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Every Class A motorhome owner I’ve ever met lusts for the day when they, too, can become a member of the elite group of RV owners that motor down the highway in a fully decked out diesel pusher motorhome.
The diesel pusher motorhome is the crème de la crème of RVs. They are known for their soft, comfortable ride that will quietly deliver you to that next dramatically beautiful destination. You know you’ve made it when you arrive in a diesel pusher motorhome.
Ok, lets get back down to Earth and look beyond the hype. What exactly are you getting for that huge price difference between the standard front engine gas operated motorhome that’s been working fine for the past few years? A new Class A gas model motorhome will set you back up to about $150,000 these days. A step up to a diesel pusher motorhome will quickly jump that price tag to $300,000, with custom diesel pusher motorhomes easily running into 7 figures.
Yes, there is a much higher level of luxury and glitz involved in the upgrade to a diesel pusher motorhome.
For example, heated tile floors, huge flat screen TV’s, built-in ice-makers, and on-board electrical plants large enough to light a small city become standard equipment.
Lighting and finishing materials tend to look like you are on the Las Vegas strip with mirrors and neon, seemingly, on every surface.
Diesel Pusher Operating Costs
Operating costs on a diesel pusher motorhome will take a very large leap upwards, as well. A standard gas engine motorhome RV would require a $3 oil filter and 5 to 6 quarts of oil every 5,000 miles or so. A diesel pusher motorhome will cost you a minimum of $100 to be serviced. Oil capacity is measured in gallons instead of quarts, and filters come in multiples on most diesel engines.
Unfortunately, diesel fuel prices tend to cost more per gallon than unleaded fuel. Combine that with the fact that the larger and much heavier diesel pusher motorhome is going to get approximately 6 mgp to 7 mpg on a good day and your fuel expense will be nearly double what a RV running on regular unleaded fuel would be.
Diesel Engine Repair
Repair work will be more expensive. For any engine repairs, you will need to take the motorhome to a truck stop service center, and more often, the specific dealer brand for your drive train. Jiffy lube is no longer an option. With an extremely complex electrical system, trips to the original dealer may become routine as time goes on.
Everything about a diesel pusher motorhome is going to cost you more money. For example, this is a commercially rated vehicle. Diesel pusher motorhome tires are huge and cost at least a couple hundred dollars apiece.
Diesel Pusher Accessibility
With a diesel pusher motorhome that is low to the ground, and up to 45 feet in length, most RV parks that are off the beaten path have now become inaccessible. The weight involved in your diesel pusher motorhome would sink it to the axles the first time you accidentally wander off the pavement and onto a soft sod lawn.
In the event you do make this mistake, you’ll need to contact a towing service with an extra heavy duty tow truck to put you back on solid ground. This will cost, at least, a couple hundred dollars.
Engine Longevity: Diesel vs Gas
With all of the expense, there is one very important positive aspect to owning a diesel pusher motorhome. Diesels have longevity going for them over regular gas engine models. Diesel engines in diesel pusher motorhomes generally have the complete same caliber drive train as over-the-road long haul tractor-trailers.
The service life of most large diesel engines is about 500,000 miles before any major repair will be necessary. With an expected lifetime of 1,000,000 miles or more, a well maintained diesel pusher motorhome will last you a lifetime.
When it’s all considered, the cost of ownership of a diesel pusher motorhome… expensive. Being able to enjoy the status and luxury of a diesel pusher motorhome… priceless.
More About Diesel Pusher RVs
The following articles will help you decide whether or not to buy a diesel pusher:
I’ve been involved in RVing for over 50 years — including camping, building, repairing, and even selling RVs and motorhomes. I’ve owned, used, and repaired almost every class and style of RV ever made. I do all of my own repair work. My other interests include cooking, living with an aging dog, and dealing with diabetic issues. If you can combine a grease monkey with a computer geek, throw in a touch of information nut and organization freak, combined with a little bit of storyteller… you’ve got a good idea of who I am. To date, I've shared my RV knowledge in over 300 articles here at The Fun Times Guide!