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Old 08-09-2021, 05:57 PM   #1
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First impressions: 2004 F-53

Our remodel wasnít complete but it was time to make our first trip. We had a toilet and a refrigerator which made the 2,400 mile trip a little more tolerable. We have four kids age 4 and under which is why we bought the Class A after selling our 2018 Open Range.

The 2004 V-10 only had 12,000 miles on it when we bought it. After 2,400 miles, I was disappointed at the slow speed required for anything better than 6 mpg. We are quite a bit lighter than the finished RV will be or even how the factory built it.

The first day we averaged 5.5 mpg at 73-75 mph.

The second day we hit 7.0 going 62.

The last two days were 6.1 doing 63-65 with some descent wind.

Iím likely going to do a complete chassis fluid change as well as check the brakes and lube the front bearings.

I expected 7-9, even when towing based on what Iíve read. Before the trip I changed the oil and air filters and we did not tow a vehicle.

We are already talking about going diesel since the mpg can only improve, the speed for that mpg is higher at 70-75, and the tow capacity is greater (bigger SUV for a family of 6). If it takes longer the drive everywhere at 60 mph vs 70+, the DP may be a better fit.

We will likely put another 10,000 on it and Iíll update with anything I find for improvement with the drivetrain.
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Old 08-09-2021, 07:20 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bono_B-1 View Post
Our remodel wasnít complete but it was time to make our first trip. We had a toilet and a refrigerator which made the 2,400 mile trip a little more tolerable. We have four kids age 4 and under which is why we bought the Class A after selling our 2018 Open Range.

The 2004 V-10 only had 12,000 miles on it when we bought it. After 2,400 miles, I was disappointed at the slow speed required for anything better than 6 mpg. We are quite a bit lighter than the finished RV will be or even how the factory built it.

The first day we averaged 5.5 mpg at 73-75 mph.

The second day we hit 7.0 going 62.

The last two days were 6.1 doing 63-65 with some descent wind.

Iím likely going to do a complete chassis fluid change as well as check the brakes and lube the front bearings.

I expected 7-9, even when towing based on what Iíve read. Before the trip I changed the oil and air filters and we did not tow a vehicle.

We are already talking about going diesel since the mpg can only improve, the speed for that mpg is higher at 70-75, and the tow capacity is greater (bigger SUV for a family of 6). If it takes longer the drive everywhere at 60 mph vs 70+, the DP may be a better fit.

We will likely put another 10,000 on it and Iíll update with anything I find for improvement with the drivetrain.
Anyone who is telling you they got 9 is telling you about a short trip they made going downhill, like Flagstaff to Phoenix. I bought a 2000 HR 36'. I drove it from Minnesota to Mazatlan Mx 5000 miles round trip for five years. I pulled a car, a open trailer with a motorcycle on it, an enclosed trailer with a motorcycle on it, and took one trip from SE Minn to Lake of the woods pulling a 4200# boat. In 30,000 miles I averaged 6.5. And on spot checks it never varied more than .2 MPG. And I did not drive fast. 62 most of the time. Mountains, flatland, rolling hills and northern Minnesota is pretty flat. I was never in a hurry and did not run the generator while traveling. I have a friend who has the same setup in a 06 36' Georgie Boy that supposedly has the performance chip in it. He bragged about getting 7 miles to the gallon, on the flat in northern Minnesota. It does seem he has a little better performance than I did.

Traded to a 40' Winnie DP last year and I averaged 7.5 to Mazatlan and Back, so a little better, but fuel costs more.

In the gasser about 300-350 miles a day was all I could take. Noise and rattles. It was a nice coach to spend 6 months in, but driving it was always a chore. The first day out with the DP I made 150-200 miles further than I did with the gasser. Yup, quiet, powerful, no more making a run for the next hill like I did with the gasser to top the hill at 50.

Enjoy what you have for now, and when you are ready for the big league just get ready to pay the price. An oil change and service I did myself I let the pros do now. $99 plus fluids. Preventative maintenance is the key. I fix most everything coach related myself, but when it comes to the engine, I let the guys that know what they are doing do it. Plus, no way, for $99 am I getting all greasy, spend half a day and have to dispose of the old fluids. There are about $300 worth of fluids and filters that i would have to buy anyway. These guys did it in an hour, and spent another hour doing an inspection to find anything else.
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Old 08-09-2021, 08:03 PM   #3
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I had a 38' diesel pusher ('03 Fleetwood Providence, Cat 3126b), it got 8 mpg at 62. Less if you went faster, the same if you went slower.

I had a 43' diesel pusher ('13 Newmar Dutch Star, 8.9 L Cummins) it got 7. If the fan got stuck on high, 5. Speed did not make a difference on mpg so I drove 70.

We now have a 24' class C on a Ford E350 with the V10, it averages around 8.

They are all about the same.
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Old 08-10-2021, 07:52 AM   #4
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Mileage

I averaged about 8.2 on our 7000+ Mile trip from the NE out West and back with our 2000 Tiffin 33 , most of the time I kept the speed between 60-65. I did get an outstanding day of around 11 mpg on one stretch out West which I think was from Idaho to Salt lake City
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Old 08-10-2021, 10:01 AM   #5
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I averaged about 8.2 on our 7000+ Mile trip from the NE out West and back with our 2000 Tiffin 33 , most of the time I kept the speed between 60-65. I did get an outstanding day of around 11 mpg on one stretch out West which I think was from Idaho to Salt lake City
Just go with the wind. Much better mpg.
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Old 08-10-2021, 10:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bono_B-1 View Post
I was disappointed at the slow speed required for anything better than 6 mpg.

The first day we averaged 5.5 mpg at 73-75 mph.

The second day we hit 7.0 going 62.

The last two days were 6.1 doing 63-65 with some descent wind.

We are already talking about going diesel since the mpg can only improve, the speed for that mpg is higher at 70-75, and the tow capacity is greater (bigger SUV for a family of 6). If it takes longer the drive everywhere at 60 mph vs 70+, the DP may be a better fit.
Sounds about right. I sometimes do 75mph but usually hang around 63mph.
Fuel cost versus mpg is a wash between gas and diesel class A coaches.
Why be in a hurry? I tend to stay off the interstates and hit the back roads. It's way more pleasant and you get to see so much more.
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Old 08-10-2021, 09:44 PM   #7
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When I'm hauling a load for work, I'm hammering down at 68 but when I'm behind the wheel of our MH, I mellow out and enjoy the trip doing 61-62 on the flats and way slower in the hills. No hurry and I rubber neck the scenery.
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Old 08-11-2021, 09:48 AM   #8
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We’ve known the 5,000 lb tow limit was going to be an issue all along. Now it has me leaning even more towards a diesel with the mpg at 6 not even towing a vehicle. Maybe we will slow down a little more and try towing at 60-62 and see where things are at.

Overall not disappointed in the power of the 6.8 with 4-speed trans, just a little surprised at the mpgs in the 5.5-7.0 range instead of 7-9 like I’d anticipated.

The diesel tow capacity will be a big factor and the other bonuses with a diesel are extra. Air ride and brakes would be nice too.

Not in a rush to upgrade and hopefully I can squeeze on other 1-2 out of it with new fluids, lubing brake slides, wheel bearing grease, and a 5-Star tune. Will likely drop 10 new plugs in it too. Miles are now only at 15,000 but the plugs are still 17 years old.
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Old 08-11-2021, 10:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bono_B-1 View Post
Weíve known the 5,000 lb tow limit was going to be an issue all along. Now it has me leaning even more towards a diesel with the mpg at 6 not even towing a vehicle. Maybe we will slow down a little more and try towing at 60-62 and see where things are at.

Overall not disappointed in the power of the 6.8 with 4-speed trans, just a little surprised at the mpgs in the 5.5-7.0 range instead of 7-9 like Iíd anticipated.

The diesel tow capacity will be a big factor and the other bonuses with a diesel are extra. Air ride and brakes would be nice too.

Not in a rush to upgrade and hopefully I can squeeze on other 1-2 out of it with new fluids, lubing brake slides, wheel bearing grease, and a 5-Star tune. Will likely drop 10 new plugs in it too. Miles are now only at 15,000 but the plugs are still 17 years old.
You are not going to save fuel cost by switching to a diesel coach. 6-7 mpg is pretty good for your 4 speed setup. You must be driving at a constant speed.
Many but not all diesel pushers will have a 10Klb tow capacity so pay attention there.
Air brakes / suspension can be a real pain on an older unit without maintenance. If you work on your own stuff then you will learn the systems and their quirks. I personally wouldn't own a 2007 or newer diesel.
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Old 08-11-2021, 10:25 AM   #10
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The only way I ever got better mileage was a 24ft Mercedes Sprinter with the 3.0 liter diesel. I got 14mpg and liked the RV but it was just too small for our needs.
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Old 08-11-2021, 12:01 PM   #11
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You are not going to save fuel cost by switching to a diesel coach. 6-7 mpg is pretty good for your 4 speed setup. You must be driving at a constant speed.
Many but not all diesel pushers will have a 10Klb tow capacity so pay attention there.
Air brakes / suspension can be a real pain on an older unit without maintenance. If you work on your own stuff then you will learn the systems and their quirks. I personally wouldn't own a 2007 or newer diesel.
Agreed. Not familiar with emissions deletes on a motorhome but Iíve made my 2013 Duramax ďmore reliableĒ with an increase in power and mpg without the possibility of emissions components failing.
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Old 08-11-2021, 02:00 PM   #12
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To the OP. Fluid changes will get you .1 more mpg. PMs will get you .0 more mpg. Going 75 will get you 5 mpg. Towing an SUV you will never get over 7. A crew of 6 on board, you are over weight. Get it weighed. Yes a diesel will lighten your load but only your wallet. Diesel fuel and servicing cost a lot more.
Slow down, plan early, shorter trips, get all the unnecessary stuff out. Tow a light a car as possible. Then you maybe can get over 7 mpg.
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Old 08-11-2021, 02:05 PM   #13
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We have yet to see much variation in our mileage in our 32'10" class A with a V10 pulling a toad or without a toad, all between 6 to 8 miles per gallon depending on speed and terrain. We got the same mileage with our previous Born Free class C 23' that also had the V10. Motorhomes are not known for aerodynamics and the engine has to be strong enough to move that billboard against a head-wind or up a mountain.
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Old 08-12-2021, 07:50 AM   #14
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Until our current MH, we had a 2004 FR Georgetown (37') that we bought new. My average mileage over those 12 yrs and 43K miles was 6.5. You have a lower HP 2-vlv V10 mated to a 3-spd plus OD tranny in your model year. That combination is going to require a substantial amount of driving time out of OD and down in 3rd (and 2nd) to maintain reasonable speeds as you traverse hills in your route. The engine/transmission were rock solid for us over those 12 years, but it will never be anything but thirsty.
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