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Old 02-21-2014, 11:25 AM   #15
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Welcome to the forum.

After having been around this discussion block a few times, I'm of the opinion that the absolute best reason to buy a DP is because you WANT one.

I don't believe that running the financial numbers will ever get you to that conclusion because gassers and DPs will both get you wherever you want to go... it's just a matter of how much one is willing to pay for the benefits that a DP brings.

If you full time and plan to spend a lot of time out west in the mountains, it might tilt you toward a DP a bit but it really comes down to what you want.

Rick



I've owned 2 DP's and 4 Gassers. I sold a DP to buy a full-timing gas rig because it had the best floor plan for our full-timing "mission".

Bottom line is drivability of a tag axle diesel wins hands down, then a regular DP and finally a gas coach. But this drivability comes at a financial cost. I drive about 5-6K miles a year full timing, which is about 1% of the total year. That means the coach is sitting 99% of the year and for us the 99% was much more important than the 1%. So for us a more livable coach won out and the side benefit is that we have more funds in the bank to do things that we want to do when we get there.

However when I was a weekend warrior, putting on 2-3K miles in 2-4 weeks (% of time driving vs sitting is much higher), towing a heavier vehicle and traveling almost exclusively in the western mountains then I owned a DP.

Hope this helps and I can't wait for someone to claim I am pushing Gassers again.
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Old 02-21-2014, 12:24 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Parduelay View Post
Does the higher cost of a diesel class A and fuel outweigh a gas class A with the basically same features?
Do gas class A coaches use regular gas? I was thinking they probably use premium. Around here, premium and diesel are about the same cost. Yesterday I went by a station where premium was 3.52 and diesel was 3.55.
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Old 02-21-2014, 12:48 PM   #17
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I bought a diesel because I like to drive diesels. With that said, most of my time is spent sitting still, so it doesn't make any difference what engine you have in that situation. Either engine will get you where you want to go. Fuel cost is pretty much a wash -- the extra mileage of a diesel makes up for the higher per-gallon cost.

Find a good coach, with a floor plan your better half likes. You'll be happy.
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Old 02-21-2014, 12:58 PM   #18
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Do gas class A coaches use regular gas? I was thinking they probably use premium. Around here, premium and diesel are about the same cost. Yesterday I went by a station where premium was 3.52 and diesel was 3.55.
Never heard of a gas MH that uses premium, it's regular for my 8.1 and my last fill-up in San Antonio was at $ 2.96 a gallon
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Old 02-21-2014, 01:16 PM   #19
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Never heard of a gas MH that uses premium, it's regular for my 8.1 and my last fill-up in San Antonio was at $ 2.96 a gallon
Modern engines have computers that detect spark knock and retards the spark to eliminate it...this results in loss of power. The driver or cruise control depresses the accelerator to compensate for the loss of power. The additional depression of the accelerator results in more frequent down-shifts. If you run premium fuel, you will notice fewer-downshifts which should equate to better fuel economy.
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Old 02-21-2014, 01:18 PM   #20
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Never heard of a gas MH that uses premium, it's regular for my 8.1 and my last fill-up in San Antonio was at $ 2.96 a gallon
WOW!!!! Gas in New York is $3.65 to $3.80 (regular unleaded) and Diesel is way over $4.00 right now... so that might be a reason to go gas here... We quickly went from a gasser to a DP for 3 reasons... none of them had anything to do with performance or towing capabilities... First and foremost, we hated the loud gas engine between u when driving. We like to talk on long trips and almost couldn't hear each other because the engine was so loud... The second reason (being the banker I am) was resale value. I've owned and sold many gas and diesel toys over the years and have always been able to get more of my money back when selling a diesel... Third and most important... I love listening to that Cat purrr... saaweet!
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Old 02-21-2014, 01:37 PM   #21
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I am not a fan of diesel so I bought a gas pusher. It has taken me everywhere I want to go for the last 6 1/2 years and 54,000 miles.
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Old 02-21-2014, 01:43 PM   #22
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Either one will get you there, but with my DP I have all the power I need (and want). no noise in front of coach, more pulling capacity, ability to pull tall hills in a single gear, air brakes, air ride suspension, and most important, AIR HORN. I do my own maintenance, so that doesn't come into the equation for me. I would not trade my DP for a gas. I get 9 to 10 mpg compared to 6 or 7 on a gas rig my size, so extra money for diesel is made up in extra MPG. Main thing is, just get a motor home and travel!!
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Old 02-21-2014, 02:11 PM   #23
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Hi Parduelay,
Welcome to iRV2. You may be asking the wrong question. Consider the priorities when buying a coach (assuming you are looking in the price point you can afford):
1. Floor plan sells the coach. This is the highest priority.
2. Will the coach carry all your people and all your stuff? Take the GVWR minus the Unloaded Weight Rating. Or if listed, the CCC (Cargo Carrying Capacity) of the coach.
3. Will the coach tow the vehicle you want to tow? Take the GCWR minus GVWR. This is the weight the coach will tow. Determine the hitch/receiver rating. One may be more than the other. Most gas powered coaches have a 5K limit on towing weight.
4. Check each coach out by having the coach demonstrated in the travel and sleeping (or CG) configurations (all furniture that can become a bed should be a bed).

My first coach was in 1978. All have been gas until my current coach. I was dragged into a diesel kicking and screaming. However, for me, there are no gas powered coaches that met the above mentioned requirements.

As you go through the coach buying process, keep it simple. One brand vs. another brand, Freightliner vs. Spartan, Cummins vs. CAT vs. Detroit vs. Mercedes, etc. It is enough to drive a person crazy. Skinny down your requirements to what really matters.
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Old 02-22-2014, 07:50 AM   #24
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Newbie question. Probably been asked a million times. Does the higher cost of a diesel class A and fuel outweigh a gas class A with the basically same features?
Thanks up front.
Yup, at least a million times!

The problem answering it is rarely do the gas and diesel have the same features - when considering what's below the floor line?

It's hard to compare air bag equipped coaches to those with springs? Or front engine vs. pusher?

Brakes? One of the nicest surprises for me when going DP was the extra control I had regarding braking! I feel my air brake's abilities FAR exceed those of a gasser, and on top of that, I have an exhaust brake system! No, it doesn't make a lot of difference on level ground, but most people like to venture beyond that level ground, and doing that while towing something is more the rule than the exception? This is the long way around of telling you that the gasser's braking ability might scare you in certain situations (like going down hill, big hills!). The diesel's will not. Sounds like a silly point, until YOU get scared once or twice?

Also, the diesel uses frame and drive line components that are built like a brick .... house! Necessary to get from point A to point B? Nope. Not unless the importance of how many times it will do that surfaces?

I'll stop here. There's more, but my point should be made?
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Old 02-22-2014, 11:14 AM   #25
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It's interesting how human beings can be so view things so differently.

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Brakes? One of the nicest surprises for me when going DP was the extra control I had regarding braking! I feel my air brake's abilities FAR exceed those of a gasser

I feel the exact opposite, my last two coaches were DP's with air brakes, never really like the lag that you get with the depression of the brake pedal and the brakes coming on. This of course leads to slightly longer stopping distances and I really didn't like that there was no feedback in the air brake pedal to judge the pressure of the brakes. To me hydraulic brakes seems superior to air brakes.

I remember many years ago when hydraulic brakes were an option on many DP's, it wasn't a popular option because air brakes came standard and the upgraded/ extra cost was hydraulic brakes. It's too bad we still can't have that option to keep us all happy but I guess cost cutting always wins out.


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and on top of that, I have an exhaust brake system!
Those are awesome, but let's not forget that many larger gassers have grade brakes which allow them to coast down long declines without touching the brakes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ahicks View Post
This is the long way around of telling you that the gasser's braking ability might scare you in certain situations (like going down hill, big hills!).
Whether I used my exhaust brake in my DP or my grade brake in my gasser the results are the same, so I am not sure why I would be "scared" of the gasser

If anything I would say that using the cheaper air brakes requires a wee bit more concentration to use than the more expensive hydraulic brakes. For example, I have never been "scared" of the brake lag in my DP but I was always concerned enough to increase my following distance a bit farther in an air braked vehicle than one with hydraulic breaks. Air brakes wouldn't stop me from buying another DP but it certainly is not a reason I would give as a benefit of a DP.

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It's hard to compare air bag equipped coaches to those with springs
Now that is something that the DP really outshines the gasser on.
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Old 02-22-2014, 11:37 AM   #26
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OK...here is the lady driver's point of view...

We had three gassers, the last one being a Newmar tag axle with a horribly underpowered engine. I hated driving the gasser. It screamed and groaned and the coach was so hot under our feet as we drove. I felt that we could have pushed the coach up the hills better than we could have driven it.

Now we have had a DP for 2 years and I have never been happier. The noise level as we are driving is minimal and I can keep a constant speed on the highway. Now....that being said, I am not sure that we could not have achieved this level of comfort and speed with a newer gasser and a lighter coach.

I would test drive all coaches but it comes right down to the floorplan and the carrying capacity that you need. Hubby and I will be living in the coach soon for at least 6 months of the year, so we need the storage and layout that a deisel will probably give us. And I have been spoiled...I love the purr of my 400HP engine...LOL

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Old 02-22-2014, 11:53 AM   #27
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OP, will you be a full timer or a vacationer? How many miles will you drive per year? All the considerations mentioned previously are mostly personal preference, so you need to decide what is important to YOU, in your price range. Also note that you may need a special driver's license for a DP depending upon where you live, but very few gassers have the weight capacity that require special licences. There are definitely pluses and minuses to each type. We have a gasser and absolutely love it; it does everything we need it to do.
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Old 02-22-2014, 12:19 PM   #28
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It's interesting how human beings can be so view things so differently. I feel the exact opposite, my last two coaches were DP's with air brakes, never really like the lag that you get with the depression of the brake pedal and the brakes coming on. This of course leads to slightly longer stopping distances and I really didn't like that there was no feedback in the air brake pedal to judge the pressure of the brakes. To me hydraulic brakes seems superior to air brakes. I remember many years ago when hydraulic brakes were an option on many DP's, it wasn't a popular option because air brakes came standard and the upgraded/ extra cost was hydraulic


Air brakes vs hydraulic brakes

Medium-duty trucks are available with two very different brake systems: hydraulic or air brakes, which adds complexity to the truck specification process.

What brake system is more appropriate for a medium-duty truck's size and duty cycle? This is an important question, because the answer directly impacts vehicle safety, pricing, available driver pool, and operational costs.
An overview of the available brake systems - how they work, the appropriate vehicle size and application for each, and other considerations - to guide the brake selection process is provided.

Being able to stop safely and effectively is critical for fleet drivers operating medium-duty trucks. The choice of hydraulic or air brakes requires looking at a number of complex operational factors.

Hydraulic Brakes
■ How They Work: Hydraulic brakes use fluid to power the brakes. When the driver presses the brake pedal, the hydraulic fluid pressure increases to the point that it forces the brake pistons at each wheel to push the brake pad against the drum (or rotor with disc brakes), causing friction, slowing the wheels, and, eventually, halting the vehicle entirely.
"The technology [for hydraulic brakes] is very similar to that used by passenger cars," said Tony Moore, director, brake and safety systems for Mechatronics Engineering of Daimler Trucks North America (the parent company of Freightliner Trucks). "The difference is that the components are much larger to handle the higher weight ratings."

■ Truck Size: A maximum gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 33,000 lbs. In most cases, hydraulic brakes are used on trucks up to 26,000-lbs. GVWR.

■ Applications: "We recommend using hydraulic brakes in lighter GVWRs where the duty cycle is not too severe," Moore advised. "Applications, such as van delivery trucks, are a good example of recommended hydraulic brake application. Hydraulic brakes do very well in stop-and-go applications where the vehicle speed is not too great. One problem with hydraulic brakes is that they are sometimes pushed beyond their capacity, resulting in greatly reduced performance."

Todd Kaufman, F-Series chassis cab marketing manager for Ford Motor Company, draws the line between hydraulic and air brakes based on a truck's duty cycle, stops per day, and payload requirements. "In the lighter applications from 19,501 lbs. to 26,000 lbs., hydraulic brakes do well to serve the market. You might even stretch it as high as 29,000 lbs.; but, usually, when going above 26,000 lbs., loads are substantially heavier, which may overload the hydraulic brakes, causing them to wear sooner and diminish stopping performance," he said.


Air Brakes
■ How They Work: Instead of using fluid, air brakes, as the name implies, use air to generate stopping power. When the air tanks are fully pressurized, the brakes are disengaged. When the driver presses the brake pedal, air fills the brake chamber, pushing the chamber diaphragm, which turns the "S-cam," and then pushes the brake pads against the brake drum, stopping the vehicle. Then, when the brake pedal retracts, the air is released allowing the brakes to release and the wheels to roll. The compressor increases air pressure back to the system's original state.

■ Truck Size: 26,000-33,000 lbs. and larger. "While hydraulic brakes are standard on our Class 5 and 6 vehicles and air brakes on Class 7 and greater, we do allow a crossover where air brakes can be spec'd on lighter vehicles [under 33,000-lbs. GVWR]," Moore said.

■ Applications: Moore recommends air brakes for heavy vocational applications and noted they should always be used in heavy towing applications.

A significant reason why air brakes are preferred in heavier trucks (above 26,000-lbs. GVWR), compared to hydraulic systems, is their robust stopping power when they work - and when they fail. For example, if there's a leak in the brake line of an hydraulic system, fluid pressure can lower to the point where there isn't sufficient force on the brake pads to create the friction needed to slow the wheel. Eventually, if the leak is not repaired, the truck can lose braking power in that portion of the system, reducing the ability to stop in the same distance. With air brakes, the opposite happens. If there is a leak in the air brake lines, the air pressure decreases, which actually activates the brakes at the wheels and brings the vehicle to a safe stop.

However, air brakes come at a premium price. According to Kaufman of Ford, the air brake system costs approximately $2,500 more than hydraulic brakes, because of the extra components to operate the system. "When you compress air, you have moisture, and you have to get rid of that moisture so you're adding air dryers as part of the initial purchase. But, if you're going to keep the vehicle for more than five years - maintenance costs tend to go more vertical after year five and get really expensive. After that, I think air brakes pay for themselves," he said.

Another factor with air brakes is how they impact a fleet's available driver pool. Even if the truck is under 26,000-lbs. GVWR, which would normally not require a commercial driver's license (CDL) to operate, if it is equipped with air brakes, the driver may have to carry a CDL, depending on the state's laws, which limits the number of drivers qualified to operate the truck.

"Air brakes, for lack of a better description, are either 'on' or they are 'off.' If you've never driven an air brake truck, the first few times you press the brake, you feel like you're putting yourself through the windshield. Unlike hydraulic brakes, which modulate more intuitively, the operator has a lot to do with actively modulating the air brakes to make the stopping process smoother. That's something the driver learns," Kaufman noted.
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