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Old 06-28-2005, 12:53 PM   #1
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I started talking to a very nice gentleman at a CG at Virginia Beach a few days ago, he had traded an Allegro 32 gas MH like mine for a new 39' Journey and was kind enough to show me all through his rig. It sure was a beauty....he said it had a 350 Cat engine so when I asked him about how much more powerful it felt when he drove as compared to the Allegro I was surprised and a little disappointed when he said it felt "about the same". Now I plan to own a diesel MH some day...so guys, honestly, aside from the ride quality and lack of noise in the diesel....is it really that much difference when just motoring down the road? What was the most significant change you experienced when switching from gas to diesel and is that change worth the price difference between a mid-level gas and mid-level diesel?
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Old 06-28-2005, 12:53 PM   #2
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I started talking to a very nice gentleman at a CG at Virginia Beach a few days ago, he had traded an Allegro 32 gas MH like mine for a new 39' Journey and was kind enough to show me all through his rig. It sure was a beauty....he said it had a 350 Cat engine so when I asked him about how much more powerful it felt when he drove as compared to the Allegro I was surprised and a little disappointed when he said it felt "about the same". Now I plan to own a diesel MH some day...so guys, honestly, aside from the ride quality and lack of noise in the diesel....is it really that much difference when just motoring down the road? What was the most significant change you experienced when switching from gas to diesel and is that change worth the price difference between a mid-level gas and mid-level diesel?
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Old 06-28-2005, 07:25 PM   #3
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I started out with a "pusher", so I can't really compare the two. But, from all I've heard, the diesel has considerably more torque and should potentially last longer than a comprable gas model. I have a 36' Monaco Windsor w/250hp 8.3L Cummins and I pull a 2002 F150 Super Crew pickup. I wouldn't even attempt towing the pick up with a gas powered coach. Good luck!
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Old 06-29-2005, 09:24 AM   #4
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I had the same questions when we bought our first RV in 2001. we went with the Winnebago adventurer 35ft U and it was gas with basement air. We loved it and were very happy with the power (had the workhorse chassis with 8.1 L gm engine). We tow a honda crv. We traveled our west for 6 wks and the coach was great and so was the basement air. What I found was that if you were going to put 1000's of mile on it , the diesel would last longer than gas and ride was to be better etc. buT to me at the time, the extra 30- 40 ,000 was not worth it. With that said, we just bought a 2005 Monaco Knight diesel !!!! We fould a floor plan that we "just had to have" !!! and it only came in the 40 ft knight and in a diesel. The ride is better (but not worth the price change since we are not full timers and dont use it that much), the power is much more(but did we reaLLY NEED IT??), The ride is much more quiet since engine is in back. I think it really depends on what your plans are re number of miles you expect to put on the Rv, how long you expect to keep it, what you want to spend, how many slides you want, how big you want and what you want to pull. Not that i was of much help to you but I think it really is a personal choice Good luck with your decision. Check back with me in a year and I can tell you what I think then !!
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Old 06-29-2005, 12:09 PM   #5
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">is that change worth the price difference between a mid-level gas and mid-level diesel? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
This question is very much like asking if the extra cost is justified to buy a Lincoln over a Ford, or a Cadillac over a Chevy. If you have the budget, there are some definite advantages to the pushers. But they also cost about $35K more if you compare coaches of the same quality between the gas chassis and the diesel. If you budget can deal with the extra cost, you will probably be happy that you made the change. But if the added cost will stretch the budget to the limit, or mean that you won't have the things you would like to have, then it isn't worth it.
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Old 06-29-2005, 12:35 PM   #6
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I have had both and if at all possible would never go back to gas. Why? Larger tires, air suspension, air brakes, engine brake, noise in the rear, better towing capacity and the fact that it will outlive a gas rig. Generally the diesel engine comes with a much longer and stronger warranty. With a DP you also can get a diesel generator which will far outlive a gas unit and is very much quieter when running with greater output. Yes, it does cost more; however, you do get some of the $ back when you sell or trade. Ken,'04 DSDP...
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Old 07-17-2005, 10:54 PM   #7
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Within the last 2 weeks I have test driven a 2004 Horizon 36GD, 330 Cat. engine and a 2005 Journey 36G with the 350 7.2L Cat.

Bottom line...I liked the performance and ride of the Horizon best, and they both rode better with less side to side rock & roll than my '03 Suncruiser 33V on the V-10 chassis. That said...my Suncruiser which has a complete Banks kit plus trans command is much quicker, especially from dead stop to 60 mph.

Also, I have traveled on trips through the mountains of no. CA on very steep grades with 2 friends who have Monoco's...Endeavor and Dynasty and I can easily pass them on steep grades. While they're doing 30 to 35 mph I'm pushing about 50 mph.

Now, is it a fair comparison?..maybe not because thier rigs are larger and heavier than mine and certainly quieter inside. My Ford is screaming at over 4000 RPM and it affords me all the power I need.

With all that said....do I WANT a DP? You betcha! 'cause I have a bad case of the WANTS.

Just my two cents and don't any of you DP drivers challenge me to a drag...Just kidding!!!!

By the way...during the Horizon test drive while the trannie indicated I was in 6th gear I could not get the trannie to kick in to a lower gear no matter what speed I floored the accelerator. The salesman said I had to push the down button on the drivers left console.He said that if I were to drive the rig for 5 or 6 more times the "COMPUTER" would adjust to my driving habits and eventually kick down when I floored it. Sounds like a bunch of hooey to me, but what do I know, I'm just a gasser driver.

Tried the same on the Journey and It always kicked in to what I'd call a passing gear. Was the salesman feeding me a line about the Horizon?
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Old 07-18-2005, 03:48 AM   #8
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The Allison transmissions, even the 5 speed used with the 8.1L gas engine, do indeed "learn" your driving habits and make adjustments to the shift profile. Whether that fully explains the Horizon's reluctance to downshift, I cannot say. Usually they kick out of overdrive (6th) quite easily but the next shift is harder to get to until it learns that you like to GO.

Are you relying on the displayed gear indicator or the "feel" of a downshift? Some trannys always display the "target" gear by default, not the current actual gear. I think the what is displayed on the dash display can be altered by the tranny's programming, so might be different in different rigs with the same or similar trannys.
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Old 07-18-2005, 08:11 AM   #9
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My previous coach was a 2003 Suncruiser 33V on a Workhorse chassis. The 8.1 gas engine put out 340 HP and something like 455 ft-lbs of torque. It got me to where I was going just fine.

My present coach is a 2004 Allegro Bus 40DP on a Freightliner chassis. The Cummins ISL diesel cranks out 400 HP and 1,200 ft-lbs of torque. It also gets me there just fine (Ok maybe a little bit "finer" ).

There are sizeable differences between the coaches but it's not just engine. The DP is rated at 32,000 lbs GVW while the Suncruiser was only 20,700. Air ride suspension versus leaf springs. The DP is more stable than a gasser in high winds and there's much less effect of 18 wheeler's bow wakes upon the rear overhang of the coach so it goes down the road a lot straighter than a gasser and, with much less effort.

Diesel engines are different than gas engines. As previously mentioned, there's the long life, economy, and resale factors - amongst others. The biggest misconception is of horsepower. Horsepower is nothing more than a mathematical equation. It's torque times RPM, divided by a common factor. My gasser would rocket away from a toll booth and I'd be passing 18 wheelers (with more torque than I had) left and right out of the gate. But this was a light load situation. The gasser builds it's power at higher RPMs so if you can get to those revs and holds it there - you will have power. The diesel engine builds it's power at lower revs so chances are you'll have more power under normal driving conditions when the revs are lower. Those same trucks that I blew out from a dead stop on the flatlands will go right on by me as I'm struggling to keep my revs up on a mountain grade.

When comparing a 340 HP gas engine to a 350 HP diesel engine it's not an apples to apples comparison. The torque of the diesel will outpull the gasser under loaded conditions but the gasser will fare quite well on wide open areas because it weighs quite a bit less and the driver doesn't have to compromise his engine's limited power range by lugging up a steep grade. Then again, my 400ISL pulling 23K is very close to my 340HP 20.7K Suncruiser when blasting away from Chicago's tollbooths. When driving in the Rockies however, there's a huge difference - even with the increased weight of the DP.

If you test drive a DP versus a gasser on a windy day on a road with some decent grades you'll get a pretty good idea of what the differences are. It's much more than just the engine.

But, as I mentioned earlier, they'll both get you there.
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Old 07-18-2005, 09:53 PM   #10
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Thanks for the info, guys. And Gary...yes, the indicator was showing 6th gear but I really don't know what gear the tranny was in. All I know is that if I had been driving the Horizon on a two lane road with uncoming traffic and I was trying to pass a slower rig, I'd be in deep kimchee.....I believe it's a problem with the particular Horizon I was test driving.

Thanks again and one of these days...when my ship comes in I'll be cruisin' in my pusher.

Thanks again
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Old 07-20-2005, 06:47 PM   #11
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I started out with a "pusher", so I can't really compare the two. But, from all I've heard, the diesel has considerably more torque and should potentially last longer than a comprable gas model. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

We started out with a pusher, but went back to a gasser. This will be a poor argument but the DW likes to rest, sleep in the bedroom without the noise and vibration. I was getting near the cost of big repairs with the dissel. Gassers will last up to 200,000 now I figure I will be buying a new one before I get that far. OH, and someone mentioned dissels have 'bigger tires'. That excuse sounds like mine. Besides I have 22.5 as well. Economically, the gasser is cheaper. OK don't slame me now.
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Old 07-20-2005, 09:38 PM   #12
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Hi guys, we're shopping now. What is the fuel mpg difference going to be on the same length motorhome, probably a 32 or 34 ft. one between gas and diesel? Newer coach with a gas engine, or older with a DP. I know this as a place where someone will tell me the truth. I'm a conservative driver 55 to 60 mph just trying to stretch my gas in our 26 ft Class C now. Will drive the next on the same way. Thanks, Harvey
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Old 07-21-2005, 05:16 AM   #13
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Our new '05 HR Ambassador with the 330 Cummins will hold 67-68 mph in 6th gear up most grades that my W-22 would've needed 3rd gear and 4000 rpm to climb at that speed. Used to freak out the blue-eyed tiger cat. Now he stays on the dashboard with nary a meow, (hope I never have to stop too quick!!). Gas is good, but diesel is "gooder" for me.
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Old 07-31-2005, 02:07 PM   #14
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lhill,
I just got rid of my gasser ('04 Allegro Bay 37DB) to get a DP. There were things I liked about my gasser and things I didn't, and ultimately the things I didn't like were enough to prompt me to trade up. I'm not posting to bash any brand of RV or any particular chassis, and if my experiences don't mirror someone else's I do not care. These are MY honest assessments and observations based on MY ownership of both types of rigs:

Initial cost of a DP over a gasser is more.
Maintenance costs are more for a diesel. There are more systems, filters, etc. so the expense is greater.

Gas mileage for my 37-foot gasser with 8.1L engine was about the same as with my present DP- 7.5 mpg. The diesel is more consistent in getting numbers in the 7's but both engines are fairly close in mpg.

Performance between the two engines (8.1L gas, 350hp CAT diesel) is dependent on how you look at it. Both rigs sitting side by side, with the DP weighing 5000 lbs. more and with both rigs pulling the same toad (5220 lb. Chevy pickup,) they will perform about the same. The gasser will accelerate slightly faster from a dead stop but bleeds speed faster in the hills. In the mountains, the CAT will hold "X" speed in 6th gear at 1800 rpm in near silence where the 8.1L will need 3rd gear, 4000 rpm, and a lot of ****-raising to do the same.
However, with both rigs at the same gross weight the diesel will trounce the gasser every time regardless of terrain.

When parked, the gasser & DP are about the same, assuming a comparable trim line. Ultraleather furniture, stainless appliances, solid wood cabinets, etc. are the same from coach to coach. The DP may have more slides for more interior room, but that's about it.

The BIG differences are on the road. A gasser will require add-on front steering stabilizers, rear trac bars, upgraded shocks, etc. just to make it handle reasonably well on rutted roads, in winds, next to passing trucks, etc. (Don't take my word for it- read gasser-owner's posts and signatures and they'll tell you themselves.) Even after all the mods many gassers still handle bad.
Diesel chassis handle pretty rock solid right out of the box. Not too many folks spending money on aftermarket suspension upgrades on DP's.

Regardless of how the manufacturer's try to church it up, the outdated leaf spring suspension of the gasser will always be just that- an outdated leaf spring suspension. This is by far the worst component on ANY gas chassis made. While some of the new chassis' ride OK on flat and uneventful roads, as soon as the roadway gets crappy so does the ride. All the clothes in the rear closet will be on the floor at the end of the day and you've picked up 8 new squeaks and rattles from the vibration.
The diesel chassis' airbags dampen bumps and vibrations much more effectively than the steel leaf springs on a gasser. I don't think anyone will argue this point.

The gasser pilot has the disadvantage of having a 400-500 CID engine screaming at 4000 rpm three feet from his head. While not a big issue on flat level roads, most of America is not located on flat level roads. I actually wore earplugs on many days when traveling out west and in Alaska when a lot of hills and mountains were on the menu. Forget conversation or listening to the radio.
Diesels have the engine in the rear. No noise, no problem.

Most gassers are fortunate if they have 1800-2000 lbs. CCC and 5000 lb. towing capacities; my Allegro Bay had about 1900 lbs. CCC and 4000 lbs. towing capacity. Older rigs may have as little as 1/4 that amount of CCC.
My DP has 5483 lbs. of CCC even with full water, propane, and 4 people onboard. Add to that 10,000 lbs. of towing capacity and there's no doubt which can carry and pull more.

After owning one, it is my opinion that modern gas chassis' are excellent powertrains and chassis' in dire need of a comparable suspension. Leaf springs may be OK for school buses, dump trucks, and 30-year old motorhomes, but they are completely out of place on a $100,000+ motorhome in 2006. Technologies exist for effective sound deadening of the screaming engine up front, so motorhome manufacturer's should spend the extra few bucks and avail themselves of it. Until they do, I'll stick with the near silent, smooth-riding DP's. And yes, it was indeed worth every penny it cost me to upgrade to the DP.

Best regards!
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