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Old 09-12-2015, 09:34 AM   #1
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Cumming vs Caterpiller

I am looking at used Fleetwoods under 40 feet and I see the majority have a Cummings with a freightlinner chassis but other use a Catapillar with a Frightlinner chassis or other manufacturers chassis. Is there a real difference on reliability between the two engines and why difernce chassis manufacturers?
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Old 09-12-2015, 11:22 AM   #2
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I've had two DPs, both with Spartan chassis, one with a Cummins ISC and one with a Cat C9.
I had a lot of trouble with the Cummins, just saying, but both ran well. Cummins is still building road engines, Cat is not.
I have friends with Freightliners and they are happy too. More places to service Freightliners, but most will service Spartan too.
I think the factory support is a little better at Spartan. Just my opinion. Neither is a deal breaker.
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Old 09-12-2015, 11:30 AM   #3
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Freightliner , would supply chassis to the coach builder with either engine brand, Cat or Cummins ( no G in Cummins ) , other chassis makers would supply with only one engine , Spartan I believe only built with Cummins.
Spartan, was a higher cost chassis, so to save $$ many manufacturers chose, Freightliner.

After working at a Dodge dealership and doing 14 years of Cummins work, I was hesitant about buying a Cat powered coach, but after 5 years of ownership I don't regret my purchase.
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Old 09-12-2015, 11:39 AM   #4
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Quote:
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Freightliner , would supply chassis to the coach builder with either engine brand, Cat or Cummins ( no G in Cummins ) , other chassis makers would supply with only one engine , Spartan I believe only built with Cummins.
Spartan, was a higher cost chassis, so to save $$ many manufacturers chose, Freightliner.

After working at a Dodge dealership and doing 14 years of Cummins work, I was hesitant about buying a Cat powered coach, but after 5 years of ownership I don't regret my purchase.

My rev is on a spartan with a c-9 cat as for cat not building a otr engine it was there choice. You can't drive down the road without see heavy equipment with a cat engine and parts are readily available.
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Old 09-12-2015, 11:45 AM   #5
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Actually, both FTL and Spartan built chassis with Cat engines for a short time, when Cumins road engines were in short supply worldwide. A lot of 2006 and early 2007 chassis came with Cats instead of Cummins simnply forthat reason. Then Cat got out of the on-road engine business rather than upgrade to new EPA specs, so no more choice of Cat vs Cummins.

It was not a quality issue - just which engine supplier could meet the demand. The Cat C9 is a bit less in peak torque than the Cummins ISL, but in practical terms the difference are not worth debating.
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Old 09-12-2015, 11:58 AM   #6
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As to why different chassis manufacturers, it's mostly a matter of pricing. Spartan builds only mid and high end chassis, whereas Freightliner offers an almost infinite variety of chassis configurations with a broader price range. If the chassis under the coach is a Spartan, you know the RV builder opted for at least a good mid-range chassis, but if it's a Freightliner you may want to pay more attention to how it is configured. The RV maker may have ordered a "low ball" chassis to keep the price down, selecting a shorter wheel base, lower GVWR, smaller engine & tranny, etc. Generally, in the more upscale brands you need not worry, but at the low end of the diesel pusher price range you may find that the RV maker skimped on the chassis.

In addition to FTL & Spartan, Monaco/HR built their own Roadmaster chassis, Country Coach built their Dynomax chassis, and Western RV built the Peak chassis.

They all buy trucking industry standard components, i.e. axles, steering, air suspensions, engine & tranny, etc.
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Old 09-12-2015, 04:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Actually, both FTL and Spartan built chassis with Cat engines for a short time, when Cumins road engines were in short supply worldwide. A lot of 2006 and early 2007 chassis came with Cats instead of Cummins simnply forthat reason. Then Cat got out of the on-road engine business rather than upgrade to new EPA specs, so no more choice of Cat vs Cummins.

It was not a quality issue - just which engine supplier could meet the demand. The Cat C9 is a bit less in peak torque than the Cummins ISL, but in practical terms the difference are not worth debating.
I believe the 2006 cummins 400 Hp had 1,200 torque and the c-9 has 1,250 what I've read.
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Old 09-12-2015, 05:48 PM   #8
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I worked a number of years in the steel mill railroad environment. Cat engines worked well, but the parts were easily times two over Cummins, or Detroit Diesel. I haven't stayed up with it so things may have changed. Easiest thing to do is compare prices on a common part like injectors and you will find the answer.
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Old 09-12-2015, 06:23 PM   #9
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If I had a choice and the only difference was Cummins or Cat, I'd take the Cummins simply because there are now many more on the road. Having said that, I now have a Detroit Diesel about which it is extremely hard to find any information.
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Old 09-12-2015, 07:02 PM   #10
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As others have said, the Cat engines (the 7.2L) you are looking at were used because they were a less expensive engine at the time. Some of that is due to a simpler design that means higher rebuild costs, but since the Cat is still easily good for 350,000 miles between rebuilds, it was really a non-issue for RV use.

As far as chassis, that too was a matter of cost. All Spartans, for example, in more recent times have had both side radiators and independent front suspension -- which places them firmly in the "mid-range" even in their most basic configuration (but costs more).

Back in the early 2000's I believe the cost difference between a Cat/Freightliner and a Spartan/Cummins (where you could spec either/or) was close to $20,000 MSRP, which for a Discovery class coach, had Fleetwood offered it, would have been about a 15% increase and Fleetwood obviously felt that people that would step up to that would, in most cases, step up to fancier units (since the chassis upgrade cost wouldn't really change regardless of the cost of the coach built on top of it).

All that said, if you have the right motorhome, I wouldn't hesitate to buy a Fleetwood product with Freightliner/Cat. I quite honestly got lucky (as a gearhead) that the coach we fell in love with was a Spartan/Cummins.

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Old 09-13-2015, 07:17 AM   #11
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Thanks to everyone for all of the information. This is exactly what I needed. The majority of the MH I have see in my price range have the Cummin's 300 HP. I worry if this is enought to pull a toad up some steep hills in the Austin area. There is one going to my daughters house that is 10% plus but for just a half a mile. My silverado have trouble pulling a TT to the top. In fact if got down to 5 miles per hour at the top, V8 with the tow package.
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Old 09-13-2015, 01:29 PM   #12
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My Excursion has the FTL/Cat combo from 2004, even though it's marked as a "2005" MY unit. No biggie. 350HP sounds like a lot, but my Caddy Northstar has 300, and many regular autos these days top out at over 300HP. It's the TORQUE that moves your coach though, not HP. The C7 has, I think around 850 lb/ft or so. The Cummins models from the same time frame have a bit more? Not sure, but in any case, I would not zero in on HP figures, instead compare torque. That's what gets you up the hills.

There's an old saying among wrench busters - "Horsepower for top speed, torque for acceleration."
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Old 09-13-2015, 02:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
I believe the 2006 cummins 400 Hp had 1,200 torque and the c-9 has 1,250 what I've read.
I believe you are thinking of the C-11 rather than the C-9. The C-11 is closer to the Cummins ISL specs.

See the last C9 on-highway engine specs here: http://pdf.cat.com/cda/files/2202624/7/LEHT8891-00.pdf
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Old 09-13-2015, 03:14 PM   #14
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I believe you are thinking of the C-11 rather than the C-9. The C-11 is closer to the Cummins ISL specs.

See the last C9 on-highway engine specs here: http://pdf.cat.com/cda/files/2202624/7/LEHT8891-00.pdf
C-9/ 8.9 liters 400 Hp 1,250 torque at least my 2006 specs. It's kinda strange depending on what wep site but on cats if you go to 400hp Rv it's says 1,250. Caterpillar c-9 brochure.
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