At the start, before we look at diesel pushers, lets have a quick look at the stuff that gives them their name; Diesel. It all started with Rudolf Diesel who in 1893 developed the first diesel engine. These original experiments involved running the engine on coal dust but it soon ran on the liquid fossil fuel that we are now familiar with as Diesel.
This is an efficient internal combustion engine which uses the heat generated by compression to ignite the fuel injected into the chamber. This is as opposed to the spark plug arrangement used in the gasoline engine.
The main advantages of a diesel engine over its gasoline equivalent is fuel economy and engine longevity. Event though the engines cost more, with a bit of care they can go on for a long, long time. If you live in a place where it is reasonably priced in relation to Gasoline you are generally on a winner when using a Diesel powered vehicle.
Road-going vehicles come in many configurations and the engine is usually mounted in one of three places. It can be placed in the front, center or it can be rear mounted. The power from the engine is again usually delivered in three directions, to the front wheels, to to those at the rear or to all four. With off road vehicles it is usually delivered to all four wheel and on-road vehicles generally power their front or rear wheels only. The diesel pusher has its engine mounted at the rear of the vehicle and generally delivers power to the rear wheels, thereby pushing rather than pulling it along.
If you’ve ever taken to the roads in any kind of recreational vehicle you will have looked at a Class A RV with some level of desire. I know I certainly have and along with many other kinds of unit this is one of those that I would really like to get my hands on one day. The Class A is of course a luxury vehicle for people who appreciate the finer things. If you are one of these people who derive pleasure from gaining the maximum enjoyment from using the least possible amount of equipment in a back-to-basics kind of way then you are likely on the wrong page. If on the other hand you have some time on you hands, a budget for luxurious camping and a desire to take to the roads in maximum comfort then one of these might just be the ticket.
Comfort on the campsite is only part of the story as you need to get there and back as well. It would make little sense, in fact no sense at all, if you had to struggle to get these things to their destination and of course you don’t have to. They are easy to drive and you travel in maximum comfort, arriving fit and relaxed ready to enjoy your days as a very happy camper indeed.
It’s not just the ride quality that contributes to your comfort however and you will find that your diesel pusher comes well equipped with things like large screen TV, automatic satellite systems, under floor heating, on-board (often diesel powered) generators and huge fridge freezers. You will also find that the level of finish is very high where the walls, trim, furniture and fittings tend to remind you more of a very good hotel rather than a motorhome. You will have all the comfort and convenience of not just any home but a very good and luxurious one.
If you find the cost of the diesel unit is putting you off do take a moment to consider what you are getting for the price. Don’t easily make the decision to stray from your commitment to a Class A unit. Of course if you do want to consider other options you will find that smaller more basic models are available at lower prices. This will mean that you can get your diesel pusher at closer to the cost of a gas or petrol model and you will have the added advantage of having something that will last you a very long time indeed.
With better economy and mostly bigger fuel tanks you will usually range further in one of these units also. However depending on where you live the cost of fuel and the maintenance and repair cost may be high for these things. In some countries diesel is cheaper than petrol or gasoline and in others it is dearer. If you are in one of the jurisdictions where diesel is a bit more expensive then your cost of ownership of a diesel pusher will most likely be higher than that of gasoline powered unit.
Everything is bigger too with these things and your tank will take more fuel to fill it. You will need more oil, and bigger filters. It is heavy and your tyres will need to be matched to the load that they are being asked to carry, causing you further expense.
One of the things to remember with these large vehicles is to never leave the pavement. Most lighter RVs can be and usually are safely driven or towed onto grass pitches. They usually remain supported on the surface, except in very soft conditions. Your diesel pusher on the other hand is heavy, very heavy, and by the time it has sunk up to its vitals in the mud you are looking at an expensive recovery operation to get back on the road. Depending on how deep the thing has sunk and how long it it has been in there you will also need to have it checked to make sure that everything is in working order.
Don’t let all this put you off however as these things really can be an investment. Not perhaps in the sense that your vehicle will pay you back more than you payed for it, but more than likely in terms of how long it lasts and the enjoyment you will derive from it. Once you factor in that this is a commercial vehicle, built to commercial standards in the same way as a haulage truck or a passenger bus then you soon realise that you will get hundreds of thousands of miles from it. With a bit of reasonable care and maintenance, at a minimum that recommended by the manufacturer and by your supplier, you really should have a vehicle for life. Perhaps, like your Tilley Hat, you can even bequeath it to the next generation of Rvers in your will.
Have a look through the following list of manufacturers and go along to your local dealer. Kick some tyres and try the cushions for comfort:
Beaver Motor Coaches, 62955 Boyd Acres Rd, Bend, OR 97701. Tel 877 466 6226
Chariot Vans Inc., 2994 Paul Drive, Elkhart, IN 46514. Tel 574 264 7577
Coachmen Industries, 2831 Dexter Drive, Elkhart, IN 46515. Tel 574 262 0123
Custom Coach Corporation, 7052 Americana Parkway, Columbus, OH 43068. Tel 614 481 8881
Damon Corporation, 2958 Gateway Drive, Elkhart, IN 46514. Tel 574 262 2624
Fleetwood RV, 3125 Myers Street, Riverside, CA 92503. Tel 951 351 3500
Forest River, 55470 CR 1, Elkhart, IN 46515. Tel 574 389 4600
Foretravel, 1221 NW Stallings Drive, Nacogdoches, TX 75964. Tel 936 564 8367
Georgie Boy Manufacturing, P.O. Box 30, Middlebury, IN 46540. Tel 800 353 7383
King of the Road, P.O. Box 127, Aurora, NE 68467. Tel 866 400 9840
Liberty Coach, 1400 Morrow Avenue, North Chicago, IL 60064. Tel 847-578-4600
Navistar, Inc., 91320 Coburg Industrial Way, Coburg, OR 97408. Tel 541-686-8011
Newell Coach., PO Box 511, Miami, OK 74354. Tel 918-542-3355
Prevost, 35 Gagnon Blvd., Sainte-Claire, QC G0R 2V0. Tel 418 883 3391
Rexhall Industries, 46147 7th Street W., Lancaster, CA 93534. Tel 661 726 0565
Sportscoach, PO Box 30, Middlebury, IN 46540. Tel 800 353 7383
Thor Industries, 419 W Pike Street, Jackson Center, OH 45334. Tel 937 596 6849
Thor Motor Coach, 701 County Road 15, Elkhart, IN 46516. Tel 800 860 5658
Tiffin Motor Homes, 105 2nd Street NW, Red Bay, AL 35582. Tel 256 356 8661
Travel Supreme, 66149 SR 19 Wakarusa, IN 46573. Tel 574 862 4484
Triple E Recreational Vehicles, 301 Roblin Blvd, Winkler, MB R6W 4C4. Tel 204 325 4361
Winnebago Industries, 605 W. Crystal Lake Road, Forest City, IA 50436. Tel 641 585 3535