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Old 06-23-2007, 11:34 AM   #1
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Argosy motorhomes - improving MPG

Hi all,

I'm planning to import a small Argosy (20/24) or Airstream Motorhome (250) to the UK. I'll probably go for the 20 or 24. Anyhow, here is the rub (as we say in the UK). Petrol in the UK is very expensive (8 dollars a gallon) which is a killer for taking the children camping. So, I need to work out everything I can do to improve the fuel efficiency before I import (cause maintenance in the UK will be more difficult) and probably get the work done in the US. I'm not very technical (yet) but was hoping to swap out the 454 engine for a 350 diesel and go for an overdrive unit. Can anyone let me know whether there is anything else I can do to improve the MPG (I need to try and get to 15 minimum). Note that diesel is cheaper in Europe than petrol/gas so this is my preferred route. Any suggestions or thoughts gratefully recieved.

cheers

Nick
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Old 06-23-2007, 02:53 PM   #2
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Yes, try to find one of the Airstream diesels. They have a small Isuzu diesel already installed.
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Old 06-23-2007, 03:09 PM   #3
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I get around 12 with my 20'er. The Crate 350 bolt right in. The rear end ratio will limit you, I have 411 gears, drives nice @ 55 mph, 65 mph my milage starts to drop.
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Old 06-23-2007, 03:24 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies guys. If I buy a Argosy 20, do any of the diesel engines (Cummins, Detroit, Isuzu and Cat) fit? Also, is this a common mod in the US?

Also, if I go the Airstream route, can you let me know which, if any, sub-25ft Motorhomes originally came with a turbo diesel?

Lastly, if I buy an Airstream e.g. a 250 or 24 ft, do the Diesel engines above fit or are the Argosy/Airstream slightly different. Which you could recommend?

thanks in advance from London!

Nick (a newbie)
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Old 06-23-2007, 04:44 PM   #5
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We love London, what a cool place to roam around in! Have pint for me will ya!!

The smallest diesel I can think of is the Airstream 280. The Isuzu makes a crate motor that will replace a 454, but that is all I know about that. I like the gas engines, eay to work on, lots of power.

A 24 foot Airstream is EXTREMELY rare. Maybe even more than my 20'
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Old 06-23-2007, 05:31 PM   #6
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You could find an older pickup truck or van with a 6.2 liter diesel, and have it shipped over with the Argosy 20. The 6.2 will fit the chassis, and you will also then have most parts you need to perform the conversion. If you do this, make sure you use the transmission that you get with the diesel, as the Turbo 400 uses vacuum to shift, something diesels have very little of.
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Old 06-23-2007, 06:00 PM   #7
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Someone from the UK bought my 345 and intended to convert it to LP. Is that an option for you?
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Old 06-23-2007, 06:04 PM   #8
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Someone from the UK bought my 345 and intended to convert it to LP. Is that an option for you?
Brunooffrance here on the forums converted his tow vehicle (F150) to run on LP, you could PM him for details.
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Old 06-23-2007, 07:21 PM   #9
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Bottom line is that if money is no object, then a diesel conversion is a good start on top of the typical things, tire pressure, air cleaner, etc.

You could forego all that as has been indicated by buying a 280 Turbo Diesel that was a factory build in the early 80s. I think that means it's a 28 footer, so slightly longer than what you were looking at, but most likely less costly than an engine swap.
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Old 06-24-2007, 08:05 AM   #10
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28' is the shortest for the Izusu TD. However if you buy a 24'er like the Argo on eBay right now you can add a gearvendor under/over, headers, electric fans, and all those good things that will get you better mileage.
Using the right setup with the smaller coach will yield double digit fuel economy in a factory setup.... but for the money I'd be looking for a 280. There is a very nice 310 TD with a fresh engine on eBay right now though.
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Old 01-21-2008, 09:42 AM   #11
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Diesel engine in an ARGOSY24

Dear folks I am sort of new here at Airstream.com and i think i have searched to no avail. Here is my ?????Has anyone or does any one know anyone that has done a diesel conversion in an Argosy/Airstream. Here are my thoughts on this from reading some of your information. Purchase an old school bus Diesel with
automatic transmission in my case a dodge 5.9 diesel with automatic transmission rear end wiring .running.Take the bus body off and chop the 35 foot frame to fit 24 foot argosy OR take the engine transmition combo out of the BUS and put this in a 24 foot Argosy MH. Now there must be someone with some common sense ideas. OK lets have it



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Old 02-03-2008, 06:24 PM   #12
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It's more work than it's work are my thoughts.
I have a 350 chevy in my 24' and I built a 700R4 (4 speed overdrive) tranny to go behind it.
It has a 4:56 axle, so I drop about 1000 rpms or so with it in O.D.and get about 25% better mileage.
First and second gear are lower than the TH 400, so it is much quicker in city traffic (drives like a 3/4 ton P.U.) and with it being all chevy, if it were to ever need service away from home, it is as common a chevy as there ever was.
If you use a C4 corvette tailshaft and housing, you don't even need to shorten the drive shaft.
Now I don't want to get into a discussion about if the 700r4 will hold up. yes it will.
it will however, shorten the life if you tow a large dingy constantly in the mountains.

Now it you are dead set on a diesel, go with a isuzu out of a chevy box truck and keeping it all Gm will make things cheap and simple.

Just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 11-01-2008, 04:36 AM   #13
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Thanks!

I know this is an old thread but...
I just wanted to say thatnks to everyone able for your answers.

It's exactly the information I was looking for about options for converting and ArgosyMH 24 to diesel.

Now that I know the options are there I'll look more into it. Has anyone completed the conversion to diesel for an Argosy? How did it go?

Thanks
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Old 11-02-2008, 08:20 AM   #14
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Thumbs up Argosy Motorhome-improving MPG

Well I got into this discussion back in March of 2008 and since that time have done a lot of crazy things . One of which was to leave well enough alone. I cant help but AGREE with George 110-%. If its not broken dont fix it .By the time your up and running changing everything over to diesel concidering all that must be changed to get it operating,You will have spent so much money time and labour that you would have to drive this thing a million miles to recover any of your costs. Right now here in CANADA Eastern end of lake Ontario you would be lucky to save $25 on a 1,ooo miles,so ask yourself ,how many miles are you going to drive this tank. With us its 1500 miles from our doorstep to where we park in good old Florida and 15-to-16 hundred return.so thats a cost over diesel fuel of around $75.so lets tack on another thousand so were at $100 dollars and lets say, just say we drive another $3,000 miles from around home during the summer thats a cost over diesel of around $200.00 dollars.a year thats not counting any costs to purchase and install all the parts plus the cost of engine and transmission and all the little things nplus the labour. If you did this for 10 years thats a cost over 2,000 dollars if everything else was to stay the same ,and we know that isnt going to happen the price of gas here is dropping like a stone in the pond.. Its just not worth the time and effort. Unless you won the lottery and have nothing else to do but get dirty and play with the stinky diesel. enough say'd Just the opinion of MOI
PS and all this cost and down time while this is taking place ,the guy with the 350 or 454 is long gone down the road and enjoying life
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Old 11-02-2008, 11:23 AM   #15
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I'm planning to put my 28' Argosy MH on a 2002 Freightliner MT 4500 chassis, any comments????
I bought the MH for $900 and it was pretty complete but completly ragged out. I'm in the process of gutting it right now and I have a few questions for the "seasoned" members here.
1. Do I lose any shell structural integerity when the inside skin is removed?
2. About how much does the shell with windows installed weigh?
3. What is the best way to lift it?
4. Should I brace it in any way on the inside before I attempt this?
5. Why did they use 1/2" plywood on the floor?
Believe me I wouldn't attempt this unless it was completely necessary. The frame and bottom side are bad rusty, the original plan was to install a 5.9 Cunnins / Allison in the Chevy frame but it's nor rated for the extra weight and it's too rusty to use. The Freightliner chassis has a straight axle in the front. Anyone else attempted this? Advise would be appreciated..... Thanks! Oh and is anyone looking for anything special that I may have that came out of the inside? I'm junking it all......

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Old 11-02-2008, 05:36 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverDollar View Post
1. Do I lose any shell structural integerity when the inside skin is removed?
2. About how much does the shell with windows installed weigh?
3. What is the best way to lift it?
4. Should I brace it in any way on the inside before I attempt this?
5. Why did they use 1/2" plywood on the floor?
Larry,

#1. Yes, the inner and outer skin BOTH have an effect on the shell integrity.
#2. No Clue
#3. With cross members thru windows that will stick out both sides so you are lifting all over with the bracing. If you lift form the bottom, you will damage the lower edge.
#4. You need to brace it across the bottom and X brace it in the middle as well. Depending on length you ant to brace it every 6-8 feet.
$5. The floor material is the same as the floor material in the trailers of the era. the Motor home shell is the same as a trailer with one end replaces with the motor home nose. If they used a different floor material they would have had to change the methods of manufacture.

This is also why the P-30 Chassis was used. They needed one that was "skinny" enough to fit under the shell.

The straight axle in front is not an issue as long as the wheels will have clearance, etc. My 76 Argosy had a solid font axle....

What year are you gutting, I may have a use for some parts....
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Old 11-02-2008, 05:59 PM   #17
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It's a 1976 28' twin and my 1975 Overlander has 3/4" plywood on the floor. Anyway let me know what you want and I'll see if I still have it. Have you seen any pictures anywhere of a shell being taken off? I would be more than interested in seeing them......
BTW has anyone else done any mods to the refrigerator access door to cure the road grime / water issue? I was thinking about an inlet vent on the floor and getting rid of the louvers in the door just like my trailer has. It seems to be a problem on ALL of the MH's of this era I've seen. Thanks

Larry
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Old 11-09-2008, 02:30 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Have you seen any pictures anywhere of a shell being taken off? I would be more than interested in seeing them......
We had a member that did this, he did a 74 Argosy MH.... His pictures are lost in upgradeland.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverDollar View Post
BTW has anyone else done any mods to the refrigerator access door to cure the road grime / water issue? I was thinking about an inlet vent on the floor and getting rid of the louvers in the door just like my trailer has. It seems to be a problem on ALL of the MH's of this era I've seen. Thanks
I have considered doing this as well, but I think I would end up with more waer and grime from a floor vent like the trailer had. What about an additional baffle, solid aluminum that funnels water and grime back into the bottom of the louvered door...
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Old 11-21-2008, 06:32 AM   #19
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Silverdollar, have you checked out he video on utube?

This thread just next door should shed some light on the job ahead of you.

Looks like the floor goes down first and the shell then is attached to it.

Have a look... http://www.airforums.com/forums/f311...ube-46363.html

Big job for certain.

Please for all our benefit take and post photos on a thread of your own! This is very interesting.
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Old 12-04-2008, 04:21 PM   #20
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A big job indeed!! Nice video too! I guess the guys in the video must have assembled my MH back in the day. I've found lots of "factory" quality issues that will need addressing before I remove the shell. From what I gather after reading some similar posts I'm not the only one that is missing complete rib sections and have structural looseness and damage as a result. Anyway I'll try to post a picture here and see what happens. This project is going to take me years to complete so be patient as I am........


I've started a new thread for the restoration and rebuilding.....

Couldn't resist taking a picture of my furry hitchhikers.......
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