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Old 01-31-2009, 10:26 PM   #1
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engine replacement?

After missing out on an Argosy 28 motorhome I was trying to get, (it went to some migrant workers for less than I was offering), I have been looking at quite a lot of other motorhomes. I have found that many of them have had their motors replaced somewhere between 60 and 80 thousand miles. Why is that? Is the strain of pushing a huge brick through the air too much for a Chevy 454 and they give up. And why replace the engine instead of an in-place repair? What does an engine do that requires a complete pull and replacement? I have been looking at motorhomes that have over 45,000 miles on them. Am I looking at an immediate engine replacement? Thanks,
Dan
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Old 02-01-2009, 12:16 AM   #2
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Hi Dan,

It all depends on the previous owner. We all know the Chevy 454. Its a real workhorse but how was it treated? How did the PO take care of the cooling system? Was the oil changed regularly? I have a motorhome that i rent out and i have to keep up on it. Once these engines get to be around 20 years old the seals are all dry and cracked, the cooling system is marginal causing a possible overheat weakening headgaskets etc.. Sometimes its just easier to pull the motor and freshen it up with rebuild and all the goodies. Even now i think about it being 2009.. so 20 years ago was 1989! Doesnt seem that long ago until you do the math!

Good luck on your quest and im sure you will find what your looking for.

Cheers, Vinnie
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Old 02-01-2009, 01:38 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by QuietWater View Post
After missing out on an Argosy 28 motorhome I was trying to get, (it went to some migrant workers for less than I was offering), I have been looking at quite a lot of other motorhomes. I have found that many of them have had their motors replaced somewhere between 60 and 80 thousand miles. Why is that? Is the strain of pushing a huge brick through the air too much for a Chevy 454 and they give up. And why replace the engine instead of an in-place repair? What does an engine do that requires a complete pull and replacement? I have been looking at motorhomes that have over 45,000 miles on them. Am I looking at an immediate engine replacement? Thanks,
Dan
Hi, you might find that with the extra weight, increased tire size, and higher numerically [lower] differential ratio that the motorhome engine is turning about 1,000 RPM higher at freeway speeds [65MPH] than your car. This makes for an extra 60,000 Revolutions Per Hour and this adds up quickly. Therefore, one reason to not expect too many miles on your truck/motorhome engine. As for replacement versus overhaul; A lot depends on condition of engine to be repaired, cost of labor, and warranties.
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Old 02-01-2009, 10:20 AM   #4
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This one of the major reasons I went with an Airstream vs a high end motorhome. My experience is it is not the miles or use of the drivetrain, it is the factor of time and improper storage that kills these engines.

Case in point are marine engines. When properly stored and fogged, they last for years. Even then, the big diesels like cat and the rest find severe issues with seals and gaskets, lots of turbo problems no matter what is done.. It is really magnified in the rv industry. These big class a guy who park them for months and then expect them to start up w/o issues will find a million mile engine with major issues at 10k- 20k. They are made to run not sit.

The streamer, winterize the plumbing system, take the weight off the axles with bottle jacks and if possible keep her out of the sun and your good to go.

I use the hell out of mine for 3 months and-then she sleeps. It would kill me to have to see an entire drive train just sit and dry up. This is a huge factor in the decision of an rv, and one many do not consider. Add to the depreciation of say a new class a or the like and it is a very expensive direction indeed.

I just put my baby to sleep in covered storage in Ft.Collins. Right next to me is 40 foot diesel pusher by tiffin industries. Beautiful rig, looks new despite almost flat tires. I asked for the spot because the manger of the storage lot said he has not used it in over a year. On the back of the bus decals proudly displayed powered by cat// 400 h.p. Betcha anything that million mile engine is destined for trouble big time.
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Old 02-01-2009, 01:10 PM   #5
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Wow,
Thank you guys so much,I really learned something today.
I was looking at a 1991- 29.5 footer with 70000 miles.
Ed
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Old 02-05-2009, 09:50 AM   #6
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My engine was in perfect condition and running strong when it was killed by a careless mechanic. With 70,000 miles on the engine the insurance company depreciated it only 20%.
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Old 02-05-2009, 09:55 AM   #7
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My engine was in perfect condition and running strong when it was killed by a careless mechanic.
Care to elaborate so none of us make the same mistake?
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Old 02-11-2009, 08:57 AM   #8
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The whole story was well played out here on the forum back in 2002 so I do not want to go into to many details, In fact anyone interested in buying our motorhome its history can be found here on the forum.
The original engine comes with a cannister style oil filter. The mechanic could not find the correct size so he used one which was too large for the cannister. He had to really push to get this thing inside and actually used a hammer to put the cover back on. When the oil filter cannister was taken off there was almost no oil inside. The filter had so plugged up the circulation that no oil was getting past. I was told at the time that Isuzu does make a replacement kit to change this cannister to a twist on filter but since I was getting anew engine I never pursued it. My new engine does have a twist on filter and not the cannister.
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Old 02-11-2009, 11:08 AM   #9
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The whole story was well played out .
Thanks for the reply; I've had canister problems, too, but nothing like you had!
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Old 02-11-2009, 03:03 PM   #10
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The reality of it is that to do a major engine repair that is going to last for a while on these things you will spend as much or more in labor to do the repair and then you have that nagging tickle of "what will go next". Accessability is a bear unless you are 3ft2 tall....

I did a new one in mine 'cause I threw a rod due to a transmission issue (note: do not drop transmission into neutral under load at 65 MPH. Result=time for new motor) Not my fault, but I had to pay for it

I now know I have a complete rebuild and all new accessories so I don't have to worry....... as much

I bought it not knowing if the engine was good or not, so I factored that into the budget for the the overall cost (note I did not say investment).

If it runs well and does not drip oil or other fluids then you have to decide to take the chance and hope you got one that was well maintained....

Good Luck!
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