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Old 01-31-2016, 05:35 PM   #1
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Gas vs Diesel

Can anyone tell me the differences in the drivability of a gas vs a diesel motorhome?

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Old 01-31-2016, 05:43 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by jimbob57 View Post
Can anyone tell me the differences in the drivability of a gas vs a diesel motorhome?
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2 Different beasts, and the price tag separates them, new or used, along with the ride and living quarter noise level when driving, front engine vs rear engine. They both drive great!...........


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Old 01-31-2016, 05:48 PM   #3
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If we are talking about strictly about throttle/engine response, there is a basic description I like to give. Generally speaking, the diesel will feel more responsive in the bottom end and the first 2/3rds of the peddle press. The gasser will feel more responsive at wide open throttle. The diesel will seem like it has more power, as it rarely downshifts, however when it does downshift, you do not gain much extra. A gasser on the other hand may even feel weak, as it often downshifts, however when it does downshift, there is a lot more to be gained.
At high altitudes, a diesel engine looses more power than a gas engine, HOWEVER, most diesel engines are turbocharged. Because the turbo has a lot of headroom, it dramatically makes up for the loss in air density, such that you typically have no loss of power at high altitudes.

You kind of open up the torque vs HP discussion, as commonly diesels get their power at low RPMs with gobs of torque. Because it gets its power at low RPMs, there is no need to downshift. It just tends to pull along. The limitation is that the diesels have a low redline, so you can only downshift so much. This limits the maximum power that can be gotten from the engine. A gas engine gets its power from turning high RPMs, this means you gain the use of that power from the torque multiplication of the transmission. The HP number of an engine spec tells you the maximum power you can get out of the engine. That means it will give you an indication as to how fast a vehicle will accelerate, or the top speed it will hold on a climb. The torque number gives an indication of how fast the engine needs to turn to achieve that speed. So a diesel feels like it just lumbers along, because the engine does not scream, however in raw numbers, it may not be going as fast. Because you do ot hear the engine scream, you have a perception of effortlessness, even though technically, it might be slower. When a gas engine screams, you perceive you are working the engine very hard, but that is where the engine gets its power.
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Old 01-31-2016, 05:50 PM   #4
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Both will do the job. Different techniques and way different costs. Why not tell us what your concerns are? That will get you better answers.
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Old 01-31-2016, 05:51 PM   #5
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I have not recently driven a gas MH. The last one was a gas pusher in the 70's. We now have a diesel pusher. IMO the diesel drives much better but that is comparing apples to ??? There is no comparison.

Recalling various posts on the forum it appears that a diesel coach will be quieter, smoother and more fun to drive as a general statement.

There are so many options, fixes, add on's and customization that the question is very difficult to give an absolute answer.

I suggest you see if you can test drive a gas and diesel coach and make up your own mind.
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Old 01-31-2016, 06:18 PM   #6
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As others stated it depends on which gas and which diesel you are referring to

When I was shopping back in 09, I drove ford and workhorse gas as well as a DP. The ford was my least favorite of the bunch, it was the most affected by wind and trucks passing and also felt road irregularities more. 5 speed trans

The workhorse is what I went with, it wasn't much louder vs the DP I drove, I would say almost equal driving down the highway just cruising. Once in the throttle accelerating the gas is a bit louder. This took crosswinds better vs the ford and also had a smoother ride but not as good as a DP

The DP did everything better. The weight helps with the wind issues, chassis helps the ride and the engine gives TQ to make traveling more stress free

Biggest complaints with my gas coach is difficulty getting gas, not all gas station accept a 38+ ft RV pulling a vehicle. Not just the length but also the height.

I do wish It had more power, not just going up mountains but pretty much any incline like a simple overpass the thing kicks down a gear or two if cruise is on... Rarely used it for that reason.

Prefer a larger fuel tank, as I stated above its not easy at times finding a station, it would be nice to be able to go 700-1000 miles on a tank vs 400 ish.

My next RV will be a used DP
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Old 01-31-2016, 08:31 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by jimbob57 View Post
Can anyone tell me the differences in the drivability of a gas vs a diesel motorhome?

This is a complex question...but I'll just give some easy generalities to get you going. Diesel Motorhomes 99% of the time has engine in the rear - so you don't hear engine noise up front while you are driving. Diesel Motorhomes also have air ride suspension which cushions most of the bumps and makes you feel like you are floating above the road.
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Old 01-31-2016, 09:34 PM   #8
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I can add another generality. Generally people will upgrade to a DP for the power, ride and drivability. Generally people will go from a gas to a DP, but NOT from a DP to a gas.

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Old 01-31-2016, 09:37 PM   #9
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Good question...
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Old 01-31-2016, 10:18 PM   #10
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A lot of the DP "advantage" is the bigger house and heavier vehicle. For full timers or folks traveling a lot going to the bigger vehicle makes the drive train choice. No good small to mid size diesel and no big gas. That puts the only real engine choice in the middle range 30-35 or so ft units. (Yes there are very small diesels.) Where you want to go can limit the size of what you can take there. The point is that there are a lot of facets to making a choice not just the engine.
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Old 02-01-2016, 07:49 AM   #11
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Hi jimbob57,

Welcome to IRV2

I see this is your first post, but you couldn't have chosen a more popular, contentious or entertaining topic. Look up in the menu bar, find SEARCH, type in "Gas vs. Diesel", and you will find many threads discussing the topic. There is a lot of good information, but just work around the many opinions and comments that don't add to the information you want.

Originally Posted by jimbob57 View Post
Can anyone tell me the differences in the drivability of a gas vs a diesel motorhome?
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Old 02-01-2016, 08:30 AM   #12
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Given the same size and weight coach, I can't imagine any gas engine outperforming a diesel in any parameter. The diesel should accelerate faster, tow easier, maintain speed better on grades and get better fuel economy than a gas powered coach. And it'll do all that without screaming along at 5000 rpm to get up a hill. The trade off is upkeep on a diesel will be higher and repairs will generally cost more.
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Old 02-01-2016, 09:53 AM   #13
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Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined us!

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Old 02-01-2016, 10:09 AM   #14
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An addendum to my post.

Either gas or diesel will get you to your destination. Once there you will not notice much of a difference. Diesels will generally have a front access, gas a center access.

Both will climb the steepest hills, length will affect some of the campgrounds you can access.

My suggestion is to determine what you will be using the MH for and then find a floorplan that suits you. Then the gas vs diesel issue will become clearer as the available options will be spelled out.

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