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Old 11-17-2014, 11:35 AM   #1
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To diesel or not to diesel?

It's going to sound like a dumb question, but, why would I want a diesel (pusher). I understand that there is way more torque (engine braking) for running down hill in the mountains. If I don't go through the mountains much, should I pay another $30-40,000. I understand that motor up front is louder, I know that diesel is going to work longer and harder than any gas, but, looking at the average 3 year old MoHo for sale I see an average Kms of say 25,000. I would think that is almost a reason not to use a diesel. (too few Kms. especially with the DEF fluid {short lifespan} and the yearly cost of lube) I think that a DP might be easier to resell, but I'm not sure of that. I don't know if you loose more depreciation on a diesel or a gas. Any comment would be welcomed from people who have used either or both.
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Old 11-17-2014, 12:10 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FixerCQI View Post
It's going to sound like a dumb question, but, why would I want a diesel (pusher). I understand that there is way more torque (engine braking) for running down hill in the mountains. If I don't go through the mountains much, should I pay another $30-40,000. I understand that motor up front is louder, I know that diesel is going to work longer and harder than any gas, but, looking at the average 3 year old MoHo for sale I see an average Kms of say 25,000. I would think that is almost a reason not to use a diesel. (too few Kms. especially with the DEF fluid {short lifespan} and the yearly cost of lube) I think that a DP might be easier to resell, but I'm not sure of that. I don't know if you loose more depreciation on a diesel or a gas. Any comment would be welcomed from people who have used either or both.

The real question is; how big does a motorhome need to be to fulfill your needs. If your needs are served by a coach under 38' and weighing less than 24,000 pounds then gas power is a realistic possibility. If the coach of your dreams is a minimum of 40' and weighs 30,000 plus pounds then you have no choice but diesel.


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Old 11-17-2014, 12:17 PM   #3
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You buy a great used DP for $40k, it's what I'm looking at. I'm most likely going too buy an old Beaver RV.
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Old 11-17-2014, 01:02 PM   #4
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On the flats the gas engine will do fine and u wont feel like u are overworking the engine. My situation is going from a 2006 georgetown gas to the 2008 hr diesel vacationer. These two coaches are very close in size and weight which I think is quite rare as most move from a gasser to a much larger and heavier diesel coach. Our diesel coach does not have airbags or air brakes. My observations of the differences ......

1 the Georgetown engine screamed up the mountains. Kept dropping gears on slight inclines and just revved to high for my comfort. Decending the mountains was a little scary with the braking. It had the towhaul mode which helped but once again the rpms screamed. I rarely used the cruise control in the mountains because it would keep me in the low screaming gears. Our diesel climbs the hills with ease does not rev high and the exhaust brake gives a safe smooth decline down. Much better fuel mileage ( they both have the same sized tank). Nice and quiet up front and the diesel generator is far superior. Had to change the oil every 5000 on the gasser and 15000 on the diesel so although the diesel oil change is a bit more expensive, I go much longer between changes.
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Old 11-17-2014, 01:06 PM   #5
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Used a diesel in the past so understand the size/comfort differences. For me the decision was based on miles. We are not going to put over 3,000 miles/year on our coach and we are only going to use it 10-12 times/year for relatively short trips over the next 4-5 years. And a 38' coach was plenty for our needs. So we decided gas was fine.

If we go bigger we will go diesel.
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Old 11-17-2014, 01:23 PM   #6
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Don't make the mistake of assuming 15,000 mile oil change will save $. Every diesel requires oil change at 15,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first. Thus unless you drive far more than most of us you will probably be servicing at about the same 12 month interval as with a gas engine. 5 Gallons of oil, plus two fuel filters, plus hydraulic filter, will run you much more than the simple oil change on your gasser.

I moved from a 36 ft Southwind gasser (Workhorse 8.1 ltr) to 35 ft Holiday Rambler Neptune DP. I now have 68,000 miles on the DP after 6 years. Yes it is quieter on hills, in fact it is quieter at all times. It is not faster, though, and accelerates much slower. Maintenance is much more expensive even though I do all my own servicing. On the other hand even the 4 bag air suspension is infinitely more comfortable than any leaf / coil spring set up. Everything about the rig is simply heavier duty. All in all my wife and I are quite happy to have decided to go with the DP.
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Old 11-17-2014, 01:25 PM   #7
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Having to make the same decision this week, and purchasing a diesel, I can say the ride is so smooth and quiet it exceeds our comparing, and we haven't once in the last 4 days thought we should have bought a gas rv. We go over some steep passes quite often, so the screaming would get old at 4000 rpm vs 2000. I guess that is why the diesels sell.

The smooth ride is so much better and after driving both, spending 3 months trying them all out we feel we made the right decision, although we actually would have loved the shorter size of a gasser. Comfort meant a lot to us as we are not young. Take your time and think it through.
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Old 11-17-2014, 01:48 PM   #8
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You should also consider that yes, the diesel is much more expensive when you buy, but you'll get most of it back when you sell because your coach will still be worth a lot more than a gasser. Plus, you'll get to enjoy all the advantages of diesel while you own it.
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Old 11-17-2014, 02:54 PM   #9
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Steve has offered one of the best analysis I have seen on the gas vs. Diesel motorhome debate. The topic has been around for a long time, is sometimes entertaining, and I can't resist adding my comments.

I don't think there are any current motorhomes where the exact same model is available in a gas or diesel, so the most significant point is that it's not an apples-to-apples comparison. In today's market, you are really talking about two different products. The happy diesel pusher owners who say there is nothing like their coaches are correct, but what some are really inferring is that they have moved to a larger, more expensive, product with additional features and construction, and others should do the same thing (note, I said some, not all, but the refrain from these people does get a little old).

In reality, there is nothing wrong with a gas motorhome, just like there is nothing wrong with a diesel pusher. As Steve says, it depends on what suits one's individual needs.

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The real question is; how big does a motorhome need to be to fulfill your needs. If your needs are served by a coach under 38' and weighing less than 24,000 pounds then gas power is a realistic possibility. If the coach of your dreams is a minimum of 40' and weighs 30,000 plus pounds then you have no choice but diesel.


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Old 11-17-2014, 03:18 PM   #10
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Setting aside the power trains and each's inherent plusses and minuses for a moment, one must also consider the vast differences in the gensets between the two.

All current gasoline RV gensets are ancient air cooled designs, where almost every diesel genset is water cooled. (I think the smallest onan 3K diesel is air cooled.)

Ive had air cooled Onan and Generac gensets shut down under load in high heat many times - always when you most want the AC.

The fuel consumption between the gas and diesel genset under load is vastly different about a quart an hour on the diesel vs. about a gallon an hour or a bit on the gas unit running 2 AC' units.

I always seem to be the "tap" for a hot campsite and this differentiation creates a wide gap between the two in comparing the amount of time I can boondock while keeping the rig powered up, as well as effects how far I go on a tank of fuel between stops in the heat.

Lifespan before rebuild tilts in the diesels favor by an order of magnitude.


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Old 11-18-2014, 08:16 AM   #11
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You buy a great used DP for $40k, it's what I'm looking at. I'm most likely going too buy an old Beaver RV.
I think we need a newer one for fear that an older unit would need many repairs. I'm past the stage where I don't mind repairing. I just want to drive for 4-5 years without, or with the least of, the headaches. But having said that, I can see an older Beaver being a reliable vehicle.
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Old 11-18-2014, 08:33 AM   #12
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Used a diesel in the past so understand the size/comfort differences. For me the decision was based on miles. We are not going to put over 3,000 miles/year on our coach and we are only going to use it 10-12 times/year for relatively short trips over the next 4-5 years. And a 38' coach was plenty for our needs. So we decided gas was fine.

If we go bigger we will go diesel.
I find myself in your exact circumstance.
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Old 11-18-2014, 08:40 AM   #13
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Don't make the mistake of assuming 15,000 mile oil change will save $. Every diesel requires oil change at 15,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first. Thus unless you drive far more than most of us you will probably be servicing at about the same 12 month interval as with a gas engine. 5 Gallons of oil, plus two fuel filters, plus hydraulic filter, will run you much more than the simple oil change on your gasser.

I moved from a 36 ft Southwind gasser (Workhorse 8.1 ltr) to 35 ft Holiday Rambler Neptune DP. I now have 68,000 miles on the DP after 6 years. Yes it is quieter on hills, in fact it is quieter at all times. It is not faster, though, and accelerates much slower. Maintenance is much more expensive even though I do all my own servicing. On the other hand even the 4 bag air suspension is infinitely more comfortable than any leaf / coil spring set up. Everything about the rig is simply heavier duty. All in all my wife and I are quite happy to have decided to go with the DP.
The air suspension must be a worthy contention, and I am glad you informed me about the general build being more heavy duty. I suspected that, but have not seen it in writing.
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Old 11-18-2014, 09:13 AM   #14
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I would like to thank everyone for their input thus far, lots of relevant material to ponder. Seems the more you learn, the more difficult the decision, but probably the more accurate too.
To Uncle Dave; The generator thing is big for me. I did not realize the gas gens were air cooled. The fuel consumption is a large bone of contention too.
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