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Old 08-13-2009, 10:55 AM   #1
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Thumbs up 2nd 1300 mile trip home to AZ uneventful

That is uneventful for an 1981 Excella 280 turbo diesel. So other than a leaking gray water tank (we already knew about that) and the discovery that I 'm too old for pulling all-nighters it was a fun trip. We left Monday morning from Vancouver WA and my co-pilot needed to be back in Vegas by Tuesday afternoon. We stopped a couple times in the middle of the NV desert in the early morning hours. Kind of neat that NV has all these rest areas along HWY 95. Was able to catch a couple Perseid meteors west of Tonopah at 4:AM. Anyway this 81 Excella TD will cruise all day and all night at 56 Mph (2250 RPM) and return 14.77 average MPG. A hair under the 15 Mpg that the 81 Airstream motorhome brochure for the turbo diesel claims is possible. I 'm a believer. And we had the AC cranked. I had to drop it down to 55 Mph at the Hoover dam and into AZ as the temps were too much for blasting the dash AC and keeping the engine right around 200 F. It looks like the AC has a little radiator right in front of the engine radiator. And if that got hot it affected the motor's radiator behind it (more investigation required). Very sensitive. It didn't burn a drop of oil and the transmission only got a little warm going over the cascades (in low). I did notice some seeping from the tranny towards the drive shaft end. So there must be a seal wearing out. Today it is at Oasis in Tucson getting the gray tank fixed and some taillight wiring looked at. More pictures will be posted when I catch up on sleep.
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Old 08-13-2009, 12:38 PM   #2
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Hey Silverback, thanks for the update. I'm in the market for an Airstream MH and am wondering how the Chevy 454 compares to the TD. Is yours the turbo Isuzu? Care to share your thoughts? I live in Mesa by the way so you probably drove by me house :-)
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Old 08-13-2009, 01:52 PM   #3
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AZSMP,
Yes ours has the Isuzu Turbo Diesel motor. I expect the Chevy 454 goes faster and doesn't get 15 Mpg but I'll let the 454 owners chime in on that. I also bet the Chevy doesn't take 21 quarts of oil.
-KL
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Old 08-14-2009, 01:14 PM   #4
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i installed a fuel injection system in my 454, and the mileage went from 5 to 7.6 mpg. at about 60-65 mph.
the engine always runs at 220 degrees...i think that's pretty hot but everyone else here says that's about average or o.k
i'm about to cross the desert to CA. soon also and was worried about the temps, so i'll try to drive only in the early morning, and check out "Water Wetter" for the radiator. Used with 50/50 antifreeze it clams to drop the temp about 8 degrees more.

i also found out the gas guage flops around wildly when below 1/4 tank and the gas light comes on when there is about 10 gallons left in the tank...thats about 50 miles till the gas lite burns "get gas NOW!" across my forehead

i'm glad to hear your trip went well...do post some pics
i dream of the day i might get 10mpg & run at 200 degrees
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:46 PM   #5
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Mary, just get a cooler temp thermostat installed for summer travel. I change my thermostat seasonally and run a 165 in the summer vs. a 180 in the winter.

My new setup has an electric fan in up front of the new rad that pushes air and the standard engine clutch fan pulls from the other side.

I hadn't seen 200 this trip until I climbed Black Mountain on I-40 tonight passing semi-trucks on the way up.

Also the cold air intake mod is not that hard to do. Check out my photos. Your mechanic can make this from a three part after market air cleaner. Just use the top and bottom and then fill to height with flashing type aluminum. Use a 4" flexi hose and terminate up front with a cone type air filter and before you know it you're putting nice cool air into the combustion mix vs. hot engine compartment air. Those who have done this mod will tell you about the better fuel economy...er less fuel use.

While he's at it ask him about putting a carb spacer under the carb to lift it off the intake manifold. It helps too.
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Old 08-16-2009, 06:34 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GlenCoombe View Post
While he's at it ask him about putting a carb spacer under the carb to lift it off the intake manifold. It helps too.
Glen, do think the spacer would make much difference if an aluminum intake manifold is used? The motor I'm installing in our Argosy has an aluminum Performer 2.0 intake.

Brad
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Old 08-16-2009, 07:18 AM   #7
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Brad, if I'm not mistaken the Performer is likely a higher profile manifold to begin with.

I'm told (and I'm only as good as the last thing I'm told it seems ) that a phenolic spacer lifts the carb and creates a better movement of the gas air mixture heading to the combustion chamber, AND insulates the carb from the heat of the engine somewhat.

How high is too high? For the relative cost of the spacer and the ease of installation it's a cheap experiment.
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Old 08-16-2009, 09:31 PM   #8
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How high is too high? For the relative cost of the spacer and the ease of installation it's a cheap experiment.
Good point about it being a cheap experiment. After the engine is in and running I'll slip one of the spacers in and see what if any difference there is. Besides, it gives me something to do.......

Thanks!

Brad
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Old 08-16-2009, 11:51 PM   #9
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Road Trip??

Quote:
Originally Posted by silverback View Post
That is uneventful for an 1981 Excella 280 turbo diesel. So other than a leaking gray water tank (we already knew about that) and the discovery that I 'm too old for pulling all-nighters it was a fun trip. We left Monday morning from Vancouver WA and my co-pilot needed to be back in Vegas by Tuesday afternoon. We stopped a couple times in the middle of the NV desert in the early morning hours. Kind of neat that NV has all these rest areas along HWY 95. Was able to catch a couple Perseid meteors west of Tonopah at 4:AM. Anyway this 81 Excella TD will cruise all day and all night at 56 Mph (2250 RPM) and return 14.77 average MPG. A hair under the 15 Mpg that the 81 Airstream motorhome brochure for the turbo diesel claims is possible. I 'm a believer. And we had the AC cranked. I had to drop it down to 55 Mph at the Hoover dam and into AZ as the temps were too much for blasting the dash AC and keeping the engine right around 200 F. It looks like the AC has a little radiator right in front of the engine radiator. And if that got hot it affected the motor's radiator behind it (more investigation required). Very sensitive. It didn't burn a drop of oil and the transmission only got a little warm going over the cascades (in low). I did notice some seeping from the tranny towards the drive shaft end. So there must be a seal wearing out. Today it is at Oasis in Tucson getting the gray tank fixed and some taillight wiring looked at. More pictures will be posted when I catch up on sleep.
Silverback,

Glad to hear you made it home with no problems... sounts like a fun adventure. Perhaps the Sept in the Pines rally would be a good road trip for you in the new MH
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:41 AM   #10
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We hang a shower curtain on a spring rod just behind the front seats...it keeps the cab cooler without trying to cool the rest of the unit...looks REALLY tacky, but it works, and we can adjust the ac to engine temp without much change...m
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