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Old 05-24-2015, 08:13 PM   #1
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Under 30' Class B Diesel vs Gas Engines

Since I am now inclined to go with a Class B (or similarly small Class C) unit to live and travel in with my small doggie, I am wondering if and why I would ever consider one of the Mercedes diesel coaches over a simple Ford or Chevy. The problem in me seems to be justifying the cost of a diesel in such a small RV. The cost seems to be nearly $20,000 more than a gas engine.

So help me here, what in the hell is that $20,000 getting you? I can't imagine anything really. Even if you saved a few dollars every fill up and you drove it 100,000 miles, you would never make up for that cost. In a B unit, I don't see any other benefit, and if anything I see a few negative things, like noisier front diesel engine in a B, and more intricate costly service needed.

What am I missing that others seem to see in their paying the extra money for a diesel in a Class B RV? Those small diesel engines can't be giving you extra torque or power benefit over a big Ford or Chevy engine, can it? Is there any difference in the build or strength underneath of the frame?

Help me understand if I am missing the point. Is there any benefit really in paying the extra 15-20k for a Mercedes diesel in a Class B. If one was in the $60k price range or so, one could buy a new small Class B on sale instead of a used diesel B. Just trying to think out loud.
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Old 05-24-2015, 09:01 PM   #2
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My neighbor has a B on a sprinter chassis and claims he gets 15-18 MPG. not sure how that compares to gassers.
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Old 05-25-2015, 12:01 AM   #3
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We just purchased a new MB Sprinter Roadtrek. My reasons after fighting the same reasoning, what am I getting for the extra cost are several:

1. Increased reliability
2. Increased mileage between required servicing
3. Increased MPG - about double that from my former class C (gasser)
4. Smaller physical size of the engine - lighter weight
5. Resale value
6. All the bells and whistles that come with a new Mercedes Sprinter van
7. The only way to get the features that Roadtrek puts in their CS Adventurous
8. Cool sounding
9. IT IS A MERCEDES - the only way I could convince my wife to ride in a MB!
10. And finally the capper, spending my kids inheritance - might as well enjoy it myself

Just a note, I have had diesels before, a Datsun, a B model Mack and a couple log trucks, but could never quite justify buying a diesel pickup.
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Old 05-25-2015, 12:49 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavePCP View Post
We just purchased a new MB Sprinter Roadtrek. My reasons after fighting the same reasoning, what am I getting for the extra cost are several:

1. Increased reliability
2. Increased mileage between required servicing
3. Increased MPG - about double that from my former class C (gasser)
4. Smaller physical size of the engine - lighter weight
5. Resale value
6. All the bells and whistles that come with a new Mercedes Sprinter van
7. The only way to get the features that Roadtrek puts in their CS Adventurous
8. Cool sounding
9. IT IS A MERCEDES - the only way I could convince my wife to ride in a MB!
10. And finally the capper, spending my kids inheritance - might as well enjoy it myself

Just a note, I have had diesels before, a Datsun, a B model Mack and a couple log trucks, but could never quite justify buying a diesel pickup.
I don't suppose you can put a value on how much better it drives or more secure one may feel with a diesel over a gas engine. But to me, and I stress only to me, I am familiar with gas engines. They are simple to understand, need little maintenance, go 100,000 miles before major service is required, and all one has to do is change the oils, engine, tranny, etc, regularly, along with keep an eye on hoses, belts, etc.

I know nothing about diesel engines and don't know that I want to spend the energy learning. I would be so much more concerned and worry about having one. Even if one needed maintenance, I have a good fair mechanic and can understand when he talks to me about a gas engine and what is needed, which really has been nothing with my last few cars. May current Cadillac just turned 100,000 miles this week without any problems or extra cost at all.

I figure that even if a diesel gets twice the mpg, it would take 50,000-100,00 miles in gas cost to make up for the difference in price you have to pay for one. So that really puts the onus on the diesel to offer so much more elsewhere to make up for that cost.
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Old 05-25-2015, 03:26 AM   #5
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One might add to the list is performance in the High Country. If you are a mountain runner, you will notice the better performance of a turbo diesel. Makes it a much nicer ride.
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Old 05-25-2015, 06:36 AM   #6
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You are not just getting the diesel engine but the whole Sprinter chassis...... you don't see posts about poor handling, cheap handling fixes, noisy or hot dog houses, can't talk or hear the radio because of the noisy engine, etc. on the Sprinter based RVs.

Mountain performance (Rockies and MD) is excellent....I've even gone down a 5 mile 6% grade at 60 mph with the cruise control on and not touched the brakes (the highest it got to was 67).

It also appears that resale values are higher.

Their scheduled maintenance service prices seem high but I've done my own so that's not a problem.

There will likely be diesel things I won't be able to repair but that would happen with the newer gas engines also. I could handle anything from the 60/70s but those days are gone.
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Old 05-25-2015, 11:27 AM   #7
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I agree with you on the "B" comparison-kind of like buying a Cadillac when the Chevy is lots cheaper- so -pay for preference, if you want to

On the "C"- My Winnebago View did not cost that much more than the comparable Winnebago Ford Chasis. And, I have to say, I like the feel & ride, and love the 16+MPG.

I am looking for a good resale value to make it a good decision.
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Old 05-25-2015, 06:52 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by neschultz View Post
You are not just getting the diesel engine but the whole Sprinter chassis...... you don't see posts about poor handling, cheap handling fixes, noisy or hot dog houses, can't talk or hear the radio because of the noisy engine, etc. on the Sprinter based RVs.

Mountain performance (Rockies and MD) is excellent....I've even gone down a 5 mile 6% grade at 60 mph with the cruise control on and not touched the brakes (the highest it got to was 67).

It also appears that resale values are higher.

Their scheduled maintenance service prices seem high but I've done my own so that's not a problem.

There will likely be diesel things I won't be able to repair but that would happen with the newer gas engines also. I could handle anything from the 60/70s but those days are gone.
I hear you, but heck, I flew over the Rockies in a fully loaded up 6 cylander 200 hp VW Rialta with no slowing down at all. I guess I have a hard time thinking that the big V8/V10 from ford or chevy would have to creep up a mountain grade. I am just wrong in that assumption? I could see it on a big Class A, but on a 25' class B or C?
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Old 05-25-2015, 09:13 PM   #9
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I agree...it was the downhill portion that impressed me. Previously, when towing a 7000 # TT, my big block 6 L GM got up the Rockies OK (not with the cruise on though) but required a lot of braking on the way down.
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Old 05-29-2015, 12:10 PM   #10
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Have a new 2015 Thor Citation 24.6' w/ slide out, with a 188 hp MB diesel. Impressed with power on hills, mpg, and general quality of the MB sprinter chassis. The blue DEF injection added to the exhaust had me wondering for awhile. Uses 5 gals every 5,000 miles or so. Adds another fuel cost I did not count on. Also impressed with the cabin room and its fairly quite.


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Old 05-29-2015, 01:59 PM   #11
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gas vs. diesel

The reason I am asking is we had a Sprinter version motorhome and when the engine light came on we were travelling from Chicago to Dallas. It happened around Springfield, Mo. We spent three hours on the phone trying to find someone who could analyze the problem or at least tell us what it might mean over the phone.
Either they could work on Mercedes cars but not the Sprinter Vans or they did not have the updated software or they did not have a qualified mercedes mechanic who could work under warranty even though they sold the Sprinter van and that included Camping World and Dodge or Chrysler dealers who sold them and even some Mercedes Benz dealers.
We finally found someone in Joplin, Mo. who would analyze it. We found out it was probably just a software update issue so we were fine to travel to Dallas where we had the same run around trying to find a Mercedes authorized mechanic.
We are interested in pursuing a Ford/gas class B RV because of the availability of dealers around the country; even in small towns.
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Old 05-29-2015, 02:40 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by neschultz View Post
You are not just getting the diesel engine but the whole Sprinter chassis...... you don't see posts about poor handling, cheap handling fixes, noisy or hot dog houses, can't talk or hear the radio because of the noisy engine, etc. on the Sprinter based RVs.
You do see posts about poor handling - particularly low speed sway. Granted, it's not a 30+ foot coach, but they have their own set of issues.

I've had Class-A gas, it's noisy and often hot. Class-C, less noisy and the motor is father out, I really didn't notice it. I'd say the sprinter certainly makes less heat, but only slightly less wind noise than the same generation V10 Class-C.

They do get twice the mileage of a gasser. They also store a LOT less and have very limited privacy. Don't get me wrong, I love the chassis for what it is - if you can get away with 24' and limited storage, the sprinter IS the way to go, at least in my opinion.. Heck, they'll even tow a trailer, if that solves the storage solution.

Sprinters aren't typically as loaded to gross as some of the Class-Cs and certainly the Class-As.

Service, however.. Is a problem all around. With a 31' Class-C, Ford V10, you'd think you could service it anywhere. Wrong. I'd say 1 Ford dealer in 10 would touch it for any sort of problem that required a lift. Most don't have a lift or a bay that big to fit a 12' high truck.

And the Sprinter is probably worse. It's sorta a Mercedes. It might be a Dodge. It's a motorhome that's near 12' high, which has bay restrictions - certainly most MB dealers won't have a bay for it.... I've heard stories both Dodge and Mercedes declining to service them, so you may be in for a long drive to find service.

They have their faults. Great MPG. Good torque. Love the motor. But they have a history of minor issues with intake pipes. When they fault and limp home, they're hard to service. And as a Mercedes Benz, they'll be expensive.. Probably more so than a gasser..


Look, I'd buy a sprinter - absolutely... But they fill a particular use case just like most RVs do.
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Old 05-30-2015, 07:40 AM   #13
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There is an issue concerning limited availability of service for Sprinters.

We had the DEF light come on in Oregon last year-made a half dozen phone calls (Mercedes & Freightliner dealers) then drove 175 miles to Eugene, Oregon, where we received fantastic service by the nicest dealer personnel on the planet.

Last month a Wheel Sensor went bad (lost ABS & Cruise control) we drove home, made an appointment for the following week at a Sprinter dealer 40 miles from home, they diagnosed the issue, ordered the part in and replaced the sensor- no real inconvenience.

In 28K miles on a 2014 Winnebago View, we have had these 2 Chassis issues- I am OK with that. I have changed my own oil 3 times- I replaced a MB Fuel filter (recommended service at 20K)- I have rotated tires (3 times)-replaced both burned out headlights. and that is it.

No, it is not a carefree Chassis-but I like it- It drives good-you can feel the quality-it is a good choice for us as we head out next week for a 60 day run up to Nova Scotia from Fla.
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Old 05-30-2015, 07:49 AM   #14
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I looked at the sprinters realllll hard... but after getting inside a couple, I was disappointed.

The drivers cab "looks" very nice. But I found the seats a little... lacking? Seemed short in the leg, goofy method of raising and lowering the back, not a drop of power to them.

I found the motorhome sides of them not so inspiring either. Uncomfortable seating, cheapy builds, not much zen, lots of plastic.

The me the value to money wasn't quite there. I did not look at a UNITY VAN though, which appears from the outside, top of the heap, but you pay for it.

Looked at coachmen prism up close, it seemed the bottom of the heap in house quality.
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