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I've owned my 2014 Winnebago View Profile now for over a year. Its a 26 ft class C with a small diesel engine (3.0L V6 Turbo diesel). I bought it new, have driven over 28,000 miles, and have been very pleased with it. For me, Its got just the right amount of living space and and just the right size for driving around. This has been my first vehicle with a diesel engine and prior to getting this RV, I had no experience with diesel engines. I thought the only change would just be going to a different pump at the gas stations. But I've found it's a little more involved than that. So, I thought I'd share some of what I've learned about diesels (more specifically my diesel) in the post. 1. Diesel Fuel has More Stored Energy that Gasoline A gallon of diesel has about 13% more stored energy energy than a gallon of gasoline (based on BTU ratings). Basically, you get a more powerful explosion in the engine cylinder with diesel than you do with gasoline. A bigger explosion means more power. That's why most big trucks and the big RV's have diesel engines. And that's why my 11,000 lb RV can get along with a small 3.0L V6 engine vs the 4.8L V8 that was in my 9,600 lb class B. My Winnebago with the 3.0L diesel has more than enough power for going up big hills, towing, and for passing. Its also why diesel engines are more fuel efficient than many gas engines. Because of the higher stored energy, you need less diesel fuel to accomplish the same amount of work (e.g. horsepower) as gasoline. 2. Diesel Fuel is More Expensive I'm not sure of all the reasons why this is so. I read that the Federal tax on diesel is 6 cents higher than gasoline. The introduction of ultra low sulfur diesel added costs to the refining and transportation process and accounts for about a 10 cent premium over gasoline. And the final reason appears to be demand. Demand for gas is falling and demand for diesel (which powers most commercial vehicles) is increasing. If you own a diesel powered RV, you're going to pay more for fuel, but depending on your RV size, you may save some money based on fuel efficiency. My Winnebago View averages about 16.5 mpg. A similar sized gas Class C would get around 10-12 mpg. So, for me it works to my advantage. Diesel fuel is currently about 20% more expensive that gasoline, but I'm using about 30-40% less fuel per mile. 3. Not all Diesel Fuel is the Same. With gasoline, regular unleaded gas is regular unleaded gas. The octane ratings may vary slight from supplier to supplier, but you can pretty much count on regular gas at any pump working fine in most gas engines. Some engines may have minimum octane requirements that require a premium gas grade. With gasoline, there are higher octane grades. In the US, most gas is labeled as E10 which means it has a 10% ethanol content. There's also E15 in some places. And, gas will go bad if it sits for a few months but, for every day use in standard engines, most regular grade gas works fine. Not so with diesel. First, there's #1 diesel and #2 diesel. Most of the diesel in the US is #2 regular diesel, which is similar to home heating oil. Then there's #1 diesel, which is a lighter thinner weight diesel (more like kerosene) used in cold climates. Sometimes you will see places with pumps labeled #1 or #2. Most diesel in North America and Europe is Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD), but sometimes you'll see a pump labeled for off-road or tractor diesel which is not ULSD. Then, there's this thing call biodiesel, which is regular diesel that is mixed with vegetable oil or animal fat. Biodiesel has less energy (about 10% less) than regular diesel and not all engines will run ok with it. Biodiesel has designations. B5 means 5% biodiesel (5% vegetable oil content). There's B10 and B20 meaning 10% and 20% biodiesel). Biodiesel is less expensive and you will see it at many truck stops or no name fuel stations. Sometimes the pumps are labeled and sometimes they're not. States like Minnesota and Washington mandate that all diesel be at least B2 (2% biodiesel). Minnesota also mandates B10 during the summer months and is going to B20 by 2018. My engine can only handle up to B5. If you own a diesel, you should know what your engine can handle and look at the pumps to see if they're labeled with Biodiesel stickers. I've seen that many truck stops, like Pilot, Flying J, and Love's sell diesel with up to a B20 content. Because of my engine's requirements, I avoid fueling at these places. Lastly, diesel fuel can get contaminated with water and certain microbes. Most diesel engines have fuel filters to trap this stuff and keep it out of the engine, but fuel filters can also become contaminated. Contaminated fuel or fuel filter can cause poor engine performance and /or an engine fault code to set off the Check Engine Light (CEL). I know this because I've had it happen a few times. Dirty fuel can affect the burn temperature, O2 content, and fuel pressure. My last CEL episode was caused by filling up at a small no name fuel stop and later necessitated a stop at the MB dealer to clear the fault codes for high fuel rail pressure. The tech who worked on my engine said that 80% of the time, high or low fuel rail pressure is caused by bad fuel or a dirty fuel filter. He gave me some good advice which I'll share. Always fill up at a high volume brand name fuel station near a highway. Places like Sunoco, BP, Shell, and Exxon. The high volume places go through a lot of diesel so it doesn't sit in the ground for long and collect water. Also, he said with a Mercedes diesel to avoid using biodiesel. I've followed his advice for the past 6 months and have had no CEL episodes. 4. DEF and All that Entails Most all diesel engines built after 2010 require the exhaust to be treated to reduce nitrous oxide emissions. This is done by having a separate system that spays a mixture of water and urea into the exhaust to reduce the nitrous oxide that gets emitted out the tail pipe. The water urea mixture is called DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) or also called Ad Blue. Its a consumable that you have to remember to fill up every so often. My RV can go about 3,500 on my small 3.2 gallon DEF tank, but I keep it topped off every 500 miles. How much DEF you'll use is based on driving conditions, weight, terrain, etc. In my RV, the exhaust treatment system is a complicated system of sensors, tank, spray nozzles, heater, pump, level sensors and a computer system to monitor it all. If something doesn't go right with exhaust system, I get a fault code and CEL light that may inhibit the engine function. Too much nitrous oxide comes out the tail pipe, I'll get a CEL. My DEF runs low, I'll get a warning light. A sensors voltage goes out of range, I'll get a CEL. It's a whole other area for faults or maintenance that doesn't exist in a gas engine. You can get DEF at most Walmarts or trucks stop, I always carry a 2.5 gallon jug with me. 5. There's Less Maintenance, But Maintenance Can Cost More My engine can go 15,000 between oil changes and service intervals. That's a long time. But the engine takes 13 quarts of a special oil that costs $8 a quart. An oil change on my RV can cost about $130 if I do it myself. Double that if I bring it to the dealer. The only other regular maintenance for the engine are filters that need changing at specific intervals. The key one being a fuel filter. My engine has one, but some larger RV's have 2 or 3. It important to know your service schedule and not to skip the regular maintenance. On gas engines, the service interval is usually around 5,000 or 7,500 miles. Gas engines use about 1/2 the oil and it cost 1/2 as much. An oil change might run $50-$60 but you do it more often with a gas engine. 6. There's less Places that Can Work on My Engine My Class B with a Chevy 4.8L gas engine could be serviced just about anywhere. My Mercedes Benz can only be serviced at a MB dealer that services Sprinter vans. It seems like these are few and far between. Its because of the computer system. The MB engine has its own proprietary codes and system for diagnostics. Luckily, I live about 20 miles away from a MB Sprinter Dealer, but it can sometimes take up to 3 weeks to get an appointment. Its key to know where the closest engine service is when you're buy an RV. Luckily, engines today are pretty reliable but there have been times where I needed to drive 150 miles out of my way to get a CEL diagnosed while on a trip. Just something to be aware of. That's what I've learned so far. One of the big questions for many when buying an motorhome is the gas versus diesel question. The gas motorhomes tend to be less expensive a because they're built on a standard medium or heavy duty truck chassis. They also may be a little less fuel efficient. If you don't drive a lot and have a limited budget, a gas model may make sense. If you want a bigger coach or drive a lot of miles, a diesel may make more sense for the fuel efficiency and power. I'm glad I went with a diesel. I drive a lot each year (over 25,000 miles) and I figure I'm saving about $1,800 per year in fuel. Yes, I paid more for my RV than a comparable gas model, but I was after a rig that was a certain size, had a certain level of quality, and had a high resale value. Time will tell if it was less expensive. Let me know if you have some more interesting facts or lessons you've learned about diesel engines. Follow more of my journeys at: http://jdawgjourneys.com
I'm guilty of some RV adulation here, but I wanted to write an entry about my 2014 Winnebago View motor home. I'm not doing this for any compensation or benefits from anyone. I just want to share my experience. I bought the RV new in January, when I traded up from my Class B Roadtrek. I wanted something a little bigger than a camper van that would be more comfortable for stay put camping, but still had the nimbleness of a small vehicle. And, after 17,000 miles and 140 days of traveling, its met all my expectations. I have the Winnebago View Profile model 24V. Its 25 1/2 ft long and 7 1/2 ft wide and technically a Class C motor home. Its built on the Mercedes Benz Sprinter 3500 chassis which has a a GVWR of 11,030 lbs. Its considered a small motor home. All the specs and features for the Winnebago View are listed on the Winnebago web site and here's a link to the specifications Winnebago View Specs. Below are some the features and aspects that I find appealing or are noteworthy. Driveability It drives like a van not like a bus. I've been able to go everywhere I wanted. I've driven down side streets, parked in small retail store lots, parked on the street, driven thru cities, and gotten into gas stations. It fits width wise in one parking space but because of its length it take up two unless you can over hang on the edge of a lot. Because of what I said above, I don't tow a car and doubt that I ever will. It takes less than 5 minutes to unhook and you're on your way to run errands or go sight seeing. Its a high profile vehicle and is affected by wind. It can get pushed around in cross winds. Also, at 11 ft 3 in in height, I have to keep awareness of low tree limbs and low telephone lines. So, far I've had no problems. Chassis This is my first diesel. It has its own nuances like waiting a couple seconds on a cold start for the glow plugs to heat up and adding DEF (diesel exhaust fluid). Adding DEF every few 100 miles is an added procedure with all new diesels, but its simple and straight forward. Most maintenance and service can only be done at a MB dealer. The diagnostics are unique to MB and the dealers are the only ones with the diagnostic systems to work on them. And, unfortunately, the MB dealers are not a prevalent as Ford of Chevy. The 3.0l V6 turbo diesel engine is surprisingly quiet but has plenty of power. I've gone up 12,000 ft mountain passes without a problem. It has slowed down to around 45 mph on 12% grades. It also has a long maintenance schedule (oil & filter every 15,000 miles). After 17,000 my fuel mileage is averaging right around 16 mpg. On some trips its close to 17 mpg and on windy days it can go down to 14 mpg The cruise control will hold the speed you set even on most downgrades. This is a real handy feature to help minimize braking and downshifting on descents Features All windows have sunshade and light blocking MCD shades. The windows slide open (vs crank) and let in plenty of air. All the lights are LED and there's plenty of them. The One Place monitoring panel accurately shows all tanks levels (propane, water, grey, black) and battery levels The AC unit is ducted in the ceiling and very quiet. It evenly cools the motor home and also functions as a Heat Pump even when the outside temps get down to the high 30's. The holding tanks are huge at 36 gals each and they are heated. I can go 4-5 days or longer before I dump and camp in cool weather without a worry. The frig is a 5.3 cu/ft that can run off DC, AC, and propane. It is a 2 two door with a separate freezer. It can easily hold a weeks worth of food. The 3,600 kw on board generator is autostart (press the button and it starts by itself). It has a fully enclosed bath with a porcelain toilet, sink, and a shower. My model has twin beds that can be made into a king. My unit has one slide with the sofa. When its out the front space becomes a nice living room. Both front seat swivel to face backwards. The 16 ft power awning is huge, very sturdy, and comes with built in LED accent lighting. When its open, I've got a nice large outside living area. I really like my motor home and feel I made the right choice for my needs. It's nice and nimble for road tripping and sight seeing. Its also very comfortable for staying by a lake for a couple weeks or for spending a few months in Florida in the winter. For me, its the perfect second home. Below are some pictures of my unit. You can follow more of my travels at: http://jdawgjourneys.com/
Back in January, I traded my Type B 2012 Roadtrek van for a Type C 2014 Winnebago View. I owned my Roadtrek 190 Simplicity for 2 years and loved it. I’ve now owned the Winnebago View Profile 24V for 7 months and also love it. With seven months of use and over 16,000 miles on the Winnebago, I feel I can give a first hand comparison of the two vehicles. I'm not trying to show how one is better than the other or give a detailed feature comparison since they are different vehicles. I just thought it might be helpful to others to share my experiences with the two products. First, let me say that I have no axe to grind and have no affiliation with or compensation from either of the vendors of these motorhomes. Also, I respect that there are folks who love their Type B and would never think of trading up and there are similar folks who love their Type C. We're all different and have different needs and different uses for our RV's. I'm more of a traveler versus a stay put camper, but I do some stay put camping during the year. I'm also a minimalist camper. I like small, simple, and tend to get by well with the bare essentials. So, it all starts with the reason why I traded up. I began traveling the country with my Roadtrek and logged over 33,000 miles with it. It is a great road trip vehicle and I loved traveling in it. But my reasons for trading were two fold. First, I wanted to be able to live in an RV for two months parked in Florida for the winter. I found that the living space within the Roadtrek did not suit me for that type of living. This was the major drive for trading up. Second, I wanted to stay with a small motorhome, but have just a little more space like a permanent bedroom. So why a Winnebago View? It best fit our requirements. I’ll give the specs below, but I think it’s still small, has the floor plan we liked, built on a very reliable chassis, is fuel efficient, is from a large reliable vendor with a large dealer network, and the model has a demand on the trade in market (lots of people own them). I had also talked to several campers who owned them (either a View and Itasca Navion) and all were very pleased with them. I also follow a few blog writers who have them and all have the same positive comments. So, now the comparison. Size Roadtrek - length 20' 5'', width 7', height 8' 9", GVWR 9,600 lbs, wheelbase 155" Winnebago - length 25' 5", width 7' 6", height 11' 3", GVWR 11,030, wheelbase 170" The Winnebago is a larger vehicle. For me, the most noticeable difference is the height (its a higher profile). You need to be more cognizant of trees and over hangs. The extra 3" on each side is negligible and I don't notice the extra 5 feet in length. It fits in parking space if you back in and can overhang otherwise it takes 2 spaces. So far, I have been able to go everywhere I went with my Roadtrek. Features The living features are very similar between both units. Same type of appliances, heat, hot water A/C, inverter, entertainment, toilet, on board generator, swivel seats, and batteries. The key differences - Winnebago has a 5.3 cu ft frig vs the 3.0 cu ft on my Roadtrek, 2 12V wet cell batteries in the Winnebago vs 2 6V AGM in Roadtrek, Winnebago has tank heaters, hot water heater is AC and propane, all lighting is LED, it has a shower stall, the beds are permanent (no fold out couch), a 16 ft power awning, and a separate range hood that vents outside. For me the biggest differences are the frig - it can hold a lot more food, the permanent beds, and the small slide out give more living space. Cockpit - I liked the onboard computer on the Chevy Roadtrek. The Sprinter has no TPMS, no fuel range estimate, and no MPG calculation. But you can check the oil from the dash display on the Sprinter. You can also use the coach batteries to help start the Sprinter if the chassis battery is weak. The cockpit on my Sprinter came with built in privacy shades on the windshield and door windows. I like these better than curtains. Handling Very similar. They both drive very easy. The extra length of the Winnebago takes a little more looking when making a right hand turn. I found both the Roadtek and Winnebago will get a small push when being passed by a semi. I drove the Winnebago recently in 25-35 mph cross winds. It did want to drift more in the wind and gusts did shove/push it more than the Roadtrek but it was not an unsafe feeling. Capacities Roadtrek - freshwater 36 gal, grey 23 gal, black 10 gal, water heater 6 gal Winnebago freshwater 37 gal, grey 36 gal, black 36 gal, water heater 6 gal For me, I really like having the larger black tank. I had to dump the Roadtrek every 2-3 days. I can go a week on the Winnebago. The dump on the Winnebago is gravity for the black with a pump to push the grey to the dump hose. I didn't mind the macerator on the Roadtrek. It was easy to use. The dump procedure on the Winnebago has a couple more steps. Fuel Usage Roadtrek - my Roadtrek had the 4.8L V8 gas engine. My fuel mileage averaged between 16-18 mpg. Winnebago - the Winnebago had a 3.0L V6 diesel. My fuel mileage is averaging 15-17 mpg. Diesel fuel is currently more costly than gas so, I'm paying more for fuel with the Winnebago. Maintenance Roadtrek - I only had one incident where I needed to go to the dealer and that was to do a propane test. My Roadtrek was super reliable. The Chevy Roadtrek could be also be serviced just about anywhere. I did all my own routine maintenance and the cost of supplies and parts were reasonable. Winnebago - The frig was DOA when we first started it up but that got replaced before we left the lot. Otherwise there's been no problems no far. The maintenance for the Sprinter is not as available as the Chevy. The cost (parts and labor) is also more. An oil change takes 13 qts of oil and a filter you need to get from MB. The diesel needs a regular fuel filter replacement and DEF added every 3,600 miles. Everything from MB is expensive. An extra key for the Sprinter cost almost $200. For the Chevy it cost $50. User Groups Roadtrek - I found little value in the RT International Group. The Yahoo group has 3,200 users and the Roadtreking FB group has almost 2,400 members. Both are very active and responsive to questions. Winnebago - There is a Winnebago Owners Club (WIT Club). There's a small (160 members) FB group and there is a Yahoo group for Views/Navions owners with 6,500 users who are also very active and responsive. There's also the Sprinter Forums group for Sprinter specific issues. Costs Roadtrek - My RT 190 Simplicity had a list price of $84K. I paid $71K Winnebago - My View Profile 24V with just about every available option listed for $122K (the paint job was a $6K option). I paid $52K plus gave them my two year old Roadtrek. So that's the comparison from my perspective. The bottom line - They both are great vehicles. Both are reliable. They drive very similar and can pretty much go the same places. I like having the extra space and for that I'm paying more for fuel and maintenance for the Winnebago. But I made that decision so I would have something to live in while wintering in FL. Follow more of my travels at http://jdawgjourneys.blogspot.com