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Thread: Looking at Diesel Pusher. Tell Me Why Not

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    Senior Member scottyb's Avatar
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    Looking at Diesel Pusher. Tell Me Why Not

    First of all, I have enjoyed my 4100 immensely and this forum has made the experience even better. It has been an excellent Toy Hauler and I can not speak highly enough of my experience with it as an introduction to RV'ing. Most of my RV'ing right now consist of long travel days (400-500 mi), with one night stopovers along the way, to reach a destination at a specific time. We may stay 3 or 4 days and move to another location for a total of a week to 10 days, then make the long tow home. There are a few things concerning the logistics of 5th wheels, that are making me desire a MH. Comfort on the road and space for the dogs are a couple. I have driven rigs like the one I want recently and I have found them to be amazingly comfortable and quiet, since the big diesel engine (M11) is over 40' behind you.

    I know there are a some here that have owned them in the past. The biggest thing I hear is cost of maintenance. I have been researching and learning over the last year and have narrowed it down to the manufacturer that I feel has about the highest customer satisfaction (Newmar). I will not buy a new one, more likely a 2007 or 08. with low mileage. This will allow me to get a fairly high-end rig that has already taken the huge hit on depreciation. The drive trains are built for hundreds of thousands of miles. I understand the additional maintenance cost like oil and filter changes, but that is of little concern to me since I will do it myself and have the advantage of expert assistance if needed. Tires are a huge expense, but last forever. It has been a long known fact that the tires will time-out, long before the tread wears out. Now Michellin is claiming that their truck tires" are good for 10 years, if an RV is stored indoors (Motorhome Magazine). Based on conversations with friends who own DP's and many topics read and taken as a"whole", fuel mileage will not be that much different than what my rig gets now (8 mpg). What other routine expenses can one expect with a DP? Any objective Pros and Cons? I fully understand that a Tag axle DP will be more expensive all around, but I have not yet made the decision if it is worth the extra expense. I suppose that is a personal matter. None of this is set in stone and I could easily pull the plug on it.
    2007 Newmar Mountain Aire 4528 Diesel Pusher
    2014 F150 Platinum 4x4 CC Ecoboost - Toad
    2013 F250 King Ranch 4x4 CC - Work Truck
    2013 Cyclone HD 4100 King (Sold)
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    Re: Looking at Diesel Pusher. Tell Me Why Not

    "If" I had the money and were ready to retire, there is a good chance there would be a tag axle DP in the driveway, maybe.

    Certainly would like to give one a whirl for a year and travel the country. We have had several members here make the switch and not look back.
    Lightly used seems to be the way to go, even though I do like my stuff new, as you mentioned depreciation is a huge hit. With DP's you could be talking about 200K of depreciation

    One of our friends and former Bighorn owners here made the switch to a Tiffen DP. Beautiful. But, they are retried and really enjoying the life. One story they shared was a visit to the TIffen factory for some repairs. As fine as they are, the camping lot was full of folks waiting for repairs.

    I'd say, if you have the where-with-all-to do it - go for it.

    At least if you decide it is not for you, the cost to change back will a much lesser hit.
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    Founding Texas-West Chapter Leaders TravelTiger's Avatar
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    Re: Looking at Diesel Pusher. Tell Me Why Not

    Don't forget that you'll need a toad or something to run to the grocery store, or go sight-seeing.

    Friends of ours expressed the DP engines don't like to sit. They have to be exercised or you get problems. They traded theirs and went to a bumper pull trailer (already had truck as daily driver). Only one engine to maintain was their main goal.


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    Re: Looking at Diesel Pusher. Tell Me Why Not

    You will like the DP much better than the 5th wheel once you get used to it. Much easier to park. Setup tear down goes much faster for me. Storage compartments and aux equipment are much better organized and easier to get to Specially things like water pumps, inverters, generators. I only traded my Holiday rambler for a trailer because I knew we were through making numerous and long distance trips.

    My experience is even the low level DP are better made than any trailer. You need to study up on air brakes if you are not familiar with them. And read the up on the large Allison's. They work a lot different than the light duty ones.
    The wife really liked that she cold move around in the DP while moving and how easy it was to make roadside stops for lunch etc.

    I did not find maintenance to be that bad. If it is out of warranty you will find it better to use the engine manufactures and chassis manufactures than most RV dealers.

    I took mine to caterpillar places for engine and transmission service and freightliner places for chassis. I found in most cases they knew more than any RV dealer.
    <a href=http://heartlandowners.org/signaturepics/sigpic16351_1.gif target=_blank>http://heartlandowners.org/signature...pic16351_1.gif</a>BigCountry 3450 TS

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    Senior Member SilverRhino's Avatar
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    Re: Looking at Diesel Pusher. Tell Me Why Not

    My wife will be retiring this October so we will then be on the road a lot more, not full time but we will be taking much longer trips. In anticipation of this, we started looking at our options about a year ago. We really like our BC and it meets all our needs. The problem that we faced was that our tow vehicle, '01 Dodge Ram 3500, was not very comfortable for me to drive. After extensive back, neck, shoulder and knee surgeries, the Dodge rode a little too rough.

    We sat down and looked at the cost of buying a MH and what all that would entail. ( Selling Dodge, selling BC & buying a toad ) That was compared to replacing the tow vehicle with a Medium Duty Truck and what that would entail. ( Sell the Dodge & buy MDT ) We are in a situation that either was financially feasible.

    After considering all the options, we decided to replace the pickup with a Freightliner Sport Chassis. The FL is all air so the ride is really nice and I still have a truck that I can use to haul plywood etc. I was also fortunate to be able to find a slightly used, low mileage truck that had a drive train that I liked better than any MH I could find. We have been very happy with our decision, and for us it was the way to go. Everyone has different likes and dislikes, so you will have to decide exactly what works best for you.
    2010 Big Country 3250TS

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    Senior Member Bohemian's Avatar
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    Re: Looking at Diesel Pusher. Tell Me Why Not

    Mostly:

    $$$$
    sq ft
    $$$/sq ft
    2015 Ram 3500 CC CTD LB 4x4 DRW Aisin 3.42 "Tiny"
    GVWR: 14,000, Max Payload: 5274, GAWRF: 6,000, GAWRR: 9750
    Planned: 2015 Heartland Big Horn 3760EL
    2 Dachunds

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    Senior Member dave10a's Avatar
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    Re: Looking at Diesel Pusher. Tell Me Why Not

    As a past owner of a Phaeton 40ft DP, I have found that the DP is intended to travel long distance with ease while the trailer is good at sitting in place. The suspension on my trailer is marginal while the DP is robust in comparison. The fifth wheel offers more room and is more like a park model in comfort-- assuming you have a 40ft 5th wheel like mine. The DP is more luxurious in its decor, but the gap has become insignificant in later years because the trailer folks are offering better design, components and interiors. DP's don't like to sit in place for extended time and the over-all maintenance costs are higher. My diesel truck uses half the oil and half the cost in filters, air brakes, fuel and oil. The antifreeze costs are about the same. The trailer needs wheel packing, brake more tire maintenance than the DP. However the tire costs for DP's are higher, but last much longer while driving and are about the same if sitting without driving. Another point is my fuel consumption on the DP was 8-9 mpg while my truck is 12-13 pulling and 17-20 not pulling. My dingy on the DP got 25-27mpg which roughly makes the DP vs trailer about the same over-all. Also the CAT engine is rated for 500,000 miles while diesel pickups are rated for 250,000 miles.
    2012 Landmark San Antonio
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    Senior Member scottyb's Avatar
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    Re: Looking at Diesel Pusher. Tell Me Why Not

    Thanks for all the objective replies. It's funny several of you mentioned how bad sitting is, on a diesel engine. One of the big debates amongst MH enthusiast is, high mileage and un-lived-in, or low mileage with full timers. I supposed that holds true even with 5th wheels and travel trailers. I have always been of the opinion that sitting idle is bad with anything, including gas engines and even things like refrigerators and air conditioners. I have a good friend in OH that works for Cummins in their R&D division. His job is to torture engines and try to mke them fail. Then they take some shears and slice them up and send them away as scrap. He claims that sitting does no harm as long as you can keep the fuel fresh. He also thinks the ISM or M11 is a horse and one of the best engines Cummins has ever made. Too bad it went the way of the 7.3L Navstar. The two I am looking at tomorrow both have the ISM.
    2007 Newmar Mountain Aire 4528 Diesel Pusher
    2014 F150 Platinum 4x4 CC Ecoboost - Toad
    2013 F250 King Ranch 4x4 CC - Work Truck
    2013 Cyclone HD 4100 King (Sold)
    2013 F350 4x4 DRW Lariat Ultimate (Sold)

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    Re: Looking at Diesel Pusher. Tell Me Why Not

    We moved from MH to 5th Wheel to better do what we wanted - haul bikes and have a run-about vehicle. The other side was more suitable sleeping quarters for our kids.

    MH are way-way better at travel. Set up and tear down are about the same amount of time for us. Being able to stop along the road and be "in camp" is much nicer with the MH.

    We had a run-about vehicle with the MH, hauled in the trailer behind the MH with the bikes/quads. It was a LOT of machine to put down the road compared to the 5th wheel.

    From what you describe of your situation, the MH would be a better option. As others have mentioned, bring along another vehicle to do your running from camp. Adds a little complexity to the "pure motorhome" setup, but you never want to break camp with the unit just to run to town.
    /Jeramey

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    Original Owners Club Member jmgratz's Avatar
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    Re: Looking at Diesel Pusher. Tell Me Why Not

    I have heard of some MH folks renting cars when they get to where they are going. They say it saves them money by not have to maintain a toad.
    Jim & Sheila Gratz - owners club #1018 Workamping as Sales Associate with SE Publications Certified RV Walk-through Technician [/I] 2013 Landmark San Antonio - full body paint - Fulltimer pkg, Yetti pkg etc., Mor-Ryde IS with never lube bearings and disc brakes. --previous 5er - 2007 "Classic" Landmark "Golden Gate" Replaced 9/20/13 2012 Ford F350 King Ranch Crew Cab fx4 dually, 6.7 L Husky Trailer Saver TS2 hitch "visit TEXAS - it's like a whole 'nuther country" Rally Site 414

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