Reasons Why Diesel Motor Homes Are Best to Own
There are many reasons why Diesel Pusher Motor Homes are better to own than those that run on gasoline.
There are substantial differences between the two, and there is also a great deal of controversy between owners as to which type of coach is best to own.
Since my husband and I have owned several types of motor homes during our more than 50 years as RVers, I feel qualified to advise you about this issue.
The truth is that how good any coacn is depends on its quality, construction and care.
You can buy any unit that is top of the line, and it will serve you well.
However, if it has been misused or is a "lemon" coming out of the factory, the type of fuel it uses, its price or its basic amenities won't matter.
So, when making comparisons between gas and diesel coaches, you need to make sure you are not comparing apples to oranges.
For purposes of this article, we'll be discussing mid-level units.
Anybody who owns a pusher will tell you that they
- are more solidly constructed,
- are generally more stable on highways,
- make driving easier and less stressful,
- offer many conveniences and amenities not found in other types of RVs and
- last longer.
All manufacturers produce various "levels" of motor homes. Thus some are lower quality than others.
The average new mid-level Diesel Pusher costs about one third more than a similar level of gas motor home. For this reason, many buyers purchase those that run on gas.
However, there are a number of amenities they cannot have if they do this, and some of them make a big difference to comfort level as well as finances.
For example, a well maintained pusher will hold its value much better than a similar gas model.
What good does it do to save on the price of a new coach if you have to replace it sooner and lose more money on your trade?
Furthermore, you can reap all of the benefits of a diesel and pay much less if you purchase one that was previously owned and has been well-maintained.
- In 2002 we purchased a 1996 Safari Serengetti (new price, $164,600) for $71,000 (out the door price including $12,500 for our trade in motor home) and drove it all over the country for four years until illness forced us to sell it fast at a reduced price of $45,000. We just saw the same coach for sale recently (ten years later) for $30,000. It's now 20 years old!
- Our 1999 Holiday Rambler gas engine coach, which we bought in 2012 for $19,500 out the door with no trade in, sold new for $82 500.. Today the NADA value is around $15,000. It's only 16 years old.
Had we not had that emergency, we'd still be driving the Safari and could have saved a bundle!
Due to the way they are constructed, Diesel Motor Homes have certain amenities that gas engine coaches do not
These are not items that you can add later because there is no way to integrate them into a gasoline run unit.
One good example of this is something called a Pak Brake.
Pak Brakes are important to have in a travel unit if you plan to visit mountainous areas, such as those found in the Northwestern United States.
They are a safety feature that saves the brakes by using the weight of the coach's engine to slow the unit when you are driving down steep hills.
They not only save wear and tear on your braking system, they can and do save lives.
Because their engines are heavier than those that run on gasoline, they are more heavily constructed.
Their chassis are stronger, their walls are thicker and they are able to tow heavier vehicles.
Pushers also are able to do a better job of filtering out noise and dealing with road vibrations and thus give passengers the feeling of flying in an airplane rather than driving on a highway.
Pushers generally do a better job of hugging the road because they have built in road stabilization equipment.
The only coaches you don't see this benefit in are those whose wheel base ratios are not correct. Having the Best Wheel Base Ratios Can Save Your Life is an important article that explains more about this issue. It's one that every motor home buyer should read prior to making a purchase
The US is a beautiful country, but the truth is that the monotony of driving mile after mile across virtually empty terrain gets to people after awhile and sitting for long periods of time in a vehicle that is constantly vibrating is hard on the neck and back.
However, driving a diesel pusher eases many of these stresses because it vibrates less, has more comfortable seating and is quieter, especially if it has dual pane windows.
Other Diesel Motor Home Benefits
Aside from the items I have already mentioned, there are a number of other benefits for people who decide to purchase pushers.
- Because their engines are located in the rear of the motor home, travelers are cooler and engine noise is minimized.
- Hitching rates are twice that of gas coaches (5000 pounds vs 10,000).
- Diesel pumps fill tanks faster, so less time is spent in truck stops.
- Also, there's no doghouse between the front captain's chairs, which makes getting into and out of them much easier. This also creates more space for swiveling the seating which makes the living area more homelike.
- Because they are constructed with heavier materials, amenities such as washer/dryer combos and granite counters are less likely to overload their chassis.
- Diesel engines and generators last much longer than those that run on gasoline. Some engines have been known to easily run beyond 500,000 miles, while gas engines have a top limit about 100,000.
- They get better mileage, too, and this helps to make up for the higher cost of fuel. The average Diesel gets about 10 mpg, but I have had coaches that get up to 14. Gas engines get between 6 and 8.
All recreational vehicles have nice amenities, but diesel motor homes have more of them.
- The seating generally has better lumbar support and has better padding and higher end upholstery.
- Generators are bigger and can thus handle heavier loads.
- Their heavier frames and chassis can better support slide rooms, thus eliminating certain problems while at the same time providing more living area.
- The plumbing in some of the larger units is more similar to household plumbing thus providing stronger and more effective shower, kitchen and toilet facilities.
- Many have inverters that offer higher wattage and thus can handle heavier electric loads, thus saving wear and tear on generators.
My husband and I have owned both types of motor homes during our 50 years as RV enthusiasts.
Although there are things we like about gas engines, we have learned that there is nothing like the security and comfort of owning a diesel pusher.
They ride better, drive better and provide more safety and security.
These are important issues when you are on the road, and should not be taken lightly.
If you can afford to purchase a good used Diesel Motor Home, you'd be wise to do so. In the long run, it will cost you less, last longer and be more enjoyable to own.
Would you rather own a Diesel or a Gas Motor Home?
Questions & Answers
We have a CAT C7 with a 3000 Alluson transmission in our 2007 Fleetwood Bounder 38V. We change the oil regular intervals and change the air cleaner more often than recommended. We average 7-8 miles per gallon. Is there anything we can do to increase the mileage, i.e., like a power chip?
Yes, drive an average of 55 mph. This is the only thing I know of that can help.Helpful 3