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Old 07-20-2019, 05:17 AM   #1
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Question Gas v Diesel Class C or B+

I have a Jayco Precept 31UL 32 ft class A on Ford F53 chassis Triton V10 gas. Great coach but it does not like hills. As we live on the Edge of America in North Myrtle Beach, we don't run into hills much. My wife will not drive the rig as it is too tall and big for her. She wants to go to a Class C or B+. We want to start traveling more in the mountains and possible out west into the Rockies. If we stay with Class A, we will need a diesel pusher. But if we go with a smaller rig, we don't know if we will need to go diesel or gas. Will a Ford F-450 pull a 15,000 lb rig up the mountains or do we need to go with a diesel, like a Mercedes 3500 chassis? What do most people drive in the Rockies?
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Old 07-20-2019, 06:39 AM   #2
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If you plan on a toad you are limited to what you can pull with the smaller class C like the Mercedes chassis. We tow a 2000lb car and don't have any issues in the Smokies with the Sprinter Chassis but something closer to the capacity I am not sure about. We are considering a smaller Class A for more room. I am not sure if I could get the wife to drive one but she has no issues with the Melbourne. I have test driven a few class A's and of the few that I have, the Sprinter is hands down more comfortable to me. I have driven 13+ hours in a day in the Sprinter but I don't think I could in the class A's that I test drove.
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Old 07-20-2019, 07:04 AM   #3
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I can drive our Class A about 4-5 hours and pretty worn out after that. I'm taking it to Beech Mountain in September for our first trip to the mountains. I pull a Chevy Sonic adn the class A does not know it is even back there. I love my A but wife will not even attempt to drive it.

How is your Melbourne when a semi passes you? I had to put a sway bar on mine and that helped some.
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Old 07-20-2019, 08:11 AM   #4
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I can drive our Class A about 4-5 hours and pretty worn out after that. I'm taking it to Beech Mountain in September for our first trip to the mountains. I pull a Chevy Sonic adn the class A does not know it is even back there. I love my A but wife will not even attempt to drive it.

How is your Melbourne when a semi passes you? I had to put a sway bar on mine and that helped some.
At first it was a white knuckle experience. I installed the HD sway bar and sumo bump stops and it is no problem now. I also installed rear shock absorbers made by Agile Off Road tuned to the my Class C weight distribution and it helps with cross wind swaying and rocking when going over bumps at low speed. It is a shame they don't come set up this way direct from Jayco.
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Old 07-20-2019, 08:45 AM   #5
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I weighed this same question when shopping for a short Class C. I originally was leaning towards the Melbourne, with the 6 cylinder diesel, but I rented a 23 foot with the Ford V10, and that sealed it for me. I ran the rental up and down the mountains in the rural area of NY state, and had no issues with power.

Plus, my rig has a 7500 lb towing capacity, where I believe the same sized Melbourne (on the MB chassis) was only 5000 lbs.

Yeah, the V10 burns more fuel than the V6, but I saved at least $10K on cost.... that buys a lot of fuel... and the E450 is a proven chassis/engine package.
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:10 AM   #6
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I weighed this same question when shopping for a short Class C. I originally was leaning towards the Melbourne, with the 6 cylinder diesel, but I rented a 23 foot with the Ford V10, and that sealed it for me. I ran the rental up and down the mountains in the rural area of NY state, and had no issues with power.

Plus, my rig has a 7500 lb towing capacity, where I believe the same sized Melbourne (on the MB chassis) was only 5000 lbs.

Yeah, the V10 burns more fuel than the V6, but I saved at least $10K on cost.... that buys a lot of fuel... and the E450 is a proven chassis/engine package.
The V10 has more locations that can service it as well.
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Old 07-20-2019, 10:15 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by mitchhelms View Post
We want to start traveling more in the mountains and possible out west into the Rockies. If we stay with Class A, we will need a diesel pusher. But if we go with a smaller rig, we don't know if we will need to go diesel or gas. Will a Ford F-450 pull a 15,000 lb rig up the mountains or do we need to go with a diesel, like a Mercedes 3500 chassis? What do most people drive in the Rockies?
We took our 2001 DESIGNER 3230 from Ohio to Calgary and drove the Canadian Rockies in 2004 towing a Chevy S-10. We went on to California and had no problems climbing those hills back then and we had less HP to boot.
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Old 07-20-2019, 12:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchhelms View Post
I have a Jayco Precept 31UL 32 ft class A on Ford F53 chassis Triton V10 gas. Great coach but it does not like hills.

My wife will not drive the rig as it is too tall and big for her. She wants to go to a Class C or B+. We want to start traveling more in the mountains and possible out west into the Rockies.

What do most people drive in the Rockies?
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchhelms View Post
I can drive our Class A about 4-5 hours and pretty worn out after that.

I pull a Chevy Sonic

I love my A but wife will not even attempt to drive it.

How is your Melbourne when a semi passes you? I had to put a sway bar on mine and that helped some.

As I read many of your points... I get the idea that you are the only one who drives (like me) are frustrated with limited power, like the size of your current MH and are considering sacrificing size for power by downsizing, your A is hard to drive and limiting you to 4-5 hours behind the wheel and still not sure the wife will feel comfortable with driving.

My first comment... I've shared the driving of our rig, with a very experienced buddy who is a fleet manager for large trucking. I still don't get to completely relax and rest when someone else is driving our Seneca. I actually end up at the destination more tired when I share the driving, than if taking it on myself. My DW does not drive at all any more.

We also set limits on each leg of our travels, limiting our distance to under 500 miles/day and 400 miles/day if travel includes any night driving. I have to say the Seneca is very easy to drive, and if you are already a Precept owner and used to your mirrors and lane changes, you will not have any issues adjusting to it. We have done nothing to our Seneca suspension, no steering stabilizers or anything at all. It is 100% as it was from the dealership.

Next... read the experiences with those who actually live in the Western mountain states. Colorado, Utah, Idaho. For us, we have to climb a mountain pass every trip we take. Many of us pull heavy trailers with our Toad's on them. Our rig runs right at 33,000LBS all the time and we have no trouble climbing the grade and traveling 545 miles that day.

I can't say what is best for you... but at least take a Seneca for a test drive. The insides are mostly identical from what your Precept is, just the power and drive-ability are much different on the Freightliner chassis.
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Old 07-20-2019, 01:17 PM   #9
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We have no problem pulling our Jeep with our motorhome. On steep hills on the interstate, we usually drag down to around 55 on the steepest hills. We drive a lot of mountainous backroads with no issues. Our motorhome is very small compared to the Seneca, but we've been in some Class As and Cs that are so inefficient that they have less room inside than we do even though they're larger. Appliances can be smaller and storage can be lacking in comparison. We've also noticed on some Class As that visibility from the front windshield of the cab is awful. As far as diesel, we're finding as we travel around the country that we have difficulty finding fuel in certain areas that are not 5% or less bio-diesel, which is what Mercedes-Benz requires. We especially have problems in the midwest (Minnesota & Illinois are horrible). We've had some nervous moments trying to find fuel. We have no problems in the west, even in California. Our mileage, even with hills and wind, averages about 13 - 15+ under perfect conditions. We always tow, so I can't speak for mileage without our Jeep. Because we do a lot of driving, fuel efficiency does make a difference to us. Also, reliability and longevity are important, because we don't plan to get rid of his unit. Even with occasional fueling issues, we like our diesel.
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Old 07-20-2019, 03:24 PM   #10
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The "finding diesel" issue was a big concern for me, knowing finding regular gas is so much easier, but I liked the floorplan on the 24L Melbourne. When I saw the floorplan on the 24B, which is the basically same as the 24L, but on the Ford chassis, I was sold. It wasn't about the price.

I got the exterior done in a custom wrap, because I hated the Redhawk exterior.

That said, we like to play "tourist" when we travel and visit all types of local places. We looked at everything from trailers up to big Class A, and weighed pros and cons of each. One issue was getting around, and the smaller rig allows me to pull in almost anywhere. Second, I really didn't want to have to pull a toad, because the rig itself was so big, so the smaller rig won out. I can swing this rig around in any parking lot or attraction.

Wifey liked the smaller rig, as she felt like she could drive it (that will NEVER happen ), but what makes this 24B work is that it has the full wall slide, so when we park, it almost doubles in size. Plus, the two front seats swivel to face the rear, so we get extra seating without the need for a sofa.
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