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What to focus on when choosing the engine for motorhome?

VW bus engine VW bus engine Creative Common BY-SA

It’s widely known that the implementation of caravanning passion is also associated with things other than charming travels around the country and Europe. Before setting of for the journey, we face a number of decisions that have a significant impact on the lifetime of our equipment. Regardless of whether we’re looking to buy a brand new or second-hand motorhome, we must seriously think about at least one thing.

Basic expectations

Selecting the drive unit should be one of the most important issues for us before purchasing. Improperly chosen of engine can be the source of many unforeseen obstacles, discomfort, as well as unnecessary operating expenses. To avoid these troubles, we should know our needs and what we really expect from the new equipment. Equally important are our travel plans for the next few seasons. When planning trips only to the lowland areas with four or five people on board, we can easily settle for basic engine versions. Diesel engines of 1.9-2.3 l generate about 120 HP, which turns out to be entirely reasonable as for a small motorhome. When driving in lowlands we won’t encounter any trouble. What's more – we’ll be able to enjoy low diesel consumption.

Drive unit for a bigger motorhome

Bigger motorhomes with bigger interiors and rich, functional equipment become more and more popular. Unfortunately - in this case, we need to take into account a few problems. The first would be the external dimensions, because they generate enormous air resistance which weigh down the drive unit (don’t forget about the sensitivity to side winds). The second flaw is the curb weight of a huge motorhome, often reaching over 2-2.5 tons. In such conditions, the choice of the base engine is pointless. Any uphill ascent, overtaking or passing through mountainous areas will mean a great effort for the engine - the driver is forced for continuous reductions facilitating the ascents. The best here are bigger diesel engines with a capacity of 2.5-3 liters. Thanks to turbocharging they reach more than 150 HP and 300 Nm, which allows you to effortlessly overcome these difficulties.

People, who want to tow a caravan (camping caravan or gun carriage with a quad) with motorhome have even bigger needs, because in their case, only three-liter units (and larger) which have a sufficiently high torque, will be suitable. Of course, if we find a used motorhome in perfect technical condition, the power and torque of its engine is less important - if necessary, we can attempt to raise its capacity (within the limits of its reserves).

Translation: Karolina Strzałkowska

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