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Old 09-24-2014, 04:45 PM   #1
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1983 Airstream 310 with a blown Chevy 454

Well, I was driving down the road and somehow a piece of a spark plug ended up in my piston and cylinder and destroyed them, wondering about putting in a rebuilt 454 or changing to a diesel for power and fuel mileage increase, was getting around 6-7mpg on the 454
is there a cummings that I can use?
stranded in Reno!
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Old 09-24-2014, 05:44 PM   #2
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Engine swaps often sound simple but details like engine mounts, manifolds, accessory drives and the like can consume huge amounts of time and money even if the engine fits OK. Before researching these matters Iíd check the legal issues first: since you have an emissions controlled vehicle licensed in California you canít legally change the engine for anything else without having it approved by a CARB referee. If you currently are required to have a smog check then there is no way you wonít be caught next time around, I know all gas engined cars made after Ď75 must be checked but maybe motorhomes are different. Even if itís currently exempt that can change, I bought a new diesel car in Ď02 and it was exempt from smog check until the law was changed about 4 years ago to only exempt diesel cars made before Ď98.

It would be a real shame to put all the time and money into a swap and then find you canít register the motorhome.
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Old 09-24-2014, 05:57 PM   #3
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I think the GM 6.5 diesel will fit but you are talking some serious wiring issues with the computer. I would go to a diesel performance If you go that route shop and ask if it has been done in Ca.

If you go that route make sure you have the fuel solenoid driver is removed from the high pressure pump and mounted on a heat sink forward of the engine compartment heat. If not it will dye in short order.

You are also looking at a complete new 3 or 4 in exhaust system to let that oil smasher breath.
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Old 09-24-2014, 06:19 PM   #4
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Decades ago you could pull the head off, drop the oil pan, pull the piston out, bore the cylinder, put a sleeve into the cylinder (if it was damaged) or oversized rings, replace the rod, bearing, piston.

While at it, pull the other head off and give it a valve job. If your engine had a lot of miles it might have been due for a major project.

Find a late model car that was totaled and a decent big block that would work for you. Get a low mileage transmission as well.

Lots of options. No cheap way and the best is a rebuilt 454 with transmission. Your block could have been damaged and would need more work than another one to rebuild. Boats used big blocks, so they are not hard to locate. Just get in touch with some automobile club in your area, like Corvettes... which had 454's.


That 1983 are beautiful. If you want to keep it... do it right.
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Old 09-24-2014, 06:51 PM   #5
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$27K will get you a new COPO 454...775HP

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Old 09-24-2014, 06:52 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input, I'm thinking of moving to Oregon so smog would become a moot point. But yes, will be much costlier, they are lots of rebuilt 454's in the area with 36k miles, 3 year warranties, which don't do a whole lot for me because I won't put nearly those miles on it
tranny is in good condtion, so just an engine swap.
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Old 09-24-2014, 06:53 PM   #7
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can I pop a wheelie with 775 hp?!
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Old 09-24-2014, 11:35 PM   #8
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If you are looking to improve mileage put an overdrive behind the trans. Diesels are great if you have the time and talent and do it yourself. Paying to have it done is just too expensive. The smog is a whole other issue.
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Old 09-25-2014, 07:49 AM   #9
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Check these guys out. Diesel Conversion Specialists | Power For The Long Haul 454 to cummins swaps are done everyday. These guys are in Montana but should be able to help if the deisel swap is the way you want to go. They do adapters for 12 valve and 24 valve engines and have all the connectors to restore any computer issues or trans shift problems. Probably going to be in the 10 grand range.
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Old 09-25-2014, 10:33 AM   #10
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Shame you are so far away, I just bought a 28' Argosy with a sweet running 454 that I don't need! Probably cost more to remove and ship than it is worth.
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Old 09-25-2014, 02:05 PM   #11
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hard to say Martin maybe worth looking into? How many miles on her
Yeah, the diesel is probably more than I can pay streamdreamn
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Old 09-25-2014, 02:33 PM   #12
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a member here did a Cummins swap years ago, It seemed pretty awesome when done. And double or better on the mileage
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Old 09-25-2014, 07:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scotdo View Post
hard to say Martin maybe worth looking into? How many miles on her
Yeah, the diesel is probably more than I can pay streamdreamn
I will find out more tomorrow, when it arrives at the RV shop.

I really didn't pay much attention to the engine other than to start up and check for leaks.
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Old 09-26-2014, 08:31 PM   #14
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Had the donor engine running tonight, 82,000miles on a 1978.

Fires right up and runs great - I had it running for about 30 mins, temperature and oil pressure fine, no smoke.

I have no idea much much it would cost to get it taken out and shipped though.
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