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Old 12-18-2020, 04:58 PM   #1
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Diesel Pusher questions

So we've had class C gas motor homes in the past and are looking to step up to a class A. I seem to know my way around the gas class As from my previous experiences with the Cs. Now diesel pushers are another breed of cat (or Cummins)! We're looking for something in the 32' to 38'. We want to keep it under the 39' because of where we camp and limited space to store it at home. Our max budget is $100,000. I know condition & floor plan is highly important.
So what do I look for in a DP?
Is Cummins the only way to go for an engine? I ask this because it seems that people think Cat engines are more expensive to repair.
Is 300 HP the minimum to look for in a pusher?
I see a lot of different models of the Allison transmission talked about. Is there a model that is superior to rest?
What chassis is desirable? I know that's probably a loaded questions like maybe Ford vs. Chev.
Is there an advantage to buying something that is pre def?
One of the reasons for us looking at a DP is I have struggled with sway and wind blowing us around in the class Cs. Other than going with a tag axle, is there a preferred suspension to look for?
Would a 32' DP tend to porpoise due to the short length.
Sorry for all the questions in one post but I'm kinda starting from scratch.
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Old 12-18-2020, 05:13 PM   #2
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Cat got out of the on road market when the emissions stuff hit so Cummins I think is the better bet.

As for wind pushing you around my understanding is the best way to keep that from happening is with a tag for a few reasons and at 38’ you will have problems finding a tag if at all.

I got a 40’ with tag exactly for the reasons you listed and it was the shortest I found with a tag I have seen others but not in the price range I was looking at.


With the transmission I personally think the 4000 is the best option but I believe you would need to be up in the 500hp range to get one.

Of all the posts I have read on irv I have not seen one complaint on the Allison transmission but I have only been here for 2 years.
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Old 12-18-2020, 05:15 PM   #3
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Regarding pre def —— YES, or get something after all the kinks were ironed out I understand the newer def is ok but not the units that first had them.

I have never had a def unit and I purchased pre def for the lower cost to operate and repair.
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Old 12-18-2020, 05:30 PM   #4
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Power to weight ratio , rather than just HP is what to look at .
100 lbs ( combined weight coach and toad ) per HP, is a good minimum to look for .

Yes short pushers have handling issues . 35/36' minimum . JMHO

3000 series Allison as a minimum, 4000 series is rare under 500 hp.

If I win the lottery , I'll be looking for a 40' with tag . Till then , I'm rolling on with my current coach. Yes I get blown around , now and then , but nowhere near as bad as any of my 4 , 5ers.
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Old 12-18-2020, 05:38 PM   #5
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Old 12-18-2020, 07:03 PM   #6
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Thank ivy—-

Those were all probably out of my price range at the time. I was looking.
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Old 12-18-2020, 07:14 PM   #7
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How are you going to use a class A? Long extended trips? How many miles per year? Mostly short extended weekend camping? All of these and more questions come into play. Keep in mind that for the same money a DP will be much older than a Gas coach. The gas would have newer appliances etc. Any DP will also be more expensive to maintain than a Gasser. That said, most DP's are designed with adequate power for their size and weight. The 3000 Allison is ok up to 1250# torque. (I prefer the 3000 six speed to the 2500 five speed) Floor plan should be your top priority, as you will be parked and living in it far more than you will be driving up mountains. Most DPs have a Freightliner chassis which is fine. The older Monaco has the Roadmaster which is fine too. Don't be concerned with the chassis, as they all perform well. For $100,000 or less, most if not all will be pre def. I've owned both and neither one is a problem.

We have a DP because I sometimes tow a 10,000# trailer and we run 10,000 miles per year. If we were only driving 5-6,000 miles and just towing a car, we would have stayed with a 36' gas coach. They both have there place and both provide the same experience.
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Old 12-18-2020, 07:37 PM   #8
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Our rig weighs 31,000 lbs at 38' long, with a 300hp Cummins mechanical engine but no tag axle.

We do not get "blown around" as others seem to report.

I do remember a very big wind when heading easterly through North Dakota about 10 years ago that caused me to tire early trying to continue heading easterly.

But no effect from passing semi's.

Oh, and we have never had a problem with slide-outs not working. We have none.
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Old 12-18-2020, 08:59 PM   #9
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I think gas A’s drive quite a bit better then the C’s, so depending on use a gas A might be a option for you. Yea it still will not drive as good as a DP however a smaller DP doesn’t drive as good as the larger ones. Many people will do suspension upgrades to their gas coach to reduce the swaying.

Tiffin has the breeze, fleetwood has the excursion and I believe it’s now the pace arrow all of which are 28-36ft DP’s. I believe their power is 240-300HP depending on year, brand etc

They should all drive better then a gas coach, do some searching at rvt.com and RV trader.com and you can see what’s available
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Old 12-18-2020, 10:08 PM   #10
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The Cat 3126b, 3126e and c-7 are very common medium duty engines in pre 2006's mid sized pushers. They came in 300 and 330 hp versions. In my experience they are good engines but require a more strict maintenance schedule than the Cummins due to the Heui system. I have a 37ft pusher with a 3126b Cat and it has plenty of power and tourque for that size range and has been a pretty reliable engine through 68,000 miles. I think both engines will have positives and negatives.I dont feel that repair costs/ reliability would be much different between the two.RV's tend not to get alot of miles/hours, but maintenance costs may be slightly higher with the CAT as your changing the oil possibly twice as much. I think you can get a pretty nice high end pre def coach in your price range. I personally would look for overall build quality,maintenance history and floorplan over what power plant it has. Country Coach made some nice coaches in that mid range length.
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Old 12-18-2020, 10:34 PM   #11
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Foretravel also produced a 38' with tag..Foretravel designed chassis & Coach, 400 to 500 hp.. outboard air bag suspension, 6sp Allison with a true HYD transmission retarder. air bladder seal on the slides (HWH slide mech)..
See Motorhomes of TX.
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Old 12-18-2020, 11:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpisi View Post
So we've had class C gas motor homes in the past and are looking to step up to a class A. I seem to know my way around the gas class As from my previous experiences with the Cs. Now diesel pushers are another breed of cat (or Cummins)! We're looking for something in the 32' to 38'. We want to keep it under the 39' because of where we camp and limited space to store it at home. Our max budget is $100,000. I know condition & floor plan is highly important.
So what do I look for in a DP?
Is Cummins the only way to go for an engine? I ask this because it seems that people think Cat engines are more expensive to repair.
Is 300 HP the minimum to look for in a pusher?
I see a lot of different models of the Allison transmission talked about. Is there a model that is superior to rest?
What chassis is desirable? I know that's probably a loaded questions like maybe Ford vs. Chev.
Is there an advantage to buying something that is pre def?
One of the reasons for us looking at a DP is I have struggled with sway and wind blowing us around in the class Cs. Other than going with a tag axle, is there a preferred suspension to look for?
Would a 32' DP tend to porpoise due to the short length.
Sorry for all the questions in one post but I'm kinda starting from scratch.
Well,
As usual, folks get misinformed about many things concerning diesel coaches. First, there is absolutely NOTHING WRONG with a CAT equipped coach. Yes, CAT pulled out of the *Over the road* engine application around 2008. The did it simply because they didn't want to hassle with on going and ever tightening smog rules. They still make a few zillion OFF ROAD pieces of equipment and, there's PLENTY of available parts for the older CAT equipped coaches. If you rule out a CAT equipped coach, you're gonna loose out on a a whole ton of potentially very nice rigs, for your price range. And by the way, don't think that Cummins has had a perfect history either. Cummins experts will verify which of their engines had issues.

ALL DIESELS cost money to repair! There are many, many very nice coaches out there in your price range and length requirements. Some with CATs, and some with Cummins. Our coach, an '04 Horizon 36GD with the CAT C-7 330HP, is now 17 years old and sports 97,000 miles. That CAT has done quite well in that time frame with regular maintenance. Everyone's maybe got preference for a brand/model, or even a chassis.

Ours has the Freightliner Evolution chassis. It's been great. No issues what so ever. Oh, there's been minor bumps in the road here and there but, you don't travel 97,000 miles without some hiccups every now and then. But, the build quality, fit and finish, and general durability, have been outstanding in the 9 years we've owned it.

As for the shorter length, well, again, I'd try not to rule out any, especially if the floor layout, mileage, general condition are of interest to you. I will say though, the shorter the coach, the way less creature comforts you'll get with it. The proof would be to go into, if you can find one, a 32' diesel, then a 34', 36' and 38'. You'll see what's missing in the shorter ones.

Some guys prefer the *Pre-DEF* and *Pre-DPF* (Diesel Particulate Filter) models due to them being a less complicated engine/chassis combo and, therefore, *potentially* less troublesome in both maintenance and repairs. I know plenty of folks with both of those systems and, their coaches do great.

Yes, there are items in those systems that need attention on a periodic basis so they keep functioning as designed. But, again, just like I stated earlier, to walk away from an otherwise very well equipped coach, and a floor plan that you're totally happy with, a length that suits you, maybe full body paint that glimmers, and maybe even quite low mileage, because this coach has DEF, or DEP? Well, that's up to you.

The point is, keep your mind open. There's junk out there and, there's some really great coaches. A good buddy of mine just decided that his diesel coach, was too much for him and his wife. He just sold his '06 Itasca Meridian, 34H with the CAT 350HP, with FIFTEEN THOUSAND MILES on it!!!

It was more pristine then when it was sold NEW! So, there are deals out there, for sure. Two things that are important here.

1. Have CASH. Cash always speaks well.

2. Be ready to travel, to go get the unit you want/desire.

We've flown to another state to purchase our purchase out present coach.
Good luck.
Scott
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Old 12-19-2020, 02:56 AM   #13
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We have a 2011 Tiffin 36QSH. It is 36’9”. After putting on a Roadmaster 2” rear anti sway bar, we lost almost all of the wind issues and very rarely feel a truck anymore. Before, it was a handful. That upgrade was about $1,700 and worth every penny.
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Old 12-19-2020, 03:58 AM   #14
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How are you going to use a class A? Long extended trips? How many miles per year? Mostly short extended weekend camping? All of these and more questions come into play. Keep in mind that for the same money a DP will be much older than a Gas coach. The gas would have newer appliances etc. Any DP will also be more expensive to maintain than a Gasser. That said, most DP's are designed with adequate power for their size and weight. The 3000 Allison is ok up to 1250# torque. (I prefer the 3000 six speed to the 2500 five speed) Floor plan should be your top priority, as you will be parked and living in it far more than you will be driving up mountains. Most DPs have a Freightliner chassis which is fine. The older Monaco has the Roadmaster which is fine too. Don't be concerned with the chassis, as they all perform well. For $100,000 or less, most if not all will be pre def. I've owned both and neither one is a problem.

We have a DP because I sometimes tow a 10,000# trailer and we run 10,000 miles per year. If we were only driving 5-6,000 miles and just towing a car, we would have stayed with a 36' gas coach. They both have there place and both provide the same experience.



x2, could not have said it better.
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