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Old 01-19-2018, 01:36 AM   #1
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Gas verses Diesel Tow Vehicle

I bet no one has ever asked this question!
I am a complete "newby" planning to purchase a used 25-28 foot Airstream.
My wife and I plan to take off a year from now and spend at least a year touring the USA, staying in National Parks and seeing all that we can.
I will definately go to the Rocky Mountains and want to be sure we have a reliable vehicle that will slow us down on the steep declines. We also plan to live full time in our Airstream for at least a year and hope we can keep going for many more years.
MY QUESTION:
DIESEL OR GAS?
I have looked at a 2018 Chevy Silverado 2500HD 4X4 with a Vortek 6.0L V-8 with a 6 speed Automatic Heavy duty transmisson THAT IS NOT A DIESEL, and a GMC 2016 Sierra2500 Crew Cab 4WD that is a Diesel.
The dealerships are telling me that the new high displacement gas engines are just as good as the diesel, and that they can handle even a 8,000 pound 28 foot Airstream easily. Two different salesmen at the dealerships say I am overdoing it with the GMC Diesel, and that the large gas engine can handle up to 14,000 Pounds. Any advice would be much appreciated!
Thanks in advance for your sage advice!!!
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Old 01-19-2018, 04:02 AM   #2
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I would go with the Vortec because diesel engines are over regulated which makes them expensive to maintain.
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Old 01-19-2018, 04:14 AM   #3
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Gentlemen Start your Engines....The question your asking is going spark many differing opinions as individuals defend there own preferences. As for myself itís Diesel are they over regulated no more then gas are they more $ to maintain actually No if one takes the time to put pen to paper. You do however gain torque,HP,Longevity But what do I know Welcome Enjoy the AS & your new TV which ever you choose, the suggestions and information you will gain from this site and itís readers/posters is invaluable,you will have many more questions/problems that will come up and this is the go to site to ask and research. Now sit back and enjoy this thread itís going to get good!
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Old 01-19-2018, 04:57 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lesbuford View Post
I bet no one has ever asked this question!
I am a complete "newby" planning to purchase a used 25-28 foot Airstream.
My wife and I plan to take off a year from now and spend at least a year touring the USA, staying in National Parks and seeing all that we can.
I will definately go to the Rocky Mountains and want to be sure we have a reliable vehicle that will slow us down on the steep declines. We also plan to live full time in our Airstream for at least a year and hope we can keep going for many more years.
MY QUESTION:
DIESEL OR GAS?
I have looked at a 2018 Chevy Silverado 2500HD 4X4 with a Vortek 6.0L V-8 with a 6 speed Automatic Heavy duty transmisson THAT IS NOT A DIESEL, and a GMC 2016 Sierra2500 Crew Cab 4WD that is a Diesel.
The dealerships are telling me that the new high displacement gas engines are just as good as the diesel, and that they can handle even a 8,000 pound 28 foot Airstream easily. Two different salesmen at the dealerships say I am overdoing it with the GMC Diesel, and that the large gas engine can handle up to 14,000 Pounds. Any advice would be much appreciated!
Thanks in advance for your sage advice!!!
It's a matter of preference. I did notice the Ford Powerstroke is almost 460 hp/950 torque so it has more power than the 6.2 gas. The Chevy gas has almost the same hp as the duramax.

Because diesels make power at a lower rpm the torque values at the engine are a lot higher. The final drive ratios compensate for this but if you like big torque numbers go diesel. The higher compression of the diesel makes the exhaust brake a lot more effective.

Personally I chose a gas engine because at the higher miles I put on them the diesels got very costly to maintain. Starters, dual batteries, glow plugs and injectors are big money. DEF is a pain but all my diesels were PRE DEF and I had EGR deleted etc. If you are planning to trade before 100k miles it's a moot point.

You don't need a diesel to pull an Airstream but the new ones sure are nice.
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Old 01-19-2018, 06:26 AM   #5
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I have driven both gas and diesel 2500s in the rockies. Of, course, the diesel is better for power and engine braking....BUT, I never felt out of control, in any way with proper downshifting of the 6.0 gas.
You only indicate a 2500 choice, but in the end, I bought a 1500 6.2L, 8 speed, Maxtow. It is superior to the 6.0L for towing pleasantness in every way....except payload capacity. The grade control of the 8 speed is remarkable in the mountains for a gas engine braking experience.

(FYI, since you're new here, I am a factory rep for GM and have towed with just about every combination of 1/2 tons and 3/4 tons, including full size SUVs......with my 2007 30' Classic, weighing in at 9k+.) Also, welcome to the Forum!
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Old 01-19-2018, 06:40 AM   #6
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Just over 6 months ago I bought an F250 gasser. 19,000 miles later i am thrilled with the choice. Towing a 30'.

I do get about 9 mpg towing. Maybe 11 if it's flat and with the wind. Even with better diesel mpg, on avg cost of gas is significantly lower. So that's not a huge factor in my book.
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Old 01-19-2018, 06:42 AM   #7
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If you do go diesel, consider a 3500. The engine eats up a lot of payload on the 2500. With the lighter gas engine you can stay with 2500.
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Old 01-19-2018, 07:07 AM   #8
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lesbuford, Sent you a private message.
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Old 01-19-2018, 07:35 AM   #9
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I tow with a 10 year old diesel with 200,000 miles on it that we bought new. I have contemplated your question for myself when thinking about a replacement truck. I think either gas or diesel will be absolutely fine towing any sized Airstream. I do not have the exhaust brake on my diesel so I can not speak to that. I am sure that a gas engine provides enough engine braking if you do your part. Any 2500 with disc brakes all around has enough braking for any Airstream. If fuel prices stay very low like they are now that negates the savings from the lower fuel consumption of the diesel but if prices go back up to $5.00 a gallon or so then the diesel shines on fuel.

Just buy the one you like. There is probably less risk in buying a gas truck. If buying used I would definitely go with the gas. I would only buy a diesel new.

If I were to buy a new truck today I would buy the gas. I like the diesel I have enough to keep it and put up with driving and maintaining an old truck rather than getting a new gasser.
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Old 01-19-2018, 07:55 AM   #10
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That is a question for the ages. Gas or Diesel? You will find strong opinions on both sides. I will share with you our experience during our somewhat extensive Airsteam towing experience. We have been avid Airstreamers for twelve years. We have over 1,800 nights of Airstream camping. We have 170,000 miles of Airstream towing with several different tow vehicles. We have towed our Airstreams in all of the lower 48 States and most of the Provinces in Canada.

We have had a total of five tow vehicles. Three of these were gasoline vehicles and two were Diesels. Due to our extensive travels, we have always maintained two tow vehicles at the same time. We started out with a 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe (5.3 liter gas engine) and a 2005 GMC Yukon XL 2500 (6.0 liter gas engine). We found pretty quickly that the Tahoe was not suited for our needs. We replaced the Tahoe with a 2004 Chevrolet Suburban 2500 (6.0 liter gas engine). For the next several years we used both of the three quarter ton Suburbans, towing the Airstream (25FB) all over the country. We found these tow vehicles quite satisfactory.

In 2011, we added an Outfitter Truck Camper into the mix. As the truck camper weighed 3,000+ pounds and we intended to tow the Airstream with the truck camper rig, we realized that we were well out of gasoline engine capabilities. We replaced the 2004 Suburban with a 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 crew cab, long bed (6.6 liter Diesel).

This was our first Diesel. We were amazed with its capabilities. Even with the 3,000# truck camper and 7,500# Airstream, we could accelerate up an 8% grade without even breathing hard. We were also very pleased with the Diesel exhaust brake in significant down-hill situations. In contrast, the 6.0 liter gas engines struggled to maintain highway speed in the up grades, and sometimes suffered the "run away train syndrome" in the significant down grades.

We kept the 2005 Suburban as our back up tow vehicle. We continued to use it for our winter Airstream travel which is primarily in Florida.

Last summer, we sold the truck camper. In October, we decided to trade the 2011 Chevrolet Diesel. We decided to stay with the Diesel and got a 2018 Chevrolet 2500 crew cab, standard bed (6.6 liter Diesel). We still use the 2005 Suburban as our winter tow vehicle.

The bottom line is that we prefer the Diesel towing experience. The Diesel does cost more to buy and maintain than the gas engine. We feel that it is worth the extra money. Here is a recent photo of our towing configuration.

Brian
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Old 01-19-2018, 08:02 AM   #11
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Sold our diesel and bought a gas F250 XLT Crewcab.
Very very happy. We live in the Canadian Rockies and it tows really well.
No DEF, warms up quickly in our chilly Canadian climate, $10,000 cheaper and much lower maintenace costs.
The new Ford Superduty is a much taller truck. We installed a BedSlide Classic that makes loading and unloading a breeze.
https://www.bedslide.com/

Would not go back to diesel.
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Old 01-19-2018, 08:05 AM   #12
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We tow an older 32' AS (7450lbs lbs loaded) w/6.2 gas in a Ford F-250. The truck "works" through the hills, but it can maintain highway speed well enough, mpg is between 9-11 while towing, 14-15 when not. I would consider a diesel if full-timing, but our truck is 3rd vehicle and used mostly for towing the AS. I understand that diesel engines can go 200k miles +, but does the rest of the truck hold together as well? My mechanic says that diesel engines have more "sensors" than gas engines and start to cost more to maintain after 80k miles or so. I don't know for sure, but my 2014 F-250, 4x4, ext cab 8' box, with a camper pkg was $35k new off the lot and has performed excellent for 50k miles. I think you would be farther ahead with a gas rig IMHO...
Good luck and safe travels, Jim and Gretchen
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Old 01-19-2018, 09:06 AM   #13
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If you want a Toyota specifically you will get a gas engine...
If not, any of the other manufacturers have both gas and diesel engines.
But I am a hard headed Toyota fan...
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Old 01-19-2018, 09:17 AM   #14
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If your talking about towing, you should be talking Diesel. Look, I can pull a trailer with a VW, it will work going down hill, but the brakes might go out, but it will tow a trailer. But, if your talking about torque, high compression rate of diesel allows it to generate a lot of torque at a low rpm rate is what makes it the best for towing a vehicle. Their is a very good reason why most of the 18 wheelers are diesel and not gas. Torque, torque, torque. A great article that should put this to rest is. http://www.worktruckonline.com/chann...-4-trucks.aspx Now, I have to friends one bought a GMC 2500 HD Denali and the other bought the GMC 2500 Denali. One diesel and one gas and after riding in both, hands down I would not ever consider purchasing a gas truck ever again. The latest versions from GM is amazing. Inside the cab, you don't even hear that diesel engine sound. If I remember right, it was 11 Quarts of Oil.......that's a lot of oil.....
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