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I have been told to purchase a Cummins engine of 400 or more in order to pull a car up mountains and to be able to get on a highway ramp without slowing down. I was looking at a 340 engine and people tell me I would not be happy driving this, it is a 40 foot RV.

Please advise


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Welcome to the forum!


To be of much help, more information would be needed. The year make and model of your RV and towed vehicle you are looking at. There are a number of different factors and weight ratings that must be accounted for so the more information you can provide the more helpful we can be.


Again.. welcome!

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Let me first welcome you to the Escapee forums, Vicki! We are happy that you have come here and we will do our best to help as much as we are able.


On the choice of engine to power the RV, be very careful what opinion you choose to take advice from as needed horsepower is in the view of the author of that post. I owned a 36' motorhome that was powered by a 275 hp, Ford V-10 for 14 years and lived in it full-time for nearly 12 of those years and in the 77k miles we put on it, I was towing a Honda CR-V for at least 90% of those miles. Back in the 90's the majority of diesel pusher motorhmes had only 275 to 300 hp even though the engines were diesel. The fact is that any of those will tow and have towed vehicles over the steepest of highways and onto pretty much every freeway entrance in America and did so reasonably well. The concept of what is the minimum amount of power to get the job done is a very changing thing as today you won't find any motorhomes of either fuel that operate with only 275 hp in their engines and they would be hard to sell if someone did offer one. But there were many years that folks traveled everywhere that we do today with those smaller smaller engines. It is true that few of them were as heavy as today and only a few were 40' long, but what it will require to keep you happy depends upon you, and not any of us. RV travel to me is not a racing event and I really do not care if it takes me 5 or 10 minutes longer to climb a mountain pass than it does other RVs and I can enter the freeways as well as any of the economy first automobiles and have done so safely for many years without the mega horsepower that is more typical of RVs today.


Test drive the RV in question and see what you think about the power. Remember that if you tow a small vehicle behind a 40' motorhome the impact upon acceleration will be pretty minimal if the tow vehicle is small and light in weight. Of course if you choose to tow a heavy truck that is fully loaded that would be significant, but most such cases the impact is more on the stopping than it is on acceleration. No large vehicle will accelerate like a sports car.


EDIT: This was pointed more at motorhomes than at fifth wheel trailers, but most still applies. Post above does mention weights which is especially an issue if you are thinking of a tow truck.

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure



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I have a 350hp Cummins ISC in a 40' motor home. As I recall, it has 1,050 ft lb of torque ...more critical for pushing a large vehicle than the HP is. We tow a Honda Odyssey, a relatively heavy toad compared to most. We have been over most of the highest passes in the US, and some in Canada. It does very well. Would I sometimes like to have more "get up"? ...sure, but I really have no complaints with what I have. I would not avoid the 340 for that reason only. It it otherwise meets your needs, it should serve you well.

Paul (KE5LXU), former fulltimer, now sometimer...

'03 Winnebago Ultimate Advantage 40E

'05 Honda Odyssey

Escapees, FMCA, WIT, SMART


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We were in the western mountains all the time with our 40' 370 Cummins doing up to 8% grades. It had plenty of power to pull our Jeep at 4,000 lb. Many RVers have much smaller HP and do just fine. Just like RVs nowadays, they're getting bigger; HP has risen considerably but in our opinion, you don't need so much. Yes, you might go up faster but does the few minutes really make a difference. Same goes for the on-ramps...we had no issues.

Full-timed for 16 Years
Traveled 8 yr in a 2004 Newmar Dutch Star 40' Motorhome
and 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th Wheel

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Would also like to give you a big welcome to the greatest forum on the internet for finding info about Full Timing in your RV...we also have a DP with around 300 HP and I can promise you they have more than enough torque to pull most anything you want up and down mountains...seriously, that is one of the lesser things to worry about when looking at an RV to live in. Floor plan that you, and more importantly your wife (if married), is wayyyyyy more important because you will be spending a whole lot more time inside the living quarters than driving. I would advise you to take your time and read the many different forums that are available on this site. You will be amazed at how much there is to learn...or at least there was for us!! Good luck on your search and keep us up-dated!

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Our 40ft Monaco is a 350. Would I like a little more umph going up the mountains? Sure but if I top some of the steep ones at 45 its okay. Getting on the highway is just fine.

Its not a race for us.

Go drive it and decide for yourself

Ron & Linda

Class of 2007
2000 Monaco Diplomat

2005 Honda Element

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are" Theodore Roosevelt

"We can't control the wind, but we can adjust our sail"

"When man gave up his freedom to roam the earth, he gave up his soul for a conditioned ego that is bound by time and the fear of losing its attachments."

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Well, I know just enough to be dangerous, but I will tell you that we had a 38' MH with a 300 HP ISB paired with the Allison 2500. I can't remember the torque, but I THINK it was around 800 or 900. We pull a CRV. If I'm not mistaken, the ISB is a smaller motor and pairing it with the 2500 is limiting. It was fine on the straight road, but did struggle on any mountains. Did we make it - yes - but often times it felt woefully under powered. If we could get a running start before hitting the incline, we fared much better. We hated it if someone pulled out making it necessary for us to slow down. We weren't trying to race to the top or be the first ones there. It was just a feeling of struggling to get there. We didn't like the feeling.


We have since gotten a 40' with a 400 ISL with more torque. HUGE difference. DH comments on the difference in traffic, also. He feels like he can navigate a little quicker in traffic if the need arises. Again, the ISB would make it, it's just that there's no thought as to whether this one will make it. It just feels better. We've gone west twice since trading MHs, and the ISL didn't struggle at all.

Gene, Gayle, & Oliver-(the dog)
2006 Holiday Rambler Endeavor 40 PDQ
2012 Honda CRV toad
Blue Ox tow bar & base plate/Air Force One braking

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Remember the days when the hills were bigger? And engines were smaller? And everyone was happy. In those days folks weren't in such a hurry.

To my knowledge there is no law that says you must go up the hills at the max speed limit.


Those old enough will remember the old TV show Cannonball. Those guys trucked all over the continent with a whole lot less horsepower and the hills were just as big.


So what if someone passes you while you are on the road.



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