What Kinds of Engines Are in RVs?

BROUGHT TO YOU BY Mortons on the Move

"Buying a motorhome is a heady experience. Selecting the size of the vehicle and picking the perfect floor plan can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. But one decision that may be more important than all of the others is the type of RV engine. That choice can affect the lifespan of your rig, the cost of fuel and maintenance, and the way you drive it over the years."

The Kinds of Engines in RVs

Common Diesel Engines:  From a camper van size to a diesel pusher, you can find several sizes of diesel-powered engines. The Class B van has become extremely popular due to the Mercedes Sprinter chassis with four- and six-cylinder options.

A diesel engine usually will provide better fuel efficiency because it has higher energy density and will get up to 30% better fuel economy than a comparable gasoline engine. Still, the cost of diesel fuel is frequently more expensive. A gasoline engine requires fuel that is less expensive to purchase and cheaper to maintain. It may not last as long as a diesel engine, but in reality, most coach systems won’t live as long as a diesel either. The gas engine requires less costly maintenance, although it might be more frequent than a diesel counterpart.

Is It Better to Have a Gas or Diesel RV?

What Is the Best Diesel Engine for a Motorhome?

Most of the larger class A diesel motorhome engines tend to be very reliable as long as they are maintained because of the limited use of an RV compared to their lifespan potential. There have been specific problems over the years with particular engines so do your research, but most of them tend to be very reliable.

Common Engine Problems in RVs

Since RV engines are built for the long haul, most of the problems encountered have more to do with lack of use. Running an engine regularly keeps its internal parts lubricated and free of moisture that can cause corrosion. Fuels and oils also break down when not used or refreshed and can cause many issues.

How Important Is the RV Engine Choice?

Your RV engine choice is a personal decision. It’s based on how you’ll drive, purchase cost, maintenance and fuel costs, and engine power. Narrow down your choices first by deciding what size and type of RV you desire, then test drive a diesel and a gasoline-powered version.

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What’s your RV engine preference?