Gas or Diesel Motorhomes; Which is Better?
By Joseph Garnett, Jr.
October 22, 2015
What’s the difference between a gas motorhome or diesel motorhome? Well, the obvious answer is the fuel type. Once you get beyond the fuel, both gas and diesel motorhomes have many advantages and disadvantages.
If you are trying to decide between gas and diesel, the first question you should ask yourself is ‘what are you going to use the motorhome for?’ Are you going to be a weekend warrior, go on summer vacations and store it during the winter months or will the motorhome become your permanent residence. Once you have found the answers to these questions, then you’ll be closer in making a decision.
As for which is better, “There are numerous conveniences to both gas and diesel motorhomes.” says Lazydays chassis expert Vernon Love. “The best you can do is find what suits your needs and begin there.”
Here are some things to consider that Love pointed out during a recent seminar at the Lazydays Tampa location.
Front and rear engines
- Gas motorhomes have the engine in the front, while diesels are in the rear.
- With the engine in the front, the sound is louder. The engine produces more heat, which many enjoy during winter travels, but are uncomfortable during summer months.
- The rear-mounted diesel engine keeps the cabin quiet, making for more peaceful conversations. Meanwhile, in the gas motorhome, communicating with the driver may mean raising your voice a bit as the roar of the engine increases while climbing hills.
Feel the Power
- Most diesels have a hitching rate of 10,000 pounds and can take on a mountain inclines at an average speed of 50 mph.
- A gas engine has a towing rate of 5,000 pounds and also runs at higher rpms when climbing hills at an average speed of 30 mph.
- Both the gas and diesel engines should well outlast the RV housing, if they are maintained properly.
Fuel Economy and Conditioning
- Although the price of gas may be cheaper, thus translating into costing less to fill an 80-gallon tank versus a 90-gallon diesel, the diesel is more fuel efficient.
- The mileage performance for gas is 8 mpg while diesel is estimated at 10 mpg.
- Gas does not need additives. Whereas diesel needs DEF to help it perform in cold climates. As the temperature drops DEF keeps the diesel fuel from separating and partially becoming gel, if the vehicle stays parked for an extended period of time.
- A gas motorhome is less expensive to maintain for the costs of parts and hourly technician rates. A diesel should be taken to a specialized diesel chassis shop, like Lazydays Tamp or Tucson, as to not void the vehicle’s warranties.
- If you are mechanically inclined, you can perform some of the minor maintenance on a gas motorhome, such as oil change, fuel filter, brakes, etc.
- Unlike the gas, which requires more attention to routine maintenance, diesels can be driven further distances between service appointments. That calculates into more fun travel time and less time in the shop.
- Since most gas motorhomes have Ford engines, any certified Ford mechanic can perform service.
Although these are only a few of the pros and cons of gas vs diesel, there are many more you will find as you do your research. The right answer will have to come from you. As stated earlier, once you know how you will use the motorhome, the picture will be clearer.
To learn more about choosing a gas or diesel motorhome, visit our service departments at our Lazydays Tampa or Tucson locations. Or, log online and schedule an appointment to have an experienced service or sales expert help you through the selection and purchase process.
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