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Old 10-15-2003, 08:55 PM   #1
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Help...oil pan and or distributer

Mechanic says that it can take from 1 hr. to 8 hrs. to get an oil pan off to replace gasket and plug. How difficult is it for my rig to get the thing off? I told him that they've been doing MH's with 454's for 7 yrs. and he doesn't know what it will take to work on it? He said "Yeah, but it's an Airstream"! So now I'm fingered as an easy mark with deep pockets just cuz I own one. Max fee=$923.00, but he said it won't be that much if they do it in an hr. It's just that they can't tell how difficult it will be until they get in there.

Also, they said that the distributer O ring is leaking and it'll be $91 to fix please. Should I just replace with a new one while they have it out?

Just so you all know, this is the 4th mechanic joint that I've been to (and all these are highly recommended) and it seems that up here they either all are extrememly expensive, or there's some price fixing going on. Anyway, I have to pay to get this done cuz I just ain't got the time nor the inclination as alot of you guys do.
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Old 10-15-2003, 10:26 PM   #2
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Hi Astro, you know i am one of those guys who has the inclination to do all that stuff myself.
The main reaon, I guess is the simple fact that I otherwise could not afford owning a vintage Airstream Motorhome.
From a dollars spend point of view, you would be better off buying a new motor and having all that work done while the motor is being replaced.
Right now you are paying a thousand here and thousand there for fiddling around stuff and looks like it will not end any time soon.
$91.- to replace the O-ring on the distributor??? Well lets see, a $2.- O-ring and one nut to unscrew. Sounds like a good deal, but not for you.
The same for the radiator repair you posted about. Once its out, they will tell you that the waterpump and the fan clutch and all the belts should be replaced as well. (As they probably should be) Another $500-600 ?
Just adding the things up you shared with us, doesn't that come close to 4-5K?
Have you considered having a compression test done on the motor, before committing more $ on cosmetic problems?
Just some food for thought.....
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Old 10-15-2003, 10:38 PM   #3
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Hi Peter,

Yes, i had the compression check done and all ist guut. It was the Chevy dealer who did it, so I figure if THEY said it's Ok, then it is. Also they said that the tranny is pretty much bullet proof, you know, like Bill Clinton, and that in general I had a great MH except for the small leaks and replacements for hoses and stuff. The usual styff that needs to be done should and will, and I do know that some of it is elective, like the Thorleys. I could easily have left it with a small leak or used a guy I know who does this on weekends, but i got the bug, and i want warranties. I think next I'll put hydrolics on it and be able to bounce her whenever I want!
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Old 10-16-2003, 09:36 AM   #4
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Man that's a LOT of money to install $30-40 worth of parts.

I'm like Peter and I fix my own Junk. Most GM trucks you can remove the oild pan without much trouble. I haven't worked on a P30 chassis but I bet the worst that would need to be done is lift the engine a couple of inches so you can get the clearnece between the suspension saddle and block.

Like I'm sure peter would do, If I had it that far apart I would concider changing the Oil pump to a High volume performance model and if it has a 2 peice rear main seal replace it as well as a preventative measure.

Oil pans don't leak often Are you absolutly positive it's a oil pan leak? Valve cover leaks are much more common. They leak down the back of the block and often make it appear the oil pan is leaking. I would double check that before dropping the pan.
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Old 10-16-2003, 09:42 AM   #5
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I will chime in on the distributor here.

If the seal is leaking there that tells me that the distributor is more than likely the original one. If that is the case You could need to replace it in the future when the centrifugal advance finally freezes from age. A new one runs 200 bucks. I would DIY and spend the money on a new distributor and eliminate a future problem. Also if the distributor seal is leaking, the volume of oil running down the rear of the block could look like an oil pan leak. Just like painting a house start at the top and fix the leaks there first. Clean it up good and see if you have a leak down low. I would bet the pan is not a leaker.
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Old 10-16-2003, 09:53 AM   #6
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Like these other guys I can't count the number of sniggly little repairs that would have cost major bucks, that I was able to do myself with a little advice and time.

Many of the things I did I had little or no clue about before trying to do them.

Not knocking the tech guys who are trying to make a living, but when they want to get too deep into your pocket, I back up.

I have seen distributors in Jegs.com and other places as well as EBAY for the 454.
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Old 10-16-2003, 10:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by thenewkid64
I will chime in on the distributor here.

If the seal is leaking there that tells me that the distributor is more than likely the original one. If that is the case You could need to replace it in the future when the centrifugal advance finally freezes from age. A new one runs 200 bucks. I would DIY and spend the money on a new distributor and eliminate a future problem. Also if the distributor seal is leaking, the volume of oil running down the rear of the block could look like an oil pan leak. Just like painting a house start at the top and fix the leaks there first. Claen it up good and see if you have a leak down low. I would bet the pan is not a leaker.
Most of the time that's easy to fix. That is a shaft within a shaft on those style distributors. Vapors from the engine get up there and coke it up. Just needs to be cleaned.

To clean them pull the assembly. Remove the rotor. Remove the return springs and weights. Drive the roll pin out of the distributor gear on the botom and remove gear. Little wiggling and the inner shaft that the centrifical advance rides on should slide right out. I usualy drop the whole inner shaft into a can of carb cleaner then hose out the rest of the assembly with carb or brake cleaner. Just keep the cleaner out of the pick up and Modual. Strip of Tshirt materal and a long thin screw driver to push through the bore on the main assmebly to make sure it's clean.

Rince inside shaft with brake or carb cleaner. apply some white lythium grease on the wear area's and reassemble. Check for excessive wear and play in the shaft and that's what determins if I go looking for another distributor. The rubuilds most stores have are as bad or worse then what I have. I have done this on most of my older vehicles and never had to replace one yet.
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Old 10-16-2003, 10:31 AM   #8
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Thanks guys!

I deferred treatment on the oil pan, radiator AND distributer. The only thing I authorized so far are the valve cover gaskets, which even I can see are leaking, and replacing all the old, worn belts and hoses, as I'm heading to Washington State from California for Thanksgiving, and I've read far too many posts here about side road repairs.

They were going to order Flowmaster 50's, which are also for RV's, but the consensus here is for 70's, # 14240. I looked these up, and they are for cast iron exhausts. The ones for Thorleys are 14242. Either way, they'll have to bend both pipes to the left. After this, I'm done paying for these services. I used to work on my own cars: '65 Chevy Biscayne 282 w/ 2 spd tranny, and a '71 Bug. Cinch! Truly I say to you, I will sell my house to get a property with some land so I can park her there and work at my leisure after all this. I'll have her for at least 10 more years, til the kids leave. So all this is not for naught, although it has my gut in a knot, until I tell my mechanic, NOT!
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Old 10-16-2003, 10:39 AM   #9
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Re: Thanks guys!

Quote:
Originally posted by Astrodokk
......Truly I say to you, I will sell my house to get a property with some land so I can park her there and work at my leisure after all this.....
Now you are talking, Astro.
Just make sure you get enough land, so we can come visit.
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Old 10-16-2003, 03:41 PM   #10
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An oil pan is a royal pain to pull. The engine has to be raised nearly the height of the front of the pan, the rods and crank don't clear the pan by very much. The motor mounts have to come off the crossmember or the bolts through the 2 halves must be removed, getting them aligned to reinstall is mostly by feel. Usually the fan and exhaust have to come off. Depending on the doghouse the distributor might have to come out. The front seal to the timing chain cover is easy to install with the pan on, but another royal pain when the pan is off and the cover is on. I don't mind a lot of jobs, this isn't one of them.

John
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Old 10-16-2003, 06:32 PM   #11
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No wonder they were iffy about it. I'll let it leak.

I'm surprised they didn't say they'd do it when installing the Thorleys, if it's easier when they're off. BTW, What's the difference between the Flowmaster 50 vs 70? They are both for RV's apparently.
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Old 10-16-2003, 07:48 PM   #12
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50's are louder than 70's.

John
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