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Old 08-27-2010, 10:50 AM   #1
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Taking lazy way out

Apologies in advance because when I was a member years ago, I know I saw these discussions, but now cannot find them quickly using the search feature.

We are trying to decide whether to buy another motorhome, preferably a Class C, or a truck and a fifth wheel. I thought there was a topic here on the comparisons of benefits of each, but I can't find it.

We want something that we can use for both short weekend trips in the mountains as well as live in for a month during the winter. Prefer something under 30 feet.

Yesterday we looked at trucks. Salesman said that we needed a 3/4 or one ton truck to haul a 30 foot or less Fifth wheel and that it must be a diesel. Diesels are considerably more expensive than gas trucks. Is this true? Do diesels really get 28 mpg when not towning? We have never owned a truck before.

Thanx for input and apologies for reasking something I know is here, but cannot find.
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Old 08-27-2010, 11:55 AM   #2
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You need to consider if you want to drive a big truck around town to stores/ restaurants and sightseeing or if you would rather tow something more fuel efficient to do same. We prefer to tow another vehicle. But that is our preference.
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Old 08-27-2010, 12:01 PM   #3
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I had a 97 Dodge Cummins 3/4 ton 2WD diesel and often got 22-24 MPG. That said, my new Dodge Cummins dually with a six speed auto and 4WD gets about 15 unloaded and 11 loaded. My understanding is that the older diesels are dirty and got great mileage. The new ones are way cleaner but with pre and post ignitions sequence injection, not as fuel efficient. It seems couner intuitive that you burn more fuel and get better emissions but that's the way it is with newer diesels. You will get nowhere close to 28MPG in a 1 ton dually no matter the manufacturer. Yes, diesels are way more $ up front but you always get it back in resale value later. Some say more costly to mantain too. I have never owned a gasser truck so, I can't say but 12 quarts of oil at an oil change for my Cummins? Ouch!
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Old 08-28-2010, 12:29 AM   #4
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"Do diesels really get 28 mpg when not towing?"

Never seen one of these in a truck. However, the VW Jetta/Passat TDI would qualify........

Please do yourself a real favor and spend a lot of time researching your purchase and monitor as many RV forums as you can find. The answer you seek is very complicated and full of variables, especially when you throw in the "a month in winter."

Hopefully, you will be able to find all the answers before you get something that doesn't meet your needs.

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Old 08-28-2010, 10:25 AM   #5
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Thank you for the replies. Something we left out of the equasion in our consideration was "winterizing." We live in what we consider a very pleasant climate most of the year, and would really want to go south maybe for as long as 6 weeks at the end of January and February. While we seldom get freezing temps here, it can happen and has. Plus to get south, we have to cross mountains where it definitely gets snow and freezing temps. So maybe this is not practical for us.
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Old 08-28-2010, 02:26 PM   #6
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Be careful of what you see on the forums concerning fuel mileage. Many people take their mileage from the overhead display which may be right on, but most of the time it isn't even close. Other I suspect just like to make themselves feel good by giving high reading. My overhead says I am getting about 14.5 or 15 pulling a 10,000 lb 5th wheel, and 23 or 24 not pulling. I just did a 5300 mile trip into the Yellowstone area, and calculated mileage was 9.6 mpg. Just the truck mileage is about 17-18 calculated. YMMV
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Old 08-28-2010, 03:48 PM   #7
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Winterizing is no big deal. Just keep a couple gallons of RV anti-freeze on hand and pump it into the water lines when your rig is going to be setting through cold weather. If you go with a 5th wheel you'll want to be sure and have the anti-freeze in when crossing the mountains in the winter. But if you get the MH you will probably have enough heat to keep things thawed out even when moving through cold mountain passes.

Since you mentioned that you will be crossing mountains, which-ever type of rig you choose, I would recommend an engine that is turbo-charged. It is not very common to find a factory gasoline engine that is turbo-charged but it is standard for diesels. The turbo-charger will deliver even power at just about any altitude. A gas engine that is not turbo-charged will suffer marked power loss as you gain altitude.

I have had both a gas engine tow truck and a diesel. The fuel economy of the diesel is definitely better than the gas engine (I get 10mpg with a 9,000# truck pulling a 13,000# 5er). But, the difference is not so great that I will ever make up the for the premium I paid for the diesel engine. With the price of diesel so much higher than gasoline it will take me close to 161,000 miles of towing just to cover the cost of having the diesel put in the truck. But if you add in the higher maintenance costs then it gets pushed out to well over a quarter million miles.

I didn't buy the diesel for economy though. I bought power, durability, torque and performance at any altitude.
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Old 08-28-2010, 05:53 PM   #8
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Since you already owned a MH you must have either found things you did not like about them, or are now looking at a different type of RV lifestyle than you had with it. Perhaps you are moving from part time to full time RVing - or at least very long trips. Whatever the case there is a lot to be said - both pro and con - for each side. The MH pluses are they are easier to what I call "travel camp" in that is they make it easy to keep on the move. While towables make it easy to "base camp" where you stay in one place for several days/weeks/months using the tow vehicle to get around and sightsee. If you add a towed into the MH equation you can also base camp with ease - you now have two motor vehicles to maintain where with the towable you only have one - which makes the case for what happens if your MH requires shop time - you now need to live in a motel unitl it is fixed - with the towables you can still live in it. If the coach needs repair then both situations are equal. You mention traveling through mountains while heading south for the winter - are you snowbirds?? Winterizing for travel is usually not necessary - short excursions into the freeze zone will not hurt the pipes - in either type of rig. You can also insure this by buying a unit that is 4season rated.

As far as engine types go you will be able to get either gas or diesel in either type of RV. Most larger coach style MHs are diesel pushers while class C units are mainly gas - there are exceptions of course. At one time diesel fuel was much cheaper than gas - now the table is turned. Diesels do get better mileage when carying a heavy load than their gas counterparts. Large 8L V8 and V10 gassers will average 8-10 HY empty and 4-6 while towing. This will hold true even in a MH. Small block 6L V8 get better mileage but won't haul/tow as much - expect around 15 hy and 6-8 towing. Most people say they get 12-15 towing with a diesel.

The person who posted about how many miles it will take to pay back the inital outlay is on the right track - unless you plan on putting 250,000 or more miles on the rig you will never get your $$ back.

As for me, I have been a TT man all my life. I like to base camp and the TT suites me just fine. Right now, I am still working so my "long term" RVing is limited to a week or two at a time. I have camped where it as taken a couple of days to get to the final destination - those were the times I wished I had a MH.
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Old 08-28-2010, 07:19 PM   #9
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For a 30' 5er, you can usually do OK with a 3/4 ton diesel. Trying to tow a 30' 5er with a gasoline engine, you will get about 7 or 8 mpg and be slow on the hills. With a diesel, depending on which one, about 11 to 13 mpg is pretty average.

My old Ford, has a 4.10 axle and is a pulling beast, but all I can get running solo is about 16.5mpg at 65 mph. The folks with the 3.73 axles crowd 20 mpg.

As for the cost of a diesel you will get most of that cost back when you sell the truck. Look at say a 1 or tow year old 3/4 ton with the same mileage, and same equipment, and you well see the diesel will have a much higher resale.

Personally, I'd look for a 2 or 3 year old diesel truck over a new one...less pollution control junk.

I would not consider pulling a 30' trailer with a 1/2 ton truck. You need more beef in the truck to handle the trailer. The problem with 1/2 ton (150/1500 series) and even 3/4 ton (250/2500) series is that they both reach their payload or GVWR limit well before they reach their GCWR or towing rating.

I seldom use the RV antifreeze. Drain the line, tanks and water heater and pour some RV antifreeze into the traps at the sinks, shower and tub. I use a little air pressure to blow the lines.

A heavier RV will have more insulation and handle cold weather better. You will not have to deal with the large windshield, or the poorly insulated end caps in a trailer as you do in a motorhome.
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Old 08-31-2010, 10:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by begete View Post
Apologies in advance because when I was a member years ago, I know I saw these discussions, but now cannot find them quickly using the search feature.

We are trying to decide whether to buy another motorhome, preferably a Class C, or a truck and a fifth wheel. I thought there was a topic here on the comparisons of benefits of each, but I can't find it.

We want something that we can use for both short weekend trips in the mountains as well as live in for a month during the winter. Prefer something under 30 feet.

Yesterday we looked at trucks. Salesman said that we needed a 3/4 or one ton truck to haul a 30 foot or less Fifth wheel and that it must be a diesel. Diesels are considerably more expensive than gas trucks. Is this true? Do diesels really get 28 mpg when not towning? We have never owned a truck before.

Thanx for input and apologies for reasking something I know is here, but cannot find.
We only live a few miles from you so I know your route south. We have gone south (Az/Ca.) several times. No problems with freezing. I watch the weather and try to time it between storms and only once that we had to chain up. Even then there was very little snow on the Sisikyou's. Be sure you have chains for the trailer. I use cable chains (easy to put on and need less clearence). You don't need a big RV, just what you want. We have a 28' TT and an 8 1/2' camper and have made the trip with both. We used the camper for about 2 mos. and were quite comfortable but the TT sure has more room. The PU & camper is easy to move on a whim ( we have gone somewhere and decided not to go back so just kept going because we had it all with us). I like the 1T dually over anything smaller. The stability is so much better with whatever you are towing or hauling.
Good luck with your decision and future travels.
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