Diesel vs gas engine for camping and General purpose

CampStewart

Observer
The pre smogged diesels will be loosing their value at a greatly increased rate as they become older and worn out. Their features and creature comforts are now getting very far behind the newest offerings. To move any load be it shopping cart or camper the heavier the load the more energy it takes to move it. Diesel vehicles are not exempt from that law of physics. Modern diesels are suffering greatly in their fuel efficiency compared to the older engines. What is this diesel vehicle you have that gets such great mileage at 80mph?
 

skyfree

Member
For overlanding in the US and Canada the cost discussion is usually secondary. The most relevant factor is usually range. If you can achieve your desired range in a gasser by carrying extra fuel, that might be the best option for you. You will not need to carry as much fuel to achieve the same range with a diesel. This is always a factor on the trips I've been on. The difference between 8-9 mpg (gas) and 13-15 mpg (diesel) on the trail is huge.

Once you add Mexico south of Baja California (Sur not included) and other continents you are taking a risk with a modern diesel depending on how sensitive it is to sulfur content.

Reliability discussions usually end up with anecdotal evidence that's hard to quantify but for the US and Canada it's no problem getting parts and service. For international destinations it's usually a deal breaker because as has been mentioned already you can end up stranded waiting for parts to be shipped.
 

F350joe

Adventurer
The pre smogged diesels will be loosing their value at a greatly increased rate as they become older and worn out. Their features and creature comforts are now getting very far behind the newest offerings. To move any load be it shopping cart or camper the heavier the load the more energy it takes to move it. Diesel vehicles are not exempt from that law of physics. Modern diesels are suffering greatly in their fuel efficiency compared to the older engines. What is this diesel vehicle you have that gets such great mileage at 80mph?[/QUOTE

Good points, my 2000 f350 is getting long in the tooth, something more modern would be nice. I have a gear vendor so at 80 mph I’m only doing 1900rpm. Combined with all the mods, tune, etc, I do okay but still not as good as the modern ones with more power. Here in San Diego the 7.3 gets a premium probably in part because it’s a great Baja truck for the reasons skyfree mentioned.
 

Dalko43

Explorer
The pre smogged diesels will be loosing their value at a greatly increased rate as they become older and worn out. Their features and creature comforts are now getting very far behind the newest offerings. To move any load be it shopping cart or camper the heavier the load the more energy it takes to move it. Diesel vehicles are not exempt from that law of physics. Modern diesels are suffering greatly in their fuel efficiency compared to the older engines.
Actually no, that's not the case at all. When you actually use diesel engines the way they're intended to be used (towing, hauling, driving under load) the modern diesel engines do just as well, some do slightly better, relative to their predecessors. The exhaust temperatures are high enough in that type of driving that the DPF is able to regenerate mostly via a passive method (no extra fuel consumption is need to burn off the soot). The DEF gets consumed at a higher rate, but that extra cost is marginal over annual driving.

Stop-and-go city driving, yes modern diesels may see more fuel consumption due to the emissions systems. But if you're driving around a heavily laden diesel vehicle (like the OP's sportsmobile) for long distance trips, there should be a marginal efficiency penalty, if any at all.

Pre-smog diesel vehicles are generally losing their value (as most vehicles do), but the relevant caveat is that they are much slower to depreciate in comparison the gasoline variants. Moreover, I believe the OP is looking for an engine, not pre-smog vehicle. The vehicles from that era are starting to fall apart...the engines themselves are able to run for many more hundreds of thousands of miles, given the appropriate maintenance.


For overlanding in the US and Canada the cost discussion is usually secondary. The most relevant factor is usually range. If you can achieve your desired range in a gasser by carrying extra fuel, that might be the best option for you. You will not need to carry as much fuel to achieve the same range with a diesel. This is always a factor on the trips I've been on. The difference between 8-9 mpg (gas) and 13-15 mpg (diesel) on the trail is huge.
^ This. Comparing two vehicles (one diesel, one gasoline) that are otherwise the same, the diesel will get somewhat better range due to its higher efficiency. To some, that may not matter. To others, it may be the deciding factor and worth the additional cost.

And BTW, some of these discussion points are not exclusive to North America. In places like Australia and South Africa, the famed Toyota diesel LC's and Hilux's do in fact cost more to buy and maintain relative to gasoline 4x4's. The 4x4 market trends towards diesel in spite of that cost discrepancy because 4x4 owners prefer the low-end torque and efficiency provided by the diesel as well as there is extensive logistical support for diesel vehicles in those areas. In North and South America, there is extensive logistical support for both engine types. You just need to be aware of fuel quality and/or take the right precautions (fuel filter maintenance) if traveling with a common-rail diesel outside of the US and Canada. Any diesel engine post 2011, with EGR, DPF and SCR, you're better off avoiding Mexico and the areas south of it until they switch over to ULSD, which will likely happen at some point.
 
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explore_ak

New member
In 1995 I purchased my first and only NEW diesel Ford F350 Powerstroke Automatic PU. At that time the 7.3 Powerstroke engine was a $4200 option over the 460 gas engine. Diesel fuel was cheaper than gasoline, diesel maintenance was more expensive than a gas engine with the diesel engine getting 4-5 MPG BETTER than than the 460 gas engine. Doing the math payout calculation at that time with diesel fuel CHEAPER than gasoline the calculation showed I would have to drive the truck 100,000 miles just to get to the break even point of purchasing the diesel engine over the gas engine. For me the 460 would have pulled everything I wanted to pull albeit the Powerstroke diesel certainly did pull it better.

My opinion is the toughest issue for most folks is the weekly GREATER out of pocket expenditure for gasoline to fuel a gas engine truck versus a diesel engine truck. You see all that extra money going for gas every week. You might be getting 4-5 MPG LESS with the gas engine truck HOWEVER in my case when diesel was cheaper than gas I STILL had to drive the diesel truck to a 100,000 miles just to get to the break even point with better fuel mileage and the higher maintenance cost of the diesel engine option. With diesel fuel NOW significantly more expensive than gasoline (20% in most places) that total mileage to break even number HAS TO BE much higher NOW given the EXCESSIVE COST OF THE DIESEL ENGINE option today which can be $3K-$8K over the best gas engine.

Given the better fuel economy, reliability, longevity and power of a modern GAS engines from a MATH calculation perspective today unless you REALLY NEED the torque and pulling power a diesel engine can provide it makes no "Cents" to buy a diesel engine truck for most folks needs. You may want it however most don't need it!

The reality is that very few people will keep their truck for 150,000+ miles that is now needed for most folks to break even on that 4-5 MPG's they get with the diesel engine and the extra maintenance that goes with it.

Ya I know you all are going to tell me "My Diesel" gets far more than 4-5 MPG better than the gas engine offered in your truck. Just like mentioned above by another poster there are all these BS high MPG claims for diesel engine trucks versus gas trucks however you never seem to actually know anyone who gets that kind of REAL MPG with their diesel truck? I didn't think so!

The same holds true when purchasing a USED vehicle and you are looking at the gas/diesel comparison. If you can't be honest with anyone else at least be honest with yourself. Do you REALLY NEED the pulling torque and power the diesel engine will provide given YOUR use of the vehicle OR do you just "think" you do? This is a very expensive question to answer!

ALL the BS above is from a person who currently owns 3 diesel trucks. 1 Powerstroke and 2 Cummins. I also own 3 gas trucks so I am not trying to blow smoke up your A$$ just my observations from real world ownership.

If you truly have a need to haul/pull heavy loads a LOT than there is nothing better than a diesel engine truck. If not buy a gas engine truck! The one real consideration for a diesel engine truck/van is the resale value when you decide to sell the truck. Resale value will be much higher just as it was when you overpaid that diesel truck/van when you originally bought it!

We humans are funny animals as the reality is ALL this discussion is about the perceived higher out of pocket fuel expense on a weekly basis you might experience with the gas truck versus a diesel truck. You are still paying that extra fuel expense with a diesel truck/van it's just that you are FINANCING that expense over 5-7 years if like most buyer's today you are financing that purchase of that new or new to you diesel truck/van. All this extra effort and increased monthly vehicle payment cost just lower your weekly out of pocket fuel cost. You just FINANCED that difference in lower weekly fuel cost into your monthly vehicle payment. How dumb is that if increased fuel mileage is your main goal????

Get over it and just remember how MUCH THAT EXTRA OUT OF POCKET WEEKLY GAS FUEL COST IS ACTUALLY SAVING YOU as you are not going to the drive that diesel truck long enough mileage wise to get anywhere near the break even point that causes a diesel engine truck/van to make "Cents" if all you are worried about is the better fuel mileage (MPG) you get with a diesel truck/van!
Thank you for the great reply! My indecision still burns on, but I never thought of the idea that your Financing out your lower cost of weekly expenses. As someone else here noted this isn't necessarily a daily driver for me, rather a weekend toy to work on and explore with my family while I'm in flight school and after. So the MPG on a daily level really isn't a big deal. Having some towing capacity is though. Boats, snow machines, and other camper trailers. However as someone else mentioned the reliability of a 6.0 potentially in other countries, if it breaks down what the F do you do.



How new of a van are you looking for? last year of a diesel in the Ford is 2010 and that was the 6.0. The 7.3 is a much better engine but stopped in 03 and getting harder to find in decent condition.

If you do the math and compare gas vs diesel the gas ownership is always cheaper unless you're driving a TON and strapped to a trailer. I often tell people this: You know what we never have to work on? Gas vans.
That is good advice in itself stating you never have to work on gas motors.

Right now I'm looking at a 2009 6.o PS with 39k miles on it, or really any other van with the 5.4 or v10 with less than 60k miles on it. Correct me if I'm wrong but with a 6.0 with that few of miles, and being one of the last years of production, would I be safe for while without having any major mechanical issues? Or are they accident prone right out of the gate?
 

vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
The "Gas/Diesel" debate mirrors the the 2WD/4WD truck debate in Middle Tennessee.

It's all based upon 'Want's" versus "Needs".

ln Metro Davidson County Nashville TN you can easily sell a 2WD truck all day yet in all the counties surrounding Nashville it's 4WD or it's not sellin unless it's cheap!

Why?

The streets, topography of the land, the commute, the trips to Home Depot and most anything else you can think of are the same yet buyer's outside of Nashville rarely buy a truck that is not 4WD. It's all in their head! They really don't NEED 4WD they WANT 4WD!

In most instances adding the 4WD or AWD option to a new vehicle typically adds $2k-$3K to the price of the vehicle. Is that a good deal? YES it is!

When it comes time to sell that 4WD or AWD vehicle I have seen at auction many times over identical vehicles in identical condition with identical mileage the only difference being 4WD or AWD option the 4WD/AWD vehicle bring $3K to as much as $6K or MORE than the identical 2WD vehicle. And that's at the wholesale level! Just like the diesel engine option in a truck when it comes to resale time the diesel or 4WD option will typically add more to the resale value than the original cost of the option when compared to an identical vehicle without the option!

Now I know many of you live where 4WD is a NEED and not a WANT however I use the 4WD comparison in Nashville TN to illustrate the WANT/NEED comparison concerning a gas or diesel truck. In Middle Tennessee most folks do not NEED 4WD they just WANT 4WD.

A lot of folks buy a diesel truck because they WANT a diesel engine truck rather than than have a REAL NEED for a diesel engine truck!

With ALL the problems noted with late model DEF equipped diesel engine trucks, the Ford 6.0/6.4 Powerstroke, Mercedes Sprinter Diesel Emissions problems, Duramax injector problems, the increased cost of maintenance/parts, the increased upfront cost to purchase, the 20+% premium your will pay for fuel, injector pump issues that can happen, injector issues that can happen and more unless you have a REAL NEED/REQUIREMENT for a diesel engine equipped truck and particularly a VAN why would you even consider buying one? You only need to be honest with yourself about your wants and needs in a truck or van cause at the end of the day the rest of could care less if you go diesel or gas. The reality is that the average Joe buyer never hauls or trailers anywhere near as much weight or tows as much as they "Think" they will when looking for the diesel engine vehicle.

When looking for a diesel engine VAN your choices are really limited these days. A high mileage POS Ford 7.3 Powerstroke VAN, a real POS later model Ford 6.0 Powerstroke van that EVERYONE KNOWS WILL HAVE PROBLEMS or a GM van with a Duramax that is hard to find.

Regarding VANS most folks should take UJOINT'S advice and buy GAS POWERED VAN.

At the end of the day your pocketbook will be very happy!
 

Dalko43

Explorer
The "Gas/Diesel" debate mirrors the the 2WD/4WD truck debate in Middle Tennessee.

It's all based upon 'Want's" versus "Needs".
No offense, but this 'want' vs 'need' debate is mostly irrelevant. The OP doesn't need a van, gasoline or diesel. He could probably see most, or all, of what he wants to see with an old ratty subaru wagon.

The ownership of a diesel van very much falls into the 'want' category, but then again so does the ownership of a gasoline van. There are pro's and con's to each setup; the OP needs to weigh those pro's/con's, and figure out which setup is better suited to his 'wants' and his inherent capabilities.

And by the way, it's a little bit unfair of you to portray diesel ownership as maintenance and cost nightmare. Sort of the same way its unfair how earlier posts emphasized the unreliability of modern diesels but used the 6.0 Powerstroke (one of the most unreliable diesel engines out there) as their proxy for diesel. There are good, reliable diesel engines and there are unreliable diesel engines; the same trend can be observed for gasoline engines. The diesel engine will cost more to maintain and repair, but with the proper maintenance they can last a long time with minimal drama...this has been validated by many owners who have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles with these engines. This scare tactic used by some to warn prospective owners away from diesel is a bit sophomoric.
 

Clutch

<---Pass
Not 'nother diesel vs. gas debate! :D



Good post @vintageracer

I see Dalko is arguing the same thing over and over yet again! Weren't you just giving me a hard time about that...

Maybe you need your own thread about the gas vs diesel debate...maybe toss a GVWR, Boxed vs, C-Channel frame in there too. Be a great combo thread! Lets get this battle of this vs. that settled once and for all!

(just given' ya a hard time there Dalko. :p :D :) all in good fun)

Ok fellas....what is it....boxer or briefs? ...or boxer briefs?? ....maybe commando???
 
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vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
I own 3 diesel PU trucks and 4 gas PU trucks.

Just stating my opinion based upon "MY" real world long-term ownership of both gas and diesel powered trucks. Just like modern diesel engines modern gas engines have also come a long way in terms of power, reliability and longevity.

The "highest mileage" truck I own is a 2001 Chevy 1500HD with the original 6.0 litre LS GAS engine with 358,000 miles. Never had the valve covers off. My daughter drives it everyday. The same cannot be said for any of the diesel engine trucks I own.
 

EMrider

Explorer
I’ve never seen a gas vs. diesel thread that didn’t end up with polarized camps making strong claims and essentially shouting past each other. I’ve tried to study multiple user experiences over time and have tentatively concluded a couple things. 1) a lot of diesel problems were model year specific and 2) many problems are due to owner mods to boost power (i.e., programmers). Persistent reliability problems would destroy the economics of producing diesel trucks for the manufacturers via high warranty repair costs. Ford is still plagued by the echo chamber of 6.0 problems in the first couple years of production. That was 15 years ago. As designed by the factory, I believe that diesel engines are quite reliable.

I can also say from experience that they are more expensive to maintain and that extra cost does eat into the MPG advantage. For more recent engines that require DEF, that will be even more true.

My 2006 6.0 is 100% stock and at 125k miles has been the most reliable vehicle I’ve ever owned. I had to replace one glow plug connector, clean the EGR once and rebuild the turbo at a cost of about $1k. Over my lifetime of ownership, I’ve gotten about 14mpg and am probably ahead on total cost of ownership.....but that is just a guess as I’ve never built a spreadsheet to check.

That said, I seldom tow or drive in conditions where I appreciate the extra torque of the 6.0 and it is loud which is often a hassle.

As with most things, details matter and the gas vs. diesel decision is highly subjective.

R
 

AnarchyintheAK

New member
Has anyone factored biodiesel/svo/wvo conversion into the equation? I'm a bit ambivalent, basically, I guess I'd take either if otherwise it fit what I want and the price was right...but most of what I'm finding in my price is diesel. I'm fully nomadic, so I'd have to have an onboard set-up, whatever it was...I am concerned because I do spend a lot of time in MX and AK and both seem a bit less friendly for diesels, but for different reasons.
 

Jnich77

Expedition Leader
My grandfather's wisdom: "desiels are a rich mans game"

(He was a desiel mechanic and heavy equipment operator)
 

Bayou Boy

Adventurer
I’ve never seen a gas vs. diesel thread that didn’t end up with polarized camps making strong claims and essentially shouting past each other. I’ve tried to study multiple user experiences over time and have tentatively concluded a couple things. 1) a lot of diesel problems were model year specific and 2) many problems are due to owner mods to boost power (i.e., programmers). Persistent reliability problems would destroy the economics of producing diesel trucks for the manufacturers via high warranty repair costs. Ford is still plagued by the echo chamber of 6.0 problems in the first couple years of production. That was 15 years ago. As designed by the factory, I believe that diesel engines are quite reliable.

I can also say from experience that they are more expensive to maintain and that extra cost does eat into the MPG advantage. For more recent engines that require DEF, that will be even more true.

My 2006 6.0 is 100% stock and at 125k miles has been the most reliable vehicle I’ve ever owned. I had to replace one glow plug connector, clean the EGR once and rebuild the turbo at a cost of about $1k. Over my lifetime of ownership, I’ve gotten about 14mpg and am probably ahead on total cost of ownership.....but that is just a guess as I’ve never built a spreadsheet to check.

That said, I seldom tow or drive in conditions where I appreciate the extra torque of the 6.0 and it is loud which is often a hassle.

As with most things, details matter and the gas vs. diesel decision is highly subjective.

R
I don't think that 125k miles over 12 years is a very good use of diesel. haha

But I agree with the rest of your post. By and large, vehicles built today are extremely reliable. Incredibly so. We don't hesitate to take off on multi thousand mile trips on vehicles of any make and model with over 100,000 miles and only oil and tire changes and they have zero issues almost 100% of the time. In my opinion, any thread comparing the relative reliability of any two recent vehicles is pointless. They're all ultra reliable.
 

getlost4x4

Expedition Leader
Diesels

Torque , mileage, longevity of engine.

Done.

In other words drive what you want and what you can afford. Stop worrying about trying to look cool.

If you can’t afford a diesel no one probably cares anyway. I know I don’t. I can afford my truck and swapped a diesel into my Range Rover. For no other reason than I was sick of blown head-gaskets and electronics that run the engine.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Jnich77

Expedition Leader
My grandfather's wisdom: "desiels are a rich mans game"

(He was a desiel mechanic and heavy equipment operator)
 
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