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Old 09-04-2003, 09:29 AM   #1
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OK; Laugh if you want to...

Hi all,

My wife and I just celebrated our son's one year birthday. The day before was also the one year anneversary of our '75 Tradewind ownership. It's been wonderfull.

After only one year, we are begining to realize the advantages of traveling in a Moterhome rather than a Trailer. So.... I am investigating motorhome ownership.

Here is my big question: I am a deisel lover, through and through. However, I have not found any deisel Motorhomes for sale (I am mostly interested in early to mid '80's). Where can I find some?

Alternatively (and this is where you can laugh) would it be relistic to swap a deisel for a gas engine. I know that there are a lot of other legistic like tranny, fuel lines... I have realized that some of the biggest costs (acording to this forum) has been engine and transmission problems. So if I end up buying a gas motorhome, and have engine problems, do you think that it would be realistic to swap.

Look at this thread for an example:
http://www.airforums.com/forum...ine+conversion

Thanks in advance,
Patrick
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Old 09-04-2003, 09:48 AM   #2
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Pat,

You have the bug, no bones about it! There is a member of the forum that has done a swap from the 454 gas to a cummins diesel like you have in your truck. The issue is getting a good donor drivetrain and having all the electronics. The 454 in a 80's model MH is a simple powerplant so pulling it out to replace it is not the chore it would be on a car or truck.

You could always get a gas model and save the nickels until you need a motor then change over. That way you know the rest of the coach will last as long as the new motor will.

Now for the hard part. Finding a floorplan in the vintage you want. That is harder than getting the Diesel in my opinion.

Let me be the first to say NO you are not nuts and I am laughing with you!
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Old 09-04-2003, 09:54 AM   #3
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One other thing. The Izusu Deisels that Irstream used worked, but are nowhere near as powerful as what you have now. So if you wait for the "perfect" deisel MH to come around before you jump, you may be underwhelmed. I would beg borrow or steal a test run in s AS with an Izusu before you go down that road.

Not saying the Izusu is bad, just not the same in comparison to the Cummins.
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Old 09-04-2003, 09:56 AM   #4
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It's only money...

Pat,
I have seen all sorts of engine conversions, gas/diesel, or diesel/gas.
I can not see any particular problems converting a gas motorhome to a Diesel powered one, providing you do your homework and get an engine/trans combo that fits well and makes the swap worth while.
remember, thoug, that it would take a long time of driving before the fuel savings would amount to the investment ou have to make initially.
If you want to go with an Airstream Motorhome, then you might look for the one with the Diesel engine.
Good Luck!
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Old 09-04-2003, 01:23 PM   #5
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They are doing a project truck over at "The Diesel Page", where they are putting a Duramax into the old "Classic" style pickup truck. I would imagine a Duramax/Allison combo would be a great combination in a Vintage AS motorhome.
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Old 09-04-2003, 03:47 PM   #6
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I've owned my Airstream for two years now, and have yet to see the advantages of owning a motorhome. I'd rather have a good diesel pickup and keep the trailer. Wait a minute, I already did that!

But to each his own.

More to the point, as I read your post you are hoping to go with a diesel for two reasons: 1) because you want to; and 2) to reduce over all expenses. Only the first reason is valid. It is extremely unlikely that you will ever save enough in fuel and operating costs to pay for the conversion.

But then, having what you want is worth a great deal, and sometimes that is reason enough.

Mark
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Old 09-05-2003, 06:44 AM   #7
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Hi again,

Sorry I didn't respond back yesterday. I appreciate everybodies input.

To begin, the advantages that I see with a motorhome are appearant with my 12 month old son. It is very hard to drive more than one and a half hours without stopping. A motorhome would allow him and my wife to play in the back when the traffic isn't too bad. At the very least, they could watch TV (Thomas the Train) or play video games in the future.

Don't get me wrong. I saw, and still see, a lot of advantages to a trailer (lower cost, lower maintenance, simplicity...) but for longer road trips, I believe a motorhome would suit me much better.

Owning a deisel is hard to explain until you have one. I have heard mileage numbers of around 100,000 miles before a deisel will pay for itself; and that's a lot of miles for a motorhome. But my experience shows me that there is much less maintenance (higher reliability) with deisels. That is a big factor.

I also have a far fetched dream of getting rid of all propain on watever kind of RV I end up owning. The most logical replacement would be deisel. (That's a whole other post that I won't start here).

Anyway... the deisel definately isn't the desiding factor, at least short term. I was just wondering if it would be an option down the road if I ended up renovating. If you think about how much money people have put into new engines and transmissions, I don't think that it is that much more expensive to switch to deisel.

-kid64:
Thanks for the hint about Isuzu's. I have been keeping my eyes out for one, but if they are that underpowered, it may not be worthwhile.

Uwe:
About deisel considerations... I have kept my eye on Cummins. They offer larger deisels that are used a lot in RVs and often mated to Allison transmissions. I just don't know how hard it would be to fit into an Airstream (which is definately the only motorhome I would buy BTW)

Pick:
I am sure that I will offend people by saying this, but I am not a huge fan of GM products. The Duramax looks like a great engine, but is designed for light duty trucks. I think that the Cummins engines may be a better choice, and there are probably more used engines available.

Thanks again,
Patrick
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Old 09-05-2003, 09:24 AM   #8
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Patrick, here's another idea, how about a tow vehicle that gives you the best of both worlds? A growing number of RVers are using class 8 truck conversions. Don in East Texas is one of them. A Class 8 conversion can give you toilet facilities, cooking facilities, sleeping facilities, and tow your Airstream.

I am considering this for my next tow vehicle in a year or so. My biggest concern is using this vehicle to replace my pickup truck, which I only put around 7000 miles a year on. We do have winter weather conditions here in NE Ohio that require 4 wheel drive from time to time, and a truck of this type may not be suitable for me in these types of weather conditions.
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Old 09-05-2003, 09:55 AM   #9
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Pick:

I have thought about that alot. I have looked at everything from Excursions to Class Cs, to busses. I have also found several nice looking motorhomes that are over 30' for the same price as other choices.

I guess, if I were to get a bigger tow vehical, I wouldn't neccesarily need all of the amenities, I would just need space. I wouldn't be using the kitchen, etc. on the road, it just seems nice to allow my wife and sun to have some more leg room. They both have a hard time sitting in a car for long periods of time.

I know that this is another controversial subject, but it seems that they could "play" in a motorhome while on the road. I don't know of any other solutions. Does anyone else?
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Old 09-05-2003, 09:56 AM   #10
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MH + Kids = Happy

We started out really looking for an AS TT, but with 3 kids under age seven the MH ended up being a great choice for us. We typically travel long distances in the MH so now we don't stop every 30 minutes for the potty, food, toys, etc. We keep everyone belted while in motion, but we can switch seats and separate them if the argument gets too wild. The TV also helps. We'll be adding a DVD soon!

The one thing that happened to us is that while I wanted a small MH we ended up with a 345. Kind of ended up in a larger MH based on a combination of market availability, floorplans and pricing. A 310 would have worked, but I really like the sleeping and seating options in the 345. If itís a tow vehicle or MH consider your floorplans first, then engines, etc. You can change an engine, pretty hard to add three feet or move a bedroom!

I also like the diesel idea but my 454 was rebuilt 4K ago and runs well for now. I'd like the better mileage but I'm OK with it for now. Maybe someday...a Cummins/Allison? Oh, now that would be nice!
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Old 09-06-2003, 08:09 AM   #11
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Pat,Contact Cummins.For many years they offered a conversion kit for there inline 6 and 4 for ford and chev.This kit was being sold long before dodge came out with this engine in there trucks.I know this to be true as I had the brochures that were given to me by my brother-in-law who at the time was shop foreman at Cummins.The kit consisted of every nut,bolt,hose wire,and crossmember needed for the job. Butch
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Old 09-06-2003, 08:49 AM   #12
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Thanks Butch,

I just emailed Cummins. Hopefully they will respond. If I haven't heard back from them by later next week, I will call them.

I'll let everyone know what I find out.

Patrick
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