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Old 06-08-2014, 09:44 AM   #1
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Gas/diesel

I am starting this discussion to explore the opinions and experiences of our members relating to gasoline-powered tow vehicle as opposed to diesel-powered tow vehicles.

I will start this discussion as I am currently using two different two vehicles for my Airstream. One is a 2005 GMC Yukon XL 2500, four wheel drive, Quadrasteer, powered by the 6.0 liter gasoline V8. Our other tow vehicle is a 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 Duramax four wheel drive.

On our shorter flat country trips, we tow with the Suburban. On the cross country jaunts, we use the Duramax.

Each has advantages and disadvantages which I will expand upon as this thread develops. I hope that this thread can address the differences between gas and diesel without getting into any brand disputes.

Brian
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Old 06-08-2014, 10:03 AM   #2
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You are right, Brian, they each have their advantages, and those that swear by one, will probably swear at the other.

From another thread: "Diesels are expensive, heavy, expensive to maintain, burn expensive fuel, and really don't make that much better fuel mileage with all the emissions equipment that must be used on them these days. Certainly not enough better to make it pay.

However, if you ever tow a heavy trailer with a gas truck, and then switch to a Diesel, you will not want to go back.

Another decision you will have to make....is the ease of driving and towing worth the cost? You know what my decision was, and I would only say I would probably go back to a gas truck if I were towing a 25 footer or lighter."

Personally, I would rather drive a 1/2 ton gas truck. It would be a nicer drive. But, I've studied all of them and could not find one that had an adequate tow rating AND weight capacity to do the job. And, I felt if I had to have a 3/4 ton to safely and comfortably handle the weight, I might as well have the Diesel along with it to easily and comfortably handle the tow in any terrain. YMMV
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Old 06-08-2014, 10:06 AM   #3
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When you're towing, it's a lot easier to maneuver your combined rig around the truck diesel pumps than around the gasoline pumps where everyone else is filling and the pumps are not arranged for servicing large vehicles. So the layout of the service stations usually supports the diesel tow vehicle.

Although to counter that, truck stops aren't as common as gas stations, so you have fewer places to refuel if you go diesel.
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Old 06-08-2014, 10:26 AM   #4
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We travel so much that we have been using two tow vehicles for a number of years now. For about five years we were using two different 3/4 ton Suburbans, a 2004 and a 2005. We still have the 2005.

In 2011, we added an Outfitter pop-up tuck camper to the mix. We tow the Airstream with the truck camper on board. The truck camper weighs 3,200#. This required a one ton long bed to do the job. The truck and camper together weigh 11,600#. When we tack on the Airstream, we are hovering around 19,000# of rolling stock. We had never owned a diesel powered vehicle before. All of our research disclosed that we were far beyond the capabilities of a gasoline truck engine. We decided to go with the Duramax/Allison.

Here are a couple of pictures of our rolling stock

Brian
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Old 06-08-2014, 10:35 AM   #5
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Having towed the same AS with gas and diesel, no question in my mind, diesel is it. I never have to worry about hills , etc., I just go., and at any speed I prefer. The only limiting factor is I wish I had four wheel drive, but that is a different discussion. I now tow a much lighter trailer but my choice is still the same, diesel. What little trouble I have had finding diesel, I think twice, is easily made up by gas stations with no access for a trailer. It is a wash. Jim
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Old 06-08-2014, 10:42 AM   #6
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I have towed my 23' International over 20,000 miles since 2008 with a 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.7L Hemi. I only had to slow down in some climbs in Colorado. However, I only got 12 mpg towing, 15 all around, and 20 tops.

I recently traded it for a 2014 Grand Cherokee with the 3.0L diesel, but have yet to tow with it. The mpg difference is fantastic, averaging 26 all around and 31 highway. Given that the Hemi used mid grade gas, my fuel costs are way cheaper with the diesel

Now my question. The Hemi Jeep had a tow haul mode. The diesel does not, nor are good instructions about what gear to limit to. Anyone have info?
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Old 06-08-2014, 10:50 AM   #7
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All of you diesel heads want a diesel, but it surely isn't needed to tow any AS alive. Any of the big 3 truck makers have a really good 3/4 or 1 ton with a great gas engine geared to tow big loads. If you want to get to the top of the hill at 75 mph vs 70 mph with a gas engine, then more power to you. There are so many negatives to the new diesel engines, it's hard to imagine anyone wanting one, except to be in the "in crowd". No matter which diesel rig you choose, there are way too many problems, possible problems, expensive maintenance, and for what? Do you really think you will keep your diesel rig for 300,000 miles? I know many friends that have gas rigs that are approaching 300,000 miles and all they have ever done is change plugs and $20 oil changes. Diesels stink.
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Old 06-08-2014, 10:54 AM   #8
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Pappy19, if you feel "Diesels stink", then may I suggest you don't buy one.
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Old 06-08-2014, 10:55 AM   #9
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I don't think many people would want to drive the same truck for 300k mi.
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Old 06-08-2014, 10:56 AM   #10
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Who said only new diesels ? Are you speaking from experience? You have an 08, I have an 06. I have personally towed with both, most who do not like diesels have not., have you or are you relying on here say? Jim
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Old 06-08-2014, 10:57 AM   #11
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We tow a 25 footer with a 6300# gross weight. Several times each year we travel to art/craft fairs where my wife sells her pottery. The weight of the pottery, and associated equipment, along with the trailer pushed us into 2500 truck territory. I liked the idea of the diesel 2500 truck. I thought hard about buying a diesel but I just could not get past what I perceive as the additional expense of a diesel in our particular case. We have a 2012 Chevy 4X4 with the 6.0 gas engine. We have put over 40,000 miles on it in 24 months of service. It is not a daily driver. It is used for towing & hauling service. I have been very happy with the truck. It has plenty of power for accelerating to highway speed and getting us there safely and reliably towing our trailer while the truck is loaded to the gills with pottery.
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Old 06-08-2014, 10:58 AM   #12
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Just for the record I have owned 3 Ford diesels, a Chevy diesel and a VW diesel pickup. Been there done that.
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Old 06-08-2014, 11:01 AM   #13
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If you get some diesel on your hands just wash them in urea.
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Old 06-08-2014, 11:02 AM   #14
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Then we have to agree to disagree. Thanks for the info pappy... Jim
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