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Old 11-10-2016, 11:25 AM   #1
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Building a pile of parts for my 1981 Excella 28...

So I've saved a small pile of money, looking to turn it into a pile of parts, then disappear that pile into the 28 footer for something that drives and makes noise. I've greatly benefitted from reading and conversing with the Airstream Magicians, here at Airforums! At the moment, the 454 is coming out to make way for a 502 crate engine from GM.

Today's question comes after searching the board and coming up empty handed. Has anyone found a source they would recommend for an aluminum core radiator to keep the 502 powerplant cool?

Thanks!
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Old 11-10-2016, 03:49 PM   #2
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I'm not convinced you would need an aluminum radiator. I recently had the radiator in Peanut re-cored with a core that had an extra row and more fins per inch. On the first start up after installing the radiator and letting the engine idle for quite some time it barely got hot enough to open the thermostat.

I bet if you just re-cored your radiator you won't have any problems cooling your 502, especially if you have the correct fan clutch on a 7-blade fan.

If yours is the vertical style of rdiator I can probably find the radiator core part number that was used in Peanuts re-core.

Brad
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Old 11-10-2016, 07:07 PM   #3
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Thanks, Brad! Before parking my rig, I had the radiator recored. That was many years ago, so who knows what corrosion will be in there. It's taller than it is wide, so I think that's what you were asking, a vertical radiator or not? The suggestion was I source an aluminum rad, but that probably because we are based in Vegas. It's warm, here. LOL. I will be relocating to South Dakota, to the other end of extremes in temperatures. Probably won't need that extra cooling, there!
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Old 11-10-2016, 10:31 PM   #4
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Wishing you good luck in getting the running gear modernized.
Are you replacing the transmission too?
Overdrive behind the original helps with highway driving.

Really interested in hearing of the driving improvements once it's completed.

Cheers Richard
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Old 11-11-2016, 06:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by propstrike View Post
Thanks, Brad! Before parking my rig, I had the radiator recored. That was many years ago, so who knows what corrosion will be in there. It's taller than it is wide, so I think that's what you were asking, a vertical radiator or not? The suggestion was I source an aluminum rad, but that probably because we are based in Vegas. It's warm, here. LOL. I will be relocating to South Dakota, to the other end of extremes in temperatures. Probably won't need that extra cooling, there!
Yep, that's the vertical radiator. With luck your radiator is still in good shape. If it was me I'd reuse the radiator as is. If it turns out you have over heating problems then you can remove just the radiator and have it re-cored or replaced. Peter has shown that it's probably simpler to put the front end on some high jack stands and remove the radiator from the bottom. At least that way you don't have to pull the whole front end apart.

Have fun with your rebuild!

Brad
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Old 11-11-2016, 06:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tevake View Post
Wishing you good luck in getting the running gear modernized.
Are you replacing the transmission too?
Overdrive behind the original helps with highway driving.

Really interested in hearing of the driving improvements once it's completed.

Cheers Richard
Richard has a really good point. While you have the engine out it would be a great time to upgrade to a 4L80e over drive transmission. Several people on the forum have gone that route, including myself.

Something to consider....
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Old 11-11-2016, 07:04 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by bkahler View Post
Richard has a really good point. While you have the engine out it would be a great time to upgrade to a 4L80e over drive transmission. Several people on the forum have gone that route, including myself.

Something to consider....
Is the '81 fuel injected? If not adding the electronics just to control the transmission seems a pain, and makes the GearVendor option very attractive. If already adding EFI when changing to the 502, the job is part done and a lot more justifiable.
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Old 11-14-2016, 06:37 AM   #8
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If you're sticking with the stock carburetor then adding a Gear Vendors would definitely be the easier approach to getting the engine RPMs down to a reasonable level. If you are upgrading to fuel injection/TBI then a 4L80e isn't a bad option.

Brad
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Old 11-14-2016, 08:28 AM   #9
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Thanks, Brad, Martin and Richard! I get so much out of reading your project reports! Simply amazing!

Thanks for the transmission help, I understand the options better, now. I do want the lower RPMs, and I do want the injection. I'm pretty sure I won't have the funds to tackle that at this stage. Now I understand to do them together, and upgrade to the 4L80E. That's perfect.

At this point, I can upgrade the engine and all the 20 year servicing items I've come to do... Dropping the fuel tank, replacing anything that rotates or is made of rubber (read axle seals/trans seals/ujoints), cleaning/resealing anything that holds a fluid or a gas. I would like to put on an MSD module and blaster coil, But that will most likely become Phase II upgrades, as well. For what it's worth: I've used the MSD system on several projects, and LOVE it. It does everything it claims to do. I've added the 6l module, billet distributor and blaster coil on the last 3 projects, and really like the kick and smooth running it provides. Makes timing a little different, and you have to isolate the coil so it won't buzz through the radio, but it works.

I've been reading a lot of your notes, and ChiefAir has been a big help, too. I've had a good visit with the boys at WW Williams, in Vegas. They've got the Airstream, now. We put a battle plan together, and they seem to be very responsive to my questions, a nice shop, the mechs were good to talk to, there were other RV projects there, fire trucks, semi tractors, etc. I left feeling I made the best choice I could.

Today I get the crate engine heading their way. I haven't been able to find a 502 crate that claims applicability to post 1973 vehicles. I'm guessing the smog equipment will not transfer over. Any guidance on this would help alleviate some anxiety. I don't plan on having the rig registered in a smog required county, but the idea of loosing that ability concerns me. Any thoughts on this would be great!

Today I convert cash into parts. I'm sourcing all the major parts (their system is focused on diesel platforms, not gas), they provide the expert placement of muscle and experience. I waited to order the engine until talking with them. I plan on ordering the 502 from GMC Performance parts or Karl's performance parts. CheifAir had good luck with Karl's. He likes his 502HO version. The 502HT has higher torque at lower rpms, and states appropriate for tow trucks. I like the idea of low end power, but we spend most of our time at higher rpms?

This board and the members on it are inspiring! Thank you all for being a part of it!
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Old 11-14-2016, 02:38 PM   #10
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Kevin,

The radiator core part number is JCT-1333 and is sold by Heatexhd.

Brad
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Old 11-14-2016, 03:23 PM   #11
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Rad Core

Thanks, Brad! Excellent to have that.

Thanks for the time to find that!

Kevin
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Old 11-20-2016, 09:29 AM   #12
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The Big Move

Pictures from last weeks rescue mission. Moved the Silver Twinkie from it's hiding spot in Southern Nevada to a truck shop for a powerplant transplant!! Very happy to see this thing move, after a decade of being yard art!
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Old 11-20-2016, 09:40 AM   #13
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And the last few pics.....

Pulling the driveshaft prior to hitting the road,
Hitting the road in rush hour Vegas traffic (very much not recommended),
Dropping off the rig at the truck shop (will reveal which after the job, with a recommendation or a warning as applicable).
Ewing Brothers towing did a superb job! I can't say what a process it was to extract the Airstream from it's parking spot... it was an obstacle course of fences, bushrow, house, neighbors cars, gates, etc. I was impressed the driver didn't call for air support and longline sling extraction! Those guys rock! Thanks to Brett from Ewing Brothers! No kidding, it was a 3 hour surgical extraction!!!!
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Old 11-20-2016, 10:23 AM   #14
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Wow, quite the extraction there, yard art is right!
Was it parked there for ten years not being run at all?
If so, then I think your comprehensive approach seem a good way to ending up with a reliable, well functioning rig.

How are the interior and the living systems of the coach, is that the next phase.
For after you get it running well.

For as much work and new parts that have gone into my coach since it came to me, it still looks very much the same as when I got it but it does run and drive much better. For me there needs to be some return on investment, in terms of fun and enjoyable use.
Those recharge the energy stores for the next phase of improvement tasks.

Very interested in how the repowering job goes at the shop. Both timing and cost wise, should be much quicker than the many DIY epics many of us here have gone thru.
Are you having the shop go thru the brakes while its in there?

Thanks for sharing you story with your new coach, it will be great watching it come together and live again.

Cheers Richard.
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