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Old 09-22-2013, 08:02 AM   #29
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Nobody is talking about the fact that the diesel is liquid cooled vs. the propane units being air cooled? When comparing sound levels or expected longevity between these 2, this isn't even a contest! The diesel is clearly superior!

The diesel, when expected to provide power in REALLY warm weather can do that more reliably due to it's more efficient liquid cooling! An air cooled engine running in 100 degree heat may struggle/shut down due to over temp?

Operating in parts of the country that get warmer a lot of the time, if my coach is moving, the roof A/C's are running, or expected to be, soon? This is about comfort, not what kind of fuel they use. From a practical standpoint when on the road, do I want to mess around filling the coach up with diesel, THEN go find a filling station and fuel up the geni?

Bottom line for me, I use the geni on the road quite a bit. As I said, it's not even a contest regarding my 'druthers.

If the geni were to be used as a backup or for emergencies only? As somebody mentioned earlier, LP doesn't go bad.
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Old 09-22-2013, 08:45 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docj View Post
I'm not sure what extra maintenance expense you're thinking of. The annual servicing consists of an oil change and a filter like most other generators would have. Every couple of years a cooling system drain and refill. That's all, not sure how much less a propane generator would require.
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Many, (most?), RV LP and gasoline powered generators are air cooled, (no antifreeze to drain/refill).

I have a 6.3 kw Onan LP generator and a 35 gal. LP tank, (which holds 27 gal.)
The generator burns about .75 gal an hour at full load.
Finding and getting to a propane fill, especially with a toad attached, is usually a pita.
However, we only use about 18-20 gal of propane a year.

That said, I would prefer a diesel genset but for me a LP genset would not be a "deal breaker".

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'96 Safari 132k miles, (105 k mine).
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Old 10-29-2013, 12:04 AM   #31
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Real World Example - need help please!

I am shopping for a Winnebago View or Itasca Navion, both are B+ Diesel RVs.
If I go with an LP Generator, it costs $3,143 and has a tank that holds 13 gallons but you can only fill it to 80% capacity or 10.4 gallons. The unit uses .6 gallon of LP per hour at 50% burn rate, so I can run the unit for 17.3 hours before running out of fuel. If I am camping in the summer on a 4 day trip, I could run out if I'm not careful and shut things off when I'm away from the RV.

My other choice is to get the Diesel Generator. It costs $7,420. I assume it runs off the vehicle tank but here is where things get fuzzy for me (I'm an RV Newbie). I've heard that the gas Generators can only use the top 25% of a fuel tank, just the fuel on the top and once the tank is less than 75% full then they run of gas. Is this true with Diesel generators? In this instance, the Winnie View/Itasca Navion have a 26 gallon diesel tank. Would I be limited to just the top 6.5 gallons or can the unit access all 26 gallons of fuel? This makes a big difference!!!!

The diesel generator burns .3 gallon of diesel per hour at 50% power level. If I can only use the top 6.5 gallons in the fuel tank then I can only run it for 21.6 hours. That is not enough to justify the higher cost. If, however, it can use the whole fuel tank then I could run this generator a whopping 86 hours, which is way more than I need.

Any info or experience is GREATLY appreciated!

Thanks in advance!
Bill
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Old 10-29-2013, 12:16 AM   #32
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Nobody is talking about the fact that the diesel is liquid cooled vs. the propane units being air cooled? When comparing sound levels or expected longevity between these 2, this isn't even a contest! The diesel is clearly superior!

The diesel, when expected to provide power in REALLY warm weather can do that more reliably due to it's more efficient liquid cooling! An air cooled engine running in 100 degree heat may struggle/shut down due to over temp?
Missed post #23?
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Old 10-29-2013, 12:21 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mel stuplich View Post
docj
Many, (most?), RV LP and gasoline powered generators are air cooled, (no antifreeze to drain/refill).

I have a 6.3 kw Onan LP generator and a 35 gal. LP tank, (which holds 27 gal.)
The generator burns about .75 gal an hour at full load.
Finding and getting to a propane fill, especially with a toad attached, is usually a pita.
However, we only use about 18-20 gal of propane a year.

That said, I would prefer a diesel genset but for me a LP genset would not be a "deal breaker".

Mel
'96 Safari 132k miles, (105 k mine).
According to Cummins/Onan specs the the 6.5 propane gen uses about 1.2 GPH under full load. And, having had a 6.2 Generac I can attest to their fuel habits!
Our PowerTech 8.0 diesel gen (Kubota liquid cooled) uses .72 GPH at full load.
And yes, a propane gen set would be a deal breaker.
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Old 10-29-2013, 12:24 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Cruizer Bill View Post
I am shopping for a Winnebago View or Itasca Navion, both are B+ Diesel RVs.
If I go with an LP Generator, it costs $3,143 and has a tank that holds 13 gallons but you can only fill it to 80% capacity or 10.4 gallons. The unit uses .6 gallon of LP per hour at 50% burn rate, so I can run the unit for 17.3 hours before running out of fuel. If I am camping in the summer on a 4 day trip, I could run out if I'm not careful and shut things off when I'm away from the RV.

My other choice is to get the Diesel Generator. It costs $7,420. I assume it runs off the vehicle tank but here is where things get fuzzy for me (I'm an RV Newbie). I've heard that the gas Generators can only use the top 25% of a fuel tank, just the fuel on the top and once the tank is less than 75% full then they run of gas. Is this true with Diesel generators? In this instance, the Winnie View/Itasca Navion have a 26 gallon diesel tank. Would I be limited to just the top 6.5 gallons or can the unit access all 26 gallons of fuel? This makes a big difference!!!!

The diesel generator burns .3 gallon of diesel per hour at 50% power level. If I can only use the top 6.5 gallons in the fuel tank then I can only run it for 21.6 hours. That is not enough to justify the higher cost. If, however, it can use the whole fuel tank then I could run this generator a whopping 86 hours, which is way more than I need.

Any info or experience is GREATLY appreciated!

Thanks in advance!
Bill
The gas and diesel units usually quit at about 25% left so you have some 75% to run on. It's never EXACTLY right due to variations in the tank construction. We have a 150 gallon tank and I've never run it down far enough to keep the diesel gen from running.
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Old 10-29-2013, 12:52 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruizer Bill View Post
I am shopping for a Winnebago View or Itasca Navion, both are B+ Diesel RVs.
If I go with an LP Generator, it costs $3,143 and has a tank that holds 13 gallons but you can only fill it to 80% capacity or 10.4 gallons. The unit uses .6 gallon of LP per hour at 50% burn rate, so I can run the unit for 17.3 hours before running out of fuel. If I am camping in the summer on a 4 day trip, I could run out if I'm not careful and shut things off when I'm away from the RV.

My other choice is to get the Diesel Generator. It costs $7,420. I assume it runs off the vehicle tank but here is where things get fuzzy for me (I'm an RV Newbie). I've heard that the gas Generators can only use the top 25% of a fuel tank, just the fuel on the top and once the tank is less than 75% full then they run of gas. Is this true with Diesel generators? In this instance, the Winnie View/Itasca Navion have a 26 gallon diesel tank. Would I be limited to just the top 6.5 gallons or can the unit access all 26 gallons of fuel? This makes a big difference!!!!

The diesel generator burns .3 gallon of diesel per hour at 50% power level. If I can only use the top 6.5 gallons in the fuel tank then I can only run it for 21.6 hours. That is not enough to justify the higher cost. If, however, it can use the whole fuel tank then I could run this generator a whopping 86 hours, which is way more than I need.

Any info or experience is GREATLY appreciated!

Thanks in advance!
Bill
I think you would be fine with a propane generator. The view only has a 26 gallon diesel tank and an 18 gallon propane tank as I recall. The limits you are referring to relate to the bottom quarter of the tank, not the top. This limitation is there to protect you from running all your fuel out while using your generator. The propane generator gives you the advantage saving your diesel to run your MH and remember that tank isn't very large. One factor you need to consider is how you plan to use your unit. If you will be primarily using shore power while camping a propane generator should be more than adequate. I know that when we traded off our 6year old Navion we had less than 200 hours on our generator, and that would not be worth spending over $3000 to get the benefits of diesel electric power.
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Old 10-29-2013, 01:03 AM   #36
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See my previous post #23 on this thread to see some actual real world experience with a propane generator over a 5 day period in 90 weather at 5,000 ft elevation.
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:14 AM   #37
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Missed post #23?
Really? Re: post#32.....
While your experiences in note #23 seem noteworthy, I'm missing any reference to the diesel's longevity I mentioned, as well as a liquid cooled engine's ability to cool in warm weather being superior to that of an air cooled engine? You mention your propane unit quit twice, but I saw nothing mentioning a diesel most likely would not have done that. Nor did you reference the convenience of not having to mess with a second fuel?

Why would you assume I missed your note? Because I agree they're quieter? Because I agree diesels are superior? Your note made no reference to opinions stated above!
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:24 AM   #38
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I think you would be fine with a propane generator. The view only has a 26 gallon diesel tank and an 18 gallon propane tank as I recall. The limits you are referring to relate to the bottom quarter of the tank, not the top. This limitation is there to protect you from running all your fuel out while using your generator. The propane generator gives you the advantage saving your diesel to run your MH and remember that tank isn't very large. One factor you need to consider is how you plan to use your unit. If you will be primarily using shore power while camping a propane generator should be more than adequate. I know that when we traded off our 6year old Navion we had less than 200 hours on our generator, and that would not be worth spending over $3000 to get the benefits of diesel electric power.
Though it would never apply to one of our coaches, I agree wholeheartedly regarding making a case where you don't need a generator. I just wanted to add a comment regarding the extra money to go diesel if you do decide a generator might be handy? The extra 3000 spent initially to go diesel will at minimum make the coach easier to sell when that time arrives? Better case, you may see the coach fetch a lot of, or at least some of, that 3000 back when it's sold due to increased resale value?
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Old 10-29-2013, 07:49 AM   #39
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So all your diesel friends does that mean you have no propane in your unit to cook,use a fridge your furnace? I am not critical about your diesel genny Just like to find out how you use your other appliances. Btw how does your diesel genny start in cold weather? I mean freezing weather. Do they have a pre heater? One post stated he only wants one fuel Hmm.Cheers Gerald
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Old 10-29-2013, 09:03 AM   #40
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So all your diesel friends does that mean you have no propane in your unit to cook,use a fridge your furnace? I am not critical about your diesel genny Just like to find out how you use your other appliances. Btw how does your diesel genny start in cold weather? I mean freezing weather. Do they have a pre heater? One post stated he only wants one fuel Hmm.Cheers Gerald
Not quote certain how to respond to this post but will give it a shot.

1. Not certain what "all your diesel friends" means, but suspect it refers to thoes who cite the advantage of diesel over propane gen for an RV. I will interpret this as the intent of the statement.

2. I was viewing the posts and I could not find any that indicated they would not have propane to cook, heat or refrigerate. Did I miss something? This was the very point, they wanted to ensure thay had enough propane to do just that from my understanding.

3. I have been in some very cold climates, albeit cold is a relative term, but the coldest weather I have been in is -65F (about -54C) That is extreme cold for me but I doubt many are firing up thier RV in temps that cold, but diesel gens are running (all the time actually) and if they are shut down, one must have some means to keep the oil from becoming an almost solid mass. And yes block heaters or some other preheat methods are often applied. Glow plugs always preheat before the diesel will start but in extreme cold, well some supplement heat is often needed. The coldest I started my RV diesel engine and Gen was about -25F and I had block heaters in both. They worked fine. Hmmm - how does propane work in such temps? I had propane tanks freeze (I mean not being in its gaseous state, not actually "freezing") at the regulator in these extreme cold temps. Did you ever try to light a propane torch at say -50? Good luck with that.

4. Wanting only one fuel was I believe for Engine and Gen. I did not interpret this to mean no propane. Perhaps I misinterpreted but I don't think so.

In general, I would prefer an RV gen to run off the main fuel tank for that vehicle. Be it gas or diesel as the case may be, because propane tanks are usually smaller and propane is not available at every service station. But this is just MHO.

BTW I switched to a propane gen for my S&B backup because of diesel fuel management issues which are not as much of an issue where one is always refilling and using the RV diesel fuel and can manage fuel easier.

Well that is my best shot at this. Hope I answered the question or at least "ignited" additional discussion on this topic.
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Old 10-29-2013, 02:04 PM   #41
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I would add that I can usually get an entire season on one propane fill? Thus, having to fill it more often, or in cases where we're traveling in weather warm enough to require the use of our roof air conditioners (8 to 12 hours use per day?), every other day or so? That, to me, is an inconvenience I'd rather not suffer - if/when there's an option to avoid that pretty easily.
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Old 10-29-2013, 02:17 PM   #42
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In some of the RVs I've read about so far they have an LP generator or diesel generator as options. What questions do I need to answer for myself to help me determine which way to go?
Our coach has an Onan 6.5KW propane generator. It has been a very troublesome unit, to date quite unreliable. The way we travel, being able to have a reliable generator is paramount.

On our list of 'must haves' for our next coach is Diesel Generator! If we find the 'perfect coach' in every way, but it has a propane generator, we will walk away from that coach.

Jim
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