Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 07-10-2015, 08:15 AM   #1
2 Rivet Member
 
1988 34.5' Airstream 345
Lafayette , Louisiana
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 60
Blog Entries: 1
1988 345 Airstream Engine rebuild

My name is Jim Keaty and I am new to the forum. I live in Lafayette Louisiana and recently purchased a 1988 345 airstream and we love it. Unfortunately we started hearing a knocking sound in the engine and my mechanic believes it is a bad pin and is suggesting purchasing a crate engine.

I have a few questions:

1. Should I replace the engine with a larger more advanced engine or should I replace it with the same exact engine?
2. Should I change the carburetor to fuel injection and electronics instead of the distributer?
3. Should I change the Transmission to something newer?
4. Should I upgrade the radiator or power steering and Suspension?
5. Should I bring it to someone in the south who is very familiar with a 345 Airstream or just have a local mechanic who works on RV's and big trucks work on this?

I plan on changing the engine and I want to get the most out of the airstream for the next 5 to 15 years so I just want to make sure I do this right.
__________________

__________________
Jim Keaty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2015, 04:29 PM   #2
Rivet Master

 
Currently Looking...
1995 36' Classic 36
Ludington , Michigan
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 1,305
1988 345 Airstream Engine rebuild

Welcome!

You will get a lot of advise from those more familiar with the 454. If it were my project, I'd find diesel truck and swap the drivetrain into it. But I can do the work myself and have already done several modern drivetrain swaps into classic vehicles. Big project for sure but could yield the results you are looking for if you are really in love with that coach.

A long block with an RV cam would probably be the most cost effective. Conversion to EFI would yield small improvements. If you go that far I'd look at a crate engine solution. Timeless Travel Trailers recently did an interesting crate engine conversion. I saw this one in their shop. Bet it was pricy.

This 502 ramjet conversion was featured on extreme RVs.

http://www.timelesstraveltrailers.com/94moho

I was just offered a 2002 F250 with a 7.3 and 4R1000 tranny. Ran great but Michigan salt has had its way with the body. $5k and you would have everything to do the swap.
__________________

__________________
Kota is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2015, 05:32 PM   #3
Dazed and Confused
 
Isuzusweet's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
1983 31' Airstream310
Hillsburgh , Ontario
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2,425
Kota is on the ball with his suggestions.

Some one has done a Duramax conversion but trying to make all the electronics work within the vintage wiring of a Classic can be trying to say the least. Buying a wreck pre 2007(preferably older still) diesel would be the way to go efficiency wise. This will cost mucho denaro converting everthing to diesel, but if done well you may get most of your money back when selling. The Isuzu diesel option, back in 1983 when mine was built, was $15,000.00 dollar factory option.

A new 502 with fuel injection will work great and give you legs on the highway, especially if you upgrade the transmission to a newer 6 sp but you will have to decided how far electronic to go. I would think you would have to install a drive by wire accelerator pedal at least. This option would be cheaper than diesel but no where near as durable or efficient. The drivability would be better than a carburated 454 and get you with the upgraded tranny maybe 10 mpg.

Last but not least the old faithful 454. Fairly cheap to rebuild or buy as a crate engine and will plug and play, even with say TBI. You will need the RV cam and understand that these engines do have a lifespan, so how far you get will depend on how badly you flog the old girl. 5-8 mpg will be your mpg.

Last option........keep an eye out for a diesel for sale and keep all the great parts off your 345 to keep her going for a long time and sell the rest, or transfer all driveline components to your 345. I did see a 1980's Excella 280 diesel for sale in Seattle for a reasonable price with no interior. Could well be the cheapest option

Cheers
Tony
__________________
Per Mare, Per Terram and may all your campaigns be successful.

Its a recession when your neighbor loses his job; its a depression when you lose your own. "Harry S Truman"
Isuzusweet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2015, 05:43 PM   #4
Keen amature
 
martin300662's Avatar

 
1975 20' Argosy 20
Chestfield , Kent
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 2,107
Locally we have a salvage place specifically selling front frame cutoffs with a 6BT, transmission and harness still in place for $2K (Cummins Swaps), they also have a little 4BT cutoff for $3.5K; I doubt that would pull a 345 (although maybe a little 20footer ).

Maybe you have something similar locally?
__________________
martin300662 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2015, 05:56 PM   #5
Rivet Master
 
Waipio Rim's Avatar
 
1984 31' Airstream310
Honokaa , Hawaii
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 667
Welcome!

Keyair just posted a good cost/benefit analysis of TBI and transmission upgrades as post #17 here: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f160...-132423-2.html

First, unless you are absolutely sure that your mechanic is right, you might want to get a second opinion on the need for a new motor. If you do need one, any shop that can work on medium size trucks can do it. You have a bread truck chassis, any shop that can work on one of those can work on yours. There will be a lot of labor involved. I would try to lock in a bid so as not to be surprised at the bill.

If I were faced with a motor swap, I would:
1. Find a mechanic that I trusted, and go with his recommendation on the motor.
2. Get the radiator recored.
3. Get the carb rebuilt (much cheaper than getting fuel injection).
4. If I was keeping any of the smog pumps, replace them.
5. If I did not have headers, get them.
6. If I did not know when the starter was last replaced, get a good one.
7. Get an MSD billet distributor (you could do this at any time, a nice upgrade that will give a dependable hot spark).

On your other questions, you definitely should have the front suspension checked and brought up to spec. Same with the brakes.

Our 310 was built when the national speed limit was 55, and that is where it likes to run. Yours is most likely the same. It will go faster, but I want to put off replacing the motor as long as possible. After reading what is involved in a transmission upgrade that would let me cruise faster, I plan to keep what I have and stay off the freeway as much as possible.
__________________
Waipio Rim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2015, 12:16 PM   #6
4 Rivet Member
 
1977 31' Sovereign
Lynnwood , Washington
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 311
Chevy's got a 502 cubic inch, Goodwrench crate motor specifically engineered for RV's. It's got a whole lotta torque.

Personally, I prefer old-school carburetion, thank you very much. BTW - Ditch the Quadra-Jet carb. Now would be a good time to convert to Edlebrock.

I'm not sure if you've got a Turbo-400 or 4L80 trans. But I'd get a good tranny tech to rebuild what you've got. They've got upgrades (I'm thinking B & M Transmission) specifically engineered for RV's.

I you wanna go the extra mile, mount a Gear Vendor overdrive unit on the back of your tranny. You'll hafta shorten the drive shaft.

Tom
__________________
TomKirk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2015, 01:13 PM   #7
2 Rivet Member
 
Currently Looking...
2001 36' Land Yacht XC Diesel 300 hp w/slide
Woodbury , New Jersey
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 82
Re converting to diesel: Keep in mind that doing this will require modification of your gasoline generator (at best) or replacement of the generator (at worst)..
__________________
windfallsp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2015, 04:38 PM   #8
1 Rivet Member
 
1985 34.5' Airstream 345
Oakland , California
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 6
1988 airstream 345

My name is Eray Honeycutt with a 1985 airstream 345. I had the same problems with my 454 Chev. engine, to the point of no return and thousands of dollars spent. for nothing, but being towed again and again.

I had that engine removed, along with its 3 speed transmission, for a 2014 GM E-rod, LS3, with a 6 speed tranny. the drive shaft had to be modified for the new modification. the results, OUTSTANDING in all respects. I can now go up mountains, even while towing, with great ease.

this will last me for all the future years I own the refurbished classic, inside and out.

I have lots of info to share for anyone that would be interested, pictures and all the things that had to be done.
__________________
1985 moho is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2015, 06:46 PM   #9
Rivet Master

 
Currently Looking...
1995 36' Classic 36
Ludington , Michigan
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 1,305
1988 345 Airstream Engine rebuild

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1985 moho View Post
My name is Eray Honeycutt with a 1985 airstream 345. I had the same problems with my 454 Chev. engine, to the point of no return and thousands of dollars spent. for nothing, but being towed again and again.

I had that engine removed, along with its 3 speed transmission, for a 2014 GM E-rod, LS3, with a 6 speed tranny. the drive shaft had to be modified for the new modification. the results, OUTSTANDING in all respects. I can now go up mountains, even while towing, with great ease.

this will last me for all the future years I own the refurbished classic, inside and out.

I have lots of info to share for anyone that would be interested, pictures and all the things that had to be done.

Please post them up! Lots of naysayers here.
__________________
Kota is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2015, 07:28 PM   #10
Keen amature
 
martin300662's Avatar

 
1975 20' Argosy 20
Chestfield , Kent
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 2,107
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1985 moho View Post
My name is Eray Honeycutt with a 1985 airstream 345. I had the same problems with my 454 Chev. engine, to the point of no return and thousands of dollars spent. for nothing, but being towed again and again.

I had that engine removed, along with its 3 speed transmission, for a 2014 GM E-rod, LS3, with a 6 speed tranny. the drive shaft had to be modified for the new modification. the results, OUTSTANDING in all respects. I can now go up mountains, even while towing, with great ease.

this will last me for all the future years I own the refurbished classic, inside and out.

I have lots of info to share for anyone that would be interested, pictures and all the things that had to be done.
Auto or manual transmission?
__________________
martin300662 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2015, 07:47 PM   #11
4 Rivet Member
 
submariner's Avatar
 
1948 22' Liner
1989 34' Limited
long beach , Mississippi
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 464
if it would be me, i would definitely change to a diesel. I go with a 7.3 diesel from a school bus. stay with the older non power stroke for simplicity. you can find pretty cheap the entire engine with transmission from old school buses. ( we have a place locally that might part out some buses )
alternative i would consider an older 466 international diesel.those are inline 6 and commercial grade engines.. they will last forever.
in regards to your generator, you can either run your gen on propane, leave a small gas tank or change to a diesel gen.

just my 2 cents
__________________
Stefan

Resurrecting one Airstream at the time..
maybe one day i save them all
submariner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2015, 09:29 PM   #12
Dazed and Confused
 
Isuzusweet's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
1983 31' Airstream310
Hillsburgh , Ontario
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2,425
Quote:
Originally Posted by submariner View Post
if it would be me, i would definitely change to a diesel. I go with a 7.3 diesel from a school bus. stay with the older non power stroke for simplicity. you can find pretty cheap the entire engine with transmission from old school buses. ( we have a place locally that might part out some buses )
alternative i would consider an older 466 international diesel.those are inline 6 and commercial grade engines.. they will last forever.
in regards to your generator, you can either run your gen on propane, leave a small gas tank or change to a diesel gen.

just my 2 cents
I don't know that the 7.3L Ford diesel won't fit, but what I do know is it'll be a bloody tight fit. Yes 7.4/454 and 7.3L diesel sounds like the same size but in reality it's not even close, 900 lbs versus 700lbs with cast iron manifolds installed.

You want to talk industrial tank like. The 5.8 litre, yes thats 5.8L, Isuzu powerplant in my 310 weighs 1100lbs; almost 2L smaller than a 7.4L/454 but weighs 400lbs more.

V8 diesels will fit into a Classic but you'll need some serious lubricating cream.

Cheers
Tony
__________________
Per Mare, Per Terram and may all your campaigns be successful.

Its a recession when your neighbor loses his job; its a depression when you lose your own. "Harry S Truman"
Isuzusweet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2015, 10:12 PM   #13
2 Rivet Member
 
1988 34.5' Airstream 345
Lafayette , Louisiana
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 60
Blog Entries: 1
Great advice. Thank you any suggestions on finding a mechanic that you trust?
__________________
Jim Keaty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2015, 10:14 PM   #14
2 Rivet Member
 
1988 34.5' Airstream 345
Lafayette , Louisiana
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 60
Blog Entries: 1
Thank you for the advice and yes anything you are willing to share would be greatly appreciated. Picturs and any info u think would be helpful.
__________________

__________________
Jim Keaty is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Total modification rebuild of my 1989 airstream 345 classic servoaero Classic Motorhomes 18 02-18-2015 11:21 PM
Chevy 454 engine rebuild pacer General Repair Forum 3 03-22-2012 04:10 PM
Losing engine elec. engine dies while driving ccgartman Airstream Motorhome Forums 4 12-10-2011 09:46 AM
1988/89 airstream rv 454 engine with p-30 frame cherry eBay Watch Airstreams on eBay 0 12-01-2009 01:00 PM
Engine rebuild price? geodrake General Motorhome Topics 13 01-13-2008 09:01 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:51 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.