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Old 08-26-2003, 08:16 PM   #1
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Louisville , Kentucky
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OK...I've been working on overhauling the cooling system since last weekend and finally had a moment to post a pic and a story that was "eye opening" for me at least.

The MH is still new to us and while I've been working on getting most of the systems working I neglected to do a thorough review of the engine myself since I paid for an engine tune up and brake job when I bought it. I guess I assumed that the tech would have let me know if it needed anything else maintained or replaced. The coach was then driven nearly 1200 miles for me to take delivery so everything must be OK - right? WRONG!

While on a trip through the Cumberland Gap last week (I-75 in Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee - 4% - 6% grades) I finally got the temp light on at 225 degrees. I pulled over, let her cool down and then proceeded without incident. I knew early on that I would need to address the cooling system and had been researching the forum all week for solutions. This issue however convinced me to overhaul the cooling system as best I could; flush the cooling system, wash out the bugs and grit from the radiator, replace all of the belts and hoses, replace the thermostat and water pump, replace the coolant, run some of that Wetting Agent and replace anything else that looked scary.

After reading about what a nightmare it can be to change belts on the AS MH's I decided to pull the grill and radiator/shroud and really get at the belts, pump and hoses. What I found scared me. I've attached a pic of one of the best belts on the engine. Both belts to the boost pump where very loose; one was nearly worn away and broke when I pulled it over the pulley. On top of this the aftermarket trans cooler was leaking badly and when I changed the engine oil I realized that someone had left the drain plug in loose - it was about half way out! Any one of these maintenance issues could have been catastrophic to me, my family and obviously the AS.

All I could think about were those long climbs and steep descents in Tennessee the week before. We’re new to the AS and also to RV ownership but one lesson I’ve learned already is not to depend solely on the dealership or mechanic too much for general condition and roadworthiness. When I asked an RV mechanic friend of mine about this he mentioned that on an “AS IS” sale like mine there is no Pre Delivery Inspection required, so basically most dealerships do the minimum to get the unit out the door and across the curb. Now don't get me wrong. I don't blame the dealer, I knew what I was buying. I just forgot for a second that this is a 17 year old machine and I should have know better and checked it myself.

The good news is that after about $100 at NAPA, a lot of sweat and a few bloodied knuckles, we’ve been able to replace/repair everything in time for a little camping this holiday weekend. Cheap insurance and peace of mind.
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Steven Webster
1986 Airstream 345 Classic Motorhome
AIR 1760
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Old 08-26-2003, 08:40 PM   #2
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You've obviously got some good karma going for you there ...
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Old 08-26-2003, 09:36 PM   #3
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We will call you LUcky! Buy a lottery ticket quick!! Good work. I think you will sleep better now.
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Old 08-26-2003, 09:54 PM   #4
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Thumbs up Good Show~

Man, you are one LUCKY DOG..~!

I hope the rest goes better for you and, family~!

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Old 08-26-2003, 10:07 PM   #5
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keep that luck going

I have found a checklist for pre and returning as well as post trip items will increase one's
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Old 08-27-2003, 08:29 AM   #6
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Atlanta , Georgia
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Maintance is where it's at! That is pure and simple not checking things regularly. More people leve themselves on the side of the road from stupid thingins just like that. If it were me and I paid them to look it over and they didn't catch THAT I'd be demanding a refund.

I have finnaly solved my cooling issues with my 454 in my Suburban. Bad fan clutch that was replaced with another BAD fan clutch from Autozone. and a radiator. Had AZ swap the clutch while I was dropping in the radiator. Replaced all the hoses while I was at it.

If it was over 85degrees out side and I had the A/C on it was overheating. Now it might hit 215 after just getting off the hwy and idling for 5-10 minutes. The Aux fan kicks in and it doesn't go any farther. Exactly as it should be. I also run a 60% water mix. down in the SE we don't need a 50/50 and it actually hurts cooling. Antifreeze does not exchange heat as well as the water does. I'm good to 22 BELOW and in the 24 years I have lived in Atlanta I have never seen it that low. I think we hit zero a couple times.
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1988 R20 454 Suburban.
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Old 08-27-2003, 08:49 AM   #7
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Battle Ground , Washington
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You paid for a brake job and tune up and they left a belt that looks like THAT on it?!? I can't imagine any mechanic could do a tuneup and not notice belts like that (let alone the other things). Sounds like you'd better get the brakes re-checked too.

Other than that, enjoy your new toy

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Old 08-27-2003, 10:18 AM   #8
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Louisville , Kentucky
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It did tweak me a little was that no one told me about the belts (and leaks). I would rather work on my own MH than send it to the dealer anyway so I'm happy to change these out myself, it's just that I assumed (bad, bad AS owner) that if they were in there doing maintenance and saw something this scary someone might mention it to me.

In any case, I've been through the MH stem to stern at this point and feel like I know what it needs right now, what should be done soon and what can wait. So now its my responsibility and accountability for the safe operation of the new toy.

Steven Webster
1986 Airstream 345 Classic Motorhome
AIR 1760
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