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Old 08-24-2017, 01:04 PM   #1
Michael Wild
 
1978 31' Sovereign
1984 31' Airstream310
Edmonton , Alberta
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 92
Bought a 1984 Airstream 310 motor home and I am looking for a little help

After spending the last year renovating a 1978 31 foot sovereign, my wife and I decided it would be good idea to buy a 1984 airstream motorhome model 310. Yes, we are crazy.

There are several things I have been able to fix easily and quickly on my own. For example, the previous owner was not able to get the generator to work because one or more of the three switches were in the stock position. Once I have them all in the neutral position and start the generator it just worked. That was a big win.

Of the many things that don't work I want to start with a few and see if any of you have had similar problems and hopefully easy fixes. One the fuel gauge doesn't work in fact, it looks like a bunch of the other gauges don't work including the bolts temperature and oil pressure is this a fuse?
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Old 08-24-2017, 02:01 PM   #2
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1982 31' Airstream 310
champaign , Illinois
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Congrats on your 310, I have an '82 with the Isuzu Turbo Diesel. On your gauges, check your ground connections first....in fact, as you troubleshoot any and all of your electrical issues, check your grounds first. It will save you hours of frustration in the long run. Obviously a blown fuse too but first step after varifying that it's not a fuse, check and clean your grounds. Good luck, we love our 310 and have traveled thousands of miles in it.

Mike
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Old 08-24-2017, 03:42 PM   #3
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1994 30' Excella
1992 35' Airstream 350
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Congrats on your 310. The 1984 models are a very nice version of the 310 line, since they have the newer features of the the 345 models, like the dash, the smaller engine cover, the flip down generator door, the Battery drawer and some of the upper cabinets are wood instead of plastic.
As Mike says, the first thing to check is for good ground to the gauges. This may sound complicated, but it is pretty simple, if you use caution. Just remove the 6-8 screws holding the dash in place, then carefully pull the dash towards you on the top. just enough to get access to the top of the gauges. Be careful with the AC/heat control unit to not snap the plastic sliders that hold the wires. I always used a small block of wood to hold the dash away to work on the gauges.
You will quickly see the ground wires (light gray on my 310) running from one gauge to another. I would establish a good ground with a test wire elsewhere and move from gauge to gauge to test for different results. You may also encounter some rotten ducts to wrap with duct tape while you at it
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Old 08-24-2017, 06:34 PM   #4
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1982 28' Airstream 280
Port Angeles , Washington
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Congrats on a great moho. As others have said grounds are a problem and should be gone through as part of your rehab and continued maintenance.
Being on the lazy side myself the first thing I would do is turn the ignition on but don't start the engine. Find the temp sending unit I think on the top, right front of the engine, remove and ground the wire. The gauge needle should move from one side to the other. The same with the oil sender. If the needles move the senders are bad. If the needles don't move pull the instrument panel and check for 12 volts at the gauge. If no voltage look at the ignition switch and fuse to find the open in the 12 volt supply. If you have 12 volts at the gauge look for an open in the wire between the gauge and sending unit.

Normally the sending units fail long before the gauge itself. If several gauges are out look for voltage and ground behind the panel as one wire will feed several gauges.
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Old 08-24-2017, 06:55 PM   #5
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1983 31' Airstream310
Hillsburgh , Ontario
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Welcome to the insanity of it all......

A few Canuck owners of Airstream motorhomes on the site, myself with a 310 turbo diesel, Shepherd57 with a 325 turbo diesel, OttawaValleyGuy with a 345 and 350LE and Swillv8 with a 280 turbo diesel in Edmonton Alberta to name a few of us. There are a few more around but I haven't met them on the forums yet.

The 310 is a very nice length to have as it still can fit into National and Provincial parks where space can be a premium. Bruce National Park at Cyprus Lake has a 27' limit but I still manage to squeeze in.

No tag axle so you don't have to worry about replacing that, or its unobtanium 10" drums. Not so heavy and big for the 454 or the turbo diesel that powers our coach's, so all in all a great buy (I could be biased).

The crew around here are a bottomless pit of knowledge with the likes of Mike, Peter and Dan, that you have already met, (in that order); so if you have any questions or wish to meet up with anyone close, let us know.

BTW The difference between motorhomers and trailer people is the same as power boaters and sail boaters; yes, they ply the same waters, but their issues and problems are very different.

Cheers
Tony
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Old 08-25-2017, 12:42 AM   #6
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1991 25' Airstream 250
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Seconded, thirded........grounds, grounds, grounds. It took me years to find this out. As a general rule, I would keep a stock of serated ground washers, a decent wire brush and as you work on the coach and see an old rusty ground, just clean it up, apply a new washer and tighten it up. You'll find quite a few things e.g. steps etc, which won't function correctly unless they are getting a decent 12v supply.
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Old 08-25-2017, 05:28 AM   #7
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1984 27' Airstream 270
Scotia , New York
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Mine is a 84 270 (all I can fit in my back yard)
As PeterH mentioned, you can get to a lot of the dash parts by tilting it out.
Being very careful and taking your time will avoid new frustrations.
I have had my dash completely out several times
http://theouterlimits.ws/projects/ai...d_Rebuild.html
I have some schematics and lots of photos in the link above.
Some of my wiring is mine, and not OEM but you can get the basics from my wiring.
One thing I found in mine is the molex connector carrying a majority of the signals, gets oxidized. If you can reach it from above, unplug and replug it a few times.
Whatever you do, label every connection, electrical, hose, mechanical, with enough information to put it back together. Take good photos too!

And for the Fuel gauge, my sender unit in the tank was junk. I built my own replacement, but you can still get them on ebay.
http://theouterlimits.ws/projects/ai...uel/index.html
There are other mods I did to my 84 if you go to the top link
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Old 08-26-2017, 10:15 PM   #8
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1969 31' Sovereign
1982 28' Airstream 280
Edmonton , Alberta
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Congrats on the motorhome!!I'm out of Edmonton. First question I have is where did you find your new toy? They are incredibly rare especially in Canada! I'm new to this adventure myself, but locally if you need a hand just give me a shout.
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Old 08-30-2017, 10:34 PM   #9
Michael Wild
 
1978 31' Sovereign
1984 31' Airstream310
Edmonton , Alberta
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 92
Thanks!!!

First, thanks for all your responses and feedback. This is a true Lu great sub-community of the AirForums and glad to be a part of the MoHo gang.

I got the dash off and as suspected, the grounds were off the Fuel and Volts gauge. Hooked up the volts gauge and no change. Found the 20A fuse labeled Gauges was burned out, replaced and Volts gauge worked but no love to Fuel gauge... it did go from no reading to beyond full. Shortly after I changed the fuse it burned out again, so I will trace the wires and see if I can find the problem.

A few other problems came up on the drive home. I am chasing down a misfire, driver's side fan belt squawks at higher speeds and drive train clunks when shifting from drive to reverse. Here is a list of what I did in an OReillys parking lot near Seattle:
- replaced spark plugs, spark plug wires, PCV, fan belts, valve cover breather, fuel filter, passenger side exhaust gasket, driver's side exhaust manifold plug, cap & rotor and air filter.
- Sprayed one can of Sea Foam into carb
- Changed oil and filter. Used High Mileage Full Synthetic 10W40
- adjusted timing and carburetor
2 days later I put 2 containers of Duralube Severe Fuel System Cleaner

The severity and frequency of the misfires decreased after the work was done, but it may also be I learned how to drive to avoid them as well. They occur when I have the gas pedal depressed a small amount and encounter a hill. Sometimes they will happen on flats. If I press the pedal one third or more to the floor, I can accelerate or power up a hill with no sign of a misfire.

I think it is a fuel supply problem. The previous owner had a new electric fuel pump installed near tank. It is operated buy a toggle switch in the glove box. . The original mechanical pump works but only for parking lot cruising, I went to accelerate out of a gas station on the highway and forgot to turn it on. Once I got above 25 MPH I lost all power and it misfires like crazy. Turned on the pump and accelerated up to 60 MPH with no problems.

Next step: I am going to take the carburetor apart clean it and put it back together.

I will take it in to have the drive train looked at, as that job is something I have never tackled before.

For the squawking fan belt... I have tightened a few times resulting in minor improvements. I friend said " Belt squeak is usually the belt dragging over a pulley. If possible spray some water on the belt and run it up. If the noise goes away you have are correct. Often the idler pulley. Use some brake clean on belt and pulley to make sure belt is getting traction. I would try and track down that blowing fuse. Could be a bare wire shorting out somewhere and causing some mysterious symptoms."
Any other thoughts?

For now, the misfires are my priority and will get back to the gauge issues once that is solved.

Thanks again for all your knowledge and support.

Michael
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Old 08-31-2017, 12:34 AM   #10
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1984 31' Airstream310
Honokaa , Hawaii
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 942
On the misfire, if you still have the original 80's ignition coil it's not a bad idea to replace it as PM. I spent a lot of time looking for fuel supply problems when we first got our 310 only to learn that the coil was bad.
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Old 08-31-2017, 02:29 AM   #11
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1984 27' Airstream 270
Scotia , New York
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If the fuel gauge goes to the top with power on, then the fuel sender or wiring is a open circuit.

If you have a inline fuel pump, you must turn it on otherwise it will block the fuel flow instead of boosting it. You should check for inline fuel filters anywhere from the tank and the carb. Check the filter in the carb also.

If you have rebuilt a Qjet successfully before, then you know what you are getting into in a rebuild. If you have never rebuilt a Qjet carb before, be aware that you could make things worse.
When I had a carb that was definitely bad, I would send it out to a Qjet specialist for a full rebuild.

Squeaking belts can be anything, check to see that the proper belts are installed, also check that the pulleys are the proper width and are aligned well. If someone swapped the alternator, they may not have kept the original pulley. I made that mistake once and it took a while to find the proper pulley at a alternator rebuild shop.

Drive train clunk D-R can be various expensive things, hopefully it is simply bad u joints.
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Old 08-31-2017, 05:37 AM   #12
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1994 30' Excella
1992 35' Airstream 350
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by planBe View Post
......... Here is a list of what I did in an OReillys parking lot near Seattle:
- replaced spark plugs, spark plug wires, PCV, fan belts, valve cover breather, fuel filter, passenger side exhaust gasket, driver's side exhaust manifold plug, cap & rotor and air filter.
- Sprayed one can of Sea Foam into carb
- Changed oil and filter. Used High Mileage Full Synthetic 10W40
- adjusted timing and carburetor
2 days later I put 2 containers of Duralube Severe Fuel System Cleaner
......

Michael
Wow, impressive to do all that in a parking lot!!
Did you remember to check and/or replace the little inline filter at the carb body?
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Old 09-01-2017, 07:55 AM   #13
jkwoodrow
 
1987 34.5' Airstream 345
Springfield , Ohio
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 155
Please take this seriously! Many of these classic motorhomes have burned up due to fuel leaks. These fires are caused primarily because of two problems.
1) All the rubber line sections in the fuel system deteriorate over time and
the addition of ethanol in recent years tends to help that process along.
Replace all rubber lines with new ethanol resistant fuel hose and use
fuel injection type clamps.
2) Leaking carburetors frequently caused by field rebuilds by well
intentioned but inexperienced folks.
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Old 09-01-2017, 12:06 PM   #14
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1983 31' Airstream310
Hillsburgh , Ontario
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+1 on what John has stated. We have lost at least five of these coaches to fire in the short time I have been on the forums. One of them, ASTailgate, quite literally was on his maiden trip home after an extensive restoration when his Mom saw smoke coming out from the bottom of his coach; by the time he pulled over and looked underneath it was too late.

Seriously, if it's the first thing you do, change those fuel lines. Look below at post 27 and on.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f311...-119502-2.html

Cheers
Tony
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Old 09-01-2017, 12:37 PM   #15
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1984 27' Airstream 270
Scotia , New York
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On the fuel safety note, my 84 had the stock fuel lines running down the frame on the road side, there were short pieces of rubber tubing on splices for the steel tubing and long pieces at the back going to the tank.
I probably pulled out 6' of rubber tubing to the engine and another 4' to the generator.
I ran the next size up tubing in stainless from the tank to the engine, with no rubber on the supply and minimal rubber on the return.

That is not the only ignition source problem, there is or should be a vent tube on the tank. On mine it was a few feet of rubber tubing going to a copper pipe that was tied to the frame near the bumper where fuel fumes would remain under the chassis. I put in a proper vent tube system that vented out above the bumper on the outer skin of the MH.

Be sure you get high pressure ethanol rated fuel line, it costs 4x as much, but it is worth it.
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Old 09-02-2017, 12:30 PM   #16
Michael Wild
 
1978 31' Sovereign
1984 31' Airstream310
Edmonton , Alberta
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 92
THANKS for the additional information. We made it back to Edmonton safely. Here is a pic of the unit in front of Mt Robson:
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Old 09-03-2017, 05:21 AM   #17
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Awesome photo. Regards, Bob
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Old 09-11-2017, 02:37 PM   #18
Michael Wild
 
1978 31' Sovereign
1984 31' Airstream310
Edmonton , Alberta
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 92
Windshield Wipers???

I need to replace the windshield wipers but cannot find the right size inserts or a full blade that is compatible. Any suggestions?

In the process, I broke both the sprayer heads, has anyone found a replacement for those?
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Old 09-11-2017, 04:32 PM   #19
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1983 31' Airstream310
Hillsburgh , Ontario
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Wiper blades are NAPA part number 60-2070 (20"). I would also suggest you Rain-X the windshield as the wipers are not big. Phone first and order as they are a heavy duty blade and not usually in stock.

You can get wiper inserts but I decided to replace my wipers blades as they were pretty old.

As for the spray parts....not sure, maybe this?

https://www.millsupply.com/wet-arm-n...240.php?p=8914

Cheers
Tony
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Old 09-11-2017, 07:30 PM   #20
Michael Wild
 
1978 31' Sovereign
1984 31' Airstream310
Edmonton , Alberta
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 92
Bad Exhaust Valve

FYI - The misfires were the result of a bad exhaust valve. :-(

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