alarmingfriend

Diving Into Being A Full-timer

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The wife and I are Prepping to sell our home and purchase a Diesel Pusher, currently we have a 2000 Monaco Monarch and we love it. I am looking at a 2008 Tiffin Allegro 40QRP ALLEGRO BUS. We can't afford a New rig and I am planning on spending the next 10 years job hopping until I retire.

My only worry is Diesel has a higher maintenance requirement than my Ford V10, all it needs is gas spark water and air. Any ideas on required maintenance and expense? I know there is a Glycol water and Rig heating system that requires yearly maintenance but from what I have heard upkeep is horrendous on a Diesel Pusher. Advise on things that need to be done and ballpark costs?.

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manholt   

Welcome to the Forum!

Need more info from you.  If you love your current gasser, why do you need a DP to go full time?  Do you plan on doing some or most of the maintenance or are you having some one else do it?  Glycol Rig heating is called Aqua Hot. :)

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Welcome to the forum. The big question is how much work/ maintenance can you do and how much will you need to have done. 

Personally I think this "Diesels are so expensive to maintain" is over hyped. Yes you have a couple more things to maintain but it isn't all that bad unless you have to take it some place and pay them $150.00 an hour.

I think you are headed in the right direction as you can find some great used coaches out there.

Bill

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manholt   

Bill.  Re-read OP, he's looking at a 2008 Allegro Bus 40 foot. :( You know Joe loves that bus!

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TBUTLER   

I worked in a gas station in high school.  Great job, meet lots of people.  Those were the days when the station attendant actually pumped gas, for everybody.  We washed windshields, checked the oil and tire pressures, etc.  We also had two bays for changing tires, oil, belts, even spark plugs and exhaust parts.  I did a little of all those things. And, in the spirit of all hot-rod enthusiasts, I did almost everything on my own '55 Chevy. 

Personally I gave up on most engine maintenance when I bought my first car in the 1980's.  It was a matter of time or money, mess or clean, new tech or old.  I did pull the alternator to have the brushes replaced a year ago on our motor home.  A friend who has raced cars, encouraged me, saying it was simple.  It turned out to be about the limit of what I wanted to do.  It did save me a bunch of money, I didn't break anything (on the engine or myself) and I learned a little in the process. 

No way I'm going to mess with multiple gallons of oil doing an oil change or checking the chemistry of the coolant.  The engine is way too expensive to be doing amateur quality work on it.  That's my personal take on it.

The frequency of the work is relatively light.  With an oil change every 10,000 miles, it's a once a year even for us.  The transmission change is every 60,000 miles.  There are more filters than a gas engine and the filters aren't cheap. 

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obedb   

Not horrendous if you have a good one.  You will not miss the sound of a V10 beneath your feet. Had a Ford 460cube gas in our first class A. Darn it was loud. 

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obedb   

Can't hear our genset when underway. Trucking  wore my ears out many years ago. Love the sound when parked and out side. No smoke. Could not get any better. Tremendous piece of equipment. Oh! You can't get that quality with a gas powered rig.

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rickkey2   

I actually like to service and repair anything on my coach. I have always worked on cars and engines ever since I was about seven helping my dad change the oil in our ford galaxy 500. I am retired and have the time and when something comes up I'm on a mission to research what needs to be done to get it taken care of. Diesel engines are actually more basic then gas in my opinion and when I service my coach I know it's done right . But again I enjoy the challenge and getting to know more about how things work. Besides the satisfaction of doing it yourself you can save a butt load of money and that savings goes straight to fuel, to me it's win win.:D

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ISPJS   

In our initial search for a used coach we have discovered that some have the aqua hot water system that I see mentioned in the above posts.  Having been full time in a fiver I have a little experience with a diesel.  My 2012 F350 was pretty cheap to maintain.  I paid for oil changes but did the fuel filters myself.  I am sure there will be a learning curve if we end up with a larger DP with a tag axle.  

So besides a different hot water system, regular oil changes, and fuel filter changes, what other maintenance am I looking at?  I realize there will be 8 tires to replace every 3 or 4 years, but other than that?

 

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wolfe10   

No reason to replace tires every 3-4 years unless they are very badly cared for (run at low PSI, exposed to sunlight all the time, etc).  With proper care, double that life expectancy but with professional inspections beginning at 5 years (this advice from Michelin).

Most of the systems are the same as you diesel truck plus 5th wheel.  Yes, larger and sometimes more complex, but I will start a list of differences-- others can add to it:

Air system, including air pump, dryer, air suspension and air brakes.

Aquahot if so equipped.

 

The good news is that most of the chassis and driveline components share their origin with OTR trucks, so designed for a million miles with proper "care and feeding".

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I travel full time and my tires are never covered.  Are you saying I have to replace my tires ever 3-4 years because they are always exposed to the sun?

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wolfe10   
5 hours ago, BillAdams said:

I travel full time and my tires are never covered.  Are you saying I have to replace my tires ever 3-4 years because they are always exposed to the sun?

Bill,

As you know, there are a number of factors that go into tire life-- sure, UV exposure is one.  So is correct PSI, correct alignment,  tire balance, etc.

And absolutely, if you park your coach for months at a time with tires uncovered, you WILL shorten their "safe to use" life.  Exactly how much-- my ouija board isn't that good.

And,  driving allows the emollients that protect the tire from UV light to migrate to the surface.  So, the more frequently you drive, the less of an issue UV light poses.

In some CG's where we have good shade, I would not even consider pulling out tire covers.  Same if the site is oriented such that one side doesn't receive direct sun exposure.

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manholt   

Tires are bigger, drive axel steering axel, tag axel, rear engine...everything is dependent upon the size of rig you get.  Like a fifth, your a rolling earthquake and a DP weight more, sometimes a lot more...Don't try to compare mpg, I have never seen 10 mpg on any of my DP's!  Most I ever got was 8.1 in a 36 foot, 450 Cummins DEF.  My current coach flex between 6.2 - 6.8.  Speaking off flex, the longer the coach the more you got to watch out for twisting the chassis.  I change out tires on average about every 6.5 years!  I cover them and use 303 as needed on all my exterior rubber.

Carl

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ISPJS   

Interesting information on the tires.  I had a TPMS on my first fiver and moved it over to the gas MH.  I like being able to constantly monitor my PSI and tire temperatures while stationary or under way.   On "G" rated tires on the fiver many go by a rule of thumb of 5 years max before replacement.  It was always more about the elements getting to them than the tread wear.   I was just guessing that tires on a 40,000 pound plus DP would need replacing at around 40,000 miles or so, which for me as a full timer would be 3 or 4 years worth of travel.  I would love to think I could get six years or more out of them!   I wonder if it makes a difference if you are in hot climates 12 months out of the year.

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manholt   

UV exposure is everywhere.  Heat has no bearing on that, that I know off!  My tires are 315x80x22.5 Front and the other 6 are 295's, bought in August 2014.  I'll replace them in 2020 or 21,  I'm not full time and do an average of 13,000 a year! :)

My best friend run custom made fifth trailers with the same size tires I have and his, last between 4&5 years, but that's due to mileage and lack of treads, not sidewalls cracking.

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Well shame on me but the wife and I just bought a 2018 Thor Challenger LX.

sold the house, downsized to a 5x5 storage unit which will be gone in the next 6 months. The Ford V10 was the only choice since we have been at the same site since July and love the Resort we are living in, weekend trips are not enough to justify a pusher, yes it is louder but the 3 trip to Florida from Las Vegas Last year was a fluke, if we put more miles in it would be worth the investment in a Pusher. The deal was to good to pass up. The Motorhome had 2000 miles on it and the price drop was 50k plus my trade and 9months of Warranty left on it. A few initial bugs that the dealer fixed, Direct TV connected. 1.5 bathrooms the wife loves. It has auto leveling and a touchscreen to control everything from the living room, bedroom and entry door. I do like the fact that I can do mountains at speed and not block traffic if I want to fly which I normally don’t only due to the loss of life and consiquences of putting our home into a ditch. Safe travels. :-)

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ISPJS   

Congrats on both selling your house and purchasing the Challenger!  We really liked our 2014 Challenger 37GT that we had previously.   Not sure what you are basing the statement on  "do like the fact that I can do mountains at speed and not block traffic if I want to fly"...... , possibly a test drive?  Unless they have doubled the HP in those V-10 gassers since 2014 you won't be flying up any grades with it once you are loaded or pulling a toad.   If you are full time and traveling 10,000 miles or more a year it probably makes sense to be in a diesel, but if you are just living in an RV full time and not really traveling much then the V-10 should serve you well.  I could buy my oil and filter at Walmart and change it in about 15 minutes.  The V-10 is an easy bullet proof motor that is cheap to maintain IMHO.

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On ‎12‎/‎16‎/‎2017 at 10:12 PM, alarmingfriend said:

Well shame on me but the wife and I just bought a 2018 Thor Challenger LX.

sold the house, downsized to a 5x5 storage unit which will be gone in the next 6 months. The Ford V10 was the only choice since we have been at the same site since July and love the Resort we are living in, weekend trips are not enough to justify a pusher, yes it is louder but the 3 trip to Florida from Las Vegas Last year was a fluke, if we put more miles in it would be worth the investment in a Pusher. The deal was to good to pass up. The Motorhome had 2000 miles on it and the price drop was 50k plus my trade and 9months of Warranty left on it. A few initial bugs that the dealer fixed, Direct TV connected. 1.5 bathrooms the wife loves. It has auto leveling and a touchscreen to control everything from the living room, bedroom and entry door. I do like the fact that I can do mountains at speed and not block traffic if I want to fly which I normally don’t only due to the loss of life and consiquences of putting our home into a ditch. Safe travels. :-)

That is a nice coach. I hope you were able to get the new 6 speed transmission. The V10 is a great engine but it is designed to make it's power at higher RPM so some are concerned that it is revving to much. Don't worry it has a built in RPM limiter so if you wanted you could drive it with your foot on the floor and not hurt the engine. :D I would keep my RPM up when climbing to stay closer to peak torque. 

The newer coaches are doing a better job of insulating the front to reduce engine noise.

Bill

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Update:

Thanks for all the input. We love our 6 month old Coach and the dealer we purchased it from. the 6 speed transmission is a Wonderfull thing compared to the 5 speed we had. In the old rig we would be cruising and I would worry more about braking than anything else. In the Challenger I lift off the gas and the transmission does the work instead of the breaks. Max speed "Which I had to test of course" is about 76 MPH on a 5 mile flat freeway so the limit on the tranny is a great thing, down hill the top speed I won't be testing. Now as far as Thor is concerned I understand good employees are hard to find and QC inspectors are even harder to find but the punch list of things that went horribly wrong and basic items like screws, nuts, bolt not being tight right out the door was ridiculous. The floor was supposed to be one piece and they used remnence pieces, every edge was peeling up within a week of taking possession. Had a bad converter within the first 2 weeks "3 day hotel stay", Inverter went bad on week 3 due t the terminal screws on being loose. Then we found the fireplace and one of the TV sets fried when the converter failed. a 5 inch piece of side molding in the middle of the rig was missing. Some trip on the ceiling is falling-out at the seam. mostly little things but the QC horrible. Anyway This Monday the wife and dogs will be in a hotel again for 5 days while the dealer replaces the floor with one piece they ordered from the factory. I am so glad the dealer has been in town since 1960 and I know the family that owns it. Otherwise I might have been hiring a Lawyer. Did an oil change at 5k "Cost $65". Purchased some Pool Noodles for the corners of the slides and windshield wipers. " hit my head on the slides often". Learning about the convection oven and induction stove has been an adventure but they work well once the instructions are understood. Noise while driving is still loud but less than the old Rig. Mileage is reasonable, if I cruise at 55 to 65 it eats around 9-10 MPG, "based on one trip to Texas" Onboard computer, Reciepts and jotting down gallons and mileage, comparing the 2 runs 9-10 MPG. 

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