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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Post Script to my Gas vs Diesel - Costs

Thanks to Fred Wishnie for bringing this up, I should have done this already.  These are costs that I have paid, of course with the right amount of Internet time, many of these parts can be found a little bit cheaper.

On the gas front, 6 qts of oil at $2.75 per qt = $16.50, filter $6.00.  Air filter, $15 and gas filter, about $5.



Diesel, 19 qts of oil (Rotella 15-40) at $4.00 per qt= $76, oil filter $18.50.  Air filter, $135, fuel filters about $10 each.



The air brake filter, and the differential oil change (synthetic) and front hub change cost me $550, including labor.  Wish I could have done the  differential oil change myself.  The air brake filter is in a canister located on a frame rail.  It takes some labor to remove the canister and replace 2 filters inside it.  The exact breakdown on labor and cost of parts I don't have at my fingertips right now, it was included with the differential oil change.  Hey, it was the middle of winter when I had it done and I didn't feel like laying in the snow to change the filter. :c)

Setting the diesel's valves, estimates I've seen on line run $300-400. Not required on the gas engine.  As to the coolant change I have not had that done yet, but it is labor intensive, so I figure another $300-400.  I could do the coolant change on the gas engine myself, no more than 5 gallons of antifreeze.

Transmission fluid and filter change, I had it done on the Adventurer and it was $350 using the recommended Transynd synthetic transmission fluid.  I don't have to replace the Journey's trans fluid until next year so that gives my wallet a chance to cool off.  It will probably be a little more because the transmission is bigger, with more fluid.  The Transynd transmission fluid runs $31.00 per gal.

As to fuel mileage, it's a wash, I got roughly the same on both units.  Neither unit is a race car, but for a large box on wheels, they both did everything I wanted them to.  If I wanted to go fast, I'd get a Corvette, but then where would I sleep?  However, diesel fuel now averages almost 50 cents more per gallon when compared to gas, so driving is more expensive per mile.

 The diesel, being much heavier is much easier to drive and is hardly affected by windy driving days.  I don't feel as tired after a long day of driving with the Journey.  We are not yet full timers, so we cover many miles to get to where were going to make the most of the limited vacation days. 

Another thing to compare is the generators, the Adventurer had an Onan gas powered 5.5 KW unit, the Journey has an 8 KW diesel generator.  Again, the diesel is more expensive to maintain.  That generator is water cooled, vs air cooled for the gas.  Anti freeze has to be changed every three years.  It has a fuel filter that costs $25, the oil filter is $18.50 and 3 qts of Rotella 15W-40 oil.  Air filter was cheap, but I don't remember how much, probably around $15.  The generator has a belt between the engine and the generator unit which needs replacement at 1000 hours.  At the same time, coolant hoses need to be replaced.  On my Journey, the motorhome has to be jacked up and the entire generator unit has to be dropped out the bottom to get at the belt and hoses.



The gas Onan has air cooling so that is simpler, just oil, a filter that was about $10, 2 qts of 15W-40 oil and two spark plugs that need to be replaced every 500 hours.

Big difference between the two generators for maintenance costs.  The big bonus is the life expectancy of the gas generator is about 4000 hours, the diesel over 10,000 hours.  Plus the gas generator is a 30 amp unit, the diesel puts out 50 amps, all the power you need to run anything and everything on board instead of shutting down the air conditioner while using the microwave on the gas genny.

As you can see, the gas motorhome is much cheaper to maintain, but the life expectancy of the 8.1 GM gas engine is supposed to be 200,000 miles, but I've read where many folks have had to replace theirs way before that at costs upwards of $10,000.  That's were the diesel motorhome shines with it's proven long life expectancy and it will hold resale value much better than the gas.

Everyone knows that we don't RV to cut costs. we embrace the lifestyle.  The diesel has higher costs but for us, it will last a long time, carry alot and give us more room when parked.  We can sleep 8 in our Journey, 6 adults and 2 kids if we want to.  We couldn't do that with the Adventurer.

You can fly in a Piper Cub or a Lear Jet.  Both will get you where you have to go and you can have fun with either plane.  The Lear Jet offers much more than the Piper Cub.  Some folks are willing to pay the extra.

So that's a snapshot of the costs.  When we come off the road and buy another house (hopefully a long way off), we'll certainly get another gas MH, both because of the maintenance costs and lower purchase cost.



Any other questions, please feel free to shoot me an email, which is listed at the bottom of the blog.

Thanks for visiting!

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