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Old 06-10-2013, 05:12 PM   #1
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1983 28' Airstream 280
Burlingame , California
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about to own a 1983 airstream 280 turbo diesel

hey everybody,

new member here

im inhereting an '83 280 turbo diesel and im going to be shipping it from wilmington nc to south san francisco ca. i will be flying out to meet the shipping company there and i want to try to get it started in the week before they arrive. it has been garaged for the past 15years with a dehumidifier unit in the garage. i can save about $300 if i can drive it onto the trailer instead of them winching it on. what should i be replacing besides fuel and fuel filters, air filters, oil filter, oil, glow plugs? im new to diesel engines but understand them.

it has the isuzu 6bd1t engine as i understand. also part numbers for any parts i should replace and where i can get them would be amazing, ill be bringing anything i can with me from california

any advice would help, it was started last maybe 6-7 years ago. and was in tip top shape mechanically at that time.

thanks guys, i look forward to frequenting these forums.
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Old 06-10-2013, 07:21 PM   #2
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Welcome!!!
Sounds cool.
I would have at least one of each fuel filter. How much fuel is in it? If it is full, that is a good thing.
May have a lot of water in the fuel, and microbial growth.
You may have to replace some of the filters more than once.
We look forward to hearing about your exploits.
Rob
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Old 06-10-2013, 07:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 83Airstrm280 View Post
hey everybody,

new member here

im inhereting an '83 280 turbo diesel and im going to be shipping it from wilmington nc to south san francisco ca. i will be flying out to meet the shipping company there and i want to try to get it started in the week before they arrive. it has been garaged for the past 15years with a dehumidifier unit in the garage. i can save about $300 if i can drive it onto the trailer instead of them winching it on. what should i be replacing besides fuel and fuel filters, air filters, oil filter, oil, glow plugs? im new to diesel engines but understand them.

it has the isuzu 6bd1t engine as i understand. also part numbers for any parts i should replace and where i can get them would be amazing, ill be bringing anything i can with me from california

any advice would help, it was started last maybe 6-7 years ago. and was in tip top shape mechanically at that time.

thanks guys, i look forward to frequenting these forums.
Welcome aboard shipmate!
A wealth of knowledge can be found on this forum.
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Old 06-10-2013, 08:04 PM   #4
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1983 28' Airstream 280
Burlingame , California
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Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robfike View Post
I would have at least one of each fuel filter. How much fuel is in it? If it is full, that is a good thing.
May have a lot of water in the fuel, and microbial growth.
You may have to replace some of the filters more than once.
We look forward to hearing about your exploits.
Rob
i don't know how much fuel is in it, if any. i wont be flying out to get it for another month.

there are 2 filters? does anyone know where i can get both of them? i have part numbers for one fuel filter and an oil filter. not sure if they are right though.
Fuel filter WIX P#- 33260
Oil filter WIX P#- 51282

also, does anyone know where i can obtain a service manual for the engine?
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Old 06-10-2013, 08:30 PM   #5
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1982 28' Airstream 280
Port Angeles , Washington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 83Airstrm280 View Post
hey everybody,

new member here

im inhereting an '83 280 turbo diesel and im going to be shipping it from wilmington nc to south san francisco ca. i will be flying out to meet the shipping company there and i want to try to get it started in the week before they arrive. it has been garaged for the past 15years with a dehumidifier unit in the garage. i can save about $300 if i can drive it onto the trailer instead of them winching it on. what should i be replacing besides fuel and fuel filters, air filters, oil filter, oil, glow plugs? im new to diesel engines but understand them.

it has the isuzu 6bd1t engine as i understand. also part numbers for any parts i should replace and where i can get them would be amazing, ill be bringing anything i can with me from california

any advice would help, it was started last maybe 6-7 years ago. and was in tip top shape mechanically at that time.

thanks guys, i look forward to frequenting these forums.
Congrats on your new to you coach.

After you determine that the engine will turn over your biggest issue will be fuel. An engine sitting that long has a good chance that the rings have rusted to the cylinder walls. When storing a gasoline engine you pull the spark plugs and pour oil in the cylinders but in a diesel you have to pull the injectors to do this and most people don't. The other thing that may seize up is the turbo. It will run poorly with the turbo seized but it will run.

The biggest fuel problem will be if the injectors and injector pump are gummed up with the old fuel. I would forget the fuel tank and get a 2 or 3 gallon fuel can and after you install new filters run some temporary hoses to the fuel filter inlet and the return line from the injectors and pump. There is a small hand pump on the side of the lift pump to bleed the system. Crack the out fitting on the filter on the front of the engine and pump until solid fuel with no air and tighten fitting. Next crack the bleed screws on the injector pump and keep pumping until clear fuel and tighten screws. You should now have a solid stream of fuel from the return fuel line in your fuel can. Now crack one or two fittings on the fuel lines at the injectors. Try to crank the engine with the starter, make sure the kill handle is pushed in, hopefully you will see fuel squirting from the loose injector line fittings. If you are lucky the engine will start and run rough while the injectors clear the rest of the air. Go ahead and tighten the loose fittings while the engine runs. By the way I never use the glow plugs unless well below freezing.

If you don't get any fuel from the loose injector fittings and no life from the engine, go ahead and loosen the fittings on all six injectors. Loosen the fittings about one full turn and try cranking the engine with the starter to see if you get some fuel. If you get fuel at all six injectors tighten the fittings and try to start. If no fuel try bleeding the system and try again. If you can't get fuel to the injectors the pump is gummed up and will have to be rebuilt. If you get fuel to the injectors but no start remove an injector and turn it upside down and reconnect to it's fuel line without bending the fuel line. Crank the engine and see if there is any fuel spray from the injector tip. If you get fuel try a couple of the other injectors. If you get them to spray the engine should start. If not take the injectors in to be rebuilt.

If you get it to run I would drive it on the trailer and get it home to do all the service and check out the entire drive train, suspension and brakes. If you can't get it started, winch it on the trailer. The pump and injectors will cost the better part of $1000 if you pull them and carry into the shop, more if you pay to have them pulled. If you have a place to work on it at home and the tools to do so I would suggest that as opposed to being pressed for time a few thousand miles from home.

If you have any questions feel free to ask.
Good luck.
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Old 06-10-2013, 08:38 PM   #6
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1982 28' Airstream 280
Port Angeles , Washington
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Originally Posted by 83Airstrm280 View Post
Thanks!



i don't know how much fuel is in it, if any. i wont be flying out to get it for another month.

there are 2 filters? does anyone know where i can get both of them? i have part numbers for one fuel filter and an oil filter. not sure if they are right though.
Fuel filter WIX P#- 33260
Oil filter WIX P#- 51282

also, does anyone know where i can obtain a service manual for the engine?
The WIX 33260 is the secondary fuel on the front right corner of the engine. There is also a Racor primary fuel filter in the right front wheel well behind the tire. It uses a Racor 2010 element.
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Old 06-10-2013, 11:29 PM   #7
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1983 28' Airstream 280
Burlingame , California
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Thank you Smartstream for the wealth of information, do you know where i can find a service manual for the engine? I've looked everywhere and cannot locate one. (besides one on Ebay selling for $100)
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:02 AM   #8
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Port Angeles , Washington
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Thank you Smartstream for the wealth of information, do you know where i can find a service manual for the engine? I've looked everywhere and cannot locate one. (besides one on Ebay selling for $100)
I get most of my stuff from Hamilton Engine Sales
5540 N.E. Columbia Blvd.
Portland, Oregon 97218
Craig (503) 280-1353

These engines were sold as industrial engines and were also used a lot in marine applications. It's really the same as the truck engines but they are different Isuzu divisions and they don't talk to each other and the part numbers are different. The engines are also long out of production so you want to find an older parts guy with a good memory. Craig is very knowledgeable on these engines. He sold me new service manual for about $45 a couple of years ago.

By the way they are tough old engines that will run forever if you take care of them. The PO overheated mine and I know of a couple of other ones that over heated. The interesting thing when I got mine it had been rebuilt and the PO still had overheating problems. When I got it home I discovered two 7/16" fan belts. The problem is it is supposed to have two 3/4" fan belts. Now it never overheats and in the winter I almost have trouble keeping normal temp, it needs a winter radiator cover.

Like I said anything else you need just ask.
Good luck.
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Old 06-13-2013, 09:00 PM   #9
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Hillsburgh , Ontario
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 83Airstrm280 View Post
hey everybody,

new member here

im inhereting an '83 280 turbo diesel and im going to be shipping it from wilmington nc to south san francisco ca. i will be flying out to meet the shipping company there and i want to try to get it started in the week before they arrive. it has been garaged for the past 15years with a dehumidifier unit in the garage. i can save about $300 if i can drive it onto the trailer instead of them winching it on. what should i be replacing besides fuel and fuel filters, air filters, oil filter, oil, glow plugs? im new to diesel engines but understand them.

it has the isuzu 6bd1t engine as i understand. also part numbers for any parts i should replace and where i can get them would be amazing, ill be bringing anything i can with me from california

any advice would help, it was started last maybe 6-7 years ago. and was in tip top shape mechanically at that time.

thanks guys, i look forward to frequenting these forums.

Welcome to the insanity.

I first of all wish to offer my condolences for your loss......but seriously, you must have meant a lot to that person, that an icon of Americana be entrusted to you. Even though these machines are 30+ years old, their care and longevity are very important to their owners. You should be honoured that they have entrusted their love to you.

The 6BD1A (not a T as Airstream contracted BAE Systems to turbocharge the engine) is an old style honest and simple engine that is designed to withstand a fair amount of abuse (just like Hino's), just don't overheat it.
Believe it not, diesel is by its nature is a natural lubricant and rust protector. I have a friend who flies back from Aussieland every 10 years or so to start his BJ60 and go for a rip. It starts everytime with a belch of smoke then settles down.
I would take Smartstreams advice and take the diesel tank out of the equation until emptied and condition evaluated but I have no doubt it will start and run with a bit of coaxing. I maybe would take off the valve cover and lubricate the top end as the oil has had time to completely drain out. It will be very dry up there and it could take a while before the engine oil reaches the top end.
I have an engine manual but I haven't seen it for a while as another member has it. I'm hoping once I get it back to get it electronically filed so I can enter it on the Classic sticky.

Goodluck and post some pics.

Cheers
Tony
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Old 06-14-2013, 07:25 AM   #10
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If it been sitting for over a year without turning over, I'd pull the injectors and shoot some lubrication in the cylinders. They do make pre-lubing pumps that hook up to the oil filter flange. You can do a lot of damage in those first revolutions on a dry engine until the oil pressure comes up. Those engines have a bunch of compression and the forces on the rod bearings are tremendous. Especially if they are dry. The recommendations to change out the filters is important along with feeding the engine from a fresh fuel supply. I'd role it a couple revolutions by hand with pre-lubing pump before hitting the starter with the injectors out. Pre fill the oil filter and run the starter until the oil pressure comes up. Don't over heat the starter. Reinstall the injectors and good luck!
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Old 06-14-2013, 03:15 PM   #11
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Another suggestion: If you start it up on a 6 gallon can of fuel, its a good time to give it a healthy dose of injector/fuel system cleaner.
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Old 07-21-2013, 12:23 PM   #12
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1983 28' Airstream 280
Burlingame , California
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Well, i have good news!

the airstream mechanically is in great shape, the fuel must of had stabilizer in it because it looked brand new, i drained a bit of the tank which probably had 25 gallons or so in it and the fuel was clean with no particles or separation. i changed the fuel filters which looked almost new prumed the system as best i could, i drained some oil (it was about 4qts overfilled), put a bit of lubricant in the upper cylinder and got a new set of batteries.

The old girl fired right up in about 2 turns!

then sputtered out about 10 seconds later.

but then fired up again and held a nice smooth low idle!

the engine sounds great, no abnormal noises, smooth revs and no smoke! (at least not under load).

its on its way to california on a flatbed trailer right now, should be arriving today.


now, i have another question. is there a transmission fluid level dipstick anywhere on this thing? i could not find it for the life of me.


p.s. this motorhome only has 50,000 miles! its just getting warmed up!
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Old 07-21-2013, 01:23 PM   #13
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1982 28' Airstream 280
Port Angeles , Washington
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Originally Posted by 83Airstrm280 View Post
Well, i have good news!

the airstream mechanically is in great shape, the fuel must of had stabilizer in it because it looked brand new, i drained a bit of the tank which probably had 25 gallons or so in it and the fuel was clean with no particles or separation. i changed the fuel filters which looked almost new prumed the system as best i could, i drained some oil (it was about 4qts overfilled), put a bit of lubricant in the upper cylinder and got a new set of batteries.

The old girl fired right up in about 2 turns!

then sputtered out about 10 seconds later.

but then fired up again and held a nice smooth low idle!

the engine sounds great, no abnormal noises, smooth revs and no smoke! (at least not under load).

its on its way to california on a flatbed trailer right now, should be arriving today.


now, i have another question. is there a transmission fluid level dipstick anywhere on this thing? i could not find it for the life of me.


p.s. this motorhome only has 50,000 miles! its just getting warmed up!
Glad to hear all is going well. One suggestion is to go through the fuel system again. Now that it has bounced 3000 miles across country, the fuel sloshing around may have broke loose stuff stuck to the tank walls or settled on the bottom.

I believe most of these coaches has GM TH 400 transmissions but a few Allisons have shown up here and there. If you have the TH 400 the dipstick should be in the rear right hand corner when you open the dog house cover.
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Old 07-21-2013, 02:41 PM   #14
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Congrats!! Sounds like a great rig! Can't wait to see and hear more about the old girl.
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