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Old 02-23-2015, 12:46 PM   #1
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1983 31' Airstream310
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Any one ever re-power their rig?

I am considering a re-power of my 1983 Airstream 310. Has anyone done this or considered this? I was thinking a 6.6 Duramax with the 6 speed Allison tranny out of a wrecked newer pickup?

Obviously, budget is a concern also. So, is it worth the trouble, or should I just dial up the Isuzu Turbo Diesel that came in the motor home? Maybe replace the old 3 speed turbo hydromatic tranny with an Allison?

I'd like to see some conversation on this. Oh, and I live in the Olympia, WA area and not looking to go too far from home on this.

Thanks,

Russell in Olympia.
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Old 02-23-2015, 02:43 PM   #2
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Any one ever re-power their rig?

My opinion is that the old Isuzu is a more dependable engine than a Duramax.

I think money spent on restoring and/or updating the stock setup is the best approach.,

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Old 02-24-2015, 09:26 PM   #3
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Yes, we have all dreamed of being able to power up the Appalachian mountain pass though Pigeon Forge without being passed by an obesed geriatric on a ten speed bike, but actually it's the drop off on the other side with boiling brakes that scares the crapper out of me.

Yes, someone has replaced their 454 with a Duramax V8 diesel, so it can be done, however from what I have heard the jury is still out on if it was successful. It would be a bloody tight fit for the Duramax V8.

A modern day diesel has many electronic sensors that must talk to a myriad of other sensors in the vehicle. Take one sensor or even a gauge out of the mix and you will have a problem. It's worst for diesels 2007+ with EGR, Urea injection, particulate filters, etc.

I have thought of replacing my straight six Isuzu 5.8l with the Isuzu built 7.8l straight six Duramax with an Allison 5 sp but again you would need the whole truck to be able to get the wiring harness out of it with sensors and even gauges. It is not a project for the meek and mild. The biggest problem would be just to get the old engine out and the new one in, even if it fits at all.

As for hopping up the 5.8l.....I know of no aftermarket go fast parts for the 6BD1A, especially one that has an aftermarket turbo attached to it already. If you had a 1984 310 there could be a chance you'd have the 6BD1T motor that was built for a turbo with better oiling and heavier duty internal parts so it would take a bit more power, but we don't.

There is propane injection but do you really want to be the guinea pig testing how much gas the motor takes before blowing up? The problem with adding power, like turning up the fuel pump a bit or a bigger turbo is the hit your fuel economy will take and the extra heat the motor will generate. Heat is the biggest enemy to the Isuzu so don't over heat it. There is no magic pill, more power means more fuel.

Shepherd 57 is trying to find an Allison 5 sp to attach to his 325 5.8L Isuzu but again is having difficulty trying to find a wide ratio transmission with everything attached. If he finds a transmission he has to send the serial number into Allison so they can tell him if it has close or wide ratios and a host of other info need to get the right transmission for the coach.

The cheapest alternative to more power is to sell the Classic and buy a Cat powered XL396. The problem with that is if the motor goes south and over heats you're looking at 20G's to rebuild.

I hope this is as clear as mud.
Cheers
Tony
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Old 02-26-2015, 11:55 AM   #4
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Well, I just got back from talking to a fella at Automotive Specialists in Tacoma, WA. He is going to do some research on getting more power, etc. He offered suggestions like a bigger and better turbo, overdrive, etc. I hope to hear from him soon on different options for power and gearing with various price options too. I'll keep everyone posted on my progress.
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Old 03-01-2015, 06:10 PM   #5
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If, at the times I've needed engine/transmission repair/replacement I had found a Isuzu 'N' series wreck, I'd be running the 4HK-TC 5.2L 215hp, 425ft/t with a Aisin A456 w/2 overdrives in this very 345 in living this winter. After replacing the transmission twice and the gas engine rebuilt twice in the last 4 years I don't think it would cost anymore to have done the switch. And the benefit would of been worth it!
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Old 03-04-2015, 05:28 AM   #6
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I did a repower in 2008 with an 06 5.9 Cummins/Allison combo. It's all electronic double overdrive with an exaust brake for those scary downhills. After 25,000 miles it has averaged 11 mpg pulling a Jeep or boat and sometimes both. This combo was intended for a medium duty truck and has proven to be reliable and quiter than the original 460. The Gillig chassis that the 370 runs has a air ride straight axle up front so it may be a better canadate for this conversion but I would do it again no questions asked.
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Old 03-04-2015, 08:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oliver00 View Post
I did a repower in 2008 with an 06 5.9 Cummins/Allison combo. It's all electronic double overdrive with an exaust brake for those scary downhills. After 25,000 miles it has averaged 11 mpg pulling a Jeep or boat and sometimes both. This combo was intended for a medium duty truck and has proven to be reliable and quiter than the original 460. The Gillig chassis that the 370 runs has a air ride straight axle up front so it may be a better canadate for this conversion but I would do it again no questions asked.

I had my eyes on a 345 and a wrecked Allegro with that engine combo with the plans to do that conversion. Pretty straight forward as the electronics are self contained and not integrated into all off the other vehicle systems like most of the new stuff. After years of searching, a 360 popped up on Craigslist just before I started the project. Paid more than budget but our first camping trip was driving it home from Seattle 2 days after finding it on Craigslist.

That's the same mileage we see with that engine combo in the 360.
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Old 03-04-2015, 08:59 AM   #8
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Anything will bolt right in. With a little cutting welding grinding fabrication and wiring so I read in a how to hot rod article. Good luck
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Old 03-04-2015, 11:46 AM   #9
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Lol, and countless details that must be addressed.... Little things that add up to a lot.....

Interference issues, exhaust issues, etc, etc, etc....

I have done a fair amount of drivetrain swapping, there are always complications, some that can be addressed well, others that have to be lived with.

Many people will never understand that even a dipstick having to be moved from one side to the other can create headaches.


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Old 03-04-2015, 03:18 PM   #10
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Any one ever re-power their rig?

I've done 8 or 10 myself and have been published a few times. This was my first. http://www.broncodriver.com/images/pdf/mustang_efi2.pdf

Mostly modern electronically controlled drivetrains in classic vehicles. A well thought out project can be done quite eloquently by someone with the skills and dedication. I wouldn't hesitate to tackle the job. I admire the work of those that tackle these projects and do them right.

This guy did it: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f311/airrowan-duramax-install-for-classic-power-73574.html
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