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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been following the forum for a while and have been able to soak up a lot of great information. I'm about ready to take the plunge, but I'm still debating whether I should get the gas or diesel engine. I've pretty well settled on the 159" WB, regular length. I plan to do a camper/RV conversion for trips in the US and occasionally in Baja (and possibly mainland Mexico). I plan to install solar, a roof fan, and possibly an awning. I don't normally tow a trailer, but might need to once in a while. I'm guessing that I'll probably only drive about 10K miles/year. Here are some of the pros and cons for the two engines based on what I have read. Any feedback would be appreciated!

Gas Engine

1. Lower initial cost
2. Worse fuel economy (15-18 mpg?)
3. Lower oil change cost and lower maintenance cost?
4. Easier to find service and spare parts (particularly south of the border)
5. Not a problem if you need to idle engine


Diesel
1. Better fuel economy (22-25 mpg?)
2. Less effort to drive efficiently?
3. Longer engine life (not a big deal at 10k/yr?)
4. More robust transmission
5. Better gear ratios
6. Issues finding ULSD and DEF south of the border (there is supposed to be ULSD down to where I normally go in Baja and I have read that there "might" not be any issues using higher sulfur diesel for periods of time).
 

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If you choose the diesel, when in Mexico you should look into replacing your diesel ECM with the Mexican version.
You would then be able to remove the DEF, EGR, DPF and all the problems the diesel is having in the US.
 

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I had a gas Promaster for 33,000 miles and loved it. The fact I tow 98% of the time was the main reason for going to the diesel. Now I wouldn't trade this Diesel PM for anything. 34,000 miles later the van is absolutely amazing and I haven't had any issues at all. I idle my Diesel all the time for periods of about 8 hours at a time. No issues.














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For your needs it sounds like a Gas engine will be great and you will be fine with either decision. I do love my 500 miles between needing fuel on the diesel :)
 

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I had a gas Promaster for 33,000 miles and loved it. The fact I tow 98% of the time was the main reason for going to the diesel. Now I wouldn't trade this Diesel PM for anything. 34,000 miles later the van is absolutely amazing and I haven't had any issues at all. I idle my Diesel all the time for periods of about 8 hours at a time. No issues.
What did you get for mpgs in each?
 

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Towing with both a 6 x 12 trailer. Trailer weight loaded is approximately 3000lbs. Wind conditions vary mpg's.




Gas while towing was between, 15mpg to 18mpg
Diesel while towing is between, 19mpg to 21.5 mpg
 

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If you choose the diesel, when in Mexico you should look into replacing your diesel ECM with the Mexican version.
You would then be able to remove the DEF, EGR, DPF and all the problems the diesel is having in the US.
Really? Thats all there is to it? Are you in Mexico so you know that or do you have a reference that they don't have any of those on MX? I will be there in October so I will want to see in person if the Van is that different. The new diesels we see in MX normally don't belch smoke so I thought they were getting similar treatment.
We haven't heard of a problem with the diesels here in any van made after October(1) and December(1) '14 when the initial issues due to new production seem to have gotten worked out, so I don't think its fair to say "all the problems".... Mine seems fine.
 

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I would not want A diesel without the current emissions. Our diesels are so clean and so efficient I wouldn't touch anything.

Also California State patrol in particular look for new current diesels that have eliminated emissions systems with fines up to $10,000.
 

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Really? Thats all there is to it? Are you in Mexico so you know that or do you have a reference that they don't have any of those on MX?

Sorry just presumed that if ULSD was not readily available in Mexico, it would not be possible to sell DPF equiped vehicles in that country.
 

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2015 diesel

Hi,I just got my 2015 diesel and it is been in shop at my dealer for two week of its four week life with def ck engine light. So maybe not fixed yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Really? Thats all there is to it? Are you in Mexico so you know that or do you have a reference that they don't have any of those on MX?

Sorry just presumed that if ULSD was not readily available in Mexico, it would not be possible to sell DPF equiped vehicles in that country.
When I was doing my research, I looked on the RAM Mexico site to see if they even sell the Promaster in Mexico. Based on the website, it does appear that they sell a more limited lineup. I did not see any model with the 3.0 l diesel engine, so I assumed that it was not available there and that parts and service for that engine would be difficult to find or non-existent.

Towing with both a 6 x 12 trailer. Trailer weight loaded is approximately 3000lbs. Wind conditions vary mpg's.




Gas while towing was between, 15mpg to 18mpg
Diesel while towing is between, 19mpg to 21.5 mpg
This is great information and extremely helpful! Mileage estimates for both gas and diesel are all over the map, so it is hard to tell how much is due to the difference in the engine and how much is due to conditions. Gas and diesel estimates from the same driver under similar conditions are as close as you can get to an apples to apples comparison.

A couple of months ago I was pretty certain that a gas Promaster was my best option if I wanted to use it for trips to Baja. Once I discovered that ULSD is available half way down the peninsula, and that many late-model diesels operate short term on LS diesel without permanent damage, I started thinking more seriously about the diesel option. In order to avoid any potential warranty issues due to non-spec fuel, I would probably be smart and go with the gas engine. But, I really do like the diesel and the auto-manual...

Keep the comments coming if you have any.

Fortunately, Adrian's comment that I can't go wrong with either decision makes the process a lot easier!
 

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Have you actually DRIVEN the diesel?

Its like driving two different vehicles as far as I am concerned. No offense to diesel lovers, but the Gasser is like driving a mini van (only quicker, cooler, and more fun :)), the diesel is like... well... a diesel van.. with a really slow shifting "robotic" transmission...
 

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the diesel is like... well... a diesel van.. with a really slow shifting "robotic" transmission...
Yup. And I smile every time it shifts as I accelerate from a stop. Love it. (ok, I don't always smile at the 1-2 shift; and its not that slow, its either getting faster or I'm getting used to it)
 

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At only 10k per year, sporadic use, you can cross fuel economy off the list. It just isnt going to make much difference in terms of dollars. Since gas got cheap again, diesel is 40-60 cents more so that further lessens the savings.

The parts/complexity issue alone would favor the gas engine. Need a water pump? With diesel you are screwed, with gas you could get it off a jeep, minivan, 300, etc.

Same for service. Even in detroit itself, most mechanics will stare blankly at dpf, egr, def, hi pressure direct injection. The same mechanics can handle minivans no problem. In fact, he already has the scan tool. Diesel he not only doesnt have the tool but will never have it because it costs thousands.

Idling: diesel is slightly noisier, though both engines arent noisy. The manual seems to urge you to not idle the diesel. No such injunction on the gasser.

Fuel: you may or may not find diesel stations in mexico as in the states. But you will find gas. Lets say the problem is bad fuel. Dirty, stale, or waterlogged. Dirt or asphaltics will destroy the diesel. A simple clogged injector will cost a fortune. On the gasser, injectors are cheap and plentiful. I can speak for the diesel, but on the gasser the air cleaner is about the size of a 2liter bottle and wont be a problem.

Lastly, you can buy a lot of tequilla for $4000. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
 

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KOT,

You keep saying these things but....
I am seeing diesel for the same price as unleaded here in NH-Vt if you use gas buddy to compare. Some stations are 10 percent more but there are some even. 40-60 cents more??? not here and we always seem to have high diesel prices.

The fact the diesel engine is less common and this one is used on only a few vehicles here makes it more expensive and specialized so you are right about that but..... this is an industral-comercial engine and drive train not a mini-van carry over and the need for constant care may be much less.

Detroit is the problem why we don't have more small diesel trucks and cars. They seem to agree with you and as long as they do the diesels will come from Europe. That is sad. No one is putting down your choice because you basically have a Caravan drive train in a truck and its longevity may be severely compromised for its lack of truck specification. Why do you have to do the reverse to prospective deciders?

Adrian just said he idles his diesel for 8 hours no problem. Why say this it just isn't right. It doesn't urge me to do anything.

You spend a lot of time in Mexico? I find good diesel common and more vehicles with diesels where I go there. I don't think it is a problem unless you can give us some more detail on the issue. I plan to take my diesel van into MX often.

The diesel option is actually $4500 more so that is a good point. In the Sprinter and pickups it looks to me like one gets most of it back when they sell or they keep it for 100's of thousands of miles and the payback is fine.

Ease up on us please.
 

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Ease up on us please.

Nothing wrong with someone offering their opinion of the vehicle and I'd have to point out that you're doing the same in your posts :). The gas and diesel both have their advantages, but weighing the pros and cons of gas vs. diesel shouldn't be seen as criticizing anyone for their choice one way or the other.
 

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RD,
You are correct and I apologize. Believe it or not, I do consciously try not to denigrate the diesel on this board. Not because of how I feel about it, but because I hate to be the guy who said "you made the wrong choice" after someone has already bought it. That doesn't help anybody. I often break this rule and pipe in with negativity toward the diesel. For that I apologize. It's just that I'm so happy with the gasser.

Let me clarify my statements above. I drive almost exclusively in a radius around Detroit from Chicago to Boston. Most of the time, diesel is more expensive. Two days ago in Akron where I live, I saw gas had fallen to under $2.10 and diesel was still at $2.60. I understand it's different in different areas, but if you are often over-the-road then it's something to think about.

I am definitely talking out of my ass with regard to Mexico. I don't go there, so it was speculation on my part.

You are right though - I am biased by how I use the PM and how much I drive, and can't get out of that mindset. I don't even tow. My big thing is overall cost, and service is a huge cost. And for me, a breakdown is a double whammy because I'm spending money to fix it while not earning money. With zero downtime (so far) on the gasser, it's hard for me not to be enthusiastic.
 

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I did not think KOT was criticizing me and rereading my post I don't think I criticized him. He has been a valuable poster here and I just thought I saw it differently. I have no intention of doing so and if KOT thinks I did I am heartfelt sorry for any inadvertent suggestion I did. I have just noticed that there are posts suggesting the diesel isn't a good choice and feel both sides should be represented when the OP is asking for help in making a decision.

KOT you beat me typing. I'm good with you and respect your knowledge and experience. I am loving my diesel and so far I'm so giddy to be getting 27+mpg, great driving and love the van. I hope to never have to post I made the wrong choice but time will tell. You have nothing to apologize for so I ain't accepting it!
 

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I am glad we can have different opinions without a flame war breaking out.

I guess if my mission was towing, or a heavy motor home, or consistantly running heavy, or if I ran a lot of mountains, then I'd be inclined toward the diesel. If I had a bus or limo application where the thing never shut off all day also. Or a tow truck or car hauler kind of thing.

But I think on one point we might agree; average gas price vs average diesel price, and a difference between 21mpg gas vs 28mpg diesel, and it's pretty close to a wash. Factor in the 4000 difference and DEF and it's even muddier. Then oil changes, which I don't know about the diesel but gas is cheap and easy. Could you and I agree on the idea that if saving money is the goal you have to really carefully run your numbers on gas vs. diesel?
 

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It really is a personal choice.

One factor that was large for me after having driven diesel for 30 years: diesel pumps can be nasty. Step in a puddle or get it on your hands and the vehicle stinks for a while.
 

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I am glad we can have different opinions without a flame war breaking out.

I guess if my mission was towing, or a heavy motor home, or consistantly running heavy, or if I ran a lot of mountains, then I'd be inclined toward the diesel. If I had a bus or limo application where the thing never shut off all day also. Or a tow truck or car hauler kind of thing.

But I think on one point we might agree; average gas price vs average diesel price, and a difference between 21mpg gas vs 28mpg diesel, and it's pretty close to a wash. Factor in the 4000 difference and DEF and it's even muddier. Then oil changes, which I don't know about the diesel but gas is cheap and easy. Could you and I agree on the idea that if saving money is the goal you have to really carefully run your numbers on gas vs. diesel?
You are correct and I think we agree on lots here! Once I did post that I was not buying the diesel for any money advantage. If I ever say that I did, slap me I'm dreaming. I ran the cost of oil changes and they compare well cost-wise to my F150, IF...... you do the diesel at 12,000 to 15,000 miles, well before the recommended 18,000 interval. I am not sure I have the guts to leave the oil in that long but in Europe they are saying 30,000 km! And....... you buy the spec'ed oil discounted to $6/qt (order from wally world or amazon) and a Baldwin or Wix filter from the same sources.
The repairs are a crap shoot. If I am lucky I get the miles trouble free but if I have out of warrantee repairs it will be brutal. The DEF adds a tiny but as I see it at the truck stops for just over $2/gal.

msnomers point is good and not a $ issue. I have a diesel tractor and I have nitrile gloves handy when I refuel. That stuff stinks (as gas does but it vaporizes)
I think the gasser is a great vehicle. KOV (not you) gave me a another chance to drive one recently and it is impressive. No one should second guess its purchase.
 
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