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Jim042 02-28-2014 02:49 PM

Gas VS Diesel
Hi, new member. I am researching gas vs diesel, have my eye on a 37' Holiday Rambler Endeavor with a Cummins ISB Turbo Diesel Power (275 Horse Power). I have no experience with diesel, but have owned 3 different class A gas rigs.
Questions: is 275 HP enough? what MPG is normal? Its a 99 with 68k miles. Thanks, Jim.

TonyDi 02-28-2014 02:55 PM

Depend on how you plan to use it. If you're going to tow a heavy vehicle behind and you'll be in the mountains a lot then that engine can be a bit small. On the other hand some people are in so hurry to get there so that may not be important. Most diesels will get around 7-7.5 mpg as a rule. That too depends on how you drive it.

RickO 02-28-2014 03:06 PM

Hi and welcome to the forum.

This is a very common question and you can use our search feature here to find all the reading material you could possible digest. :)

I agree with TonyDi. I see you live in the east so probably won't be dealing with a lot of mountains unless you head our west so unless you're going to be towing a very large load the 275hp shouldn't be something to worry about.

As for gas vs diesel... as you might imagine it's a hornet's nest to discuss but IMHO, the absolute best reason to buy a diesel pusher is because you WANT one. Don't try to justify it financially because the numbers probably won't work out in favor of the DP.

If you're going to be full time and/or doing a great deal of traveling, then a DP is a really (really) nice way to go with a much quieter, smoother traveling experience. Either gas or diesel will almost always get you where you want to go... you just need to decide how much you want to spend to get there.

Best of luck.


Jim042 02-28-2014 03:08 PM

Wow, I was told by one Diesel owner that he got 12 pulling a truck. I usually did about 8 to 8 1/2 on my 91 Dolphin (31 ' on Ford 460).

Jim042 02-28-2014 03:09 PM

Thanks for that info. Most traveling will be between Arkansas and Southern California, not pulling anything.

doc 02-28-2014 03:25 PM


Originally Posted by Jim042 (Post 1947836)
Wow, I was told by one Diesel owner that he got 12 pulling a truck. I usually did about 8 to 8 1/2 on my 91 Dolphin (31 ' on Ford 460).

The veracity of that guy might be a bit questionable. The best I ever got on a 300 Cat in a 36 foot Itasca Horizon was 10 and towing a Tracker. That coach was a bit weak in the Rockies and some of steeper pulls here in the east.

Jim042 02-28-2014 03:29 PM

Thanks for that input. I was evaluating the cost of 4k mile trips based on wrong information. Maybe I will look at the gas rigs again.

wb7auk 02-28-2014 03:37 PM

I spend a lot of time here in the west pulling a mazda getting 10mpg and have yet
to find where I lacked power for any of these mountain passes.
Also a much nicer ride than any of the many gas units I have had.

Wingman1 02-28-2014 04:08 PM

I had a 1998 gas 35' Rexhall Rexair with Ford 460 and Banks. Average was 7.4 pulling a Honda Accord. Last July I bought a 2003 Beaver 38' Monterey and pull the same Honda Accord. Last month going from Redding to Indio CA. I got 9.8 mpg. Having both gas and diesel, I would never go back to gas. Handling and ride comfort of the diesel is 100% better and I spent over $4K on the gasser getting it to handle good. I was told by a fellow RV'er to not buy less than a 300 hp diesel if I was going to tow. My 8.3 ISC 350 hp is just perfect. YMMV

89sandman 02-28-2014 04:39 PM

i tell my customers diesel means double:)

stepside454 02-28-2014 05:05 PM

Here's what I've come to on this debate . Purchase price of a DP is obviously alot more .
After the purchase price, costs are basically a wash.
DP gets a little better MPG than gas, especially in higher elevations, & towing... But , diesel fuel costs more per gallon.
Diesel drivetrains generally require less repairs, or repairs less often than a gasser, as well as maintenance,,, but , when you do, the deisel well cost more, in some cases, alot more .
That said, the DP well ride better, have more power , more cargo & towing capacity , etc, if those are on your lust if must haves, the DP might be worth the extra costs.

GaryKD 02-28-2014 05:26 PM

Hi Jim042,
Are you going to drive the coach more than live in it? Or are you going to live in the coach more than you will drive it? The answer will allow setting of your priorities. Torque is key with a diesel. I have a Cummins ISC 330 HP 950 ft lbs of torque. The coach and toad street weight is about 37.5K lbs. On long climbs patience and time in the truck lane is required. Other than that the Cummins will run all day and not complain. Do the math on the coach you are considering and compare to my coach.

If you will live in the coach more than you drive it, floor plan sells the coach.

Sky_Boss 02-28-2014 06:00 PM


Originally Posted by Jim042 (Post 1947872)
Thanks for that input. I was evaluating the cost of 4k mile trips based on wrong information. Maybe I will look at the gas rigs again.

If fuel cost is the bottom line (which it isn't in my scheme of things) what does the difference in gas cost vs diesel? OK...

Current fuel prices in Alamo, TX are Gas = $3.11, DL = $3.59.

Assuming your gas and DP MH gets 7 MPG then 4000 miles will cost you $1777 in gas and while the DL costs $2051. $274 more. That seems simple the gasser. If you get 8 MPG and 7 MPG for the DPwith the gasser then the numbers become $1555 gas vs $2051 DP for a difference of $496. Case closed. Maybe.

Nothing is that simple unless, of course, you only want to judge your choice on MPG.

Buying a MH needs to be gauged by what you will use it for. Flat lands (most of the time) vs mountains. Weekend trips vs long trips or even full time. Expected maintenance costs. Drivability in most reasonable conditions. Cargo carrying and towing capabilities. And then there is just the seat in the pants feeling. Some call that Smiles per Mile.

For ME and Sandee we went through this process looking for a full time MH and first bought a 39' Winnebago gasser with a great floor plan. We got about 7.25 MPG (including generator fuel burn) but it was not very fun to drive in cross winds and trucks passing. We didn't like the noise under the dog house and worst of all, we maxed out the rear axle before we even got it loaded for full time. We even tried some handling fixes and sound insulation in the dog house. It took us one summer of using it to decide it wasn't for US. That doesn't mean it was a bad MH and there are plenty of others that have used as a FT or serious snow bird applications. It just didn't work out for us.

Now we get about 6.25 MPG (including generator fuel burn), a monster of a chassis, tag wheel handling (what trucks!) and cargo carrying capacity beyond our needs. It is a solid home too with very good insulation as far as MHs go. And...serious Smiles per Mile!

In the end I wish it was cheaper to buy and operate but then again we got more of the things we wanted for that extra cash that you can't easily (if at all) get in a gasser. For US it isn't a contest and we are glad we made the jump.

My point is not to say what you should do but to point out some of the factors you will want to consider finding something that will work for you. It is a puzzle and it is up to you put the pieces together for our picture.

Good Luck!

gemini5362 02-28-2014 07:15 PM


Originally Posted by Jim042 (Post 1947841)
Thanks for that info. Most traveling will be between Arkansas and Southern California, not pulling anything.

I live near Fort Smith, Arkansas last year I drove from home to Los Angeles. so I have probably driven a part of the route you are going to go on. I hear all of these mileage figures. I will tell you on my trip I recorded mileage when I started the trip mileage every time I stopped and recorded every gallon of diesel I put in starting with a full tank. I have a 38 foot DP with an ISL engine (400 horse) pulling a 4800 pound buick enclave. I got about 5.8 mpg on my trip. That was driving to LA then to San Fransisco then back about 5000 miles. I think the 275 is going to be a bit light if you are towing anything of any size. My 400 horse has no problems with the Ozarks or any of the mountains going to LA. But that is 400 pounds with 1200 foot pounds of torgue.

Diesel versus gas. Air Brakes, Air bag suspension, Jake Brakes I would not even want to think about the mountains in Arkansas without all of those let alone the sierra nevadas. The biggest difference is going to be cost. Diesel Pushers cost more to buy. Diesel engine maintenance costs a lot more. Diesel engine repairs costs more. Advantages to Diesel Pushers are comfort. space, driveability. You just have to figure out what is the most important to you.

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