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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Trying to decide between 2014 gas or diesel

Hi all- just joined the forum. We plan to get a 2014 promaster 159 soon to convert into an RV. I am trying to decide on gas or diesel. I like gas because it is cheaper and has a standard Chrysler drive train so it would be easier to fix if broke down in the boonies. I like the idea of diesel but I am not sure the better mileage would make up for the extra cost up front plus the higher diesel price. I cannot find many reliability reports for the 6 spd auto/manual transmission other than some reviews on a site in England that mentioned transmission and clutch problems.

http://vans.honestjohn.co.uk/van-reviews/fiat/ducato-2006/?section=good

If I could find solid reliability reports for this transmission, I would feel more comfortable getting the diesel. Can anyone help me decide?
Robert
 

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Never thought we would, but we went back to gas after 4 Sprinter based RV's. IMHO, simplicity won out...

BTW, averaged 14.8 mpg in our first 2000 mile trip. Not bad for a 8900 pound box.
 

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I also made the same move (went from a diesel Sprinter to a gas Promaster) and would never go back to the diesel again.

A lot depends on where you live and where you plan to travel and how many miles you expect to put on it. I happen to live in the Northeast where diesel is always much more expensive in the winter months and at least 10% - 15% more in the summer, plus the headache of dealing with a diesel in the cold weather. If you live in an area where diesel is about the same as regular or even a little less year round or you plan to travel to those areas a diesel can make more sense. Also you have to determine how long and how many miles you plan to run the vehicle before replacing it. The extra $4k-$5k will take the typical RV driver 10 years at least to break even unless you are planning on driving 30k or 40k miles a year.

In most cases, a diesel should return a bit more money when you decide to sell it but typically it's a wash when you run the actual numbers over a span of 10 years and 150k miles.

The bottom line - buy what you can afford and want! We all have different wants and needs at different times of our life and only you can determine what suits you best.
 

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I have no experience yet as my 2015 diesel is not here. I faced the same issue and ordered the diesel based on a long test drive of both, research on the engine and transmission, and reports of others who have driven it extensively. My decision was not made on economy but on the drivability and longevity issue. It appears this transmission with the robotized shift and clutch has not had the problems of the clutched version more common in Europe. That one shudders when backing up and especially if on a hill. Unless you found something I didn't this one is free of all problems. The transmission and engine combination are reported to work very well on hills and the lifetime of the clutch is said to be very long compared to foot clutched versions, maybe life of vehicle, we'll see.
Early examples of the diesel have had sensor issues and perhaps production errors that have made some problems, one poster got his van replaced with a gasser as the issues were so bad. On the other side here, one gasser lost an engine at 109K and had to pay some of the cost of replacement so real serious problems seems like a wash. Now with 6-8 months of producing the diesel I feel it is safe to get a 2015. Very few issues are being reported now.... we may be past it. I would look at the build date on any diesel and choose the latest one available.
No one has reported problems with the gasser being an engine and transmission from a minivan in a much larger van which did play a part in my decision. The 6 gasser's speed shifts all the time and for me that drives me NUTS. Its a personal thing, sorry. I have come to the conclusion the gas drivetrain is up to the task and its FCA's generic engine so repair should be everywhere.
The test drive of the two power plants sold me on the diesel. Everything about it I loved.... the gasser, I didn't like, it felt it jerked me off the line, shifted down on inclines I couldn't even feel, or in wind. I would say an extensive test drive of both is the most important thing to consider. I hope I'm happy when it comes as its a lot of $$ to do wrong.
 

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Drivability. As RD mentioned, that can be a big part of it. I'd rather pay more for a vehicle that makes me happy driving it than one that would frequently annoy me. That's easily worth the $4-5k cost of the diesel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Drivability. As RD mentioned, that can be a big part of it. I'd rather pay more for a vehicle that makes me happy driving it than one that would frequently annoy me. That's easily worth the $4-5k cost of the diesel.
Thanks Zyzzyx, these posts are making me feel about getting the diesel I really want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have no experience yet as my 2015 diesel is not here. I faced the same issue and ordered the diesel based on a long test drive of both, research on the engine and transmission, and reports of others who have driven it extensively. My decision was not made on economy but on the drivability and longevity issue. It appears this transmission with the robotized shift and clutch has not had the problems of the clutched version more common in Europe. That one shudders when backing up and especially if on a hill. Unless you found something I didn't this one is free of all problems. The transmission and engine combination are reported to work very well on hills and the lifetime of the clutch is said to be very long compared to foot clutched versions, maybe life of vehicle, we'll see.
Early examples of the diesel have had sensor issues and perhaps production errors that have made some problems, one poster got his van replaced with a gasser as the issues were so bad. On the other side here, one gasser lost an engine at 109K and had to pay some of the cost of replacement so real serious problems seems like a wash. Now with 6-8 months of producing the diesel I feel it is safe to get a 2015. Very few issues are being reported now.... we may be past it. I would look at the build date on any diesel and choose the latest one available.
No one has reported problems with the gasser being an engine and transmission from a minivan in a much larger van which did play a part in my decision. The 6 gasser's speed shifts all the time and for me that drives me NUTS. Its a personal thing, sorry. I have come to the conclusion the gas drivetrain is up to the task and its FCA's generic engine so repair should be everywhere.
The test drive of the two power plants sold me on the diesel. Everything about it I loved.... the gasser, I didn't like, it felt it jerked me off the line, shifted down on inclines I couldn't even feel, or in wind. I would say an extensive test drive of both is the most important thing to consider. I hope I'm happy when it comes as its a lot of $$ to do wrong.
Thanks RDinNHandAZ, I will schedule test drives. This post has addressed most of my concerns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I also made the same move (went from a diesel Sprinter to a gas Promaster) and would never go back to the diesel again.

A lot depends on where you live and where you plan to travel and how many miles you expect to put on it. I happen to live in the Northeast where diesel is always much more expensive in the winter months and at least 10% - 15% more in the summer, plus the headache of dealing with a diesel in the cold weather. If you live in an area where diesel is about the same as regular or even a little less year round or you plan to travel to those areas a diesel can make more sense. Also you have to determine how long and how many miles you plan to run the vehicle before replacing it. The extra $4k-$5k will take the typical RV driver 10 years at least to break even unless you are planning on driving 30k or 40k miles a year.

In most cases, a diesel should return a bit more money when you decide to sell it but typically it's a wash when you run the actual numbers over a span of 10 years and 150k miles.

The bottom line - buy what you can afford and want! We all have different wants and needs at different times of our life and only you can determine what suits you best.
keeponvaning- I don't think i will be going east of Texas. Here in the west, we do not use heating oil and diesel is 5-10% more than gas. I am hoping to convince a dealer to get rid of one of his 2014 diesels for a lot less than $4-5k more than gas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Never thought we would, but we went back to gas after 4 Sprinter based RV's. IMHO, simplicity won out...

BTW, averaged 14.8 mpg in our first 2000 mile trip. Not bad for a 8900 pound box.
otbiker57- 15 mpg with a gas full size rig like that is pretty impressive. Thank you for the information. I will decide after test drives. And I see you're from Kerrville- I spent some time there in 2002 and I loved the place.
 

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fairly new owner

I too thought long and hard , talked to my reg mechanic, and jumped in the water with the Diesal . My brother has a gasser and it hunts for a shift point when he is loaded and gets into wind and grade. I think one can get used to that, and change driving style or technique .
Now the good , never had a truck get so much gas miles per gallon, drive in So Calif hilly and every kind of condition except rain . It turns in 15 ft less than my Ford E250 cargo Van. The manual shift auto is much easier and precise using the manual position , Auto has a slushy shift and is not a positive engagement, you must remember the tourge range is best 1700 rpm . I actually look forward to using it to do my job in construction. I would think a test drive will help you make up your own mind. FYI- I bought a 136 ,2500 with a diesal , power mirrors , the upfitter switches, Uconnect back up camera
Customer preferred Convenience Package, cloth 6 way adjustable seats
$ 31,250.00 2014 White boring but ok 4800 miles no problems to date
Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Michael- cool that your brother has the gasser that you can check out. I am going to drive both and get what I like the most. I suspect that will be the diesel. And don't be shy- what kind of mileage do you get? And $31k is a good price for a diesel. How long have you had it?
 

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millage question

Bought it from Huntington Dodge, in mid Feb 2015 the truck was an E-mail
from internet Query. Did not hesitate as the build price was a little over
38,000 The average mpg is 22- 26 but that is me watching my driving and using the instant mile per gallon on the trip info. I was used to getting 8-10mpg
with my E250 ford cargo van. I like everything about this van , actually more than the day I purchased it.
 

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After 5 months with the diesel, I am a big fan. The Diesel engine in the promaster is a heavy duty commercial engine. The gas is a light duty engine that can be found in a variety of different types of vehicles. The gas can be serviced just about anywhere. I get 25 to 26 miles per gallon with the diesel and almost totally use the manual shift mode. It is going to boil down to which you like to drive and whether you want to spring $4500 extra for the diesel.
 

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I first thought I would buy a PM gas short body. After looking at most of the available models at 3 different dealers, I upgraded to the PM diesel low-roof mid-sized wheelbase model with a driver side door and cargo bulkhead. I am enjoying that diesel is 30 cents cheaper than unleaded gas. The dashboard computer says that it is getting about 22 mpg around town. This van has had to go into the shop regarding the engine light issue. Each time there was a software update, but no apparent problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
There are several diesels around that price in the LA area. I'm getting one soon.

I first thought I would buy a PM gas short body. After looking at most of the available models at 3 different dealers, I upgraded to the PM diesel low-roof mid-sized wheelbase model with a driver side door and cargo bulkhead. I am enjoying that diesel is 30 cents cheaper than unleaded gas. The dashboard computer says that it is getting about 22 mpg around town. This van has had to go into the shop regarding the engine light issue. Each time there was a software update, but no apparent problem.
 

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beware of diesel - we also just swapped a pretty new Sprinter for gas Promaster - even took a hit - why?
1) mandated blue-tec pollution equipment is a royal pain - a) requires more maint with def, fuel filters etc and b) the DPF equipment doesn't seem to have the kinks out - replacing a DPF is super $$ (like $000's) . Talk to truckers and see how they like the def systems - everyone I asked hated it
2) can't get the low sulfur diesel fuel in Mexico or SA
3) depends on how many mis - even running around the country, we avg around 15-25k / yr at that rate gas is more cost-effective - if you are expediting / delivering and putting on 100k/yr then diesel might be much better
4) no more hunting for low ash oil on sale - gas is just simpler
5) drivability - dont' think it matters that much - guess gas allows faster accel but pedal to metal is not good for any engine.
6) diesel gives shower points at truck stops, gas does not but this just hastens effort to put shower in the promaster

miss the ruggedness of Sprinter but Promaster is much less $$ so ...
 

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ps: with Promaster gas avg 19 highwy (keeping at 60mph) and 17 around town - with diesel Sprinters avg about 21 highway and 17 around town - ymmv - it all depends on weight, headwinds, and acceleration rate
 

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... I like gas because it is cheaper and has a standard Chrysler drive train so it would be easier to fix if broke down in the boonies. I like the idea of diesel but I am not sure the better mileage would make up for the extra cost up front plus the higher diesel price ...
To me, you're thinking on the right track here. If the Diesel never has problems and servicing costs were the same, then I imagine it would be worth the extra $4K over the lifetime of the vehicle. I also really like the IDEA of having a Diesel. But to me, the Diesel horror stories here and the extra expense of servicing and the semi-constant return trips to the dealer (as several here have experienced) who may or may not be proficient with these Diesels ... well, for my type of use the Diesel just doesn't add up. The way my gasser's tranny shifts doesn't bother me at all. Watching the Instant MPGs drop from from 21 to 14 when it downshifts bothers me more.

But like everyone else says, you've got to decide which is better for YOU and how you're going to use it.

My 2 cents ...
 
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