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Old 09-13-2006, 09:01 AM   #1
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Engine removal from Argosy MH?

Hi folks:

I am considering a complete 454 engine removal from Ethyl, our 26' 1975 Argosy motor home and was wondering if anyone has words of wisdom (other than 'don't do it!'), or better still photo's, to help guide me through the proceedure?

Thanks in advance,

Andrew
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Old 09-13-2006, 10:55 AM   #2
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Hi , the best way is from the front,remove grill bumper oil cooler tranny cooler A/C it is a tight fit but the easyest way.can't get the cherry picker in moho or swing it out the door. Best sulution is a chevy dealer that services chevy trucks with P30 or larger frames..
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Old 09-13-2006, 06:49 PM   #3
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check out the older posts from 74argosy24mh... photos also of the engine removed and redone.
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Old 09-13-2006, 09:17 PM   #4
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Thank you kindly Alan, any idea as to when this was posted or the title? I have tried, unsuccessfully to track it down.

Cheers,

Andrew
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Old 09-17-2006, 07:22 AM   #5
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Andrew, what makes you want to remove the engine? Have you done a compression test? Have you done a leak down test? The first will give you a look at the condition of the heads while the second will give you a look at the bottom via the rings.
Only after those tests would I consider getting that deep. If your rig sat for some time it is in need of new fluids and some new break in time.
Remember with all Ethyl will need it may be wise to adhere to the old, "if it 'ain't broke, don't fix it."
Also if you do pull the heart of the beast out you may want to go ahead and buy a crate engine and be done with it all in a hurry and forget about the old engine all together.
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Old 09-17-2006, 01:53 PM   #6
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Sound advice Glen, I guess my enthusiasm for seeing ‘the heart of the beast’ and changing any parts likely to fail (I have ‘enjoyed’ reading others horror tales of water pump and PS pump failures, but doubt my road side abilities compared to in a shop environment), plus a growing list of leaks needing attention has made me a little too gung-ho.

I will carry out further investigations and see what can be achieve with the heart in place.

Thanks again for your sage advice.

Cheers,

Andrew
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Old 09-23-2006, 03:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
I have ‘enjoyed’ reading others horror tales of water pump and PS pump failures
Hmmm...I think I know that guy

Glenn is spot on. Establish your baseline and prioritize your projects accordingly. Almost all of our 454s leak some oil and cough and sputter here and there...but if you have a solid long block you can address many repairs and preventative replacements (wp, ps pump) with the engine still in the coach. An alternative to a complete R&R would be to remove the grill & radiator. This would allow you access to replace all of the accessories at once and resolve any cooling system issues in a relatively short timeframe (a couple of long weekends).

If you do feel the need to go all "gear heady" on it then induction, ignition, headers, etc will more than satisfy the need for making immediate bolt on improvements and call all be re-used when the long block finally does give it up.
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Old 09-26-2006, 07:43 AM   #8
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Andrew, I have done the engine swap and it is not a pretty sight. You will have to dismantle the entire front end of your motorhome. The chassis came to the AS factory with the engine installed then they put the body around it. If you do want to attempt this feat, I have a factory service manual with instructions for taking out the engine. Let me know and I'll copy them for you.
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Old 09-26-2006, 12:28 PM   #9
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Yikes!

Thank you Chaplain:

I think it is fair to say that I have been well and truly frightened off the engine removal for now! It is still something I am considering, possibly over the winter, as our Argosyís engine is such an unknown concern. The PO told me he reckoned the 49,000 miles was genuine (there is no sixth digit on the odometer), then provided me with documentation that clearly states the motor was 'changed' around 111,000 miles, so is around 150,000 'experienced'! This is documentation that not only did he provide, but which he had also added to.

Anyway, enough whining, my concern is that I have no way of knowing if this was just an overhaul or short or full engine replacement, and as a result how old the assorted pumps, bearings and timing chains are. I see no option but to attempt the full engine removal and tear down so, if you get a chance, I would very much appreciate any documentation you have to hand.

Many thanks in advance,

Andrew
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Old 10-08-2006, 10:32 AM   #10
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Engine kaput so has to come out now

Hi again folks:

Well it is definitely a requirement now asd enroute to our second trip yesterday the bottom end let go in spectacular style!

I now have four main questions, namely:

1. What is the approximate cost of a crated engine?
2. Any recommended source for such a beast?
3. Has anyone performed a removal from a 1976 26' Argosy MH, if so, how best do I go about it in my driveway?
4. Anything else I should be aware of?

thank you all.

Cheers,

Andrew
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Old 10-08-2006, 12:22 PM   #11
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OUCH!! That hurts, Andrew! Not the way we wanted this to work out at all....
While there may be a lot of different ways to meet your needs I'm sure it's going to require a little blood, sweat and tears... not to mention cash!
First off are you capable of doing an engine swap even in spite of the nature of the removal and reinstall?
In S. Cal I'm not sure of your resources but I'm certain there are engine suppliers all over the place.
Here in the east Jasper is a rebuilder of engines... check the yellow pages or www.jasperengines.com .
It's time to go find a hot rod shop to make friends with too. You're gonna need all the "big block chevy" friends you can find.
Removal is going to be fun. You have to remove all of your front grill/bumper/radiator... just to be able to get the engine hoist in to lift the beast.
Then it's a matter of removing exhaust, carb, and unbolting the tranny and engine mounts.
An engine stand as well as a hoist will be required for this job. You may be able to rent the hoist but a stand is a longer term investment that you can resell later.
For where you live why not check out craigslist.com for some of the stuff you'll be needing?
The words, "may you live in interesting times" comes to mine my friend.
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Old 10-08-2006, 10:07 PM   #12
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Thanks Glen:

I appreciate the advice - anything positive is very gratefully received right now. Honestly though, in some perverted way I kind of relish the idea of pulling the lump out and tackling a rebuild/refit. Way back when in England I used to race rally cars (Woo, smell me!), and being perpetually broke had to do a lot of the repairs and rebuilds myself, so although the scale is different (twice the number of cylinders and a whole lot more weight), hopefully a lot of theory will still apply.

What I am concerned about is removing the front end. I appreciate our rigs are quite different, but assume there are quite a few similarities too. It is to dark here to really go look, but is it a 'simple' case of unbolting, or are we looking at splitting welded seams, etc.?

Regarding the engine stand, I will have to look into that, Cragis list would seem an excellent place to start; thank you. I wonder if it something that I can get fabbed at a local welding shop?

Oh well, I'm off tomorrow for Columbus day so will take my first serious look at what is ahead of me in the removal. Keep 'em crossed.

Cheers, and thanks again Glan,

Andrew
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Old 10-08-2006, 11:02 PM   #13
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Engine removal

Hi, I used to have a Chevy P-30, but not a motorhome. By 42,000 miles the engine was replaced twice, but that's another long story. The mechanic pulled the engine out through the dog house opening. But if I were to do it at a dealer, I would have dropped the front axle, removed the transmission, then remove the engine out of the bottom. If your motorhome has the "I Beam" front axle, the engine will slip right out without disturbing any body parts. This is not a job I would attempt at home, unless you have a six foot truck lift and a hydrolic engine table.
Good luck and be carefull on whatever you decide to do.

Bob
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Old 10-09-2006, 09:18 AM   #14
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Engine transplant on 26' Argosy motorhome

Thanks Bob:

I am unsure if this is something I can do or not. The expense indicates it is something I have to do, while the equipment needed, and the fact my driveway is not level, suggest the opposite.

I wish there was someone out there who has already performed an engine transplant on an Argosy motorhome... anyone?

Cheers,

Andrew - AKA 'Frightened of Fallbrook!
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Old 10-09-2006, 11:27 AM   #15
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HELLO, CRATE MOTORS $4500.00 to $5250.00 if only bottom end only $2300.00 at Summit racing. All is bolted no welds .your motor set up is the same as Glen Coombe's and mine. the only difference is length ..to help get the motor out easer take the carb& manifold of from inside moho..BUT be CAREFUL removing theradiator ,oil cooler, trans cooler and the A/C unit on the front of the motor ... They are expensive to replace..
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Old 10-09-2006, 12:52 PM   #16
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Sorry to hear about your engine failure. While I have not done an R&R on mine, seems like the biggest issue is going to be the length of the boom on an engine hoist. Most hoists assume you have unlimited vertical clearance (over an engine bay with the hood off) and are designed to pick the engine up and out. We all have the opposite problem...grab the engine, lift it a little bit and roll it forward and out. Most dealers use a forklift for this...one I've seen uses what can only be described as a carpet pole attachment to get all the way back in there.

I've read about something called a van engine hoist...one that has an extra long reach for van engine replacements. Perhaps this is something you can purchase (JC Whitney, Harbor Frieght, etc.) or rent.

Keep in mind that this is not only an ideal time to replace tire accessories (alt, p/s pump, water pump, etc.) but items like the radiator at least need a flush given the likelyhood of engine bits in the cooler. Not that you need any additional expense in this situation but it would be a shame to do all of the work on replacing your engine with a shiney new crate motor only to get stranded by an alternator or something worse a couple of thousand miles down the road.

As far as a DIY replacement, I've always felt like the great equalizer for any major repair is time. Given your experience it seems you will be able to wrap your head around the R&R/rebuild concepts easily, but without the specific experience of pulling engines from motorhomes all of the time it'll be something you can figure out with enough noodle time and experimentation.

Assuming you can get access to the required equipment and can work safely (driveway slope, etc.) then if you have a lot of time to make the swap and the energy to see it through then go for it.
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Old 10-09-2006, 02:47 PM   #17
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Engine Hoist..

I pulled and transplanted a v8 350 (in place of an anemic and blown 4.3L v6) out of a Chevy Astro. Not alot of room there either. I pulled the engine by using a engine plate that bolted to the intake manifold at the TBI base (carb base in your case). I then bolted this directly to the boom arm of the hoist.

Hope this helps!
Marc
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Old 10-09-2006, 02:57 PM   #18
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Andrew, I wasn't kidding when I mentioned the "hotrod shops." You may find a talented shade tree mechanic who has the desire and location to make things right with your Argosy. Do you have any dirt track races in your geographic area? Always a great source of talented wrenches hanging around those events.
There are lots of ways to "skin the cat... in a closet, without getting any cat hair on you." The engine removal while challenging is not an impossible feat. The more you remove from it the easier it will be to lift ever so slightly so you can wiggle it out of the recesses of the coach.
I've had my entire grill out to do work on the front of the bus and it was not a big deal. Of course removing the rad and all the frontal accessories will take more time. Then removing the oil sump/pan will give you more room to clear the front axle.
So, you need to make friends with someone (or multiple someones) who can help you. Just my opinion. The sloping driveway may be of some help actually. If the bus is backed in you can raise the front end to level and give yourself some room to work under the rig. Also wiggling the thing out going down hill would seem to be much better than trying the other way around....
You're going to get real dirty, your hands are gonna bleed, just like your bank account.... Find Help!!!
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Old 10-09-2006, 09:24 PM   #19
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You guys ROCK!

Thanks so much to everyone sharing my pain here, it's true what they say; misery loves company

Having recently shelled out close to $2K with a local mechanic for engine work and an alleaged 'once over', I have talked to him and agreed he will perform an autopsy next week, so all bets are off for the time being, at least until I get his report.

I have also spoken with the PO (though I personally feel that set of initials are probably better suited to me right now) as he appeared willing to become involved in any major problems we encountered. Given the slight misrepresentation on the mileage listed in his original add (50,000, while I now feel 250,000 might be closer to the mark, given the documentation provided listed a "new engine at 111,000") we are investigating our options right now.

So long story short; watch this space for further developments!

Meanwhile, I cannot thank everyoe involved enough for all the kind words of help and support, it really means a lot.

Cheers,

Andrew
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Old 10-10-2006, 09:28 AM   #20
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Not that there aren't more..

of those Argosy MH's around, but your blackened lens holder (the fiberglass one seen in your avatar) made me think of one that I saw two summers ago in Malibu beach CA. It was owned by an old drummer from a rock band from the 80's (can't remember which) who was going to drive it to a beach in Mexico for his vacation cabin. He and his son seemed real nice... any connection?
Marc
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