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Old 03-19-2014, 03:00 PM   #1
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1988 29' Airstream 290
San Francisco , California
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 32
1988 Airstream 290 LE

3/1/14 - Nothing like a 1000 mile drive to get to know your new rig.

My buddy SebasSF and I flew into Grand Junction, CO to check out the 290 I'd been eyeing for months. She was definitely rough around the edges, but mechanically everything looked pretty good. We got a great price from the PO ($8700) and headed off to a local truck shop to have some work done before starting back to SF:
  • 6 New Dynatrac ST-990s + 1 Spare
  • 2 Front Koni FSDs
  • Full Chassis Inspection
  • Genset Serviced/Tuned
  • 2 Front Lower Ball Joints
  • 2 Front Sway Bushings
  • New Oil Cooler Lines
  • Fixed Transmission Pan Leak
  • Suspension Alignment

Drove 500 miles the first day on I-70W out of Grand Junction SW to Las Vegas to avoid a winter storm. The rig ran great, plenty of power up steep grades and only slowed down a bit on Salina Summit, UT (7,923 ft). The fuel gauge did seem to give pretty ballpark guesstimates on what was in the tank (bouncing +/- 1/3 tank ). Mileage could have been better at about 5-6 MPGs but figured I’d sort that out once we get home.

Late afternoon we noticed the fan was staying engaged on downgrades. Decide fan clutch had probably gone out – decided to look for a replacement unit on the way home.

Arrived at The HardRock Hotel in Las Vegas at about 12:30AM. Parked in the valet section next to Bugattis and Ferraris while security figured out where to park us. Ended up in a locked lot next to a 50’ Prevost – made the 29’ look pretty small and manageable. Ended up staying up way to late, drinking too much, and winning big at blackjack.
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Old 03-19-2014, 03:06 PM   #2
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1988 29' Airstream 290
San Francisco , California
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 32
3/2/14 - Homeward bound

Hit the road at 10AM (thanks SebasSF) and drove to Barstow, CA. Fan was engaged about 90% of the time - but otherwise everything ran great.

Stopped at a Napa in Barstow and bought replacement fan clutch (Hayden 2929). Old clutch was an exact match for new clutch and looked like a fairly new replacement. Installed new clutch in about 45 minutes while grabbing lunch at InNOut. Fan initially ran much less, which made the drive a lot more enjoyable/quiet, but unfortunately it didn’t last. About 2 hours later we saw the same problems as earlier clutch – fan was now engaged almost continuously. Online research showed that this was a common complaint with import fan clutches – possibly due to manufacturers lowering the clutch engagement temperature below GM recommended specs. Begin looking for AC Delco fan clutch with proper specs – plan to switch out once we get the rig home.

Noticed the engine was loping at bit at idle – figured it’s probably a vacuum line leak. Decided to replace all vacuum lines once we’re in SF. Also parking brake didn't seem to be engaging and could hear a slight rasping sound from rear right of rig while moving at low speed. Parking brake not engaged/dragging?

Average MPG was still around the 6MPG mark – vacuum leak and brake issues probably not doing us any favors?

Arrived in San Francisco around 11PM and parked the rig outside a friend’s house. Planning to do a few repairs and then get the rig into storage.
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Old 03-19-2014, 03:11 PM   #3
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1988 29' Airstream 290
San Francisco , California
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 32
3/11/14 - Houston we have a problem...

I had been doing some minor repairs before putting the 290 into the storage lot. Yesterday I put all new belts on. As I was tensioning everything I noticed a small green wire that had pulled loose from a bundle of wires running across the top of the engine. I accidently tapped it against the block as I was tying it back in and got a nice big spark. I traced the wire back to a wire nut where it tied in with a heavier gauge pink/faded red wire leading back to the part shown in the attached photo.

Today when I went to drive the rig into storage my batteries were dead. I jumped it and got the engine started, but noticed that the voltage gauge was reading low (10-11V) where it had previously been pegged to 13-14v continuously. The engine was running but seemed rough. I idled out of the parking lot, but when I gave the engine gas, it sputtered and eventually died completely.

Good Sam towed me to a spot near my house (definitely worth the $$) but tomorrow I'll need to get the problem sorted out and hopefully get the rig off the street and into storage.
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Old 03-19-2014, 03:27 PM   #4
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1988 29' Airstream 290
San Francisco , California
Join Date: Feb 2014
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3/12/14 - Fix it quick and get off the street...

Figured I had probably fried my alternator yesterday - so decided to replace it with an AC Delco (no more cheapo parts for me). Found a great AC Delco distributor in South San Francisco that supplies most of the parts shops in the Bay Area (City Auto Supply). Grabbed a new CS130 and an oversized 950 CCA starter battery from a BMW.

Turns out the PO had gotten creative with the electrical system in this rig. The old alternator was an underrated 85A unit and when I pulled out the battery drawer I found two batteries, a starter and a deep cycle, wired in parallel. The rig has a 85W solar panel - thinking he didn't want to spring for a dual-bank solar controller?

I undid his creative electrical work and restored the system to the OEM dual bank setup. Stuck the output from the solar system on to just the coach bank for now - and will look at getting a dual bank controller later.

Installed the new CS130 in about an hour. The rig fired right up - ran it for a couple hours to charge the chassis battery. Drove over to American Storage in Bayview, parked it, and called it a day.
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Old 03-19-2014, 03:36 PM   #5
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1988 29' Airstream 290
San Francisco , California
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Posts: 32
3/13/14 - Crap, wrong carb....

Poking around the doghouse today thinking of all the things I need to do to get this thing registered and smogged. Pulled off the aircleaner expecting to find a quadrajet, and found an Edelbrock 1406 instead. Crap.

Did a bunch of research on the CA ARB site and it looks like the only legal, non-OEM replacement carb for a 1988 P30 7.4L is an Edelbrock 1906. These are discontinued and I found no traces of 1906s for sale anytime recently on eBay.

After a bunch of research here and over on the forum at Cliff's Performance it looks like the original CA-legal quadrajet is a 17085212. Not seeing many of those for sale recently either. Will have to keep on looking.
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Old 03-20-2014, 09:33 AM   #6
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Carriere , Mississippi
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Great write up! Congrats on your new purchase!!
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Old 03-20-2014, 04:39 PM   #7
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1988 29' Airstream 290
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Thanks wxbouy - I'm enjoying getting to know her, strange wiring and all.
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Old 03-20-2014, 06:54 PM   #8
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1974 20' Argosy 20
Richmond , Kentucky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarshallSF View Post
...After a bunch of research here and over on the forum at Cliff's Performance it looks like the original CA-legal quadrajet is a 17085212. Not seeing many of those for sale recently either. Will have to keep on looking.
I'll see if I can find the carb that I took of my Argosy and check it's numbers. If it's a match I'll let you know.

Brad
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Old 03-26-2014, 12:30 PM   #9
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1988 29' Airstream 290
San Francisco , California
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3/26/14 - New Carb...

Well, definitely lucked out today. Managed to track down a brand new, still-in-the-box Rochester Quadrajet 17085212. They stopped making these in 1985 so I was amazed to have found a new one. The PO had it sitting in the corner of his shop for a decade or so.

Talking to the Cliff guys about what's needed to get it modernized (replace rubber components, etc) and looking forward to getting it on my rig/ready for smog.
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Old 03-26-2014, 12:44 PM   #10
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Woodstock , Georgia
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great to hear about another enthusiastic Classic MOho owner.. I suggest while you are working on everything that you might heat wrap the wiring that passes by the manifolds. This seems to have been an issue with a lot of these units and it certainly was when I had mine. I ended up with a billet aluminum starter and all the wires wrapped in heat proof covering.

Anyway best of luck with that cool machine, hope you enjoy it.
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Old 04-02-2014, 06:22 PM   #11
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1988 29' Airstream 290
San Francisco , California
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3/30/2014 - Refurbishing the Doghouse...

My original doghouse cover was in pretty sad shape - the only insulation was a loose piece of yellowed fiberglass mat that had to be removed my hand every time the cover was taken off. Pretty sure it provided no noise damping whatsoever and was getting tired of my right foot getting hot on long drives.

Pulled everything off, cleaned and stripped the inside of the cover, and applied two layers of Dynamat:
  1. Dynamat Extreme - Amazon.com: Dynamat 10455 18" x 32" x 0.067" Thick Self-Adhesive Sound Deadener with Xtreme Bulk Pack, (Set of 9): Automotive
  2. Dynamat Hoodliner - Amazon.com: Dynamat 11905 Hoodliner 32" x 54" x 3/4" Thick Self-Adhesive Sound Deadener: Automotive

Added probably 10-20 lbs of mass to the cover (sucker is heavy...) but the reduction in transmitted sound and heat is pretty amazing. Most of the high/mid frequency sound from the engine is now damped out - highly recommended.
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Old 04-02-2014, 06:29 PM   #12
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1988 29' Airstream 290
San Francisco , California
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4/2/2014 - Replacement Quad arrives

The UPS guy made my day today. Got my new 17085212 plus a copy of Cliff Ruggles "How to Rebuild and Modify Rochester Quadrajet Carburetors".

Tomorrow I'm planning to open up this sucker and check if everything is configured to spec. Wish me luck...
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Old 04-05-2014, 03:21 PM   #13
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1988 32.5' Airstream 325
calgary , alberta
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Hi Marshallsf Congrats on your new MH you will have fun times! Where did you order your new carb? also it seems above the driver you have a storage cabinet I have asked AS for a drawing as my 88 325 does not have this could you possibly take a picture? Thanks Jonathan [49er fan for decades!!]
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Old 04-15-2014, 02:10 PM   #14
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1988 29' Airstream 290
San Francisco , California
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4/12/2014 - Fixing the front 110V circuit ...

Finally fixed a problem where I had full 110V power on both the front/rear circuits when on shore power, but no front 110V power when on the genny. My Onan 6.5k has two 30A circuit breakers mounted on the unit. From reading here it sounds like those breakers can be a bit flakey. Multimeter showed both were passing 110V to the coach though - so my problem was somewhere else.

Next link in the chain on my 290 LE was two transfer switches mounted in a compartment below the rear wardrobe. The top transfer switch apparently feeds my front 110V circuit and passes through a rotary switch above my range to select between front AC, microwave, blender, and AC plugs. The bottom transfer switch feeds my rear circuit which I think just goes directly to the rear AC unit.

The bottom transfer switch was clicking over about 20 seconds after starting the genny, but the top was inactive. Replaced the top switch with a $98 Elkhart LPT30 30A Transfer Switch (Amazon.com: Elkhart LPT30 30A Transfer Switch: Automotive). Took about 45min to do the swap, fired up the genny, and 110V front power clicked on perfectly.

The Elkhart LPT30 was an almost exact match for the original 1988 Todd Engineering unit it replaced. Most of the other switches I looked at were in cheap, oversized plastic cases. The Elkhart case was 6"x6" and all metal with good construction - highly recommended.
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