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Old 08-18-2014, 06:15 AM   #1
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Engine size??? Help

Hi- im a widow and know nothing about engine size needed for a motorhome.

Next week I'm going to look at a 37' 2001 beaver patriot ticonderoga (2 slides) with a 330 cat engine. My concern is that the engine size won't be large enough to negotiate the mountains of Colorado easily. I would hopefully be towing a Honda fit.

I read that for every 100 pounds 1 horsepower is needed. (Or something like that). The only info I could get is that the gvwr on a 1998 beaver 37' with one slide is 30,000 pounds. Mine has two slides.

Anyway, I'm clueless. Any feedback would really be appreciated. Kat
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Old 08-18-2014, 06:32 AM   #2
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For your use in Colorado, one HP per 1000 lbs would be bare minimum... Our 32000 lb coach has a Cummins 330 HP and slowing to 50 mph is not uncommon on longer "flatland" grades. We had a "full" Banks kit (before it quit!) which gave us approx. 440-450 HP which was acceptable in higher elevations...
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Old 08-18-2014, 06:40 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by hummingbird2 View Post
Hi- im a widow and know nothing about engine size needed for a motorhome.

Next week I'm going to look at a 37' 2001 beaver patriot ticonderoga (2 slides) with a 330 cat engine. My concern is that the engine size won't be large enough to negotiate the mountains of Colorado easily. I would hopefully be towing a Honda fit.

I read that for every 100 pounds 1 horsepower is needed. (Or something like that). The only info I could get is that the gvwr on a 1998 beaver 37' with one slide is 30,000 pounds. Mine has two slides.

Anyway, I'm clueless. Any feedback would really be appreciated. Kat
Kat, You're gonna get all kinds of sincere, educated, opinionated, and even plain goofy answers. Regardless of what anyone says, if, and that is a big IF, the engine has been maintained properly and is in good working order, it will get you to the top of all the mountains. May not get you there first, but it will get you there. If you are in no hurry and are not suffering from some ego/macho malady that makes you think you gotta be the first one up the mountain, or expect the motorhome to perform like a car, you will be OK. Again, it depends on the condition of the engine and your personality, more than the size of the engine. Don't let anyone tell you a bigger engine is safer so you can accelerate out of trouble, to quote someone else on this forum "motorhomes don't accelerate, they gain momentum" and slowly at that.
Just my opinion, others, I am sure will disagree.
Good Luck
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Old 08-18-2014, 06:55 AM   #4
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I have a 260 ISB Cummins that weighs 26000 lbs with towe. My speed up a 10% grade is 20 mph. It always makes it. Been like that since I bought it new in 01.
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Old 08-18-2014, 07:30 AM   #5
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Stik and smokey are right, they will get you there. It takes some getting use to though. I remember going up a a steep grade in the smokeys on some backroad. You couldn't get a running start at the hill due to some tighter turns. I proceeded up in my super C and was pulling a trailer. A buddy of mine followed in his gas class A. About halfway up he started chattering on the CB that he didn't think he was going to make it. He said he was holding it to the floor but it wouldn't go over 20. I told him keep it to the floor and Ill see you at the top. He was right, it did feel funny but we got there. It does bother me a bit when going up grades and not being able to go at close to the speed limit. Not an ego thing it just makes me feel like Im in the way and holding everybody up. The problem with big horsepower engines is they usually come attached to high dollar coaches. Either way you go you can still enjoy the ride!
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Old 08-18-2014, 08:05 AM   #6
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As far as power, you'll be fine...

The more common problem might be keeping it cool. You might want to have somebody that knows what they're doing have a look at it (pre purchase inspection) prior to committing.
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hummingbird2 View Post
Hi- im a widow and know nothing about engine size needed for a motorhome.

Next week I'm going to look at a 37' 2001 beaver patriot ticonderoga (2 slides) with a 330 cat engine. My concern is that the engine size won't be large enough to negotiate the mountains of Colorado easily. I would hopefully be towing a Honda fit.

I read that for every 100 pounds 1 horsepower is needed. (Or something like that). The only info I could get is that the gvwr on a 1998 beaver 37' with one slide is 30,000 pounds. Mine has two slides.

Anyway, I'm clueless. Any feedback would really be appreciated. Kat
There are 3 issues I see with your post.

1. You really need to find the weight sticker for that coach which will tell you the actual weight of the coach as it left the factory. That doesn't mean it weighs that now but it is important to have that information BEFORE you buy it. If the seller can not produce that document then I would suggest abundant caution. Most of the time I have seen the weight sticker located on the inside of a kitchen cabinet but that varies for some manufacturers.

2. You should also go the second step and get corner weights are at least axle weights as it is NOW. It would be best with full fuel, water and propane. This will give you information on whether you have any issues with loading the coach for travel such as an axle that is at or near its maximum rated weight.

3. As others have said...it will get you up any rational grade but it may take a while. That assumes it is in proper working order.

Finally...you will really want to get it inspected by a well recognized RV mechanic to assess the condition of both the coach and chassis systems. That could mean one person that is well versed in water, electrical and other "house" issues and maybe a trip to a shop to inspect the chassis/motor systems.

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Old 08-19-2014, 04:15 AM   #8
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Thanx. Sounds like you've had a good time doing it too.
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Old 08-19-2014, 12:59 PM   #9
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We have the 330 Cat engine and we also have two slides. We travel over very high passes in Oregon and Washington and have no problem. We pull a boat or car and 6% grade gets us up to the top at 45 mph without distressing the engine. You'll be fine.
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Old 08-19-2014, 04:43 PM   #10
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You will have very little choice of engines. It's not like a car where you can order what size engine you want. Most MHs come with one size engine, you can't get a different one. Some of the higher end coaches will give you an option, but not many.
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Old 08-19-2014, 08:13 PM   #11
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That Rv is large and underpowered. If I were you I'd be looking at the Mercedes sprinter chassis. A nice small 25 foot diesel, very nice; my next Rv


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Old 08-19-2014, 08:20 PM   #12
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That Rv is large and underpowered. If I were you I'd be looking at the Mercedes sprinter chassis. A nice small 25 foot diesel, very nice; my next Rv

Another thing, a 2001 may have need many maintenance issues, tires, brakes, you will probably taken to the cleaners and could easily spend $10,000 just to make it current before you could trust it on the open road. Keep it small and simple.
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Old 08-20-2014, 09:03 AM   #13
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I'd be just as concerned with getting down the hills. Engine brake is best, then exhaust brake, transmission retarder and service brakes last.
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Old 08-20-2014, 04:06 PM   #14
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Our first coach was a FW Excursion with the same Cat. We towed a Ford Edge at about 4600 lbs, we never had an issue with power to weight. The points Don made are really essential to your purchase IMO. Best of luck, hunting for the "right" coach is fun but not as much fun once you have found it!
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