Free 7 Day Trial RV GPS App RV Trip Planner Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Free 7 Day Trial ×
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 11-10-2016, 10:25 AM   #1
"Contact!"
 
propstrike's Avatar
 
1981 28' Airstream 280
Pierre , South Dakota
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 64
Building a pile of parts for my 1981 Excella 28...

So I've saved a small pile of money, looking to turn it into a pile of parts, then disappear that pile into the 28 footer for something that drives and makes noise. I've greatly benefitted from reading and conversing with the Airstream Magicians, here at Airforums! At the moment, the 454 is coming out to make way for a 502 crate engine from GM.

Today's question comes after searching the board and coming up empty handed. Has anyone found a source they would recommend for an aluminum core radiator to keep the 502 powerplant cool?

Thanks!
propstrike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2016, 02:49 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
bkahler's Avatar

 
1974 20' Argosy 20
Richmond , Kentucky
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,553
I'm not convinced you would need an aluminum radiator. I recently had the radiator in Peanut re-cored with a core that had an extra row and more fins per inch. On the first start up after installing the radiator and letting the engine idle for quite some time it barely got hot enough to open the thermostat.

I bet if you just re-cored your radiator you won't have any problems cooling your 502, especially if you have the correct fan clutch on a 7-blade fan.

If yours is the vertical style of rdiator I can probably find the radiator core part number that was used in Peanuts re-core.

Brad
__________________
Air forums # 1674
1974 20' Argosy Motor Home
1974 31' Excella trailer (parting out, as of 4/1/2015 I have wheels, brake drums, windows & holding tanks left to sell)
bkahler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2016, 06:07 PM   #3
"Contact!"
 
propstrike's Avatar
 
1981 28' Airstream 280
Pierre , South Dakota
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 64
Thanks, Brad! Before parking my rig, I had the radiator recored. That was many years ago, so who knows what corrosion will be in there. It's taller than it is wide, so I think that's what you were asking, a vertical radiator or not? The suggestion was I source an aluminum rad, but that probably because we are based in Vegas. It's warm, here. LOL. I will be relocating to South Dakota, to the other end of extremes in temperatures. Probably won't need that extra cooling, there!
propstrike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2016, 09:31 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Ebro , Fla Panhandle
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,211
Wishing you good luck in getting the running gear modernized.
Are you replacing the transmission too?
Overdrive behind the original helps with highway driving.

Really interested in hearing of the driving improvements once it's completed.

Cheers Richard
tevake is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-11-2016, 05:18 AM   #5
Rivet Master
 
bkahler's Avatar

 
1974 20' Argosy 20
Richmond , Kentucky
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,553
Quote:
Originally Posted by propstrike View Post
Thanks, Brad! Before parking my rig, I had the radiator recored. That was many years ago, so who knows what corrosion will be in there. It's taller than it is wide, so I think that's what you were asking, a vertical radiator or not? The suggestion was I source an aluminum rad, but that probably because we are based in Vegas. It's warm, here. LOL. I will be relocating to South Dakota, to the other end of extremes in temperatures. Probably won't need that extra cooling, there!
Yep, that's the vertical radiator. With luck your radiator is still in good shape. If it was me I'd reuse the radiator as is. If it turns out you have over heating problems then you can remove just the radiator and have it re-cored or replaced. Peter has shown that it's probably simpler to put the front end on some high jack stands and remove the radiator from the bottom. At least that way you don't have to pull the whole front end apart.

Have fun with your rebuild!

Brad
__________________
Air forums # 1674
1974 20' Argosy Motor Home
1974 31' Excella trailer (parting out, as of 4/1/2015 I have wheels, brake drums, windows & holding tanks left to sell)
bkahler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-11-2016, 05:20 AM   #6
Rivet Master
 
bkahler's Avatar

 
1974 20' Argosy 20
Richmond , Kentucky
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,553
Quote:
Originally Posted by tevake View Post
Wishing you good luck in getting the running gear modernized.
Are you replacing the transmission too?
Overdrive behind the original helps with highway driving.

Really interested in hearing of the driving improvements once it's completed.

Cheers Richard
Richard has a really good point. While you have the engine out it would be a great time to upgrade to a 4L80e over drive transmission. Several people on the forum have gone that route, including myself.

Something to consider....
__________________
Air forums # 1674
1974 20' Argosy Motor Home
1974 31' Excella trailer (parting out, as of 4/1/2015 I have wheels, brake drums, windows & holding tanks left to sell)
bkahler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-11-2016, 06:04 AM   #7
Keen amature
 
martin300662's Avatar

 
1975 20' Argosy 20
Chestfield , Kent
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 3,142
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkahler View Post
Richard has a really good point. While you have the engine out it would be a great time to upgrade to a 4L80e over drive transmission. Several people on the forum have gone that route, including myself.

Something to consider....
Is the '81 fuel injected? If not adding the electronics just to control the transmission seems a pain, and makes the GearVendor option very attractive. If already adding EFI when changing to the 502, the job is part done and a lot more justifiable.
martin300662 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 05:37 AM   #8
Rivet Master
 
bkahler's Avatar

 
1974 20' Argosy 20
Richmond , Kentucky
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,553
If you're sticking with the stock carburetor then adding a Gear Vendors would definitely be the easier approach to getting the engine RPMs down to a reasonable level. If you are upgrading to fuel injection/TBI then a 4L80e isn't a bad option.

Brad
__________________
Air forums # 1674
1974 20' Argosy Motor Home
1974 31' Excella trailer (parting out, as of 4/1/2015 I have wheels, brake drums, windows & holding tanks left to sell)
bkahler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 07:28 AM   #9
"Contact!"
 
propstrike's Avatar
 
1981 28' Airstream 280
Pierre , South Dakota
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 64
Thanks, Brad, Martin and Richard! I get so much out of reading your project reports! Simply amazing!

Thanks for the transmission help, I understand the options better, now. I do want the lower RPMs, and I do want the injection. I'm pretty sure I won't have the funds to tackle that at this stage. Now I understand to do them together, and upgrade to the 4L80E. That's perfect.

At this point, I can upgrade the engine and all the 20 year servicing items I've come to do... Dropping the fuel tank, replacing anything that rotates or is made of rubber (read axle seals/trans seals/ujoints), cleaning/resealing anything that holds a fluid or a gas. I would like to put on an MSD module and blaster coil, But that will most likely become Phase II upgrades, as well. For what it's worth: I've used the MSD system on several projects, and LOVE it. It does everything it claims to do. I've added the 6l module, billet distributor and blaster coil on the last 3 projects, and really like the kick and smooth running it provides. Makes timing a little different, and you have to isolate the coil so it won't buzz through the radio, but it works.

I've been reading a lot of your notes, and ChiefAir has been a big help, too. I've had a good visit with the boys at WW Williams, in Vegas. They've got the Airstream, now. We put a battle plan together, and they seem to be very responsive to my questions, a nice shop, the mechs were good to talk to, there were other RV projects there, fire trucks, semi tractors, etc. I left feeling I made the best choice I could.

Today I get the crate engine heading their way. I haven't been able to find a 502 crate that claims applicability to post 1973 vehicles. I'm guessing the smog equipment will not transfer over. Any guidance on this would help alleviate some anxiety. I don't plan on having the rig registered in a smog required county, but the idea of loosing that ability concerns me. Any thoughts on this would be great!

Today I convert cash into parts. I'm sourcing all the major parts (their system is focused on diesel platforms, not gas), they provide the expert placement of muscle and experience. I waited to order the engine until talking with them. I plan on ordering the 502 from GMC Performance parts or Karl's performance parts. CheifAir had good luck with Karl's. He likes his 502HO version. The 502HT has higher torque at lower rpms, and states appropriate for tow trucks. I like the idea of low end power, but we spend most of our time at higher rpms?

This board and the members on it are inspiring! Thank you all for being a part of it!
propstrike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 01:38 PM   #10
Rivet Master
 
bkahler's Avatar

 
1974 20' Argosy 20
Richmond , Kentucky
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,553
Kevin,

The radiator core part number is JCT-1333 and is sold by Heatexhd.

Brad
__________________
Air forums # 1674
1974 20' Argosy Motor Home
1974 31' Excella trailer (parting out, as of 4/1/2015 I have wheels, brake drums, windows & holding tanks left to sell)
bkahler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 02:23 PM   #11
"Contact!"
 
propstrike's Avatar
 
1981 28' Airstream 280
Pierre , South Dakota
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 64
Rad Core

Thanks, Brad! Excellent to have that.

Thanks for the time to find that!

Kevin
propstrike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2016, 08:29 AM   #12
"Contact!"
 
propstrike's Avatar
 
1981 28' Airstream 280
Pierre , South Dakota
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 64
The Big Move

Pictures from last weeks rescue mission. Moved the Silver Twinkie from it's hiding spot in Southern Nevada to a truck shop for a powerplant transplant!! Very happy to see this thing move, after a decade of being yard art!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20161108_162818569_HDR.jpg
Views:	41
Size:	217.0 KB
ID:	275675   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20161108_164215000_HDR.jpg
Views:	40
Size:	191.7 KB
ID:	275676  

Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20161109_141543674_HDR.jpg
Views:	39
Size:	241.3 KB
ID:	275677   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20161109_150421032_HDR.jpg
Views:	40
Size:	190.0 KB
ID:	275678  

propstrike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2016, 08:40 AM   #13
"Contact!"
 
propstrike's Avatar
 
1981 28' Airstream 280
Pierre , South Dakota
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 64
And the last few pics.....

Pulling the driveshaft prior to hitting the road,
Hitting the road in rush hour Vegas traffic (very much not recommended),
Dropping off the rig at the truck shop (will reveal which after the job, with a recommendation or a warning as applicable).
Ewing Brothers towing did a superb job! I can't say what a process it was to extract the Airstream from it's parking spot... it was an obstacle course of fences, bushrow, house, neighbors cars, gates, etc. I was impressed the driver didn't call for air support and longline sling extraction! Those guys rock! Thanks to Brett from Ewing Brothers! No kidding, it was a 3 hour surgical extraction!!!!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20161109_152857240.jpg
Views:	40
Size:	163.4 KB
ID:	275679   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20161109_160036883_HDR.jpg
Views:	37
Size:	142.4 KB
ID:	275680  

Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20161109_162240338.jpg
Views:	31
Size:	117.1 KB
ID:	275681   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20161109_163729352_HDR.jpg
Views:	39
Size:	183.9 KB
ID:	275682  

propstrike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2016, 09:23 AM   #14
Rivet Master
 
1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Ebro , Fla Panhandle
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,211
Wow, quite the extraction there, yard art is right!
Was it parked there for ten years not being run at all?
If so, then I think your comprehensive approach seem a good way to ending up with a reliable, well functioning rig.

How are the interior and the living systems of the coach, is that the next phase.
For after you get it running well.

For as much work and new parts that have gone into my coach since it came to me, it still looks very much the same as when I got it but it does run and drive much better. For me there needs to be some return on investment, in terms of fun and enjoyable use.
Those recharge the energy stores for the next phase of improvement tasks.

Very interested in how the repowering job goes at the shop. Both timing and cost wise, should be much quicker than the many DIY epics many of us here have gone thru.
Are you having the shop go thru the brakes while its in there?

Thanks for sharing you story with your new coach, it will be great watching it come together and live again.

Cheers Richard.
tevake is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2016, 03:34 PM   #15
3 Rivet Member
 
1982 31' Airstream 310
Henniker , New Hampshire
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 194
Hopefully that will be the last time you see it hooked to the back of a tow truck! Good luck with your engine replacement.
__________________
1982 310 motorhome 502
Henniker New Hampshire
chiefair is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2016, 03:48 PM   #16
Rivet Master
 
1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Ebro , Fla Panhandle
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,211
IN thinking about your project Propstrike,
Do you have any idea of the condition of the steering system.
It's a well known wear area, most active classics have had some or lots of steering Parts replaced by now.
Loose steering, wandering on the road , and worse have been the norm.

Bell cranks, ball joints, Tie rod ends, the coupleing joint etc are the usual suspects.

With that new more powerful engine, these other details will quickly come into focus.
Please don't take my suggestions as piling on. Just trying to help you be aware of common problem areas.

Cheers Richard
tevake is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-21-2016, 08:30 AM   #17
"Contact!"
 
propstrike's Avatar
 
1981 28' Airstream 280
Pierre , South Dakota
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 64
Next

Richard,,
Yeah, it was there for 10 years... parked at a friends place, and his wife loves her cats. I think that's one of the reasons there were no rodent signs at all, in the coach. Simply amazing, but there it is. Not one mouse! She had 7 cats, coming and going.

You mentioned ROI on the work involved... I'm looking forward to the confidence in a good running, solid machine. It's enough, for now. I am fully focused on the mechanicals right now, the interior stuff will have to wait until I get it back to my place. Once it's at my place, I can get an idea of whether I need to gut and rebuild, or just fix what's in place. I'd bet we end up fixing in place, for the first year. It makes sense to me to get a little use out of it, get a full buy-in from the wife, then reconfigure based on lessons learned. I'd bet we decide to change things a little. We'll be traveling as a couple, instead of a family with kids. The bunks may go to make room for a nice full or queen bed

I'm hoping the rig turns into a capable base camp for trips into the mountains. I'm a WEMT (Wilderness medic), and plan on spending time on the trail. This would be a great landing pad after a week or so up top. ROI paid in full!

Steering system: I wrote myself a note, years ago. I need to replace the idler arm, apparently. I won't be surprised no matter what the shop finds, at this point. Whatever needs R/R, gets removed and replaced.

The airbags will likely be trash... are the airbags ride assist, or are they critical for driving? I can't remember. I'll need to start sourcing those, if they are primary for safety. I should look at the forum, I'm sure there's good reading on those. If I can get her home, that's where I need to do the work. I hate paying someone else for work I can do myself... it took me so long to swallow this pill, pay a shop to do this engine, but I couldn't figure another way to do it. The transport to pull the rig home was as much as paying to have the engine replaced.

Thanks for being a part of the forum. I've learned quite a lot from reading the epic tales of mechanical triumph from members.

Kevin
propstrike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-21-2016, 08:43 AM   #18
Rivet Master
 
bkahler's Avatar

 
1974 20' Argosy 20
Richmond , Kentucky
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,553
Kevin,

There are two different air bag systems on your coach. The rear air bags are absolutely essential for safe driving. Without the rear air bags the frame sits on the rear portion of the leaf springs.

In general the rear air bag system consists of the original leaf springs with the rear 1/4 of the spring cut off. An air bag system is bolted in place which then raises the coach back up to proper ride height. So without the air bags functioning the coach bounces up and down with the cutoff end of the spring banging on the frame.

I found this out the hard way when driving my old 84 310 from Savannah GA to Arkansas. At the time I didn't know anything about the suspensions system and when we picked it up from the seller he didn't really say a whole lot about it. He must have filled the air tank (the compressor wasn't working) before we got there as it sat just fine. By the time we got out of GA the tank was empty and the ride got really rough and we had to slow down. I finally figured out we could fill the tank at a gas station and it would last for a while but we constantly had to fill the tank. Not fun.

The front springs are not essential for driving but they do help the front end ride and will help keep the front end from porpoising while driving.

If you plan on driving the coach from Las Vegas to South Dakota you really need to replace the rear air bags before making the trip. Fortunately on a 310 they are easier to replace than a 345

Brad
__________________
Air forums # 1674
1974 20' Argosy Motor Home
1974 31' Excella trailer (parting out, as of 4/1/2015 I have wheels, brake drums, windows & holding tanks left to sell)
bkahler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-21-2016, 09:40 AM   #19
"Contact!"
 
propstrike's Avatar
 
1981 28' Airstream 280
Pierre , South Dakota
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 64
Air Bags

Outstanding information, Brad. Thank you, once again, for the education. I will source an airbag system for the rear. When I parked it, it was working, but being mostly rubber, I have no confidence in its continued integrity. Safety First.

I'm assuming the 310 and the 28 footer are the same system. They look similar, in pics.

One more thing to put on the list.....!

Thanks, Brad!
propstrike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-21-2016, 11:28 AM   #20
Rivet Master
 
bkahler's Avatar

 
1974 20' Argosy 20
Richmond , Kentucky
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,553
I can't say for certain that the 28s and 31s are the same but I'm betting they are very similar. Hopefully someone with an 81 28' Classic will chime in with more specific information.

Bottom line is after 10 years of sitting the air bags should be replaced even if they hold air.
__________________
Air forums # 1674
1974 20' Argosy Motor Home
1974 31' Excella trailer (parting out, as of 4/1/2015 I have wheels, brake drums, windows & holding tanks left to sell)
bkahler is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Wool Pile, aka fuzzy seal rjpapp Windows & Screens 2 06-26-2012 09:06 PM
1973 Airstream 25' Trade Wind Land Yacht - Jalousie Windows Screen Fuzzy Pile Seal sysgenss Windows & Screens 1 05-25-2009 11:33 AM
Modern building materials in vintage restorations bredlo General Interior Topics 18 12-05-2003 07:16 PM
Building in a Computer area in closet JLD General Interior Topics 5 12-05-2003 04:03 PM
building bunk beds munimula General Interior Topics 13 10-14-2003 05:59 AM


Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:15 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.