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Old 02-10-2004, 10:36 AM   #15
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There are people that import motor homes and have experience in the UK.

I will need to form a relationship with one of them.

But as you said the cost of imported parts and there (relitave) special skills would be expensive over here.

I would like to take care of as much as possible in the US before bringing it over.

An new engine and transmission would alow me to start a clean sheet and keep things regularly checked.

As you say this has been looked after, the guy was the second owner and has a full service history aparently.

Is there any resource on the web to find RV Mechanics/Service centres with Airstream experience? Or is that not necessary. Is this chassis so common that I could take it anywhere?
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Old 02-10-2004, 10:45 AM   #16
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Thanks for the advice on Ocatane ratings. Pumps in the UK have a RON rating I think.

There is usually regular and premium unleaded and an old style "4 star" which i san old leaded fuel.

Which leads me to ask..... what about unleaded fuel? Will it run on that?
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Old 02-10-2004, 11:08 AM   #17
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Unleaded Fuel.....

That's all we have here in the States -- even Av Gas.

Been that way for the last 15 years or so.

The 454 will run on both leaded or unleaded. Just watch for knock. (I don't think you have a catalytic converter on your 310.)

Your 454 is probably speced for 4 degrees BTDC. Some mechanics will argue that, but that's what I am running (for now, anyway).

If, for any reason, you have to pull the radiator, replace ALL of the belts and jewelry on the front of the engine (Water Pump, Slave Belts and Idlers, Alternator, etc.). These should all be considered consumable items, and not replacing them when you have easy access to them is just plain reverse economics.

If I were you, I'd change out the plugs and ignition wires with a "racing grade" ignition system. The 454 in motor homes produces a huge amount of heat, and normal "automotive" grade ignition parts are often not up to the higher heat requirement.
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Old 02-10-2004, 11:28 AM   #18
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"racing grade" I like the sound of that!

Although being very technically minded, and great with my hands, Bikes, Building, computers, cameras. All the usuall stuff....

Have never had a vehicle to get absorbed in..... Untill now!

If I still lived in the US I would love to do all this myself and learn as I went.

However as I am on the other side of the planet and have a family that wants to do some travelling in this thing (as opposed to having it in parts!)

I need to find someone in the Bay area who I can trust to perform a check up and a few upgrades. Then I get it to the UK and it should run for a few years before I can get oil under my nails.

Cheers, John
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Old 02-10-2004, 11:39 AM   #19
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The chassis is a P32 Chevrolet, probably the most common RV chassis around. Any truck or RV shop should be familiar with them, some don't want to work on older ones but there are plenty that will.

John
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Old 02-10-2004, 11:57 AM   #20
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Just my schillings worth.

The list of spares mentioned above will make little difference in the actual weight imported and would allow you to have the parts in hand that could take a while to get on your side of the pond. Belts are not too much different, but Alternators, water pumps, fuel pumps, etc will be something that you will sorely wish you had when it comes time to replace it. Heck some of us on this forum carry much of that with us on the road.
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Old 02-10-2004, 12:50 PM   #21
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Buckwheat - You talkin' to ME!!!



My 345 does NOT have a weight problem.

She's just "Parts Challenged"!!
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Old 02-10-2004, 01:11 PM   #22
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You all know who you are
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Old 02-10-2004, 02:42 PM   #23
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Yeah.

I will fill her up with bits and Pieces so if you can think of anything else keep the suggestions coming!

The import cost is actually calculated on volume anyway.

Still looking for a recomendation for a mechanical overhaul..... Anyone? Anywhere? As it is going cross country some time it may not have to be bay area..

Cheers, John
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Old 02-10-2004, 02:58 PM   #24
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I help take care of a Big Chevy biased web site. Having folks for Overseas asking for simular advice on US vehicle they have in not uncommon.

www.Jegs.com
www.summitracing.com are two companies that can be talked into doing international shipping and both carry almost any motor or transmission repair part you could need including complete NEW engines from GM.


Before it is shipped overseas I would have a few things checked if not just replaced. Front suspension completly gone threw and get chummy with the guy working on it and see if he can give you a few tips on how to maintain and work on it. Lube the suspension goes a long way to making it last but there is a point where stuff will wear out. Stuff like Idler arms steering arms are high wear parts and I would buy at leas on spare if not two of each of those. GM is pretty good on tie rod ends to reuse them. SO the font end may use 6 of them betweeen the two drag links and the cross bar it may only have two part numbers to cover thos 6 joints. Buy 1 of each as a spare. I would have a new set of ball joints installed and they buy a spare set to pack.

The biggie is that enging and tranny. The 454and TH400 are the workhorse engine of the era. In something like My suburban 200k is normal and 300k is not unheard of BUT thae MH is heavy and your buring the candle at both ends. Your past the average point that most people have problems wearing out that engine. I would buy a new engine and ship it.

Now that said a lot of people pop engines in MH's from lack of maintance and use. It is a proven fact that a engine under constant regular use sualy will get more miles before it expires.
A low use engine will tend to form deposits, cylinder walls will form condisation, seals will dry and tear, fuel get stale, Rust will form on vlave stems and cylinder walls etc and it all will help a motor expire at low millage.

Motor homes are best used as an exmple of how not to treat an engine more often then not. The are always run at near max because they have so much weight to deal with, Then they are run hard for hundreds of miles shut down and sit for months often without a freash oil change before being parked. the fired up and run hard again. They do not lead an easy life.

If you don't install a motor before shipping it home I sure would have one loaded into it through the door and strapped down and shipped over with it as a stand by. Store it in a temp controled low humidity place. Squirt a little WD40 into the cylinders every month or some and spin it by hand to keep the cylinder walls from rusting. Run the oil pump with a drill to keep the upper end rust free till your ready to use it.
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Old 02-10-2004, 03:22 PM   #25
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Re: Bay area Rv service recomendation

Quote:
Originally posted by 1984air310
Does anyone have a recommendation for an RV Mechanic/Service centre in the SF Bay area. I may be in the States in a week or two and plan to spend some time having this 310 checkedout and any work needed possibly done at the same time.

Re the Fuel octane. What is the Octane of Gas in the US usually? I wasnt aware that the Uk had inferior Gas!

Thanks, John
Minimum octane rating here in the US is 87. This number is arrived at by taking the Research number, the Method number, adding, and dividing by 2.
When my 1968 VW was new, it required 91R octane. I found that the 87 number on the pump exceeded that requirement.
The 7.4 Litre engine in your MH is designed for a truck, so it will have a lower compression ratio, and require less Octane, than a comparable automobile engine. If you notice a spark knock, or "pinging" while accelerating after you get it back to the UK, you can safely retard the timing a couple of degrees to help compensate. Your gas milage will suffer slightly, but it is better than having to buy another engine, which is the eventual result of pinging. The fuel burns inside the engine at 55 miles per hour, the pinging you hear is acually a tiny sonic boom when the speed of the burning fuel exceeds the speed of sound.
As far as inferior gas, if your gas has 91 RON, it should be fine.
As fsr==ar as recommending an RV repair place, how about inland RV? Andy there is about as much an expert as you can get with Airstream products. The url is: www.inlandrv.com .
He can also tell you if you are close enough to be practical for him to work on your unit.
Good Luck, and Happy Motorhoming.
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Old 02-10-2004, 03:30 PM   #26
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Airplane repair

Another thing I just remembered, depending on where you live, I have an acquaintance that owns an airplane restoration shoppe over there somewhere ( I know it is in england, that should really narrow it down), and they or someone like them should be able to take care of any damage to the actual motor home part after you get it home, if something happens.
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Old 02-10-2004, 03:44 PM   #27
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I am definatley looking to get that engine and transmission replaced in the US.

The exchange rate is so good at the moment I would be crazy not to

Inland Rv is not too far from SF. I hhave spoken to Andy and heseems to be able to do just about anything! Anyone with anywhere nearer the Bay area they reccomend?

Doesnt need to be an Airstream specialist I guess. I just need a new Engine and Transmission, the bodywork and interior are all OK. (Maby some rust on teh underside that needs some treatment before it gets over here)
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Old 02-10-2004, 03:53 PM   #28
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If you are going to go with a GM crate engine and hang all new accessories on it go to a GM dealer that has a truck division. They will know what to do, and if you then have a problem driving it across the country you have the GM dealer network to fall back on. They can usually get you a rebuilt transmission too, but I would look into a NEW transmission from someone like Jegs or Summit.
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