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Old 09-13-2015, 02:12 PM   #1
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Diesel Question

Hello RVers!

We are going to be buying our first RV soon and I know of no better place to ask a question I have about Diesel coaches.

A quick bit of background - my wife and I are getting our first RV and we've spent the last year or so researching everything we can about RVs, the lifestyle, etc.

There are 2-3 newer gas rigs that I am a big fan of. My wife however, is convinced that diesel is the way to go (she has an uncle that works in the industry and has convinced her that they are way better, contrary to a lot of the research I've found.) However, I do not want to discuss gas vs diesel as I know the only way to really know is for us to actually drive them and see which one we think is better, plus there are so many gas vs diesel threads out there I don't want to create another one.

My question is this:

If we end up going diesel, the ones in my price range are usually from the '06-'08 year range. Have there been any significant improvements to diesel coaches over the last 7 years (for example a 2006 Fleetwood Revolution 40F) that would justify spending $30K-$40K more on a 2013 or 2014 model?

Or would a '06-'08 coach serve us just as well as a 2014 one? I know there have probably been several smaller improvements (gas mileage, outside TVs, etc) but I'm more interested in major improvements that have made a 2013 coach stand out over a 2006.

Can anyone weigh in with their opinion? Any information would be greatly appreciated!

-clink
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Old 09-13-2015, 02:26 PM   #2
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I prefer the diesel engines of the 06-08 range as they do NOT require DEF or have a DPF. They run better and get better mileage than their newer counterparts. Just my opinion though.
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Old 09-13-2015, 02:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clink View Post
Hello RVers!



We are going to be buying our first RV soon and I know of no better place to ask a question I have about Diesel coaches.



A quick bit of background - my wife and I are getting our first RV and we've spent the last year or so researching everything we can about RVs, the lifestyle, etc.



There are 2-3 newer gas rigs that I am a big fan of. My wife however, is convinced that diesel is the way to go (she has an uncle that works in the industry and has convinced her that they are way better, contrary to a lot of the research I've found.) However, I do not want to discuss gas vs diesel as I know the only way to really know is for us to actually drive them and see which one we think is better, plus there are so many gas vs diesel threads out there I don't want to create another one.



My question is this:



If we end up going diesel, the ones in my price range are usually from the '06-'08 year range. Have there been any significant improvements to diesel coaches over the last 7 years (for example a 2006 Fleetwood Revolution 40F) that would justify spending $30K-$40K more on a 2013 or 2014 model?



Or would a '06-'08 coach serve us just as well as a 2014 one? I know there have probably been several smaller improvements (gas mileage, outside TVs, etc) but I'm more interested in major improvements that have made a 2013 coach stand out over a 2006.



Can anyone weigh in with their opinion? Any information would be greatly appreciated!



-clink

Very astute line of inquiry. My opinion only and others will disagree, in your situation, I would look for the highest quality coach in the '03-'08 age range in a DP. There should be many available.

My wife and I have lived and travelled in a top quality '03 coach for 8 years now. We have up dated the TVs, the flooring and the refrigerator. We could do the up grades because the bones of the coach are first class and we will never tax or wear out the chassis/drive train. We keep on top of the routine maintenance and we are always able to go when we desire.

Today, a new Diesel engine costs $15-20k more than the same one in '05-'07. For that $$ spend you get less reliability. My coach is now 12 years old and has over 100k on the clock. I would feel perfectly confident in pulling in the slides and heading for Alaska in the morning. I read way too many posts on these forums about the latest and greatest but they don't seem to be able to take a trip without problems. Sometimes multiple occurrences of the same problem and some times just multiple problems. Then the next sentence is about how wonderful this or that particular coach and builder are. It sounds like sour grapes but it's the truth.

Go for the highest quality you can afford and that fits your needs. You can thank me later.

Safe travels.


Steve Ownby
Full time since '07
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Old 09-13-2015, 03:04 PM   #4
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We have a 1999 Fleetwood Discovery 36T. Currently have 111,200 miles on the coach. Purchased used at 27,000 miles. Have had what I consider the normal amount of repairs, etc. for the amount of travel. Really enjoy the having a diesel engine. Strong performance, decent mileage. No second thoughts regarding our selection.
I would agree with the post to stay away from a current engine that requires DEF. Just one more complex addition to a already complex machine(Not that current gas engines are not complex). Also a diesel coach generally is more robust than a gas chassis which translates into ability to carry more weight and tow more weight.
I believe if you do purchase a diesel coach, you will not regret it.
One suggestion: Get an extended warranty on the coach, it is a moving house and things do go awry.
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Old 09-13-2015, 03:11 PM   #5
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I don't think there's any great innovations between an '07 and a '14 model ... and I would be shocked if he price differential was as small as you think it might be, if you are comparing apples to apples. That said, you can definitely step up quite a bit in features and quality in an '07 and still be way ahead of the cost of a '14.

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Old 09-13-2015, 03:12 PM   #6
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The "improvements" are in air quality (lower emissions) in 2007 and again in 2010. And in 2010, the technology bought back some of the fuel economy lost in 2007.

There is no reason at all not to choose an older DP, even several years older than what you suggested.

My advice would be to look for mid-high end models in your price range, and go as old as needed to meet your budget. An older, high end DP will be built sturdier inside and underneath, have numerous features (not just frills) and with reasonable care will enjoy a long life.

Of course, I'm biased, cause I'm driving a 2004 American Tradition. It was 3 years old when we bought it, and still drives and performs like new.

Since you've been researching the subject, I assume you now realize that the engine isn't the major difference in the gas vs diesel debate.
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Old 09-13-2015, 03:19 PM   #7
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"clink"......In the year models you're looking at, the Cummins 400 ISL was the predominate engine. It's probably one of the best and most common engines used in RV's. The difference between the 06'- 08' Cummins ISL and the newer Cummins ISL, is that they added about 50 HP both as a selling point and power increase to overcome the addition of a bunch of smog equipment.

Both the older and newer ISL's are still mated to an Allison 3000 transmission and will run about the same. Some of the newer ones are having issues with all the new smog equipment, but keep in mind that only about 1% of RV owners are on these forums, and many of them, come here to complain or find answers for problems they are having. Thousands of RV's are being produced each month that run flawlessly.

I reread your post several times and I'm having some issues with your math. If I got it right, you asked if it would be worth it to spend $30K-$40K on a 2013 or 2014 coach vs a 2006 Revolution. There would be a substantially larger difference than $30K - $40K between 2006 and 2013-2014, probably more like $80K-$100K.

With all that said, it would be nice to have non smog motors in 2014 and newer coaches, but that's jut not reality. As time marches on, even those buying older used coaches will be buying smog motors. Today, many who want to buy a good used modern coach usually look back 5-8 years for something to purchase. Following that pattern, in 2020, a good use coach will have a smog motor.

So....don't be paralyzed by technology. Buy what you can afford and like. No matter how much you resist, you'll eventually be dragged into modern technology. It's not all bad.....it's just the older we get, the scarier it gets.
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Old 09-13-2015, 03:40 PM   #8
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All,

This is fantastic feedback - I can't thank each of you enough. I'm very happy to hear this is the case. Any and all other opinions are welcome!

Dutch Star Don - the math was based on seeing an advertised 2008 Revolution (sorry I thought it was 06) for $119K, vs a 2013 Thor Tuscany for $150K or 2011 Coachman Pathfinder for $125K.

I didn't want to start a "Brand A is better than Brand B" discussion that took away from the '06 vs '13 discussion - but that is where the math came from.

-clink
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Old 09-13-2015, 04:33 PM   #9
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Yeah...the math wasn't a big deal.....your budget is your budget. If I were looking in the years you're looking....I would take a good look at the Monaco/Holiday Rambler line from Diplomat/Endeavor and up. In 2005, Monaco put the 400 ISL in the Diplomat. Monaco was a great coach and if you were to do an informal survey, at least out west, the majority of the older DP's still on the road, are Monacos. If you find a Monaco floorplan you like, you'll have a much wider selection of coaches to choose from.

I like my Newmar, but back in the model years you're interested in, they were good solid coaches, but the interiors were really blah.....at least for us.
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Old 09-13-2015, 05:47 PM   #10
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I know you don't want to start a "brand A vs Brand B" discussion, but when you look at cost you have to take that into account. Some brands are simply built better, and that will be reflected in the cost, just as much as the age and condition of the coach. Just look at the cost of any Prevost based coach to see what I mean.
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Old 09-13-2015, 06:12 PM   #11
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Motorhomes are a lot like cars, think about what is that much different from a car made in 2005 versus 2015 >>>>> not much in my opinion other then the emission requirements. The changes in emission requirements has actually been difficult for some manufacturers to comply with. In the past 10 years it seems that Cummins has thrived while Caterpillar got out of the OTR engines mostly because omissions (IMHO).

I believe a good quality coach built 10 years ago could stand up (or surpass) a similar coach today. Some changes in electronics have made coaches more modern but also more complicated.

I own a 2002 Monaco Windsor and I don't see many current coaches that can compare to the fit and finish. You could save +100-200K by looking for a quality used coach.
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Old 09-13-2015, 06:45 PM   #12
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Clink, we have only had our rig for 9 months but we faced the same questions as you are asking. We chose a route similar to Steve Owenby, purchasing the highest quality in an older RV, that we could afford. We feel like we have the bones, engine (450HP ISM), transmission (MH4000), and chassis (K-2) to last for many years. One of the bonuses is the lack of emissions, DPF, DEF.

The down side is the ever changing technology. TV's, entertainment, satellite, wiring, cables, etc. We feel like all of that can be easily upgraded as we see fit. Floor plans also change and improve, but you should be able to find something pleasing in the year models mentioned.
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Old 09-13-2015, 09:41 PM   #13
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My new Itasca Navion (Mercedes Sprinter chassis) uses DEF. I'm new to having a diesel but adding DEF every so often doesn't seem that "complex". Is there something I'm not aware of? I know this discussion is more about diesel pusher class A's, but I'm curious about the negative attitude about DEF, reducing emissions, smoke and smell of a diesel.
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Old 09-13-2015, 09:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Camper Ken View Post
My new Itasca Navion (Mercedes Sprinter chassis) uses DEF. I'm new to having a diesel but adding DEF every so often doesn't seem that "complex". Is there something I'm not aware of? I know this discussion is more about diesel pusher class A's, but I'm curious about the negative attitude about DEF, reducing emissions, smoke and smell of a diesel.
Just in general: the DEF (diesel exhaust fluid) itself is not such a problem, as long as you keep it full. The engine will go to derate if gets too low on DEF. Some issues with the DEF injector, which is usually located after the turbo, is not that many problems.

The DPF (diesel particulate filter) is a major problem. It is designed to collect the soot, and has the catalyst inside. The DPFs plug up and it is a service call to remove and clean. When the engine goes into regeneration mode, to burn off the soot, it uses extra fuel. DPFs are a major source of the poor reliability for new diesels.

Back to OP, I agree look for a nice used pre-2010 diesel powered and you will be happy.
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