View Full Version : Diesel vs. Propane Generator
04-15-2010, 08:08 AM
We are in the process of purchasing a Fleetwood RV but do not know which type to buy, one with a diesel generator or one with a propane generator. I was told by the dealer that the diesel generator was better (that RV was more expensive) because it was more fuel efficient.
Another concern is whether you can smell diesel fumes with a diesel generator, in the RV.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of both types?
Thanks! Any help in this matter is greatly appreciated!
04-15-2010, 03:33 PM
I have owned 14 RV's in the past 40 years. At this time I own a 40ft Beaver Patriot Thunder 425 that I use to tow my Forest River M B Cruiser Class B Sprinter motorhome. Maybe my findings might help you.
The Beaver is a diesel with a diesel generator. The Sprinter has a propane generator (because it could not be ordered with a diesel).
In a nut shell you want the diesel generator, regardless of cost. For the past 20 years, I have traveled into areas of the USA that have been destroyed by hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, etc. There is no electricity for weeks or months at a time. I have to use a generator for both my work and my home (so to speak).
The diesel is less expensive to run (estimated 30% less) , but that is not the deciding factor. I find that the diesel will run longer because you have more diesel on hand, so you have to fill up less offen. The propane companies are hard to find and darn near inexcessible in a large motorhome. On the other hand, most stations that sell diesel have an area that is easily accessible to large coaches.
Although your costs may vary, the majority of the propane generators I have had wornout quickly and after repairs the cost exceeded the cost of a good diesel. For example at Hurricane Ike in galveston, I had to replace the stator (spelling) in the Onan propane generator in the Sprinter. The cost was $ 1,900.00. That was painful for a generator that cost $ 3,000 when new.
As to smelling fumes, there is no difference between diesel and propane. Just make sure the exhaust is on the drivers side and is close to the front of the coach (as far away from the bedroom as possible)
The Onan "Quiet" series of diesel generators are the best choice for many reasons. Any Cummins truck dealer, and most RV companies can work on them. The cost per hour for maintenance is probably half what any propane unit takes.
04-15-2010, 11:39 PM
Thank you for your response! The information you provided is very useful!
04-16-2010, 07:43 PM
If you plan on using your generator a lot then go for the diesel...otherwise the LP unit is fine.
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