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Old 05-26-2017, 09:33 PM   #15
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1990 36' Land Yacht
Bradenton , Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbell View Post
1st time motorhome owner. Trying to figure out how to reach all them belts! Looked at converting to a serpentine belt. Would make things a whole bunch easier and more reliable.

Read a post where someone was doing this, followed by a post suggesting to go a step further and just drop a late 454 with all the goodies on it. Located a lo mile '93 454 w/4L80E trans.

Has anyone used the 4L80E trans and how does it compare to the 400? I see where someone here has been taking an awful long time converting to a 4L80E. I prefer to drive and not have a project. It's just that this motor and tranny have a desirable price.

Would like to hear from anyone who has done the serpentine conversion. May pick this motor up just for the brackets and water pump.
The 4L80E is basically a 400 with the addition of a fourth gear (overdrive ratio). That is the plus side, however as the "E" in the designation indicates, this transmission is electronically controlled, and as such, requires an electronic controller to operate it. Some might feel this is a minus, as it adds significant dollars to the conversion. This is in addition to the cost of shortening the drive shaft, as the transmission is longer (probably due to need for room for additional gear etc.)
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Old 05-27-2017, 12:51 AM   #16
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1991 25' Airstream 250
Oxford , Oxfordshire
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My 250 came with the 4l80e as standard (91). I like it, but have nothing really to compare it to (didn;t ever have a 400). It makes for easy driving and reasonable fuel economy. The previous owner had it fully rebuilt at 75000, which supports the theory that they don't last that long if not well maintained.
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Old 06-24-2017, 07:25 AM   #17
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1974 20' Argosy 20
Buford , Georgia
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Has anyone considered a 700r4 overdrive. They are non computer controlled, a lot simpler install and less complicated to work on. The "hot rod " set using them frequently with high horsepower. They can be built for towing etc.
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Old 06-24-2017, 10:27 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Conway View Post
Has anyone considered a 700r4 overdrive. They are non computer controlled, a lot simpler install and less complicated to work on. The "hot rod " set using them frequently with high horsepower. They can be built for towing etc.
Some have installed it (for the reason you suggest) but also many have recommended not to use (in its standard form) because it is weaker than the straight cut TH475 that comes as standard.

Not saying it isn't possible but I think you are looking at getting it rebuilt/upgraded before you do.
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Old 06-24-2017, 01:18 PM   #19
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Richmond , Kentucky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martin300662 View Post
Some have installed it (for the reason you suggest) but also many have recommended not to use (in its standard form) because it is weaker than the straight cut TH475 that comes as standard.

Not saying it isn't possible but I think you are looking at getting it rebuilt/upgraded before you do.
Ditto what Martin said. If you don't want to go computer control then the 700R4 is probably your best option.
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Old 06-24-2017, 03:15 PM   #20
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This got me going until I found an article saying that the 700R4 was designed for vehicles under 6,000 pounds gvw:

700R4 Performance Specs
As mentioned, the 700R4 was a 4 speed automatic transmission. When the transmission was renamed to 4L60 in 1990, this naming convention provided a number of key characteristics about this transmission.
The 4 indicates that it is a 4-speed transmission. The L denotes that the transmission is longitudinally positioned. The 60 indicates that the transmission is rated for applications up to 6000 lbs gross vehicle weight (GVW).
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Old 06-24-2017, 04:50 PM   #21
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1991 35' Airstream 350
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We have a 91 350LE. It had 23K on it when we found it. 1990 Model P30, so TBI and 3 speed tranny.

Drove it Burning Man and back from Arkansas. Burned 1.5 quarts of oil and more gasoline than I want to admit, but averaged about 7 mpg.

Never missed a beat. Dash air works, drives as well as can be expected.

I looked at Gear Vendors and swaps, then sat and thought about it.

I decided the best path for me was leave it alone. All the money one could spend will buy a lot of gas, with no real return on the money.

If something fails, I will decide how best to fix it, replace or upgrade, then.

Until then, I'm going camping.


Regards,

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Old 06-25-2017, 07:53 AM   #22
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1974 20' Argosy 20
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All good points. If I has a working 400 trans in my unit I would probably just leave it alone. I have an Agrosy 20 weight is 6800#. If I had a larger unit I might not try it. There are companies who specialize in modifying these transmissions (such as Monster transmissions). The aerodynamics of these units may make these decisions mute. I have a working 700r4 in my shop which is still in totaled heavy duty passenger van. Not sure of the weight. It is mated to a crate 350 engine. I believe a 700r4 will drop the ratio by about 30%. If the rear axle is a 411 that would work out to apprx 287. Any thoughts ?
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Old 06-25-2017, 08:28 AM   #23
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1975 20' Argosy 20
Chestfield , Kent
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An overdrive/4 speed trans is only the same as fitting an external overdrive like a GearVendor. Bella has a stock 350 (from 1975 so about 1/2 the power of a modern crate 350), stock TH475 with GV overdrive, and has no issue on hills and cruises at around 70mph
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Old 06-25-2017, 10:15 AM   #24
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Richmond , Kentucky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Conway View Post
All good points. If I has a working 400 trans in my unit I would probably just leave it alone. I have an Agrosy 20 weight is 6800#. If I had a larger unit I might not try it. There are companies who specialize in modifying these transmissions (such as Monster transmissions). The aerodynamics of these units may make these decisions mute. I have a working 700r4 in my shop which is still in totaled heavy duty passenger van. Not sure of the weight. It is mated to a crate 350 engine. I believe a 700r4 will drop the ratio by about 30%. If the rear axle is a 411 that would work out to apprx 287. Any thoughts ?
If you have a 700R4 there's probably no reason not to use it, assuming that is you have it "built" by someone like Monster transmissions. Your Argosy weight is 6800 but that's before you add people, supplies, fuel, etc. I think you'll find it's more in the 8,000 to 9,000 range when it's ready for the road.

If you plan on towing anything (like I do) then you need to keep that in mind with your transmission selection.

Since you got the Argosy sans transmission & engine, do you know if the rear transmission mount is still in place?


Brad
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Old 06-26-2017, 05:33 AM   #25
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1974 20' Argosy 20
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There is a cross member for the transmission. The driveshaft is a two piece, with a support and bearing housed in it. This is in addition to the transmission cross member. There is no tag on the rear axle showing what the ratio is. Before making my transmission selection I need to know. I will probably have to turn the rear wheel and count the number the drive shaft turns. Although I will not normally tow anything I would like to have the option If the need arose.
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Old 06-26-2017, 06:05 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Conway View Post
There is a cross member for the transmission. The driveshaft is a two piece, with a support and bearing housed in it. This is in addition to the transmission cross member. There is no tag on the rear axle showing what the ratio is. Before making my transmission selection I need to know. I will probably have to turn the rear wheel and count the number the drive shaft turns. Although I will not normally tow anything I would like to have the option If the need arose.
I can't imagine the diff ratio being anything other than 4.10, my 74 20' is a 4.10 and from everything I've read that was the standard for the short P30 chassis models.

From what I've read the 700R4 is about 1/2" longer than the TH400 which means it should fit in the same spot as the TH400 with the possibility you would need to drill new mounting holes for the rubber mount.

One thing to keep in mind is the way Airstream built the floor on the truck chassis you can no longer unbolt the transmission mount for removal. The floor is so close to the top of the chassis frame rail that you can't push the top bolts out to be able to remove the the mount. When I installed the 4L80e I had to torch the top bolts off so I could move the mount towards the rear about 2-3/4". I then had to drill 8 new mounting holes. Getting the top bolts in place after that was an interesting challenge also.

The hitch on the 74 20's is probably one of the better motorhome hitches. It's well made and well integrated in with the main chassis. The only problem I had was my hitch mounting frame was so rusted I had to remove all of it so it could be rebuilt with new metal.
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Old 06-26-2017, 10:43 PM   #27
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1975 20' Argosy 20
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Hi Guys

I put a built 700r4 in my 24ft. The builder is confident I can tow even gave a 2-year warranty. It was relatively easy it bolted to the cross member no problem. I had a new driveshaft made CAREFULLY hooked up the TV cable and presto overdrive! One thing worth mentioning If.. you have a long yolk on the end of the front driveshaft sometimes you can swap to a shorter one and reuse the driveshaft. It worked out for me a couple of times in the past. I haven't checked the gas mileage but the noise/lower rpm's are worth it IMHO regardless.

Ray
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Old 06-26-2017, 10:51 PM   #28
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Quote:
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Two nice looking AS's.

Swapped what? The belt? To a 4L80e? TBI?

The first thing I did was the TBI. Was getting 4mpg, w/4 speed 545 was going into 2nd on most long hills with my foot to the metal. After upwards of 7-8mpg and climb with the cruise w/no problems. Well till the Allison died on the way home. I did get within the 100 miles of AAA towing. Replaced it with a (bad) 4L80e. Another AAA tow home. Had rebuilt. Worked great, but by then the 454 was getting weak.
So, I rebuilt the engine to a 489ciu. Was getting 10-11 mpg till I dropped a valve in Los Cruces, MN. Paid Bogart repair shop 3X what it cost for me to build it not counting all the part I bought and it ran like crap. It took my three time putting the roller cam lifters in before the guy figured it out. They bored it from .030 to .040 over and then Bogart blamed the lousy running on the EFI which they had no clue of. Barely made it home. Then I bought a new CPU that was programmable. Still couldn't it to run. Was out on a tuning run when I to to call AAA again. That's when I started the swap to a 1996 12v Cummins and 2008 Allison 1000 6sp.
I keep having medical issues and I'm down from 3 months.... Again
Boy that was winded. But this fill the time while I heal.
Mel
Hi,

I/we took everything out of a 95 chevy 2500 rebuilt 454 FI engine 4l80e modified the fuel pickup/pump to fit the original tank. eliminated 80% of the wires in the 95 fusebox. I/we couldn't get it to run right we were stumped for weeks turned out to be the fuel pressure!! I now have a 20ft modernish motorhome sitting in Phoenix because its way to hot to drive or work on......
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