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Old 08-25-2010, 10:51 AM   #1
TJ8
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1979 31' Excella 500
1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Forestville , Maryland
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Need new or rebuilt engine for 1986 345 Motorhome

I have a 1986 Chevy Airstream 345 Motorhome and it has been overheating. I had a mechanic take a look at it and he said that one of the head gaskets is blown. He also said that I need to have a new or rebuilt motor put in. Is there anyone out there who has a motor for this particular RV that is in good condition whether new or used. If so please give me a call. Thanks.

Terrence
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Old 08-25-2010, 01:19 PM   #2
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Any good reason not to replace the head gasket and try it? If the block is good, pistons all good, and the bearings are tight, there's just the heads to fix. If the mechanic didn't have the pan or heads off and told me I needed a new engine, I'd probably get another mechanic.

Gary
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Old 08-25-2010, 03:22 PM   #3
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If you have a Chevy 454 engine, I had one rebuilt several years ago at Engine Supply here in Phoenix. They have a first class rebuilding facility and ship short and long blocks out to Checker, AutoZone, Pep Boys and others. A few years ago, I toured their factory, and they were shipping about 50 engines a day throughout the US. I used to work in the electronics industry, and their facility was spotless; a far cry from what most engine rebuilders look like.

When we got our engine, they also had a installation garage that installed new/rebuilt engines. We were going to buy one out of inventory, but they didn't have one that matched ours, so we waited while they removed and rebuilt our block. They even changed the cam shaft to a modified RV cam (more low end torque) for no charge. That engine ran great for years, and it now has a second life when Hal (our old 1978 Chevy pickup) was passed on to other relatives. As a matter of fact, we had the transmission rebuilt there the following year. Great people...

However, Phoenix is a long drive from Maryland...

Here's a recent article about the owner and their business:

In Pursuit of Quality: Tom Vecchi, Engine Supply, Inc. incoming PERA president: Engine Builder
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Old 08-25-2010, 07:57 PM   #4
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Speedway , Indiana
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TJ8,
You may want to look into a new GM crate engine. The prices look quite competitive, and it is NEW.
For an overhauled unit, check out Jasper Engines. They seem to do a great job as well, and they ship all over the country.
Good luck, Rob
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:01 PM   #5
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I agree try replacing the head gasket if the motor is good....if not and I don't know how well the 454 works, but you might consider the 502?ram jet crate motor. Same as 454 but with 502 hp/502 ft lb torque
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:15 PM   #6
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How many miles, how much oil consumption, is the rear seal leaking. All questions to think about in making the choice between rebuilding it or installing a new head gasket. If it were mine and if it was not leaking or burning oil, I would change both head gaskets. If you ran it too hot, the other head may have warped a little and that gasket could let go as well. Have the head checked for true and replace the valve guide seals while the heads are off if you go this route. If on the other hand it was leaking a lot, burning a lot, making any kind of knocking sound from the bottom end, then I would go with a new or rebuild. Factory crate engines cost more than rebuilt, but you usually get a much better warranty.
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:58 AM   #7
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I agree with Twind.
I have a 1987 Suburban with a 454...at90k miles it popped the headgasket and it they were replaced... no more problems except a few oil leaks until at I68k miles it chewed up the cam drive sprocket due to chevy deciding that nylon and aluminum made a good spocket.
After the chain slipped, valves and pistons met in a passionate kiss and the engine made a loud clatter and stopped. Valves were bent and pushrods turned into spaggetti.
I posted a warning about this issue in this forum with pictures of the damage.
Upon removing it, and breaking out the micrometer, I found very little bore wear, and the crank bearing surfaces were good too, but the crank thrust face was too worn, so I replaced it with a used crank I had.
Due to time and cost restraints, I put the whole thing back together with a quick hone, new rings on the original pistons, new bearings,new HV oil pump, an RV cam, new lifters, Pushrods and new intake valves.
Its now done 15k miles since then, runs like a train, and oil pressure is solid. It is using a little oil I think, about 1qrt every 800/1000 miles, but its managable.
My point is that these engines are pretty tough if you change the oil, so base your decision on the condition.
With the HG gone a compression test would be still bea good idea... It will still give you an idea of how the engine is on all but the leaking cylinder... a leakdown test will be better. After that pull the heads and look at bore wear.

The spare engine I have I plan to rebuild with a Eagle stroker kit($1000), that gives you a brand new 1/4" longer stroke crank with better quality material and a 100% fatigue life left, new rods, KB pistons, and clevite bearings.
Turns a 454 into 496ci. short block for well under $1500 including machining.
I plan to top it with a set of mildly reworked heads maybe larger valves should net me close to 400hp, but more importantly over 500ftlb of torque on tap.
I am told with a no higher than 9.0/1 compression KB pistons and the thermal coatings they come with I can get this with regular gas, similar or better gas milage and no smog issues..
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Old 08-31-2010, 10:49 AM   #8
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1979 31' Excella 500
1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Forestville , Maryland
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Thanks for responding to my thread. But for clarity purposes, do you have an engine that you plan on rebuilding and if so when do you plan on finishing rebuilding it and how much are you selling it for. I am interested in purchasing it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyair View Post
I agree with Twind.
I have a 1987 Suburban with a 454...at90k miles it popped the headgasket and it they were replaced... no more problems except a few oil leaks until at I68k miles it chewed up the cam drive sprocket due to chevy deciding that nylon and aluminum made a good spocket.
After the chain slipped, valves and pistons met in a passionate kiss and the engine made a loud clatter and stopped. Valves were bent and pushrods turned into spaggetti.
I posted a warning about this issue in this forum with pictures of the damage.
Upon removing it, and breaking out the micrometer, I found very little bore wear, and the crank bearing surfaces were good too, but the crank thrust face was too worn, so I replaced it with a used crank I had.
Due to time and cost restraints, I put the whole thing back together with a quick hone, new rings on the original pistons, new bearings,new HV oil pump, an RV cam, new lifters, Pushrods and new intake valves.
Its now done 15k miles since then, runs like a train, and oil pressure is solid. It is using a little oil I think, about 1qrt every 800/1000 miles, but its managable.
My point is that these engines are pretty tough if you change the oil, so base your decision on the condition.
With the HG gone a compression test would be still bea good idea... It will still give you an idea of how the engine is on all but the leaking cylinder... a leakdown test will be better. After that pull the heads and look at bore wear.

The spare engine I have I plan to rebuild with a Eagle stroker kit($1000), that gives you a brand new 1/4" longer stroke crank with better quality material and a 100% fatigue life left, new rods, KB pistons, and clevite bearings.
Turns a 454 into 496ci. short block for well under $1500 including machining.
I plan to top it with a set of mildly reworked heads maybe larger valves should net me close to 400hp, but more importantly over 500ftlb of torque on tap.
I am told with a no higher than 9.0/1 compression KB pistons and the thermal coatings they come with I can get this with regular gas, similar or better gas milage and no smog issues..
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Old 08-31-2010, 11:59 AM   #9
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I do have one that I plan on building, but I would not want to sell it.
It may end up in my Airstream, or in my Suburban, but there is no rush.

My Airstream has a Jasper in it and pulls very well, and despite some other issues still returned 8mpg on my trip home. I am not the only one who says they do a great job for a great price...
Look here..
JASPER Engines & Transmissions: Remanufactured engine: diesel, marine, import
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Old 09-08-2010, 06:15 AM   #10
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Found this one on my local CL that someone might be interested...
No connection with owner for the record.

NEW 454 400+HP Chevrolet Camaro Chevelle Impala ENGINE
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