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Old 04-22-2015, 02:59 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Statgeek View Post
Joseph--In addition to the advice above, I strongly suggest that you and your wife look at many RV's in detail, in person. Walk through them. Turn the knobs, open the cabinets, feel the wood... Some things are the same between DP's and Gassers --like hot water heaters, ovens/stoves, refrigerators. But there is a LOT that is different too.

There's a saying in the RV community that goes something like "buy your last RV first," and there really is something to that. If you buy an "entry level" RV and then decide to "trade-up" shortly after (like I did), you'll take a beating on the trade in.

Of course, without direct experience it is hard to know what your "last RV" should be like too, so I completely understand how difficult that advice is to follow! Nevertheless, if you already KNOW that you and your wife are going to fall in love with the RV lifestyle, then it is to your benefit to really think long and hard about what your long-term goals and needs and wants will be.

As just one example--if you see yourself driving very short distances, then staying for a long time, some of the benefits of a DP's smoother, more comfortable and quiet ride are kinda lost, since you are only driving it for a small percentage of your total use. But if you foresee driving it for long distances, possibly 6+ hours at a time, that smooth quiet ride suddenly becomes really important!

We've had a 36' gasser for a couple of years and have put about 18,000 miles and six months living in it, so I know pretty well what I'm looking for in way of the house features. I'm just trying to understand where the costs differences in the two types of chassis are realized.

I can see how those costs add up in the DP after considering these answers. Whether a DP is a good value to me or not will probably be determined more by the success I have preparing for the purchase in the next two years.

Obviously a DP is more desirable, but the factors that determine if it's financially warranted are something everyone needs to assess on a individual basis.

Joseph and Sandy
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Old 04-22-2015, 03:03 PM   #16
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Several people seem to be misunderstanding the original question. I should have asked "why DP chassis are more expensive than gas chassis?"

Obviously everyone understands that a more luxurious motorhome is more expensive than a basic motorhome. That isn't the question.

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Old 04-22-2015, 03:12 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Raining Star View Post
Several people seem to be misunderstanding the original question. I should have asked "why DP chassis are more expensive than gas chassis?"
And the short answer to that is that the engine is several times more expensive than the largest gas engine you'll find in an RV, the transmission is heavier to match, and the chassis is much heavier to accommodate the larger engine and transmission. Then you add the larger and more complex coach on top which the heavier chassis allows for...
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Old 04-22-2015, 03:26 PM   #18
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You can ask the question 10 different ways and you will still get the my coach is better then your coach comments without details of why. Just its a dp so everything must be better .
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Old 04-22-2015, 03:40 PM   #19
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I guess the best, simplest answer is.. they're bigger and badder than any gas chassis out there..

The only thing I can come up with as an analogy is... Why does a Chevy S-10 pick-up cost less than a Chevy 3500 dually... They're both trucks, but there is a "heavy duty" aspect to the 3500 the S-10 cannot compete or compare with.

Think of these as just a few examples:
  • Bigger engine - obviously, but not just physical size, far more torque produced by a diesel engine than a gas engine
  • Bigger Transmission - If you're going to produce more torque, you have to have a transmission that can apply that torque to the road - Allison !!
  • Bigger braking systems - if you have more torque, you can pull/push more weight... if you do so, you better have a way of stopping it
  • Bigger frame - if you're going to put all that weight on the engine/transmission, you better have a frame rail that can support it along with the strength to pull something too
  • Bigger suspension system - if you're going to have all that weight, you need a suspension that won't beat you to death going down our fine freeway system.. add to that the complexity of an air-ride suspension (and if you have an air-ride suspension, you'll have an air brake system - complex and expensive systems)
You then throw in a tag axle chassis, and you've got a whole 'nother set of costs.

Bottom line... a DP chassis is a gas chassis on steroids.. and because its bigger and badder, the accompanying systems have to be bigger and badder... and usually costs are commensurate with bigger and badder..

Keep in mind, they make DP's that are very close to a gas chassis.. see all the entry level DP's out there.. basically (in my opinion) they are nothing more than a gas chassis with a low HP diesel engine.. but when you get into the mid to high end DP's.. you get all the "good stuff".. air-ride, air-brake, engine brake, more HP and bigger transmissions..

So, the analogy of MB vs Kia is pretty relevant
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Old 04-22-2015, 04:09 PM   #20
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And as others have mentioned, the components are generally designed to have much longer duty cycles. For RV's, some of that isn't as relevant (and can almost be a disadvantage since we don't drive our coaches day in and day out) but you are getting that quality. Look at coaches used for professional musicians/race drivers/whatnot that are on the road 40 weeks a year and rack up 200,000 miles but engine and chassis wise drive quite nicely. I don't think that would be the norm for a Ford F53 chassis with 200,000 miles on it -- by that point you would probably have to change out the engine, rebuild the transmission, replace wheel bearings, replace springs, etc.

That's not saying you don't have to do maintenance along the way, but your 'uptime' would be significantly higher with a DP than a gas chassis for sure.

Is it overkill for the DP's typical use? Absolutely. But if you started looking at trying to "split the difference" you'd end up with such low volume components the unit cost would be higher anyway.

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Old 04-22-2015, 04:14 PM   #21
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Eric did a good job answering your question. As said very big difference between an entry level DP and a high end DP. Example would be the Aqua Hot system costing $8000.00 and many other things. Best to first decide what your needs and budget are.
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Old 04-22-2015, 04:23 PM   #22
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Maybe a more direct analogy is a pickup comparison. Take 1/2-ton gas engine vs a 1-ton diesel engine pickups. Both have a bed that can carry stuff, have a passenger compartment, and are basically similar looking pickup trucks. But the 1-ton has a lot heavier duty frame, chassis, suspension, brakes, engine, transmission, rearend, cooling systems, and bigger wheels and tires. Kind of the same for a front engine gasser Class A vs rear engine DP class A; although the engine location difference is more than just lighter vs heavier duty components.

Whether you get the added value for the money moving up to DP is something you have to decide. The prices are what they are. A DP tends to be bigger inside, as well as exterior length longer. Chances are the DP has more luxuries or higher quality materials, but functionally they might be considered similar.
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Old 04-22-2015, 05:07 PM   #23
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bigger and beefier leads to costlier.

Consider this, nearly all class A gassers with a front slide out have frames that weaken over time and begin to buckle. The frame right where the front slide out opening is flexes way too much and gives out. Even 1 or 2 year old ones can have the buckle, obviously less than a 15 year old would.

I've only seen 3 DP's that buckle like that. The frames have to be beefier in order to hang the engine behind the rear axle. Gassers simply extend the UPS truck frame with an even wimpier extension.
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Old 04-22-2015, 05:30 PM   #24
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Drive one of each, a diesel and a gasser. It's all in the ride. How much is that ride worth? To me, it's priceless. JMO and I have owned both.
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Old 04-22-2015, 05:59 PM   #25
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Why are DP's more expensive?

I think the analogy between light and heavy duty trucks probably describes the comparison best. Just a quick tally in my head and just adding up the larger wheels and tires, the more massive frame and suspension system eat up a lot of the price difference on their own, before even considering the beefier engine and tranny.

We are considering exactly what we want for our next/last RV, and I'm beginning to favor a entry level DP. While my Winnebago Chieftain gasser has never let me down, she's getting up there in age and I'd like her replacement to be less strained when mountain driving since that's our favorite destination.

Thanks everyone for sharing your perspectives. I'm more comfortable with justifying the price tag on the vehicles we are considering.

In case you're curious, right now the 38' 2015 Thor Palazzo is leading the pack. In two years when we are ready to buy perhaps one of you nice folk here will have paid the deprecation for us, and given it a two year shake down cruise. We will pick it up from you then. Check with me and I'll let you know which color scheme to buy. 😉
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Old 04-22-2015, 07:03 PM   #26
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Your question is a good question. But you really need to break it down to two parts.

Part 1 engine, and drive train and frame.
Engine a Diesel engine is designed to run well over a million miles before a major over haul. the engines they run in dp's are usual a very close variant or even the same engine in over the road semi trucks. They are built to last just the engine you can get 40 to 60k into. Next torque a big Diesel engine can make as much as 2000 pounds of torque what that does for you is makes it possible to carry a lot more weight. A Diesel engine runs at a much lower rpm compared to gas to get torque. A gas engine just doesnt have the torque so in turn they can't carry as much weight.
So with a Diesel engine the frames can be heavier because weight does not mean as much the transmisions are made to handle all the torque from a diesel they have to be way bigger and stronger but they weigh more as well. So because of the this it leads to part 2
Part 2 everything else.😀
So now that the builders could have as much a 120k just in running gear they just eliminated a very high percent of owners that can spend 300 on a RV.so they can do what ever they feel like tand hit a dp price poin of 300k or 1.5 million.
But it really depends on your budget it is like buying a diesel pickup vs a gas pickup everything that was said above is the same for pickups but if you only can spend 30k on a pickup do you buy a new gas ok equipped or a used diesel. No wrong choice. People that have a diesel anything will swear by them most of the time and don't ever want to go back to gas .but just because somebody said if you can't buy(put in name of product here) don't buy anything. They are being self absorbed. Go spend time in lots of mh and buy what you can afford. But I can tell you this in the RV world most of the time the more you spend the better the product you are getting.
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Old 04-23-2015, 09:06 AM   #27
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I like to do the comparison a mobile or manufactured home and a good quality stick and bricks. Things like cabinets, counterer tops, flooring, Windows are USUALLY of a much higher quality in the pushers. Now one can order a lot of these options in the NEWER gas rigs but then their price starts to get to the diesels. I would guess one could purchase a cheaper class C for the same money a Diesel Pusher chassis would cost.

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Old 04-23-2015, 09:56 AM   #28
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I always tell my customers that diesel means "double" Double the cost, double the maintenance, double the headaches, double the loss when you go to sell it, and they still cry like little girls when they bring it in to have it worked on If you want the biggest and the baddest you best have the wallet to pay for it...

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