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Old 12-09-2015, 02:07 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, 02:35 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, 01:14 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, 06:18 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, 08:06 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, 04:35 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, 04:57 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, 05:08 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, 05:21 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, 05:27 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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