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Open Roads Forum  >  Class A Motorhomes

 > Propane Vs. diesel fuel for Gen.

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Lantley

Ellicott City, Maryland

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Posted: 04/09/12 04:17pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

moisheh wrote:

Let us simplify this discussion. If you were looking at 2 equivalent units and one was propane and the other was diesel which would you buy? Name the mfr. that has used a propane genset in say the last 6 years? As was previously stated the QD series of Onan are a proven reliable choice. How many rv dealers can work on propane gensets? Have you ever tried to start a propane engine of any kind in -30 degree weather? We had 2 propane powered trucks in our fleet back when this was a popular way to reduce costs. NOT! Never again. The loss of storage space just makes the propane option worse! When and if you go trade in a unit with that propane gennie most dealers will lower the value of your unit. Wise buyers will walk away. I understand that at one time it was a way for Mfrs. to hold down prices of their units and often a buyer had little choice but today the buyer does have that choice.

Moisheh


I have a 2012 unit with on board propane, Granted it is a 5'er. But propane gensets are far from obsolete. A diesel engine would make a diesel genset a viable option but since the motorhome also has propane on board, propane is also an option. A propane genset is also lighter and cheaper.
They both have pros and cons, the decision is not as clear cut as you imply.


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ng2951

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Posted: 04/09/12 04:23pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

I looked at a MH that the Gen. ran on propane. Wouldn't that be more expensive than running on diesel fuel?
I haven't run the numbers but you really need to compare the KW vs BTU. Most engines are as efficient as they can be reasonably made. While you should consider the weight, and how it will impact mileage, the diesel in the tank gets you down the road. Propane powers appliances and heat.
Quote:

Any benefits of Gen. running on propane.
The big advantage to running your genset on propane is the improved reliability of carburator. They do not gum up on propane and you don't have to worry if the government makes some other foolish idea to dilute the BTU content of the fuel. They are also quite forgiving on maintenance as long as do your oil changes.

The nice thing about diesel gensets is the ease at refueling them...any convenient service station. Most of them are set up to quit running when the main tank is 1/4 full.

The bigger question is how often you will be dry camping or need that genset running on the road. If you are going to use the genset a lot, I would opt for diesel. It is much more conveniently refueled than propane.


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sc3283

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Posted: 04/09/12 11:14pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OP, lots of good info here..and lots of opinions

You have to decide if the RV is what will suite your needs...then decide if the genny is right for you.

I bought a 96 Dynasty with an LP Onan....the RV was so much more than expected...I didn't give a rats behind what it had for a genny

Good luck


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dougrainer

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Posted: 04/09/12 07:14pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It is NOT the carb on LP you have to worry about, it is the gumming up of the LP regulator for the APU. THAT is the problem in hot weather. Doug

dougrainer

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Posted: 04/09/12 07:19pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lantley wrote:

moisheh wrote:

Let us simplify this discussion. If you were looking at 2 equivalent units and one was propane and the other was diesel which would you buy? Name the mfr. that has used a propane genset in say the last 6 years? As was previously stated the QD series of Onan are a proven reliable choice. How many rv dealers can work on propane gensets? Have you ever tried to start a propane engine of any kind in -30 degree weather? We had 2 propane powered trucks in our fleet back when this was a popular way to reduce costs. NOT! Never again. The loss of storage space just makes the propane option worse! When and if you go trade in a unit with that propane gennie most dealers will lower the value of your unit. Wise buyers will walk away. I understand that at one time it was a way for Mfrs. to hold down prices of their units and often a buyer had little choice but today the buyer does have that choice.

Moisheh


I have a 2012 unit with on board propane, Granted it is a 5'er. But propane gensets are far from obsolete. A diesel engine would make a diesel genset a viable option but since the motorhome also has propane on board, propane is also an option. A propane genset is also lighter and cheaper.
They both have pros and cons, the decision is not as clear cut as you imply.


This is a CLASS A forum not the 5th wheel forum. So, YES, LP APU's on class A are history due to the problems related to LP APU and the fact that Diesel APU's have come down in price over the past 20 years. A LOT of new Diesel motorhomes do NOT have LP anymore so the only option is a Diesel APU. So, lets take your 5th wheel and be generous. You have 2- 30# lp tanks. That gives you 14 gallons of LP. Well after 10 hours you are OUT of LP. Go refill every 1 or 2 days. Not me. Doug

Lantley

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Posted: 04/09/12 08:10pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

dougrainer wrote:

Lantley wrote:

moisheh wrote:

Let us simplify this discussion. If you were looking at 2 equivalent units and one was propane and the other was diesel which would you buy? Name the mfr. that has used a propane genset in say the last 6 years? As was previously stated the QD series of Onan are a proven reliable choice. How many rv dealers can work on propane gensets? Have you ever tried to start a propane engine of any kind in -30 degree weather? We had 2 propane powered trucks in our fleet back when this was a popular way to reduce costs. NOT! Never again. The loss of storage space just makes the propane option worse! When and if you go trade in a unit with that propane gennie most dealers will lower the value of your unit. Wise buyers will walk away. I understand that at one time it was a way for Mfrs. to hold down prices of their units and often a buyer had little choice but today the buyer does have that choice.

Moisheh


I have a 2012 unit with on board propane, Granted it is a 5'er. But propane gensets are far from obsolete. A diesel engine would make a diesel genset a viable option but since the motorhome also has propane on board, propane is also an option. A propane genset is also lighter and cheaper.
They both have pros and cons, the decision is not as clear cut as you imply.


This is a CLASS A forum not the 5th wheel forum. So, YES, LP APU's on class A are history due to the problems related to LP APU and the fact that Diesel APU's have come down in price over the past 20 years. A LOT of new Diesel motorhomes do NOT have LP anymore so the only option is a Diesel APU. So, lets take your 5th wheel and be generous. You have 2- 30# lp tanks. That gives you 14 gallons of LP. Well after 10 hours you are OUT of LP. Go refill every 1 or 2 days. Not me. Doug


Doug you were not quite generous enough. My 5'er comes from the factory with the capacity to carry 80# of propane with or without the genset option. Therfore your calculations are a bit off.

I don't doubt the price of diesel models have come down over the last 20years however they are stil $3-$4K more than gas or propane models.


If they are taking propane out of the diesel class A's I guess you better get a big diesel genset. Because you will certainly need lots of diesel to generate heat, and cook with if you go off the grid.

Is removing propane suposed to be an improvement? Really seems like going backwards to me.
Are these rigs being heated with all electric as well.

jferre9570

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Posted: 04/10/12 06:14pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have an Onan 6.3 propane fueled genset. It was originally liquid fueled and has been converted to high pressure vapor, so no problems with gumming of the regulator. We also have installed an "Extend-A-Stay" setup in such a way that we can run the genset (and everything else propane) from external bottles/tanks so the issue of having to move the coach is not an issue. I have never been anywhere where I couldn't find a propane fill station; I might not have liked the price, but that's another issue. The comment about starting a propane fueled engine at -30F seems a bit silly as I wouldn't want to be camping at all at that temperature! I have used mine down to about -5F using two 40# tanks with a POL block tee and hog-tail. The only circumstance that I can see where propane wouldn't work for me would be 3 or 4 days in the desert running both ACs constantly which doesn't fit my camping style. If the coach is fine in all other respects, a propane genset is workable.


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ryanallie1

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Posted: 04/10/12 07:56am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi All.

We follow a simple rule. Its easier to "Add Fuel to the Motorhome", "Than to move the Motorhome". Using the same sorce of Fuel is easier.

Works for us. We have more than enough Generator Power and then some. Since we still use our HOnda's, we also carry an Extended Run Tank. So we never have to worry abut the Fuel issues. Having a Toad with us that uses the same Fuel makes it even better.

We can always take Fuel out of our Toad to add to the Extended Run Tank, or to put more Fuel in the Motorhome.

Works for us anyways. Good Luck. Happy Travels. Dan & Jill


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Posted: 04/10/12 09:12am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I never worry about fuel with my 50 gallon frame mounted propane tank.

We are not the type to sit inside our MH with the generator running all day and night. So we will never run out. The diesel generators have come way down in price, but why would I replace a perfectly good propane unit. It will run everything in the MH. Rarely if ever will I need to run all that stuff at one time.

Pogoil.

dougrainer

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Posted: 04/10/12 06:14am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lantley, What type of tanks do you have. We sell large 5th wheels and the LARGEST tank we have seen are 40# (2 for 80#) which carry about 10 gallons each for a total of 20 gallons. BUT, I have yet to see 40# tanks on our large 5th wheels in the past few years. Even on the APU as an option 5th wheels. Even 20 gallons is not enough for boondocking.
As to your comment on NO LP Motorhomes. That is why there are Towable forums and Class A motorhome forums. ANYONE vaguely familiar with Class A motorhomes (diesels especially) has seen for over 5 years the migration to all electric Class A diesels as a option that is wanted by a lot of experianced RV'ers. The Heating is done by both 120 and diesel. The units have electric cooktops and convection ovens. YES, they do have up to 12k Diesel APU,s. Most are the 7.5k and the 8k. Last, MOST Class A Diesels, the APU needed is LARGER than the largest LP APU that is offered, so that is another reason you do not see LP Apu's optioned on Class A Diesels in the last 5 to 8 years. The simple fact is, LP Apu's are not a viable option for Class A Diesel motorhomes. There were 15 years ago when they were a lot cheaper than the Diesel Apu's. Doug

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