Gas vs. Diesel
Can you get a VanDOit in a Diesel?
YES! However, we desire to advise our customers to order a diesel for the right reasons. It is NOT our desire to sell more options and get the price of your adventure van higher.
Although our 3.5 and 3.7 gas engines will adequately tow the maximum amount of weight the van is designed to tow, a diesel will perform better with heavy towing through steep hills by delivering more torque to the drive shaft.
If you plan to tow a majority of the time and simply want to go from good to excellent towing performance, or if you simply WANT one for no reason at all, then by all means spend the extra money on the diesel!
A diesel engine does typically get about 15% - 20% better fuel mileage, however, diesel fuel costs an additional 15% to 20% more at the pump, thus off-setting the fuel savings.
Additionally, regular maintenance on a diesel engine runs about 4 times that of a gas engine.
Even though diesels don’t have spark plugs or distributors and therefore don’t require a typical “tune up," they require additional maintenance, that when ignored can cause expensive repairs to the emissions and fuel systems. As an example, if one fuel injector fails, all injectors should be replaced at the same time. The typical cost to replace fuel injectors on a diesel engine is between $6,000--7,000.
Durability and Longevity
Even though we now regularly see gas engines running well over 300,000 miles, it is commonly thought that a diesel engine will last longer. While we agree that the block, pistons and internal parts may typically last a bit longer, the above mentioned additional cost of the engine, fuel, maintenance, typical repairs, emission and fuel injector/system repairs and the needed fuel additives required in today’s diesel engine more than offsets the possible longevity of the diesel core.
As an example, a person can replace a gas engine with an entirely NEW engine for a similar price of diesel fuel injector replacement alone.
Finding diesel fuel is more difficult and requires expensive additives.
Finding qualified diesel technicians while on your adventure is much more difficult. Not all new car dealerships have trained diesel technicians and independent shops seldom have trained diesel technicians. Likewise, in a diesel engine failure, often times shops will not stock as many diesel engine parts as they would gas parts, due to the ratio of gas vs. diesel engines sold.
Diesel at Altitude
We know 95% of our customers will eventually want to take their adventure van “overland” at high altitudes. It is very difficult to get the fuel to air mixture ratio correct on a diesel with the variables that occur when going through mountains. This is why you will often see very black smoke rolling out of the tail pipe of a diesel as well as a loss of power under variable oxygen conditions created by changes in altitude. Running a diesel under these conditions can often hurt the emissions and fuel systems, which as discussed in the above paragraphs, are very costly to repair.
Everyone at Vandoit likes a diesel. They sound really cool and climb like a mountain goat. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about diesel. We want to make sure our customers are not spending a lot of extra money for the engine, maintenance, fuel and repairs because of misconceptions about savings. A diesel will cost more in lots of ways.