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Old 08-05-2017, 06:19 PM   #1
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Pro/cons of generator fuel


I'm in the analysis phase before buying my first class C (25' or so). I'm trying to figure out whether I want the diesel MBZ Sprinter or a Ford / Chevy. I have found plenty of posts on that topic. However, I've seen some folks say this or that fuel source for the generator is a deal breaker, but they don't explain that any further. It seems there are two options: 1) take fuel from the main engine fuel tank (gasoline or diesel) or 2) from the LP tank.

Your thoughts?

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Old 08-05-2017, 06:28 PM   #2
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Well, I have a diesel coach, so I want / have a diesel gen. Had a gas coach W/gas gen. That was fine also.
Don't want a LP gen in either!
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Old 08-05-2017, 06:31 PM   #3
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The 2 people I know with propane generators seem to go thru a lot of propane.

Just my observation.
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Old 08-05-2017, 06:39 PM   #4
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It's all about the BTU's. Propane has the least BTU content per gallon. Gasoline is better and diesel is highest as a general statement.

Diesel generators tend to be heavier and more complicated than gasoline.

That said the best generator fuel is whatever is in the big tank.

Personally I would not buy a small diesel MH. They cost more to buy, more to maintain, and more if they break. Diesels do get better milage but it takes a huge number of miles to make up the difference in cost as a function of fuel savings.
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Old 08-05-2017, 06:48 PM   #5
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generator fuel

I have a diesel rv and it has a diesel generator. that works out great for me in that never have to worry about a second fuel for the generator. Diesel generators seem to be very efficient too so their fuel use isn't bad.

Some people prefer a propane generator cause the exhaust is cleaner and less smelly (if that is a good term). others don't like propane cause they seem to run out of fuel at inconvenient times. I think I'm correct in saying there's a few less btu in propane/per gallon, so the same size generator will use more gallons of fuel and if the tank isn't very big then it's a little less advantageous. So when boon docking one would have to be careful not to run out before you wish to move to fuel up.
I've heard of some people who have a fear of propane gas explosion so a small leak could blow up a rig. That's why these days we have sensors to shut off the gas at the tank if gas is sensed in the mh. Still some won't have propane in their rig.
So I think there is a bit of preference in the decision , propane gens are a little less expensive-- so initial cost (I think causes manufactures to install them) ,but to me the more important is convenience of one fuel for the whole rig. In my case I have engine , generator and the heater all fueled by diesel.
I had several gas rigs that had gas generators so those rigs were nice to use as well, cause they had fairly large gas tanks and just before starting a boon dock make sure the tank was full and boon docks weren't a problem

Hope I've helped
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Old 08-05-2017, 07:16 PM   #6
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What he said, pretty much sums it up, Class C Gas & gas genny here. Big nix on propane genny, they blow through way too much fuel and run out fast, especially in a small rig. I have an 11gal propane tank that has to be replaced (ran the date code out), going to a 24 gal, like bigger rigs. Even the 11 gal runs out too fast even without a generator. Do have "Extend a stay" option with 2 -30 lb bottles for month long squats. What they do is insert between the lp tank and coach, turn off coach tank, then just run on the 30's. Easy to disconnect and refill without moving the rig.
To put it in perspective, if you had to run the propane genny & heat on a 40 degree night. The tank would prob be empty by morning.
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Old 08-06-2017, 12:00 PM   #7
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These gents summed it up very well. Diesel makes more sense for larger heavier rigs, for smaller rigs, gas/gas is the best option.

Good luck with your purchase.

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Old 08-06-2017, 02:24 PM   #8
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Hi Eric! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

I prefer to use fuel from the main tank for the genny.

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
Joe & Annette
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Old 08-06-2017, 08:29 PM   #9
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Thank you all for your helpful replies!

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Old 08-06-2017, 09:34 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by 96 Wideglide View Post
Well, I have a diesel coach, so I want / have a diesel gen. Had a gas coach W/gas gen. That was fine also.
Don't want a LP gen in either!
Ditto. Had a propane genny once - pain in the behind. Same fuel for generator as propulsion engine is the way to go.
Vince and Susan
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Previously a 2002 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37A and a 1995 Safari Trek 2830.
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Old 08-07-2017, 09:22 AM   #11
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My first 3 motorhomes were gas engine with Onan gas generators and now have DP with Generac propane generator. It is difficult get true generator fuel consumption when sharing the same tank as engine but comparing fuel mileage with and without generator running I estimated the Onan were using a little less than 1 gallon per hour while the propane uses .75 -.85 gl/hr. with both roof A/C units on and appliances on 120v. This allows me 24 -26 hrs. run time. The greatest negatives of the propane is cost and availability of refilling while on the road.
For overall convenience and cost of operation get generator that uses same fuel as the engine.
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Old 08-07-2017, 12:42 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by UFO Pilot View Post
The 2 people I know with propane generators seem to go thru a lot of propane.

Just my observation.
i had a 6500 on my fifth wheel, it was lp powered...it would run through two 30lb bottles in a blink of the eye.

now with the bus...its all diesel, runs long long time on a tank. we had a power outage for 4 days one winter and it ran the whole time
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fuel, generator

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