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Old 12-06-2018, 11:15 AM   #1
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1st RV purchase, generator option question

On a Winnebago Navion..is it really worth $5k more for a 3200w diesel generator over the std LP generator with 3600w rating???

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Old 12-06-2018, 11:33 AM   #2
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If you plan on boondocking more than shore-power camping it can be advantageous. It can also help with resell value.

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Old 12-06-2018, 12:47 PM   #3
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I've never had a diesel gen, but had propane for many years and gasoline for the last four. Between those I would choose propane every time because with it there are no problems with fuel going bad and/or causing problems with the carburetor. Our current diesel powered MH has a propane gen, not because I chose it, but because that was the way it came. A propane gen will also run cleaner than others and the oil will stay clean longer. However it will be your decision, and since I have never had a diesel gen I can't honestly compare the two.

We boondock all the time.

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Old 12-06-2018, 12:59 PM   #4
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Thanks Dix
I sure cannot see a $5000 difference between the two being a reasonable cost considering the diesel is actually a lower capacity unit. Sounds like with due diligent maintenance this is an un necessary expense.
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Old 12-06-2018, 01:18 PM   #5
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Do they both run at 1800 rpm ? Or does the propane gen run at 3600 rpm ? Diesel can usually run at slower rpm because of its higher torque.
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Old 12-06-2018, 01:18 PM   #6
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We had a Pleasureway Plateau with a propane generator. It worked great. Never had any problems.

If you camp a lot in colder weather, it might be an issue. You may want to save the propane for the furnace heater.


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Old 12-06-2018, 03:50 PM   #7
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It really depends on how much you think you will use the generator. Very little use, stay with the LP. I think its a better idea to run the gen off the same fuel source as the chassis engine. The LP tank is pretty small on the Navion/View.

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Old 12-06-2018, 04:12 PM   #8
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If you plan on running the generator while travelling for A/C during the summer , you can go through a lot of propane and depending on the tank size ,you may need propane filling as often as diesel. The real hassle is when boondocking . You will have to pack up an drive to a propane filling station. I always recommend getting a generator that runs on the same fuel as the coach.
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Old 12-06-2018, 04:30 PM   #9
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It matters if you use it much. Refuelling with the propane will be frequent.
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:43 PM   #10
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Fuel consumption was going to be my next question. While i am not so sure of just how much either fuel type requires/burns, I am well aware of the capacity for each type on the rig.
In looking at rental units in our desicion making process there is ALWAYS a limit on how many hours a day you can use the generator. Is this because they just wear out fast or use too much fuel or are a maintenance pain in the ass???
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Old 12-06-2018, 07:32 PM   #11
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You can estimate around half a gallon of propane per hour for the propane model at half load (about what you would expect running the roof air conditioner). The diesel depends on the exact model, but probably around 1/3 gallon per hour. The big question is how much do you plan to run your generators, some people run them hundreds of hours per year, others may use them less than 20 hours per year, a lot depends on your climate and how you use your coach. For me personally I live in the south where I need to run the generator while on the road to keep things tolerable in the coach, and also do some, but not a lot of dry camping. In just over 2 years of ownership of my current coach, I have put 12,000 miles on it, spent 140 nights aboard, and just hit 250 hours of generator use last week.
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Old 12-06-2018, 07:52 PM   #12
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Propane has less BTUs per gallon than other fuels. BTUs are what do the work. Propane has only 91,600, gasoline has 115,000, and diesel fuel has 139,000. Using this as a yardstick, you are going to go through roughly one third more propane than diesel to do the same job. On top of that, most diesel generators are double pole, which allows them to make electricity at 1800 rpms. Most gas and propane generators are only single pole, and must run at 3600 rpms to make electricity. Less rpms means less wear, and less fuel. Just my take, if you have a diesel, get the diesel. It is much more convenient to fill up with diesel than propane. Here in Canada, it is getting harder and harder to find filling stations for propane. Auto propane for vehicles is not very popular, thus not many filling stations.
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Old 12-07-2018, 04:03 AM   #13
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I would tend to think that the $5000 uncharge is for them to change out the generator. That seems excessive to me. I would look for another unit with the generator I want even if I have to travel a distance to find it. Also check the literature for that unit as the manufacturer may/may not offer the diesel unit. If they do, then find out what the difference in $$$ would be between the 2 generators.
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Old 12-07-2018, 04:39 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by DariusB View Post
On a Winnebago Navion..is it really worth $5k more for a 3200w diesel generator over the std LP generator with 3600w rating???
You can buy a lot of propane for 5k and as others have said the propane will run cleaner and not have the carb trouble.

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