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Old 11-03-2011, 03:39 PM   #1
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Tampa , Florida
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310 7.4 sitting 10+ years need help.

Hi new to forum but like it so far. Heres the skinny, 1984 limited 310 7.4L, The MH has been sitting for 10 years where we just yanked it out of its grave. It sat for 3 years prior to that in a construction site but was moved then with just a jump. I am trying to get this project up and running so we can get this for me and my extended family to enjoy. I need to get the thing running first but am not sure where to start so here is my list tell me if im right.
1) I need to drop the fuel tank, clean it and seal it if needed. Is there an electric fuel pump of filter in tank, I think there is mechanical pump on engine block.
2) fuel filter(s) would make sense.
3) carb is wrecked sticks, dirty deff assume rebuild is in order after 10 years in a grave.

the good news is with a fresh battery the engine turns over so not frozen up there are still fluids in tranny engine coolant. All need changed (imagine that). Then i can start on suspension and interior. Rear bags assumes DOA appears to have helper bags in front springs but completely dry rotted. I am shade tree mechanic but have no clue about these large camp cot looking springs under front knuckles.

If I address the fuel tank and fuel delivery and put a fresh rebuilt carb and ignition parts is it to much to thing this beast may fire off?
I am in love with the classic lines and would love to pull this project off. I am sorry for the long winded post, but this seems like the motherload of knowledge. Thanks for any help you folks have for us.
Ryan
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Old 11-03-2011, 04:44 PM   #2
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Hi Firejpn, and welcome!

How exciting!
Please post some pics.. I love these stories!

Ok, sounds like you are right on track.

I would find a good Carb guy and have yours rebuilt... You can find good carb builders online if there is not one local.

Fuel tank will need be dropped, checked, treated and sealed if it needs it. People have done that recently, so search this forum for details...

There should be no pump in the tank, but there maybe one retrofitted on the chassis rail on the passenger side forward of the tank.
Replace all of the rubber fuel lines as a matter of course. Dont miss the engine compartment lines, and a few rubber joins along the chassis rail, and also the genset lines.
Also replace the Tank fill hose(2' of 1, 3/4") and the vent line(5/8"), and check in the motorhome on the side where the fuel filler neck is for a additional fill pipe and vent pipe that should be replaced too.. On my 345 it is under the rear bed..

Change the Oil, filters, plugs and wires.
Flush power steering fliud.
Drain trans and change the filter, and refill.

Pull the radiator out and have it flushed, cleaned and tested...
Sitting that long will gunk it with sediment... you might be able to save it.
Replace all of the radiator hoses, and the heater pipe, and core... also maybe up to 50' of 3/4" Auxilary heater and water heater coolant lines under the sofa..
Check and see if there is any Refridgerant in the engine A/C?

Your desciption of the springs under the front knuckles sound like a "Steer-safe"... you got lucky if it is!
Does it look kinda like this?
Steer Safe

Do this stuff and you should be in great shape and she will fire!

Next it will be brakes...
Flush and bleed all the old brake fluid out
Please tell us more!!!!
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Old 11-03-2011, 04:48 PM   #3
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I am not sure you will have to drop the fuel tank unless you know that there is a problem, like I had with gas raining down with each fill up and a constant fuel smell around the back end depending on which way the wind is blowing.
I am not 100% sure but I am guessing that if tou have a fuel pump back there at all, it will be external to the fuel tank. I have an electric booster if you will on my 345. I had to install a fuel pressure regulator and a new attached fuel pump to get my pressure issues at the carb resolved.

I bought a rebuild (exchange) and it was beautiful work. I had only minimal adjustment after I bolted it in. Guaranteed Carburetors - CHEVY AND GMC TRUCKS Including Motorhome.

Fuel filters are a given and most likely, if you are anything like me, you will be replacing lots of rubber hose as soon as they start leaking. I am not sure, but i wonder if the ethanol in the modern fuels are not 100% compatible with the rubber of the time as all of my hoses started leaking almost at the same time.
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Old 11-03-2011, 04:58 PM   #4
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Good info Buttercup!
You are well experienced to advise on the cooling system methinks!

I have had a lot of experience with fuel lines, on my Alfa.
The Airstream is no exception, but you have to drop the tank to get at the lines into and out of the tank...
Check the function of the sender too...

The old line were not made to handle Ethanol, and you will have to replace any rubber lines. All the new hoses are compatable. I agree, that once they start they all go at once!
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Old 11-03-2011, 06:15 PM   #5
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Oh yea! If you have bad rubber at one or more points, you can expect to potentially have bad rubber at all points. My tank drop would maybe not have been necessary were it not for the raining fuel due to a bad cork gasket (lots of things seem to rain from my rig). However, if you are replacing rubber you might as well also drop the tank. It may not be as necessary as it was in my case what with the loose fuel gage wire and gasket - but will be necessary if you want all new rubber as I did. Also, there are rubber to metal pipe to rubber points along the rail - replace that rubber also and you will have no fuel leakage problems at times and places that are hard to access.
We'll get to the front end stuff also - check belts as that rubber is most certainly going to be bad. And it is a challenge to change. I think that you will likely have to pull the front grill as I did to get the radiator out. You can see that thread here - http://www.airforums.com/forums/f159...lts-83844.html. There are other threads on this topic also if you search in the motorhome forums.
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:34 PM   #6
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To firejpn, WELCOME to the forum. Can't wait to see pix of your discovery. Seems that you're not too far away from me. Thinking I'm getting the AS out on the road this Sunday, need to figure out where my fuel line leaks are the worst. Of course, this is just an excuse to drive it.....
Derek
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Old 11-04-2011, 02:01 AM   #7
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Hey firejpn...
Ya' came to the right spot for good advice, friendly discussions, and lots of pleasant irreverence...welcome to the forums...mike
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Old 11-04-2011, 12:18 PM   #8
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Good move, we bought a 1984 310 last year and it's a keeper. The ignition coil built into the HEI distributor cap was bad on ours and would not provide spark when it got hot. Brakes locked up when the master cylinder gave out. Otherwise, good fun.
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Old 11-04-2011, 05:47 PM   #9
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Sounds very daunting!

Most of my advice is to do the typical that you should already know about from owning and driving a car. One thing we all seem to be guilty of (and that includes me!) is to do too much or go too far with our fixes. The problem with that is you will never get out on the road and enjoy the MH. For example, I've spent unnecessary time polishing my silly front bumper when that time was really needed in replacing my fan clutch for my Yosemite trip starting on Sunday! Is it a money pit? Yes, but you can do things over time. My '82 280 was owned by my mom and dad for about twenty years until they passed and it has been mine for the last four years. I now know why when I was wrapping up the estate, my brother told me "you don't want that thing, trust me!".

My dad took very good care of the MH over the years and they did many trips in it including many long distance trips. I have had the opportunity over the last six months to sort of do everything I wanted to do all at once, but this certainly was not mandatory. I have spent about $16K so far and that is with me doing all the labor, but again it wasn't all necessary to get the MH on the road.

I have learned that there is a difference between doing something perfect and doing it right. We tend to want to do things perfect. There have been times in the past that I questioned why my dad did what he did. The plain answer is to get the MH on the road and enjoy it. Do what you need to do to maintain the rig and make it safe. Depending on time and BUDGET, the perfect can come along later.

This last summer I was heading out on a month long trip with my truck and ATV trailer. I had it up north and was underneath starting to do all kinds of work on it. Next to me was a retired Ford mechanic. He asked me what I was doing. I said the check engine light comes on when I go over the mountain passes. He shook his head and said they RARELY ever needed to replace the O2 sensors and all you need to do was replace the fuel filter. Well, he was right. The two main problems you will experience with your MH engine are plug wires and fuel delivery (from the filter through the carb). Replace the main filter back on the frame rail and the one in the Q-Jet. If you have any other filters, remove them. Now for that piece of crap Q-Jet, replace it with the SAME, but with one rebuilt by a company that REALLY knows what they are doing with Q-Jets. Don't try to rebuild it yourself...you want the MH on the road right? If it was a Holley, I would say rebuild it yourself. A couple of problems with Q-Jets among many others, is they are made out of pot metal and eventually leak gas where plugs have been installed In the carb body. Also the throttle shaft wears out and it will leak air. Problem with plug wires is they get burned up by the heat produced by both stock exhaust manifolds and headers. Don't waste your money on the most expensive wire set you can find but don't get a cheap set either. One other thing I want to mention is the alternator. You will eventually be replacing it because it will burn out. This is due to too much amperage draw from it. Don't replace now if it is working, but reduce your 12 volt power consumption if you can. When it needs to be replaced, replace with a higher amperage unit or you will just burn out the new one as well.

The 454 is a great engine. If the oil has been changed on schedule and it has not been "overheated", it should last you a long time. Mine has 130k miles on it and 150 psi compression in all cylinders. It leaks some oil, but what the heck! The 454 runs at what some consider hot. They can run up to 220 degrees. They overheat when they boil over. Don't waste money on trying to improve your gas mileage. It is what it is. My dad put a Banks system on mine a long time ago. I doubt he ever recouped the cost...he should have spent that money on my mother instead!

Check all the vacuum hoses on the engine. With its age, many are probably cracked or have fallen off. This can affect your smog emissions as well.

Speaking of smog...I STRONGLY suggest that you leave your smog equipment on! Someday you will resell your Airstream or pass it down to your children. Buyers come from all over and may want to take the MH back to a state that requires the smog equipment. Believe me, you will not see much of a difference in mileage or performance with working smog equipment or without. I brought my MH into Calif from Oregon. It is a federal model so no cats and no evap. My dad took the air pump off and it is costly to replace which I had to do. If you have the pump, make such the pump is not burned out (from bad check values), same goes for the relief valve (which for some reason is very expensive) and for the check valves. Make sure those check valves are good, you will just burn out your pump in short order from exhaust if they are not. So please, please, please, leave the smog equipment on

Personally, I wouldn't even consider dropping the gas tank unless you have actual evidence of gas leaks and/or rust in the tank.

Not only check your brakes, but check not just that the master cylinder has fluid, but the condition of the master cylinder. When I brought the MH to calif from my dad's house in Eugene OR, four years ago, I check that I had fluid. All looked good and the brakes were strong. The MH has sat a lot since then until recently now that it is smogged, registered and I'm taking it on trips. The brakes seem to be very solid as well. But one day I decided to see if there was any fluid in the master cylinder...expecting all to be well of course. Not only did I find about a quarter inch of fluid only but the master cylinder had a quarter inch of gunk in the bottom of it. That is what sitting will do...see attached photo. MH would not have made it down the mountain a couple months later when I took it in the get it smogged.

Absolutely replace the tires and the SHOCKS! Your shocks are shot I would bet after all these years. Replace steering stabilizer as well. I just installed a SteerSafe and I can't wait to see how it performs come Monday. Make sure the rear airbags and air system are working. You would be amazed at the difference in handling and the ride with this system working. The same goes for the front air bags. I was completely amazed recently when I changed mine. There is a lot of talk about replacing the front air bags with heavier springs. In fact I was ready to do the same. I thought the lower A arms had to be dropped to replace the bags so same amount of labor. Wrong! The air bags are installed through the holes in the lower A arm. It was a chore, but I got it done. My deciding factor in replacing the front air bags instead of replacing the springs, was the savings in just the bags, paid for my new roof air conditioner! Or it paid for the DMV fines I had to pay for not registering the MH for 3 years!

Well I'm exhausted and I'm sure you are too from reading all this. Have fun! I'll be heading down I5 to highway 120 and into Yosemite Valley with my shiny bumper starting Monday!
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Old 11-06-2011, 08:06 PM   #10
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You know, That master cylinder reservoir looks like it is a bear to access if you try to get at it from just underneath or whatever. I can get to mine now with the radiator off. I'll pop my cover off also and check it, but this leads to one more job I should do while I have things open - brake line flush.

I bet I have to remove that sucker to properly clean it up, don't I? Damn
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Old 11-06-2011, 08:15 PM   #11
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Flex hoses for the brakes can be a big confusing problem.
When old, they will pass fluid to the brakes, but not let them release.
Can't tell from the outside either.

Melted the disc brake backing pads on mine.
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Old 11-07-2011, 10:13 PM   #12
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thanks for all the replies and keep em coming i am not so overwhelmed but can deff see how there can be so many levels of restoration and updating. But regardless must be sound mechanicaly before it can be enjoyed. Thanks again all.
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Old 11-07-2011, 10:27 PM   #13
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Keep us up to date on how it is going please!
Just start with getting it running, then stopping, then....
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Old 01-25-2012, 12:35 PM   #14
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1984 31' Airstream310
Renton , Washington
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This'll be me, next...

(I'd posted elsewhere about a 270, but that was a no-go)

We are almost to buying a 310 w/ couch/dinette in back - I help run a volunteer group, and the idea that I could hold a full *meeting* in the rig is just too wonderful for words! (We're in the Pacific North WET).

Its original owner did everything he could think of - 12 years ago - and has driven it 2000 miles *since*, incl. 2-3 years of just back and forth in the driveway periodically.

We will have to get it 3000 miles - so I'm intending to ask the shop that's inspecting it for us to replace filters and at least the pressurized hoses and fan belt... the critical rubber parts. The tires are 6 years old - fervently hope I don't have to replace, with them being in Florida, not somewhere cold!

I expect horsing it back home will be a bit of an adventure, but really don't want to get laid up somewhere with something major having gone wrong - input?

(Oy! This is a kind of madness!)
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