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Old 02-08-2013, 06:46 PM   #1
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1988 32.5' Airstream 325
Groveland , California
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Engine and transmission replacement 1987 32.5 MH

I replaced my 454 with anew 454, efi (Edlelbrock) and a 4speed electornic trans. 1987 32.5 Crate engine, HD trans,all electronic. The total cost was north of 25K and now my milage is 10.5 mpg. The noise is very tolerable at 70 mph, 440HP and no over heating. We are still in our classic, restored MH and love it ,but wonder if 70K plus could have been spent better. I'd be glad to give some tips about lessons learned.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:22 PM   #2
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1987 34.5' Airstream 345
Hendersonville , North Carolina
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As much as I would love to upgrade our carbureted 454 and 3-speed tranny to a crate 502, TBI, Banks exhaust, and 4-speed (or Gear Vendor overdrive), the ROI just doesn't work for me. Even a $15K investment to get a 4 MPG improvement would take me 64K miles to break even, or about 10 years at our current 6K miles per year! And that's using $4 per gallon...

ROI = ($15000*(6.5mpg*10.5mpg))/((10.5mpg-6.5mpg)*$4gal) = 63984 miles

And lets not torture ourselves with how many nights $70K would rent a campground cabin at $100 per night: 700 nights! That's every weekend for the next 6.7 years!

But all the what-ifs and depressing math just sucks the fun right out of owning any RV, much less a classic beauty that has your time, heart, and soul put into it to make it "just right". Its a labor of love and pride, too bad all that fun costs so much money!
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Old 02-09-2013, 07:49 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by COUCH2TH View Post
I replaced my 454 with anew 454, efi (Edlelbrock) and a 4speed electornic trans. 1987 32.5 Crate engine, HD trans,all electronic. The total cost was north of 25K and now my milage is 10.5 mpg. The noise is very tolerable at 70 mph, 440HP and no over heating. We are still in our classic, restored MH and love it ,but wonder if 70K plus could have been spent better. I'd be glad to give some tips about lessons learned.
Wow, what a nice Motorhome. After all you know now, would you do it again ? Since many of us may not of that kind of a budget, I would interested to know how the 25 k was allocated.
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:05 AM   #4
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
boca raton , Florida
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Think I might try the EFI along with my existing trans and gear vender overdrive at the point my carberated 454 bites the dust. The monies will be well worth it to continue traveling in our classic!
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Old 02-09-2013, 07:00 PM   #5
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It sounds wonderful... pictures please!
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:13 PM   #6
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1988 32.5' Airstream 325
Groveland , California
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Think I might try the EFI along with my existing trans and gear vender overdrive at the point my carberated 454 bites the dust. The monies will be well worth it to continue traveling in our classic!
I think that would be agood way to go if the gear venders is working well for you. My main suggestion would be to rebuild your exixting engine to the EFI specs at a first rate shop. This will save a lot of little mods to fit it in properly (not all 454's are similar). That assumes your engine is rebuildable. The TH475 is not an electronically controlled trans so you will have to carefully assess the interface with the EFI system you choose. But all that air pump stuff goes away and you can really up the HP and Torque while running cooler. I added additional electric oil coolers to the engine and the trans.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:25 PM   #7
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As much as I would love to upgrade our carbureted 454 and 3-speed tranny to a crate 502, TBI, Banks exhaust, and 4-speed (or Gear Vendor overdrive), the ROI just doesn't work for me. Even a $15K investment to get a 4 MPG improvement would take me 64K miles to break even, or about 10 years at our current 6K miles per year! And that's using $4 per gallon...

ROI = ($15000*(6.5mpg*10.5mpg))/((10.5mpg-6.5mpg)*$4gal) = 63984 miles

And lets not torture ourselves with how many nights $70K would rent a campground cabin at $100 per night: 700 nights! That's every weekend for the next 6.7 years!

But all the what-ifs and depressing math just sucks the fun right out of owning any RV, much less a classic beauty that has your time, heart, and soul put into it to make it "just right". Its a labor of love and pride, too bad all that fun costs so much money!
Never a good idea to try to rationalize a toy. Its always cheaper to rent or just stay home tour the world on Google Earth.

We spent a lot of years vacationing in rented cabins and resorts. We are really enjoying our
MH and the being in our own place with our own stuff.

$25K is less that most purchasers of new units pay for driving them off the lot.
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