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Old 12-19-2020, 11:00 AM   #61
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Brad, I lost count on the number of pulleys on that engine! I'll have to start over! LOL
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Old 12-19-2020, 12:23 PM   #62
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Brad, this is what I'm looking for (see pic). Left and right side are different from each other. I don't remember which one I have (left or right). One of them, the one I have, is still available. The other side is not available.
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Old 12-19-2020, 12:38 PM   #63
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Brad, I lost count on the number of pulleys on that engine! I'll have to start over! LOL
There are definitely more pulleys than fingers on one hand
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Old 12-19-2020, 06:46 PM   #64
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So, after re-reading the CA rules for engine changes (see appendix D), I have a different idea.

The rule states that you can install a new engine if it is of the same class, if it's more recent than the one you're replacing, and if it comes with the original emission system that was used in the donor vehicle.

The problem is that the HT502 was never commercially installed in any vehicle (as far as I know). However, the HT502 does have an approved CARB EO exemption (D-126-3) that allows you to install this engine to replace a 454 cid in 1988-1995 GM truck.

So here's my thought experiment:
1. I could legally install a 454 cid in my airstream as long as I used the same emission system as, say, a 1995 Chevy P30.
2. I could then upgrade that 454 cid to an HT502, using CARB EO exemption.

The end result --- I have an HT502 with an upgraded emission system, EFI, 4 speed transmission, etc. The yearly smog test will use the 1995 Chevy P30 standard to evaluate whether I pass or not.

Now I just have to figure out all the emission system components of a 1995 Chevy P30 and install these, without changes, in the Airstream.

Thoughts? Does this make sense?
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Old 12-20-2020, 01:52 PM   #65
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Kinda late to this party... apologies!


First thing I would comment is that whilst the 4L80e is a beast, it is the 4L85e that is better suited to the Motorhome... the reason is that in fact the 4L85e is the direct successor to the TH475 as they both have the stronger(but noisier) straight cut planitary gears in the rear.... I believe that is about the only difference, but worth having.
If its not too late, discuss this with your trans builder, as they might know better than me.


Onto the engine swap...
My Motorhome has a Jasper stock replacement, with less than 6,000 miles on it by my calculations, and it runs strong.
I believe that the 502 looks so similar to the 454 externally, that most smog places would not balk at it.


The problems come when you get into the fueling of it.
Based on on your PM to me regarding my "Emissions book" info...
A 1995 454 powered vehicle GVW of 8501 lb, and over, with Auto transmission:
1/ Computer controlled TBI injection system.
2/ Ignition timing to be set at 4deg BTDC @675rpm(with tan/black timing wire disconnected).
3/ PCV Valve.
4/ EGR Valve.
5/ Evap canister.
6/ NO AIS (Exhaust air injection)
7/ Single catalytic Convertor.
8/ O2 sensor.
9/ SPK (Spark Control).
10/ FR(Fill Pipe Restrictor).


My gut was to say buy the MSD Atomic EFI system, it is only AO# Approved to 1987 model year.
Whilst the GM TBI system is less sophistcated, the ECU has a built in trans controler, saving you another $750 or so, and they have millions of miles of reliability proven, and you can get GM TBI parts pretty much anywhere...
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Old 12-20-2020, 03:14 PM   #66
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Ok, completely missed page 3!


I'm very serious about my next comment.
Look very closely at putting a BT6 Cummins engine in your MH.
It was a factory Airstream option in the early 90's.
If the Cummins came out of a pre 1998 vehicle, you would get it inspected and NEVER have to smog again currently.
5.9L, 6 cyl, 12v P-Pump engine is massively under rated at 160hp/400T, and its easy to get to 400hp/800T with small mods to pump and a turbo upgrade.
Probably DOUBLE the MPG too.


I collated some info here...
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f15...me-177404.html


Dean, a left hand air injection pipe is available....
Look at a 1987 7.4L R20 Suburban pipe... It might not be exactly the same but I bet it can be made to work. $66 too...
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Old 12-20-2020, 04:13 PM   #67
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Steve, not plug and play, but the R20 Suburban pipe should work. On mine, the input side of the pipe comes straight up. Can't have pipe going forward because it would hit the AC bracket. With this one facing rearward, it should work with a longer input hose.
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Old 12-20-2020, 05:40 PM   #68
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Steve: thanks for the info. Gosh, I thought I had figured this out. Turns out, I haven’t. It doesn’t look like the MSD EFI upgrade is an option because of the AIR pump issues. Back to the drawing board.

The diesel, especially if that means no further smog tests, is clearly appealing! I believe my MH originally had an Isuzu diesel before one of the previous owners installed a 454. The dashboard still has “water in fuel” warning lights. Not sure why they didn’t stick with diesel. Anyways, the downside is that I would have to replace my 7kW generator as well since it runs on gas, not diesel. I also have no idea what type of smog/emissions systems would need to be installed when switching to diesel.

Maybe Jasper is an option to provide a rebuilt Cummins and optimize for torque?
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Old 12-20-2020, 08:05 PM   #69
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Pleased to help, altho most of the time I mess with other peoples minds as much as my own!

FYI, your MH was prob not ever a diesel... they all had the water in fuel warning lamp... and mine is illuminated...

Just Airstream at its finest... and you Americans tease us Brits about Lucas electrics?

OK, OK!
I just re-read your thread and absorbed it better!
The KEY point is your MH is a '84 like mine!

Lets get back to basics, and please refresh me if I've missed something...

Your motor is burning/using oil?
How many miles on the Odometer?
Is the motor original??

But lets get the basics covered....

Is it leaking or burning it?
There are 2 types of 454's...
Those that leak and those that will leak soon....

They all leak.... its just how much!

Burning it is different.
Problem solving time....
If it leaking, then find the source and fix it...

If its burning it...
Have you done a compression test?
Easy and cheap to buy a HF tester, and DIY.
Pull the plugs, number them and post pics of the tips... that will tell you/us a lot.
Burning oil is VERY common with these engines due to old, hard valve seals... might not even need a motor.

Perfect example of this is my sons 1988 Mercedes 300TE... when we bought it with 65k miles in 2006, it burned a quart every week... smoked, fouled it plugs..

Pulled the valve covers, pressurized each cylinder at TDC and replaced the rubber seals... they were like brittle ceramic, when the new ones were like rubber.
He sold it in 2018 with I think 210k miles and it never used a drop between oil changes he said... Just old oil seals.
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Old 12-20-2020, 08:25 PM   #70
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Ok, so once we have the real condition of the motor figured out, lets get back to the smog issue.

Its passed smog so dont worry about it for another 2 years!
If it was burning a lot of oil, the HC would have been high and it would've failed...

It obviously had or looked like it had all the things it needed to pass!
Don't mess with it!
I wish I had that luck!
Mine came with a great motor but not smog pump, air inection stuff, all the vacuum stuff broken or missing and the wrong carburetor and air filter.
Its taken me a loooong time to find all the stuff...

My advice, aside from the oil consumption issue...

If you want to make steady improvements, and its running OK, start with the big line item, that will make the most impact on the MPG and drivability...
Put a OD transmission in.

After that, buy the MSD kit, slap it on.
Its approved for an '84 model year.

The rest of the issue, like the smog pump is pretty easy to fix.
The reality is, the diverter valve on the Smog pump is probably non functional... they all break internally.
The Vacuum pull up diaphragm perishes in the box after 20 years let alone next to the exhaust manifold heat!
They can't test if its working, by law.
As long as it is there, and all the pipes are connected, its a pass!
The MSD doesn't like, need, or want any air being injected into the exhaust....
Any its like a 95% chance it not working anyway..
I have heard that a BB pushed up into the vacuum feed line takes care of the 5% chance with no visual indication...

Trust me!
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Old 12-20-2020, 09:04 PM   #71
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Interesting!

So, back to basics. The 454 engine actually runs fine. I drove it over 2,000 miles from Memphis back home without any significant issues, except for 2 things:
1/ it burns about 1 quart per 300 miles
2/ it slows down a lot on steep inclines (from 65 mph down to 35 mph)

I donít know much about the history of this engine or how many miles it has done. The previous owner told me that the owner before him swapped the original Isuzu diesel for a 454, but I have no idea if this is true or why that would have happened. I know that while Dometic owned this MH, they did rack up a lot of miles, traveling across the country to showcase their technologies at rallyís. They did about 70,000 miles in the first few years.

So my guess, based on the above, was that the engine could approach end-of-life and I would not want to ever get stuck by the side of the road with an engine failure. Also, some extra torque would be nice .

Marc
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Old 12-21-2020, 07:07 AM   #72
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Interesting!

So, back to basics. The 454 engine actually runs fine. I drove it over 2,000 miles from Memphis back home without any significant issues, except for 2 things:
1/ it burns about 1 quart per 300 miles
2/ it slows down a lot on steep inclines (from 65 mph down to 35 mph)

I donít know much about the history of this engine or how many miles it has done. The previous owner told me that the owner before him swapped the original Isuzu diesel for a 454, but I have no idea if this is true or why that would have happened. I know that while Dometic owned this MH, they did rack up a lot of miles, traveling across the country to showcase their technologies at rallyís. They did about 70,000 miles in the first few years.

So my guess, based on the above, was that the engine could approach end-of-life and I would not want to ever get stuck by the side of the road with an engine failure. Also, some extra torque would be nice .

Marc

Like Steve says, start with some other big ticket items, like Gear Vendors or 4l80E.
35mph is about right trying to pull 16k up a hill, it will be less trying to climb a 10k pass. The 65mph Hwy speed is pushing the limit for a 3 speed Tranny and the weight. Of course the 454 can handle the 32-3400 rpm, but is it happy doing so? My experience says no, it gets hot, burns max fuel, burns more oil and is annoyingly noisy. Gear Vendors over drive will give you the desired 4th gear and split lowers ones for help in mountain climbing.
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Old 12-21-2020, 07:25 AM   #73
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If you can do it a compression test or leak down test will tell you more than guessing.
If that comes back good, run it for at least 1000 miles on fresh oil(I suggest a Diesel oil like Rotella), and send a sample off to Blackstone... They will tell you so much about the wear and issues in your engine.
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Old 12-21-2020, 07:26 AM   #74
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1984 Model 345 - maiden roadtrip

https://www.blackstone-labs.com/

Order a few of their sample kits for free, send one in and in a couple of weeks they will tell you exactly what is in your engine oil.
They flagged high iron content in one of my vehicles that indicated wear. I changed oil viscosity from factory recommended 0-30 to 15-40 and watched the iron content decline.
On my Buddies VW TDI they flagged an excess of diesel in his oil. He had noticed a drop in mpg of about 3mpg, so he had his injectors tested, and found a bad one, probably saving his engine.
The $30 sample cost is worth every cent for my annual oil changes.
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Old 12-21-2020, 12:02 PM   #75
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Reading through all your comments (Thank you!!!) it seems like I have a few options, organized from easy to difficult:

1/ Don't mess with the engine or the emission system. Add a 4 speed transmission. Potentially add the MSD Atomic (with a small "modification" to the AIR pump as Steve suggested). Potentially add Banks headers (CARB EO approved). And leave it at that. This should give me some torque benefit (not sure how much)

2/ Do 1 + install a Jasper rebuilt 454 with RV cam, optimized for torque. This should give me additional torque benefit, and a new life on the engine. This qualifies as an engine swap under CARB rules, so there is no smog risk.

3/ Do 1 + install a crate HT502 (non-CARB EO version). This will give me even more torque, but we need to hope that a smog station won't notice the difference with a 454. Technically this doesn't qualify as an engine swap, I think.

4/ Install the CARB EO approved version of the HT502, but that will require a full new emission system to match what was installed in a 1988-1995 Chevy truck, as per CARB EO requirements. Reading through the 10 things that are required (per Steve's earlier post), that feels like a big undertaking.

5/ Switch to diesel.

Key in this decision making process is figuring out the health of the current engine. Besides doing a compression test and and oil analysis, is there a way to measure the torque output of the current engine?

Also, as far as transmission is concerned, I didn't realize a 4 speed transmission would help during climbing, since you wouldn't use the OD gear in that scenario. Am I wrong in that? Finally, what are the pros and cons of using Gear Vendors vs a Hughes built 4l80E?
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Old 12-21-2020, 12:25 PM   #76
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...
Also, as far as transmission is concerned, I didn't realize a 4 speed transmission would help during climbing, since you wouldn't use the OD gear in that scenario. Am I wrong in that? Finally, what are the pros and cons of using Gear Vendors vs a Hughes built 4l80E?

4l80e, does not help in hill climbing other than having a heavy duty one built by Hughes for super duty and reliability.

GVO rep told me that they are not interested in putting a GVO behind the 4l80e, UNLESS I would be doing a lot of hill climbing. Then the gear splitting would be of great benefit.
With the TH475 and the 4L80e you only have gear 1 or 2 for hill climbing. Gear 1 will slow you down to ~20mph and 2 may not handle it. Thats when the gear splitting comes into play.

My recommendation, stay in the Flat lands with these rigs and try not to conquer the San Juan Mountains jeep roads
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Old 12-21-2020, 12:51 PM   #77
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I remember my maiden, and only journey in my 345 very well, driving it back to California from Ks.
The trip... it had some similarities to yours with water leaks etc.
The one thing I did remember is deciding to take the 53 from Grants in NM to El Morro National Monument... there was a long grade and despite the transmission being in 2nd gear it hauled up that grade with the lusty roar from all 4 barrels singing... I could see the gas gauge dropping! LOL
Anyway, whilst it did lack speed, it didnt go fast up there, it never seemed to feel like it wasnt going to make it... it didnt need first gear.
I was never concerned about it going up hills, I was worried about the downhills tho.
My point is, if you have ever driven a larger vehicle like a motorhome before, the issue is not normal the speed you climb a grade, its the worry or going down the other side in a controlled fashion.
I've come a long way at least cosmetically from that trip...


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I dont know if there is a way to test torque output, but there were some testers around a few years back that might help.
I believe there is a app called G-Meter or something that can measure speed and G forces and by calculating the weight and gearing of the vehicle you might be able to get an idea...


The engine choice is a tricky one... a replacement Big Block is the easy way to go for sure.
I suggest you read thru my Diesel thread and get an idea of what you will come up against.
Something like this makes sense to me, but maybe not anyone else!

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Cummins-6BT...QAAOSw7hReZTKj





Your transmission choice will help... I believe the 4 speed gear spread is wider, with first being lower and 4th being taller, and also that lockup torque converter stops slip, and therefore power loss and heat buildup, which adds efficiency.
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Old 12-21-2020, 12:51 PM   #78
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Besides all the engine research, I worked on the A&E Power Plus leveler jacks this weekend. The control box wasn't getting any power. Turns out, it was a simple inline fuse issue. It did take me some time to work through the rats nest of wires to trace the right one.

It would be nice to clean up all these wires, but instead, I think I'll just put the cover back on and pretend they're not there :-)
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Old 12-21-2020, 01:12 PM   #79
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Besides all the engine research, I worked on the A&E Power Plus leveler jacks this weekend. The control box wasn't getting any power. Turns out, it was a simple inline fuse issue. It did take me some time to work through the rats nest of wires to trace the right one.

It would be nice to clean up all these wires, but instead, I think I'll just put the cover back on and pretend they're not there :-)
When I joined I read there was a dash wiring curse - any who dared to actually redo and organize that mess soon stopped using the motorhome for one reason or another... It was a 9th symphony of a project

I think Bob broke the curse on his 370... But I made sure to halfass mine just in case the airstream gods were watching...
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Old 12-21-2020, 01:22 PM   #80
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I noticed that the vertical bar that separates the fixed and sliding windows on the driver side came loose at the top. I can push it back into position but it doesn't hold. What would be the best way to fix? Drill a hole and put a rivet in it?

(notice the nice blue skies -- California does have some advantages :-))
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