Diesel pushers are one of the most popular types of Class A motorhomes on the market. Why is that?
Most of the large and luxurious motorhomes on are diesel pushers, though not every one has to be suitable for a rock star lifestyle. There are also diesel pushers geared towards families and full-time RVers.
When a Class A motorhome gets up to being the size of a bus, there are many advantages to having a diesel engine powering it.
Diesel Pusher Advantages & Disadvantages
Diesel engines are practically legendary when it comes to their longevity – they can easily double the lifespan of a gas engine. Though you’ll find that oil changes can be more costly, as diesels require more oil and the oil filters are more expensive.
On a practical note, as the name implies, a diesel pusher means the motor is at the back of the motorhome. This means that while you’re driving, there is much less engine noise and heat in the passenger compartment, and no smell of exhaust.
With the engine at the back in a diesel pusher, there is typically much more space available underneath the motorhome for storage and wastewater tanks as there is no driveshaft coming from the front end to the rear wheels. If you’re planning on spending a lot of time in your motorhome, or are a full-time RVer, this extra storage can be critical.
Fuel economy is typically slightly better in a diesel engine as well. That said, in the past, diesel fuel was less expensive than gasoline, but in recent years diesel was more expensive. Most recently gasoline has been more expensive in Alberta.
When you drive a diesel pusher, you’ll really notice the advantages in two situations: 1) when towing and 2) when going up a hill.
Because most diesel engines are turbo charged (some are super charged), they’ll lose less power at higher altitudes (common when driving in western Canada and the U.S.). They’ll also have higher torque (pulling power) at lower engine RPMs, so your engine won’t be screaming as you move up a steep mountain pass.
The higher torque in a diesel engine also means there will be plenty of power if you do any towing. So if you’re touring North America and pulling a car behind you, you might not even think it’s there!
All that extra power and weight means that diesel pushers require a heavier duty drivetrain. This will increase the cost of your motorhome, but it’ll also be more durable over the long haul. A heavier duty drivetrain usually manifests itself in better brakes and an air-ride suspension.
One other advantage of having a diesel pusher is that the onboard generators are often diesel powered as well. Using the same fuel for your generator and for driving will extend the running time of your onboard generator. This will give you the ability to dry camp (away from serviced campgrounds) for longer periods of time.
So, do all the advantages of a diesel pusher mean that gas powered motorhomes are no good? Nothing could be further from the truth. The key is to anticipate how you’ll be using your motorhome, and how much you’ll be using it.
If you’re using your Class A a lot, perhaps full-time, the diesel pusher is probably the right choice. If you’re using your Class A infrequently and not doing a lot of towing or hill-climbing, then a gas powered Class A motorhome could be the right choice. Motorhomes with gas engines do tend to be less expensive as well.
Whichever way you decide to go, we’ll be happy to help you decide which type of Class A motorhome is best-suited to you and your family. We have one of the best selections of diesel pushers in western Canada, so come and check them out!