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Old 03-28-2003, 01:09 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by 59toaster
I'm starting to lean towards the 454.
454!
454!!
454!!!
454!!!!

Only live once, what's a few more thousand in gas in a lifetime!

I also like the 4L80. Teamed together, it's a powerful combo. Go with your gut toaster!

Eric
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Old 03-28-2003, 10:24 PM   #22
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which tranny??

I have a small automobile business here in Anchorage. Over the years I have noticed that the overdrive 4L80E is good for about 90-110K before a rebuild (in chevy trucks). But more interesting is the fact that most transmission specialists, and perhaps even GM, recommend when towing with the 4L80E that the transmission be kept in drive NOT overdrive. Therefore, would it be correct to assume that the tranny in a heavy motorhome be kept in Drive unless you are on generally flat terrain? I don't know, but what I do know is that the word on the street is: the T400 is bulletproof and the 4L80E may not be quite as stout......
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Old 03-29-2003, 05:11 AM   #23
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Transmissions and such

Thanks for the input --

I guess my little boy fascination with "big rig" low speed diesels still surfaces way too often.

Reality is that wet dream niceties such as a 12 mpg engine turning 1200 rpm at 80 mph just ain't gonna happen.

When I put pencil to paper (or computer to spreadsheet) and realize that, at today's insurance, fuel, and overall cost of ownership prices, and mechanics hourly rates being what they are (I just can't tackle some projects any more!), exotic modifications just are not worth it.

Not worth it to ME, guys, don't want to start a war here, but a transmission rebuild avery 4 or 5 years at $600 is simply cost of maintenance -- especially when you kiss a $100 bill away every time you fill the tank!

Same thing with the engine. Yeah, 3200 rpm at cruise is screamin', but even at those rotation rates the 454 holds together pretty well, and an engine rebuild, .....well, in the overall scheme of things, is just not that expensive.

I'm caught between the memories as a kid in the '60's of working on a car for a few hours prior to taking any significant trip, and being spoiled as an adult with fairly "bullett proof" modern conveyences that require little more maintenance effort than keeping the gas tank filled.

I have the interior of the 345 pretty well stripped, cleaned, oiled, and buffed, the shock replacement is progressing, and I will probably start to look at the engine compartment this weekend.

No major surprises yet, this motor home thing has been HUGELY successful so far.
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Old 03-29-2003, 06:42 PM   #24
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454's and 4L80E

I have a 454 in my truck, with the 4L80E transmisssion. I really like it. I tach about 2250 rpm at 65 mph, with 4.10 gears. 1950 at 55 mph, if memory serves. Nothing in my owners manual about not towing in overdrive. I have specifically looked for this and cannot find it. It does mention that you should drop into drive if the trannys starts "hunting".

Curtis-79MH, I always understood that the 4L80E is the same tranny as a TH400, except that it is electronically controlled and has the overdrive gear. Have not heard of anyone having to rebuild them around "here". A mechanic told me that you "rebuild" an automatic transmission by changing filter, fluid, and front and rear seals. This was some time ago. I have a friend who has a Ford Power Stroke Diesel, with 60K on it, and he had to have his tranny "repaired", clutches went out he said. He never tows with it, but plows snow. He said the repairs cost $3000.
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Old 03-29-2003, 08:35 PM   #25
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maybe the cold winters?

Sly,
How many miles do you have on your truck?
From my experience and talking to others the 4L80E craps out at around 100K give or take a few. That is in Alaska though.....
Changing the fluid and filter is great advice. I made the mistake of the fluid "FLUSH" at the local fast lube and I replaced my 4L80E the next day (no exagerration). The lube shop's reply was your tranny must have been bad to begin with. I had never had any problems prior, but we were heading out on a long trip so I decided to have it "serviced" at the time of my oil change. Never again. It is better to drop the pan and change the fluid and not listen to their infamous drivel "but the old fluid will remain in the torque converter".
If there is a weak link in a GMC product I believe it is the overdrive tranny......but hey, remember when we thought a car that had an odometer that was "turned over" was due to die? I mean a tranny rebuild at a hundred grand ain't so bad, is it?
Just for fun, a 4L80E rebuild here in Anchorage is about 1500 bones....
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Old 03-29-2003, 10:06 PM   #26
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GM does say to use drive instead of OD because of the torque converter. Most need about 2k RPM or they heat up and die. Heat is the main cause of death to a trans.

The thing is tough, if the torque converter is "locked" then you can use OD without a problem. In the LT1 B-Body, it's about 1,600-1,800 RPM for the T/C to lock up.

A bunch of people don't know this little fact and tow in OD and find they need a rebuild sooner than later.

The fact is, as long as it does not shift freq on the highway and the converter is "locked", as long as you are not beating on it, it should last.

Regards,

Eric
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Old 03-30-2003, 12:08 AM   #27
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Thanks for the reply Eric. But exactly what do you mean "it should last"? More than a 100k, 500k? In my motorhome I have the T400 and I'm glad I do. The overdrive is pudding.
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Old 03-30-2003, 06:17 AM   #28
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Considering the MH's GVWR is between 12 to 16000 lbs, you are always 'towing' a lot of weight around.
My local ransmission guy, who I have seen go to work every day for the last 20 years says:
Don't go with the 4L80, it will not last.
I think I'll take his word for it.
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Old 03-30-2003, 08:44 AM   #29
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Torque Converter Lock

It is my understanding that the computer tells the converter to "Lock" at 45 mph. So am I safe in assuming that I can tow in OD as long as I am doing over 45?

Curtis-79MH, my local GM dealer says they do tranny flush 2 ways.

1. Remove pan, replace filter, replace lost fluid

2. Complete flush, WITHOUT REMOVING PAN OR CHANGING FILTER.

Now #2 seems quite dangerous to me. I would think you would want to drop the pan and check for metal shavings, etc. A clogged filter will restrict flow, affecting cooling, etc.

I think I'll have them do #1 at 30K, your thoughts?

How many miles did you have on yours when it failed after the flush?
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Old 03-30-2003, 03:33 PM   #30
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tranny service

I wouldn't suggest doing the transmission flush. They claim it exchanges ALL the fluid. But as you mentioned what happens to all the impurities and how does the filter get cleaned?
I made the mistake of believing the claims. I had the fluid exchanged at 79,000 miles in my 1991 Suburban 4x4. They add chemicals to the tranny, then drive for a few minutes then exchange all the fluid with their machine. Afterward, I couldn't get up the incline of the parking lot without the tranny slipping horribly (no kidding). As I mentioned, we were heading out on a big family trip. What could I do? I called the Chevy dealer and ordered a new tranny put in the next day......2500 bucks total and we had a great trip to Skagway and back. The fast lube joint claimed I must have had something wrong to begin with, but I never had any slipping that I was aware of. From now on I'll do my tranny services the old-fashioned way...drop the pan.
BTY-When I tow my boat I always stay in drive NOT overdrive.
Good luck
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Old 03-31-2003, 09:55 AM   #31
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Transmission flush

My Ford dealer told me that the transmission flush is a backwards flush and it cleans the filter.
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Old 03-31-2003, 10:46 AM   #32
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the flush

At first blush the flush sounds great, but where do the impurities go.....does the backward flush send them through the tranny where they came from? Does it completely clean the filter? I know many folks who would never ever do the flush again because of poor results. My transmission guy loves the flush......it sends a fair amount of business his way!
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Old 03-31-2003, 10:53 AM   #33
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the impurities end up in an external tank of used fluid.
the connections are made in the lines between the transmission cooler and the transmission.
the process lasts as long as it takes to circulate the new fluid and it flushes out the old fluid and the impurities.
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Old 03-31-2003, 10:55 AM   #34
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Re: Transmission flush

Quote:
Originally posted by jpurdy
My Ford dealer told me that the transmission flush is a backwards flush and it cleans the filter.
Hey, I never thought of that! The next time I need to replace a/c filter at the house maybe I'll just put it in backwards!

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Old 04-04-2003, 09:53 PM   #35
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the theory

Hi,
I don't wish to prolong this thread, but I will tell you that I know what the procedure of the tranny flush involves. I know the claims of those that promote the procedure (thorough flush, quick and beneficial). What I question are the REAL results. It is easy to believe the claims, but I will tell you that in my circle of auto savvy folk it is not something we buy into. We have had too many terrible results. I wish you well if you choose the flush, but beware.
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Old 04-10-2003, 12:12 PM   #36
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We had the trans serviced before we left Seattle. It worked fine until we tried to go up a steeper incline. Started making a growling noise, then finally started slipping. Well we are in So Sanfrancisco the MH is in Fremont having a rebuild on the Trans. Worked great before of course it was 20 years old. The guy in Seattle said it was a turbo 475. We thought it was T400.
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Old 01-30-2004, 08:01 AM   #37
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Its Been One Year!

On the eve of the first anniversary of the purchase of the Xilver Xeppelin, I would like to take the occasion of my 500th posting (threaded to my first posting) to express appreciation to all of the members of the Forum (even those I disagree with) for the knowledge, support, camaraderie, and sustenance that has been extended to me.

Little did I know that the plane ride to Phoenix on January 31st of 2003 would lead to all the hours of satisfaction, gratification, communication, labor, blood, sweat, and tears that I have both enjoyed and endured for this past year.

For your help, encouragement, and humor, I express my deepest gratitude.

As an update to the “Saga”, I had no idea that the purchase price of the 345 would practically pale in comparison to the expenses that have been incurred this past year. A detailed log of hours and expenses has been kept, and each week, as I add up the labor and costs, I silently think “this cash outflow has GOT to stop”, but I keep thinking of “upgrades” I need to incorporate. Other symptoms of mental sicknesses are sufficiently discussed in other threads.

A quick summation of the outlays follows;

Purchase – 1987 AS345MH, 72,000 miles $14,000

Rehabilitation Time and Parts Cost 471 hours $18,500

Saturn “Toad” – (used) $ 3,500

16’ X 52’ Carport 40 hours $ 3,000

Total Monies Spent (Less Operating Costs) $39,000

The Saturn and carport were expenses that resulted from having the Xeppelin, but really cannot be included in direct costs.

Not included in the above are cost of picking up the unit and return to Houston (plane tickets, lodging, car rental, meals, gas, etc.), nor operating expenditures (tax, title, license, insurance, gas, oil, fees), nor time studying, scrounging, purchasing, or transporting parts (easily 400 hours).

Benefits I received;

5000 miles of mostly flawless exploration of our great country.
Hours and hours of mental and physical therapy.
Experience gained in systems knowledge.
Pride of ownership in that “I did it myself”.
Bunches of new friends and associates.

Estimated value of benefits -- Priceless

One of the amazing things of the rehabilitation cost is that there is no single item in excess of $800, and most are under $100. Those 10 and 20 dollar purchases add up when you keep track of them! I do need to say, however, that the rehab costs do include a VIP Brake control system, and a Blue Ox tow bar installed on the Saturn. Also included, but not yet installed, are electric horns, air horns, aux air system. And then there are most all of the instruments and sensors needed to construct a dash panel with enough whistles and bells that would astonish and boggle a 747 flight crew. Additionally an impressive amount of polishing supplies, a laptop computer for GPS navigation and driving the video portion of the entertainment system, as well as a couple of high-end tires are included.

Of interest here, no significant work has been required to the drive train itself. Engine, transmission, and rear end have remained pretty much untouched since purchase, other than starters and a couple of hundred bucks for heat proof racing grade ignition wires. However, as with any 18+ year old vehicle approaching 80,000 miles, imminent failure, while not anticipated, could very well be expected. Especially on a driveline/frame that has toted around 8 tons at highway speeds all of its life!

Although not totally over, the end of the big time monetary hemorrhage is in sight. A video screen, stereo, and some miscellaneous parts for the dash are all that remain to purchase (I hope) prior to “completion”……and maybe a new mattress….and those 3 overhead lights that have not yet been changed to Fluorescents……..and the MSD ignition power pack with the manual timing advance – gotta’ have that……Oh, and that SS BBQ pit with the bumper swing mount……, China Commode.... and………



That, my friends, is a snapshot of the past 12 months of my life.

Once again, an intense and profound “Thanks” to each and every one of you.
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Old 01-30-2004, 10:47 AM   #38
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sounds like you had a great year..
thanks for keeping the economy going.
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Old 01-30-2004, 10:54 AM   #39
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Sounds like many of our experiences, although I never calculated the price tag on the hours invested as I consider mine to be hobby/experience/therapy time. Even when it hurt!

The only hours I should charge myself for are the ones handling on the road breakdowns, which thankfully for me have been few.

My ongoing project has been a challenge and quite rewarding to own.
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Old 05-08-2004, 05:29 PM   #40
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Bragged too soon!!!

Well, with just under 81,000 miles on the clock, I am nearing the end of a three hour wait for a tow from Good Sam to bring the Beast to a Chevy dealer in Kilgore, Texas, and wait until Monday for a transmission replacement estimate.

Quite unexpectedly, only 180 miles from the house, the transmission converted its last foot-poound of torque, and gave up the ghost. I had just enough forward momentum to coast into the Henderson, Texas Cattle Auction (Livestock Auctions every Monday) parking lot.

The real p*ss*r is that the tow truck (REALLY good praises for Good Sam here) has to come from almost 150 miles NORTH of Henderson, Texas. Too bad it wasn't based 150 miles soouth, I mightbe home several days sooner.

More later - any suggestions as per a new/rebuilt transmission behind a new/rebuilt 454?

I had been toying with the idea of different engines for the 345, but after two multi-hour stops at Colaw's RV salvage this week, I have decided to stay stock.

I was able to score a good set of headers from Colaws.
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