Gas versus Diesel

I'm getting ready to jump back into RVing. In the past I had a 1972 Champion with a 440 Dodge. Load and noisy. Looking now in the 30-35 ft range and wondering if I should go gas or diesel? Fuel prices the same. Cost of coach is substancially less if you go gas. Does gas have enough torque to haul the hills with a small tow car? I know that a diesel will long outlive a gas. But, if the gas will go several 100's thousand miles before it dies and you plan on going RVing for 10 years, thats saving 30-50 thousand on the price. Sure pays for alot of fuel. Would it not be cheaper to get service on a gas unit vs. diesel? Would like to hear both sides of this debate.


Senior Member
Re: Gas versus Diesel

I'll answer this way. We have now been fulltime in a 35', gas powered RV for 6 1/2 years and we have crossed many mountains with it, always towing a Honda, CR-V. We have not towed the Honda about 30K or so and before that we towed a Ford Ranger. A gas chassis does not climb like an equal size diesel but it does get there and not all that much later. If climbing power is a major concern, you can add a performance kit from Banks or Gibson that will greatly improve the climbing ability of the gas powered motorhome. The cost will be about $3K to do that. Modern gas chassis also now have the GVWR to have nearly as much or in some cases more carrying capacity as all but the highest priced diesel rigs. And you can get just as many amenities and as much quality in a high line gas motorhome as you can in all but the highest priced diesels.

The fact is that the diesel does have some real advantages over the current gas chassis, but not nearly as much so as was the case some years back. They usually have air ride which is much nicer than springs and they also usually have air brakes which are still somewhat better than on a gas chassis, although they too have improved dramatically. They also get better fuel mileage, but as you state, the price difference will buy a bunch of gasoline, especially since I know of no place that diesel does not cost at least $0.30/gallon and does gasoline. It does not appear that will change soon either. In addition, mechanic rates are always at least $10/hour more for a diesel and parts run nearly twice as much. Maintenance on the diesel may be less, but the cost will be at least as much.

If price is not a serious object, I would still buy a diesel for the nicer ride and the quite operation that comes with a rear engine. But the fact is that my gas powered motorhome is just as nice to live in when we are parked in an RV site as it would be if it rode on a diesel chassis. If the question is which is nicest, go diesel but if the issue is cost of operation, get a gas powered RV.


Senior Member
Re: Gas versus Diesel

I don't think I'd buy a diesel right now unless I had to. The change to Ultra Low Sulfer diesel may take a few years to settle down. The new diesels which require it may needs some design changes, and who knows what the effect of the new fuel on older engines will be. For instance, it apparently eats the fuel pump gasket on engines like the one in my coach.

A factor to consider is that recently diesel has tended to cost considerably more than gas. This has softened to recently, but who knows when/if it could heat up again.

DL Rupper

Senior Member
Re: Gas versus Diesel

I'm a diesel person when it comes to pick-ups, but if I were purchasing a coach I would elect to go with gas. You need to put many, many miles on a diesel to get payback. Most RV coach's never travel far enough on the road to get payback for the large up front expenditure. If you put enough miles on a diesel motorhome to get payback, you will probably wear the RV out first. :approve:
Re: Gas versus Diesel

They have made a lot of improvements. Nellie bell has a 440 and it took a lot of sound suppressing insulation to quiten her down . I tried out a couple later models with the gas burners and they were very quiet
Re: Gas versus Diesel

Thanks, The debate goes on. I really thought that I would hear STRONG feelings on either gas or diesel, but it seems that the gap is closing somewhat. Do all gas models have springs vs air ride?