Reconsidering my RV setup

Cubey

Van dweller
Joined
Oct 18, 2017
Posts
4,223
Reaction score
1,667
Location
USA
The way diesel prices are, I think I have to reconsider my RV setup. 8.7mpg in the RV really hurts. I still have the 87 NA F250, so I am considering taking off the turbo from the motorhome, moving it to the F250, and just selling the motorhome as an NA IDI. I'd also strip off the solar panels and the lithium batteries but aside from that, it would still be a good usable RV for someone wanting a good weeekender RV. Oh and I'd probably take off that new deep aluminum C6 pan from last year, since the F250 is also C6, and put the F250's stock pan on the RV. it would still have the big transmission cooler, since I don't wanna totally screw over the buyer.

I still have that new old stock Gear Vendors kit for C6 I bought last year, that I haven't had installed on the motorhome yet, so that could go on the F250... bumping the MPG up to about 18 hwy. yeah I'd be back in the cramped little camper on it, but only short term. I'd look for a half decent trailer out west (UT, AZ) and get that, and store it down in AZ for cheap ($30/mo) in summer and pull it out to live in during Oct or Nov-early April. I'd have double the MPG (even when pulling the baja bug, probably. the turbo would help with that) and I'd be able to actually travel again, while having a comfortable living space in the desert winter.

Both the F250 and RV are due for new tires next year (F250 is a bit behind but it has been sitting, parked for last 3 years) and the RV calls for 2 more tires, so... that's 2 less tires for me to buy.

Anybody around Arkansas maybe considering getting an NA IDI motorhome? LOL
 

chillman88

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2017
Posts
6,069
Reaction score
6,235
Location
Central NY
I don't recall which kit you have but I know there was some difference between the van and truck kits for some models at least. Might want to make sure that turbo will fit the truck before you plan on swapping it. I'd hate to see you get halfway through and find out it won't work!
 

Cubey

Van dweller
Joined
Oct 18, 2017
Posts
4,223
Reaction score
1,667
Location
USA
I don't recall which kit you have but I know there was some difference between the van and truck kits for some models at least. Might want to make sure that turbo will fit the truck before you plan on swapping it. I'd hate to see you get halfway through and find out it won't work!

085, first idi turbo kit by anyone. I don't think they actually made a van version, at least not that early. Mine has the cdr delete, unlike later 085 kits that have a place to bolt the cdr on. The floor pan is chopped underneath according to @Nero when he was underneath doing the transmission R&R. he said something to the effect of how it looks like they had to take a sawzall to it to make the downpipe fit. It also it has a home made looking custom bracket to hold down the air filter, because the air box lid won't fit a van chassis engine tunnel.

I probably won't be at the truck until May, so i have plenty of time to research it and consider it.
 

Cubey

Van dweller
Joined
Oct 18, 2017
Posts
4,223
Reaction score
1,667
Location
USA
Honestly, I can't blame you one bit for wanting to do this.

It's been a good rig but yeah it's getting too expensive to drive. if engines in vans weren't so freaking hard to remove, I'd consider just keeping the rv for the engine/transmission. it's under 100k original miles and uses less oil than the f250. has the freshly rebuilt transmission too. the f250's c6 was rebuilt around 2016 by the previous owner though, so that's a good thing. might even just do that anyway, keep the RV and just store it at my mom's house. even if it leaks and rots (I'd tarp it and try to check more often though) I'd still have the potential to reuse the engine and transmission in the truck, if i could find someone who wouldn't charge me $3000 to do it. probably better off just selling it though. might keep it for a year though, just in case I change my mind, for some reason. perhaps not move the turbo either. The F250 pulling the bug won't be too awful, speed wise.

Maybe go back in early '25 if i decide i don't want the motorhome after all and move the turbo over then and put the GV on the F250. 17 mpg (F250 with GV) sure sounds nicer than 10.5 mpg (RV with GV).

Hell, 14 (F250 NA, no GV) still sounds better than 8.7 (RV 085, no GV). Whatever trailer I get for winter use, doesn't matter the size really. It would get moved maybe 100 miles per year, usually 2 miles round trip up to 15mph to the dump station and back. I'd probably do a rolling waste tank setup instead, where i don't even have to move the trailer at all, except about 9 miles per year, in and out of storage.

I'd have to something with the cargo trailer though unless I wanna pay to store that too.

Well ok, I might go back to AR, store the motorhome and bug in early '24 (and pause the insurance on both, save a lot of money) and go out in the F250. Maybe fetch the cargo trailer in early '25 and drag it back to AR. Store it there, and perhaps then sell the motorhome and go out in the F250 again with the bug.

yeah I'm talking very long term but when it's 1400 miles one way, you kinda have to plan that way. I could survive a year in the truck camper if need be. I'm much more in the grove for RVing than I was in 2017-2018.
 
Last edited:

Tristan

Full Access Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2005
Posts
374
Reaction score
154
Location
Federal Way, WA
How often will you be towing the travel trailer? I have been getting about 15MPG with my 92 just running around empty, however when I hooked up the 25ft travel trailer and threw the dirt bikes in the back it dropped to 9-10 MPG. I have only towed it once since I got this truck, but will be again on the upcoming 3 day weekend so will double check that.
 

Cubey

Van dweller
Joined
Oct 18, 2017
Posts
4,223
Reaction score
1,667
Location
USA
How often will you be towing the travel trailer? I have been getting about 15MPG with my 92 just running around empty, however when I hooked up the 25ft travel trailer and threw the dirt bikes in the back it dropped to 9-10 MPG. I have only towed it once since I got this truck, but will be again on the upcoming 3 day weekend so will double check that.
almost never. The idea is the trailer gets moved in and out of storage (4-5 miles each way) and every 10-14 days to a nearby dump station (about 2 mi round trip). It's just for more comfort in the winter. if i even bother.

I might just look for a true slide in camper and use that full time instead. it would hurt mpg more than the tiny camper on the truck right now. look at the fuelly pics in my sig below. the truck without turbo or gv got about 10hwy in 2018 with a 27ft trailer that i ended up hating pulling around full time
 
Last edited:

WrenchWhore

Full Access Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2022
Posts
213
Reaction score
197
Location
Lake Havasu City
I don't blame you either for wanting to get something more economical that you can live in. I had a truck camper (medium size 1987 Lance) on my 1984 single cab T19 4x4 IDI w/banks. Man I loved that thing. It was kinda sketchy driving that thing on the highway with semis blowing me all over the road. I did however average some decent mileage at 55. I think i remember getting 12-15 when I drove from SoCal to Yellowstone (the 15 was probably from the downhills). Personally I think it's best to have dual rear wheels for a larger truck camper for stability and safety. Might be worth looking into a WMO setup if fuel prices are really what's hurting you. I hate spending money too but it's just part of "The New World". There's always ways around these problems if you keep an eye out for good deals.
 

Cubey

Van dweller
Joined
Oct 18, 2017
Posts
4,223
Reaction score
1,667
Location
USA
I don't blame you either for wanting to get something more economical that you can live in. I had a truck camper (medium size 1987 Lance) on my 1984 single cab T19 4x4 IDI w/banks. Man I loved that thing. It was kinda sketchy driving that thing on the highway with semis blowing me all over the road. I did however average some decent mileage at 55. I think i remember getting 12-15 when I drove from SoCal to Yellowstone (the 15 was probably from the downhills). Personally I think it's best to have dual rear wheels for a larger truck camper for stability and safety. Might be worth looking into a WMO setup if fuel prices are really what's hurting you. I hate spending money too but it's just part of "The New World". There's always ways around these problems if you keep an eye out for good deals.

Have you replaced your sway bar bushings? It made HUGE difference in my motorhome. Yes it's dually but sway from cross winds improved a LOT after I replaced them. I would probably leave the short camper shell it has since it's insulated and has a roof vent and with it, the truck gets about 10 city/14 hwy with the AT tires (not towing) as NA, C6, 3.55 no GV OD. Add 20% with GV and it would it be 12 city/16.8 hwy./ Probably a bit higher with turbo (staying at 55-60). I might put highway tires on it again this next time, since I'm not sure all terrain is worth losing the 1mpg. Although, they did help a couple times ... so maybe I should stick with AT.
 

Cubey

Van dweller
Joined
Oct 18, 2017
Posts
4,223
Reaction score
1,667
Location
USA
If I could get my hands on a good priced, used turbo kit from a truck, I'd get that instead and just stick that on the truck. Save myself having to remove the 085 and pay a muffler shop to fix the exhaust on both the truck and motorhome. But I also don't wanna spend $2k on a turbo kit.

The cost of logistics of moving stuff around is what's gonna hurt, and take a year to complete:

April '24: Leave AZ with the MH & Bug
May/June '24: Drop MH & Bug at my mom's house. Head out in NA/no GV F250
Winter '24: Get GV installed on F250 in AZ (I know of a supposedly good shop that'll do it)
April '25: Leave AZ with F250 & cargo trailer (trailer is stored in AZ)
May/June '25: Drop cargo trailer. Hitch up bug and leave again in F250.

When I might sell the MH is up in the air. Probably better sooner than later, a year less time to rot more. Maybe just sell it with the 085 turbo and worry about getting a turbo kit for the F250 later? if the bug had a bigger engine to makes it safe to drive long distance on highways, I'd just sell the darn motorhome in AZ and tent camp on the way to AR to pick up the F250.

I don't think I wanna drive a worn out 40HP baja bug for 1500 miles when you are pretty much limited to 3rd gear top get to 50-55 if it's not too windy, due to the oversized tires and the tired engine. Yeah getting smaller tires is possible, if I get 2 more stock rims for the rear; it has very wide aftermarkets right now for light truck tires. But then I'd be spending about $600 on a car I may not even need to keep. Doesn't make much sense. (So why am i considering a good pair of used seats for $400 today? well, they'd be $1200+ new. would help the resale value of the bug later by a good amount)
 

Cubey

Van dweller
Joined
Oct 18, 2017
Posts
4,223
Reaction score
1,667
Location
USA
Not sure a turbo is much needed for the truck as it is, the bug probably wouldn't slow it down much if i end up keeping it and dragging it around, but it would be nice to have. It hated being at 10k feet, not wanting to restart after just a few minutes off, when warmed up, just shut off for refueling.
 

franklin2

Full Access Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2009
Posts
5,245
Reaction score
1,491
Location
Va
Don't count on the GV giving you a straight 20% gain. Someone using one towing can give you a better idea, but the c6's torque convertor has slippage, and it can get worse as the rpms drop from the overdrive. The E4OD with the lock-up convertor wins hands down in the mileage competition.
 

Cubey

Van dweller
Joined
Oct 18, 2017
Posts
4,223
Reaction score
1,667
Location
USA
Don't count on the GV giving you a straight 20% gain. Someone using one towing can give you a better idea, but the c6's torque convertor has slippage, and it can get worse as the rpms drop from the overdrive. The E4OD with the lock-up convertor wins hands down in the mileage competition.

GearVendors claims 22-28% improvement for the C6 and related: https://www.gearvendors.com/f2wd3s.html


And I have also just considered that maybe an old Toyota Sienna minivan would be better for traveling during the year. About 20mpg with cheaper priced gas. I could still have a trailer for winter use. The storage place offers moving of trailers to your camp for $20 per move. A minivan with all the rear seats removed would be about as roomy as the truck camper. Maybe slightly less, width wise. I still have the hitch carrier box i could put on the back for camping gear. Put some solar panels on the factory roof rack.

I just know that I need to do something drastic to reduce fuel costs if i want to continue to travel.

Perhaps even forget a winter trailer and just get a good canvas tent for winter use, if i want to be outside the van. Store it in the cargo trailer?

Or live out of the bug with a tent in cheap/free campgrounds with restrooms maybe a very light weight trailer. I'd have to spend a chunk on a bigger engine though.

But more seriously, I'd probably just have the truck and bug, if anything. The NA truck with GV would help a lot for fuel cost reduction, even if pulling the bug. Maybe get turbo eventually, some day. Might hang on to the motorhome for a year in case i decide to go back to it. The truck is good for forest service camping where sometimes minivans can't quite go. And the bug is nicer for forest service road exploring, no beating up the camper on bumpy roads or getting the truck stuck. a $150 atv winch can pull the bug out if stuck. heck, a $50 cable winch puller would: https://www.harborfreight.com/8000-lb-cable-winch-puller-69855.html
 
Last edited:

Cubey

Van dweller
Joined
Oct 18, 2017
Posts
4,223
Reaction score
1,667
Location
USA
Thinking it over a lot, maybe I'll just stick to the motorhome a while longer. I don't think I wanna give up the comfort and convenience.

Plus my dog needs something she can get in and out of without risking injury. If it was just me, I'd switch to the truck for sure. Unless I try to find a slide in camper that gives a lower door than the tailgate height.

I'll see how much it'll cost to get the GearVendors installed this winter in Yuma. I'll do the wiring portion myself, so that'll save a lot of labor cost. If it's a reasonable price that I can afford, I might go ahead and do it.

10.5mpg would be a big savings in fuel over 8.7, and that would only take 2-3 years to recoup the installation cost, depending on the cost and how much I travel. Not as good as 17 in the F250 with GV, but it's also 8 times as big for living space, complete with a kitchen and bathroom.

The truck camper has .... a dome light.
 
Last edited:
Top