Should You Get A Diesel Pusher Motorhome?
Diesel pusher motorhomes are some of the most popular RVs on the road today, and it’s no wonder. These ultra-luxurious Class A RVs have an awful lot of head-turning features.
Have you been toying with the idea of getting an RV but don’t know if a diesel pusher motorhome will be a good fit for you and your family? Here are 5 signs that you should look into getting one.
1. You want lots of space
Diesel pusher motorhomes are typically 30-45 feet long. Obviously, this makes for plenty of interior living space. There is lots of room for full-sized furnishings, a spacious kitchen, plus one or two bathrooms. Storage is plentiful in these luxurious rigs too.
The length of diesel pusher motorhomes puts the engine a long way from the front seats, so the ride is quiet and very smooth. Diesel engines are notorious for being noisy, but having the engine 30-40 feet away really makes a big difference.
In addition, manufacturers frequently put the onboard diesel-powered generator at the front of the RV (where the engine is in other Class As) and the master bedroom at the very back. When you are boondocking, this placement helps to reduce generator noise if you need the air conditioner on while you sleep.
2. You like luxury
For those who feel that camping should never mean a lack of access to the comforts of home, a diesel pusher motorhome has plenty of space for everything you want to bring and the weight-carrying ability to bring it along.
As mentioned above, diesel pushers are never short of amenities including stunning kitchens that may include a dishwasher, residential refrigerator, 4-burner cooktop, pantry, and loads of cabinet space. It’s not even unusual to find a washer and dryer and more than one big TV in a diesel pusher. The showers are close to full-sized and toilets are usually porcelain. Standard heated tile floors and a central vacuum help make the diesel pusher motorhome one of the most luxurious RVs on the market.
The powerful, heavy-duty diesel motor in a diesel pusher has lots of torque. You can tow a vehicle behind this motorhome and you won’t even know it’s there.
3. You like a quiet, smooth ride
The heavy-duty drivetrain in a diesel pusher results in better braking and an air-ride suspension. The turbo diesel engine will get you up into the mountains without losing power on the way up.
Higher torque (pulling power) at lower engine RPMs means your engine won’t be screaming in misery as you travel up the steepest grades.
4. You want an RV motor that will last
Diesel motors are renowned for their longevity. It is typical for the motor in a diesel pusher motorhome to go 300,000 miles without needing major repairs when it’s properly maintained. That’s about twice as long as a typical gas-powered RV.
A diesel pusher isn’t known for its fantastic MPG’s however. Expect between 8 – 10 MPG for a typical pusher. This number doesn’t seem to change much whether you are pulling a toad or not, going uphill, downhill, or into the wind. It may vary by 1-mpg or so, but as a general rule, between 8-10 is a fairly bankable estimate. Remember to account for fuel used by your generator and/or diesel heating system, if so equipped.
5. You plan to live full time in your rig
If you are planning to downsize and go traveling full-time, a diesel pusher motorhome will give you all the space and amenities you need to live comfortably. It will also give you the power (and the brakes) you’ll need to have when towing a vehicle and crossing the mountains.
It can sometimes be hard to find a campsite that accommodates the size of a big RV. Use an RV-safe GPS like the RV LIFE App and check RV LIFE Campgrounds to learn whether or not a campground will be able to accommodate your RV.
- The Ongoing Battle of Gas vs Diesel RVs
- California Looking To Restrict Out-Of-State Diesel Motorhomes
Lynne lives, travels, and works full-time in a Forest-River R-Pod 180 with her 2-pointers, Jolene and Annabelle. Lynne has been an enthusiastic RVer for over 35 years. And then one day in 2019, she began full-time RVing as a lifestyle experiment. She quickly fell in love with the convenience, freedom and minimalist lifestyle offered by full-time RV living. Lynne is a professional writer and has been a professional dog trainer since 1995. You can read about her travel adventures on her R-Pod Adventure blog, R-podyssey at: http://www.rpodaventure.com
Mike Bitondo says
Except for the 4 burner cooktop and heated tile floors, all those other luxury items are available in gas powered coaches although dishwashers are pretty scarce. While diesels can be bigger (I’ve never seen a gasser longer than 40′) and have more luxuries, there’s not much difference sitting the campground except those absolutely wonderful big pass through storage compartments with slide out trays. The really big difference is driving down the road and the article covers that pretty well.
14 MPG? ROFL. Try 6-7 mpg for a 40′ towing a car.
Hal StClair says
10 mpg for a gas and 14 for a DP? What world is this on? Real world for DP’s, 6-9mpg.
I agree with most of the items listed in this article but our Prevost gets around 6.5mpg at 70mph pulling an F150 4×4 Crew Cab. Would love to get 14mpg! People also need to consider the frame height above the ground and length between the wheels – this combo won’t work at some parks and will high center your RV. They are also very heavy, ours is 50klbs plus the toad but we have 235 gallons of fuel, 160 gallons of water, a 20k watt generator, 4 heat pump air conditioners, aqua hot heating system, full size shower, separate toilet, 2 vanities, full size fridge, large kitchen and (2) 4’x4’x8′ bays for storage. Find me at camp prevost on YouTube.
I’ve owned coaches now for 30 plus years and Diesels now for 23 years.
Fuel consumption runs us 8.5 mpg in our current 38 ft coach. That’s my average with over a 100,000 miles on the current coach. So Your 14 mpg sounds a bit optimistic. But other that that you have it all pretty close.
Not way are your fuel consumption figures accurate!
Felix Funk says
I have worked for 20 years with the trucking industry in CA as a DMV registration service. There are definite pros and cons. The pro is that when you breath diesel emissions, the particles are so small that they can actually enter the blood stream. The con is that any diesel truck with a GVW over 14,000 Lbs. and older than a 2010 will not be able to be registered afterJan 2023. Of course you could put a 2010 engine in your truck, but that would probably be too expensive. The CA government has killed the small business owner who used diesel trucks to make a living. It’s easy when you don’t have to purchase a new truck to say your all for the restrictions. Now starting in 2023, they are going to phase out all small gas engines also. Please tell me how to replace a generator to power my house when the power company turns off the power for a week out of fear of starting fires. CA might end up with the cleanest air in the country, but the only ones living here will be the homeless and because thier RV engines don’t operate, they should not be a problem.
Mark Bergh says
Good article pushing the pusher… I have an older (03) Monaco Camelot 40ft w/3 slides. It doesn’t have the aqua hot system but the propane heater (2 zones) is adequate. It is very well built and substantial when rolling down the highway with a full size Yukon in tow. Wind or uneven pavement doesn’t phase it much. Cummins 8.3 ILC with 6 speed Allison pulls like a horse; 45mph up long 6% plus grades and cruises 70 without grunting. I get around 8 mpg towing and 100 gallons of fuel is enough range for a long day. The decision was an easy one other than initial cost coming from a V10 Class A Bounder. No complaints about power or braking or towing capacity – just the incredibly LOUD noise from the motor up front, especially when the fan clutch kicked in when engine heat got up there… like an F-18 sitting under the dash!
I really like the big windows up front, the comfort of stretching out in back or making a sandwich (wife) and the big comfy captain’s chairs! We just couldn’t do the Class C with the small cramped cockpit much less the standard truck pulling a trailer/5th wheel. One drawback of the big DP’s is I am the only driver. Wife would like to learn to drive especially if something were to happen to me but it is really over her head without a lot of time in the seat and practice. One has to be careful and calculating when pulling into parking lots thinking about ingress and egress! 0ver 60k miles on our rig in about 6 years and just love it! She isn’t going to talk me into downsizing to a Sprinter without kicking and screaming 🙂
Let’s be honest, premium, non-production coaches are built to a higher quality and include dramatically higher level of customer service. Granted, they are more expensive but you get what you pay for.
Well I think your diesel mpg are very optimistic even if you’re only travelling 55mph. More realistic figures are between 5-10 mpg with even the most optimized engine.
Not sure who wrote the article but they must’ve never driven a motorhome. My 8.3 300hp Cummins powered Newmar got about 7.5 mpg at 62 mph. I know have a 8.1 GM Workhorse that gets 7.5 mpg at the same speed.
Maintenance is very high on the diesel coaches even if you do it yourself. You pay for all of that luxury. It was my dream, I got over over it. Much happier with a gasser. I don’t have the torque but also don’t have to deal with disposing of 24 qts of oil.
Please tell us which diesel class a pushers get 14mpg.
Patrick Buchanan says
Diesel MPG info has been updated.
Dave McClain says
I have a 2022 Tiffin Breeze, yes it is a smaller Class A, with the 6.7 ISB Cummins, I average 12.5 mpg at speeds of 55-60, with a tow. Second trip without the tow car, I averaged 13.6 at the same speed.
Slowing down, taking time to enjoy the trip does contribute to higher mileage, and the fact that Cummins has reworked this timeless block has yielded better economy. And, just in time to take on these massive fuel price increases!
Drove an 1985 Holiday Rambler with a big Chevy gasser all over Colorado, Utah and Arizona a few summers ago to the tune of about 8.75 mpg. Only hiccup was a little bucking going up grades when we first got above around 8,500-9,000′ elevation since she’s tuned for around 600′, but a quarter turn of the air/fuel screw got her back lean enough for the rest of the loop
Troy Tikalsky says
Our 1985 Blue Bird Wanderlodge gets 5-6 MPG. At 40ft long it is spacious with more storage than we can fill. Truly the most comfortable way to travel the roads. You can see our Wanderlodge at thevintagerv.com