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Old 01-26-2019, 10:16 AM   #1
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1981 28' Airstream 280
Harrisburg , Pennsylvania
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Diesel filters

Greetings fellow Airstreamers,
I just won a classic Excella 280 Turbo Diesel in an auction and am negotiating to have it towed home. It hasnít been started in 10+ years, and Iíve read all the doís and dontís regarding first start.
The question is around the fuel filters. Iíve read that the diesel only has the engine mounted filter and the big filter /water trap behind the starboard front tire. Iíve also read that the diesels started out as big block gassers which were replaced with the Isuzu diesel, implying that the original frame rail mounted filter is still in place.
The rig is sitting in a near-swamp after recent rain, and the tires have sunk in, making it impossible to get under till I pull it out.
Can anyone confirm the presence of the 3rd frame-mounted filter on the Isuzu set-up?
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:35 AM   #2
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Not sure about that application but I do see a lot of plastic housing frame mounted filters on some Isuzu trucks. If this is the case be prepared for it to break or be difficult to remove. Good luck
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Old 01-26-2019, 11:02 AM   #3
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1981 28' Airstream 280
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The patient is an 81 Excella 280 with the Isuzu and the Turbo kit. All the info I’ve seen implies that it must be an 81 chassis, modified to turbo diesel and sold in 82, the ”first year” for the Isuzu.
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Old 01-26-2019, 11:34 AM   #4
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As you stated, the Isuzu set up, (unless changed by a PO), has a Racor water seperator filter behind the passenger front wheel, and a fuel filter mounted at the front top of the engine valve cover, passenger side.

Now when I stated, unless changed by a PO, I meant it. My water separator is a much bigger unit with a NAPA filter in it. My engine mounted fuel filter was moved to along side the lower frame rail, where it is more easily accessible.

There was no frame rail filter for the 454. The fuel filter was still with the carburetor. Some 454 owners have added frame mounted fuel pumps to their rigs to combat vapour lock.

Good luck with your new find.

Cheers
Sidekick Tony
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Old 01-26-2019, 11:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MWoodland View Post
The patient is an 81 Excella 280 with the Isuzu and the Turbo kit. All the info Iíve seen implies that it must be an 81 chassis, modified to turbo diesel and sold in 82, the Ēfirst yearĒ for the Isuzu.
Actually there were earlier versions of this motor in the 280's that didn't come with the BAE turbo kit, so double check that yours has the turbo.

Cheers
Sidekick Tony
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Old 01-26-2019, 11:46 AM   #6
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1981 28' Airstream 280
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BAE Confirmed

Yep, it has the BAE, replaced before parked 10 years ago. Shiny fancy crossover pipe included. Cleanest thing in the engine compartment. The rest is covered with chewed up acorns and squirrel dung. Should be an interesting project, once I get it home..
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Old 01-26-2019, 12:31 PM   #7
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Port Angeles , Washington
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I have an 82 280 with Isuzu and BAE turbo. There is no pump or filter along the rear frame rail. Those were added to the longer coaches to feed the 454.

By the way congratulations and welcome to the insanity.

The 81 had a forward mounted link on each side carrying the rear axle with an air spring at the rear of each link. The 82 has the rear of the rear leaf springs cut off and a cross link hung from the end of the leaf springs and two air springs mounted between the cross link and frame. The 82 system is built by American Carrier Equipment in Calif. I'm not sure who built the 81 set up.

You will find lots of help here from others who are victims of this very contagious illness.
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Old 01-27-2019, 06:39 AM   #8
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You will find lots of help here from others who are victims of this very contagious illness.
You only have the true disease when you buy your second one.....but you haven't finished the first one yet.

Cheers
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Old 01-27-2019, 12:17 PM   #9
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Lets be clear Tony, as long as a classic Airstream motorhome is in one's position, it is not finished. Therefore acquiring a second moho is not required to confirm the illness, it's just an additional symptom.
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Old 01-27-2019, 07:52 PM   #10
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1981 28' Airstream 280
Harrisburg , Pennsylvania
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Pickup Artiste / Momentous Day

Of sorts.
Part 1
Up before dawn to go over the checklist, tools, battery, warm clothes in advance of the Polar Vortex, muffler bearings and a jar of amps, just in case. Called the tow truck driver, synchronized watches and weíre off to pick up the Airstream.
Less than 10 miles into the journey, the roll back tow truck has to pull over for repairs. Seems the instrument cluster has been possessed, the temp gauge bouncing from normal to pegged, the driver whining about wanting to know if itís overheating or not.
Out come the tools, Volt meter, duct tape and WD40. The ginormous alternator is wheezing out a solid 11.5 volts, the fuse box shows evidence of multiple conflagrations and multiple wires are just cut off and hanging, begging to be grounded. Turns out itís none of the above. The instrument cluster has to come out and experimented with.
Unplugging and replugging the connectors to no avail, the failure can be duplicated by wiggling one of the connectors up and down. Eureka. Shimming the plug with a TastyCake Cupcake cardboard (pre-lubed) did the trick and the Duct Tape sealed the deal.
Back on the road for another hour and the Airstream hove into view, sitting up a steep hill, sunk into its (previously) final resting place, down to the rims, rotted, cracked tires still miraculously holding air.
The rear window shot out years ago by the POís daughter during archery practice, the Saran Wrap and silver tape fix now shredded and flapping in the breeze.
The once silver flanks now green with moss, sunk in the mud and waiting for a true believer (sucker) to pull her out and restore her to her former glory.
I mean, gentle reader, none of you would fall for that con, right? You all buy yours needing only a light refresh on the mirror like polish.. Mebbe update a few appliances, a little Corian, mebbe granite. But I digress.
So.. after a few failed attempts to winch her out, the tow truck driver gets the wild hair to pull into the swamp where he can get a better pull on it. I point out the mud but, sez he, Iíve never gotten stuck yet, whereupon he proceeds to sink said rig to the axels.
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Old 01-27-2019, 08:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MWoodland View Post
Greetings fellow Airstreamers,
I just won a classic Excella 280 Turbo Diesel in an auction and am negotiating to have it towed home. It hasnít been started in 10+ years, and Iíve read all the doís and dontís regarding first start.
The question is around the fuel filters. Iíve read that the diesel only has the engine mounted filter and the big filter /water trap behind the starboard front tire. Iíve also read that the diesels started out as big block gassers which were replaced with the Isuzu diesel, implying that the original frame rail mounted filter is still in place.
The rig is sitting in a near-swamp after recent rain, and the tires have sunk in, making it impossible to get under till I pull it out.
Can anyone confirm the presence of the 3rd frame-mounted filter on the Isuzu set-up?
.....LOL....Won?
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Old 01-27-2019, 08:35 PM   #12
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1981 28' Airstream 280
Harrisburg , Pennsylvania
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Part II

Iím new to the group and donít want to get completely out of control in public just yet, but the saga must continue.
Itís also becoming increasingly evident that the tow truck driver hasnít the slightest grasp of basic physics, at one point enlisting a neighbor to hook up his pickup and attempt to pull the rear of the rollback out of the mud at a 90 degree angle. The guyís getting pretty steamed up at this point, so Iím tactfully suggesting the second truck try pulling more in line with the rollback, say, maybe a 45 degree angle? Perhaps?
So, the rollback has actually slid slightly in front of the Airstream, so coming straight back will slice the irreplaceable and otherwise perfectly straight aluminum front end..
Youíre getting a picture.
Takes an hour or two of cursing, winching and yanking but we finally get the truck out and can concentrate on the Airstream. Another hour of winching, cursing and yanking has her liberated from the swamp, up on all 6 and level, at the edge of a steep downhill driveway. Another hour of winching, cursing, hammering and strapping has her front end in the air on a lift, ready to drag her nether parts down the gravel driveway. At this point the clock is spinning like in a 50s movie, calendar pages flip faster, Iíve grown a beard.
We persevere.
The driveway has now been re-graded and the bottom of the fuel tank has been polished like an upscale Airstream.
We finally get the whole rig strapped up, under control and ready to roll.
He pulled out onto the road, drives about 50 feet with the front end bouncing in the air, wheels at full right lock, slowly plowing off the road to the left.
Canít do it, he sez. Too heavy. No steering on the rollback. It just plows.
So.. another hour of backing, jockeying and parking before we call it quits.
At this point, either I see if I can find a big rig wrecker that will do it without my have to take out a second mortgage or maybe.. just maybe.. I keep reading these forum posts, taking notes, all night.
I go back tomorrow with an outboard gas tank filled with diesel, the battery, fresh fluids and splice into the fuel system, manually prime it, fire it up and make a Kamikaze run to the tire store.
Then again, Iíve read that the first drive home can be.. how do you say.. exciting? Stressful? Brutally expensive?
Gentle readers, any advice would be welcomed.
I know, I know.. all the usual advice would be to ďbuy the best example you can affordĒ.. but Iíve been lurking for a while now, and thus is the first 280 with an Isuzu Turbo that Iíve seen lately, let alone in the same state, let alone an hour away.
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Old 01-27-2019, 08:41 PM   #13
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1981 28' Airstream 280
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Won?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjdonahoe View Post
.....LOL....Won?
To the victor go the spoils.. apparently.
But we must be an optimistic bunch, seeing through years of neglect, the polished gem beneath.
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Old 01-27-2019, 09:11 PM   #14
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Yup, this pretty well sums up your average Airstream Classic motorhome or Argosy motorhome first time pick up. Don't feel like your special or something. It must have been entertaining.

The roll-back was the wrong rig to bring.....she'll need a heavy duty big rig wrecker as just the engine alone weighs over 1100 lbs; pull the drive shaft, but she can be towed with the front lifted, (as long as the rear tires have air). Go slow, (under 30mph), with you following, hand on walk-i-talkie, in contact with the tow truck driver to alert him to a tire blow out, until you get to the tire place.

I would maybe get the rear axle jacked up, wheels taken off and replaced with new rubber before towing. These tires do a lot of damage to expensive and irreplacable bodywork when they blow. You could do more damage with a blow out, than all the tires are worth.

If you want to drive it....then change the tires for sure; change the oil, (making sure to pre-fill the oil filter cartridge container), also making sure the oil filter is in the correct position, (turning it around will stop oil from flowing to the turbo and engine; blowing your turbo first). Have a few fuel filters handy as well, should they become clogged.

Be patient, and do what your mind tells you to do, not your heart. Don't rush this as expensive things happen if you rush the resurrection.

Cheers
Sidekick Tony

PS My Argosy drive home took two tows, $6,000 Canadian dollars in preventative repairs, even before I tried to drive her home; and it still had ignition issues and puked the neutral safety linkage on the road somewhere in Ohio, which left me high and dry on the hottest day of the year on the Ohio Turnpike; long before getting her back to Canada. It happens to us all.
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