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Tractor16 07-25-2012 03:31 PM

DP VS Gas???
We have a Class A Gas Georgie Boy and we are looking to get a new Motorhome. Can you tell me what would be the better Coach to Buy?? We have never drove a DP so we need some help as to what would be the advantage? We are looking at Tiffin & Fleetwood and Holiday Rambler and some other brands. I think a 37' would be about as big as we would go. Hope i get some advice as we plan on buying sometime in November after we are back in Arizona. Thanks:confused:

Steve Ownby 07-25-2012 04:59 PM

It really depends on your needs and what you hope to gain by trading. With a gasoline powered coach, the engine, transmission and the rest of the running gear are operating up toward the top of their capacity. The brakes are hydraulic and the the suspension is conventional springs. The chassis GVWR is generally between 20-26,000 pounds. With a diesel powered coach, the engine, transmission and the rest of the running gear are operating in a fairly light duty environment. When traveling in a gasoline coach, the power plant is up front close to the cockpit so the heat and noise are close to the passengers. The gasoline engine makes it's power up above 4,000 rpm and it needs to operate up above 3000 rpm much of the time. The diesel engine makes its power at much lower rpm, typically between 2-2500 rpm and most have a 6 speed transmission with 2 over drive gears so much of the time it is turning at 1500 rpm. It's also 30-35' behind you. The brakes and the suspension are both air. The brake components are built for heavy trucks and the air bags deliver a much less harsh ride than the springs. The chassis GVWR is generally between 26-50,000 pounds. The diesel will generally turn in slightly better fuel economy while pulling significantly more weight.

Generally speaking, you can carry more personal gear in the diesel because the available CCC is higher. Most DPs will have better insulation and duel pane windows for better heating and cooling.

If most of your trips are a few hundred miles and a few weeks at a time, then you can save $$$$ with gas as both can do the job. As you spend longer times in the coach and go further, the scales start to tip to the diesel side.

topdownman 07-26-2012 07:46 AM

I've owned two gassers and bought my first DP in April. There is no comparison. I tell everyone that asks do not try and justify the cost because you cannot do it. I've had people tell me that if you don't drive a certain number of miles per year a gasser is a better choice.


I can't put a price on comfort or driveability. My DP nearly drives itself. It's sooooo nice. I could drive twice as far in a day and not be stressed. I can't put a price on that. Get a DP, you'll love it, just don't try to justify the expense.

Sky_Boss 07-26-2012 08:28 AM

I was talking with my rig's salesman about a future upgrade to DP. There is another factor that seems to be coming into play and that is the implementation of DEF. If I understand this correctly EPA regulations governing diesel emissions that DEF treatment meets started in 2010. Not sure how that plays in model years, and such but for the sake of argument I would assume that in 2011 new rigs have to use DEF or de-rated engines to meet those standards. For the most part, all that I have read says DEF engines perform a bit better than engines that have been de-rated to reduce emissions. So, that seems to some extent to make a wash.

The big issue my sales person said was that because of the added weight of DEF systems he is starting to see coaches that would have been single axle in the past be produced with a tag. I'm not so versed in all models that I can pull up an example so I have to take that information and give it some thought.

I haven't found anything yet that provides more details other than hearing that DEF systems add nearly 1,000# to a coach. In one particular case the sales person said a new coach from some company was delivered and only had 300-400# capacity after full fuel, LP and water. The solution was to upgrade the FRONT axle and re-sticker the coach for a slightly higher weight. On another site a posting said that Winnebago estimated that DEF raised the coach price $15K. Now, I don't know any details on how that figure came to be. Was it engine and beefed up (maybe added tag) axles or simply for the engine and DEF components.

The DEF system seems to be rather simple in operations. Estimated use of DEF is between 1 & 3% of fuel burned. (1-3 gal DEF for 100 gal fuel) Price of DEF is in the $2-$3 range depending on how it is purchased.

I don't know how much truth there is to all of this but certainly there has to be some part of it all that is factual and worth considerations. Since I am looking at a DP for full timing I am sensitive (maybe too much so but that is me. LOL) to the ultimate CCC of a rig. I am not sure I want to see a tag on a 40' unit.

Petro 07-26-2012 09:04 AM

I just purchased my first DP a year ago. I owned 4 gasers prior. I always felt that I could not justify a DP because my annual miles did not justify the cost. Now after a year I would never go back. My DW loves to drive it. My opinion is RVing is a chosen lifestyle. We just need to do what makes us happy on what we can afford. IF you can afford a DP go for it. and I can assure you that you will never want to purchase a gasser.


Steve Ownby 07-26-2012 09:21 AM

Hey Thud Guy,

I wouldn't be too concerned by cost or weight of the DEF system. I would also be careful about taking the statements of a sales guy as fact. Trust but verify. I'm completely happy with my pre- EGR Cummins, but if I were in the market for a newer coach, the level of EPA emissions gear it had on it would not factor into my plans. Every level of requirement since 2004 has had some level of cost, weight or complexity. From '04 to '07 the EGR systems were the major add on along with higher temps. That impacted fuel economy and were somewhat prone to failures. From '07 to '10 the particulate filter/regen system came to be. These seem to be reasonably trouble free but added weight & complexity. The EGR was still a requirement also. From '10 till present all but MaxForce (Navistar) use DEF. this is the first system that requires action by the operator in keeping DEF in the tank. Of course the EGR and the particulate filter are still there also. The 2 small MaxForce engines meet the EPA requirement with their advanced EGR system so do not use the DEF. This covers engines up to something over 400 hp. Navistar has just announced they are going to have to add a DEF system to their heavy metal engines which they license from Cat to meet the EPA. Of course there are more restrictive requirements coming so what will be used in future years is an unknown at this time.

If buying used, look for what you want, then study what emissions gear is on that particular coach & decide if you can live with it. If you decide on something of a certain age you are stuck with those requirements. It certainly makes an older, high end coach look attractive.

Steve Ownby 07-26-2012 09:31 AM

I forgot about your tag axle question. If you are looking at full timing, a tag is a wonderful thing. I have a 40' tag coach. Monaco and Country Coach use to build them. The only down side to a tag is the loss of basement storage. Most tag coaches currently being built are 42-45 footers. The problem with a non tag coach is even if it has several thousand pounds of CCC, some substantial % of that is unusable. You will end up over loading an axle because weight distribution in order to weight the axles correctly is impossible to achieve. A tag not only gives you substantially more CCC but you can adjust the pressure on the tag to shift weight back and forth between the axles.

RickO 07-26-2012 10:14 AM

Hi and welcome to the forum.

Feel free to use our search feature and you'll find volumes of reading material on this subject... but I think the guys here have hit most of the high points... especially the part about not trying to justify the additional cost of a diesel. If you want or need to benefits of a DP, buy one, but don't try to fool yourself into believing that it'll be cheaper, unless maybe if you keep it for a very long time.

Love my DP... and I believe the DEF requirements came in to play with engines made after 2006. However, from what I understand it wouldn't be a deal breaker for me one way or the other.

Best of luck.


Tractor16 07-26-2012 10:54 AM

Thanks to all for the Info. Wow there is lots to Read up on and look into. We were wondering if there is a Special Driver License for the DP due to the Air Breaks and Weight and how long the larger units are??? :confused:

RickO 07-26-2012 10:59 AM


Originally Posted by Tractor16 (Post 1256170)
Thanks to all for the Info. Wow there is lots to Read up on and look into. We were wondering if there is a Special Driver License for the DP due to the Air Breaks and Weight and how long the larger units are??? :confused:

Depends on where you live. Some states, like Texas, require a special "non commercial" Class A or B license if your rig exceeds a certain weight and or length. Most states don't. Even if the license is required, I wouldn't let it impact my decision much though. The tests are a breeze (includes a behind the wheel driving test sometimes) and made up of stuff you should know anyway.

Forty feet is probably the most common length for a DP but some go up to 45'.


Steve Ownby 07-26-2012 11:05 AM


The DL requirement depends on the state where you reside and register your vehicle. Here is a reference:

Fiesta48 07-26-2012 01:04 PM

Personally I've come up with 42 reasons not to have a Diesel. If your rich go diesel, if your not, or don't want to spend a lot on something seldom used and/or can do your own work, go gas.

JimM68 07-26-2012 01:17 PM

Totally agree with those who have posted before....

I made the same choice. I had a paid for gasser (with a very small short queen bedroom and a shower only a small primate could fit in) and last year i made the choice to trade for a DP, 4 slides, long bed, non walkthru bathroom with human sized shower.

This rig, bought used, and after my trade and some cash, came with a 20 year, $700/mo mortgage.

And i simply don't care.

It is quieter.
It is smoother.
It is not tossed about by passing trucks or crosswinds.
It sets up incredibly fast.
It is HUGE with all 4 slides out.

It is so much better than any gasser could or would ever be, it's just not even funny.

If you have, or are willing to borrow the money, this is a non question. A DP is better. That's WHY they cost so much!

Now I am not a stuck up DP owner. I love all campers. When camping, i go out and walk around, and socialize with anyone who will talk to me. I'm not class consious at all, and i fully understand that people will afford this lifestyle to any degree that they are able, or can justify....

But a deisel pusher motorhome is just flat out better for the travellers.

For thye "parkers", a big fiver is right there, at a fraction of the buyin.

Steve N Sal 07-26-2012 01:25 PM

If you do decide on a DP be sure to drive a few different chassis. A Spartan will ride different than a Roadmaster and those two will ride different than a Freightliner believe me there is a difference. With the money you'll be spending don't just jump into the 1st one you drive and if at all possible make sure they have maintenance records to view. I don't believe you have to be rich to own one it's just personal preference. Myself, I like the gas chassis we have and when we're all sitting still and enjoying our time from other than behind the steering wheel we all seem to have the same amenities. Good luck with your decision and hope it all works out.

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