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Old 12-09-2015, 03:07 PM   #1
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Default 2015 Itasca Viva: Gas vs Diesel

Hi. I am new to this group and am researching RVs.

Does anyone have any recommendation on the 2015 Itasca Viva.

A local dealer has a new one that uses gas. I found another one online (far away) that uses diesel. The prices are comparable. A few thousand dollars difference. Would anyone have any thoughts on gas vs diesel in a Class B? Why would you choose one over the other?

Is it worth flying across the country to buy a diesel and drive it back?

Tom Carlson
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Old 12-09-2015, 03:35 PM   #2
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I suggest you go drive a diesel promaster (if you haven't already). The diesels seem to have a love/hate relationship. They have a very "different" sort of transmission
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Old 12-10-2015, 02:14 AM   #3
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Automated manual transmission in the diesel PM kinda throws a lot of folks for a loop when they first drive it. A clutch with no clutch pedal...
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Old 12-10-2015, 07:18 PM   #4
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very briefly ( and others will expand):

diesel provides about 20% better MPG than gas by volume.

but diesel has been more expensive than gas then past 5 years or so....and gas it at a low at the moment.

Diesel is generally available but maybe not at your local level ( I use costco)

diesel emissions are dirtier. ( period) urea injection can contain much of the particulates- this will require special fluid added to the tank- some vehicles have...esp MB...some don't like VW- who tried a different approach ( hmmm) controlling oxides of nitrogen.

diesel can tun biofuels- I've run some large trucks and busses on soybean oil- more expensive and lesser MPG but works well- this fuel cannot be left to sit in a tank though.

diesels are not rattley and smokey anymore if maintained.

driving a diesel is similar in many ways - BUT- they do not engine brake the same...so downhill you are almost "freewheeling" unless an exhaust brake is used ( noisy obnoxious and banned in many localities) you are burning up your brakes- do much mountain driving?

diesels generally are slower to build rpms...

a diesel motor may ( may) be heavier- check how that affects the GVW and carrying load

a diesel may add thousands to initial purchase price


I have a camper van which runs on gas- I can work on it I find many advantages .

my honda trail 90 is also a manual with no clutch...easy


Mike
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Old 12-10-2015, 09:06 PM   #5
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I am surprised they offer a deisel on the Viva/Trend. The payload is already rather low - around 1000 lbs. On the Travato, the deisel's payload is almost 500 lbs less - assuming that is because the engine and transmission is much heavier.

So my recommendation for you is to verify the OCCC values for each rig and make sure you can live with either.

FWIW, deisels in cars and pickups are not quite like the big semi's and class A motor homes. The Promaster does not have an "exhaust" or "engine" brake. My pickup has one of sorts, but it doesn't create the kind of noise like the poster above is inferring. On the PM, the transmission is programmed to provide some simulated engine braking behavior, just like on the gas model. Believe you must be in cruise control for this to work - at least that is how it is on the gas model. Someone with a deisel should chime in on how theirs behaves.

The DEF is what makes a diesel easy to live with. It absorbs all the stink and the soot and doesn't cost very much - especially if you buy it at the pump. Diesels now are much quieter than they used to be. At idle, they are a bit more clattery than a gas engine, but when driving, you can't hear any difference.

As others have stated, the auto-manual in the diesel is a bit unusual. If you let it shift automatically, the first two gears change rather sluggishly. If you throw the shift lever youself, then I found shifts to be quick and crisp. I'd have no trouble living with it.

I didn't opt for the diesel for 3 reasons. First, the $5000 premium WGO wanted - around $2000 over what RAM/Fiat wanted, so that's just a profit grab. Second, the payload reduction and no increase in towing capacity. The diesel is just a MPG play and that's it. Third, with the deisel you have to get the LP generator. Those generators gobble LP and you have a very small tank to share with the cooktop and the Truma. So no thanks.
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Old 12-11-2015, 05:35 PM   #6
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pt 2.) Russia announces today a strategy for ensuring $40 a barrel oil for the next 7 years to take on the Saudis ( UK Telegraph)

what that means:

Low fuel prices- so possible that gas will stay priced close to where we are now or lower


why- Saudis can sell oil at below $50 and make a profit- most US domestic production needs a price above $50 to break even- CDN tar sands oil needs a price about $62 ( I think) to breakeven.

This also removes the dangers, complexities and costs of cleaning up.

The Saudis are offering oil at a price which results in North American production being essentially suspended. We've seen this before...could be if prices go up oil production will resume- maybe in the meantime we'll reduce consumption. We've reduced our gas purchases about 60% just be replacing older vehicles with hybrids.

I think this means advantage gas over diesel
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Old 12-13-2015, 05:57 PM   #7
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I took a test drive of a Travato diesel that was fresh from Iowa last month. The MPG shown on the odometer was around 23. What kind of mileage are you getting w/ the gas version? Is it reasonable to expect the MPG to get better after the rig has been driven 3-5,000 miles? Wouldn't the extra $$ paid for a diesel can pay for itself if you keep your RV longer than 4-5 yrs?
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Old 12-13-2015, 06:08 PM   #8
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James from FitRV has an interesting blog post with a calculator:
Gas vs Diesel – A Calculator and My Thoughts

There is also a good thread in the ProMaster forums about actual MPG for diesel vans:
Diesel fuel mileage reports - Ram Promaster Forum
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Old 12-13-2015, 06:21 PM   #9
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Some folks on the Ram/ProMaster Forum are claiming 27 mpg for diesel! Can any gas Travato come close to that? I heard on WGO and dealers Youtube videos estimates of 15-17 mpg. Anyone w/ real world data to share? TIA
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Old 12-13-2015, 06:27 PM   #10
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If you could buy your own van, then take it to WGO for conversion, you'd get a MUCH better deal on the diesel. With the $5k upcharge WGO shows, even with the minus 20+% most get off sticker on the Travato, it's still not a good deal. (That's not to mention the BIG hit on resale you'd get with the diesel I think, if resale matters)
Since the diesel option is being discontinued on WGO PM's, that tells me there's no demand
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Old 12-13-2015, 06:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVNewb2 View Post
Some folks on the Ram/ProMaster Forum are claiming 27 mpg for diesel! Can any gas Travato come close to that? I heard on WGO and dealers Youtube videos estimates of 15-17 mpg. Anyone w/ real world data to share? TIA
On the boards, those reports of high twenties are for empty cargo vans. A typical conversion is around 2,000 of cargo that that van is constantly carrying around, so you'd expect that to hit MPG.

The diesel Travatos are typically getting low to mid twenties MPG. The gas versions are getting high teens. On flat lands, I usually see around 19 mpg on my gas rig.

I'm still waiting to see something official from WGO on continuing to offer the diesel option. With low gas prices, it really wouldn't be so shocking for it to be discontinued because of low sales or if there were high warranty claims (which I haven't heard anything on that front).
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Old 12-13-2015, 06:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVNewb2 View Post
Some folks on the Ram/ProMaster Forum are claiming 27 mpg for diesel! Can any gas Travato come close to that? I heard on WGO and dealers Youtube videos estimates of 15-17 mpg. Anyone w/ real world data to share? TIA
I'm not sure 27 mpg is realistic in most situations. From what I've read, something closer to 24-25 mpg (if you are very careful) might be a better expectation. I have a diesel Travato on order, and I am assuming closer to 22, the way I drive. I'll be pleasantly surprised if it's better than that.

EDIT: Wincrasher basically beat me to it.
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Old 12-13-2015, 08:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
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The diesel Travatos are typically getting low to mid twenties MPG. The gas versions are getting high teens. On flat lands, I usually see around 19 mpg on my gas rig.
19mpg? Only on flat with a tail wind at 60mph.

The diesel Promaster has the best fuel economy of all three cargo vans by a nice margin. I'm surprised at the lack of demand as reported by WGO. I would have chosen it if I did not have plans to drive through Mexico.
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Old 12-13-2015, 09:06 PM   #14
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Wincrasher's rig is gas... So I'm assuming that in optimal conditions he's getting 19mpg in that.
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Old 12-13-2015, 09:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Wincrasher's rig is gas... So I'm assuming that in optimal conditions he's getting 19mpg in that.
I know his is gas. I have a gas Promaster so I know what they average.
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Old 12-13-2015, 09:23 PM   #16
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I'm not surprised by the lack of demand of the diesel at all. It's 99.5% the fault of people not understanding how the automated manual transmission works. Just look at the FitRV's video when he drove it and his comments.
And the price doesn't help either, not to mention all the negative comments online about the troubles that early adapters had with the emission system components on this diesel, which seem to have largely been fixed now with later production, (which you probably won't get buying a WGO version)
Myself, if I was in the market, and wanted a diesel, I wouldn't be afraid of one
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Old 12-13-2015, 09:51 PM   #17
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Quote:
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I know his is gas. I have a gas Promaster so I know what they average.
Oops. Sorry... reading comprehension.
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Old 12-13-2015, 10:09 PM   #18
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Do you guys go by the computer readout or by miles divided by gallons? I don't know about the Promaster but the Sprinter readout is not accurate other than projected over time if same conditions were constant that would be the MPG based on that one singe moment condition. That of course is impossible to be the case. That's like me telling you coming off the Rocky Mountain mile high plateau from Denver driving east to the 900 ft. Great Plains elevation with a tailwind at my back that I can average 23 MPG in my V6 Sprinter.
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Old 12-13-2015, 10:24 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghosting View Post
Oops. Sorry... reading comprehension.
I guess that's a nice way of calling me a liar.

FWIW, this is my 3rd Promaster. Going down to the coast of south carolina, or going to Florida each would get 19 mpg going reasonable speeds - 65-70 using the cruise control as much as possible. Normally I'll run 5 mpg under whatever is posted, mostly to avoid running up on people. It was harder to get such a number on the van with the roof rack for some reason - mostly I was getting 1 mpg less than the other vans.

My advice to to drive with a light foot. Turn off the cruise on rolling countryside and use your foot. Avoid jack-rabbit starts.

I regularly get 40 mpg in my 6 cylinder Accord, and 21-22 mpg in my Silverado Duramax. Great MPG is a matter of your driving style.

Also, always buy quality gas and keep your tires at the prescribed PSI.
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Old 12-13-2015, 10:39 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Do you guys go by the computer readout or by miles divided by gallons? I don't know about the Promaster but the Sprinter readout is not accurate other than projected over time if same conditions were constant that would be the MPG based on that one singe moment condition. That of course is impossible to be the case. That's like me telling you coming off the Rocky Mountain mile high plateau from Denver driving east to the 900 ft. Great Plains elevation with a tailwind at my back that I can average 23 MPG in my V6 Sprinter.
LOL. If I was going to report an instantaneous measure, I'd say it once got 99 mpg!

I really only pay attention to the total mpg for the tank, so around 400 miles. I've checked the computer a few times. Normally it reads a little high - around 0.4-0.5 mpg. Again, sometimes the conditions effect that margin.

Winds do play a big role though. Sometimes you can catch a big headwind and you just aren't getting very good mileage and can't understand why - that is most likely the winds. If you are brave, and don't mind a bunch of rock chips, you can always try to draft a big semi truck - you might pick up 2 or 3 mpg doing that. I like my paint too much for that kind of thing.

With cars, the wind doesn't seem to effect it much - due to the better aerodynamics I guess. My Honda always get the same mileage and you can never feel crosswinds or gusts. Best car I've ever owned.
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