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Old 08-23-2014, 10:24 AM   #1
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Smile Gas or Diesel ... which is best?

Greetings all! Trying to choose our first RV and would love input on gas vs. diesel. The plan is to get a 25-ish foot motorhome and at some point tow a small car (think Mini-Cooper). Am interested in insight on power, maintenance, any insight you can offer. Many Thanks!!!
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Old 08-23-2014, 10:33 AM   #2
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Do a search on this forum--several nights of reading with few conclusions--mostly preferences.....Limited time to own--only a few years, short distance trips, low overall miles, light loads,,,,then go gas and keep some money in your pocket up front....Conversely, long-term ownership, longer trips, lots of total miles, towing mid-size car--cant beat a diesel for/over the longer run..... the comfort and longevity alone are worth it--in my "opinion" of course.....
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Old 08-23-2014, 10:44 AM   #3
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Over 2,000 Gas vs Diesel treads HERE to read.
Enjoy

For your 1st RV gas will probably work.
Just don't take a diesel for a test drive.
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Old 08-23-2014, 10:47 AM   #4
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I haven't looked into what's available , in diesel powered , class C's.
But I'll post this info just in case it's relevant.
I worked at a shop and we had the contract for servicing ambulances for our area. Over the years, the ambulances were built on many chassis, all similar to what class Cs are made on , first Dodge gas , then Ford diesel, then Chevy with Duramax; The Ford chassis although some engine, service access was tight, were ok to perform work on. With the change to the Duramax chassis , the problems started. For many engine repair operations the repairs required ( on instructions from the service manual ) that the cab be removed from the chassis for ease of access; something that could not be done once the ambulance body had been added, or a class C , coach added. Engine work could still be performed, but could take 4 times as long. In the case of one unit that needed a complete new engine ; the new motor had to be torn down and re-assembled in the chassis. The problem was such that the ambulance service has switched away from diesel power to gas powered chassis to avoid the extra cost.
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Old 08-24-2014, 09:26 AM   #5
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If I were looking at nothing bigger than 25' I'd probably look at gas. Lower cost to purchase and maintain, weight is unlikely to be an issue with that small of a coach, easier to find competent service.

The expectation of unusually high mileage use might sway me toward diesel for it's long term durability and efficiency, but otherwise, gas will do you just fine.
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Old 08-24-2014, 09:38 AM   #6
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Gas or Diesel ... which is best?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jerztime View Post
Greetings all! Trying to choose our first RV and would love input on gas vs. diesel. The plan is to get a 25-ish foot motorhome and at some point tow a small car (think Mini-Cooper). Am interested in insight on power, maintenance, any insight you can offer. Many Thanks!!!

Trust me.....you will end up with a bigger (longer) RV in the end....why not save all that $$$$$
Lost in upgrading and buy right to start off with ? Just some advice to consider

More information about how you plan to use it, your age, how many in your family, your budget, how mechanically inclined you are, would help us make much more relevant suggestions for your situation.
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Old 08-24-2014, 09:47 AM   #7
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Here is one to consider.... The advantage to getting diesel is you can have a diesel generator which is FAR superior to having a gas generator!

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Old 08-24-2014, 10:13 AM   #8
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Thanks all. We're two recently retired mid-50's who want to see the USA - just want to take our time and enjoy it all. Sightseeing, photography, hiking, bicycling (not off road). I would rate mechanical inclination as average. No pets. I hear you about the benefits of a longer MH ... have read posts before to 'buy your third one first" ... not having driven one before there's ease in driving the 25' - the 28' seemed intimidating, but I imagine we could get used to it. Definitely looking for a good floor plan, as have read many posts about making that a priority.
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Old 08-25-2014, 05:39 AM   #9
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My 4,02 is a bed you can get around both sides. Gas for that size with a big fuel tank. Idesel is nice mileage will be a bit better service is about 3x. I have a Ford V-10 and am very happy with it. mileage without a toad is about 9-10
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Old 08-25-2014, 03:15 PM   #10
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Consider there are always two sides to an issue; in this case, motorhome size. We are on our 4th motorhome, and drive these in excess of 100,000 miles. These have been a 21 ft class C and 26, 26 and 29 ft class A's (the 29 ft one is just a newer version of the preceding 26 ft one, and, we only bought this because it was such a great deal).

So this is just to offer an opposite viewpoint that some people just do not want or need a bigger motorhome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pasdad1 View Post
Trust me.....you will end up with a bigger (longer) RV in the end....why not save all that $$$$$
Lost in upgrading and buy right to start off with ? Just some advice to consider ....
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Old 08-25-2014, 03:44 PM   #11
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Hi and welcome to the forum.

As many have already said, with your requirements it seems that a gasser would be the best choice.

Many threads have discussed the gas vs diesel issue and I've come to the conclusion that the biggest justification for buying a diesel is because you just really WANT one.

BTW, our first and only RV of any kind was a new 40' DP so it certainly can be done.

Best of luck

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Old 08-25-2014, 04:13 PM   #12
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You will be hard pressed to get a decent diesel in the size range you are looking at. OTOH the gassers available are decent for what you say you want. I would not worry about the engine and concentrate on the layout. It will mean more to you day to day. If you decide to upsize into the mid 30 foot class then I would be looking at diesel as you will want the torque to handle the heavier house.

You bigger problem will be the short A's that hit the market vs the C's that are out there. Some of the layouts for both really suck. You need enough clothes and dish storage in the unit and a fully usable bathroom as well as bed. Spend some time thinking about how things will get organized and it will save headaches down the road.

Maintenance on a diesel will always cost more because you will be in a diesel shop that charges more and you will be dealing with more expensive parts. OTOH you will not get a million miles out of the gasser. You will get an easy 100,000 or enough to circle the country several times. ;-) You will also get smaller holding tanks and electrical systems and not get a lot of more expensive things that break. As you proceed down the road of life you will learn the differences between having a small MH, a MH and towed, and maybe decide to go bigger as your tastes mature with your experience.
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Old 08-29-2014, 08:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerztime View Post
Greetings all! Trying to choose our first RV and would love input on gas vs. diesel. The plan is to get a 25-ish foot motorhome and at some point tow a small car (think Mini-Cooper). Am interested in insight on power, maintenance, any insight you can offer. Many Thanks!!!
A big problem with the RV industry is fuel economy. Many Otto engines (actually the automotive gasoline engine is Daimler/Maybach's, not Otto's) used for RVs have very poor fuel economy with 6 to 8 mpg being a norm. Today's atmosphere can see one international incident raise prices by $1.00 almost in hours.

The Diesel engine is typically 30% more efficient, but in many older engines, is extremely dirty producing high levels of carcinogenic exhaust fumes. Gasoline exhaust fumes are also as poisonous as older Diesels and the fuel (benzene) is carcinogenic. Modern Blue-Tech (and other Common Rail Diesels such as Cummins) burn clean and have odor free exhaust (like Cruise Ships) and lack the loud Diesel Knock of older truck engines.

Modern engine designs have cleaned up Diesel exhaust. Gasoline engines have lost a lot of efficiency by being made to run more cleanly while Diesels have improved greatly.

Gasoline engines have low hp output over much of their range while the hp output of Diesel engines is typically higher over their rpm range. So a typical 350 hp gasoline engine may produce only about 50 hp during much of it's rpm range while a lower hp rated Diesel, running at lower RPM may produce the same, but typically MORE power. The 188 HP Mercedes-Benz Diesel in the Sprinter chassis actually performs more like a 250 hp gasoline engine while using far less fuel and less pollution in 3 of the 5 polluting gases.

So the Diesel power curve is ideally suited to heavy duty use when constant loads are heavy (such as pulling a motorhome, locomotive, ship etc.) where gasoline engines have to be sized MUCH larger to achieve the same pull and performance. The MB Diesel is a heavy duty truck engine while I believe that many of the gasoline engines used in RV chassis are medium duty. Ergo, the Diesel is higher priced.

Because gasoline will burn only in a narrow range of stoichiometric mix rations from about 8:1 (8 to 1) to 12:1, this raises fuel consumption at idle and at low throttle compared to a Diesel which can run as low a 200:1.

So the Diesel is a far better engine in principle from the start. In the Sprinter the MB Diesel is a Heavy Duty engine with a life span of considerable length. The typical gasoline engine used in medium duty trucks is not nearly so durable. I doubt this matters because I don't believe the typical motorhome's body will last long enough to recover on this investment.l

The MB Diesel also meets all current pollution standards. Newer gasoline engines found in trucks do also, but not all diesels found in the marketplace do. If the engine produces the old acrid diesel exhaust odor, then it's either damaged or the old poisonous design.

You do pay quite a price for an MB Diesel. If you drive 10000 miles, based on today's fuel prices with 10mpg for gasoline ($3.45) and 15 for the Diesel fuel ($3.89) for the Diesel will be $850 cheaper for fuel.

Many gasoline engined motorhomes get 6 to 8mpg. (At 6 mpg for a typical Class C then the advantage at 10K miles for the Diesel rises to $3100.) At tune up time, the Diesel will not require spark plugs, but will require a decent fuel filter and Blue-techs use DEF fluid every few thousands of miles.

Diesel fuel, worse that gasoline, needs to be stabilized if left sitting in a tank as it grows algae in it. But gasoline sublimates and forms shellac if not similarly treated.

Diesel injection pumps are destroyed by the presence of water. Gasoline engines typically just stop running. Diesel fuel filters will cut off the fuel flow entirely in the presence of water and cost more.

Based on my survey of 25' Motorhomes using both gasoline and Diesel engines I find the price difference to be about $20,000. If you have one of those 6 mpg Motorhomes then you'll break even on the price of fuel alone in about 42 months.

But, this on only PART of what I considered when I purchased my Sprinter Diesel chassis in a Itasca Navion IQ. The handling and quality of the chassis should be considered. Not all motorhomes handle like the large van that the Sprinter is. It steers very easily and accelerates far faster than you might expect for a 10,000 lbs vehicle with a 3 liter engine. On the highway I get about 17 mpg (15 in the mountains).

I used to drive a 225 cu. in. (3.7L) gasoline Ford Truck which weighed about 4400 lbs and it couldn't get out of it's own way. I didn't weigh enough to be able to push the brake pedal hard enough to lock the wheels, even though I pulled up on the steering wheel with about 75 lbs of force while pushing on the pedal with both feet. My Sprinter requires a lot more pressure than my cars, but is reasonable.

There is a good reason that some writers refer to the Mercedes Sprinter as the "savior" of the RV industry and it's not just fuel economy. It's also the quality of the chassis and all it's ancillary systems, like ABS (Anti Bockier System) anti-lock brakes, and it's excellent handling.

Almost all Class C (and some Class A) makers today seem to have a Sprinter based unit, and they are selling very well. There are also class A Sprinters which are also about 25' long and get from 16 to 18 mpg.

As more and more people grow tired of the size problems with larger units they tend to settle on the 25' long Sprinter based units and are not disappointed. Not to mention that many RV parks do not have spaces longer than 30' or pull though sites.

The Sprinter has a 54 foot turning circle. This is a major advantage compared to many other RVs. I was easily able to make a turn in Gettysburg where a Class C gasser (about 28 feet) could not.

Diesels burn their fuel with an excess of air. This results in their having better performance at higher altitude. I spent last weekend at 2700-2800 feet. I was blowing past gasoline Class C RVs as if they had the anchor out at that altitude going up long inclines. I have heard from others in forums that the gasoline engines lose a great deal at higher altitudes.

So far, all these considerations tend to feel like personal opinion and a choice could still go to gasoline (the explosion engine) or to Diesel. The factor that I tend to go with is the same factor that leads me to tend to buy features in automobiles and homes that I personally don't care about.

That factor is resaleability. You may pay $20,000 more for a Diesel RV (any of them not just the Sprinter) but you will tend to:

A. Be able to sell your unit more easily.
B. Recover a higher percentage of the purchase price (lower depreciation).
C. Have longer and less expensive regular service. (Class C not large DPs)

We (automobile people) used to say the cheapest car to own was a Ferrari (or Rolls-Royce or Bentley or other exotic car) because you can resell them for as much or more than their original prices in many cases. Diesels tend to be cheaper to own.

Of course if you cannot afford the extra money up front, this is a moot point.Most of the automobile manufacturers are phasing out the old oversized engines of the past (GM is lagging behind). They are being replaced with smaller turbo supercharged engines that are more efficient.

If you want to check out the Leisure Travel Unity series with the MB Sprinter 2.1 Liter Diesel, it is using the latest Sprinter with 7 speed transmission. It also has many of the options than Winnebago seems to not yet mention in their preliminary advertising for their 2015 models.

My choice is for a Diesel Sprinter based RV. You should chose based on what you feel is most important to you, not due to other's (like my) opinions.

Simply comparing Diesel to the Gasoline engines is not a granular enough comparison to make a well informed decision. I looked at the actual RVs and how well they were executed and how well they perform on the road as well as all the factors I mentioned above.
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Old 08-29-2014, 10:20 PM   #14
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Thanks all. We're two recently retired mid-50's who want to see the USA - just want to take our time and enjoy it all. Sightseeing, photography, hiking, bicycling (not off road). I would rate mechanical inclination as average. No pets. I hear you about the benefits of a longer MH ... have read posts before to 'buy your third one first" ... not having driven one before there's ease in driving the 25' - the 28' seemed intimidating, but I imagine we could get used to it. Definitely looking for a good floor plan, as have read many posts about making that a priority.
You can test drive RVs of different types. There is a large RV show coming up in Hershey, PA on Sept. 10-14. They have several RVs that you can drive. This is getting to be RV sales season.

The Diesel Sprinter chassis units come in Class A, B, and C types. These do not have the handling/stability problems that some RVs suffer from.

My first week of driving was in 50 mph cross winds over 1600 miles. While the Sprinter was a handful, it was fully competent. I cannot say the same for others that I saw which appeared, sometimes, to be out of control.

The Winnebago View/Itasca Navion has four floor plans. I prefer a queen bed and a good layout of the bathroom and kitchen area. My wife was grossed out by an RV that had only 1 sink in the kitchen area (none in the bathroom). A Class A by Winnebago (the Via) has a full sized Queen bed in a side slide. Many RVs use a 75" long Short Queen size. Some have King sized beds.

Leisure Travel has an Island Bed and a Murphy Bed version that sits like a TV room and converts to a Queen electrically. There are about two dozen makers with Sprinter Diesel chassis' that can top 15 mpg with ease. I particularly LOVE the all silver (gray) of the Leisure Travel units. I have a Navion though, and I picked it for it's WHITE cap.

You can almost go anywhere in 25 foot RV. Dual slide units with queen beds are common. Twenty Five footers can sleep from 2 to 6 people with relative ease and still get 15-17 miles per gallon.

I like Winnebago/Itasca and Leisure Travel Vans for their floor plan diversity. Leisure Travel is already showing 2014 Spec Sprinter chassis' in their 2015 RV lines. The new 2.1 liter engine has a 7 speed transmission and may set a new standard for good fuel economy.

Unlike some people I know I do not see RV parks as a place that I'd like to go to on every trip. I like to travel and NOT sit around in a park. Size then is critical in the ability to go places and see things. Some parks are limited to 30' RV size. When you call a park the first questions they will likely ask will be how long is your RV and does it have slide outs. You will also pick you site based on electrical requirements, whether it has water, and sewer hookup. If you have all three that is called a full hookup site. Some have cable tv in addition to those three.

I have a National Parks Pass (age must be 62). I pay NOTHING for entrance to Federal parks and get reductions on other things, like boat launches. I have a Maryland State Pass, same deal. Many of these sites are limited to 30'. My 25' RV has a 3foot slide so it becomes 29 feet long when parked with both slides out.

My choice is Diesel, for many reasons, not the least of which is longevity and resale value. I carry a digital SLR at all time and am about to get a full time Dash Camera too.

In Deep Creek Lake this past weekend, we could easily park at the scenic spots and at most of the attractions. I prefer this to sitting in an RV park which too often is full of loud people, barking dogs, screaming children, smoke, the odor of burning kerosene, and unmuffled trucks and cars.

My worst experience to date was in West Virginia. Apparently the moonshiners who run the roads all night cut off their mufflers to be able to carry more hooch.
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