Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 07-20-2018, 06:46 AM   #1
1 Rivet Member
 
1987 32.5' Airstream 325
ETOBICOKE , Ontario
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 9
Blog Entries: 1
Engine or Transmission?

Hello,
I have 1987 325 Airstream Motorhome with 454 Chevy big block engine.
Here is my problem: When I tow Toyota Matrix (dolly) here is what happens. At 50mph the engine sounds healthy at 2,500 rpm and 180 F. Going faster is straggling, loud as hell, overheats - 220F and blows, burns my gaskets from the manifolds and spark plugs and when starts to climb decelerates drastically.
So I don't know where should I start?
Is the engine underpowered?
Is my 3 speed transmission not good for towing and speed?
I thought about converting with diesel but its very costly here in Toronto,
I would like to work around it but I am not a mechanic.
Any advise would be appreciated.
Does any of you would like to share a good Airstream MH mechanic with me (Etobicoke, Ontario)?
Thanks,
Peter
__________________

4airsteam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2018, 07:00 AM   #2
CLOUDSPLITTER "Tahawus"
 
ROBERT CROSS's Avatar

 
2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , Milky Way
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 13,001
Images: 1
Welcome Aboard 👍

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4airsteam View Post
Hello,
I have 1987 325 Airstream Motorhome with 454 Chevy big block engine.
Here is my problem: When I tow Toyota Matrix (dolly) here is what happens. At 50mph the engine sounds healthy at 2,500 rpm and 180 F. Going faster is straggling, loud as hell, overheats - 220F and blows, burns my gaskets from the manifolds and spark plugs and when starts to climb decelerates drastically.
So I don't know where should I start?
Is the engine underpowered?
Is my 3 speed transmission not good for towing and speed?
I thought about converting with diesel but its very costly here in Toronto,
I would like to work around it but I am not a mechanic.
Any advise would be appreciated.
Does any of you would like to share a good Airstream MH mechanic with me (Etobicoke, Ontario)?
Thanks,
Peter
It's a bit like when my customers asked for diagnostics over the phone..."could you move the phone a little to the left please." 😂 Not easy to get right.

Have the bad gaskets been replaced?

I would start by looking for an exhaust restriction, plugged CAT converter,(cause, bad O2 sensor ) or bent exhaust.

Bob
🇺🇸
__________________

__________________
Instead of going to ’Starbucks…I make my own Coffee at home, yell out my name rong, then light a five dollar bill on🔥


"The hardest thing about Airstreaming, clearing your head and accepting how others feel it’s supposed to be done"…..
Amanamus


"Tahawus"
ROBERT CROSS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2018, 07:19 AM   #3
Rivet Master
 
mayco's Avatar

 
1982 31' Airstream 310
champaign , Illinois
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 3,451
Fuel delivery?
mayco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2018, 07:58 AM   #4
1 Rivet Member
 
1987 32.5' Airstream 325
ETOBICOKE , Ontario
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 9
Blog Entries: 1
Yes, I get what you're saying but I have to start somewhere... Do you think that my engine should tow and clime with no stress on the engine? I have replaced the gaskets and they last only 1K miles. then the engine is super loud usually from the driver's side.
Thanks again
4airsteam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2018, 08:23 AM   #5
3 Rivet Member
 
1971 27' Overlander
Kansas City , Kansas
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 155
I am a mechanic. My best advise would to be to find not an airstream shop, but a shop that works on a lot of big block engines. Many performance shops fit this bill very well. The problem could be many different things and asking opinions from this forum will probably send you down a rabbit hole you don't need to go down. A reputable shop will normally charge an hour diagnosis time and come up with an answer within that hour, 80% of the time. Then you can decide to continue or fix yourself.

Your symptoms and age of the vehicle suggest anything from vaccume leaks to electrical issues.
Shermy1987 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2018, 08:25 AM   #6
Rivet Master
 
68 TWind's Avatar
 
1968 24' Tradewind
Oxford, , Mississippi
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,532
I agree with Robert, first thing I'd check is exhaust for restrictions. I had a similar issue years ago with a Ford truck. Partially plugged screen in the tailpipe. I knocked the screen out with a chisel and when I revved up the truck it blew a double handful of rusty junk out the tail pipe. 6 years later I sold the truck but never had another issue with it.
__________________
__________________
Bruce & Rachel
__________________
68 Trade Wind
2001 Toyota Tundra
68 TWind is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2018, 09:20 AM   #7
1 Rivet Member
 
1987 32.5' Airstream 325
ETOBICOKE , Ontario
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 9
Blog Entries: 1
Ok, will do. I am also thinking to replace it with two headers. What do you think? I don't have a CAT converter as it goes straight into the pipe but I haven't heard anything regarding is this engine powerful enough to tow a car and drive comfortable 2500rpm at 65mph?
Thanks
4airsteam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2018, 09:56 AM   #8
Rivet Master
 
Waipio Rim's Avatar

 
1984 31' Airstream310
Honokaa , Hawaii
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 818
If you have the original drivetrain, you will be over 3,000 rpm at 65 mph. These vehicles were designed and built when the national speed limit was 55. The good news there is that they are geared so low that they have tow capacity. I try to stay under 60. 220 degrees is warm but not overheated. Per the owner's manual, normal operating temperature is 190-240.

Headers are a good idea in general, I am waiting for Doug Thorley to make me a set. But, I don't think they will solve any of your other issues except an exhaust leak. Shermy's advice is good, find a shop that knows these engines and pay them to diagnose.
Waipio Rim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2018, 12:27 PM   #9
CLOUDSPLITTER "Tahawus"
 
ROBERT CROSS's Avatar

 
2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , Milky Way
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 13,001
Images: 1
our 95 Burb 454 was a tow beast...poor mpg when stock, got it to 10-12 with mods...Gale Banks PowerPack, etc.

The stock cast headers were prone to warpage/cracks so the header option is a good one.
I don't even know if the aftermarket ECM chips are still available.
Getting the engine to breath better is the most cost efficient method. Cleaner smoother intake and a less restrictive exhaust. Back flush the cooling system and a double core radiator with a stainless 160* stat. Ck the fan clutch.

Bob
🇺🇸
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	fullsizeoutput_10c4.jpeg
Views:	43
Size:	93.1 KB
ID:	317568  
__________________
Instead of going to ’Starbucks…I make my own Coffee at home, yell out my name rong, then light a five dollar bill on🔥


"The hardest thing about Airstreaming, clearing your head and accepting how others feel it’s supposed to be done"…..
Amanamus


"Tahawus"
ROBERT CROSS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2018, 12:35 PM   #10
Dazed and Confused
 
Isuzusweet's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
1983 31' Airstream310
Hillsburgh , Ontario
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 3,402
Peter

The engine isn't so much underpowered, but overloaded; 16,000 lbs is a lot of weight to ask a humble 454 to pull around. The engine tends to rev at a much higher rpm than what it should. Too much heat will warp heads and manifolds, leading to premature gasket failure.

IMHO I would not put another cent into that gas motor and think about a diesel conversion. I love my 310 with the Isuzu turbo diesel.

Stay tuned as I will be converting a 1975 Argosy from the 454 to a 94 Cummins diesel this upcoming fall. Yes, it will cost me, but the savings on fuel, better drivability, longevity and resale value will more than make up for the cost of conversion.

If you want I'll keep you updated on what's involved, and you never know, maybe cheaper if more than one is done.

Cheers
Sidekick Tony

PS 1 hour north of you, inbetween Guelph and Orangeville; by Erin Ontario.
__________________
Per Mare, Per Terram and may all your campaigns be successful.

“It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose your own.” "Harry S Truman"
Isuzusweet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2018, 12:59 PM   #11
Rivet Master
 
WayneG's Avatar

 
1984 27' Airstream 270
Scotia , New York
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,082
454 is a great motor, but it needs love and a great mechanic (And money)
Could just be bad timing, could be something in the rest of the drive train overloading the engine. You need someone there to figure out problem.
And even when you get it perfectly tuned, keep it under 60 and only carry enough beer to get to the next stop
__________________
Do not take life too seriously.
You will never get out of it alive.
WayneG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2018, 07:40 PM   #12
3 Rivet Member
 
1971 27' Overlander
Kansas City , Kansas
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 155
Wayne is correct. As long as you don't mind paying for gas and driving a little easy, a big block is a fantastic motor. When they're properly tuned they purr like a kitten and those steal heads are indestructible. The engine block will probably outlast the chassis it's bolted to.
Shermy1987 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2018, 05:27 AM   #13
Dazed and Confused
 
Isuzusweet's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
1983 31' Airstream310
Hillsburgh , Ontario
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 3,402
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shermy1987 View Post
Wayne is correct. As long as you don't mind paying for gas and driving a little easy, a big block is a fantastic motor. When they're properly tuned they purr like a kitten and those steal heads are indestructible. The engine block will probably outlast the chassis it's bolted to.
Ummm, not so much. Typical 454 replacement happens at 60,000 miles in the 325-350 class motorhomes. Yes, they can last longer with really good maintenance, but usually not. Heat and high revs do them in.

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

“It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose your own.” "Harry S Truman"
Isuzusweet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2018, 07:14 AM   #14
Rivet Master
 
jdalrymple's Avatar
 
2009 27' FB Flying Cloud
1991 35' Airstream 350
Jay , Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,676
My first question would be how fast is the OP trying to go?

He complains that things are loud...That generally means lots of revs on a P30.



As mentioned, in stock configuration these are 55 mph rigs if one has any concern with longevity.



Regards,

JD
__________________

__________________
Jeff & Cindy
'09 27FB Flying Cloud
'91 350 LE MH
jdalrymple 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
New Engine & Transmission 81 Excella 28' triplenickel Airstream Motorhome Forums 1 12-29-2017 03:49 AM
Engine and transmission replacement 1987 32.5 MH COUCH2TH Classic Motorhomes 6 02-10-2013 01:25 PM
Losing engine elec. engine dies while driving ccgartman Airstream Motorhome Forums 4 12-10-2011 08:46 AM
Transmission questions jcanavera On The Road... 6 08-13-2002 09:36 AM
Transmission repairs rdm Mechanics Corner - Engines, Transmission & More... 0 05-12-2002 08:51 AM


Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:08 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.