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Old 12-23-2014, 11:15 PM   #1
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Best Engine?

I'm looking a buying a 240 motorhome. It's completely redone, except it needs a new engine. What would be the best engine and what would one cost installed on the west coast?
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Old 12-23-2014, 11:46 PM   #2
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If the engine really needs to be removed and replaced, budget at least $5k. Actually more, because there is other stuff (radiator, water pump, smog pump if any, belts, hoses, and on and on) that should be rebuilt or replaced while the engine is out. You don't really need anything better than what it came with, which was presumably a 454 Chevy. Larger displacements (496, 502) are available for more money, but the 240 is relatively small and does not need the power. The most important part of the project will be finding a good mechanic to do the work. They will know what engine to buy.

Not all broken engines need to be removed and replaced, some can be repaired...
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Old 12-24-2014, 06:30 AM   #3
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I seem to remember many 240s had Isuzu diesel engines from the factory.
If you have one of these, it will be more to replace it, and would almost always be cheaper to repair or rebuild.
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Old 12-24-2014, 06:49 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forums! You will find lots of good advice and information here.


Engine swaps in the classic motor homes are quite labor intensive.

As I recall, some require units even removing frame members to extract the engine.

Airstream built these on incomplete chassis supplied by various manufacturers, and pretty much constructed the motor home around the engine without much regard for engine maintenance, really.

If one is expecting to find a shop or hire someone to complete the work, make sure the shop is fully aware of the work required and, preferably, find someone who has done it before.

A nice rig can wind up disassembled forever when the money runs out or a well-intending shop ends up overwhelmed.

I am not saying don't do it, but it isn't exactly swapping out a new set of tires, either. Just be prepared.


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Old 12-24-2014, 08:40 AM   #5
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The most used engine in history that are still in most Class C motor homes is the Ford 3 valve 6.8 V-10. It's bullet proof and when added to the new TorqueShift transmission, it is a very efficient engine. Cheap keep and lots of power.
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Old 12-24-2014, 09:31 AM   #6
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The simple answer is that whatever engine is in the motorhome (or was) is the one you want to go back with.

I don't know squat about these motorhomes, but if it used a 454 that is a win.

454 long blocks can be bought cheap enough, and when compared with replacing any kind of diesel a replacement 454 will look VERY CHEAP indeed.


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Old 12-24-2014, 09:38 AM   #7
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If you change to a different engine then you'll have to change out the transmission to match, then the drive shaft and maybe the differential to gear it correctly.

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Old 12-24-2014, 09:53 AM   #8
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An engine swap from one type or model to another is usually wrought with problems that must be addressed. These problems include little problems, big problems, and new problems created when another problem is addressed. This takes time and money and the process can be overwhelming.

Same make, model and within a range the same year engine will make everything go much much easier.


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Old 12-24-2014, 10:39 PM   #9
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You haven't stated what engine is in it right now but we will assume the 454 with a 4 barrel carb. If you can swing it and replace with an early TBI (throttle body injection) it won't save you gas but will give you better throttle response and hot/cold starts. TBI is very easily installed as it was fuel injection through a carburator.

When looking for an engine be sure to buy one specifically built for motorhome usage. These engines will have a different camshaft, stronger four bolt lower end
and a host of other changes meant to increase durability for the long haul.

Stay away from the multi point injection as it was more complicated and prone to failure. If you want to replace with a very modern injected crate motor, it can be done but will require more than a bit of know-how to accommodate the PCM's and the old P30 electrics, also probably would require a modern day transmission.....but it can be done. $$$$$
Diesel conversions are the most expensive so if you have a gasser you will want to stay a gasser.

Cheers
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Old 12-25-2014, 12:11 AM   #10
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Best Engine?

Perhaps I should have said it's a 1966 and for sale on this website. I think a rebuild of the one in it sounds like the best course. But it's in Missouri and I'm in Oregon so I think it's too far away for me to deal with effectively right now.
Thanks for all the great advice!
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Old 12-25-2014, 01:12 AM   #11
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Correction!!! 1982 Airstream 240! Oops
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Old 12-25-2014, 07:23 AM   #12
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The only way I'd pay $37,000,00 for that 240 is if the young lady in the pics came with it. Pass

Cheers
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Old 12-25-2014, 09:39 AM   #13
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I checked the ads, and I think the best engine for that motorhome is this one, which just happens to come with an entire motorhome almost identical to the one advertised. It is also 1/3 of the price, and at least a thousand miles closer to you:
1974 Airstream Argosy 24 24 - Washington
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Old 12-25-2014, 09:40 AM   #14
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That does really seem a big ask for a coach needing a new engine.
Once up and running you would be in at a number near the bottom price for a classic diesel pusher.
Spend a little more time shopping around, see what turns up closer to home.
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