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Old 07-10-2018, 09:14 AM   #1
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Diesel vs. gas, apples to apples

Just towed our Rockwood 8289WS from Connecticut to Indiana (800 miles) with our 2016 GMC 3500 DRW with the 6.0 gas engine. Made the same trip last year with our 2004 Ford F350 DRW with the 6.0 diesel. The trailer weighs about 9400 pounds. First part of the trip is essentially all uphill from the coast through the PA mountains. Second part is flat-ish/rolling hills through western PA, OH, IN.

The diesel Ford got about 9-10 MPG last year running at 65 MPH the whole time. Absolutely no problem maintaining that speed on any terrain (at least until we blew the high pressure oil sensor). The gas GMC ran between 6.5 - 7.5 MPG through the PA mountains, then 7.5 - 8.5 MPG through western PA/OH. Picked up a headwind in IN and dropped to 7 MPG for the last leg.

Didn't push the GMC as hard as the Ford. Tried to run around 63 MPH most of the time, but let it slow in the mountains and stayed with the big trucks in the right lane. RPMs were usually around 2200 with an occasional downshift to 3200. One downshift to 4K.

Conclusions: If making maximum speed/miles per day is important the diesel is the way to go. Maintaining 65 MPH up the mountains would have pushed the gasser pretty hard.

Although MPG was less with the gasser, that was partly offset by cheaper gasoline and a larger fuel tank.

Navigating the gas pump islands can be trickier than using the big truck pumps, but was doable. OH Turnpike service areas have both gas and diesel in the truck lanes.

I didn't miss the diesel as much as I thought I would. The GMC towed our trailer just fine. The gasser handled the mountains OK. (But we didn't need engine braking, this wasn't the Rockies.) At one point I needed to accelerate to pass a truck and the GMC didn't do it as quickly as the diesel would have.

Traveling below the speed limit was relaxing. Less jockeying for position, more room in front of me on the road. (We continued to drive 63 MPH even when the truck would have been comfortable going faster.)

Overall, I'm satisfied with the gasser TV for our situation. It's a better choice as my daily driver, it can comfortably handle our smaller fifth wheel well in the terrain we usually travel, and the lower up-front cost allowed us to add some comfort features that greatly improved the quality of the trip for us.

Not trying to start a flame war. If circumstances changed, I might be looking for another diesel. I don't think one is automatically better than the other, it's really a matter of choosing the best tool for the job YOU want to do. But, I wanted to share our experiences moving from one to the other. A gas TV can handle a under-10,000 pound trailer easily.

Safe travels, all.
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:38 AM   #2
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Glad your happy with the gasser. Most our trips are in the west. Arizona , New Mexico, Colorado, California, Utah, Wyoming and Montana. With the steep terrain a gasser would not do. We have tried several including Turbo's. Diesel has so much more torque and the Exhaust Brake is a must. 925 Ft. pounds of Torque.

We pull a T29FSGDX Shockwave with 1500 -1700# toys in the back. Weight is usually around 11,000#. Truck weighs 8000#.

Ford F250 Super Duty King Ranch CCSW 6.7 Diesel. Engine is super quiet and very comfortable. Very happy with this truck. Have towed over most of the really big mountain passes here in the west and couldn't ask for anything more.

This is physically a very large truck compared to my F150 Twin Turbo ECCO Boost which I loved but to much overheating and not enough braking on steep terrain.

Jack
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:41 AM   #3
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Great post very informative...I just wonder how much difference there would have been in your comparison between your 2004 diesel vs a 2016 or newer diesel..Should you have went that route ?

Are the new diesels leaps and bounds better then ones 14-15 years old ? I'm sure the gasser's are from what I have been reading here on the forum.
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:43 AM   #4
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Nice write up, however you are comparing a 2004 6.0 l PS with 320hp/560lb-ft torque to a newer 2016 6.0 gas with ~350hp/380lb-ft torque.
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:49 AM   #5
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Nice write up. Diesel isn't for everyone, for various reasons, and I agree a gasser can do it most the time.


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Are the new diesels leaps and bounds better then ones 14-15 years old ? I'm sure the gasser's are from what I have been reading here on the forum.
Newer diesels mostly have more power and exhaust brakes. The 6.0 has respectable power, just not the greatest reliability track record. We had a bunch of company trucks with them and I never heard much bad about them, I liked them.
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Old 07-10-2018, 10:09 AM   #6
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I went for the Gasser because I knew I would be 10K or under and My son who had a 2013 f350 6.7 at the time swore me off of them because of all the emissions issues he had. He has since bought a new 2017 last year with the 6.7 and has had zero issues with it. I also knew that a lot of the time the truck would be driven 2-3 miles to the store and home, Finally Diesel was running about 60 cents more a gallon here at the time and I would have driven far into town to even find a diesel pump.. All reasons I went gas.

Havent regretted it, HAVE regretted the particular Brand I have gotten, but not for performance, the company behind it is garbage.
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Old 07-10-2018, 10:26 AM   #7
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That '04 you had previously with a decent tune and a bullet-proof would've ran circles around the gasser.

I agree, the 6.0 has had issues but done properly it is a very strong truck and will run for 500k or better. Diesels also hold resale value a lot better than a gasser.

Good write-up though.. if you're in the market for a new truck it's something to think about.
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Old 07-10-2018, 10:49 AM   #8
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Nice report. It's tough convincing anyone with a diesel, gas can to the job. If you're a weekend warrior, your truck doubles as a daily driver, and you aren't towing more than 11k pounds, a gasser does fine. Maybe it's not as cool but it will do the job. I've had couple of 7.3L trucks, the last one being a modified 2000 F350 DRW CC 7.3L that could put down about 550lb-ft of torque. Sure that's nothing compared to today's diesels but then it wasn't near as complicated either. Loved that truck but after 17 years it was time to upgrade.

A year ago I went back to gas for various reasons. I looked at all 3 manufacturers. Didn't feel the GM 6.0L was enough for what I wanted/needed. Wasn't impressed with the Ram and ended up with another Ford. Our Wildcat Maxx is right at 10k wet (Gross 11,300lbs) and I haven't felt under powered at all. The biggest thing with a gasser is you have to run in the power band. The 6.2L really shines between 3000 and 4500rpm and it will run that way all day so to speak. Mpg's, for me anyway, are the same as the 7.3L were. 8-9 towing, 11-12 in town, 14-16 on the freeway empty. Oil changes are half the cost and gas is cheaper per gallon around here than diesel. I keep my trucks for a long time so repairs and maintenance out of warranty was a concern.

Not trying to hijack the thread but just giving another perspective. After a year I'm still happy and love this rig.
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Old 07-10-2018, 01:17 PM   #9
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Gas has a tough time keeping up with a diesel in the real mountains. A better comparison might be gas turbo to diesel turbo engine. A real downside to diesel is what EPA did to require the engines to burn cleaner. Not sure I'd get another diesel because of it. It used to be one of the simplest of engines, now all the stuff laid on its back in the name of clean air...you need to be a diesel mechanic to own one. I am exaggerating (sp?) just a bit, but not much.

Now, I'd choose gasoline, but if an RV rig, I'd want it turbo equipped.
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Old 07-10-2018, 01:36 PM   #10
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Pretty much the reasoning I stayed with Chevy 6.0 2500. Payload was more an issue for me than what I am pulling. I have to haul heavy so something like a 1500 wouldn’t cut it. Most trailer towing is 8K or less. I have pulled double grain hoppers with it that far and away exceeded max tow rating. Payload wasn’t an issue there since it was a draw bar setup. The local farmers cooperatives use a lot of 6.0 2500’s. They pull double trailers of anhydrous ammonia along with a 1500 lb tote of seed in the bed. All of that exceeds the 20,500 GCWR. Those pickups typically go 250,000 miles before they are auctioned off.
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Old 07-10-2018, 01:39 PM   #11
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A whole industry has been created off of the 6.0. The Bullet Proof franchises are scattered across the country. The "good" news is once you have spent an additional $10,000 the truck is great.
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Old 07-10-2018, 01:55 PM   #12
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A whole industry has been created off of the 6.0. The Bullet Proof franchises are scattered across the country. The "good" news is once you have spent an additional $10,000 the truck is great.
Actually, some do it for around half that. For me, I also needed a new oil cooler and did a few "while you're at it" items so it was closer to $6800..

Think of the money you lose driving a gasser off the lot. I totally get the warranty piece. However, the paid off truck is always cheaper.
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Old 07-10-2018, 01:57 PM   #13
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Another thread veering off topic....
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Old 07-10-2018, 02:19 PM   #14
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The only thing that is needed to complete the comparison is the durability test. Run each one for 500,000 miles then cross check the cost.
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Old 07-10-2018, 02:37 PM   #15
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The only thing that is needed to complete the comparison is the durability test. Run each one for 500,000 miles then cross check the cost.
Good point !! Goggle the "million mile Tundra"
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Old 07-10-2018, 02:43 PM   #16
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I'm an old frat retired trucker. I've owned a few big trucks from the old 238 uptown the 600. Diesel is the way to go if you're gonna pull a big toy hauler or something that weighs over 12,000 lbs constantly. Myself my wife passed and I fulltime now. I have a 2009 Silverado 2500 6.0 pull a 9200 lb rockwood 8288ws 5er. Have been all around the country with no problems. I pull the western mountains at 63 mph ,could go faster but don't want to. Engine brake holds me back going down. Sure I would like a diesel but can't see justify the price and emissions problems for the miles I put on. Its ten years old and the only problem has been the stereo quit. Change oil every 3500 miles . At 82000 miles it'll last me the rest of my life.
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Old 07-10-2018, 03:05 PM   #17
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If cost per mile is an issue, we now gotta include the cost of Diesel Exhaust Fluid which must be used in newer diesels, I think 2002 and newer. I'm happy with my 2008 F250 6.4, but there have been issues with smoky exhaust when the filters get dirty.
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Old 07-10-2018, 03:06 PM   #18
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I've been totally happy with my 2003 GMC 2500 HD with a 8.1 liter gasser and Allison transmission. Bought it in 2010 and have only had to do normal maintenance on it. MPG is about the same as the 6.0 gasser. They're hard to find because those who have them hang on to them. GM quit using them with the new style trucks in 2007.
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Old 07-10-2018, 03:43 PM   #19
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Nope. Def wasn't required until '08 to my knowledge.

Mine is an '07 and doesn't require.
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Old 07-10-2018, 03:45 PM   #20
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Another thread veering off topic....
Since when don't they? LOL..
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