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Old 02-08-2017, 07:19 AM   #1
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Exclamation 1985 345 Major Overheating issues

Thanks in advance for those who maybe able to provide insight into our overheating problems...

A couple of years ago we purchased a 1985 345 (gas) Airstream Motorhome. Our unit had 32k miles when we purchased it, and currently has about 35k miles.

After using it successfully on a number of trips, we ended up blowing out the value cover gasket returning to Tucson from San Antonio. The loss of oil we experienced caused us to overheat, but we were able to continue by "resting" the engine and continuing to pour more and more oil into it until we found a very accommodating repair shop who replaced the gasket and got us back on the road.

Once we returned to Tucson, we took it into a RV repair where they went back in, re-machined the heads to eliminate any warping, replaced the bolts etc. to ensure we had a good seal etc.

Unfortunately... we're still overheating... even on flat ground, the temps were still rising to >230 degrees....

The next steps included:
1) added updated additional auxillary fans in front of the radiator (and a bigger alternator to power them).
2) re-coring the radiator
3) replacing the water pump
4) added an oil cooler to the engine
5) replaced the thermostat

While these steps seem to keep the temps lower on flat ground, even small/medium size hills cause the temps to rise to the same levels as previously... Once the temps rise... they do NOT seem to come down until the unit is turned off...

At this point we're investigating having an aluminum radiator built as we're informed that this will allow the coolant to cool more quickly... This is looking like a cost of $1,000 since the radiator is a unique design.

We LOVE this bus and dearly want to be able to enjoy it without having to worry about overheating on EVERY trip...

HELP !?!?!? Has anyone else had difficulties with overheating like this ? AND/OR does anyone have any further suggestions as to what maybe the cause of our overheating ? and/or other resolutions we may want to consider ?

Yours In The Love of Airstream Motorhomes,

Todd
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Old 02-08-2017, 07:34 AM   #2
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1987 34.5' Airstream 345
Springfield , Ohio
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That is unusual. Did the shop that did the head work evaluate the engine to determine if running it low on oil cause irreparable damage? Did anyone verify that the temperatures are not just a gauge / sending unit error?
If you had the radiator re-cored it should cool almost as effectively as a new aluminum one. When the radiator was out they replaced the water pump and thermostat. Did they also replace the fan clutch?
You've spent a lot chasing this issue down to no avail. Seems to me that the next investment should be on some new experts.
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Old 02-08-2017, 07:36 AM   #3
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Todd,

I really can't offer solid help other than a diagnostic tool that MAY help chase things by showing you actual temps at any spot you can point to. An infrared thermometer. It has so many uses you'll be surprised. I watched a tech confirm a hunch on a low temp issue in minutes.

What about any exhaust restrictions?
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Old 02-08-2017, 07:40 AM   #4
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Thanks for your thoughts GC, They did confirm that the gauges are working correctly (if I'm interpreting your feedback correctly).

I WILL followup with your thoughts on exhaust restrictions. Could you elaborate a bit more on what this would look like ? and how it could/would impact the engine temps ?

(I'm not mechanical at all... so this is a major learning process for me).
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Old 02-08-2017, 07:45 AM   #5
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Also thanks for your feedback as well Mr. Woodrow.

We have confirmed that it is not the gauges malfunctioning...

If you don't mind, can you elaborate on what types of "irreparable" damage might need to be evaluated ?

Also, I'm not sure about the fan clutch... but I will follow up with our repair shop. What/how might that impact the cooling ? (I'm a TOTAL non-mechanical person, so I'm educating myself as I go).

Fortunately, this shop is being VERY diligent about their work (not charging us an ARM/LEG for what they have done so far) and also working hard to determine the cause of the overheating as they really don't want us to breaking down again.
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Old 02-08-2017, 08:03 AM   #6
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Todd,

The temp gun goes beyond what a gage shows from a single point. You can watch the temp change as the coolant flows from engine to cooling system and back. Also great to shoot the inlet radiator temp vs outlet temp to see temp change. Transmission coolant line temp, heater core hose temps.

Then for checking tire, brake and all manor of temp based situations.

Good luck.
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Old 02-08-2017, 08:07 AM   #7
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Thanks again for your feedback GC !

I'll be discussing your thoughts and Mr. Woodrow's with my Shop on the next call. IF there are exhaust restrictions, would that imply that the "hot air" is not being expelled properly ? and therefore keeping the heat within the engine ? instead of expelling it ?

Todd
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Old 02-08-2017, 08:18 AM   #8
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1987 34.5' Airstream 345
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It's good to know that your shop is doing their best and treating you fairly.
To answer your question, an engine that is run without oil will ultimately seize up and be ruined, which is generally irreparable. It is not a black and white issue so it's possible that self destruction due to oil starvation had begun but the day was "saved" by your stopping and adding oil. Did it need one quart or several? A teaspoon of oil leaked onto on a hot exhaust manifold will make terrible stinky mess. You'll have to be the judge of how low the engine oil got and together with your mechanics if internal damage is likely. Since they had the heads off they had a good look inside and apparently saw no damage.
The fan clutch is a disk shaped unit that mounts between the radiator fan and the water pump. It is a temperature controlled viscous clutch that engages the fan when things heat up and free wheels when not needed, thus saving gas and horsepower. They do tend to get tired over time and should be replaced when you replace the water pump. They are less that $50. In the event that your fan clutch is bad and was not replaced, you'll have exactly the problem you are having.
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Old 02-08-2017, 08:26 AM   #9
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Outstanding Mr. Woodrow ! I don't recall having any discussions about the fan clutch, but I will certainly be asking when I call my RV shop again !

To address your question on How Much Oil we put in when it was overheating... we put in multiple quarts (every time the temp went close to 240 we stopped and added more). At the initial repair site, we determined that we were down 1 quart of oil (when the did the first repair of the gasket on the return from San Antonio). So we felt as if we were keeping the level as high as possible while the gasket leak was occurring.

Thanks you again Mr. Woodrow and also CG !!! believe it or not... your comments are actually comforting in that our overheating issues seem to be 1) a bit out of the ordinary and 2) some definite ideas and suggestions for other possible causes and solutions !

Many Thanks to you both !

Todd
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Old 02-08-2017, 10:20 AM   #10
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Here's a sample of the temperature gun mentioned above:

https://www.amazon.com/Thermometer-N...rmometer&psc=1

Very handy, I keep one in my glove box. If you want to know how cold it is outside, just point it at the windshield.

One thing to keep in mind: normal operating temperature for this engine per the manual is 190-240 degrees. We have had a lot of the same PM done as you, minus the extra fans. I expect to see temps around 220 going up moderate hills and 230 on long steep grades in second gear. So far, so good.
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Old 02-08-2017, 12:07 PM   #11
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454 overheating

Following your thread with interest. I have a 1990 250 classic and when we brought it from Seattle to Vermont we went through the same overheating and gasket problem you have experienced with all of the same repairs. The 454 gets a workout in the mountains and it seems more cooling is needed. Recent posts have suggested airflow around the engine as a culprit and there are apparently vents in the wheel wells beside the block that can be enlarged. Any material in front that traps heat or flaps on the top to reduce water intrusion into the box may need to be removed. I am going to try that when it warms up a bit. Just want you to know you are not alone. The 454 may be a little small for the 12000-18000 lbs we are trying to move on long grades at high altitude. Hi yo silver!
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Old 02-08-2017, 12:49 PM   #12
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Fan clutch can certainly do it. We had to replace the fan clutch on our 1985 345 twice, because the first replacement failed within a few miles.

The second "new" fan clutch plus recoring the radiator and installing a transmission cooler made a real difference in our 454's operating temperature.

Good luck getting your issue resolved.
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Old 02-08-2017, 01:20 PM   #13
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Over heating

I suggest you look at my previous post.
I had a problem with a belt falling off, my engine overheating and losing oil pressure.
Before that happened I always thought my 345 Ran Way too hot also but I have learned that about 210 to 220 is about normal also the temperature sending unit that runs the temperature gage on the dashboard is located on the cylinder head, it is always hotter on the cylinder head then it is on the intake manifold where most temperature sending unit are. I have two temperature gauges. the one on the head and there's one on the intake manifold intake manifold one is always about 5 to 10 cooler than the one that's on the head.
I live in the Midwest. so in the wintertime I have to run antifreeze in the winter. But in the summertime I drain the anti-freeze. and start using water and a redline product called water wetter, it seemed to help the problem with the overheating a little bit .
That said I also have a few older cars like a 1967 Ford 77 Jeep CJ 7 I thought they ran hot, and I install aluminum radiator, the aluminum radiator did make a world of difference on the cars.
This has been a learning curve for me also I considered the fan clutch but people on this forum have said you can hear the fan clutch kick-in when it gets hot. I have found that is true and my fan clutch does kick in at about 220
Another thing to look for is a fan shroud, a fan shroud makes a huge difference on my cars. My radiator (on my motorhome Airstream 345) had a fan shroud on it when I bought it.
Ignition timing could also affect temperature but if your engine is running OK I would leave that alone for now.
I have course will be following this thread for my own learning curve hopes on the information I gave you will help are used to worry on my motorhome got the 220 but I just don't anymore but 230 and 240 that worries me.
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Old 02-08-2017, 02:33 PM   #14
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Newbie here. OK The Anaconda has been setting for awhile and we are getting ready to hit the road. Would like to clean it up a little (outside), suggestions are appreciated!!
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