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Topic Gas or diesel?
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Gas or diesel?
Total Views: 2350 - Total Replies: 10
Mar 31 2009, 6:09 pm - By smthng


I'm really amazed that there isn't one of these posts already. ;)

The wife and I are shopping for used motorhomes and would like any useful opinions on which way we should go...  Gas or diesel?  Here's the information we're considering in the decision...

  • There's only two of us.  We don't need 40 foot of vehicle.  But, we might have family and/or friends join us periodically, so 40 ft wouldn't hurt.  Diesels are big, gassers can be found in smaller sizes.  We will be full-timing and probably boon-docking a fair bit.
  • Gas rigs are cheaper to buy... I've seen some sweet setups at ridiculously low prices on the gassers.  The diesels are just barely in our price range for reasonable ones.  The really nice ones are out... just too much money to invest when we aren't really sure what we want or how long we'll be hitting the road.
  • I need to pull a toad...  Any rig we'll be comfortable in is probably going to be too big to uproot from a site and drive to the grocery store every other day, so a toad looks like a requirement.  The toad in question is most likely going to be a fairly modified Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.  It's a toy that I've sunk lots of money into, but it's pretty much worthless to anyone other than me, so I won't be getting rid of it.  Miles on it's tires and axles won't matter at all, so it's a good toad candidate...  other than the weight.  The scales tipped out at just under 5000 pounds last time I weighed it.  I'm thinking most gassers are going to have a hard time with that.  True?
  • We're going to be going a long way.  I don't know exactly where, but I can see multiple trips to Florida and Virginia to visit family, Utah for Jeep trips, Alaska, Canada and the West coast "just to see".  I'm thinking a diesel engine and drivetrain will handle the high milage much better than a gasser.
All the above is pointing us towards a diesel pusher, but finding a good one in our price range is tough.  Am I looking at this the right way, or could a decent 20-smthng foot gasser handle what I'm asking of it?  I'd appreciate any thoughts on this, especially from anyone who's had both.  Thanks!


--smthng
http://wegofar.com/
'01 Newmar Dutch Star - No name yet, but my wife calls it the Death Star. :S
'06 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon - "Teflon" - has to go away soon. :(

'09 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon - I call it "Little Tiny Baby Jeep That Needs To Grow Up By About Four Inches", but Dasy isn't really happy about that.

'03 Yamaha TW-200 - "Little Tractor"

Apr 01 2009, 8:47 am - Replied by: KevsKnight


Its a big question, one that is discussed much on all of the RVing sites.  I have a biased opinion, as I think what I chose is best :)  It was right for us, and so of course it is the best!

We have owned gas coaches in the past, and they were great. What we wanted in the diesel had to do with comfort driving long distances, as well as a good solid home to live in full time.

There are people that fulltime in very small rigs - gas, diesel, trailer. It is all about what your needs are, and how you live your daily life. For us, we are kind of home-bodies, and spend most of our time inside. I work quite a bit still, and having a good work environment was important to me. Our 40 footer allows me to have a dedicated office, as well as a separate area for my lovely copilot to live in while I am working. We are close, but a little bit of space never hurts :)

With motorhomes, you have lots of choices when it comes to size, but in general, anything much over 38 feet will be a diesel, and shorter a gas unit. Of course, there are plenty of exceptions, but those are generally what you will see.

You will find that most of the gas coaches have between 3.5k to 5k pounds of towing capacity. Diesels will generally be between 5k and 10k, with some of the huge rigs up over 15k of towing. Since you know what you will be towing, that may help narrow the decision.

If I were to start over (this is our forth coach), I would start looking at an older, high-end diesel. Depending on how far you go back, you can find them with or without slides, well built, and ready for many more years. The older diesels are built well, can handle plenty of towing, and have house components that will last for many years. They will have air suspensions, which will give you a very pleasant drive for your many miles. There are very reasonable prices on barely used older diesels out there.

That's what has worked for me. Looking forward to other responses.


kev

I have washboard abs. They are just hidden under 50#s of laundry.
Apr 02 2009, 5:57 am - Replied by: Emmymau


Consider how frequently you'll be moving, as well.  If you plan to move once a month or less, the rig's powertrain may not matter as much.

We went with a gas coach, primarily to keep the cost down while we determine how long we'll be on the road.  (When we bought, diesel was also $4.60/gallon, which influenced our decision). 

Having been on the road for a while and deciding that we like it out here, there's a chance we'll graduate to a diesel if anyone ever talks us out of our current coach.  (It seems like most full-timers do, if they decide to stay out on the road for a long time)  That said, I don't regret not having started off with a diesel, partly because if we had decided we DIDN'T want to stay on the road long-term, we'd be out more $$$.  The gas-engined coaches also seem "friendlier," for an RV beginner, from a mechanical standpoint, in that the engine and transmission are, underneath it all, more or less like that of a car.  Diesel pushers introduce things like air brakes, rear-mounted engine/transmission combos, and of course the diesel engine itself, and my preference was to stick with a powertrain that I knew, at least to start out.  I can change my own oil, and have a better sense of what our big-block Ford's strange noises mean than I would with a monster diesel engine.  But that's just a personal preference.

We tow a Jeep Liberty, and our towing capacity is about 5K, as Kevin said.  Our rig doesn't seem to notice the 3700-lb Jeep, and I don't see it struggling too much with a larger vehicle back there.

Don't forget to consider repair costs, too.  An older diesel that requires maintenance is going to cost a good deal more if something breaks.

1995 National RV Dolphin 533--the Incorrigible
1993 Ford Ranger--not yet named
Mushroom--the ship's cat
http://www.elepent.com

Apr 06 2009, 5:01 pm - Replied by: smthng


Thanks guys.  You're input and some additional info has made me reconsider my original position.  On a Jeep outing last weekend, someone showed up with a Chateau powered by a Triton V10.  He says he has no problems pulling a flatbed trailer with a Jeep much heavier than mine.  That, plus the cost difference, pretty much leaves me open to either engine.  I'll base my decision on price, features and condition and not worry too much about the gas vs. diesel issue.  Thanks again!

--smthng
http://wegofar.com/
'01 Newmar Dutch Star - No name yet, but my wife calls it the Death Star. :S
'06 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon - "Teflon" - has to go away soon. :(

'09 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon - I call it "Little Tiny Baby Jeep That Needs To Grow Up By About Four Inches", but Dasy isn't really happy about that.

'03 Yamaha TW-200 - "Little Tractor"

Apr 06 2009, 5:46 pm - Replied by: KevsKnight


JMO, still do your homework when it comes to towing capacity. You will be surprised at the number of gas rigs that are set up for 3500# towing. You want to make sure you will have at least 5000#. My 4-door JK weighs in at about 4700#, which is quite a bit heavier than the 2-doors.

Back in the day, I towed a Saturn Vue on a dolly and that weighed quite a bit. I towed it with the Triton V10 in the Bounder and it had no problem (except when I forgot to release the hand brake one time...).


--kev

I have washboard abs. They are just hidden under 50#s of laundry.
Apr 06 2009, 6:17 pm - Replied by: smthng


Thanks Kevin.  I'll be making sure that the hitch rating is sufficient, regardless of engine type.  I probably could get away with e 5000# hitch, but I'm just going to play it safe and plan on installing a 10000# hitch regardless of the vehicle.  My biggest "requirement" now is just making sure the RV itself is rated to handle that much.

Other than that, it looks like I'm just playing the waiting game... waiting to find one that we both like and can handle the job at the right price.  There's no big hurry, we're planning on taking at least a few months to get everything wrapped up on the home front before we take off.

--smthng
http://wegofar.com/
'01 Newmar Dutch Star - No name yet, but my wife calls it the Death Star. :S
'06 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon - "Teflon" - has to go away soon. :(

'09 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon - I call it "Little Tiny Baby Jeep That Needs To Grow Up By About Four Inches", but Dasy isn't really happy about that.

'03 Yamaha TW-200 - "Little Tractor"

Apr 06 2009, 9:38 pm - Replied by: Emmymau


I assume you've considered GVW issue as well--that is, packing to ensure that your moho + vehicle on trailer + allyourcrapinside is < the chassis/brakes' capacity?>
1995 National RV Dolphin 533--the Incorrigible
1993 Ford Ranger--not yet named
Mushroom--the ship's cat
http://www.elepent.com

May 14 2009, 10:34 am - Replied by: Dreamscape


As you can tell by my profile and signature we prefer a bus conversion, 40' for plenty of room, a Detroit Diesel Power Train that is built to go millions of miles, not thousands. The towing capacity is enough to tow a Hummer, (which we don't have or want). I do all of my own maintenance, change the oil, grease and adjust the brakes when needed. I haven't had to dive into the engine yet, still purring like a Detroit should.

 

We chose a Silver Eagle for many reason, superb ride (no air bags) and handling, parts are still available, new or used, built like a tank and the best part is this, it's what we wanted! And they look cool! LOL

 

Opinions are plentiful, choices are many, what you buy is what you like.

 

Prices in the bus conversion market are very low due to the poor economy, a finished older conversion can go for as little as 25K.

 

If you choose to visit our website you will see what we've done since owning her,  granted it's not for everyone, but for us it works!

 

~Paul~

Paul and Becky

Dreamscape

http://www.uniquebusconversion.com/

1968 Silver Eagle Model 01

8v71N 4 Speed Manual

Originally Owned by The Dixie Echoes

#7443 Last Model 01 Built

Abilene, TX

Jun 22 2009, 11:04 pm - Replied by: smthng


I appreciate all the input from everyone.  I took it all into consideration, but cost and convenience was the deciding factor...  We found what we hope is the perfect RV for us and are now the proud owners of a 30' Southwind (Fleetwood) Storm gasser.  :)

The small exterior size was a big selling point for us, but the interior layout is just about perfect for what we want...  we've seen bigger units that were less "livable" than this one. 

It'll be about a month before I can go get it, but it'll be well taken care of till then and it'll give us some time to get things moving on the home front.

--smthng
http://wegofar.com/
'01 Newmar Dutch Star - No name yet, but my wife calls it the Death Star. :S
'06 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon - "Teflon" - has to go away soon. :(

'09 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon - I call it "Little Tiny Baby Jeep That Needs To Grow Up By About Four Inches", but Dasy isn't really happy about that.

'03 Yamaha TW-200 - "Little Tractor"

Jun 23 2009, 6:22 am - Replied by: KevsKnight


Right the hell on!! Great choice. Motorhomes #2 and #3 were Fleetwood products - 28' Southwind and a 34' Bounder. The attractive point for the FW is there are so many of them out there! Easy to find parts and service.

Congrats on the purchase. Bet it will be a long month - I'm sure you want to start playing with it :)


--kev

I have washboard abs. They are just hidden under 50#s of laundry.
Jun 26 2009, 3:25 am - Replied by: Emmymau


Congratulations!
1995 National RV Dolphin 533--the Incorrigible
1993 Ford Ranger--not yet named
Mushroom--the ship's cat
http://www.elepent.com

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