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Old 04-25-2014, 10:26 PM   #1
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1982 31' Airstream 310
Corbett , Oregon
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 8
Airstream 310 Project in Portland Oregon

Hello All,

We are proud new owners of a 1982 310 moho project. We have been following this forum for some time an been keeping our eyes out for a 310 but the opportunity never presented itself till now. We really like the rear bedroom layout of the 310s and of course the uniqueness of the Airstream motorhome.

The Airstream 310 motorhome, I believe this 310 has been talked about on this forum. We found her advertised locally in Portland, she was in sad shaped with moss growing all over the place having sat in open storage for about a year and half. She has multiple areas of water intrusion and I observed about pint of rain water coming in the coach during our initial one hour inspection. From what I gathered this 310 was originally from Mississippi where the owner at the time had installed an International Navistar 7.3 IDI diesel motor. I love the diesel swap and time will tell if it was a good idea or not (Cummings motor would have been my first choice). The end product of the engine swap is shameful, there are loose and bare wires everywhere, garden hose were used in some areas and bailing wire in lieu hose clamps. Needless to say it will take some time to figure it all out. It also has a electrical short somewhere that causes the dash and ignition to go completely dead at times and would not start or run. For this reason, I was able to buy her for a low price. Luckily I think I traced the problem back to a connection in the starter. Another issue is that the PO decided it was a good idea to delete the chassis battery, I still haven't figured out if the two remaining batteries are wired to handle both coach and chassis duties (I'm hoping I can get some help from the forum on this).

On to the good news, it appears all the electrical in the coach works and everything remain intact and unmolested. The refrigerator was pulled and generator wiring was cut, I not sure why this happened, I can only guess that the generator use to share the same fuel source with the motor but now that the motor runs on diesel the PO decided it would be easier to cut the wires then to install a dedicated tank for the genset. I'm hoping this will be a quick easy fix. The body is in overall good shape with your typical dings, dents and scrapes. I'm hoping most of it will go away with some intense buffing.

The drive home!! Ok, so our maiden voyage home was not as epic as some of the blogs I've read on this forum, only because it a short 20 mile drive. The grin factor was definitely present though. The diesel motor had plenty of power although very loud, she easily cruised along 65mph even if the odometer was saying that I was only going 50 mph. I was surprised to find how easy it was to drive it even if she is 31 feet long. What a great experience!!Everyone should do this at least once in there life. My wife, who followed behind me to make sure that I did not get into any trouble said that it was amazing to watch the other drivers slow down and stared. Can't wait to get her out for a real adventure!!

The big plan, restore her to back to her old glory with a little touch of modern. I'm a carpenter by trade and my wife an architect so I feeling comfortable building new bench seating and modifying casework. The International 7.3 IDI motor is a simple motor and even though I would not call myself a mechanic, I think is would be manageable. Understanding the electrical system will be a challenge, I will be looking for a lot of help from the forum on this. I'm hoping that we can get her road worthing within a year. We have a 5 year old boy and a 3 year old girl and we are both professionals, so things happen a lot slower around here then we like.

The list of to dos, new captains chairs, the existing chair is broken and the other is totally uncomfortable for long trips. New air bag suspension, the old ones are bad, will need to replace bushings also. I found multiple locations of dry rot mostly in the front and back. I will replace the subfloor in most areas and install wood flooring through out with carpet in the cockpit area. I would like to get some feedback if there are others out there who had installed wood flooring since I have not installed wood flooring on something that moves. Sound proofing!! that diesel motor is pretty loud. Reupholster the couch and design new seating area. Install new refrigerator and modify casework surround. Remodel bathroom with new vanity and finishes. I like to shoot/ paint the interior a brighter white color, I do not care for the almond color at all. Has anyone done this? How durable were finishes. And finally, remove clear coat and buff exterior shell.

Wish me luck!!! here are some pics.
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Old 04-26-2014, 12:06 AM   #2
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Seaside , Oregon
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Welcome to vintage Airstream ownership, I'm glad someone is going to take care of this Moho because they are so cool! It sounds like a lot of work but will be worth it when it's done.
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Old 04-26-2014, 12:20 AM   #3
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1982 28' Airstream 280
Port Angeles , Washington
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Hi Portland and welcome to the Airstream Moho world. Yes we did chat about that coach and which engine it had. If the engine is in and running all the hard work is done but all the little odds and ends will drive you nuts.


When they installed diesel engines they normally converted the generators to propane. They run relatively trouble free without the stale gas in the carburetor problems from lack of use.


Airstream has some decent wiring diagrams so you should be able to sort out the electrical. The diesel wiring is fairly simple, figuring out what they did to connect to the chassis will be the fun part. There are a couple of fusible links under the drivers seat caused me a few headaches with engine cutout like you describe.


By the way I have the original captains chairs from my coach. The upholstery is tired but the frames are sound. They are yours if you want them.


One last thing, nothing on this forum exists without pictures, a lot of pictures.
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Old 04-26-2014, 06:34 AM   #4
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1982 31' Airstream 310
champaign , Illinois
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Hey there portland, congratulations on your new 310! Glad to have another 310 diesel owner here on the forums. IMO the 310 is the best of the best for my wife and i, big enough yet not too big to handle. Sounds like youve got a project on your hands but it will be a fun journey for sure.
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Old 04-26-2014, 09:00 AM   #5
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1983 31' Airstream310
Iowa City , Iowa
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Exciting Project!

We admire your pluck! Couple of things to consider that were important to us:

a) "Floating" cork flooring worked well for us. We used it in the kitchen bath area and carpeted the rest.

b) Stop those leaks! We still seem to have some water coming in if we drive through heavy rain. I think it comes in by the clearance lights and/or a/c mounts.

We've had our '83 310 (with 454 gas) since fall 2006, and it has been a lot of fun!

It's valuable also that there are so many helpful, experienced folks on this forum and among the vendors.
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Old 04-26-2014, 10:14 AM   #6
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1991 30' Airstream 30
San Francisco , California
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Congrats! I had looked at getting a friend to buy that one. I think there is a bolt on turbo kit available for that motor. Good advice above on running the gen on propane. I went with a new set of captains chairs, dinette and couch from shop4 seats.com...cheaper and better solution than trying to fix the old ones. Good luck, and welcome.
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Old 04-26-2014, 10:36 AM   #7
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
St Helens , Oregon
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Congrats on your purchase! I had actually talked with the PO about purchasing it myself but at the time he had it advertised as the original Isuzu motor. I had seen the photo's and informed the seller the motor was indeed a Navistar and not an Isuzu. The seller seemed very reasonable and was very forward with what was needed, just didn't know about the engine type. The 7.3L is a great engine, just not what I was looking for. He had it advertised at a reasonable price and to hear you purchased it for less is great!
We have recently purchased a 345 earlier this year ( wanted your 310 for parts and converting mine to diesel... Glad your rescuing it however!). We are very new to Airstreams and know that feeling you had of all the rubber neckers and strangers coming up to ask, " What is that thing?". It is definitely a classic and a great conversation piece! These motorhomes deserve to be rescued and restored! I have been replacing the entire brake system on mine due to corrosion and years of service. I am starting at the master cylinder and replacing all the calipers, rotors, wheel bearings steel and rubber lines. I can tell you that mostly all the parts have been off the shelf or a local warehouse away! These GMC chassis are everywhere and used by many RV companies so parts are still readily available and reasonably priced!

Please keep us all posted on your progress! Good luck with it and if you have any questions regarding the brake system, I'd be happy to answer... located in St Helens.
Cheers!
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Old 04-26-2014, 11:00 AM   #8
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1983 31' Airstream310
Cactus Hug , Arizona
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Congrats, I admire your spunk! They are, indeed, a very cool coach, we've had ours twenty years. If there is an achilles heal in those coaches, it's the crappy wiring and the fact that some ham-hand got into it makes it more challenging. You might get in touch with Onan and see if a propane adapter is still available, ours works great. Keep this thread open should more (i'm sure) questions come up. Good luck, slow but sure.
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Old 04-26-2014, 12:42 PM   #9
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1984 31' Airstream310
on the road , CA and OR this summer!
Join Date: Apr 2009
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awesome! we are planning a trip to Portland this summer in our 310....would love to meet up(currently spending the spring in Monterrey,Ca)
hit me up if you ever need any help...we went thru lots of issues when we first got ours and the forum helped us immensely!

btw there is a killer '81 280 excella turbo diesel for sale for really cheap(3500$) sitting outside a storage place on hwy 1 in Winchester Bay , OR.
the owner wont give us a return call.
perfect donor or for parts!
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Old 04-26-2014, 08:20 PM   #10
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1982 31' Airstream 310
Corbett , Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smartstream View Post
Hi Portland and welcome to the Airstream Moho world. Yes we did chat about that coach and which engine it had. If the engine is in and running all the hard work is done but all the little odds and ends will drive you nuts.

Thanks for the warm welcome, I agree the hard work has already been done, I'm anticipating some head scratching moments but gaining more confidence the more I poke around.

When they installed diesel engines they normally converted the generators to propane. They run relatively trouble free without the stale gas in the carburetor problems from lack of use.

Great idea about propane conversion, I researched it briefly and it's definitely do-able.

Airstream has some decent wiring diagrams so you should be able to sort out the electrical. The diesel wiring is fairly simple, figuring out what they did to connect to the chassis will be the fun part. There are a couple of fusible links under the drivers seat caused me a few headaches with engine cutout like you describe.

I've ordered both owners manual and service manual but has not arrived yet, I'll study it long and hard before I do anything.



By the way I have the original captains chairs from my coach. The upholstery is tired but the frames are sound. They are yours if you want them.

Thanks, I may take you up on it. Not sure what I like to do just yet, I may spring for a new set. I'm thinking the modern chairs have more support and probably better comfort. I have not done any research on this though.

One last thing, nothing on this forum exists without pictures, a lot of pictures.
Roger that!!! Progress report and pics will be as frequent as time allow.
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Old 04-26-2014, 08:28 PM   #11
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1982 31' Airstream 310
Corbett , Oregon
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My wife is wanting cork flooring. Glad to hear that they have served you well.
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Old 04-26-2014, 08:36 PM   #12
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1982 31' Airstream 310
Corbett , Oregon
Join Date: Apr 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smartstream View Post
Hi Portland and welcome to the Airstream Moho world. Yes we did chat about that coach and which engine it had. If the engine is in and running all the hard work is done but all the little odds and ends will drive you nuts.


When they installed diesel engines they normally converted the generators to propane. They run relatively trouble free without the stale gas in the carburetor problems from lack of use.


Airstream has some decent wiring diagrams so you should be able to sort out the electrical. The diesel wiring is fairly simple, figuring out what they did to connect to the chassis will be the fun part. There are a couple of fusible links under the drivers seat caused me a few headaches with engine cutout like you describe.


By the way I have the original captains chairs from my coach. The upholstery is tired but the frames are sound. They are yours if you want them.


One last thing, nothing on this forum exists without pictures, a lot of pictures.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryContrary View Post
awesome! we are planning a trip to Portland this summer in our 310....would love to meet up(currently spending the spring in Monterrey,Ca)
hit me up if you ever need any help...we went thru lots of issues when we first got ours and the forum helped us immensely!

btw there is a killer '81 280 excella turbo diesel for sale for really cheap(3500$) sitting outside a storage place on hwy 1 in Winchester Bay , OR.
the owner wont give us a return call.
perfect donor or for parts!
Mary, we actually live in Corbett about 25 minutes east of Portland, it's officially in the Columbia River Gorge and we are a stone throw from the Sandy River, 7 minutes from the Mighty Columbia River and quick drive to Multnomah Falls. Love to meet up. We have 5 acres and great view of Portland and the valley. Bring your swimsuit!!! the pool should be open by then. All Airforums members welcome!!!
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Old 04-26-2014, 08:53 PM   #13
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1982 31' Airstream 310
Corbett , Oregon
Join Date: Apr 2014
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OK, I'm still trying to figure out how to reply on this forum, bare with me.

Here's some pics of our 310 after 4 hours of power washing! Had to get that moss off!! Looks like there 2 good size dents on the roof. Anyone have any suggestion on how to pull the dents without taking her to a body shop?
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Old 04-29-2014, 06:33 PM   #14
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Saint Petersburg , Florida
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Agree with wxbuoy on seats. Let's face it, you have 30 year old (and then some) seats, foam has been baked, frozen over the years, go to shop4seats.com, last year they ran a 'free-shipping' special. I just checked, no free shipping as of yet, but who knows. I ordered 2 front captains chairs just before they started offering captains chairs with built-in seatbelts. Oh well, maybe next order, lol.

Those Navistar diesels are loud! Find a good insulator and use it along the floor (when you re-carpet the cockpit area) and the engine cover.

So glad to see this beauty is going to have a chance at a good restoration.

I'll be installing hardwood flooring soon, I'll post in my thread when complete.

Good Luck, Derek
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