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#474561 - 11/13/09 04:37 PM Diesel VS Gas for Towing  
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Cap'nBrian Offline
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Recently I bought my first diesel (F-250) with plenty of reservations. These diesel vs gas comparisons were interesting because they shed some light on performance and maintenance differences that I didn't expect.
Gas vs. Diesel Which is best for you?

2008 Ford Super Duty - Diesel vs. Gas

Which do you prefer and why?

Last edited by Cap'nBrian; 11/13/09 04:38 PM.

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#474563 - 11/13/09 04:53 PM Re: Diesel VS Gas for Towing [Re: Cap'nBrian]  
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FreshWaterLover Offline
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we picked gasoline. There is a towing advantage with diesel but most of us pulling the legal towable boat aren't going to need that much extra, I don't think. Diesel has some advantages in lifespan but overall gasoline engines are easier to deal with, and more reliable. I'll admit that much of my own bias is due to experience with diesels from 10 and 20 years ago and the engines are much better now for the average person. Hubby operates an ambulance garage, and often drives too, and all of their ambulances are diesel so he is very used to them, and we still decided on gas.


Tami

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"The more you learn, the more you have a framework that the knowledge fits into" - Bill Gates
#474564 - 11/13/09 04:56 PM Re: Diesel VS Gas for Towing [Re: Cap'nBrian]  
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GoFirstClass Offline
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Brain, errrr, I mean Brian, laugh laugh

I towed my boat one time a V-8 gas powered pickup across town and, while it towed it fine once it got moving, getting the boat/trailer/truck up to speed seemed to take a lot of time with my foot all the way to the floor. I really felt like I was over taxing the truck and engine and most likely the tranny also.

I've towed it several times with F350 Powerstrokes and they do a great job. If I were going to buy a truck that would be mainly used to tow a heavy load I would insist it was a diesel.

If I was only going to tow once a year or so I'd probably buy a gas pickup and rent a diesel rig to tow it. It's really hard to be the down and dirty grunt that a diesel engine provides but IMHO it's hard to justify the additional expense of buying a diesel truck for an occasional tow.

Plus, diesel fuel is stinky and does not evaporate if you slosh some on your clothes or on the side of your truck when filling it.

For convenience it's hard to be a gasser. For torque you can't beat a diesel.


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#474568 - 11/13/09 06:10 PM Re: Diesel VS Gas for Towing [Re: GoFirstClass]  
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Finger Lakes Boater Offline
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Always a great discussion starter! laugh

We own a gasser, but that has more to do with circumstance than informed choice. Once you've towed a max load with a torquey diesel, it's pretty hard to argue the superior choice.

That said, the Banks Powerpak system on the Ford 460 puts the torque/hp numbers up in diesel territory, and 15 years later the Big Blue beast still runs like a clock. About 60k miles of its 210,000 total were in front of a 16,000 lb fifth wheel trailer, another 50k+ in front of a 10k lb equipment trailer, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 35k miles with Baby Blue in tow (roughly 6,500 lbs).

A good argument for the diesel, in addition to the torque, is fuel mileage, although that argument was better when the unchipped diesels were clocking 17 - 18 mpg. Our average fuel usage over the life of the truck is just a bit over 10, with 14 about the best available unladen. Over a couple hundred thousand miles, that's a LOT of fuel! smile


I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of moneyed corporations which dare to challenge our government in a trial of strength, defy the laws of our country. Thomas Jefferson "Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will seek to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed." Abraham Lincoln
#474573 - 11/13/09 09:36 PM Re: Diesel VS Gas for Towing [Re: Finger Lakes Boater]  
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Justification Offline
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I Quit trying to justify the extra cost of buying my diesel when the fuel prices changed.
Now I just use the argument that I arrive at the lake much less stressed, and get to stay at the lake later in the day prior to our 400 mile run home. We typically pull into the garage at 1:00AM with me still happy and relaxed with the rest of the family asleep.
Towing with the diesel is night and day above what either of our gassers are capable of. The 2-3 MPG better mileage is a bonus, especially since I can do that while towing 10 MPH faster.
Now that the Duramax is 5 years old my winter projects are to see how much more performance I can get out of it without a programmer. Then I'll get a programmer and really water my eyes.


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#474575 - 11/13/09 10:14 PM Re: Diesel VS Gas for Towing [Re: Justification]  
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deepv Offline
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Maintaining a diesel is no more diffecult than maintaining a gasser. The oil cost a bit more but that is made up in the milage... And then there's the towing. That's a whole different thing all together. It is nice to cruise at 2100 RPM's down the interstate in OD and grunt those grades we seem to have out here in the western part of the country. I prefer to have the tow vehicle's capacity far exceed the demand.


72% of fatal boat accidents are caused by
boaters that haven't taken a safe boating course.

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#474580 - 11/13/09 11:11 PM Re: Diesel VS Gas for Towing [Re: deepv]  
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Silverbullet Offline
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I've owned 2 diesels and a bunch of gassers.

PRefer the diesel hands down when towing. Occasionally a little inconvenient when looking for fuel. But, it's all worth it.

Mine takes 10 quarts of oil while our burb takes 8. Not much of a difference. The truck just handles it better.


James
2002 Cobalt 226 VP 8.1GIDP
2007 Chevy 2500HD Crew Cab Duramax
1988 Suburban 3/4 Ton
2000 Subaru Forester


#474594 - 11/14/09 12:04 PM Re: Diesel VS Gas for Towing [Re: Silverbullet]  
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Finger Lakes Boater Offline
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Originally Posted By: Silverbullet
I've owned 2 diesels and a bunch of gassers.

PRefer the diesel hands down when towing. Occasionally a little inconvenient when looking for fuel. But, it's all worth it.

Mine takes 10 quarts of oil while our burb takes 8. Not much of a difference. The truck just handles it better.



Well, my OTHER tow rig is a diesel. It takes FORTY EIGHT quarts of oil. (But I don't change it very often...) laugh laugh


I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of moneyed corporations which dare to challenge our government in a trial of strength, defy the laws of our country. Thomas Jefferson "Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will seek to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed." Abraham Lincoln
#474603 - 11/14/09 08:45 PM Re: Diesel VS Gas for Towing [Re: Finger Lakes Boater]  
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Silverbullet Offline
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Boise, ID
Originally Posted By: Finger Lakes Boater
Originally Posted By: Silverbullet
I've owned 2 diesels and a bunch of gassers.

PRefer the diesel hands down when towing. Occasionally a little inconvenient when looking for fuel. But, it's all worth it.

Mine takes 10 quarts of oil while our burb takes 8. Not much of a difference. The truck just handles it better.



Well, my OTHER tow rig is a diesel. It takes FORTY EIGHT quarts of oil. (But I don't change it very often...) laugh laugh


Yyou should head to Kragen and get in on the Delo 400 Oil deal. $6 a gallon isn't bad.


James
2002 Cobalt 226 VP 8.1GIDP
2007 Chevy 2500HD Crew Cab Duramax
1988 Suburban 3/4 Ton
2000 Subaru Forester


#474606 - 11/14/09 10:54 PM Re: Diesel VS Gas for Towing [Re: Silverbullet]  
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Finger Lakes Boater Offline
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Good suggestion SB, but given that the rig only gets "licensed" via three-day permits a couple of times a year, I'm thinking the oil that went in 500 miles ago will last a few years. smile


I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of moneyed corporations which dare to challenge our government in a trial of strength, defy the laws of our country. Thomas Jefferson "Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will seek to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed." Abraham Lincoln
#474625 - 11/15/09 02:20 PM Re: Diesel VS Gas for Towing [Re: Finger Lakes Boater]  
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My dad just bought a 2009 F350 with the V-10 gas engine. He spent a lot of time comparing the V10 and diesel and for pulling a 10,000 pound trailer a few times a year the gas made some sense. The truck was around $10,000 cheaper and maintaining it is a bit cheaper too. He traded in his 2005 F250 with the V8 and the V10 gets better milage.

I pulled my boat to storage this year with it and it hauled 6500# like it wasn't even there. I think if he was pulling more weight, more often, and longer distance than diesel may have been a better choice but the V10 package was plenty pulling power.

#474672 - 11/16/09 10:31 AM Re: Diesel VS Gas for Towing [Re: Nauti Dog]  
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WayWeGo Offline
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I've had both and currently have a diesel. The diesel is more expensive, especially now that diesel fuel commands a premium price and low-sulfer fuels deliver less power. And maintenance on the diesels is more intensive, but not all that much more once you get the hang of it.

But with a diesel, you get towing power that is easier to use. Yes, you can get similar power with a gas engine, but not often with the same even torque curve that makes diesels better towing engines.

My current truck is 10 years old, and back then, it was a no-brainer decision considering the trailer I was towing. Today, I might not make the same choice now that the only trailer I tow is the 7,000 lb boat. Of course, at 100K miles, the engine is just getting broken in, so it will be a long time until I need a new truck... wink


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#474679 - 11/16/09 12:36 PM Re: Diesel VS Gas for Towing [Re: WayWeGo]  
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deepv Offline
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Originally Posted By: Waywego
...not often with the same even torque curve that makes diesels better towing engines.

Of course, at 100K miles, the engine is just getting broken in, so it will be a long time until I need a new truck...


That's it, right there.


72% of fatal boat accidents are caused by
boaters that haven't taken a safe boating course.

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#474681 - 11/16/09 12:41 PM Re: Diesel VS Gas for Towing [Re: deepv]  
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D-Rod Offline
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Folks on this board tend to ignore the vast improvement gas engines have made in the past 5 years. Their power curves are nothing like they were 10, 20 years ago.

Modern gasser with variable cam phasing produce surprising low end torque. Coupled with a modern diesel-based transmission (good ratio selection) they perform remarkably.

So while diesel is slightly superior; gas is more than acceptable. And gas engines will last a long time too, just FYI. Many companies and public entities are going with gas engines in their workhorse fleets. 200-250+k miles is common of heavy-duty, daily use.

I know that we have moved to gas engines in our small-capacity fleet. Easier to maintain, more reliable (Ford's 6.0 stuff was a mess), good-enough economy, and wayyy cheaper (we have about 15). We run them about 15-16 hours a day in stop/go conditions.

Last edited by D-Rod; 11/16/09 12:44 PM.

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#474685 - 11/16/09 01:36 PM Re: Diesel VS Gas for Towing [Re: D-Rod]  
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FreshWaterLover Offline
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I wanted to add that I know I do not have experience with towing boats (big or small) or ramps which can possibly make a big difference, but I do have lots of large vehicle towing experience with horse trailers. I only once ever owned a diesel vehicle and I will admit that (like the above poster accuses those here of not allowing for better gas engines) my experience with diesels is from many years ago and unfavorable, lol. It's hard to 'unblock' the mind from unfavorable past experiences. That said, I have owned many gas tow vehicles and never EVER experienced a problem with them when used appropriately. I've even been guilty of over taxing a few of them at times and sweating the results only to end up having had a very enjoyable trip. I prefer not to push the outter limits though, for sure.

Edited to add that while my Captain (lol that's still funny) has always had the big tow vehicle in the family -- a 2500 MY last tow vehicle was a 'dinky' little Silverado 1500 and it 'retired' last year with 295,000 miles on it's 10 year old body. Wasn't even an engine, transmission, or body problem that I got rid of it for, the entire brake line rusted out. (I would often plow through wet, muddy fields) Since we are downsizing farm stuff looking towards retirement in a few years and wanting to get away more. And have found we like traveling, and since the Captain (still laughing) has a great tow vehicle, I bid farewell to my trusty old Silvy (which STILL looked remarkably nice on the surface, and ran good otherwise) and got me a 'respectable' town car (Monte Carlo)---some days I really miss the old beat'em up get the job done, down and dirty truck!

Last edited by FreshWaterLover; 11/16/09 01:42 PM.

Tami

2013 Ocean Kayak Torque
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"The more you learn, the more you have a framework that the knowledge fits into" - Bill Gates
#474686 - 11/16/09 01:47 PM Re: Diesel VS Gas for Towing [Re: D-Rod]  
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Philr Offline
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Originally Posted By: D-Rod
Folks on this board tend to ignore the vast improvement gas engines have made in the past 5 years. Their power curves are nothing like they were 10, 20 years ago.


Ouch! You got me D. I was the proud owner of a 1978 LF-9. And yes, I'll probably never get over it.


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#474693 - 11/16/09 02:10 PM Re: Diesel VS Gas for Towing [Re: Philr]  
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deepv Offline
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FWL, I'm thinking what you are talking about is a normally aspirated 6.2L diesel that was actually GM's re-use of a bunch of Oldsmobuick gas engine blocks that they needed to get rid of and not a modern turbo charged direct injection diesel engine???


72% of fatal boat accidents are caused by
boaters that haven't taken a safe boating course.

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#474695 - 11/16/09 02:15 PM Re: Diesel VS Gas for Towing [Re: deepv]  
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deepv Offline
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D-

How's that Variable Valve Timing going to hold out over time? Still unproven under towing loads isn't it?

Just asking, as I don't know and haven't lookied it up either.

And you are probably right about gas engines being better now than even five years ago, but at the same time so are the oil burners... Variable Vane Turbos and the like to ease some of that low RPM lag.

That said I'm still 10 years out on replacement for my 2002 F-250 so who knows what there will be then. Probably some sort of diesel-electric hybrid... Been running that in locomotives for decades now.


72% of fatal boat accidents are caused by
boaters that haven't taken a safe boating course.

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#474696 - 11/16/09 02:20 PM Re: Diesel VS Gas for Towing [Re: deepv]  
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DeepV you have just over-taxed my old mind and memory banks hahahaha. We're talking when I was in my late teens and stupid. I was willing to try anything once, and if it didn't kill me I'd do it a second time. haha


Tami

2013 Ocean Kayak Torque
2013 Bass Tracker Pro Team 175 TF

"The more you learn, the more you have a framework that the knowledge fits into" - Bill Gates
#474734 - 11/16/09 10:59 PM Re: Diesel VS Gas for Towing [Re: FreshWaterLover]  
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Cap'nBrian Offline
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Yep, I agree with all of you and here is why. I traded in a 2006 F150 Lariat 5.4L for a 2009 F250 Lariat 6.4 TD. Loved the F150, rode great, handled great, reliable and did an admirable job towing my Chap Sig 240 for 3 years. This year at 60k miles and out of warranty it developed a clicking sound that was not an exhaust manifold leak and the dealer said it was not a lifter issue. I think the strain of the towing up and down the TN/NC hills took its toll over time (tow cap rated at 9500 lbs). I would have loved an F150 with a smaller diesel but the F250 was the smallest truck with the available diesel.

F250 rides rough, the diesel fuel costs more, air filter costs over $50, holds 14 qts of oil ($22x4), has 2 fuel filters $47, have to crawl underneath it to drain water out of fuel system once a month. I also buy cetane booster and antigel for the diesel fuel and as an added bonus it gets plugged into 120V at night when it gets colder.

All that said, I got to use it once this year to tow the boat back to TN and it was the difference of night and day. The 6.4 TD in tow haul mode very seldom if ever down shifted but the turbo boost would continue to build and it would hold the speed. After the experience with the 5.4L frantic down shifts into lower gears and 4500 rpm, it was amazing.

At one point on a dark country 2 lane highway a dog ran accross the roadway in front of the 16K lbs of truck and boat. I am pretty sure at 60 MPH in the F150 the smartest thing would have been to just continue in a straight line and hit the dog to avoid truck and boat winding up in a ditch. I couldn't and instinctively hit the F250's hydro boost brakes hard while pulling the steering wheel hard left into the oncoming traffic and then hard right back into my lane. There was no jack knifing, no continued sway, no oversteer just control. My wife who was asleep in the back seat asked what was going on and that black and white long haired dog will live to see another day. Now I just have to bounce along and make the best of it until I hook up to the boat and trailer for the first outing next year.

Last edited by Cap'nBrian; 11/17/09 10:02 AM.

2002 Chap Sig - Bravo 2
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