Jump to content

afraid of diesel maintenance costs


Kiltedpig

Recommended Posts

Since I will be on a fixed income and limited savings the thought of a DP and the maintenance required keeps me looking at a gasser. I just read a post where a guy spent $30,000 fixing an engine and tranny on his DP. Since used dealers usually change the oils there is really no way to do a conclusive oil analysis so it seems either you are lucky or not when buying a used one. Am I being paranoid?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How tight of a budget are you looking at? And are you able to do some routine maintenance yourself?

 

While it is possible to have both engine and transmission problems, that is pretty rare. Diesel engines tend to go and go and go and go and go - same with the transmission. We have almost 150K miles on ours. She keeps running.

 

But there are costs. Tires cost more on a DP versus a gasser and need to be replaced every 7 yrs or so. Oil change cost more - 6 gallons versus 6-10 quarts. Filters cost more, but you change them (like the oil) less often. Lots of DP have 4 6-volt house batteries plus 2 - 12 volt starting batteries. Every 7-10 years they will need to be replaced.

 

But first, lets back up and ask a few questions. How often do you plan to cross the Rockies each year? How many miles do you anticipate driving each year? Do you plan on having a lot of stuff with you? IOW, why do you think you have to have a DP and not a gasser? Now I love our DP and for our style of travel, she has done well. But we know loads of people who do very well with gas rigs and get years of enjoyment out of them.

 

The ball is now back in your court. Figure out the answers to the above questions and use that information to help you determine what type of rig is best for you..

 

Barb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One cost to figure is normally an oil change on a gasser is every 3K to 5K miles, where I change the oil on my diesel once a year, and that's without reaching the 15K threshold that's recommended, although I did reach it once on our trip to Alaska. So you see you could be changing the oil 3 to 5 times in the same time period I'm changing once. And yes you can get an oil analysis done with one of the oil sampling kits from someone like Blackstone. It's inexpensive and something I have done yearly. The last time it was $25.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There really isn't an easy or simple answer to this one. Far too many things associated with the issue are based upon your travel habits and skill set. If you are weighing the choice based upon budget, then the first big difference is in purchase price. Are we discussing new, or used? A properly cared for gasoline chassis should be able to travel somewhere between 150k and 200k miles before you expect major repairs while a diesel should normally be significantly more. The diesel has much more expensive maintenance calls if you don't do them yourself, but the mileage between maintenance is much longer, but both should be done at least annually. Since we typically put on mileage to warrant an oil change on gas every 6 to 10 months, it would have cost much more for the one annual change for a diesel, but a high mileage RV traveler who puts 20K or more on the motorhome each year, the two will somewhat mitigate.

 

And Barb is right that many diesel RVs have a much higher cargo capacity than most gas chassis do. But be careful to check the weights and weight limits of any class A that you consider as there are diesels at the lower end of that price group do not have as much available weight capacity while some of the higher capacity gas chassis class A rigs have large excess capacity.

 

Engine replacements or major rebuilds are expensive for either type, but a diesel rig will be two or three times the cost of gas. But if you shop carefully you can protect yourself from that risk by purchasing a good "extended warranty."

 

On oil analysis, I always did that on ours and there is no reason why you can't do so also. As mentioned above, we also used Blackstone Laboratories for ours and they even supply you with the sample kits to use. Just have the mechanic doing the service fill it for you. I recommend that you do this before the purchase of any used class A and at least annually once you own it. They will send both the results of the analysis and also an explanation of what each item tested for means. Each time that you send in new sample in they send a report that shows all analysis to date and tracks the changes, explaining what the causes of each change may be. I highly recommend this no matter what fuel you choose for an RV.

 

If I were in your position, I would weigh the initial cost of each against the mileage I expected to travel. If considering used, get it checked out by an expert and get oil and transmission fluid analysis before you buy. Diesel fuel costs more but in RVs of the same size the diesel will get better fuel mileage so that usually isn't a major cost difference in operation. I would consider that purchase price is the major cost difference in the total picture.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since I will be on a fixed income and limited savings the thought of a DP and the maintenance required keeps me looking at a gasser. I just read a post where a guy spent $30,000 fixing an engine and tranny on his DP. Since used dealers usually change the oils there is really no way to do a conclusive oil analysis so it seems either you are lucky or not when buying a used one. Am I being paranoid?

Good for you to ask first, it might save you lots later. I have heard and read of a couple of diesel engines and 1 transmsssion jobs in the last 4 years on several misc. sites and threads. Measured against the huge number of diesel RVs and gas RV's running around this country, it seems maybe a very small % chance that you or I might every have the worst case experience.

 

Not mentioned yet, is the how and where to get service work done. As we have lived in the coach this year, I have used mobile tech services for all fluids and filters. The convience of an appointment, and the having the work done where I am parked has been worth the price. The other item or feature to concider, is can you see your engine when you open the access hatches? I had a rear radiator coach, and it was more than just difficult to work on. Not all coaches, brands or models are service friendly, and the work can be price accordingly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good advice all around. I think the OP's concern with an oil analysis before buying was that a dealer may have the oil changed before putting it up for sale so it would be rather fruitless to have an analysis run with clean oil and no run time. That would be true, however, for a pittance of the purchase price (probably around $200-$300) a qualified diesel mechanic could give a good once over and be able to give you a very good idea of what kind of overall condition the engine is in without having an analysis done.

 

One other factor I would consider is how long you plan to own this particular rig. As Kirk was pointing out.. over time, regular maintenance between a gasser and a diesel will just about even out in the long run. A diesel will also retain it's value better than a gasser. However, you're correct, any type of major work can 'really' set you back a pretty penny.

 

If I was looking for a 3-5 year rig with occasional trips under 5k miles a year... I would probably go with a gasser. For a 10 year rig @ 10k miles a year... I would choose a diesel. That's just me though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Either power source can be troublesome. My cousin would only buy gas-powered MH's. The last one cost him 3 engines and 2 transmissions-in 5 years. It was totally his fault, for towing a GMC 4X4 SUV that was over his towing capacity because they had it loaded inside with stuff. Gassers have a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 lb. usually.

On an different forum, a guy bought a newer DP, within a few months the engine blew, 30 some thousand dollars for an engine rebuild.

Moral, when buying a used MH, whatever the power source, strongly consider buying an extended service contract to cover large repairs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since I will be on a fixed income and limited savings the thought of a DP and the maintenance required keeps me looking at a gasser. I just read a post where a guy spent $30,000 fixing an engine and tranny on his DP. Since used dealers usually change the oils there is really no way to do a conclusive oil analysis so it seems either you are lucky or not when buying a used one. Am I being paranoid?

It has ben my experience that most dealers don't change the oil or do any maintenance. They will make shore everything is toped up but I drought they have changed the oil or other routine items.

You could ask if they changed the oil and see. I would do a sample on the transmission as well.

Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the advise, I appreciate the time you took to help I think a used DP would be best but for the same price I can get a newer gasser. I figure that if I stay with the better brands an older DP should be the ticket. My main concern is a DP is more complex, has more systems that are expensive that can go wrong. An extended warranty is a great idea but does anyone know how old a DP can be before you can't get an extended warranty?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To initially qualify for Good Sam Extended Service Plan coverage, your motorhome:

  • Can be up to 15 years old
  • Must have 80,000 or fewer miles
  • For new rigs, our plan protects RVs with a purchase price up to $1 million
  • For used vehicles, our plan protects RVs with a current value up to $750,000
  • Extended Service Plan is renewable on an annual basis until the RV is 18 years old or has 150,000 total vehicle miles

 

What is covered

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To initially qualify for Good Sam Extended Service Plan coverage, your motorhome:

  • Can be up to 15 years old
  • Must have 80,000 or fewer miles
  • For new rigs, our plan protects RVs with a purchase price up to $1 million
  • For used vehicles, our plan protects RVs with a current value up to $750,000
  • Extended Service Plan is renewable on an annual basis until the RV is 18 years old or has 150,000 total vehicle miles

 

What is covered

If there are no "proof of maintenance receipts" to show that all engine and transmission maintenance has been preformed on time since the rig was put in service will Good Sam pay for extensive engine transmission repairs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my younger years I worked for a farmer that had an old saying "if it has teats or rubber tires, it will cause a man problems" Diesel or gas they both require maintenance and with anything electrical or mechanical anything can go bad. I haul with a Chevy diesel dually, but I'm thinking my next truck will be a dually gasser. A gas engine is so much easier to work on which for my style is important. Speed and mountain climbing are less important.

Greg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my younger years I worked for a farmer that had an old saying "if it has teats or rubber tires, it will cause a man problems" Diesel or gas they both require maintenance and with anything electrical or mechanical anything can go bad. I haul with a Chevy diesel dually, but I'm thinking my next truck will be a dually gasser. A gas engine is so much easier to work on which for my style is important. Speed and mountain climbing are less important.
Greg

 

I see this comment quite often: "A gas engine is so much easier to work on..." how so? What is an DIY owner "working on" with either a gasohol or diesel engine that is easier or harder on one or the other?

 

I would take my 2006 Cummins / Dodge to work on what I can in the engine bay over any V6, V8, or V10 cylinder arrangement later model pickup in either gas or diesel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A V8 Duramax diesel engine is a large size motor that is stuffed into a pickup body designed for a smaller gas engine. I can swap out a gas motor in a late model truck in 24 hours of labor. A couple of years ago I replaced the turbo charger in my chevy and it took me 24 plus hours just wrench time, there is no room to get your hands between the firewall and turbo downpipe to get the bolts out. The process most mechanics prefer is to remove the cab, but that takes 6 hours and a overhead lift. Once you get the cab off, the motor work is a breeze.

A inline cummins engine would take up less space and be easier to work on, I agree.

Greg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is my 2cents, I owned a big truck for 20years and yes big engines can cost big money. Once said something about the price of a truck part and the Freightliner guy said any cheaper wouldn't be a truck part. On used get the engine # & call the manufacturer local shop and run the # to see what has been done. I looked at a class A dp called the Cat shop the guy never went in to Cat shop for recommended service ,I walked. I looked at Cummins dp with a $10,000. fuel system repair called Cummins he verified repair but said engine location causes fuel system problems, I walked. You also should check recalls. I bought low mileage class A gas slow on big hills but I get there. I once looked at a Porsche and repair guy asked if I had deep pockets. I think a dp is the same. Good luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you are going to keep the RV for long term get a Diesel pusher. First it is a a lot quieter while driving. Over the long haul better fuel milage, cheaper fuel and longer intervals between service will offset a lot of the higher maintenance cost. Resell value is higher on the diesel. Being able to let it sit and have the fuel system not get gummed up or corroded with the ethanol filled fuels.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

RVers Online University

campgroundviews.com

Our program provides accurate individual wheel weights for your RV, toad, and tow vehicle, and will help you trim the pounds if you need to.

RV Cable Grip

All the water you need...No matter where you go

Country Thunder Iowa

Nomad Internet

Rv Share

Dish For My RV.

RV Air.

Find out more or sign up for Escapees RV'ers Bootcamp.

Advertise your product or service here.

The Rvers- Now Streaming

RVTravel.com Logo



×
×
  • Create New...