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Old 10-17-2006, 09:12 AM   #15
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I will be traveling for the next 2 weeks but will add pictures of the Diesel conversion when I return.
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Old 10-31-2006, 10:52 AM   #16
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OK, it's been 2 weeks.

I am 100% sure I will do this when my 454 poops out. I figure by the time that happens there'll be plenty of 2005 610s around. I just saw a 2005 out of a ram with the tranny and the transfer case on Ebay for $3200. I would love to have Lo for slow manuverability.

Item number: 180039731372

-KM
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Old 10-31-2006, 12:02 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outofcontrol
...I would love to have Lo for slow manuverability....
I'm not experienced in diesel lingo, what does that mean?

Also, how much would it be to convert if you hired the work? I couldn't do the work myself, but with the positive experience I've had with my first diesel pick-up, I'm sold on diesels for anything that needs to haul a load...like a 15K LB motor home so I'd definately be wanting to do a conversion if I ever go motorhome and can't find the right one in a diesel. BTW, would it be more economical to do a conversion than find a diesel classic? I mean would the cost of conversion be less than the difference between the cost of a diesel vs. the cost of the 454 powered motorhome?
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Old 10-31-2006, 12:50 PM   #18
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There's 2 places in Montana that will do it, but they say $15-20k to do it right. I have their contact info at home...
One of them sells the right motor mounts, but they all say it's the computers and miles of wire that make the job hard for the new diesels. There's a guy in Seattle that did it for a few grand, but his RV was already a diesel, and he used a 1st gen 12V motor.

Things to think about:
1. mounting the motor (obviously)
2. mounting the intercooler (most likely a custom build)
3. making the air conditioning work.
4. new fuel pump(s)
5. all new gagues compatible with the motor (or fitting the Ram dash in the MH dash.)
6. new driveline
7. maybe a new rear end, or different gears.
8. extra weight on the front end.
9. power steering and brake booster
10. gas generator aux fuel tank.
11. tranny compatibility
There's probably 20 more things, but I gotta go...


That particular motor on Ebay was out of a 4x4, and it included the transfer case. It's the part that provides power to the front axle (you don't need that for most motorhomes) but it also has a reduction gear for "creeping" along. It would be nice for driving up on blocks, or hopping curbs, or any slow manuvering. It makes low gear top speed about 5 mph. I don't know if it'd be worth the hassle, but it sure would be cool.

I figure I've got about 3-5 years to learn about these conversions before I start mine. (plus I'm going to need a good shop space).

-KM
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Old 10-31-2006, 01:38 PM   #19
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Wayne is being very gracious and allowing Brian (85/345) and I to visit him this weekend so we can document a side-by-side comparison of his Cummins/345 and my Chevy 454/345.

Brian is coming up to Louisville then we're taking my 345 up to see Wayne so we can take a million pictures and notes with the gas version and the deisel version next to each other.

Our aim is crawl around each unit and document as many of the modifications made as possible.

Let's use this thread to gather up everyone's questions about this conversion and we'll do our best to answer everything while we're there.
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Old 10-31-2006, 03:12 PM   #20
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Boy, it sounds very complicated. A lot more complicated than a regular engine swap with a gas to gas trade. Is there 14-15K difference in value or price between gasoline and diesel Classic Airstreams of the same size and options?
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Old 10-31-2006, 03:24 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnie's Mate
Is there 14-15K difference in value or price between gasoline and diesel Classic Airstreams of the same size and options?
I would say yes. But the diesels are so limited in numbers (so are the gassers for that matter) that there's really not a huge sampling of data to make that distinction. When I was shopping for my MoHo, there was a 310 diesel for sale here in Oregon, but he wanted $22k more than what I paid for my 280 gasser. 3 ft longer and up to 16mpg. instead of my 7-8mpg. And that was with an old 1981 Isuzu motor. I remember finding out it's a good motor, but about 1/3rd the power of a current Cummins.
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Old 10-31-2006, 03:40 PM   #22
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Here are some sites to check out:
http://www.cummins-conversion.com/photos/index.php
http://www.fostertruck.com/cummins/
http://fordcummins.com/

I think if I was going to do it, I'd try and find a running roll-over Ram and buy the whole thing so I'd have all the parts to make it work, then sell the rest of the wreck.

I'd love to find some more, and I can't wait to see the pics from Wayne's rig. You guys rock!

-KM
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Old 10-31-2006, 04:38 PM   #23
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KM - we're thinking along the same lines.

Again, if anyone has specific questions or photos they want between Wayne, Brian and I we'll get it for you.
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Old 10-31-2006, 04:45 PM   #24
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What is the reason to prefer a Cummins over a Duramax?


Quote:
Originally Posted by outofcontrol

Things to think about:
...

10. gas generator aux fuel tank.

-KM
How about converting the generator to propane and using the existing propane tank?
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Old 10-31-2006, 04:48 PM   #25
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Seems like you can do an older (pre-electronic) cummins conversion based on a dodge donor truck.

Of course the 6.5 GMs are plentiful as well. I'm going up there with Cummins on the brain and Brian is going with Duramax so we should all have a lot to talk about.
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Old 10-31-2006, 05:36 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guy99
What is the reason to prefer a Cummins over a Duramax?
How about converting the generator to propane and using the existing propane tank?
I'd either do that or just fit a small tank for the genset. Whatever was the least hassle. Maybe by then my genset will poop out too and I'll have to buy a diesel generator. they seem so quiet these days. The guys at the Onan shop told me that the 1979 6.5KW generator I brought in (low oil ) is a really good unit, and will last forever.

I think the diemensions of the Duramax don't work. this is all second hand info, but it has something to do with the placement of the turbo up on top of the motor? I can't remember. I'm sure someone could make it work, I just like the Cummins better. I-6, less parts, more history, more trust with me. (can of worms debate)
In a nutshell - I think it won't fit.

-Kevin
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Old 10-31-2006, 06:59 PM   #27
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Propane conversion

Wayne, ( from the road)
I think Guy 99 has a good suggestion; convert to propane; this will solve the rotten gas issue that attacks any infrequently used small engine.

The Onan 7KW unit was I believe originally available to OEM's as a propane unit making 6.5 KW peak rating. Two changes for longevity I would recommend to gasoline fueled units ( can defer these changes until time for overhaul but maybe not as much output and maybe some slightrisk) would be the gas (pro or NG) service exhaust valves (propane burns hotter) and the higher compression pistons assuming your unit is from the Onan series I remember.
The early RV units were adapted from the industrial/commercial duty Onan units and they are very durable if properly maintained. I recommend you check with your local full service propane dealer for an experienced qualified technician to do the changeover; however if you make it a DIY be aware setting the fuel/air mixture REQUIRES an exhaust gas analyser to avoid engine damage from lean mixtures. Onan might be able to provide parts too for the conversion if you have a cooperative local Onan distributor.
Good luck.
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Old 11-02-2006, 12:15 PM   #28
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Letter from Joe in 2002

I contacted Joe from an old posting here about his conversion, and he sent me a couple emails from old letters he wrote about his conversion. I think they are priceless, and great stuff. sorry about the long post, but I think it's dead on what we need.
-KM

I will see if I can give you some details that you can use
I started with the following parts list
1996 engine from a 96 2500 4WD
3931744 exhaust manifold I had to buy it new for about 225.
95 518 transmission and transfer case You will need a 05013933aa wire kit from Chrysler unless you can find the plug that is used on the transmission when it comes out of the pickup. This is the 3 terminal plug that will control the lockup and overdrive functions.
You will need all the charge air cooler components and the air cleaner parts
I purchased the engine, trans and transfer case for 3600. This included the charge air cooler and all the air cleaner parts.
Be sure and get the complete front motor mounts and the frame mounts that are part of the dodge chassis.

Starting with getting the engine for the swap
Remove the exhaust manifold and the trans cooler on the r side of the engine.
Remove the ac compressor
It would be a good idea to have the valves adjusted before you install the engine.
On the left side remove the fuel shut down solenoid.
Install a new rear main seal while the engine is out and the trans is off if you choose.
You will need to find a shorter fan drive belt because you are removing the ac compressor.
While the engine is out it would be a good time to work out the mounting and drive for the ac compressor. I mounted mine on top of the cylinder head. I am using a single groove Sanden compressor and have made a pulley to drive the compressor from the fan hub.
I built mine while it was in the vehicle and it would be easier on the ground. It is a little tight on top so make the mounting as low as possible. I used a part of a commercial mount and fabbed the rest.
Another thing to do while it is out is shorten the upper alternator bracket by about 1/2 inch to move the alternator closer to the engine.
Another thing is to get the turbo mounting all worked out and be sure that you have the oil drain tube done before you install it. It is easier on the ground or in a fixture. I left the manifold off when I installed the engine for the room while I was doing the motor mounts. The turbo drain must be located on the bottom of the turbo so the return oil escapes. The turbo can be turned in its own housing if need be.
The trans and transfer case require no changes. When you pick up the transfer case be sure and get the front yoke from the drive shaft. You do not want to start chasing after that like I did.
I started by jacking up the front of the unit high enough to have room to remove the engine and trans out the bottom. Remove the grille and all the coolers in front of the engine. I had the radiator serviced while it was out.
I first removed the transmission and then removed the engine. I think doing it in pieces is easier because my equipment was not sturdy enough to do the whole thing at once. Remove the exhaust system.
I removed the front seats and the entertainment console. This leaves the engine wide open for service. The console has 2 screws on each side that come out and then the entire console cover comes out after disconnecting the radio. At that point the engine cover can be removed easily.
I built a 4 legged tower inside the cab and put a cross member on top of the tower and used a small chain hoist to do the lifting.
After the engine was ready I pulled it up into place.

My first concern is the location and the mounting. The rear of my engine clears the body by about 1/2". I would move it ahead at least an inch if I were doing it again. The engine ends up about 2 inches to the right of center. Be sure and allow for the oil pan clearance at the steering shaft under the engine when you mount it. It gets a little close but it works. My engine mounts are using the stock Dodge mounts and installing fabricated mounts that bolt to the top of the frame with 3 bolts each. The engine in my application is 3 degrees lower in the rear than in the front. This establishes the drive line angle.
The power steering is a piece of cake. I removed the Isuzu oil reservoir and am using the Cummins one that is on the pump.
The pressures and oil flows are compatible. You will need to fab the oil lines but that is an easy one.
I used the stock Dodge alternator and used a stock Chrysler regulator. 100 amps and plenty of power. Just hook up the hot wire to the old alternator hot wire.
I did not use the oil cooler in the radiator for the trans but opted for a larger unit mounted in front of the radiator at the bottom. I used stratoflex hoses to hook up the trans to the cooler. I had to change the shift linkage to make the GM linkage work with the 518 trans. The neutral start and backup lights work normally with the GM controls. I did not hook up the neutral start or backup lite controls.
After the engine was mounted then I installed the trans and transfer case. I had to make the rear mounts by fab and used the rear mount from the Dodge. The drive shaft will need to be modified and the drive shaft alignment will need to be altered. I moved the
center hanger bearing to the right about 1 1/2 inches to align the drive shaft. I had to have a speedometer adapter made to get the speedometer to read correctly.
After the engine and trans were mounted I started on the exhaust system. the stock exhaust pipe from the pickup was used and hooked it up to a straight pipe that dumps just in front of the right rear wheels. I did not install a muffler and I don't seem to think I need one.
The air intake system gets a little more complicated. The pipe to the manifold goes forward from the turbo to the front of the vehicle. There is room for the charge air cooler behind the grille and in front of the radiator. You will need to move the windshield washer tank though. At the left front I plumbed around the steering box with 3 inch steel exhaust elbows and brought the intake air in at the left rear corner of the engine and into a modified air intake inlet. It sounds complicated but it works very well.
I used the stock air cleaner and mounted it over the frame under the floor in back of the Turbo.
The vacuum pump hooks up the same way as the old one did.
I used the senders from the Isuzu to make the instruments work. I do not have the tach or pyrometer working yet but I will get back to that this summer.
I have 2 switches on the dash that control the overdrive and the lockup converter. I leave the overdrive control in the on position
and I switch on the lockup when I get it up to about 50 mph. I have a wiring plan that will make that automatic but I have not implemented it as of yet.
You will have to make a small notch in the engine cover to clear the injection lines but it does not show on the inside.
I hooked up the engine shutoff control from the Isuzu to the cummins with no effort.
The throttle linkage was just a matter of fabrication.
I removed the fuel filter behind the right front tire and am only using the stock fuel filter on the engine. The fuel lines hook up with the old ones.
I changed the ground cable from the original configuration. I installed a long cable from the battery packs to the engine block. I am more comfortalbe with a better grounding system.
I would have a local drive line shop help with the drive line angles when you build the rear trans mount. You will want that drive shaft to be set up properly to work good at road speeds
It would be interesting to do a weight comparison before and after. I didnt do that when I did ours but I would have liked to know the difference if any.
These are the highlights as I recall them at this time.
It sounds like a lot of work but it goes along just fine.
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