Our Gas RV Experience – Noise, Ride & Performance
Last year we created a video and wrote an article putting a Gas RV in a head-to-head smackdown with a Diesel RV and it went over pretty well. But at that time we had never used, or lived in, a gas motorhome (we’d only test driven a gas coach) so we asked ourselves: how can we truly weigh in on the performance of a gas rv? Well…we couldn’t, until now that is.
Over the past 5 years we’ve had three different class A diesel motorhomes: 2 front engine and one rear engine from three different manufacturers: Thor, Monaco and Fleetwood. We feel like we’ve had a variety of experiences when it comes to small class A Diesel motorhomes.
What is it like to drive a Gas RV?
On our way to Valdez, AK we came down the Richardson Highway with it’s long hills and thought This is the perfect spot to setup the cameras and let people virtually hop into the RV with us as we leave town. There’s a little bit of everything here: Long inclines over Thompson Pass (100ft – 2800ft elevation), short rolling hills, beautiful views, Alaskan wildlife, bad roads, nearly perfect roads and so on. Without further ado, it’s time to hop in and buckle up.
Why we never considered a gas motorhome in the past.
It all boils down to one statement from one man whom we respect. Here’s a quick setup: Nikki’s uncle Mike is frugal, shoot I’d even call him downright cheap when it comes to certain things. Although he might argue and say he’s smart with his money…so insert your favorite ‘thrifty’ term and you get what I’m saying. Nikki’s aunt and uncle were the first people in the family to buy a motorhome and invite us to see it. Mike was so proud of his new motorhome and boasted gleefully what a bang-up deal he got on this brand new Ford V-10 gas powered RV. (This is where we decided we liked the idea of RVing)
Not more than a month later we saw Mike again and he said this one (paraphrased) line: I drove it to Colorado through the Rocky Mountains and I just about pissed my pants chugging up the mountain at 20mph while giant semi-trucks flew by us on the left. Ya see, he drove that under-powered gas RV to Colorado, turned around and drove straight back to the dealership in Texas, happily bent over and said I need a more powerful RV, this piece of junk just ain’t gonna cut it. I am paraphrasing here again but you get the jest of it: Mr. Frugal took a huge financial hit by switching RVs, but he said it was worth every penny to upgrade to diesel. Now 6 years later he still has that same diesel RV and loves it.
I like to learn from others mistakes, especially when it saves me money, so from that day forward we never even considered a gas RV.
My first Gas RV experience was in our House Hunters Episode where I didn’t leave the RV lot and my second experience was driving around the block for the Gas vs Diesel Smackdown.
What’s the verdict on a Gas RV vs. Diesel RV Smackdown?
Now that we’re testing out the new Bounder everything has changed! Since we picked this coach up in May 2015, we’ve thrown ourselves into the Gas RV world head first and we’ve taken this beast on the most epic of RV road trips: ALASKA. Nothing like trial by fire, right?
I’ve decided to create this post and update it based on our experiences in our first gas motorhome. (you can learn why we are in this coach here) I don’t know how often I’ll update it but when I have an experience worth sharing it’ll end up here. If you want to keep in the loop make sure to subscribe and we’ll shoot an email when changes are made.
I won’t be talking about creature comforts or features here (cause those change drastically based on the manufacturer), just the ups and downs of the chassis side of our RV. One thing I do know: At the end of this big trip, and at the end of our test period, I’ll have some very strong thoughts on the good and bad of buying a Gas RV.
The Good and Bad of a Gas RV
- $40,000 less expensive than a comparable diesel
- Gas at Costco, Sams Club, Grocery stores, etc seems to be much cheaper than the standard gasoline stores, these places don’t always have diesel, so pulling into Costco and paying for the cheapest gas in town is a really rewarding feeling!
- Wind noise and rattle seem to be on par with our diesel RVs
- At a cruising speed of 55-60 mph the RV handles well on flat highways with new roads
- The ride isn’t any worse than a diesel without air suspension, for example our first RV the Damon Avanti
- Based on the instrument cluster and steering wheel from 1990 it seems Ford doesn’t give a crap about the RV industry. The trip computer is worthless as it only provides an estimated ‘Distance to Empty’ but gives me no info on MPG, temperatures, gear selection or any of the other info I’ve grown accustomed to.
- The 5 speed transmission needs a major overhaul and new gear ratios with a 6th and/or 7th gear. (we’ve recently heard there’s a new transmission in testing)
- Cruise Control is a total joke – Even the slightest incline causes the transmission to drop down to 3rd and sometimes 2nd gear which destroys any fuel economy and worse makes the engine scream at the people inside the coach.
- Climbing Hills and small mountains is louder than our front engine diesel RVs, and a lot louder than our rear engine Excursion. My climbing speeds are slower than in a diesel but not by much. I’ll be interested to see how it handles the Rocky Mountains as we cross into Canada later this month.
- Fuel Economy and Tank size – We are stopping every 500 miles to fill up vs. every 900 miles in a diesel. It’s not a huge deal, but I find myself with fuel on the mind way more often than I’m used to. I’m tracking my MPGs and will share in my next update once I have more fill-ups.
- The doghouse (engine cover) does get warm when driving but when it’s chilly outside so it’s no biggie. (Fleetwood has just launched a new insulation package based on our input)
- The doghouse is a pain in the butt to maneuver around when getting into the front seats. We also put the litter box up front and it’s a pain to clean the litter box around the engine cover.
- The brake pedal location is a little in front of the gas pedal so stopping requires me to pick my foot up off the gas and apply it to the brake pedal, vs. our other RVs it’s been a simple side-to-side motion saving me from picking up my foot and thus allowing me to apply the brakes more quickly.
- Body roll is worse than a diesel and we get blown around a little by big gusts of wind, semi-trucks passing or uneven roads. It’s not horrible, it’s just more noticeable.
- Stopping distance seems much longer than our diesel coaches with air brakes.
- No Headlight warning when I remove the key and accidentally leave on the headlights. There is no “auto on” lights or daytime running lights either.
- No recirculate button on the HVAC controls which is bad for dusty roads.
- Furnace – There is only one propane furnace (vs. 2 in the Excursion) so we seem to burn through propane a lot faster in the Bounder, like 3 times faster!
- Weight – We are maxed out on our GVWR but since our Smart car only weighs 2,000 lbs. we come in under the GCVWR. This is a personal issue and we are doing our best to get rid of stuff.
- Oil Changes – Oil changes are less expensive however we are required to do them every 5,000 miles vs. every 15,000 miles in a diesel.
- Generator – The Generator is much louder than our Diesels have been, even though its still an Onan Quiet series it makes a lot of noise when it’s under a load. On top of that the pitch seems to be much higher so the noise seems to carry further distances so I’m almost embarrassed to use it when there’s campers nearby. Finally the location in the bedroom is annoying, if we need to run the generator it’s nearly impossible to do anything in the bedroom while it’s running.
- Little features – There are several little items that I never noticed until living in a Gas RV. The $40k discount comes from many unnoticed features such as a ‘single line inverter’, lower end furniture material, less comfortable captains chairs, knock off faucet, no hydraulic arm on entry door and so on. These are all little things we can live with, my point is it’s not just the engine and chassis that make up the $40k discounted price.
With the price being so much cheaper I can see why people on a budget would consider a gas coach, heck for 40 grand you can travel to a lot of places! Based on our experience so far I’m thinking this gas coach thing isn’t so bad and I could totally get used to it. That said if we were to purchase today we’d most likely put our money into a diesel motorhome.
The Curve Ball
Over the past couple months we’ve had multiple chat sessions with people that are debating on Gas or Diesel for their new RV and there’s always one “curve ball” they throw in at the end:
What if my total budget is $150,000 and I can’t spare another cent on the purchase price?
I typically respond with this exact answer:
It’s not about which RV is better, it’s a question of how you wish to camp with your new Motorhome.
- If you want to drive a lot of miles (like 10,000+ per year) and stay exclusively at an RV park so you can plug in, go for the entry level diesel which will cost you right around that $150k mark.
- If you want to drive shorter distances and wild camp as much as possible then special order your gas RV with the Technology and Modifications that we’ve done with our coach.
Now It’s Your Turn
My goal with this article is to be totally open here by sharing our experiences and honest thoughts of driving and living with a gas powered RV. We hope through sharing honest opinions other future RVers can more simply make the call when it comes to buying a Gas or Diesel RV. We’re not saying our way is the best, or our opinions are the only ones out there, it’s just the best way we know to get the conversation started.
What’s your take on the whole gas vs diesel debate? We’d love to hear any thoughts from fellow past and present gas RV and diesel RV owners.
Disclaimer – We do not own this bounder, it is a test coach. You can learn more about why we are in this coach here: Resurrecting Dinosaurs – The Story Behind Our RV Design
Hey Wynns. Thank you. I have a 2017 Mirada select 37TB, 6 speed, that was purchased used. Immediately did the trans to synthetic, oil same, front bearings packed, rear end lube, generator service, new tires all around, SafeT stabilizer. It came with 1.5 year left on Cornerstone extended warranty plus so we felt like we were covered. Owner agreed to send it into a maint shop to have a once over. Fixed a few things like one stabilizer that leaked, some water pressure check valves. OK, it was a decent deal we thought at $78k with him fixing everything we found and letting the shop I recommended go over it. On a perfectly smooth road, it is OK until a pothole of road repair. It is the 6 speed V10 and budget was key as we paid cash. Runs fine, but rattles and squeaks with nothing really in it. Big slide behind the driver is something I’ll live with because it was checked out, adjusted but some others, Ouch. Headphones and the Grateful Dead will work for me for a while, yes I am a healthy 67, but my wife, well lets just say, she’s not a Deadhead, LOL. Nothing comes close to standing out as the culprit so I am looking for some input. BTW, the door was adjusted and we pull it hard to keep it sealed.
The Highway Hillbilly's
Hello Wynn’s! We love your blogs and all. My two cents (seems we all have them…lol) We drive a 2019, 29v Precept (32′ actual length) with a kia soul toad and we have plenty of passing power and ascending power heading up through the smokeys and no issues braking while decending same. The v10 seems perfect for our coach’s length. This is our first coach, so maybe we got lucky who knows, but yeah..that’s our experience so far. Hope to see you guys out on the open road. – The Highway Hillbilly’s
Michael R Freeman
The noise leer really depends on the maufacturer. I had a Trek and it now watching your vidoe I would swear I was in int. I sold the Trek and bought Newmar 2124 with same engine and F-53 Chasiss the Bouner is on. It is so much quieter I could not believe it. Newmar does a great job of insulating.
Hello- My father in law recently gave us his 2004 30 foot winnebago sightseer with 52000 miles. It has a 8.1 chevy motor. I am completely new to this and had never even driven one but after 2 trips to Oregon from Florida I can say with confidence that it will maintain its speed going over any grade or mountain and has no trouble passing by every diesel rv so far. I was very surprised at the power available. I used to believe diesels were the way to go but from my standpoint I see no advantage to having one. 2 folks I know with the ford motor like them but at 320 horsepower, they shift constantly and use up fuel like a sponge. Good Luck to all!
Thanks for your opinion on the V10. It is very helpful, thinking about moving up in the near future, currently have a 1997 Airstream B190, which a class B with a big bubble top. It has the V10 it’s a man in a regular size van. It will shocks people how fast it is. Was curious how it would preform in a big Class A. I would tell you after owning many diesel truck and pulling heavy boats through the mountains, the gas engine will slow down the coach better than a diesel. The diesel has to have an engine break otherwise, it can’t slow the motor because the fueling is reduced when you let off the accelerator. You will have to manually gear down the gas motor by down shifting, but once you do it will likely only go so fast in a specific gear as the engine will be trying to turn to many revolutions. I only have 4-speed transmission and many times come down many very steep grades in the Tennessee and Great Smokey Mountains, 8% and greater, in 2 gear. Almost 12,000 pounds towing a 1985 jeep and I never hardly touch the brakes. Key is run a safe speed but where you are turning higher RPMs. the tow haul mode will not allow the engine to turn the necessary RPMs to keep the motorhome going slow enough. Just thought this might help, but love the video. I just wish everyone would chill out and understand this isn’t a scientific evaluation , its an opinion piece telling the viewer your take on one verses the other. Thank again, and many happy miles to you in the future.
The Ford F53 chassis is an ANTIQUE. I have had 5 motorhomes on the F53 over a period from 2002 until 2016. They never improved. Lousy gas mileage, noisey, rock and roll big time, more like driving a boat and a motor vehicle. I am in the market now but refuse to buy another crummy Ford F53. That steering wheel is so ugly, the chassis is a joke, it is about as sophisticated as Fred Flintstone’s car…and about as up to date. Ford cares NOTHING about we RVers. They are the only game in town since OBama took over GM and killed the 8.1 V8 thus killing Workhorse which was a great alternative. So why should Ford spend money when there is no competition. I’ve had 15 motorhimes. Everything from a VW pop top to a 40 DP. The RV I liked driving the most was a Workhorse UFO..
A 8.1 V8 gas pusher. Super Quiet, very quick and handled like a high dollar DP. I also had a FRED. That is a Very nice Freightliner chassis with a front engine Cummins diesel. It was quieter than a screaming V10, had an exhaust brake and got excellent mileage. I would love a 29 ft layout like a 29M ( built by many companies) with a long bed, outside kitchen, nice layout and with a front diesel. I will never buy another antique F53 until and if they get into this century with their engineering. In the meantime I sure wouldn’t recommend anyone buying one unless you have a (boat) Captain’s license and love danger. Maybe if we all announced we were waiting for a decent gas chassis, some one might listen and do something. I would rather driver an E450 than a F53 but again you get the wonderful…aka …gas hog … V10. Come on Ford. Be nice to us RV owners and future RV buyers. And Ford, why can’t I order a F53 with a Power Stroke. That would help. How about a F53 with air over hydraulic brakes, air ride, decent steering, good sway control, a Power Stroke, and some modern electronics such as Sych.
I have had both gas and Diesel right now with diesel being more expensive I would stick with the gas maintenance of a diesel is more expensive and more headaches harder to find mechanics noisier. Right now I have a Workhorse gas engine with an Allison Transmission and it’s a wonderful combination easy to maintain quiet going down the road and we’ll go anywhere a diesel will. Much cheaper to purchase and much cheaper to operate.
Love the 8-1 &allison I have 2 one in a2500 Hd Chevy other in 35-5 Monoco
I bought a 33 ft class A V10 with the newer 6 speed transmission. It is so smooth compared to the 5 speed I had in my previous motorhome. No jerking. We flat tow a manual Mini which weighs about 2400 pounds. I just take it out of cruise if we get into the mountains. I do not worry much if we have to slow down for a few minutes. If you only have a couple of weeks and need to drive faster then maybe the 100K for a diesel is worth it. But I decided a few years ago I would rather trade and have a new vehicle under warranty every 5 years instead of keeping a diesel for ten years with older interior and appliances.
In your travels, have you had issues with locating a diesel mechanic in remote areas? We have a 2007 Aspect 29H that I purchased as my first MH last spring . Had no problems going thru the mountains of Penn., NY, and Vermont towing a 2004 Malibu . Plan on leaving for Alaska the first of June from NH. I am a little worried about the trip thru the Canadian Rockies .When I purchased the MH I believed that the V10 gas was the best way to go.. The experiences you have shared have helped ease that worry . Thank you and keep the experiences going.. Btw still trying to decide where to put the litter box for our 2 Cats (Masters).
For the past 3 years, we have driven our 2004 32′ Winnebago Class C all over the US while pulling a Ford Fiesta. Gas V10 did just fine including going through the Colorado Rockies. On all trips, we average 7-8mpg, which is the same as my buddy’s $250K Tiffin diesel. After our 13K mile trip this Spring through upper US and Canada, we plan to upgrade to Class A in a 32-36′. Our research indicates the gas F53 V10 is fine up to about 36′. Our challenge now is that we love the Thor Windsport 31S floorplan and the Jayco Precept 35S but worry about all the complaints about Thor’s and Jayco’s lack of quality control. Should we avoid Thor & Jayco? We know Winnebago should be reliable but not big on their floorplans.
I believe that thor owns jayco anyway
Yep. You’d better. I am in the same boat. Things I like about some Thors but I have personally talked to many owners who are very unhappy. Thor = junk. Too bad about Jayco. I’ve had 3 and they USED to be great until Thor. Now look like junk.
Ive had Gas RVs I would take my dp over a gas anyday, better suspension,power and they drive better, handle better.Having the diesel genset is way better and quiet. Yes maintenance is more but i do my own so is not bad, oil changes with me doing them is around 85.00 fairly easy to do. 80,000 on it now, ive had to replace one injector, and the radiator and thermostats, which i did myself.So i vote for the diesel all the way
Stephanie C Thornton
Thanks a million for your valuable information. I’m considering the RV Living Lifestyle. I don’t want to be burden fown with a house anymore. Thx for your diesel and gas rv comparison. Thx for all of your inside RV videos. Please keep them coming if you can?
Sincerely, Stephanie C.Thornton
We absolutely loved our time in the RV. We can’t recommend a better way to travel and live while exploring North America.
I read my post and saw my new phones autocorrect wreaked some havoc but I don’t see a way to edit it.
Hello everyone, first I’d like to say that the manufacturer should probably have chosen to work with someone with experience with gas and diesel engines etc for these types of reviews, and let y’all tell them about your favorite snowflake decorations, electronic gadgetry, and save-the-world fluffdoms. Lol
Comparing like you did here is like comparing a helicopter to a space shuttle.
There are as many differences between the various diesels as there are between gas and diesel.
I have gas and diesel motorhomes, and have boats, cars, etc that have had both.
I grew up in a shop and racing cars and motorcycles and have been in trucking my entire career. This is not to suggest I know everything, but on the basic metrics of this discussion I know tons and have tons of explicit experience with the engines and w motorhomes.
If you are rich and buy new and can afford to trade up every two years, buy what you want, the million dollar diesel w the biggest 16 liter engine.
A 27 foot v10 gas will run and pull most hills decently, and a 36 w a 5.9 Cummins at 250 horsepower won’t do any better, and if it’s a 350 horse 5.9 it ain’t gonna last much longer than a v10 gas. Also, the small new diesel electronics can be an EXPENSIVE NIGHMARE if you don’t know how to fix them yourself.
With gas engines like the Ford v10, Ford was making those for quite a few years and they run like silk with no electronics issues, however they should have used the Dodge v10 because it is bigger, is all cast iron, and doesn’t have dual overhead cams on aluminum heads(the Ford setup is eventually gonna have failed head gaskets and be expensive to repair because of the overhead cams, DO NOT OVER HEAT ONE. the Dodge is old school cam in block. Now for diesel, some of the mid-range engines that have been used in motorhomes are the stuff the trucking industry hated, gotta get rid of them somewhere, so they bargain see them to motorhome builders.
My recommendation for used buyers who aren’t rich, GO D ENOUGH THAT THERE IS NO ELECTRONICS if you want diesel and but the midsize truck or big truck diesel engines from 10 liters up. My preference is the older Cummins l10(liter) or 855(n14 liter in electric form, but I’d stay mechanical if possible. The 8.2 Cummins if the coach isn’t too heavy and the 5.9 only in a medium size coach. The 3406 cat or the 11 or 12 liter Detroit’s r also good, but Detroit’s r all electric since 1986 and again I’d a pic them. A 3406 can be mechanical. These engine WILL RUN AWAY from some new elecronic underpowered small diesel and if a Cummins are very inexpensive and some to repair and you don’t need diesel juice.
The authors have incorrectly stated that gas are better in high altitude which tells me that they literally don’t understand even the very very most basics of internal combustion engines, let alone any differences.
All the diesels you will find in motorhomes except for some smaller ones in the 1980s, will be turbocharged. Gas or diesel with a turbo(or supercharger) will outperform the other without a turbo at higher altitudes because it jams so much air into the engine that it doesn’t matter if the air is thinner(which it is at high altitude).
The bigger diesels are also able to be rebuilt in the chassis, whereas the smaller ones like the 5.9 don’t have removable cylinder liners so the engine must be completely removed for a rebuild. This is FAR MORE EXPENSIVE.
That is a sufficient start here, but your money will be best spent if you find an older but nice BIG ENGINE diesel from Cummins or cat with no electronics. Even if you have to spend money on it, it will last and hold it’s value. The nonelectronic Detroit’s prior to 1986 are awesome and cool as hell and sound like the coolest thing on Earth and run forever, BUT they are 2 cycle engines and get TERRIBLE fuel mileage, so if you don’t go that far they are fine too, just make sure it’s not already leaking a lot of oil out of the “slobber tubes” or it needs blower seals. The original drag racers with blowers got them from Detroit diesels. All of them except the 8.2 had blowers and some had turbos too. This is enough for my first post, questions are welcome.
Well, I am glad you shared your two cents. However, this isn’t a paid review nor something the manufacture asked us to do. We share based on our non-expert experiences. Why? Because sometimes you want to know what a friend or fellow user thinks about something. What works best for one person might not be the best for the next. So, while perhaps you don’t see any value in our opinions or experiences, it might be helpful to someone else. Same as you sharing your thoughts on the subject will be helpful to someone.
Don’t forget diesel have emissions that will fail!! $$$
Good analysis from a practical perspective. You have some significant long term diesel and gas engine experience. I believe unlimited funds may favor the diesel, but the Triton v-10 seems capable. Keep it cool enough, use a true synthetic GL-5 engine oil and a high quality synthetic trans fluid for temperature minimization.
JFC. Are you for real? You may something about Diesel engines, but you quite obviously know zip about the RV industry.
The people reading this blog have never heard of 99% of the engines you mentioned. Nor would it matter if they did Because they know this: in their price range, virtually ALL of the manufacturers use the same Cummins/Allison/Freightliner combination. As in 95%. And virtually ALL of the gas options are the same Ford F53 setup. That is reality.
Not sure where YOU live.
This come down to two things and they are very important.. 1st, is Where are you going to travel in your RV. If you will be doing mostly mountainous driving or where there will be steep upgrades and if you are one of those people who just have to get to your destination know, then there is no question here. lets say you are driving 65 mph and towing a small car and need to pass some one then Its a Diesel. They have more tork and get up and go. 2ND, is if your driving on mostly flat terrain with minimal hills and dont care when you arrive at your destination then its Gas all the way. Gas powered motor homes are 40% cheaper and gas every is a lot more cheaper as well. Forget about MPG, there is a small difference between them both. Maybe 5 gpm at most. gas is $2.25 to $2.60 a gal. Diesel Has been $2.75 to $ 2.85 a gal. Gas is cheaper. Lets say both motor homes drive 300 mils. at 2.25 thats $675.00 gas and $825.00 Diesel. Thats a savings of $150.00 Dollars. I have been driving both for over 20 yrs. Gas has always been cheaper But and its a big one. Diesel Engines last alot longer, Heck 200,000 mils is just brake in for Diesel. If you take care of your diesel you could get to two mil mils compared to gas, 2 thousand is alot. And with Diesel if you need to speed up in a hurry they have much more tork and that is what lets you speed up when you need two.
Must be “NEW” math you’re using for your fuel cost on a 300 mile trip. I’ve never heard of any motorhome getting 1 MPG. Tork? Really?
Were you dingy towing during this video, and if so what were you towing?
Thanks and enjoy the road. 🙂
Yes, the Smart Car. Here’s several posts on the tow car: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/?s=tow+car
I have had both, current 2017 winnebago 29 vista and previous 1999 HR imperial 350hp cummins 6speed allison. There is NO comparison what so ever between the two. The ford v10 is for trucks NOT motorhomes, too much wt. for them to haul, very underpowered unless Ford did the turbo deal as in their autos, that would be big! Brakes are also underpowered especially when towing? Then there is the air suspension another can’t come close thing. I have 10k on my 2017 but ready to get rid of it and back to a used small diesel, maybe 32 ft. That’s it but the fords are dangerous,especially when you can only put a ton 2000lbs. of goods into the rig, my HR had 15000 lbs.but it is what it is, good luck.
We very much enjoy your videos and are using your experiences to hone our our search for our next coach. We are very happy with our 1998 Class C Gulfstream-Ultra. We found it in England which is where it lives when we are not traveling in Europe. It does have the old International 7.3lt diesel, (the million mile motor) so we know it has been done in the past. I have been driving Ford trucks (transmissions) for years. And your hill climbing with the motorhome while the tow/haul was in the higher gear was most unfair. The manual, any Ford manual with that transmission will clearly state not to engage while climbing or towing which are basically the same thing to the transmission. Simply pop it out as the RPM trail off and then shift down another gear as necessary to keep the RPM up in the gas power band as another reader suggested. On long grades you stay right and go slower for the length of the hill. With our Class C diesel we can fly up hills faster than the lorries (big trucks) but knowing how to drive the gas engines and accepting that will not be an issue for us when we find our Class C here in the states.
Hey guys, video is very informative. I currently own a 2017 jayco precept and have no problems with the power(east coast driving) as well as the ride. I am already looking into a different rv though because I have had NUMEROUS problems with this rv that I’m going to take a hit and get out of it. If I explained all of the issues as well as jaycos lack of assistance (everything falls on deaf ears) I would be writing you a novel, let’s just say NO QUALITY CONTROL. My question is this: I want another gas rv with all of the amenities I have now as well as an rv that handles as good if not better on turns, hills, in wind, etc. I have put over 10k on this one and one thing I will say is handling in ALL possible elements is paramount. What brand rv is just as good or better handling wise as the jayco. I can’t seem to find my answer anywhere. I don’t know if the JAYCO J RIDE IS B.S. or not considering the jayco company and their lack of customer support I’m beginning to think the j ride is probably the same as any other manufacturer that is just how they make it sound “better”.
There’s no way to review every RV and manufacturing quality can change from year to year as companies are bought & sold, so I hesitate to make a recommendation that might not stay true. Most major manufacturers end up with owner’s groups or forums where everyone discusses the issues they have and responses from the company. I’d start by looking at some layouts online and finding a few manufacturers you like, then check out the forums for those manufacturers to see what the quality issues might be. Also, a good rule of thumb is that “you get what you pay for.” RVs that offer high-end amenities at a cheap overall price are cutting corners somewhere- usually where you can’t see it. Good luck!
Buy a Canyon Star from Newmar. It is the best gas Motorhome out there. The Company stands behind it’s product, it’s priced under 200k. Great ride and quiet. The 320hp, with 460 torque has enough power to get up the highest passes in the West.
We rented for years prior to buying our first coach. We rented a class C, gas A and a diesel pusher. One trip in the pusher and we knew that was what we wanted. You point out some great benefits of each for sure. However, the benefits of a diesel chassis were just too much for a gas coach at any price point to over come. Great read however!
Like your gas vs diesel comparison
I have driven both (a lot) and can say quite honestly, if you do not have the money (both for the initial purchase and post warranty upkeep and repairs) DO NOT buy the diesel coach. The diesel we had encountered so many problems after the warranty was up it was amazing, and each repair was very expensive, several times something similar happening on a gas coach. It was a great coach but was not anything over and above the gas class A’s we had. Also, the diesel in question, a Neptune with a 350hp engine, when running side by side with a new FR3 V10 equipped RV, both towing a small SUV up large mountains, time after time, the gas passed the diesel and consistently got 10MPG, equal to the diesel. In all we also have had 4 different gas coaches in the past 6 or 7 years (all purchased new) and put over 150,000 miles on them collectively over that time and the biggest problem was a sensor and an alternator on another, and the fixes, simply drive it to the local Ford dealer wait a few hours and we were back on the road. Generally, we’ll now put on between 10,000 and 15,000 miles per year. Before anyone makes a final choice, please also consider resale (value/depreciation and ease to resell), there is a much smaller market for diesel coaches simply by virtue of price point. In short, a pusher can be a great RV, however, most people simply do not need to spend the extra money. A gas coach (a good one) can be a great way to save some up front and post warranty expenses and allow yourselves to travel more. Long term, too, your gas RV is easy to service and can be repaired at most Ford dealers. Sorry to throw a wrench into anyone’s conclusions, that is not my intention, but we decided 2 years ago to stick to a gas class A motorhome, despite having the means to go diesel…it just makes so much more sense from an investment standpoint AND with regards to long term costs to operate, resale etc., it is hands-down the way to go for 90% of the would be class A rv’ers.
Working at an RV dealership years ago I saw far too many people be wooed in by the salesman’s pitch of the grand idea of spending time on the open roads and in all these wonderful places only to buy one and not use it enough, then try to sell it only to realize that it depreciated so much (in one year alone) that their loan on the coach was far more then what they could sell it for.
The best bet is to test both gas and diesel yourself and get a feel for which you are most comfortable with, and don’t forget to make your pros and cons list for each before you make such a large investment.
We are planning on becoming RVers and travel with cats. My question is where do you put your litter box?
I’m very jealous that your coach has a functioning tow haul mode. On the 16’s (especially the 18,000 # chassis), the tow haul mode does not function. I was so exciting to purchase a 16 Winnebago Vista LX with the 6 speed, but would trade that for a 5 speed with functioning tow haul. Great blog and I look forward to digging deeper into your site. Cheers
Oh no! The 6th gear seems a welcome change but not having the safety feature of a tow haul mode is not good.
I would like to comment on your perspective of the transmission complaints.
Being an engineer and a general gearhead, plus having owned both a gas Ford E450 v10 chassis and a Tiffin 35QBA on the Freightliner chassis (front engine) with a Cummins engine, I have some experience. The big difference is where the powerband of the gas engine is vs the diesel. The power band of the gas engine is in the mid to high rpm range, whereas the diesel powerband starts at very low rpms. Furthermore the diesel never really “revs” as the diesel engines redline is around 3000 rpm (or so). So the Ford is downshifting the motor on the cruise to get it into its powerband. Technically it is not harming it in any way, it is more an annoyance for those of us who don’t want to run the engine at those high, loud rpms. Ironically I found the exact same thing with my coaches and I would also turn off the cruise on hills and moderate the tranny shifts myself, whereas in the diesel, I allowed the cruise to take care of everything.
Ironically we took the Tiffin diesel coach to Alaska and back (all driving) in the summer of 2011 for 11,500 miles in 4.5 weeks. It was an amazing trip!!!!
You two are awesome, thanks for sharing your experiences
One thing I want to see from RV makers is an electric motor driving the back axle, with diesel/CNG or gas engine driving the front.
This would be on-demand for powering uphill, and also allow regenerative braking coming down so you wouldn’t need any other braking. Plus it would give you AWD if/when you needed it . . .
Seems like a no-brainer to me!
Hi guys! Love your videos and insights!
I see that your first diesel class A was a Thor. You’d mentioned in a previous article or vid (I can’t keep track) that you’d had a “piece of junk” with your first motorhome. Was the Thor the crappy one?
I started my RV buying research with Thor and moved on from there. I’m wondering about the quality of the Thor product line and suspect it’s not great. Hence, my reason for moving onto other options.
Your perspective and experiences are always appreciated.
Hi Jason and Nikki,
I really enjoy your videos. Great job with the “gas vs diesel” and the “gas experience: noise, ride, and performance” coverage. Keep sharing your experience.
We have just bought a 2013 Newmar Baystar Sport with 9.5k miles on it. It is basically the same Ford 6.8l V10 Triton 362HP engine as in your Bounder. Big difference is that our Newmar is 27’10” long with a gross weight of 18,000 lbs.
We have only taken it for one short 70 mile quick drive. So far so good. Big maiden trip is coming up.
I expect that the lighter weight of our Newmar will make a difference when it comes to handling, performance, and noise. Am I right or wrong here?
Are you only driving in Tow/Haul when on hills? That might help with shifting all the way around.
Thank you for the videos and I love what you two are doing. My wife child and future child are hopping to hit the road for 3 months in july!
Hi Jason and Nikki, I’ve been catching up with a lot of your videos, as a European Motorhomer, RV’er, I do enjoy the comparison between US and Europe. I think that US manufacturers should consider a European chassis and our far more efficient diesel engines. Your cabinetry is another matter altogether. Keep up the good work.
PS. Nikki, please wear your seat belt correctly, after 30 years as an emergency room doctor I’ve seen the consequences far too often.
A large part of the 40k price difference no doubt comes in the form of more and heavier materials to make up the chassis in a diesel RV. Since All of the big 3 (Ford,Chevy & Dodge) have new 1/2 ton diesel trucks on the drawing board. What I would really like you to ask Fleetwood is why they can’t fit one of these smaller, more fuel efficient (yet still more powerful than that gas guzzling V10 ) diesels into the current Gas frames there by resulting in a compromising 20k price increase with a minimal loss of performance. The 5.0 V-8 Cummins at 300+ HP and 550lb/ft of torque is a prime candidate and I think that anyone who bought the right to the old workhorse chassis could easliy adapt that engine into it resulting in a 12mpg, 28K GVWR RV that would perform better than a current gas model. This is a compromise I think many would be willing to make. I think that the RV industry as a whole has neglected any of the newer more fuel efficient and smaller diesels because no one is willing to invest in a new frame design to accommodate them. Instead they try to force us into the industrial engines which are commonly shared with semi and other industrial equipment in an effort to prevent having to service them. Your Vesta was the first example I have seen of this tech in the RV world and sadly I have yet to see it anywhere else. I am one of those 30k Fleetwood owners and I am simply waiting for the right coach to come along before I buy but, I will wait until the industry decides to start offering a better thought out and more modern chassis/engine combo.
You guys did a great job with the the “gas vs diesel” evaluation. For me, you have made it a no-brainer – spend the extra money for the diesel.
Just wanted to say I really appreciate your candid and honest comments in your videos, particularly the most recent showing the noise, vibration and handling issues of the gas Bounder. These “unfiltered” comments both pro and con are refreshing and make me feel that we are getting the “true” story. That being said, I hope Fleetwood listens and addresses the issues you have raised and implements “real” fixes and improvements. If they do, Fleetwood should be commended as well.
Okay so is can’t speak from personal experience since my husband and I have a fifth wheel that we tow with a Dodge 3500 Cummins. That being said, in August of this past year we drove to California with my sister in law and their family. They own a gas powered motor home. As we climbed over the hills we left them in the dust and had to wait for them to “catch up”. They have already decided their next purchase will be a diesel just based on power alone. They do tow a jeep on most trips.
Being part time RVers and staying mostly in the southeast our gas 2015 Bounder is just fine. Gas in the southeast is much cheaper then diesel. If we were going out west and used our RV more then Diesel would be our choice. We really enjoy your adventures and keep them coming. One thing we did notice is that higher end gas RV’s are now on par with mid range Diesel RV’s as far as appliances and furniture goes. We like our Bounder and it has been problem free. Over the past 20 years the RV industry has improved the quality and workmanship in class A motorhomes for sure. Maybe Ford could do a little more on their chassis in the future , but they have no competition and that hurts us consumers. See yah for now.
Just an update on the new 6-speed Ford transmission. We just purchased our first RV, a Winnebago Vista 31be and it has the new transmission. The chassis was built in June. Since this is our first I can’t compare to the 5-speed, but based on your video it seems to shift better holding lower RPM’s.
Perhaps you guys can get Fleetwood to let you try out the same Bounder on a 2016 chassis with 6-speed to do a direct comparison. You guys have some of the best information and video on the Diesel vs Gas and letting first timers like us know what we are in for, it helped immensely making our decision and what to look for, and yes the cheap kitchen faucet needs to change on the Winnie, but the entry door sure is nice.
Thanks for the great content!
Hi Justin, how is your Winnie holding up? What year is it, and would you recommend the Vista 31be? What is the top speed you can go while going up inclines? Is the inside of the coach area (not the front cab) very loud and does it sway a lot? Are you able to make U-turns? Is it easy or difficult to turn in tight spaces, like in gas stations? How is it to boondock somewhere if you can’t find a place to plug in? Do you feel like the rig is too big to be inconspicuous? I would guess you can’t pull onto the side of a road, like in a class B or C? Or can you? Is the bed mattress comfortable? As you can tell, I’m thinking about switching from my Class B Leisure Travel RV to the rig you have (2018 model) and am a bit nervous about the size difference and power difference. I can go 80mph in mine (if I want) and it doesn’t lose even 1 mph going up steep inclines if I have the cruise control on. I know a Class A will not be like that, but I’d really love your honest feedback on your rig. I don’t see dates on any of these posts so I’m not sure how old these posts are?
we are currently at the point of buying our first Rv, doing all the looking we can, but your video which is very good, has me worried about the noise level. of the gas Rv
my question is this, was WINDY as noisy, as she was also a front engine,
Windy was a front engine diesel and was built very different from this coach so that is different all together. This is a front engine gas and while it is nosier, it really isn’t so terrible, just not a quiet as a diesel.
I used to own a 2004 Winnebago Journey diesel pusher. I sold it last year. Out of curiosity, I drove a 2014 Newmar Bay Star with the Ford F53 chassis. Yes, I noticed all of the things mentioned here as far as driving a gasser. The one thing not mentioned was the amount of vibration that comes through the steering wheel on that Ford chassis. After a 30 minute test drive, my hands and arms were buzzing. Sure, there is vibration in a diesel pusher, but it tends to come through the entire coach and not through the steering wheel. The air ride suspension tends to isolate road vibration from the steering wheel. So, for me, steering wheel vibration made the Ford chassis almost impossible to drive. The fatigue level was way too high. I have 60-year-old hands and arms. A younger person could probably handle the steering wheel vibration on a Ford chassis, but not me. I drove my diesel pusher for up to five hours at a time with no fatigue at all. So, definitely take a gasser for as long as a test drive as you can and assess for yourself the fatigue level. And, yes, that up-hill wail that a gasser makes is very stressful to me. As much as I would like to do a gasser, physically, not sure I could.
Now, diesels do have their dark sides. I bought my Journey used and later discovered that the fuel tank had a bad growth of algae. Yes, algae can grow in diesel fuel. Ultimately I had to have the fuel tank replaced along with the fuel lift pump (which gave out resulting in a $1,000 tow bill). Repair bills on diesel coaches tend to be higher. In addition, there are more systems (like the air ride suspension system) on diesels that can go wrong. It’s all a matter of what you are comfortable with. If you can handle the rough ride that the Ford chassis delivers, a gasser is probably the way to go. But if it’s too fatiguing, then diesel is your option.
Had a 34′ Southwond with a 7.4 L V-8 Vortec gas engine for 16 years and had no problems with it over many trips through the Colorado Rockies. I could drive up to 7.5 hrs at a time max before getting “cranky” ( me – not the coach!). I have had my diesel for 3 years. Similar results in the diesel in the mountains and similar gas mileage. Was able to drive a 10-hour stretch with no problems.
Difference: diesel is quieter (rear engine), less stressful to drive (heavier & not as easily affected by winds & passing traffic). Diesels require more maintenance. Gas engines require the same kinds of maintenance as your every day car and maintenance is thus, more intuitive and easier.
Diesel coaches will be more expensive. Usually the coach makers will not only have the added cost of the diesel and the diesel chassis, but usually also other upgrades often found in a more expensive coach such as residential refrigerator, higher end interiors, etc
Takeaway: if you use an RV a lot (several to numerous times per year) a diesel may be the way to go. If you are only able to take a trip or two here and there in your RV (as happens with most RV owners) you may be better off with the gas engine and put up with the bit more noise and slightly more tiring driving.
Great job, Wynns. I hadn’t visited your site in awhile and was wondering about the very question that others seem to be asking you, “so how’s that gasser working out for you in Alaska?!”.
We have a 36ft Georgetown gasser on a Ford V-10, and for us, it works out great. However the absolute, number one thing we wish for in a Diesel is the AIR RIDE over the typical springs that you get in a gas coach. I’ve ridden in a number of diesel coaches of various lengths, and the ride is exponentially better than the gas, when going over rough roads. As you observe, on a smooth highway, it’s a coin toss. But driving through Arkansas on I-30 in a gas coach and you be cussing the state at every expansion joint. Also, and this may have more to do with the build quality that the fact that it’s a gas coach, but your video revealed lots of (at least to me) annoying squeaks and rattles. I seem to hear from a number of Fleetwood owners that their coaches rattle and squeak a lot. Our Georgetown has so far proven to be quiet and refined.
Keep up the great work.
Hello Wynns. Alaska, wow. What a trip. I am planning that in two years with some Diesel pusher friends and my Airstream.
I have to tell you that I was a poster on your other sharing of Diesel vs. Gas. Since then I have actually experienced not living but driving both. Here is what I noticed right away. The diesel I drove was a beautiful used Winnebago Journey. The turns were sharp. The sales guy made me do a U turn just to prove his point. The air brakes and the feel were the same as a commercial charter bus- float along, quick stop, etc. The gas model, a Sightseer (new) was totally different. It was truck-like in ride and not forgiving. It was heavy feeling to drive.
The points you make for comparison are good ones. First, while fuel is cheaper in parts of the country, gas is cheaper in more parts of the country. Western states seem to be a larger exception. I was shocked by your mileage differences. I do not have the experience you have but I have been talking to owners for some time and the salesman told me that there is little difference in MPG between the two- about 3mpg seems to be the going rate with gas being 5-7 mpg and diesel around 7-10. One thing as I have been looking partly for fun and partly considering it as a home for future, is cost. The diesels are outrageous but it is more than engine as I already stated- basement, brakes, etc. are all different in MOST cases; however, there are upper level gas models that they are showing on full-thru bottoms, loading trays and most of the better features found on diesels. The trims/interior is another big difference. There was a distinct difference, IMO between the interiors of the Journey and the Sightseer. I would probably shop for a nice used diesel first then go for a new gas if I did not find it. There are other issues I found as far as tires/size, etc. Thanks for your cover story.
Oh, forgot to mention this- for my trailer I just got a 2015 Ford F150 Ecoboost 3.5 with 2X the torque at 2500 rpm of my previous truck- huge difference. It is as if the trailer isn’t there. The engine just hums along instead of roaring at times. I mention this because I believe they need to make some platform changes for RVs as you mention- transmission, engine, ride.
Mike & Lila
We bought a 1999 Discovery 36′ Class A diesel pusher to enjoy retirement in September 2013. It had low miles and like new interior. We tow a Jeep Wrangler. Our fuel mileage has averaged a solid 10 mpg over the last 28,000 miles. We’ve been as far as Florida from our home in Vancouver, Washington. We travel into Montana and BC and Alberta quite often. Currently we are enjoying the fall colors in the high country of Colorado. We’ve been over Red Mountain Pass twice this trip at an elevation just over 11,000′. The diesel advantages are passing trucks on mountain highways and gas stations since we carry 90 gallons of diesel and use Gas Buddy and 800 miles for planning purposes. Plus our last fill up in Grand Junction, Co. was $2.29/gallon. Since our coach is older it only has a single large slide but is lighter than many newer units. It is built on a Freightliner chassis with four airbags. It rides and handles like a dream but I still can’t get my wife to share the driving. Gas versus Diesel in a coach this size is a no brainer. We will pull out of Ouray, Co. tomorrow headed for Moab loving life and travel. We enjoy your blog and free spirits. Keep it up.
This was a good review of gas vs. diesel with a one minor exception. My wife and I just bought a 36′ Class A with a Ford V10. We had some experience camping in the past. We had 3 different pickup camper, and I’ve used my dad’s 2 popup campers years ago. Had we saw this review before buying, we would of still purchased the gas over diesel. We drove from Michigan to Florida, without any issues, but ours did come with a Banks Stinger system.
Now that we’re retired, we’re starting to work on our “bucket list”. One of the things that we’ve looked at in the past we’re 5th wheel travel trailers, and Class C motor homes. This purchase was pretty much an impulse buy, which we took about a week to decide to go ahead and make the purchase. This decision was additionally motivated by the fact that I have 2 close friends aged 60 and 58, with terminal cancer. So we decided it’s time to get one of our own, and work on the bucket list.
We both have decent pensions, and savings to draw from. But, we did have a fixed budget. The motor home we purchased was used. It was a 2009, with 6,200 miles on it. We bought it off a lady who’s husband had passed away the year before. He was diagnosed with cancer right after he took delivery. We could never justify buying anything like this new because of the rapid depreciation. We also own a 2nd home on a lake in northern Michigan, and are not willing to give that up. We’re not full timers, nor do we ever intend on going full time.
I’m very familiar with the advantages of diesel over gas. With having 3 different diesel pickup trucks, I have experienced the pulling power of diesel, as well as the cost of maintenance cost of diesel over gas. Once I sold my big fishing boat, I no longer had the need for diesel, and bought a gas pickup truck, and we could not be any happier.
To us it came down to economics. For what we paid for our gas motor home, we were able to get a pretty new motor home, low miles, at a price that I would of had to pay probably 3X to get a diesel. This is our 5 year plan. Try it for 5 years, and then move up, or get out. We didn’t want to get a ton of money wrapped up in a motor home to only find out, we don’t really like it, or don’t use it as much as we thought we would. This gets us out on the road. Had we saw a similar deal, on a diesel pusher for the same price, we would of gone with that. But had the diesel been $100K and up, we would of walked on by, and not even looked twice at this one.
So for our money, buying used, and gas was the way to go. We can put up with the noise, and lower fuel economy at this time. If we decide that we like this, we’ll upgrade later.
As a side note: My wife and I took a RV driving class that other day. The vehicle we drove was a diesel pusher, with air brakes. Since I had never driven one before with air brakes, this one didn’t seem to stop as well as my Class A gas, but maybe it was just that I wasn’t used to it. My wife hadn’t driven our motor home yet, and after the class, she drove ours. To her, it handled like our F250 pick ups. Again, at least we’re able to get out on the road again with the gas. We would not be saying that if we were to have to spend $100K+ for a diesel. So diesel isn’t for everyone.
Some folks are using tuner kits to adjust the gear shift timing for their RV’s running Ford V10 engines. This is because the stock engines come tuned to run optimized for pick up trucks. 5 Star Tuning seems to be the most popular and simplest to use. There are lots of videos and claims of improved mileage and performance, but there is also spirited debate over the results and if they increase wear on the engines in any way. It does appear to make the engines run quieter going up hills.
I do think there are several tuning kits for the engine and chassis/suspension, since we don’t own this coach we cannot put these on ourselves.
I’m on my 3rd coach. A gas and 2 diesels. As a wood artist I spend half of the year on the road doing Art shows. I tow a 3/4 ton cargo van full of my wood turnings and show booth. For me the extra torque and pulling power of a diesel is worth every penney. I try to buy higher end used coaches and my favorite was a 1994 Monaco Executive which I drove 200k miles. I am now in my first coach with a slideout which is a little weird. Lots of wasted floor space with 4 slides on my 40 footer. My biggest gripe on what is available today is the lack of high end coaches at 40ft or less. Foretravel will still sell you a 38 to 40 footer but almost everyone else jumps right to 45ft.
We reviewed a sub-40 American Coach at the RV show last year, it was pretty swanky without going to the tag axle: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/best-new-rv-2015-ca-show
We own a gas with a Workhorse chassis with 8.1 engine, and an Allison transmission. I feel that it has an advantage over the Ford drivetrain in the mountains, and handling charateristics. We average 8-9 mpg. Although the Workhorse hasn’t been made for a few years, I hear that it may be coming back to the market in the next couple of years. We went through the Rockies this year, and the 8.1 / Allison performed very well.
To clarify my statement about the engine RPMs being high on gas coaches.
The high RPMs and loud noise only happens when there is a demand for maximum horsepower, such as climbing hills.
As Jason and Nikki stated, the noise level is fine when cruising along a flat road. This lower noise on flat road is a result of the transmission gearing up to lower the engine RPMs due to the lower demand for horsepower.
Al and Rose Garcia
We loved seeing your videos. We are curious on the Alaska trip what RPM’s you were taching? It would be interesting to compare a diesel vs. gas engine RPM’s. Also, if you could explain the diesel braking vs. conventional. Hope we get to meet up with you guys one day out on the road.
“And the award goes to Jason and Nikki for their very convincing performance their “movie short” entitled “sure the gas coach will be Fine”.
THE REAL DEAL ABOUT GASSERS AND DIESELS, in my opinion.
We met you at the LA show last year just before we bought our Newmar.
Love your new Bounder paint and interior. It matches your personality much better than excursion did. ( I suppose the pope can hang up the cowboy had and boots now, )
My thoughts on the diesel vs gas. ( money is one issue obviously )
We have owned both gas and diesel coaches. Also I have tons of experience building machining and tuning both gas and diesel engines.
My conclusion is, the driving experience is effected mostly by the engine revolutions per minute (RPMs) required to make the horsepower.
Gas engines make power at high RPMs, in the range of 5000 RPMs.
Diesels make that same power plus a bunch of torque at half the RPMs.
(Torque is what keeps the engine powering along without losing RPMs on a hill.)
So, what that means is the gas engine is shifting a lot and roaring like an angry bear.
trying to keep the RPSs high where the horsepower and torque are located.
Making tons of noise and demanding your attention like a cheerleader leaping high in the air.
But,, the Diesel engine just mumbles along back there quietly at half the RPMs.
trudging along drawing no attention to itself producing power like a freight train pushing you silently along.
The difference is huge.
The shifting and constant noise of the gas coach causes your body to react with faster a heart rate,and higher blood pressure, muscles tense up with every downshift. The driver instinctively grips the wheel a little tighter like the bull is about to buck him off.
At the end of the day the Gas coach driver is tense and tired out.
The new Cummins Diesels are very quiet and extremely efficient.
The driver sits in a much better atmosphere riding on air with near silent travel down the road.
It’s as if you are sitting on your couch, with images of the world passing in front of you.
The diesel mumbles along silently far far behind you like it’s in the neighbors garage two doors down.
However the forward force exerted by the diesel is dramatic.
There is no mistaking that steady powerful driving force that never seems to shift or strain.
No roaring like a bear of jerking shifts, but just thrust that never seems to dwindle and degrade.
The driver and passenger sit there quietly speaking as the most fabulous experiences in life appear before them,
When a mountain or hill appears in the distance no one is concerned.
Everyone knows that the driving force behind you will hardly notice the little incline ahead that they call the Rocky Mountains.
The cruise control is always set and adjustments in speed are done with the push of a button + or –
A massive down hill grade only means you must push two buttons. Cruise suspend and engine brake on.
All the while the quiet conversation continues as the motorhome rockets effortlessly up the most intimidating mountain in the lower 48.
Yes Jason you are correct, the gasser will get you there.
However a Cummins Diesel motorhome,, I will quote a line from the movie ” Faris Bulers day off ”
“If you have the means, I highly recommend getting one, it is soo choice.”
As You said Jason and Nikki, ” if money is not a problem.”
But usually it is a problem.
Don’t feel bad if a gasser v10 ford is in your future.
That is an extremely well designed and well built engine.
Never fear, it will take you safely to the best days of your life,
And also experiences that your children will talk about 40 years later.
“ARE YOU STILL HERE? It’s over, go home.” ( another Faris Buler )
Stop thinking about it, and GO BUY A MOTORHOME,
so that Jason and Nikki can see you on the road
Thanks for all the effort yall put in to the videos. I have been looking forward to this one ever sense you got the new RV. Keep up the GOOD work no matter how some people reply to it. The adverseness inspire people and there family. We are just getting in to Rving and we want to upgrade to the A class. Your partnership with Fleetwood has opened up my eyes to other makes and models. I would have never looked at Fleetwood if it wasn’t for you postings.I do like the 33D,
A class B+ / C- diesel like Leisure Travel’s Unity series will run about $130K new, maybe $110K gently used. If you can handle less space than a class A, you get 12-16 MPG with a Mercedes V6 turbodiesel in a well-designed package.
More at http://www.leisurevans.com/
We’ve driven ours from Montana to New Mexico, and out to California and back to Albuquerque. We travel with two adult humans, two dogs (Sheltie and Bernese Mountain Dog), two SLR bodies, lenses from 15mm-400mm, the usual dog paraphernalia, and the usual provisions. The Unity never feels underpowered in the Rockies or other mountains.
And the sense of freedom in RV travel is amazing.
(No, I don’t work for Leisure Travel or their affiliates.)
Great video and comments on your current ride! After more than 2 years in our little diesel I can see what you mean. We rented a 35 foot coach for 9 days before buying our diesel – and experienced most of what you just went over. Now, with our home base of Colorado, the diesel RV is a blessing for our weekend trips and more. Ours is just a little Leisure Travel Sprinter type diesel – but we love the quiet, the power at altitude, and the fun of driving it.
I’m thinking our sweet spot is a 28-30 foot diesel RV with upgraded interior options you guys have often talked about. And yes – we camp in very few RV Parks, the real fun for us is out in the wild mountain areas. More solar, more batteries, and more self sufficient options for our next RV for sure!
Good info and update. I’ve been following you guys for about a year now, in fact you were the catalyst for my wife and I to finally purchase a motorhome (2003 Beaver Monterey) and having fun experiencing the RV lifestyle. I hope to retire within a couple years and then full time for a while.
We will most likely buy another coach before full timing so getting your comments on gas Vs diesel was helpful in that in confirmed why we went with a diesel pusher, and most likely stay with that platform when we buy again. For me being the one who does all the driving I hate stopping for fuel and the reduced mileage of the gas coach along with driver fatigue being another factor would probably cause me to jump off a cliff at a road side view point. To each his own but at least for me making the additional investment to get more more, better safer ride, and fuel mileage are just to important. I’m also not sure that over the long term if a gas powered coach will be cheaper in terms of engine maintenance, the gas engine has to work much harder at higher rpm, hence forth it will wear out much sooner whereas the diesel will run 200,000 miles with general maintenance, which is more than I think anyone could or would drive over the life span of a coach in terms of even full timing in one.
Anyway, really enjoy your adventures and keeping us informed. Perhaps we may meet up one day, would really enjoy meeting you two in person.
You have developed a new way to measure overall ride quality, the catglare.
2:57 peaceful cat sleeping on console
5:06 protest cat condemns daddy over the intolerable noise and bother, stalks off to plot vengeful world domination
Anyway, call me crazy, but I think that kittums could almost carry an entire channel, or at least handle a holiday special!
Good real life comparison diesel vs gas, I have always believed the size weight and lack of aerodynamics the torque and breaking the diesel is the best choice. We were in Canada last week and I was told by insurance adjuster that Cummins and Caterpillar have sleeved cyclinders that enables rebuilding the engine without removing the block.
Adds more life to a major investment
Jason & Nikki,
My wife and I own a 2013 Bounder 33C as well and “ditto” your comments from the video. As an example on our last trip from Seattle to Yellowstone while travelling on I90 going over the Cascades, 4th of July Pass, then finally the Continental Divide while enroute, my wife and I were always taking it in/out of tow/haul mode, and down shifting on any type of grade felt that were in the “Little Engine that Could”.
Our motorhome handles exactly as yours does with surprisingly very similar mileage and noise. With these things in mind we are considering upgrading to a 2015 Fleetwood, Discovery 37R. By utilizing your research this has helped us come to a similar conclusion as yourselves. Also, by going to a diesel we can actually tow a F150 vs. our smaller Ranger.
Thanks to everyone for the kind comments and those who’ve shared their Gas and Diesel RV experiences. Each comment helps others looking for real, honest feedback on living with a motorhome. I’ve noticed several questions which I’ll attempt to answer here:
Tow Haul Mode – For all those worried that we’re using this feature incorrectly I have spoken with the engineers at Fleetwood and I’ve read the Ford Chassis manual where they explain exactly how to use this feature. If you want to read the short description from Ford then read page 3 of this pdf: http://www.fleet.ford.com/resources/ford/general/pdf/brochures/2014/Class_A_brochure-2014_LoRes.pdf
“Fixing” Chassis & Engine issues – There are upgrades and mods that are geared towards helping with the Ford Chassis and Transmission so all hope is not lost if you’re looking for a Gas RV. We cannot install these items since we do not own this RV.
Rattle – The rattle is on par with our other RVs. I know it sounds crazy but RVs just rattle, plus all the stuff that’s crammed into the cabinets, drawers, etc. rattles. The only RV I’ve traveled in that was nearly whisper quiet is a $2m Prevost bus conversion, that thing drove like a dream! Also keep in mind this is a test coach, one of the first off the line. We are heading into the factory service center and we should be able to button up a few of these annoying squeaks soon.
More Tech – Those who wanted more tech thanks for the info. I didn’t even think of a db meter or filming the tach to show my engine RPMs. I’ll take note on our next drive and update our article with the info: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/gas-rv-experience-noise-ride-performance
Great response, another reason why I took much of your advice on the purchase of my Gas RV. I think you provide excellent opinion from a “USER” perspective and back it with available online sites for people to do further research. I am really looking forward to adding the upgrades to my chassis that have been posted in this discussion. I am not sure with out it I could have found all the online companies and research. Do you have any of the chassis mods in your store so I can at least give you the credit where it is so well deserved?
Thanks a bunch again and safe travels
A bit off subject but I noticed your cat on the dash and happened to think of something. How do you keep him from scratching up the upholstery in the coach? Have you done a vid on traveling with animals?
That’s one of the reasons you’ll see the blankets folded on our driver’s seats. Not much we can do about scratches, sadly they do happen. We do have a post on traveling with cats but we plan to update it soon with a video: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/traveling-cats
Someone mentioned tapping the brake pedal and Jason said he just turns the Cruise Control off to avoid the engine downshifting on an incline. Another way to do this is simply push the Resume button to leave cruise control. Then, push Resume when you want to go back on cruise. This way you do not lose the speed setting you were using. Really enjoy your site… thank you!
Yes, when I say “off” I’m actually using the “RES” button on the wheel. You may notice when I re-activate the cruise I’m hitting the top right button on the steering wheel 🙂 Nice catch.
A couple of suggestions….
1) Invest in SumoSprings – It will provide improved road compliance. Tiffin offers them as a chassis option on the gassers with your Ford RV chassis. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1rr9zdWMDw
2) I line my RV drawers in small pore bubble wrap and use bubble sheet separators between pots and dishes. Quiets down the rattles while driving
3) On every trip we target a particular zone in the rv and address rattling sources. Over time things will be much quieter
4) Apply circular felt pads on door, drawers where surfaces touch.
While the Class A’s look luxurious, a Sprinter Class C Diesel or a Super C diesel would ride much better and give you better fuel economy for the same price as the Fleetwood. I know you like space but poor Jason is going to age prematurely driving under these conditions.
Both of you are too nice to have to accept a subpar and noisy ride while working as hard as you do. Best wishes.
Regretfully, money does matter to many of us. We own a 2015 Holiday Rambler Vacationer purchased used. After 6 months, we have no regrets but have made some modifications that made a big difference. Number one was to install a Safe-T-Plus steering stabilizer. Next was to purchase a new “tune” for the engine and transmission from 5 Star. This made a dramatic improvement in shift patterns and holding the gear going up a hill or doing just a single gear downshift. Towing a 4,000 lb. car, we just leave it in Tow Haul all the time. and it still shifts into overdrive. Why Ford can’t get it right is curious. Last driving improvement was to install a rear track bar from SuperSteer. Sway from passing trucks or cars is virtually gone. A free ride improvement is to adjust tire pressure to match the loads on the axles. Based on the Michelin charts, we can run 80 psi in the front and 85 psi in the rear. Mileage averages 6.5 to 7 with the toad. I retire in 6 months and we plan to travel extensively on a budget. Diesel power and air ride would be great. Diesel coaches probably do have a longer life expectancy than gas and we could have bought an 8 year old Newmar coach for about the same price but I am confident this coach will cost far less to maintain than a diesel. Love your site and follow you religiously.
Thanks for your gas vs diesel review. We (my wife and I, both recently retired) don’t have a motorhome yet, but will be picking up the one we ordered in about a week. So it will be interesting seeing how our continuing experiences compares to what you’ve seen. Ours will be about the same size, a Tiffin 32SA gas coach. Some differences would be it is built on a 24,000# chassis, will have the SUMO springs added to the chassis, and will also have that newish 6-spd Ford transmission you mentioned. I’ve read positive things about all of those from other folks on various forums, so I guess we will see if it helps the gas coach out significantly. One bonus is that we live in Texas, so most of our initial driving will be fairly flat. At least until we start doing more driving to explore the other 48 contiguous states, and hitting some real mountain driving. I’ll post another reply after we have driven it home and have some real experience under our seatbelt.
Great video, like always. I’m interested in the difference in maintenance. Miles between maintenance, cost, and any other differences. Thanks.
Like following your adventures. Have you ever considered a View/Navion from Winnebago? It’s as green as you can get with a RV. We have 64K and 450 nights in ours in 4yrs. Keep up the wonderful work.
Do you like better the pusher or front diesel motorhomes? Also is the length much different with this one to the others?
I have had gas and diesel-powered class A, the gas was 37 ft and my pusher is 40 ft. The biggest problem with gas is the average engine life is less than 100,000 miles, they are working so hard most of the time they just wear out. That being said diesel will go an easy 500,000 miles but the rest of the coach will be shot.
Maintenence of the pushers is very high but in my opinion it’s also a much safer vehicle to drive down the road, my biggest other problem with gas is braking down steep grades is awful, cabin noise is an issue for me and driving on not so nice roads it sometimes sounds like it’s going to fall apart, the chassis in gas models aren’t heavy duty enough for my liking. I’m a full timer and do a lot of driving and love to boondock. When I’m through with my heavy traveling I will be switching to a high end fifth wheel just because of the added space and a big kitchen, I love to cook. It all depends on the type of camping you do as Jason said.
I own a new 2015 jayco Precept 31 gas MH. We love the layout and got a great price (88k)
I love the watching and reading all of the Wynn’s emails and videos.
I totally agree with Marlin about using the Tow-haul button. It makes a Hugh difference in going thru
Hills. The ride is much smoother and you don’t hardly need to use the brakes and it limits the
Usage/high revving of cruise control
Good review and presentation. I have a question about the maintenance for each vehicle (drive train related). I have heard that the diesel, especially pushers, have a high maintenance cost. In your experience – is that true?
Great video, think I’m going to save a little longer for that DP 🙂 One thing I was wondering about is all that background noise, is that typical? Did you have that much noise in your other coaches?
I am 14 months into my first motor, a used 43 foot DP. I have had it over several passes in Colorado including Red Mountain Pass one of the greatest/worst passes you my ever try. I also have a Ford F-250 with the V10 that I pull small work trailers with. Not a perfect comparison but a comparison. Going up and down passes the DP feels safer then the pickup. Gearing down, the engine break provide me fantastic control on step roads. And gas mileage is about the same with a 20,000 pound difference.
Bob / Suzanne Moran
Jason, The sway bar on the front of the chassis has two hole locations on it. If you move the bolt to the second hole location on both sides ( which takes about 15 minutes) it will greatly improve the sway from side to side. I changed ours while in an Anchorage Campground and it made a world of difference. A fellow Fleetwood owner told me about it. We then drove the remaining 5500 miles home and found I was wishing I had done it alot earlier.
Good objective video and comments. I often wondered what driving a big gas RV was like and your video gave me an excellent feel. I own a small Sprinter based Class C diesel and have considered trading to something larger. I love the diesel for efficiency and power, but based what you’ve reported, not sure I could tolerate that Ford chassis and engine. Thanks.
Vincent (Flightdoc) Lugg
Thanks for the comparison of the two types of coaches. I bought my first MH three months ago. It’s a Monaco Monarch 31 foot. It has the Ford engine. I know exactly what Jason is saying about the cruise control “roar”. First time I went up a small incline in cruise mode the “roar” kicked in and scared the Bjeuse out of me. I immediately turned off the cruise thinking it wasn’t working correctly or was possessed or something. I drive it the way Jason suggested but will have to try Marlins suggestion with tow/haul mode. Thanks again.
Hi and thank you for your great review of the Gas vs Diesel RVs. I´m from Norway, and here in Europe we have almost only Diesel RVs (99% or more). In Europe Diesel is cheaper than Gas and in many European countries we have high mountains like the Alps, that make Diesel the best choice. Many places we also have narrow and very curved roads so our RVs tend to be a lot smaller than the ones you have in the US. Most RVs are between 16 and 25 feet. We do have longer ones, but rarely above 30 feet since these cars wouldn´t be able to travel the narrow roads that leads ut to the perferct view or camping site that we would like to see. Many RV parkings (not camping grounds) are made for campers not longer than 8 meters (about 24 feet). This means that if you buy a 30 feet or longer RV, there will be a lot of places you can´t go because you can´t find a place to park. Any way in Europe Diesel is about the only option for RVs.
Great video. I have the same V-10 Ford in my Thor A.C.E. Being a first-time owner we were concerned with two things at time of purchase: 1) price 2) the wife had to feel comfortable driving the motorhome. Several long trips this year reminded me of several things I have learned over the years driving large Ford Trucks. Most Ford vehicles start out with the over-drive ON. This provides a sluggish start and a fuel-saving top end. Electronically it is done with a different shifting pattern. However if you are going up and down hill regularly, turning the over-drive OFF (Tow-Haul Mode On), and just leaving it alone you will get a much better ride overall. Try it for the next update to your video, you will be amazed.
Years ago, the Bounder was known as the Bouncer. Several friends traded for something else is how I know. The manufacturer fixed the problem with heavy-duty anti-sway bars, which I would advise for anyone using the Ford F-53 Chassis. Much better ride with little to no sway.
Good luck on the road ahead..
In 10 years, most gas class A’s are done while high-end diesel coaches are just getting started. Your reviews assume everyone needs/wants a brand new motorhome and that simply is not the the case. If you let someone else pay that $50K per year depreciation, very high-end but gently used coaches that have been pampered their whole lives become affordable in your quoted $150k range. To each their own but I know which I’d choose.
I have a 2-year old Thor Challenger with 13,000 miles with the Ford V10. I’ve driven cross-country and back almost 3 times. On these trips, we have climbed some exceptional passes, including two close to 11,000′ in No NM and in Wyoming. The engine noise can be overwhelming while climbing/accelerating but I don’t have any of the other background noise as in the video. I think that was a combination of AK roads with road seams. My suspension sucked and needed some tweaking but rides much better now, removing some of the sway. I’ve never felt the engine was underpowered, routinely flying past semis on long hills, even while fully loaded to live full time. It came down to a $$ decision. And, after looking at several high-end 45′ diesels, I think I have far more basement storage in my Thor gasser. A quieter, smoother ride would be nice, but I don’t think I want to part with more money or my storage.
Concerning the cruise control, I just tap the brake lightly and it disengages and I manually control it for the hill. Just hit resume when it flattens out rather than turning it off and back on. Gas engines make their power at higher RPM’s, so there is naturally going to be more down shifting. The diesels do the same work at a lower RPM, so the power band is more narrow and less shifting occurs. For most people, they live on the freeway and it probably doesn’t matter. Concerning budgets, I don’t know how you guys do this at all. I’d like to hear how you fund it all! You sure did a lot of fun stuff in Alaska. I’m glad you saw some great wildlife and enjoyed your time. Of course, if money is no object, you would get a diesel pusher (Cummins, CAT), with a Freightliner chassis, but that is an entirely different animal. I think the new Ford transmission, something to better match a 6 speed Allison (on the chevy) will make all the difference.
Hi Y’all, thanks for the comparison! We are on our second gas coach, a Winnebago 33C. We love it…mostly, but have been curious about gas vs diesel. Very interesting and something to think about! Great job! Thank-you! Love the blog! ~Laura WL
Awesome review! I love the “on the road” style videos as it allows you to couch-camp when the real deal is not an option. You guys rock!!!
It would be totally cool to do this trip next year, cover this same stretch but in a DP of similar size (like your previous coach). That would present a real comparison to all the points you covered here.
I thought the noise level was really quite loud…much more than I would have expected. The camera’s microphone may have contributed to the impression, but still…it seemed pretty uncomfortable at times.
And I get the impression that you might not go with a gas coach again…would that be a fair guess?
Thanks for sharing your awesome experiences!!
That was the best explanation/show tell on gas vs diesel I have ever seen! Thanks you guys for solidifying that My choice for a diesel coach is a good one. Can’t wait to go to the Pomona show this year, you gonna be there?
We also have a Bounder (2012 gas) and agree with you 101% and want to say few things that we see on the gas RV:
– First and most important to us: SUSPENSION – on the Ford chassis it’s terrible! It’s actually an old F-Series truck: Leaf springs and “medieval” system!!!! Ford NEED to change that urgent!! I know that they (Ford) already have air suspension in some F-Series so why not offer on the RV chassi line?
Will cost $2000/$5000 more??? I will pay it and many people also will…. 99% of handling, comfort, safety and others issues you mention will be solved or reduced significantly with better suspension.
– Second: BRAKES – you guys tow a very (very) light car. Try going downhill (a 7% grade or over) towing a 4000lb Jeep and you will be what is “feel unsafe”! Transmission feels like will explode and brakes that will not stop if you really need to. In long downhills this is very stressing! (Note: our RV fully loaded and with towing ARE in the correct weight!)
Another thing that is easily to be solved with better brakes – air brakes if air suspension is available – and better transmission (there are many options on better (much better) transmissions available if Ford wants to do better….
– Third: POWER – easy way to increase that will be supercharging the V10. A blower will cost no more than $2000 (if from factory) and will increase torque by at least 30-40%. I can beat that even fuel economy will increase as the biggest problem on low mileage is lack of power = constantly “pedal to the metal” that lets to constant downshifting = more fuel consumption!
Of course this “upgrades” will increase cost (I even think that in large production all this will not increase that much) but safety and confort will compensate…. And buyers will pay.
Diesel RV are on my opinion much better BUT you will start paying at least 30-40% more at the time of purchase (same size RV) and you normally much more as Diesels have the “tendency” to be considered only for higher buyers and so normally bigger and much much more luxurious that sometimes is not for everyone – we like you guys like “simple”. RVs, very “clean”, efficient, practical and not so big (ours is just below 36′ and I think ideal will be 33′). And it’s almost impossible to find a diesel with this characteristics that will not cost you $250/$300K or more ( always talking about new one because used will be very difficult to compare).
We paid around $130k (new) on our coach and $10/$20K more for the upgrades above mentioned will be well spent and still a lot less than a Diesel.
Last but not least: Ford have a great V8 Diesel engine available on the F-Series trucks that I really don’t understand why not an option between the gas and Diesel pushers
Maybe they don’t want to build a coach like that because are afraid that will be so good and $$$ accessible that sales from the higher end diesel pushers will fall?????
Maybe that’s the reason we don’t have better “entry level” class A coaches with things that we want….
We did a lot of research before we bought, we have owned many motorhomes & travel trailers as well as 38 ft sea Ray so for us it was a no brainier to buy diesel. Our coach is older but it is a Newmar own by 1 couple that ordered it from factory. We have been nothing but pleased. Ours is very quiet when going down the road & love the engine brake, in fact it saved our life this summer. So for these 2 “Runaways”, we just love our 40 ft diesel pusher. Camp on!!!
I own a TT but it’s 36 ft long weighing over 9000 lbs so it’s had for me to make a true comparison. But I heard a lot of engine and road noise in the video and I think that would drive me nuts. I tow with. 3500 diesel Silverado with SRW drive. It was much quieter and I had no trouble traveling from Fl to Wyoming and down through Utah and back to Fl. Getting between 12 and 13 mpg with 4 people in the truck. I would have to agree with you that if you could afford a diesel that’s the way to go. I wish I could afford a Super C or at least a Class C with a Diesel F550 but it’s not in the budget. So I have to stay with a TT until I can. Thank you for your post and safe travels. Keep them coming my family and I love to see your videos. I appreciate your honesty.
Great video and perspective. We test drove both gas and diesel, and were sold immediately on the diesel because of the smooth “air” ride, braking, and handling. We have been FT in or 2014 Excursion for 6 months now, and love it. We travel primarily in the west, so we love the comfort of having the engine brake on the big mountain passes. BTW, did you guys ever name your current coach???
We have a 2012 Fleetwood Storm 32BH bunkhouse on the same Ford F-53 chassis. I installed Kelderman front airbag suspension for $3100 which improved the cushioning over the standard leaf springs; TigerTrak rear track bar to stop the tail wag $470; 5 Star Tuning ECU programming to significantly reduce the shifting problems you’re experiencing for a much smoother ride experience $400; Blue Ox TruCenter steering bar so I can set the front wheels straight as road conditions change so you can steer with less effort $780; Hellwig rear anti-sway bar – provided the most improvement in handling significantly reducing sway, enables you to drive faster and with less steering effort $650; Hellwig front anti-sway bar provides additional minor improvement $380. Total $5800. These improvements made the gas coach much more pleasant to drive. My wife and I enjoy your posts, thank you!
Overall NOISE. How did they compare?
Do the 5-Star Tune, it is worth every dollar. Definitely makes the coach more “drivable”.
Very true. 5 star makes your V10 run 10 times better to include shifting points. I drive a 40ft Winnebago and tow a Jeep.
My unit runs great
Like others have mentioned prior, there are some definite improvements you can make to help with the issues they mention.
A few “must haves” with the Ford V10 would include a tuner program such as 5 Star Tunings which help greatly with shift patterns. A steering stabilizer (we use Roadmaster) and a rear heavy duty anti-sway bar. Our next and final suspension upgrade will be Sumo rear springs.
Overall, the Ford V10 does well. We live in Northwest with some serious mountains. The coach we purchased was I our budget and has an awesome floor plan. We have to take it slow on the hills, but if you own an RV you should not be in any kind of a hurry. That being said, I would agree, if money was not an issue, I would purchase a diesel pusher and rely on others to work on the engine. You just can’t beat the torque a diesel can produce and their longevity.
Richard & Susan
We’re full-timers. We drove both gas and diesel before purchasing. There is no comparison: diesel wins (should we say Wynns?. Powerful — 450 HP Cummins M11 and HUGE torque; easy conversation while traveling — pusher engine; stable — 8 outboard airbags and HWH auto-leveling; all terrain capable with ease, whether uphill or down — 6 speed Allison transmission with retarder (retarder is fabulous downhill and keeps the driver from needing brakes, so they are completely fresh if a sudden slowdown or stop is required).
The coach is an absolute delight to drive. And we went the whole hog: AquaHot heating using the same diesel fuel. Unlimited hot water, along with engine pre-heat and silent furnace (all you hear is the fan). We have already used the AquaHot this year in the mountains during cold, autumn overnights.
The downside? Expensive. We purchased a coach several years older than our original target age. We found a quality coach, in great shape, offered by a private owner. Oil changes and maintenance? Expensive! Think gallons of oil, not quarts. Engine service with filters can be several hundred dollars. Complexity? Significant. Be sure you have the support network needed for the brand you purchase. But dollar-for-dollar — especially if you intend to take long trips or are full-timing — if you don’t have unlimited funds, drop back a few years and buy a capable diesel pusher.
Great review ,thanks! Just wondering if the lower ground clearance in the Excursion would reduce your ability to wild camp in some areas where the Bounder has a higher ground clearance??
Thank you, very good points and I was wondering if after awhile you guys would share your thoughts on this debate. I know we will def choose Diesel.
I Picked up a 2004 Newmar Scottsville 37 footer with 25k on it. It has the w22 workhorse chassis and 496 Chevy big block/ Allison 5 speed trans. The trip from Florda to Md averaged just a hair over 11 mpg. I was told to expect 8 mpg. I love the floor plan layout.
She seems to have plenty of power in reserve. I never had a diesel to compare but my “major airline” head mechanic friend (trained diesel/gas) said that engine was designed for competition against the Diesel engine design. It gets better low end torque taking off and reaches speed fairly quick.
My truck is a 1500 Chevy Avalanche and I pull a 28′ custom car trailer for work 🙁 it has a 5.3 liter engine and is sluggish (180k miles on it).
I was looking for a diesel pusher but fell into a great deal and was able to pay it in full without a loan. This is my first motor home and I live in it full time for the last 4 months. I want to try it out and see how I like living in it before dumping a ton of money. Being a contractor remodeling homes makes it trickier to live and park, while having a work truck/ trailer that I need to use 5-7 days a week. I do have work coming up in NC and a tiny home to build in Vermont for a 70 yr old lady that is a full timer ( Mercedes leisure Diesel class b).
A lot of people on the forums said to stay away from the triton V10 for the above mentioned reason. My thought was a v10 should have better performance, higher rpm because of stroke length and the pistons are smaller. I think this works better in sports cars
And not so much on the power end.
Thanks for taking the time and posting all the vids and blogs. Hope to cross paths one day and say hi
My husband and I are relative newbies, having only owned our gas RV since Dec. We went with gas because we decided to FT for 2 years and then make a decision about where to live vs continue; because gas was so much cheaper (here in the east as least) and because we found a coach we really liked that was second hand and happened to be gas. It’s a 2008 Winnebago Voyage and when we got it cheap we figured we could then do some alterations inside (including putting in a composting toilet) and install solar. (We also completely changed the interior decor and set up.)
So far we love it. My brother who knows a lot about trucks told us that the diesel option would give us more torque but basically said what you did-if we were going to travel relatively short distances and dry camp then diesel would probably not be better. As it is, because we have stayed on the east coast and midwest this year, we have not had to deal with the mountains we’ll go up (slowly) next year and we have been staying in a lot of state parks which have electricity for the most part so have not been using our solar as much as we’d thought.
Right now, we are parked at the Winnebago factory where we decided to stop-we were nearby in MN and on our way south-to have things checked out. (And luckily for us that is when I discovered a tiny leak that will have to be addressed.) Having been here for a week (it’s free and you have 50 amp service and free WiFi) we’ve been able to see and talk to a lot of people with diesel and bigger rigs (we are 33′ which is perfect for us and our dog and cat.) I have yet to see why we would ever want to switch to diesel. It seems to be more expensive to fix, most of the people we talk to are getting the same mileage 6.5-7 (we tow a CRV laden with bikes and 2 kayaks) and the FTimers are like us and travel the smaller roads (blue highways) when they can and move at a leisurely pace. They may have a little more storage space and they don’t have this annoying hump between the seats but other than that I am appreciating that we have gas more and more.
We just purchased a new 33″ Forest River Forester Class C with that same Ford chassis and have all the same issues. It all comes down to your budget. If it didn’t everyone would probably go diesel. I’m sure it the class c vs class a difference, but we’re seeing 8 to 8.5 mpg on our current 3,000 mile trip. We tow a Fiat 500 4-down so it’s pretty light. But still at 65 mph we’re routinely seeing over 8 mpg.
Sounds like the transmission is more the issue. The cruise control may need adjustment. The cat convertior sounds noisy. See, Alaska does beat up motorhomes.
The frequent gassing up would really bug me. I have an ancient Roadtrek Popular and love it and its 15-16 mpg.
Thanks for posting. Much food for thought.
Serious question: Are the RVs always that noisy inside? I am only in the beginning stages of deciding on retiring, buying a Class B, or B+, RV — and driving off into the sunset on multi-week jaunts (not full-time). The noise on your video sounds like you are riding in a freight car. I will assume it’s those pots and pans, knives and forks, tools and broken Hummel figurines…
But is it really that noisy all the time?
I think that would drive me crazy even on a short trip. But I do have a lot to learn, still.
Yes, they are. Why people like trailers.?
It’s not really the dishes etc, it’s the table and the slide and suspension and the motor and the wind and the road all combined. It’s not as problematic as it seems. Except when you are driving on a bad road or your transmission downshifts at the first site of a hill – like in the video.
I totally agree…just like a freight car. But I sure hope I didn’t get broken!!
Its nothing like a car so there will always be some noise but some of the squeaks and rattles can be fixed. We have been on some very treacherous roads so there are some squeaks and rattles that will be fixed on ours so it will be better. Plus our microphone pics up every little noise.
I think I know what the noise and other issues are! Your “cat”-alytic converter on the dash is not bolted down properly! It keeps moving around. If it was kept stationary, I think it might help. It might make that engine purrrrrrr…
I can’t tell you how many times we have tried to bolt that thing down but unfortunately it just gets noisier. So we just let it have its way. 🙂
Very grateful for all the advice, suggestions to incorporate in my joining the RV world! What I could afford was a new Ford diesel 250 to pull a used Forester Falstaff 5th wheel. Our first road trip summer of 2015 followed some of your routes…we left Florida, headed to Green Bay, west to Montana and Glacier National, south to Yellowstone and then zigzagged back to Florida. Not an expert…but those gas class A’s struggled everywhere we found a hill or roads under construction. So very glad I put the extra bucks in the MOTOR! So I agree…if you are going to travel..get diesel…if you plan to stay in an “RV Resort” get the froufrou gas! We have started searching for a diesel pusher we can afford…and still have money for gas and groceries! Hope to meet you on the road! RV Jane
Great post Jason. I have been waiting on your report for awhile and was not disappointed. I just finished my first big trip in my 2016 Bounder 35K. Okla city – Memphis – Georgia – New Orleans – Galveston – OKC Right at 2000 miles and 300 Gal, avg was between 6.5 to 7.8 MPG, had to run the generator quite a bit on the middle legs (outside 95 plus temps). Overall I agree 100% on the cruise, it is slow and archaic for todays modern engine technology. I don’t like seeing my coach at 5000RPM especially when it is not needed to downshift that drastically. I basically do exactly as you said and baby the cruise by turning it off prior to a hill. Its not the best but really not a big deal since I am driving anyways. I primary bought the bounder with a lot of research and your blogs. I am very happy with my coach and the features for price I have. I love the bounder interior and living set up, the flex steel furniture is still the best comfort of all the coaches I looked at and that included a few of the mid range diesels. I know if in 5 to 6 years I go to a full time RV lifestyle I will look at trading in for a diesel and I look forward to it. For now with part time RV and not a lot of mountain travel, I think for the price I got one of the best gas’ers on the market and it fits my budget well with lots of money for travel. I am very happy to see the ride post on here as I have already been aware of some of the sway and stabilizer improvements available and probable be getting them next spring before prime RV season for me. Overall I am very pleased with the power and ride of the bounder, I know a diesel will always beat a gas in performance and ride but it just isn’t worth 50k to 75k better right now in my RV life, so I will travel and enjoy my “Gas’er” and hopefully bump into the “Wynn’s” some day Stay safe and enjoy!!!
Brett & Paul
Loved the video…especially the dramatic moose and bear encounters…SO exciting 🙂 We have never owned a gas coach but have rented them and have to address this “safety” topic. We have locked up the brakes on both versions and on our rental gas coach I was certain we were going to die and kill off half of the freeway in the process. The coach pitched dramatically, pulled sharply to the left, and the suspension made it difficult to steer during the emergency braking. In both of our diesel coaches we have required emergency stops and each time were amazed at the response of the suspension and braking system to stop us safely, giving us control of the steering and stopping in a much shorter distance. We would put our money into an older diesel coach instead of buying a newer gas coach for no other reason than safety. If viewers doubt what I am saying, an emergency road maneuver is a convincing exercise. As you also noted, we enjoy talking with each other while driving which is so much easier with a rear diesel…and finally….a diesel with air suspension just handles the road so much better, particularly if it has IFS. We are now down in Sacramento so if you two swing by let us know…would love to see you!
I love following your adventures! Just a note. We bought a gas unit 12 years ago because it was $100,000 less than a diesel unit. We have traveled around the US and made many other trips. We have had the same experiences as far as noise, sway, braking and fuel economy. It all is about the money. Otherwise we would sell and go to a diesel RV.
Joe the computer guy
Hey guys, thanks for the video. That really sums it up nicely. And the roar of the gasser comes across very realistic. I downsized from a DP and you note some important points. I have a 2016 Bounder 35K but it still has the 5 speed tranny. The 6 speed came off the Ford line the same time mine actually came off the FW line. FW is now starting to ship the 6 speed Ford chassis. My form coach had a ISC Cummins with 330 HP and if I recall correctly 1060 ft lb of torque. The gas V8 simply cannot compare. The air ride on the diesel was awesome. There was no sway, no getting tossed around by wind or trucks going by. Air brakes on a diesel were phenomenal. Again not a fair comparison to a hydraulic gasser brakes. The lack of engine roar from the rear engine diesel was a pure pleasure going up hills.
I did not get the same mpg you said in your video. My diesel was a 36 footer and I was pulling a 12 foot trailer with a big motorcycle in it and a whole bunch of offer stuff. I averaged 7-8. I think I got 8.5 when I was in Florida with all the flat roads. Certainly not double the gasser. Did you really get double than your DP? I can see that on the Vesta
And the maintenance on the diesel was considerably more expensive. Don’t forget the maintenance you are supposed to do on the air brakes every time you drive (Hmmmmm, how many people are doing that????). Don’t forget the cost of DEF no that is needed for the newer diesels. All that said I still bought a gasser. A brand new gasser. And the price differential between the BRAND NEW gasser and the 10 year old diesel was not a whole lot. Yeah, I will probably think about it every time I go up a hill. And quickly forget it, turn the music up, and enjoy the fact I have a lot more money in my bank account than if I went with a diesel.
Oh, and I forgot to mention there are a number of quick, relatively inexpensive fixes for the sway problem (look up CHF Ford Chassis, rear track bar) and the transmission shifting issues (look up 5 star tuning).
Thanks again for taking the time to do all the videos. It is great information. Stay safe and enjoy the journey.
Just imagine the ship points if you had our ’99 Bounder with a 4 speed, holy cow you are missing one memorable ride! I’ve been thinking my ’99 RV was just old & worn out, but I feel so much better now knowing all the creaks while swaying side to side, the bangs and pops coming from multiple random locations is all part of owning a gas coach! One of the other parts that is probably part of a gas coach is the scary feeling coming down a winding, 8 mile, 7% grade. I’ve had my alignment and steering gear checked twice, just to be sure everything is secure, curious if you’ve hit those winding roads on Diesel and Gas and what your impressions are. Another great posting, thanks a bunch!
I’m not full timing, though I have driven a Ford gasser and currently own a Chevy (workhorse chassis) gasser. Computer (ECU) reprogramming is what you want as mentioned above. Things I do to make the gas engine not work so hard:
1. Keeping your selector in tow/haul mode while towing and going through the mountains and steep hills does seem better in the Ford and Chevy both, though both still do the annoying downshift into 2nd gear at times. I think a great addition to the gas coaches would be transmission shift paddles on the steering wheel, this would allow you to control engine revs a bit easier.
2. When cruise is on and I am entering an incline I try to downshift one gear before the computer downshifts the transmission automatically. Doing this provides the necessary torque required to get the rig over the hill without turning off cruise control. Seems to work well for me.
3. With regards to the ride, I usually weigh my rig (front axel and back axel separately) then adjust my tire pressure accordingly to handle the weight vice running max pressure all the time. You would be amazed at the ride difference. Here is a link referencing tire pressure according to axel weight- http://www.rvtirepressure.com/assets/images/extrapages/michelin_rv_load_inflation.pdf.
Be safe on your trip back to the lower 48.
The one comparison that I feel is also important is the cost of routine maintenance, diesel verses gas. We own a 2015 Fleetwood Bounder 35K and I agree, when it is pulling hard the noise level is uncomfortable. That said, wwe, like you, find differences in braking distances, fuel economy and the like. Of course one stop for an oil and filter change does offset the fuel economy issue.
We full time in our rig, stay at RV resorts primarily (love full hookup sites) and love our floor plan.
Love your blog and look forward to each issue.
Frank & Laura
somewhere in the USA
William (Bill) Weaver
Watching your review and comparing your gas to diesel motorhomes, I said ditto, ditto, ditto, etc. I have had 3 gas rigs mainly because of purchase price. Every time I saw a pusher going down the road, I had diesel envy. I am now retired and said this will be my LAST motorhome, so I purchased a used pusher. The gas units were more like driving a big van. The diesel pusher is a whole new thing. They are much more complex to operate and maintain. It is not impossible to learn, but there is a learning curve. I used to maintain my gas units or my local garage could do what I could not. The cost of maintenance on the diesel is higher and you may find that you are out of your league. As stated in the video, if cost is not an issue, the diesel is my preferred ride. Buy what you can buy and enjoy the ride.
Love your posts and videos…been following you 2 from the first adventure…very entertaining and useful information. Nikki is by far the star!! 🙂 🙂
I have been RVing for 20yrs…trailer to tag-DP back to small gasser. It IS all about the amount of $ you want to put into this “hobby-lifestyle” AND that is what is so cool about RVing….the guy in the $15K unit is parking right next to you (in your $200k+) …seeing the same stuff and having a great time!!! Love that equalization experience. BTW…gasser DO struggle up those big western mountains but you only do that a few times and there is A LOT to see out there where there are NOT big grades to climb. So to all of us….happy adventuring!!!
Just love you guys!! The information you provide is wonderful. The pictures and videos are fantastic, as well!
Be well and stay happy. Oh, by the way, the audio on the “House Hunters Episode” on Facebook does not work.(no sound)
I’m wondering why a twin turbo wasn’t offered on your gas RV. I tow my toy hauler trailer with my F-150, 3.5 liter V-6 twin turbo and I pass lots of motor homes on up hill grades. Thin air, high elevation doesn’t seem to affect the power being available to me.
I am currently looking at the Newmar Bay Star Sport 2705 which is on the same Ford chassis. My research has found that big improvements come from adding Sumo Springs…this helps the side to side a lot, better Bilstein shocks, a heavier sway bar and steering system…forgot what the steering add on is. Also 5 Star tune which is an engine computer program will make the engine shift much smoother. This mod is very highly rated.
It is too bad since you are leasing this coach you don’t have the opportunity to try all this stuff. Probably around 3-5k installed for all this.
I’m sure you will get an almost different ride with these mods.
Another thing I did on my Unity Sprinter is to have the entire driver and passenger compartment fitted with Dynamat for sound deadening. Jason could probably do this himself. You need to remove the carpet and get to the metal underneath.
I wonder if the video sound made the engine noise worse than it was or not?
Trisha & Steven
Your sounded rather noisy compared to our rear engine diesel. It all comes down to cost. It is a beautiful coach but the diesel will cost you more up front and give you 3 times the longevity and reliability.
Plain and simple it just comes down to what one wants to spend. $80 for a entry lever gasser, $130 for a decent gasser or $200k for a decent diesel pusher. And diesel coach is going to hold it’s value better than any gas unit ever will. But, will that off set the upfront and running cost for the diesel plus factor in better handling and hill climbing the diesel will deliver.
Thanks for the informative ride. It pointed me in the right direction. Cost is a factor in purchasing a diesel for us, but ride is a factor in wanting one. It’s not just the power, but I have significant neck and back issues, and as a passenger while test driving (most recently a Super C) I felt like my head was going to bounce off my shoulders–which is a total deal breaker because that much movement causes me a great deal of pain and would ruin the travel experience. A short test drive on a smooth highway and through a terribly bumpy parking lot did me in for the rest of the day. We are anxious to test drive more non-entry level gassers as well as entry level diesels to see which one is best for us, but all that bouncing around would most certainly prevent me from traveling–which we are both longing to do. My question is more towards–should we look at an older 10+ quality diesel that we can afford with a better chassis (and deal with the possible age issues of the coach) or a newer gas model because of all of the newer technology and add on some stabilizing equipment? Class Cs appear to be completely out of the question because of the rough ride. Has anyone had to deal with the ride vs. their health?
Thanks for the advice.
My parents were full time for 10 years and my dad will not even consider gas. He says if you intend to live in your RV there is no option besides diesel. I take his word for it, he has been camping/rving for over 50yrs! Thanks for the information as always it is helpful.
The new 6-speed is out for the Ford chassis, all 2016 chassis have it, and 2016 RV’s are just now showing up on the lot with it. Look for PRND421 on the shifter rather than PRND321 for the 5-speed. There are a few people on irv2.com that have Winnebagos with the new transmission, early reports are better shifting and lower rpm, no word on fuel economy differences yet. Manufacturers web sites are starting to be updated to show he 6-speed as well.
That quirky cruise…? Yeah. That’s a Ford thing (I think).
I’m in a Ford Family. I love my Ford Explorer SportTrac, my mom has 2 Expeditions, my Sis and her family have an F-250 and a Lincoln Navigator (still a Ford). Along with those, we have owned countless F-150s, Rangers, and once a Ford Freestyle.
EVERY ONE of our vehicles does that “drop gears” thing on hills. It’s something in the way they program the computer’s Road A.I., and the one time I rented a Chevy van for a move, I noticed immediately that it was much more forgiving.
That said, I LOVE all my Fords, and the 7.3L Power Stroke Turbo Diesel in the F-250 is still considered to be one of the best non-commercial engines, EVER… Even if the transmission can’t keep up with it. The ultimate reason is THEY JUST WORK. I’ve never ditched a truck under 250K miles, and all were purring like kittens as I passed them off to the next owners. My SportTrac is sitting pretty at 331K miles. I need a timing chain replacement, but that’s been the only “major” repair I have needed with regular, synthetic maintenance.
There’s a reason that Ford is the de-facto chassis to build a gas RV, but I still want a diesel, so I’ll have to make the sacrifice and sully my uninterrupted streak as a Ford owner.
I drive a one ton chassis E-350 with the Triton V-10 at work. Recently Got our first coach, we selected an older diesel with a large six cylinder Cat (300 horsepower). We are hoping to get the best of both worlds; purchase price of Gas with the power, durability, and ride of diesel. I have maintained internal combustion engines for over 40 years now; that Ford V-10 is gonna be REAL tired after 100,000 miles… Catipillar? Just getting loose and ready to work.
Looks like Alaska was a blast for my favorite fish eating vegetarians 🙂 we continue to live vicariously!
As a full-time RVer, I have driven a 32 ft motor home with the Ford Triton V-10 for 5 years over 13,000 miles throughout the Southwest, Southeast and Atlantic States, and recently purchased a 38 ft Georgetown, with a similar engine. After 4500 miles with the new RV, which included driving from South Dakota, through WY, MT, ID, WA and Oregon, I am convinced that my choice was the right one. Sure you lose speed climbing long uphill grades…but, unless you drive solely in the Rockies, how many times do you have to do that? In my case, few.
Sounds like Diesel if you can afford it. In your travels in Alaska have you talked to other travelers about the Mercedes Diesel on a Sprinter chassis. They are smaller and cheaper but I was wondering about the performance?
Taking everything in consideration, would you choose the Bounder (preferred floor plan) or the Excursion (diesel) ?
Great video! I will be interested to see if it reduces the questions you get on the subject. I have a Tiffin gasser and have come to the same conclusions as you guys. There are things that can be done to improve the situation. I don’t know if in your situation you are able to make changes to the chassis. The first thing is a reprogram by 5 Star Tuning. Supposedly solves many of the transmission/cruise control issues by reprogramming the shift points. Easy to install yourself for about $500. For the side to side sway there are Sumo Springs. Tiffin now installs these at the factory. It was an option in 2015 but I have heard that it may be standard in 2016. Some people report improvements in the ride and others don’t. I think almost everyone reports improvement of sway. Particularly the dreaded “Walmart wobble” you get coming out of parking lots. You have to be sure to get the ones that attach at both ends to get the full effect. These are about $15-1800 depending upon installation. I have heard that most production is going to Tiffin now so they are getting hard to find. I don’t know if that is true. Just a forum rumor. I also installed a rear track bar and a steering stabilizer. Not big changes but easily worth the $800. I have gotten used to the brakes on mine and typically use the tow haul button when coming to a stop. I don’t even think about it. Mine does seem to stop better now with 13,000 miles on it. It still takes a heck of a lot of effort to stop hard. My biggest issue personally is getting gas. There is no way around that. You just have to stop more frequently. I love my Tiffin and don’t really want to pay for the increased cost and complexity of a diesel. I am able to do all the work myself on the gasser. Maybe I could with a diesel but it would be more difficult. That being said I continue to look at DPs and have come very close to pulling the trigger a couple of times. I have a daughter in college and a son who will be starting soon. The cost difference will pay for a lot of tuition. Did I mention that I love my Tiffin?
What has your gas mileage been? I have a 2013 F150, 5.0 ltr V-8 with a 6 speed transmission that I pull a 24 foot travel trailer with. I experience the same forced down shift when using cruise control. The truck handles the load with ease, but on steep grades it will force down to 3rd gear, when using cruise control. I prefer to manually compensate for grades/hills by speeding up before reaching the grade and allowing the speed to drop as slowly as possible without dropping below 4th gear. My experience in using cruise vs not makes a significant difference in MPG’s. Traveling at 65 mph with cruise mpg’s 8.5. Same speed without cruise and compensating ahead of time for hills, mpg’s 11. I used to have a micro-mini-motorhome (Toyota V-6) where I learned to accelerate ahead of hills, and allow the speed to slow so as to eliminate the “screaming” downshift. So I was down to 45mph at the hill top, but didn’t downshift to such a low gear. I ask about your MPG’s because I am looking at Tiffen Allegro gas 34PA. What I have read about the new 6 speed transmission, it will be set up to operate the same as my F150 6 speed. There will be a manual switch to select your “top” gear, or to maintain a certain gear on a grade. Using the Tow/Haul mode with cruise, will also downshift to prevent speed from increasing above the set MPH, when going down hills. It will also downshift when braking to help slow the vehicle. The flexibility of manual options on my 6 speed sounds like it would be a great improvement on the F53 Chassis.
Thanks for all the info.
Sorry for the delayed reply. I have had a busy few weeks and hadn’t checked back here in a while. I have not been checking mpg lately but the first long trip we did in our motorhome from central Texas to Tacoma, Washington and back we got 8.2mpg. That was towing nothing but generally driving it like it I stole it. I recently drove it from Texas to Indiana and back towing a small cargo trailer and got 7.1mpg. But that included a lot of generator time while camped in Indiana. I drove it to Florida and back in December and got the worst of any trip at 6.8. I was not towing anything and didn’t do anything differently that I can remember. I think the 6 speed transmission will be a nice upgrade for the Ford chassis. I have problem with the gas motor on our Tiffin. The crappy chassis could be easily improved by Ford. I guess they just don’t sell enough motorhome chassis to make it worthwhile. Remember these things are mostly built for box trucks. Nobody cares about how those ride.
I meant to say “no problem” with the gas motor in my previous reply.