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Old 11-24-2021, 08:54 PM   #1
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4 Slides ,Gas, Under Powered??

I'm looking at upgrading to a gas coach with a V10, it has four slide outs and a salesman told me because of that I would have trouble in the mountains. Anyone out there got one of these could give me some feedback? Thanks
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Old 11-24-2021, 08:56 PM   #2
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What year, is it the 34PA?
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Old 11-24-2021, 10:42 PM   #3
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We have a 2016 34PA. I wouldn't win a drag race at altitude but we're retired so no hurry. Would I like 400hp? sure! but she's not the slowest one going up the mountains either.
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Old 11-25-2021, 07:44 AM   #4
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The gasoline engines used in motorhomes are not turbocharged, so kinda like your lungs they struggle with lack of oxygen at high altitudes. Less oxygen means you can burn less fuel, which means the engine makes less power. The effect is about 3% per thousand feet of elevation, so at 10k feet your 350HP motorhome becomes a 240HP motorhome. Itíll still climb the mountain, but you will definitely notice that difference.

Diesels do better not because they are diesel, but because they are turbocharged. A turbocharger is essentially an air pump compressing air into the engine. It works harder at high elevations, but as a result the diesel has access to more oxygen, can burn its full complement of fuel, and makes about the same power at elevations it does at sea level.

So the question becomes how much you are willing to pay for that extra oomph. If you spend a lot of time ascending and descending grades, a diesel might be worth it for the extra power and the engine brake.
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Old 11-25-2021, 08:35 AM   #5
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The gasoline engines used in motorhomes are not turbocharged, so kinda like your lungs they struggle with lack of oxygen at high altitudes. Less oxygen means you can burn less fuel, which means the engine makes less power. The effect is about 3% per thousand feet of elevation, so at 10k feet your 350HP motorhome becomes a 240HP motorhome. Itíll still climb the mountain, but you will definitely notice that difference.

Diesels do better not because they are diesel, but because they are turbocharged. A turbocharger is essentially an air pump compressing air into the engine. It works harder at high elevations, but as a result the diesel has access to more oxygen, can burn its full complement of fuel, and makes about the same power at elevations it does at sea level.

So the question becomes how much you are willing to pay for that extra oomph. If you spend a lot of time ascending and descending grades, a diesel might be worth it for the extra power and the engine brake.
This is the best explanation I have heard about mountain driving. Thanks for that. It makes a lot of sense and really explains what is going on.

For me, getting up the mountain is always a second thought vs going down and the concern with braking. I know people do it every day but if I had a gasser, that would give me concern. I read somewhere that the key with going down is to make sure you start off at the right speed and I would agree with that.
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Old 11-25-2021, 09:37 AM   #6
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That's what I'm considering 34 PA but a salesman said because of the four slides they're very underpowered. You know about salesman right :-) so I thought I'd ask Thanks
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Old 11-25-2021, 09:57 AM   #7
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A salesperson word is worth nothing. He would love to get up to spend more for that diesel pusher, so he gets more commission.

There are many gas-powered motorhomes that travel in the mountains. You will not win any races. Just gear down, let the engine rev to get its power and get in the right-hand lane. It will get you to the top, just slower with a larger bank account.

I am not anti-diesel, I have one, but for our full-time travel and heavy trailer, I would not have a gas truck. Our intent is when we come off the road, is to get a gas-powered motorhome. We would be traveling less and the maintenance on the gasser is less than a diesel rig.

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Old 11-25-2021, 10:06 AM   #8
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A salesperson word is worth nothing. He would love to get up to spend more for that diesel pusher, so he gets more commission.

There are many gas-powered motorhomes that travel in the mountains. You will not win any races. Just gear down, let the engine rev to get its power and get in the right-hand lane. It will get you to the top, just slower with a larger bank account.

I am not anti-diesel, I have one, but for our full-time travel and heavy trailer, I would not have a gas truck. Our intent is when we come off the road, is to get a gas-powered motorhome. We would be traveling less and the maintenance on the gasser is less than a diesel rig.

Ken


We initially were going to purchase a 34PA. However, most gassers will only tow 5K, so we needed to purchase a diesel to tow our Raptor pickup. Something to consider if you are going to tow anything.
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Old 11-25-2021, 10:07 AM   #9
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This is one of those questions that comes up a lot, and it speaks to a fundamental lack of understanding of the basic nature of a motorhome - often on the part of the people selling them - as in this case.

The Ford V10, and presumably the V8 that has replaced it, has more than enough power to move any motorhome (and toad) that stays within the F53's 30,000 lb. platform design limit.

Will it do so at the posted speed limit going up grades above about 4%? No, but it's not supposed to. A motorhome is not a car, it's a truck, and it's designed to do what a truck can do - move a heavy load from point A to point B. A diesel does a little better, but I've never seen a DP or semi cruise over Wolf Creek or Vail passes at the speed limit - for the same reasons.

Living in Colorado, and having driven our V10-based moterhomes from one coast to the other, I can say that altitude really doesn't have that much impact on performance. Computer-based ignition and fuel delivery systems ensure maximum output regardless of altitude. And, in reality, you're generally at extreme altitude (say above 9000 feet) for a very short time on the high passes.

Lastly, I've run an engine monitor for years, and have never come close to maxing the V10's power output. We run at 26 to 27.5 K lbs. in our Tiffin. We go up Vail, Wolf Creek, La Veta, Raton, and the Eisenhower tunnel approach at 40 - 45, and come down the steepest bits at 20 with the tranny in 1st. (The lack of an engine brake for coming down is a much bigger issue than power for going up)

We love our 32SA. If the 34PA is your ideal coach, buy it!

Regards,

Randy
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Old 11-26-2021, 09:13 AM   #10
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Four slides gas underpowered?

Well I didn't say I have a V10 for a long time now so I'm familiar with it in the mountains. Just wondering if anyone thought four slide outs would make a difference in its performance? That is my question. That's it :-) thank you
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Old 11-26-2021, 09:15 AM   #11
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If focusing on performance/grade climbing, look at WEIGHT, as it is the power to weight ratio that dictates performance.


Yes, I understand more slides= more weight. But shorter/more slides may not be heavier than longer/fewer slides.
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Old 11-26-2021, 09:22 AM   #12
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How much does it weigh ? Thatís what matters vs the # of slides. I had two 36í gas coaches and went to all 49 States ( almost twice ) , all 10 Canadian Provinces and the Yukon Territory ( 93,000 miles ) which took in many mountains. Never had an issue getting up ( down was never fun but always got there as well ). Slow and steady both ways.
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Old 11-26-2021, 10:28 AM   #13
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A 34PA like the OP is looking at weighs about 23,000lbs with full fuel, empty water, and no luggage or passengers. Varies a few hundred pounds deepening on the options content. It’s built on the 26K GVWR F53 chassis.

The weight is not materially different from any of the larger-ish gas motorhomes. Some of them are 38-39 feet long, but with perhaps two slides. The 34PA is a 36 footer.

One thing to be aware of is that if you load it up to the maximum 26,000lb weight of the motorhome, then it can tow only 4,000lb. This limit is imposed by the 30,000lb GCWR rating of the F53 chassis.
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Old 11-26-2021, 10:29 AM   #14
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Well I didn't say I have a V10 for a long time now so I'm familiar with it in the mountains. Just wondering if anyone thought four slide outs would make a difference in its performance? That is my question. That's it :-) thank you

Sorry if I was obtuse...

Short version is, as long as you're under 30,000 lbs. and you don't expect to win uphill races, you'll be fine! Overall weight is the thing. With the F53's hard 30K design limit, the 34PA has less available carrying (2000-ish) and tow capacity (4000) than my 32SA (3000/5000) due to the 34PA's heavier chassis and coach (slides and whatnot), but the V10 has plenty of power to haul it all around. So, you may be a bit slower going up, but you shouldn't have any trouble.

As an aside, I always wonder what people mean by "you'll have trouble in the mountains." Maybe they're afraid trolls will catch and eat you 'cause you're too slow???

Anyway, we're 27K lbs (give or take) with the Tiffin; our previous 25 foot Axis, with toad, came in about 18.5K. The V10 in the smaller coach didn't work quite as hard, but overall uphill speed isn't appreciably different with the heavier coach. I try to manage the RPMs to keep them below 4500 or so to keep the noise down so that's been the limiting factor, not available power.

Regards,

Randy
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