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Old 06-27-2016, 04:29 PM   #1
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
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Low oil pressure, after overheating

I think I may have severely damaged the 454 on my 1984 345 motorhome
Coming back home from a trip (lake Koshkonong Wis too Rockford IL)
Just a about 5 miles after entering the highway I heard a odd noise and as I inspected all my guages (installed aftermarket electronic) I saw engine temp rising, before I could get the words "what the?" Out. I saw the engine oil temp had gone from 210 (normal) to 260*f pulled over immediately and engine stalled
Had to have it towed off the freeway ($1600) after which I found belts flipped and we're very loose. the fan had stopped spinning I'm sure that's why it overheated so quickly.
My problem now is after replacing the belts and doing an oil and filter change and making sure the clutch fan is engaged.
my oil pressure that used to read 50 to 60 PSI even when it was hot going down the highway.
Now I only get about 15 psi at hot idle in drive @ about 500 rpm's, and even though I have not taken it down the highway again. I've noticed that when hot at 2000 rpm's, no load (with new oil 5/30 and filter in it) I only get about 40 psi
I did filter the old oil through some nylon stockings and DID see a few (3) very small gray flakes in it (I'm assuming the worst, that they WEREN'T in the oil pan before this incident)
I'm going to temporary install a mechanical oil pressure gauge to it just to make sure the reading is correct but, I suspect it is, because the 30psi oil pressure light / buzzer I installed (separate sensor) also blares its warning at me.
I've researched other forums, and this one but started this thread in hopes of getting opinions and ideas to this particular problem of mine
I'll eventually try heavier oil😒
Anybody think maybe I've only damaged the main bearings and not the rod and cam bearings?
Any opinions, ideas, thoughts, or buyers are welcome at this point😏
Good news is engine does NOT make any knocking, squealing or odd sounds... Yet
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Old 06-27-2016, 04:36 PM   #2
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I doubt if you hurt it in that short of a period of time. It got hot, but didn't loose oil pressure. Take it out and drive it. If you have any oil pressure and the lifters are pumped up, don't worry about it.
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Old 06-27-2016, 05:15 PM   #3
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Install a direct reading mechanical gauge directly to the port where your oil pressure sending unit is installed. Start up the engine, read gauge. You my have a problem with the electrical sending unit, this will tell you if you have an issue or not.
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Old 06-27-2016, 07:17 PM   #4
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The gray lakes could be from almost anywhere in the engine. Now 15 psi at idle hot is ok so most likely its fine. Id drive it locally for a bit and test it out.
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Old 06-27-2016, 08:43 PM   #5
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Low oil pressure, after overheating

The heat may have damaged and collapsed the plastic tubing that provides the reading to the oil pressure gauge,giving false reading.
Or if electronic the sensor diaphragm may have been damaged due to the heat generated.

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Old 06-27-2016, 10:32 PM   #6
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Install a direct reading mechanical gauge directly to the port where your oil pressure sending unit is installed. Start up the engine, read gauge. You my have a problem with the electrical sending unit, this will tell you if you have an issue or not.
Ditto. I had the same issue on an old Triumph Spitfire years ago. But then nothing electronic ever worked very well on old BL autos.
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Old 06-28-2016, 07:21 AM   #7
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Low oil pressure, after overheating

You may have spun a main or rod bearing. Possibly the result of overheating if your fan belt failed or your water pump seized. I'd pull the pan for an inspection. Running it with metal in the oil can cause more damage. You probably can't fix the oil pressure problem with "snake oil".
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Old 06-28-2016, 09:29 PM   #8
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Your rig is a 1984, correct?? Those were the days when, driving out of the showroom, 10W-30 was the norm for the vast majority of cars and light trucks built in America.

Unless owner's manual says otherwise, why are you running 5W-30??

Tom
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Old 06-28-2016, 10:06 PM   #9
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5w30 is for modern vehicles with much tighter tolerances than the engine in your motor home.
I would bet the mfg's specs call for 10w40 at least. Maybe 10w30 in the colder months.
The engine runs in an extreme environment. I would not be afraid to run 15w40 or even 20w50 in your case.
If you have already done mechanical damage, it's too late.
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Old 06-28-2016, 10:10 PM   #10
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Your rig is a 1984, correct?? Those were the days when, driving out of the showroom, 10W-30 was the norm for the vast majority of cars and light trucks built in America.

Unless owner's manual says otherwise, why are you running 5W-30??

Tom
5w-30 is fine, nothing wrong with It, if you spun a bearing ,it would lock up real quick, run it and see...
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Old 06-28-2016, 11:41 PM   #11
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Update

Update
I temporary installed a mechanical pressure gauge
It showed approximately 2psi less then the electronic guage
I also thought that 5/30 was WAY to light of a oil, but the previous owner used Mobil 1 5/30 and if it ran on that, and I didn't want to change the engines "diet"
Did another test run (not drive) today
With the 5/30 engine RPM's at 1100 and oil temp at 190 oil pressure was 26psi
I did another oil and filter change with Mobil 1 15/50
With the 15/50 engine RPM's at 1100 and oil temp at 193 oil pressure was 31 psi
Tomorrow (Wednesday) I'll strain the 5/30 I took out today (with less then a hour run time on it) and see if I get any more particles.
Engine still sounds good (no knocks or unusual noises)
One more separate thing I didn't mention before was the towing bill!!!
Because it was Saturday and had to be towed off the highway with in two hours, the towing company had special higher weekend rates for "heavy tows" $390 a hour with a 4 hour minimum😡
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Old 06-29-2016, 12:31 AM   #12
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That tow charge hurts, it would have paid for a good part of a rebuilt engine if that ends up being what you need. We have been towed twice, but the cost was paid for by the roadside assistance part of our insurance the first time, and by Good Sam roadside assistance the second time. Still have both coverages, Good Sam is better because they deal with a lot of RV's and know what it takes to get one moved.
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Old 06-29-2016, 01:44 AM   #13
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It is in my view very unlikely that an engine overheat, especially a very brief one, would be the cause of a bearing issue resulting in a loss of operating oil pressure. IMHO something else is happening.

What would I do? It is kind of hard to put myself directly in that position, but I think I would switch to Delvac 20/50 oil, cross my fingers, and try it for a while. If the pressure does not decay further I would regain confidence and over time learn to ignore the lower pressure.

FWIW, as an aside, imo the 5W oil is too thin for an engine of that era.


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Old 06-29-2016, 02:52 AM   #14
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While 5W may be too thin, I think xx-W50 is too thick. I pull with a 40 year old big block. I use 10W-30 per the owners manual.
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