Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 10-19-2018, 07:18 PM   #1
New Member
 
1961 24' Tradewind
Valencia , California
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 1
Smile Proud new owners of a 85í 325 LE Motorhome 454 Chevy engine

We started out 7 years ago when my husband retired we decided we wanted a trailer to do more camping, I have always loved vintage airstreams so we found a beautiful 24 ft 61í land yacht it was already restored, in great condition with a lot of love. Recently we began talking about finding a small motorhome to make it easy for me to take on small trips on my own, then a friend in Colorado said hey stop by the new shop Iím at when your in town it happened to be Timeless travel trailers and as we arrived a beautiful airstream motorhome was on a flat bed leaving for New York, We had never seen such a thing! Thatís when we began searching for a vintage airstream motorhome!
The search was on, and a few months later found this one posted on the airstream classifieds. The add read, new engine,transmission with 800 miles on it, new batteries,new generator, runs great! And the price was comparable with most all of the other motorhomes we had been seeing online. There were no photos listed though so when we arrived in Bakersfield to take a look at her we could see why there were no photos her paint was peeling and she wasnít attractive to the eye, but after taking her for a test drive she seemed like a huge winner, her interior was in great shape as well so we purchased her thinking with a new engine,transmission etc. we could afford to have the exterior work done nicely.
We actually purchased her in August driving her home from Bakersfield she overheated about 20 miles later and had to have her towed to Santa Clarita.
The previous owner mentioned leaving from Bakersfield early to drive to Santa Clarita as in the heat it may overheat, that should have been a indication of something not right with the radiator. So we arrived at 6:00 am to pick her up and head home before the heat hit. We were stalled on the I5 for two hours due to overheating, and then again barely made it to Frasier Park where she totally stopped running. We called the guy we purchased her from he said it had to be something minor and not to worry. He also told us it was a new engine with 800 miles on it, a new transmission, and a new battery. So we were very confused when all of these parts failed.
We had her towed to a RV shop and they have had her ever since.
The mechanics have found the radiator extremely small for the size of this engine, with fans facing the wrong direction and not working, the air filter looked like it was a fossil at an antique shop it was so rusted and full, the reason the red warning light that the owner told us stays on all the time and not to worry about was actually something to worry about, the airbags were rotted out, and the compressor was not working. It looked like the vehicle had been in an accident because the chassi was broken or the mechanic said it could have been due to driving with no airbags functioning. And all the wires were eaten by varmints.Whew!
Thatís a lot of stuff happening, every time the mechanic would call and tell of another finding I would look up here on the forum to see what other people would say or do in the situation so I have learned a lot about the airstream motorhome group here and it has been so informative as well as has helped make sense of our new soon to be beauty.
We were supposed to pick her up from the mechanic today but looks like it may be next week as more parts were needed to complete the airbag install. It will be the first time we really spend more than a few minutes with her, we canít wait to clean her up and get on to the next project which will be the exterior paint that is peeling off, as well as hoping we can remove the ceiling pieces in the cab and bedroom that are cracked, not sure if they can be removed or if wires are under there, does anyone know if thatís where the wires run across?
I am always reading about all of your adventures and projects on the forum so I thought it was time to start telling of our adventures as newbie airstream motorhome owners. I will try to post a photo of her as well.
__________________

silvercutie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2018, 08:56 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
Waipio Rim's Avatar

 
1984 31' Airstream310
Honokaa , Hawaii
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 779
Proud new owners of a 85í 325 LE Motorhome 454 Chevy engine

Welcome to the group!
Sounds like a tough maiden voyage, but itís a good thing you stopped when the motor got hot rather than trying to push on through.
We have those cracks in the end caps of both of our coaches. Like you, it was one of the first things that caught my eye. Once other stuff started happening they quickly slipped down my list of priorities. Donít know how to remove the caps. There is wiring under there, see post #58 in the recent ďStupid, stupid, stupid, continuedĒ thread in this section of the forum.
I have read that the cracks can be stopped by drilling a small hole at the end of each crack, but at this point I donít plan to do anything more than maybe hiding them with something.
Keep us posted, and yes, photos please!
__________________

Waipio Rim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2018, 08:50 AM   #3
Dazed and Confused
 
Isuzusweet's Avatar

 
Currently Looking...
1983 31' Airstream310
Hillsburgh , Ontario
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 3,093
Don't feel bad about missing things when you purchased her, there's a lot to take in when buying one of these coaches, and if the owner just tells you what works and doesn't tell you what doesn't.......that doesn't help.

I drove my first trip home without airbags as some PO had jury rigged an air compressor to the generator, but the owner didn't tell me and the coach was out of propane to run the generator. Luckily I only hit a few bumps on the way home and fixed it the next spring.

You'll learn fast.

Goodluck
Sidekick Tony
__________________
Per Mare, Per Terram and may all your campaigns be successful.

ďItís a recession when your neighbor loses his job; itís a depression when you lose your own.Ē "Harry S Truman"
Isuzusweet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2018, 10:08 AM   #4
Rivet Master

 
1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Ebro , Fla Panhandle
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,082
Let me welcome you to the asylum SilverCutie.

Rest assured that we have all had to deal with plenty of challenges with our ageing classic coaches. Maybe not all at the first outing, but in some cases even that.

But what I sense with your post is the persistent determination to get to the enjoyment of your motorhome. Do stick with it and you will get there. And enjoyment it is!

As you read here, you will see that most of us motor home owners are quite hands on in the care of our rigs. With the help and guidance of each other we manage to work our way thru the ongoing repairs and refresh jobs that could break the bank otherwise.

Hopefully once you are able to get you coach home we will be able to assist you in getting it sorted out and keeping it on the road.

I'm wondering if owning your vintage trailer may have been a good apprenticeship for classic motorhome ownership, this being a little more greasy.

At any rate all the best in getting your rig home soon and to moving into happy adventures with it.

OH let me add that all but the shortest airstream motor homes have had their chassis frames cut and extended to support the length of the longer bodies. That may have been what your mechanic was seeing.
Cheer Richard
tevake is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2018, 10:53 AM   #5
3 Rivet Member
 
1987 34.5' Airstream 345
Menomonee Falls , Wisconsin
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 210
Hey you guys,
Welcome to our strange world. I did kind of what you've done. Sight unseen off the internet. 5240 miles on an 85 325. I'm very experienced with mechanical stuff. 2 years I worked on this thing, only to take the maiden trip to Montana. Got 45 miles from home, only to find out we needed an engine. Ah, the joys of ownership.
But, while your looking at your baby, go get some aircraft stripper,and get the outside looking mint. That does a lot for morale. There's a ton of help here from owners of these classic rides. Polish your wheels, replace the stripes, paint the grill, put some LED lights on the upper end. Lots of cool things you can do pretty cheaply.
I wonder how many classics are on the road still. Well, keep at it, drop in here if you need moral support or tech info. DJ
davejay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2018, 02:24 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
Churubusco , Indiana
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 548
Welcome to the group!
Looking forward to pictures, i think the 325 is one of the best, great layout, great size, i think it's the only rig I prefer over the 310

Pictures aren't hard, click "go advanced" at the bottom and then the paper clip icon ro upload them

Sorry to hear you've got so many issues, sounds like you'll get there though!
__________________
1983 Airstream 310 Class A Motorhome
-Rob
Magnet18 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2018, 11:20 AM   #7
4 Rivet Member
 
3wd67rg's Avatar
 
No , No
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 406
Wow! We also have a vintage; 1988 325 Classic Airstream Moho. Our engine is the original and Chris does work on her every year. The great thing is that the Chevy Big Block engine and parts are still being made so they won’t be difficult to find or expensive. The bad thing is that this engine sucks gas money out of your wallet like CRAZY! Best milage we’ve ever had is 8mpg, we had left the toad behind for a short four day trip. Otherwise we average 5/6mpg for our yearly 4 to 6 month trips.

I’m not sure how the radiator could be too small unless the prior owner replaced the original with a smaller radiator. Then again you say the fans were installed backwards, so maybe he did.

The Chevy 454 Big Block Engine was standard for Airstream Classic Mohos, so the original radiator would be fine.
3wd67rg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2018, 11:51 AM   #8
4 Rivet Member
 
3wd67rg's Avatar
 
No , No
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 406
I hope that once the mechanic is finished that you will really enjoy your AS Moho. One of the best things is the ability to park, walk to the back, and just climb into bed without setting anything up if you are too tired during ling drives.

I would consider suing someone who clearly lied about the condition of the engine as your seller did. My .02c

The couple that Chris bought ours from gave full disclosure on the entire moho from top to bottom, every square inch. I have never before nor since seen a more honest review of a vehicle of any kind. It was on Ebay and the report must have been several pages long with over two dozen photos. They were a rare couple, perfectly honest and fair in selling.
3wd67rg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2018, 12:05 PM   #9
4 Rivet Member
 
3wd67rg's Avatar
 
No , No
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by tevake View Post

OH let me add that all but the shortest airstream motor homes have had their chassis frames cut and extended to support the length of the longer bodies. That may have been what your mechanic was seeing.
Cheer Richard
Richard, can you please explain this? Why cut? Why not build it the correct length from the beginning?
3wd67rg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2018, 12:17 PM   #10
2 Rivet Member

 
2006 28' Safari
1948 22' Liner
1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Jamul , California
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 40
Images: 17
Congrats on your 325. Looking forward to sharing your journey. I recently acquired a 345. The grapevine on I5 was one of my biggest concerns on the drive home. I made it with a couple stops, your trip home is what I feared. Welcome to the group.
Lychgate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2018, 02:19 PM   #11
Rivet Master
 
WayneG's Avatar

 
1984 27' Airstream 270
Scotia , New York
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 996
Keeping the engine cooled is almost as important as good tires and brakes!
If the radiator is bad or undersized try one of these, So far so good in my 84.
http://superiorradiator.net/shop?olsPage=products%2Fchevy-gmc-motor-home-rv-radiator-with-engine-oil-cooler

When you buy a relic from a unknown person, you need to be ready for a serious challenge.
I lucked out on mine, bought it for 7K five years ago with only a 50 mile drive on flat airbags and in the first 12 months, I only had to put about $5K into it to get it to my level of safety and functionality.
I dont even want to own up to the cash I have put into it since then, but the challenge is worth every penny spent.
__________________
Do not take life too seriously.
You will never get out of it alive.
WayneG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2018, 03:31 PM   #12
Rivet Master

 
1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Ebro , Fla Panhandle
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,082
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3wd67rg View Post
Richard, can you please explain this? Why cut? Why not build it the correct length from the beginning?
Airstream bought standard P 30/32 truck chassis from Chevy and adapted them to the various sized motorhome lengths by extending the frame rails, a number of extensions in the case of the 345. The extensions are well fitted and fastened, but do add some flex to the frame.
When working on my fuel tank I realized that it's best not to jack up the coach at the rear most crossmember.

Cheers Richard
tevake is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2018, 03:56 PM   #13
Dazed and Confused
 
Isuzusweet's Avatar

 
Currently Looking...
1983 31' Airstream310
Hillsburgh , Ontario
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 3,093
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3wd67rg View Post
Richard, can you please explain this? Why cut? Why not build it the correct length from the beginning?
IIRC, the longest length GM made the P30 chassis at the time was with a wheelbase, (center of front wheel to center of back wheel) of 199". The 310's had an eighteen inch section added between the wheels bringing their wheel base to 217". The 325's and 345's stayed at 199" but further additional framework extensions necessitated the addition of the tag axle for support.

This is why a 325 and 345 will out turn a 310 seven ways to Sunday; the benefit of a longer wheelbase on the 310 is a smoother ride.

Cheers
Sidekick Tony
__________________
Per Mare, Per Terram and may all your campaigns be successful.

ďItís a recession when your neighbor loses his job; itís a depression when you lose your own.Ē "Harry S Truman"
Isuzusweet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2018, 09:02 PM   #14
3 Rivet Member
 
1987 34.5' Airstream 345
Menomonee Falls , Wisconsin
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 210
Hey,
I'm thinking your radiator may be dimensionally the same size as the 454 rad., but either it's really clogged, from adding rad stop leak, to fix a leak,or maybe it's a 2 core radiator.putting the fans on the front side requires the installer to make them pusher fans. It does help a little, and it's easier than going in from the backside.
Check to see if you got heat from the heater. If not or very little heat, that's a good indication someone used stop leak. The heater core has smaller water galleries, so it will clog up quicker than the main rad.
If everything seems like it's original, maybe a good boiling out will fix it. Change the thermostat and water pump too. The water pump, mostly because the front seal is old, and dryed out
That valve up by the Heater, behind the pass headlight, is the shut off valve for the inside heat. If it's frozen, that's also a good indication the cooling system is gunked up.
My dad got a white powder in a can, that he poured in the rad. It totally cleaned out the motor, the rad and the Heater core. Fixed the overheating problem, but he ended up replacing the heater core, due to leaks. I don't know what it was, I was a little guy then. All I know is, the water came out like mud for a half hour before it got clear. Maybe a rad shop still has this powder. Dj
__________________

davejay is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Which engine oil for Chevy 454? Jenniflow Mechanics Corner - Engines, Transmission & More... 27 10-31-2016 03:15 PM
325 Chevy 454 Pressure and Temp sending units morlach Classic Motorhomes 9 03-19-2015 01:24 PM
Chevy 454 engine rebuild pacer General Repair Forum 3 03-22-2012 04:10 PM
RV 94 30' Airstream Land Yacht Chevy 454 Engine 78K mi eBay Watch Airstreams on eBay 0 07-16-2011 12:10 PM
RV 94 30' Airstream Land Yacht Chevy 454 Engine 78K mi eBay Watch Airstreams on eBay 0 07-05-2011 11:30 AM


Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:09 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.