be limited and I assume most camp grounds frown on doing major work at your site.

10k additional for diesel maintenance a year buys a lot of gas. Plus pulling that additional 10k out of my 401k might push into a higher tax bracket and effect insurance rates before medicare. I will have study this a bit more.

Not just for guest, wife and I like the 37KT floor plan too, big window with table on patio side, separate TV area with a door for when I stay up watching TV until the wee hours.

I've spent at least a month going back and forth between the Thor 37KT and Canyon Stars, also been looking at older DP coaches.

My wife and I have full timed for 8 years now in a 40' Monaco DP. I do most of my own PM. A Diesel engine requires more oil and bigger filters. Depending on the engine size, Speedco will change the oil and oil filter plus a fuel filter and do a complete chassis lube for $250-300. That is just about $40-50 more than I can d it myself and it takes them 45 minutes. Modern diesels are on a 15-20k miles schedule or annual.

There is an air dryer to service on a 2-3 year basis. Depending on the brand this is $40-150. The air filter is every 2-3 years and is $70-125. Depending on age, the transmission is a 3-5 year service schedule or more if you use sample testing.

Those are the primary items than cost more than a gas engine.

Any other service requirements are pretty similar between gas & diesel.


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Old 08-25-2015, 07:09 AM   #13
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Steve that is exactly the kind of info I was looking for, thanks
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Old 08-25-2015, 07:18 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Filthy-Beast View Post
We are planning to go full time in about 3 years when I retire early (maybe longer based on the last week). We'll probably buy a MH in about 18 months to 2 years.

I've read over an over to get a DP vs a gas class A. I've also read that a diesel has a higher maintenance cost, but I've not seen it quantified. As I play with retirement budgeting, getting a handle on this cost will help me decide between gas and DP. So, excluding major failures, what is the additional cost for a diesels regular service and maintenance? Am I looking at budgeting an additional $100 a month or $1000 a month?

Now on to question 2. I really like the layout and floor plan of the Thor Challenger 37KT with 3 distinct areas; master bedroom, dinning / kitchen and then front bedroom / living room. This would provide a private area for guests so if I get up early and get coffee or what not I'm not having to disturb guests. Does anybody other than Thor offer a similar floor plan in a higher grade gas or DP coach?

Any finally. Everybody says floor plan first, but do I go with the floor plan of the KT over something like a Canyon Star or a slightly older DP?



In a perfect world I think I'd like an all electric, gas coach with comfort drive

I didn't address the floor plan question. I agree with the previous poster about buying a floor plan without considering overnight guests very heavily. When our oldest daughter (of 4 kids) first toured our full time coach she asked, "why does it only sleep 4?" I replied: "because I couldn't find one that only slept 2".

I still feel that way.

Here is another opinion:

Look for a DP 5-7 years old with records of maintenance history. Big Bang for the buck.


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