Diesel pusher or puller — what’s the difference?

Diesel pusher or puller — what’s the difference?

By Russ and Tiña De Maris


A reader asks us, “What’s the difference between a diesel pusher and a motorhome with the diesel engine up front?” Here are some thoughts from RVers on the subject — and you may have a few of your own to share:

push pullNoise: Many RVers say that a FRED (FRont End Diesel) motorhome is a lot more prone to be noisy while motoring down the road. One even suggested that if you want a FRED, consider installing an intercom system, like you might have in a helicopter.

Additionally, most diesel “pushers,” where the power plant is in the rear of the rig, put their air conditioner generators up front. If you need to operate your AC at night, with a rear bedroom, sleep is much easier with that generator up front. On the other hand, FRED units tend to place the generator at the rear of the motorhome, hence close to the bedroom.

Power train efficiency: With a shorter distance to the drive axles from the engine, “pushers” are assumed to have less power loss. However, in smaller rigs, particularly Class C motorhomes, you’ll likely see much better fuel economy than a large Class A “pusher,” even with the engine up front.

Bottom line: Test drive any rig you may be considering, particularly a FRED-style motorhome. Is noise a factor for you? If your lifestyle allows, the better fuel economy of a Class C FRED may be just what you need.