Should I get a Diesel or Propane (LP) RV Generator?

When purchasing a Winnebago View or Winnebago Navion one of the many questions we receive is, “Should I get a diesel generator or propane generator?”

There are two types of Onan generators offered by Winnebago Industries in the Winnebago View and Winnebago Navion line up, one LP and one diesel. These generators each allow you to power them with the push of a button, inside your RV.

Winnebago View and Navion Generator

The most common generator found in the View and Navion is the 3,600-watt Cummins Onan MicroQuiet LP (Propane) generator which is standard on all Winnebago View and Navion models.  The Mercedes Benz chassis that the Winnebago View and Navion are built on has a standard 12 gallon propane tank to power items throughout the coach including the LP generator.  The actual LP fill capacity is 80% of the listed amount due to an overfill prevention device on tank.

The burn rate for the propane generator is .5 gallons an hour on full consumption @ ½ load and .7 gallons and hour at full consumption @ full load.  The 3,600-watt Cummins Onan Propane generator weighs just 176 pounds and is compact in size.  This generator meets National Park Service sound level requirements of (60 dB(A) @ 50 ft.)

The other generator option offered by Winnebago Industries in the Winnebago View and Winnebago Navion line up is the 3,200-watt Cummins Onan Diesel Generator.  The burn rate for the Cummins Onan diesel generator is .3 gallons an hour fuel consumption @ ½ load and .4 gallons an hour fuel consumption @ full load.  The 3,200-watt Cummins Onan diesel generator weighs 205 pounds and is slightly louder than the propane generator.

When deciding between the Onan Propane Generator and the Onan Diesel Generator the best thing to do is to ask yourself how you’re planning on using your RV? Each fuel option has its own advantages. The LP generator in the View and Navion has a lower initial cost than the diesel. It is also smaller and lighter weight than the diesel option. However, diesel generators have a longer engine life and consume less fuel. The diesel generator also shares a common fuel system to your coach and the convenience of operating your generator from the coach’s main fuel supply.

Ultimately, the best generator for you will depend on how you plan on using it and your own personal preference. If you know you’re going to be using your View/Navion for traveling and will be plugged in most days/nights then there’s no reason to spend the extra money to upgrade to a diesel generator.  However, if you do a lot of dry camping and you know you will be using your Onan Generator quite a bit then the additional expense of the diesel generator may make sense.  If you are a previous owner of an RV one of the best ways to judge what type of  Generator you will need is to look at how many hours you had on your previous RV’s generator.  If you notice you have a lot of hours (hundreds of hours) then you might want to consider a 3,200-watt Cummins Onan Diesel generator.  However, if you find you have very few hours on your generator then you would want to consider the standard 3,600-watt Cummins Onan LP Generator.

Below is a table to easy reference some of the differences between the 3.200-watt Cummins Onan Diesel Generator and the 3,600-watt Cummins Onan Propane Generator


RV QG 3600

RV QD 3200

Rated Output 3600 Watts 3200 Watts
Weight 176 lbs 205 lbs
Size= LxWxH 30 x 19.7 x 14.4 30.2 x 17.3 x 18.0
Muffler Enclosed spark-arresting Internal with External Spark
Sound 68 dB (A) @ 10 ft 72 dB(A) @ 10 ft
Fuel LP Diesel
Fuel Consumption @ ½ Load 0.5 gal/hr 0.3 gal/hr
Fuel Consumption @ Full Load 0.7 gal/hr 0.4 gal/hr

Contact your Lichtsinn RV Consultant today to find out more about the Winnebago View and Winnebago Navion and the available generator options.

Winnebago View and Navions for Sale

Experience the Best® at Lichtsinn RV, the #1 Winnebago Dealer in North America for the last six consecutive years. Lichtsinn RV is located 1 mile north of Winnebago Industries in Forest City, IA and we proudly sell new Winnebago motorhomes and pre-owned RVs from various manufacturers. While at Lichtsinn RV, you can expect no delivery miles on new RVs, a complimentary half-day educational orientation of your RVexcellent guest reviews, an assigned support team from sales, parts, service and the business officesuperior accommodationsno-hassle pricing and competitive financing. See our extensive new and used inventory here.

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