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Old 05-11-2009, 11:41 AM   #1
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Gas vs Diesel

OK, starting from scratch here. Our daughter totaled our gas engine 2000 f250 (she's fine) and we need to buy a used replacement vehicle. This vehicle is an "extra" vehicle and will be used primarilly for towing (very occasionally at this point in our lives) and a "weekend poject truck".

What are the basic pros and cons of gas and diesel?
Are there situations where one is better than the other?

Thanks so much,
Carol
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Old 05-11-2009, 03:38 PM   #2
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Carol

Welcome to iRV2. We hope you continue to visit with us and share your experiences.

I am so glad your daughter is OK.

this past year, diesel fuel is consistently higher in price than gas. A diesel also costs more, for a new vehicle about $5K - not sure on a used vehicle. driving solo (not towing a trailer) both will probably get around the same MPG. The difference is when towing where a diesel will get better MPG than a gas model. That is because the power band on diesel is at a lower RPM than a gasser.

So a diesel will cost more to purchase and cost more to operate. Efficiency is gained when towing and [I am told] the life expectancy of a diesel motor is twice (or more) than a gas motor. I never had one long enough to comment on that one.

So it really depends on how often you will be towing. If you are truly expecting to tow occasionally a gasser might make better sense. However if/when the day comes when you begin towing more frequently and if you plan on using this truck when that day comes it may make more sense to get the diesel now.

Personally, I will always tow with a diesel. But if my primary use is to run errands to the local home center or garden center I feel I would be better served with gasser.

Just MOHO.
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Old 05-11-2009, 03:53 PM   #3
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We towed our previous 5th wheel (a 13,500 lb GVWR Jayco Designer XL 3610RLTS) with a 1996 Dodge 3500 dually with the 8.0L V-10 gas engine, 47RE automatic transmission and 3.54 rear axle as well as our current 2002 Dodge 3500 dually with the Cummins HO diesel engine, NV5600 6-speed manual transmission and 4.10 rear axle. The comparisons are as follow:

Mileage empty (not towing) at 70 MPH on Interstate:
Gas - 13 MPG
Diesel - 17 MPG

Mileage (towing) in Texas Hill Country at 60-65 MPH:
Gas - 6.5 MPG
Diesel - 11 MPG

Towing up 6% grade on I-10 heading west into Kerrville, TX:
Gas - 2nd gear, 3500 RPM, 55 MPH
Diesel - 6th gear, 2350 RPM, 70 MPH

The diesel does come with a price premium, but here in Texas, it's almost impossible to sell a used dually with a gas engine (been there; done that), so much/most of the price premium is recovered when the truck is sold. I know a lot of individuals who have moved from gas to diesel tow vehicles, but I know of very few individuals who have gone back to a gasser once they've towed a heavy 5th wheel with a diesel.

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Old 05-11-2009, 04:18 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input guys. Sounds like you're in agreement that the diesel is more powerful and a great tow vehicle. We originally bought gas because somone told me diesels didn't like making short trips, they were meant for long hauls ... true?
I haven't looked into used vehicle pricing yet, so I don't know how much more a used diesel might run as opposed to a gasser. If a diesel gets better mileage, wouldn't that make up for the price difference at the pump?
What about maintenance? Is one more expensive or difficult to maintain?
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Old 05-13-2009, 06:39 PM   #5
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I'm with rusty. My diesel gets much better mileage than the HEMI dodge offers. Not sure what the other manufacturer's rank. so far, the difference in price between gas and diesel has been more than compensated by the MUCH better fuel mileage out of my diesel. The HEMI I drove for work was only getting 13 mpg at best.

Highway with flat and cruise set, I can get about 22 out of my dodge diesel. My old chevy with the 8 cylinder gasser got around 14.

Towing, my chevy got around 6 mpg, and the diesel can do 14 on flats, and about 11 up mountains (no wind).

Good luck!

Don't forget, if you like projects, you can always make the diesel run on veggie oil! (grease car conversions).
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Old 05-13-2009, 06:50 PM   #6
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Hi Carol,
Price and various savings aside, for me the choice is a diesel engine. I've lead caravans with both diesel and gas powered RVs. The bottom line is a diesel will just hunker down and haul all the weight all day long. The only time I've been asked to slow down (to below 60 MPH) is when one of the gas powered engines could not keep up with the diesel engines. The last caravan I lead we were at 50 MPH crossing South Dakota on I90 (westbound). When we got to the western part of the State (the Badlands area and into Wyoming) the gas powered RVs were really having a hard time. My diesel never noticed the inclines. Never even downshifted.
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Old 05-13-2009, 06:52 PM   #7
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Diesel all the way. We pulled a 13500# 5er with the dually in the signature and sold it and got a travel trailer of 1/2 the weight. We used the F-I-L's 3/4 ton 2500 Burb, 5.7L vortex, 4.10 axle for one trip. Had to use 3rd gear, slowed down below 55 on small hills, on the floor screaming and 7.3 mpg average at a hard to maintain 60 mph. We decided to keep the overkill truck. The huge 5er and diesel averaged about 11.5 mpg at 65 mph. Solo at 65 mph, we get about 16 to 16.5 mpg. We also never had to worry about dropping speeds on most interstate highway grades.

Once you have a diesel for towing, you wonder why they even make trucks for towing with gas engines.

As for the extra cost to get a diesel, look at the cost addition for a 3/4 ton or 1 ton truck for the diesel. You get most of it back when you resell. Plus with a diesel, with care you are looking at an engine that is capable of easily 400,000 miles plus. On the Fords, DO NOT look at one with a 6.0L. The engine was a disaster the first two years (came out mid year 2003) and a little better the remaining years but no where as good as the 7.3L. People are paying more for an older higher mileage over a newer lower mileage 6.0L.

Glad your daughter was driving some with some weight and came out fine.

Ken
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Old 05-13-2009, 06:57 PM   #8
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TXiceman,
In another post you used the phrase "the dreaded 6.0 powerstroke" Are you talking about the turbodiesel on the Ford f-250? Not a good engine?
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Old 05-14-2009, 06:57 AM   #9
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clayvd,

welcome to the board! If you like the ford truck, and want a diesel motor in a used truck, I would recomend looking for a 7.3L motor (some '03 and older). The 6.0L, some good, some bad, but comes with a very nice 5 speed auto trany!

On the down side of the Diesel motor, I really hate mine in the winter! You dont say where you live, if its in the cold part of the country and you EVER plan on driving in cold weather you must change oil to a thinner viscosity oil for easier starts, possibly plug in the block heater to aid in starting. IMHO, doing these cost money and is a pain.
My truck is a RV use only and I don't put enough miles on it to justify changing oil ($100) just for it to start easier in cold weather.

Now for summer towing, the diesel is the bomb!!!

Prices around here for a used crew cab long bed F350 4X4 with diesel motor, $9-12K, seems cheap! Maybe because I think mine is still worth more than that.

Fuel ecconomy in mine with the 7.3L, 15-17 empty, 8-11 towing 10-13 K lbs. I do tow in the rocky mountains, there is no flat land around here, seems like always going up hill.
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Old 05-14-2009, 09:41 AM   #10
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I live in California - for now ....

I had a 2000 f250 6.8L V10 with a 4.30 axle ratio. It was plenty powerful to pull our Arctic Fox 27-5L (GVWR 10400). I'm looking at either another V10 or a diesel - not married to the Ford, but they are easier to find.

Do diesels hold more oil? Our V10 ran about $75 for an oil change with synthetic oil.

Is there a way to spot a "bad" 6.0 engine. Would my mechanic be able to tell?
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:22 AM   #11
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I live in California - for now ....

I had a 2000 f250 6.8L V10 with a 4.30 axle ratio. It was plenty powerful to pull our Arctic Fox 27-5L (GVWR 10400). I'm looking at either another V10 or a diesel - not married to the Ford, but they are easier to find.

Do diesels hold more oil? Our V10 ran about $75 for an oil change with synthetic oil.

Is there a way to spot a "bad" 6.0 engine. Would my mechanic be able to tell?

Diesels do hold much more oil, my 7.3L hold 14 quarts, newer diesels are 14-16 quarts. most gassers are 7-8 quarts. You still change on the same schedual as a gasser.

With the 6.0L, ????? I don't know much about them, just remember many that complained about them, if I remember correctly, software issues. Always taking back to ford to reflash.
I don't believe a mechainc can tell without hooking up to fords computer and looking at which version software is in there and gamble which version will work.
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Old 05-14-2009, 11:10 AM   #12
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Did the 6.0 come out in 03? Are there years that are worse?
Is there such a thing as a diesel engine reliability rating guide - kind of like the auto rating guide consumer reports puts out? Consumer reports is pretty general, rating only the type of vehicle and not the different engines.
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Old 05-14-2009, 12:33 PM   #13
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The year that gave the 6.0 some problems was primarily a good part of 03. There are however a lot of people with 6.0 who have had good towing miles with no major problems, but it was a hard period of time for the Ford service bays.
It seems though, for every guy on the Ford diesel forums who laments his 6.0 someone else talks about all he has done is wash it and drive it.
That 7.3 is a real beauty though. And the newer 6.4 has its long line of admirers also.
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Old 05-14-2009, 02:47 PM   #14
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Did the 6.0 come out in 03? Are there years that are worse?
Is there such a thing as a diesel engine reliability rating guide - kind of like the auto rating guide consumer reports puts out? Consumer reports is pretty general, rating only the type of vehicle and not the different engines.

6.0L Did come out in '03, but that year they also offered the 7.3L, last year of the 7.3L

No such thing as a diesel reliability rating. But, any diesel you buy, no matter the brand, will long out live the truck, with proper maintenance.
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