Open Roads Forum

Print  |  Close

Topic: GM Workhorse Vortec 8.1 with Allison 6 speed transmission

Posted By: deewhite0612 on 10/23/10 06:12pm

We are now looking at a 2009 33 ft Safari Simba with tons of upgrades, 4000 kms. Workhorse gas 8.1 Vortec engine, Allison 6 speed Transmission. Gas consumption figures wanted as well as reviews of this engine and transmission. Thanks.

Michael and Daryl (Dee)
Gone RVing
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810 370 HP
2008 Saturn Vue XR V6
Blue Ox Alladin
Brake Buddy Classic

Posted By: tomousecap on 10/23/10 06:23pm

Couldn't be happier with our 2007. It performs as good or better then any others. The Allison is much better then any others in my opinion. Gas milage around 6.5 to 7.5 depending on the wind, etc.

2007 Fleetwood Bounder - Full Paint 35E
Workhorse 6 Speed 496 Cubic Inch V8 - W22
Ford fans - RPM is a poor substitute for Cubic Inches!
2013 Chev Volt - Towing on a Master Tow Dolly
Gracie = Adopted longhair Amazon Chihuahua

Posted By: jojolou on 10/23/10 06:27pm

We have the 8.1 with the six speed Allison transmission and it's a very good combo. Pulling our Jeep we average between 7 to 8 mpg. and it has enough power to get us wherever we are going.

2008 Allegro Bay 35 TSB W-25.5

Posted By: Mody n Domy on 10/23/10 06:42pm

We have a 38' Challenger 8.1 6 speed pulling a HHR and am getting 7-8 mpg no problem with power. At 65 mph it is running about 2000 rpms.

2008 Damon Challenger 378 on Workhorse chassis, 2008 HHR panel toad.

Posted By: kalynzoo on 10/23/10 09:26pm

Very happy with our rig, similar combination. It will handle the Grapevine on the I-5 without a problem at 50mph. MPG is nothing to boast about, on the flat, holding at 55mph to 62mph I can get 8mpg towing the Saturn Vue. Going over the Grapevine (about 15 miles of a 6% grade and then continuous grades from LA to Bakersfield) 5mpg is tops. I think I average 6mpg out here on the West coast, with constant travel over mountains. I've never felt a need for more power. However, I do not travel over 65mph, and usually between 55 and 62, it's just my comfort zone. Problems with the Workhorse to be aware of: The current brake recall. Also, I had to replace the digital display (odometer, gear designator, and other monitors) because they were breaking up and illegible. I understand this to be a Workhorse problem. That said, I enjoy my MH and have no regrets.
Happy Trails.

Posted By: bounder35 on 10/23/10 10:33pm

I have a 2004 35 foot bounder and very happy with it, i get on about 7 to 7.5 per gallon.

Nick & Patti
2011 Fleetwood Discovery 40X

Toad 2004 Hyundai Elantra
FMCA # 399505

Posted By: PackerBacker on 10/24/10 04:41am

we haved a HR Admiral (also a Monaco product like Safari) with the WH 8.1L and 6-speed Allison and it really runs well. I love having the Allison for it's Grade Brake feature and the two overdrives. Even towing my Jeep Liberty I can leave it in cruise control most of the time and I only need to turn off one of the od's in hilly terrain.

From a mileage perspective it gets close to 8 mpg without the toad and 6.5-7 mpg towing. About 80% of my mileage is on hilly roads.

2014 Enterra 314RES (Cruiser RV) TT, Equal-i-zer 12K, Honda 2000 Genny
2014 Ram 1500 Quad Short Bed, 5.7L Hemi, 8 speed auto, 4x4, Line-X
FQCC/Camping Quebec, KOA, Good Sam

Posted By: ctpres on 10/24/10 05:53am

2008 WH and Allison 6. No problems, 9,000 miles and 7.5 to 9 on gas @ 60 towing jeep. Very happy with the combination.

A "Retired" Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste
Chuck USNR, USAF & USCGA and Suzie
Challenger Owners Club

2015 Thor Challenger 37KT
2014 Ford Fiesta
2011 Sea Eagle 385 FT kayak
2009 Polaris RZR
2014 Zenetto Stealth road bike

Posted By: dogsloveit2 on 10/24/10 08:07am

2007 Fleetwood on a 2006 W20 chassis. 8.1/Allison with 18000 miles, I get 6 to 8 MPG and tow a 2003 Nissan Xterra most of the time. Plenty of power and I love the Allison with the grade brake and 2 overdrives. Brake recall still needs done and I had the cluster changed under warranty. IMHO it is a bulletproof setup. The 8.1 has a 3yr/36000 mile warranty and the Allison is 5yr/200000 mile warranty. If the floor plan works and the price is right I'd have no trouble going with the Safari.


2007 Fleetwood Terra LX 32K
W20 Workhorse 8.1/Allison

Posted By: tropical36 on 10/24/10 08:58am

deewhite0612 wrote:

We are now looking at a 2009 33 ft Safari Simba with tons of upgrades, 4000 kms. Workhorse gas 8.1 Vortec engine, Allison 6 speed Transmission. Gas consumption figures wanted as well as reviews of this engine and transmission. Thanks.

This is probably the best gas engine/tranny combo on the planet and has already been discontinued, so I'm guessing that this drive-line will be sought after in the future. Also with the 09, I'm pretty sure that you don't have AUTOPARK or the infamous BOSCH brake problem. This is assuming that you want to do some nit picking since MPG is at the very bottom of the list when purchasing any RV. I mean it's so insignificant during the life of ownership and will get swallowed up in the first year alone with DEPRECIATION per MILE. This is one that is seldom discussed like it didn't exist.

"We are often so caught up in our destination that we forget to appreciate the journey."

07 Revolution LE 40E__Spartan MM_06 C9 Clatterpillar_Allison 3000

Dinghy_2010 Jeep Wrangler JKU ISLANDER.

1998 36ft. National Tropi-Cal Chevy Model 6350 (Sold)

Posted By: bsinmich on 10/24/10 11:26am

Keep in mind that these MPG figures are all from US owners. Our gallons are smaller than your Imperial gallon. 128 fl. oz for the US gallon and 160 fl. oz. for the Imperial gallon. If the chassis is a W-20, 21 or 22 you will have the brake recall to be done but it is no charge and worth getting done. The original recall was for 2007 and older but now includes current ones.

1975 GMC Eleganza II & 1995 Roadtrek Versatile. Both old enough to vote and drink (gas)

Posted By: Alfred622 on 10/24/10 04:44pm

I'm very happy with the Workhorse/Allison in our Winnebago. I put about 6,000 miles on this summer and have an overall average of 8.5 mpg towing our CRV at 63mph. Only one problem....

My wife doesn't like me to roll down my window and ask a teenager kid in a Corvette Stingray if he wants to drag race me to the next light. (It has a lot of power.)

I'll tell you though... driving down the road feeling the hum of that engine and the scenery flying by the big windows... well there just aren't many feelings better than that.

2005 Sightseer with Workhorse, ReadyBrute Elite towing 2003 Honda CRV
Map below shows states where we actually camped.....

Posted By: Nascarcruzin on 10/24/10 05:25pm

I agree with Tropical 36. We used to have a Monaco LaPalma with the 8.1 ,Vortec and the Allison trans. I feel like it is the best gas setup out there. Hopefully Workhorse has a solution to the infamous brake problems. Ronnie

Ronnie & Rebecca
Soddy Daisy, TN
Full-timing since 2004
Check out our adventures:
North to Alaska 2011

Travel Journal Enter the password - 12345
2008 Alaskan adventure
2009 Northeast coast and Canadian Maritimes

1999 Holiday Rambler Imperial 40WDS
FMCA #388387

Posted By: wazone on 10/24/10 05:57pm

You'll be using around 34 litres per 100 km. 8.1 litre engine and transmission very good, handling fair.

Posted By: deewhite0612 on 10/24/10 06:07pm

wazone wrote:

You'll be using around 34 litres per 100 km. 8.1 litre engine and transmission very good, handling fair.


Posted By: Fiver Captain on 10/25/10 04:33am

I'm glad to read the positive responses to the OP as I took delivery of a 2007 Allegro 35 with the 8.1 and Allison 1000MH combo this past Saturday. Glad to see that I made a good choice.

Posted By: the trippers on 10/25/10 11:32am

2006 Southwind, 8.1L, 5spd Allison, towing Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.7L, steady 6.5mpg.

2011 Jayco Greyhawk 31DS

Posted By: wazone on 10/26/10 02:07pm

deewhite0612 It will cost you around $35(Can)per 100 km, be thankful you don't live in Europe where you'd be paying about $1.80 per litre, or $61 per 100 km.

Posted By: mccsix on 10/26/10 03:15pm

I have an 33' 08 Simba with full slide out. Love it 6-8mpg depending on speed, wind, hills etc. I tow a Suzuki Grand Vitara. Just finished the brake caliper recall and opened the mail today and there is another recall (#61101-c) for fuel cap problem, but the letter reads like its only applicable to optional dual tank models.
Minor problems...fog light assy are glued in place and enough rough roads WILL separate them. Headlight s/w is so cheesy it finally broke away from the back of the dash(probably the same glue they used on the fog lights) and shorted out
(my next project). Don't understand why they combine waste tank functions and hose storage in the same compartment with fresh water. I rigged up a 4" sq tube behind the rear wheels and store the stinky slinky there.
All in all, I'm very happy with the Simba.

Posted By: WAYNEHAMTX on 10/26/10 03:29pm

We pull our toad about 75% of the time. With the 8.1 Vortec and Allison tranny we get 7.5 to 9.0 mpg. No toad we get 8.5 to 9.5 mpg. Live in Texas, so not to many mountains unless you go to Big Bend. We made a trip from DFW to Delaware and averaged 9.4 highway mpg for the trip (no toad). Town driving is usually 6 to 7.5 mpg.

With the toad I drive 60, without 63. Just not in a hurry.

Wayne & Ev
Fleetwood Fiesta 31M

Posted By: Edouard on 10/26/10 06:12pm

Hi, we acquired our 08 WH-24 in May of this year, our gas milage to date has been in the 8 with toad and 9mpg without toad. Much better that our previous V-10 98 chassis.
The six speed Allison is a superior tranny, very smooth.

Since another responder mentioned the Workhorse warrantee on his 06 chassis was 36months, and 60 months on the Allison.

Workhorse changed their Warrantee to 60 months, I had to press my local GM/Workhorse dealer to acknowledge this. You best cover that with the seller before you proceed.

Also check to see the Warrantee Start Date with Workhorse, they tend to use the date they shipped the bare chassis to the RV factory and not the first date of the original owner, even though the orig owner registered his warrantee ownership with them, in my case there is a 5 month difference, yours could be longer, especially if it stayed on the dealers lot for months, after production and they received it.

Just a heads up and JMHO. Edouard.

Eugene & Stella

Posted By: The Bayfield Bunch on 10/26/10 07:14pm

We have an 03 Damon Challenger 32' with the 8.1 Vortec & Allison tranny. Overall, we are pleased with the rig. Had to replace the instrument cluster two years ago Just had our Workhorse brake recall done a week ago & we do have an ongoing problem with the levelers but aside from those things the coach has served us well so far. I have no idea what gas mileage we get. It just takes whatever it takes to get us to wherever we have to go. We are.... THE BAYFIELD BUNCH [emoticon]

Kelly & Al
2003 Triple E Commander Chevy Workhorse 8.1 & Allison transmission. Towing a 2006 Jeep Wrangler TJ Sport.
With fabulous Pheebs....

Posted By: logman on 10/26/10 07:39pm

I had a 38' damon with that set up.Had broken manafold bolts gaskets, money pit

Print  |  Close