Motorhome Power to Weight ratio

Jan 18, 2018
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Feltham, Middlesex
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Just joined and purchased (and read) the excellent MotorHome buyers guide.

One thing that is missing from this excellent document (unless I missed it) is any mention of engine power. For me this is just as critical as the rest decision making process in purchasing a vehicle.

If I needed to reasonably ascend a mountain road in Germany at a reasonable speed but without covering the entire country in black smoke and cheesing off car drivers at the same time. What should I be looking for?
Is there a formula for weight of the vehicle to how much HP is needed to move the vehicle in all conditions. I know gearing comes into the equation, so all i'm looking for I guess is best practices.

Perhaps this issue is only an issue in my mind, but I have driven some really underpowered vehicles in my time and they ain't much fun at all.
If it's been covered before my apologies.

Tony
 

jonandshell

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Dec 12, 2010
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It's a big white box you live in that happens to move.
Engine power is pretty far down the list of considerations involved in a purchase.
Like a Rolls Royce, power is generally adequate!
 
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Sep 26, 2013
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Going up mountain roads at the same speed as cars was never a priority for me and your choice is limited anyway. Just buy a 6m van with a 3 litre engine or just buy one that's economical to run and use the gears as intended.

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TheBig1

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Nov 27, 2011
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many many years! since I was a kid
Just joined and purchased (and read) the excellent MotorHome buyers guide.

One thing that is missing from this excellent document (unless I missed it) is any mention of engine power. For me this is just as critical as the rest decision making process in purchasing a vehicle.

If I needed to reasonably ascend a mountain road in Germany at a reasonable speed but without covering the entire country in black smoke and cheesing off car drivers at the same time. What should I be looking for?
Is there a formula for weight of the vehicle to how much HP is needed to move the vehicle in all conditions. I know gearing comes into the equation, so all i'm looking for I guess is best practices.

Perhaps this issue is only an issue in my mind, but I have driven some really underpowered vehicles in my time and they ain't much fun at all.
If it's been covered before my apologies.

Tony
you're in for a shock when it comes to looking for a motorhome. there are only a small handful of engine choices and a vast array of body styles and weights

anything from 100bhp is common with the maximum of 180bhp for european vans. less with the current euro6 engines
 
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pappajohn

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Aug 26, 2007
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Irrelevant really....
An American rv.....7500kg with a 7ltr petrol engine churning out 350bhp

Or

A Euro motorhome...3500kg with a 3ltr diesel churning out 150bhp.

Looks about the same power to weight to me.
 
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Two on Tour

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Horses for courses. Yes you don't want to have a van that struggling up slight inclines and you have to constantly be changing gear, but life is at a different pace when you get behind the wheel of your motorhome, sit back and enjoy the countryside from you elevated driving position.

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Aug 6, 2013
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As stated above you will have your work cut out making the compromises necessary to find a living area that suits. When you have done so the underpinnings and engine are very much what they are. 20 years ago there were some configurations probably best avoided (non-turbo Diesels & some petrol engines) but since then choice has reduced and what remains tends to do what is required.
 
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OP
Tony52
Jan 18, 2018
69
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Feltham, Middlesex
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Thanks guys,

I fully understand the pace is somewhat different to a car. I was not looking to have car performance from a motorhome.

Just want to understand the dynamics of a motorhome including engine frustrations.
Like the decision of what interior to choose it would be nice to choose an engine option also. Obviously if the choice is not there then that decision is moot.

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Jands

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Oct 12, 2016
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Most motorhomes are built using a fiat chassis with the choice of 3 engine setups.
130, 150 and 180 hp.
All will pull 3.5t motorhome.
As goldilocks did go for the middle one.
Interior layout is far more important.
On the road you will spend a max of a quarter of your time driving so best be comfortable in where you will spend the other 3/4 of your time.
 
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OP
Tony52
Jan 18, 2018
69
46
Feltham, Middlesex
Funster No
52,023
Most motorhomes are built using a fiat chassis with the choice of 3 engine setups.
130, 150 and 180 hp.
All will pull 3.5t motorhome.
As goldilocks did go for the middle one.
Interior layout is far more important.
On the road you will spend a max of a quarter of your time driving so best be comfortable in where you will spend the other 3/4 of your time.

Thanks Jands, just what I was after

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Jan 19, 2014
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If you haven't driven a van in years you'll be surprised how easy to drive and powerful modern vans are. Ours is a 6m coachbuilt with 130bhp (and lots of torque). Compared to the old Transits I've driven in the past it's very powerful, no changing down on motorway hills or thrashing it up to the rev limiter in every gear to keep up with traffic. I think the old vans were 85bhp or less :giggler:
 
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Sep 17, 2017
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I've got a 10 year old Ducato 2.3 panel van conversion in 115bhp spec. I tend to cruise around at 60-65mph in 6th fully loaded without issues most of the time. Some steeper hills require a drop to 5th gear... Alternatively I build ~10mph of speed before , which puts it higher up the rev range so the turbo is properly spinning and it'll hold that speed all the way to the top.

I've been round the Highlands and the snow roads in the Cairngorms. It's rare that I'm wanting more guff. My slower speeds on the hilly stuff aren't normally lack of power, it's because I don't want the contents of the kitchen in the drivers cab on the next corner.
 
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