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Old 03-28-2015, 06:37 PM   #1
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Default Drove the Travato Diesel today

I went up to my dealer this morning to drive the Travato diesel and look at a few vans. The Pleasureway rep was alot on site today - they are having a big promotion at this dealer - a band, bbq cookout, the works.

The diesel they had was a red 59G. The only options it had, besides the engine, were the screen doors. It had the standard cabinetry.
There are lots of little changes with the 59G since I bought mine. All the cabin cushions and the bed are thicker. There is a bank of drawers and an extra cubby forward of the rear wheel well. The bed sits higher, but the space is a few inches narrower between the cabinets and the bathroom bulkhead. The table sits a bit higher, so thigh access is no longer an issue. The corner is lopped off the ottoman, so turning the seat around is much easier, plus it turns farther. All the vans they had on site had the full paint scheme, with all the fenders painted, which I like alot.

Anyways, the diesel. Winnebago says they are getting 22 mpg. The salesman said the delivery man said he got 28 mpg coming down from Iowa. The truth is probably somewhere in between depending on your driving style and conditions. I couldn't get the gizmo in the display cluster to give me anything but the instant mpg. I'm thinking this "computer" is different in the diesel and doesn't give you the same reading as in the gas van. But from the instant, I was seeing anywheres from 24 to 40 driving the loop around our airport.

The engine is 184 hp and around 290 ft lbs torque, just a bit more torque than the gas van. Driving it, I was struck by how well it took off the line. It is not as quick as the gas engine, that is for sure, but it's more than acceptable as far as acceleration goes. At idle, you can hear the clatter, which may bother some people. Underway, it was very quiet. But I thought it was much quieter than my Duramax Silverado 2500HD.

The transmission is a bit strange. They call it an auto-manual. It has a long shift that first gear. It's a bit unsettling at first. But it's just the way they work. The rest of the gears shifted more "normally". I didn't find it objectionable, just different. There is also no "park" position on the transmission. You set it in neutral, and then set the hand brake.

The engine has a turbo - it's a 3 liter, 4 cylinder. It also requires DEF, and the fill is with the fuel fill inside the little doorway by the driver's door. Tow limits are same as the gas model. The option price for this engine is $5700. That's a bit annoying considering the Ram website says it should be $4100.

Overall, I liked driving it. But with diesel $0.50 to $1.00 higher than gas, I think it's a tough financial argument to justify it. The extra MPG does offset the price of the fuel, but not the engine option cost. Also, you have to get the lp generator and share that small 6 gallon lp tank with a generator, the furnace, the cooktop and the fridge. Generators gulp LP, so I assume you could maybe get 4 hours out of that tank. With the gas rig, you'd get many hours out of the generator sharing the engine gas tank.

Another drawback is payload. It's almost 500lbs less than the gas van. I can only surmise that the engine and transmission are heavier. I couldn't check if the fuel tank is bigger or not.

And the final drawback? This van was flame red. I just can't pull the trigger on a red van, no matter how sharp it looks. Also the red vans appear to have fit and finish issues. This example, just like the ones I've seen at shows, had paint issues. It also had some binding around a couple windows that you could see the ripple in the sheet metal.

So I'm passing on this one.

They also had a nice silver van with the roof and bike racks. The racks are an expensive option - around $2900. So it puts this van around $1500 cheaper than the diesel. Not much really. But with the other upgrades, I'm mulling it this afternoon. I could easily add a solar panel on that roof rack. They couldn't tell me if you can order a 59K, but if you order a 59G now, it will be a 2016 model with a slight price increase.
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Old 03-28-2015, 07:37 PM   #2
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Default Re: Drove the Travato Diesel today

Interesting review - thanks for posting.

The "put it in neutral & set the brake" would be adjustment - I think most of us are so used to just putting it in park now. You get used to things like that though.

The extra weight and cost makes it tough to justify as you said.
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Old 03-28-2015, 07:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: Drove the Travato Diesel today

Well, if you ever set the park brake on a Promaster, only to have the belt loop in your shorts get caught on the handle as you exit the van, can you fully appreciate how much of a downside that is!
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Old 03-28-2015, 07:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: Drove the Travato Diesel today

wincrasher-get the 59k
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Old 03-29-2015, 12:19 AM   #5
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Default Re: Drove the Travato Diesel today

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
Interesting review - thanks for posting.

The "put it in neutral & set the brake" would be adjustment - I think most of us are so used to just putting it in park now. You get used to things like that though.
I own a diesel Promaster and while it is true there is no "P" position you don't have to park the vehicle in "N." I always shut down and leave the vehicle in gear just like a regular manual trany vehicle. You can leave it in 1st, 2nd, or R.
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Old 03-29-2015, 01:47 AM   #6
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Default Re: Drove the Travato Diesel today

Having just today struggled with getting the rear brakes apart on the junk yard rear axle I am prepping to put in our Roadtrek, I would encourage everyone to use the parking brake regularly so they don't stick. The ones in the axle had apparently stuck the cables and linkage enough to keep the parking brake from releasing, but not enough to prevent a hard push from putting it on. So it went on, and wouldn't come off. Looks like they drove off that way with enough horsepower to tear the linings right off the parking brake shoes. The loose, rolling around in the drums, linings eventually rusted solid to the drums, so I couldn't get them off. (Drums are part of the rear rotors on the Chevy)

I know we will hear that the parking brake is useless to stop the van, which is not really true if you are going slower speeds, but it really should be used whenever you park on a steep hill, to prevent the evil "stuck in park syndrome" that sometimes requires a push to get the vehicle out of park.
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