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Old 08-22-2012, 10:25 PM   #1
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1993 34' Legacy 34
Howell , New Jersey
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 13
Dead transmission '92/'93 34' Legacy

Team,

I'm brand new to the forums, and relatively new to restoring a '93 Airstream Legacy that I bought off ebay about 3 years ago. My family and I absolutely love it, we've created so many memories during out camping adventures in out beloved 'Betsy the Beast'. I'll be sure to post some pictures of the work I've done to her so far.

A couple days ago on our way to Knoebels grove amusement park/campground we burst a auxiliary transmission cooler line and didn't know it until the unthinkable, she pumped herself dry and fried. Confession time, yes I planned to only use transmission oil grade hoses for to the auxiliary cooler temporarily until I found someone who had the tools to make some steel flared lines. I learned an expensive valuable lesson about rubber transmissive cooling lines and I don't think I'll be using them again.
I'm hoping to get some advice about what is the best place to source a rebuilt or new replacement transmission for a '93 34' Airstream Legacy built on a '92 p30. I believe it's a 4L80E but I'm not 100% sure, I plan on dropping it out tomorrow morning.

Does anyone have any experience with rockauto's marshall brand re-manufactured transmissions? $1,900 with a $1K core sounds like a good deal but they won't provide any warranty for class a motorhome applications. Autozone sells re manufactured transmissions but I'm not certain which, if any, of the 7 4L80E types for a '92 p30 it is without having it dropped out.

This my first transmission job but luckily, I'm surrounded with a family of motorheads. We broke down near my brother in law's house and his wife was kind enough to let me use his long driveway to do the swap. I can't imagine how much this would have cost in towing alone if this happened during one of our remote adventures.

Any advice would be appreciated in advance.




Thanks
Tim
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Old 08-22-2012, 11:33 PM   #2
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
Foothill Ranch , California
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TCIŽ Transmissions - TCIŽ Auto
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:37 PM   #3
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1991 36' Land Yacht
Catawba , Virginia
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I feel your pain brother! I just had mine rebuilt this week to the tune of $3,330. New convertor and as much HD stuff as possible. At least I got a nationwide 12mo 24K mile warranty. Now my speedo crapped out and they are trying to figure that out.
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:48 PM   #4
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
Foothill Ranch , California
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I posted TCI because I heard good things about them..
If Rock Auto's warrantee is not applicable to a M/H then I would think twice...
Talk to TCI and maybe these guys too and find out what they suggest..
Rebuilt Transmissions | Torque Converters | Transmission Parts & Much More

I am interested to know what trans you have for sure...
This might help..
http://www.monstertrans.com/store/ca...Transmissions/
Or
Chevrolet Chevy Transmission Identification and Decoding
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:32 AM   #5
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My trans is a 4L80EHD.
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:41 AM   #6
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1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
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You did repair the line and refill the transmission before condemning it?
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:09 PM   #7
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1993 34' Legacy 34
Howell , New Jersey
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Team,

Thanks for the replies. When I noticed a shifting issue, I pulled over into a rest stop, found the aux cooler line split and reconnected the cooling ports to just the stock radiator loop. Refilled with new fluid and was able to drive out of the rest stop through all the gears including od. When pulling out onto the hw from the rest stop the trans or TC started to completely slip with no torque going to the drive shaft, drifted to the side of the road and called a tow truck. While waiting for the tow truck, I rechecked the fluid level and found the new fluid completely burnt and smelling really bad. All indications appear that I caught the cooling line hose burst way too late.

Removed the transmission and aux cooler, found the stock 'transmission oil' grade hose completely split open down the length of the hose. I'll never trust a rubber hose in a high dollar application again.

Ended up taking it to a transmission shopped that was highly recommended by my brother-in-law. While speaking with the transmission shop they warned that they see alot of re-manufactured autozone and rock auto transmissions brought into them and they often find issues with how it was assembled. They also mentioned that they see more then a few burst cooling hose lines each year. Needless to say I won't be reconnecting the aux cooler until I find a place to bend and flare rigid lines for it. I installed a high volume water pump a few months back, my water temps have been a lot lower ever since, I'm hoping to find that I don't even need the aux cooler with the new lower water temps.

Because I'm doing all the work myself, I think I'll be out of woods for a bit less than $2K.

I'll post an update after I get it all reassembled.

Thanks again
Tim
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:42 PM   #8
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That being the case, be sure to get the torque converter rebuilt as well.
You may be able to get a couple of improvements when they rebuid it, like a heavier duty stator and clutch material.
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Old 08-31-2012, 08:57 PM   #9
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1993 34' Legacy 34
Howell , New Jersey
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Yes, they included a new torque converter.

I asked about upgrades and they indicated that they use the best clutches available but they acted like it didn't really need any highend components with a stock 454 even in a big heavy motorhome towing a car. I must admit i didn't have any issues at all with the stock trans with 86k miles until i blew the rubber aux cooling line.

The shop recommended wolfs head synthetic oil. They said they see ~20 deg cooler oil temps running synthetic oil. Does anyone have any experience running synthetic atf?

Picked up the trans today, installing it tomorrow. It needed a total rebuild, some parts got so hot they fused together.

$1,590 with a 1yr unlimited mile warranty.

I'll let everyone know how the install goes.

Hopefully betsy the bus will be rolling again soon.
Thanks
Tim
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Old 09-02-2012, 09:24 PM   #10
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1993 34' Legacy 34
Howell , New Jersey
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A day and a half to reinstall, with the exception of getting the rebuilt trans onto the guide posts, i did all the work myself.

Got too late tonight to take her for a test drive tonight, but i started it, ran through all the gear selections and checked for leaks. All looks, sounds and feels normal. I'll know for sure after the test drive tomorrow.

Tim
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Old 09-03-2012, 05:26 AM   #11
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i bet you slept well!
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Old 09-03-2012, 06:15 PM   #12
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1993 34' Legacy 34
Howell , New Jersey
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Not good..... it's acting like the torque converter isns't engaging. Revs but not torque to the axle. I put ~9 quarts of synthetic fluid in, the p30 service manual indicates that this issue may be due to not enough fluid. I'm heading out to buy more synthetic atf tomorrow morning. Hoping it's just a fluid level issue. Still not leaks, even took the flex plate cover off, not a drip. I think i under estimated how much fluid the torque converter will need. I'll post another update when i get some more quarts in her for a better test. Thanks Tim
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:18 AM   #13
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The only way to verify you have the correct amount of fluid is to mesure it using the dipstick with the engine running on level ground. Over or under filling will damage the trans. When filling you'll find that the fluid will show high at first. Keep measuring the level until it stabilizes. Clean off the dip stick each time you insert it. When you start to get close you'll want to add small amounts so you don't overshoot. When you think you're close run the trans through all the gears and measure it again.
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:00 PM   #14
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1993 34' Legacy 34
Howell , New Jersey
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That did the trick, nearly 15 quarts total of synthetic ATF. She's running, shifting and maintaining a cool 165deg temp (w/ no aux cooler) perfectly.

Took it over to the shop that did the transmission rebuilt and they inspected my work and gave it the green light and 1yr/unlimited mile warranty.

Drove it back home over 120 miles pulling my pt cruiser without issue tonight.

Glad that ordeal is finally over.

Moral of the story, if you use rubber lines for an aux cooler check them often. Personally I think I'm going aux coolerless for now as I like the simplicity of two stock steel cooling lines going directly to the radiator.

Thanks for all the advice along the way.
Tim
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