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Old 07-25-2010, 05:02 PM   #1
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1990 34.5' Airstream 345
Lewiston , Maine
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 41

Given that my 86 has quite a few miles on her, somewhere down the line I'll be looking at an engine, I imagine.

What would be involved to change over to diesel? I know it would be much more expensive, but how much and where would I look to find an appropriate engine? What other components would have to be replaced?

I know this is a dream for many, but I'd like the facts so that when that horrible day comes, I can make an informed decision.


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Old 07-26-2010, 09:08 AM   #2
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1974 20' Argosy 20
Richmond , Kentucky
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,738
There are a lot of threads where members talk about diesel conversions. In the past three years there have been two very good threads on the subject where a lot of photo documentation was included.

Do a search of the archives in the motorhome section and you should find what you're looking for.

We thought about it and then decided not to based on the conversion cost versus savings in fuel. Just didn't seem to be justifiable in our situation.


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1974 20' Argosy Motor Home
1974 31' Excella trailer (parting out, as of 4/1/2015 I have wheels, brake drums, windows & holding tanks left to sell)
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Old 07-30-2010, 07:35 AM   #3
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1984 31' Limited
1983 31' Airstream310
Oriental , North Carolina
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 180
We decided against a re-power job due to the extensive problems involved, and we're already diesel! Finding one that'll sit on your engine mounts will be difficult. Reprogramming your transmission - new fuel tank and lines, filters, etc - last time I looked at it seriously the cost was in the $25-30K range. Good luck with it if you decide to go ahead, and make lots of posts!
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Old 08-01-2010, 07:43 PM   #4
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1989 37' Airstream 370
Louisville , Kentucky
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 33
I did a re-power 3 years ago after an interesting trip down the blue ridge parkway. We tow a Jeep and I was looking for more power and extra braking. After locating a new take out Allison I found a 2006 5.9 Cummins that was an overbuild from International truck. Our 370 is not built on a P30 but a Gillig chassis with a beam front axle witch gave me more room. The results are great the unit will now cruise 70MPH at 2000 rpm 85 is not a problem and it mows down hills. The engine break is wonderful and 11mpg is real mileage in the fast lane. The most expensive part was an Onan quite diesel generator for me with a total cost of 15-18K, and I was resourceful. If I were to do it agin I would look for a wrecked Fed-ex truck or similar to make it cheeper. This project is not for the timid but has been very rewarding for our family knowing we can go 800 miles in a day with no problems and we may have the only classic with a modern Cummins engine.
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Old 08-06-2010, 03:54 PM   #5
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1990 34.5' Airstream 345
Lewiston , Maine
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 41
Thanks Oliver... you give me hope.

I read some of the threads on diesel conversions and it seems that I need to locate a donor vehicle so that all parts are there.

Someone mentioned a 91 Dodge truck because of the smaller size. I also Isuzu mentioned.

Any thoughts anyone? I would be willing to get the donor vehicle now if I could find one, and line up the conversion say for next year.
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Old 09-24-2010, 01:47 PM   #6
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Key West , Florida
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 166
I am thinking of doing the same thing but using a 2004 or newer duramax. I would like to hear any feedback on the duramax since it is a GM will it fit the mounts trany etc.

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