Gas vs Diesel

I'm sure that to some of you this is old hat but I'm new and need advice from experienced people. We are planning on moving up from a travel trailer to a motor home. With diesel now significantly more expensive than gas, is the difference in economy offset by the fuel cost? Is there really a difference in fuel mileage? Do the new gas engines provide enough torque and power to keep a fully loaded 32 to 36 ft class A with a slide towing a full sized SUV moving on the hills or would I be stuck in the truck lane? What kind of mileage can I expect? I am thinking a 275 to 350 hp diesel would be adequate. The largest gas engines appear to be the 454 Chev or the 460 Ford. Is the significant savings in the cost of a gas unit lost to more frequent repairs and overhauls? I would really appreciate all the feedback you can give me. There is no substitute for experience and I know some of you have it.


Andy Hardwick

C Nash

Senior Member
Gas vs Diesel

Hi Andy, I have the v10 Ford and it has performed ok for me and I'm a chevy man :eek: . With proper service and driving the gasser will last a long time. Service on the gasser is generall cheaper than diesel. I get 8 mpg towing a 4 door tracker which is light weight. Have got 10mpg while not towing and driving 55 in level country. Performed flawless on our trip to Alaska last summer. As far as operating cost the diesel will probably get better MPG and have more torque. probably have a better ride and quieter in the driver area(engine) wife will make the same noise only hers is louder now :laugh: . Would take a long time to overcome the price of the diesel with the MPG IMO. The NCC might be better on the diesel. Really just a matter of what you expect out of a MH. I'm never in a hurry so if the pusher blows me off the road it dosen't bot :laugh: her me. Do the racing on the STRAIGHT track in my chevy :laugh: .Don't think I would go under the 300 in a diesel. Are you looking at new or used? Be sure and check the towing capacity as full size suvs are pretty heavy.

Gary B

Senior Member
Gas vs Diesel

Hi Andy, welcome to the forum, Chelse has covered it pretty well, if your really going to tow a full sized SUV you'll most likely need a 300 hp diesel, the 300 350 hp diesels average 9 to 10 MPG have lots of power and will last a long time. The 454 and 460 engine are no longer in production and have been replaced by the Ford V10 and GM's 8.1L, both are excellent engines with very good power and for the average rver are a good choice, both will do well over 150000 miles with proper maint. One thing to consider is the average MH owner only averages 5000 miles per year so unless you intend to fulltime and travel constantly the extra fuel mileage won't mean much. Another thing to consider is that diesels require as much maintenance as any other engine and the costs are alot more and finding a shop to work on a diesel can sometimes be a challenge.
When we had our MH a 34' Bounder powered with a Ford 460 we never had any problems going anywhere we wanted to I like Chelse drove 60 62 mph and towed a Mazda B2200 pickup and we averaged about 7 mpg. At the prices of gas going up everyday and they say it'll be $2.5 to $3.00 by summer I'd be towing a smaller fuel effeicent vehicle, JMHO.Good luck with the search.
:) :laugh: :cool: :bleh: ;) :approve:
Gas vs Diesel

Chelse & Gary, as usual, are giving you good info. I had great success with a '99 Winnie Chieftain with the Ford V-10 equipped with a Banks package. Plenty of power and great performance. We weighed 19,000# and pulled a 3700#Jeep. Even full timers dont generate that much annual mileage. We averaged about 10-12,000 mi/yr for last 4 yrs on the road. After all, you are in no hurry to get anywhere and you will spend a lot of time in interesting places as opposed to beating down the road. Good luck :laugh:


Senior Member
Gas vs Diesel

quote:With diesel now significantly more expensive than gas, is the difference in economy offset by the fuel cost?

The answer to this is a resounding NO! Diesels do have many advantages and if you truely plan to pull a full size SUV then you probably do need one. But you should realize that motorhomes have weight ratings to be concerned about, just as trucks and trailers do. To travel safely you must have a motorhome that will not exceed the Gross Combined Weight Rating, when it is fully loaded and has the SUV attached. There are very few of (if any) smaller diesels and no gas powered motorhomes that have the kind of weight ratings that would be needed to tow the SUV. I suspect that you are looking at a vehicle that is going to weigh in at close to 10K#. Clearly it will be more than 5K. That means the proper hitch and chassis ratings to tow it. The reason that so few large SUV's are being towed is the weight. You also need the ability to stop the whole thing in an emergency.

As much as we love our Ford V-10/Banks powered motorhome that has been our home for the past five years, I would never consider towing a big SUV with any of them. Check out the weight of the SUV and then go start looking that the towing capabilities of the motorhomes and you will likely find that you really need to get into the high end bus conversions before you can safely tow what you want.