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Old 11-14-2014, 08:18 PM   #1
Grant and Katie
1983 31' Airstream310
Gardner , Kansas
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 2
1983 Airstream 310 electrical and fuel line diagrams

Hi all,
We recently got a 1983 Airstream 310 with 170,000 on chassis and 10,000 on engine for $3,500!! (good deal?) but has been sitting for 8 years. Having some electrical and fuel line issues. First problem the part where the fuel lines all meet is broken (what is that called and where do i get a new one or can i just make one?) and also I have no idea what lines go where. It will only run when there is gas in the aux tank but that soon somehow ends up in the main tank, with the vehicle shuddering and backfiring and very low power all around and leaving us stranded a few times now. Second big issue is that while trying to camp out in it at my parents I was jumping the dead and bad coach batteries off the engine battery that had a charger on it, something happened and now none of the coach electrical work. Also the break pedal will not come all the way back up, will this go away with use or do i need to fix something? Also where do I find a repair manual for the chassis and is it a p30 or p32? Sorry for all the questions thanks for any help.

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Old 11-14-2014, 10:33 PM   #2
Rivet Master
1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,592
Oh, grasshopper, you have a lot to look forward to and learn.

The Chassis is a P30 but Airstream modified the rear suspension on the 310's with a replacement air bag system. They can be tricky.

The fuel system is fairly simple on those beasties. One line went from the tank to the fuel filter located along the inside of the curb side frame rail. It is small and often plugs up. I always carried spares when I had my 310. The line then went to the fuel pump on the engine, and then up to the carb. There is another very small fuel filter in the line where the carb is connected to the fuel system.

There could also be a "pusher" electric fuel pump near the tank added by some previous owner. They are common.

My 310 only had one large 60 gal fuel tank. If yours has more than one, I cannot help you.

There was a second tap on my main fuel tank for the generator, set so the tank could not be run dry by the generator alone.

The brake return problem indicates that you need some brake work, probably fairly major if the rig has been setting for years and may have had little attention prior to that.

Best to you, you are going to find lots more surprises I am sure.

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Old 11-15-2014, 03:44 AM   #3
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1994 36' Classic 36 Diesel
Manhattan , Kansas
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 591
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Congrats!!! It took me about three months of tinkering before I took mine out for its shake down cruise. You still got it for a steal!
1994 36' Classic Diesel Pusher
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Old 11-15-2014, 04:15 AM   #4
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1982 31' Airstream 310
champaign , Illinois
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,946
That is a great price! Youre gonna have to evaluate what your skill set is as far as making repairs to your rig. When i started on mine, i chose to debug the chassis systems first and then start on the coach systems. Addressing the basics and safety related issues, such as your brakes. The brakes on these chevys are hydroboost assist and the pedal is notoriously strange feeling. Read all the posts here under the "classic motorhomes" forum and you will see many many threads and posts on the brakes. I ended up up replacing all the pads, flex lines, master cylinder, and flushing the system. I also flushed the power steering because thats what powers your hydroboost.
Address each system one by one. They ALL will need attention. You may also want to heed the sage wisdom of one of our forum members here (Isuzusweet, Tony) and start making sacrifices NOW to the Airstream Gods......might as well get ahead of the game.....
Youre probably going to need new coach batteries and maybe (most likely) a new converter.
Start by grabbing your favorite beverage and read all the threads from the beginning of the classic motorhome may think thats a pain in the butt, however its the best way to start the learning curve on these old rigs IMHO.
Be patient and stay away from sharp objects and fire arms while trying to debug your rig, youll eventually want to shoot yourself or your rig or both.
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Old 11-15-2014, 01:49 PM   #5
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1984 31' Airstream310
Honokaa , Hawaii
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 526
On the coach electrical issue: the battery cables converge on a solenoid type gadget that is mounted on the back of the battery box. Opening and closing the box causes the cables to flex and eventually break at that point, ask me how I know...
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Old 11-15-2014, 03:22 PM   #6
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1983 31' Airstream310
Hillsburgh , Ontario
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,463
Sage advice...Sell it for $7,000.00, double your money and RUN.

If goes.

As I have a diesel I'm not sure how many fuel lines you're talking about. I would have thought one line to the engine and a return line would have been sufficient and as iroba stated a tap into the tank for the generator. Also this is the first I'm hearing of an auxilary tank? After 30+ years I would replace ALL fuel lines and filters right back to the tank. Shepherd57 found bits and pieces of his filler hose was clogging up his fuel filters all the time causing the same stalling and loss of power. Adding a pusher pump near the tank is a good idea as it would possibly help with vapour lock in hot conditions with a gasser.

Brake (not break) pedal, check return spring attached to pedal? It could be weak. As Mike (Mayco has stated and we all have found the brakes on these rigs are weak, and that's stating it nicely, so be warned and keep your distance; unless you're into vehicular excitement (remember you only have a lap belt, it's old and a new windshield is $2,500 a side).

As for electrical, I come from the land of the "Prince of Darkness" so electrical is not my forte, (I grounded out my wiring pulling a wall section off against the propane line). My coach is partially dark which I think only adds to the ambiance for romantic evenings, to which my wife's not buying it. Brad(Bkhaler) is the electrical sage on this site along with Keyair and Smartstream.

As for anything else that has sat for 8 years you might want to inspect the tires for check lines and cracks, suspension, airbags front and back for leaks and compressor. Also inspect generator as I'd suspect it may not work well. I don't know what your interior or subfloor is like (does it smell musty after a rain?)

As for price....I paid 5 times again as much for mine and it was still only the down payment.

As for advice on this or any other forum, you take what you need and disgard the rest. I don't know your financial position, so if I or any other person suggest a product or a method to fix your coach, don't feel beholden to do it that way, as you may find a far cheaper better way to fix it. We all learn from experience and all of us are open to new ways to keep these vintage aluminum cans on the road so others can drool.

Mike's (Mayco) has the Airstream Gods wrapped around his little finger so he's the guy to perform exorcisms and ritual sacrifices to appease them. If you have access to virgins (preferably the two legged variety) he's your man.

As for manuals Keyair (Steve) very nicely started up a manual sticky in the classic motorhome section. Ones just like this one

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Old 11-15-2014, 03:57 PM   #7
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2012 27' Flying Cloud
Portland , Oregon
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 254


You still out there?

Maybe you guys scared him so bad he'll never be back...

I hope he will be back, and that he has the wherewithal, both financially and emotionally, to see this through. What I'm hoping is that he started out looking for a classic MH for around $15K, and this bargain came along and he couldn't resist. If that's the case, the rest of the $15K will be spent in short order, and (hopefully) he'll have the basics done, he'll have a functional camper still in need of a lot of work, and he'll be lovin' it!

And you guys are a GREAT resource! Reality therapy combined with a lot of empathy, and experience up the wah-zoo! And you're all so NICE...
Like the tortoise, travelin' slow with the house on our back
2012 FC27FB "Ted Zeppelin"
2010 Tundra Crewmax Platinum "Silver Rhino"
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Old 11-17-2014, 08:24 PM   #8
Grant and Katie
1983 31' Airstream310
Gardner , Kansas
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 2
We're still here, thanks for all your input!!!! Grant will be able to reply to you guys soon! ~Katie
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Old 11-23-2014, 10:13 AM   #9
Rivet Master
1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Hanalei, /Chino Valley , Hawaii / Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 695
Hi Grant and Katie, welcome to the zany world of classic motorhome ownership, and to the forum. As you can see a small band of funny quirky, and very helpful
Fellow owner/ caretakers hang out here.
Good suggestions above, about going thru the critical systems for safe operation on the road. After that long hibernation plus the over all age of these vehicles. This is effort well spent.
I'm wondering if you have found the main electric panel, to see if there is a breaker needing resetting for your coach power.

As you bear down on individual issues, let us know what you find. And anything that stumps you. Someone here has probably dealt with it before and will offer insight on fixes.

Cheers Richard

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