I got an email today asking me which I would recommend for a motorhome chassis: a gas or a diesel. With so many variables it hard to give a correct answer. It depends on how you drive, how often you drive/how many yearly RV mile will you put on and finally, the known reliability and lifespan of any chassis/engine/drivetrain you consider.
So, here is my blanket answer to you, @RVLifeOnTheRoad:
Gas engines are now lasting 300,000 miles and more, yes, even the crappy little car gas engines. A Tundra was recently bought back from the owner (who was handed the keys to a brand new one) with over 1,000,000 miles on it. He brought it in for an oil change and when he came back to pick it up, they told him Toyota Corperate offered him the free new truck in exchange for his 1,000,000 one. Of course he agreed. Toyota is currently dismantling the truck to see how it’s gas engine made it that long. A typical gas engine can last 500,000 miles with perfect service. So the gap is closing between gas vs. diesel. But still, they each have their strengths. I currently drive a VW #DieselGate vehicle. It’s fantastic. And my last VW diesel was 15 years old when I sold it with over 300,000 miles on it. It’s new owner now has over 400,000 on the odo. And then my 1999 motorhome has the very last of the Chevey 454’s (7.4). It has the (new at the time) MPFI and the Alison 4-Speed automatic. It is terrible on gas, but the drivetrain should last beyond the motorhome manufacturers estimated 200,000 life pulling motor home duty. 300,000 miles if it’s normal duty was to pull around a pickup truck. And those are Chevy’s estimates.
So… Whatever you buy, you have to weigh out what works best for you: initial expense, MPG savings/losses, reliability, maintainence and finally the expected length of life. Some say the MB 3.0 Turbo Diesel put to use on a class B one C motorhome should sill get you 500,000 miles. I don’t thing my Chevy 454 will make it that long hauling 10,000 lbs all the time. So, we, all of us, will have to wait and see who far we get with the choices we made…
I drove 500 miles to get these guys to their #CrazyFosterMom” once I was (almost) done bottle-feeding the #Fatties. Then a few weeks later I did the trip all over again to get them to @BarkinBitches for adoption. Everyone survived and flourished. And they absolutely all got homes!!
I’ve lived in my 1999 Winnebago Brave (26feet long, Class A) motorhome for 4 straight years. It has more than paid for itself in just those 4 years of full-timing alone. I have stayed, for weeks at a time, for free, in the parking lots of private animal rescue groups, the ASPCA, and privately owned/run farms, catteries & kennels, I even lived in it on top of a mountainside (twice) while taking care of my friend Joe who first had cancer (and beat it!) and then while he was drug addicted and needed constant supervision and support. I of course have also stayed at National Parks, BLM lands and a little snatch of boondocking (which doesn’t work all that well when your RV is so conspicuous). Oh, and how can I forget Slab City. This rig has been through flash floods, hail storms, freak blizzards, Death Valley heat- and I’m nervous to tell you… some really harsh 4WD logging trails (I REALLY wanted to get to those beautiful remote places!).
Even with all the abuse my poor motorhome has seen, every single thing in it still works dependably, like when it was new. I mean, EVERYTHING works! And that is part of my first reason for keeping the homely thing. Every single thing works.
The other part of reason #1 is that because it is a bit beat up and a bit old/ugly (I’ve had if for 18 years now). I’m don’t worry about taking it through/to even the worst of locations because it’s already scratched up by trees and weather. And I still love going to those crazy remote places where it gets battered by tree branches terrible roads and the like. I wouldn’t dare take a new $80,000 motorhome to the kinds of places I enjoy going to the most.
The second reason is that it’s paid for. Yes it gets terrible mileage (I mean like 9-12 MPG, but mostly 10 MPG. Even if I were to stop traveling in the rough parts of the country, getting a new RV would cost a small fortune. And 15-20 MPG in one of the newer models will never pay me back with the difference in milage (not even close) to the extra money I’d fork over for one. What I mean is, I can get my motorhome to last about 200,000 miles (maybe), but after 200,000 miles on a new one, it would never pay me back with it’s 50% better MPG. I did the math. Yes, I’m that #Jewish.
However, newer RV’s drive better, are way nicer inside, are current and up to date mechanically, tecnowlogically and with creature comforts an older unit like mine just doesn’t have.
So now I’ll tell you the 2 bad things about keeping my older unit, but first let me tel you that keeping an older RV requires more attention. Nothing has broken, but like everyone else, my older RV has had it’s leaks. And it has no leveling system whatsoever. So, I water seal the roof and Windows constantly, and I try and find the flattest spot when I get to my destination. Also, the black tank can smell. I mean, you know I have Poop humor, but that sh*t ain’t funny. (See how I did that…?) 🙂
So here are the 2 things that suck about keeping my old RV instead of trading it for a new unit. First reason (and I hate myself for feeling this way): I get judged ALL THE TIME and people assume I am a homeless person. Just the other day my neighbor came out of her home and walked across the stree and to its end where I was parked and unloading from a returned trip. She treated me and talked down to me like I was a direct reflection of the old, beat-up RV. After not so politely ordering me to “Never park that in front of my house or else…”. She then asked me *4* times where I lived as though she didn’t believe me when I pointed to my BF’s house just 2 doors down from where we were standing (where I live when I’m not on the road and which is my legal address). Then she was shocked, I mean genuinely surprised to hear that I own a car. It’s brand new and it’s nicer than what she’s pushing. But then I though she was going to seize up right in front of me when I told her (after again trying to prove I’m not homeless and now use my RV for animal rescue and enjoy lots of soul-searching camping trips in far away, peaceful places) that I also have a (gorgeous) new sport motorcycle. My point is that some people, for some reasons that have nothing to do with us, (“us” meaning my fellow RV’rs and #VanDwellers who live in or own a rig that isn’t new and gorgeous) think you are trash when you have/ live in one. I have been harassed and treated like total #WhiteTrash solely based on the age/appearance of it. I know, I know, even giving exactly 1/2 a f*ck about what people think of me or assume about me is very unlike me. But after I’d been approached by total strangers yelling at me to move it off their street (whether I’m visiting friends along my travels or parked right there by my house in between trips), can almost make a guy FEEL like he actually may be a loser or lazy bum or white-trash or whatever. The second bad thing about keeping my old, #Ugly motorhome is that I tend to get pulled over a lot. It’s a kind of profiling that the highway patrol/city police do. I think they assume that it’s not registered or insured because if you’re driving a sh*tbox like mine, you must be poor and therefore there is a higher probability that you’re some methhead who’s last thought in life is to have insurance or be registered. Every single time I’ve been pulled over, the police (in several different states) had ended up being nice. But it’s that profiling thing…
Anyway, I just thought I’d share my $.02 cents about the reasons I have no plans to upgrade.
There, that was short and sweet, right?
I’m taking the enire rest of this Spring and Summer to work with farm animals, and of course living in my motorhome on the farm. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do… And there at the farm I will once again be reminded of how living in the motorhome in a beautiful location between the trees and by a creek is so so good to your wallet too. When I volunteer, the parks or organizations either give me a free spot for the duration or pay for me to have one close by. This is a lifestyle I absolutely love. I truly just love it! Even in my #OldUglyRV…
I’ll buy a new one someday, but for every year longer I keep my ol’ buddy, I’m saving tons of money. And I need every penny I can get because of my bad habit of buying #Hookers all the time. 🙂
If/when I drop cold, hard American ca$hola on a new one, I’ll let you know. Until then I’m going to keep enjoying the f*ck out of what makes my c*nty neighbors and nosey strangers so upset. I might even have make some sex with my BF in it while parked in front of our homophobic neighbors house! Yah me!!