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Old 08-05-2020, 09:19 PM   #1
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1983 30' Airstream 300
Oceanside , CA
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Newbie! What is this noise!

Hi guys,

Thanks for all the work that has gone into making this such an awesome knowledge base!

I am a lucky guy who has sort of inherited a 83' 300 from my very wonderful and generous neighbor. I am looking for a bit of advice about prepping the coach to get it to it's new home about 30 miles away.

The back story......This beauty was driven from Oregon to the San Diego area about 4 years ago. How much it was in used up north is unknown. Since in San Diego, I think it has just sat. Perhaps it's been fired up a few times, but nothing more.

A new battery and mechanical fuel pump have been installed. I got it fired up today with a bit of help from some started fluid, old gas and all!

A few questions for you guys.....

I don't know much about carburetors. In this video you can see that the forward butterfly valve seems stuck open. It was closed when I first started it. It sounds like its sucking a lot of air in this position at idle. (I do see the exhaust leak.) What do ya think?
https://photos.app.goo.gl/Mi5PauUF6wXpX79x8

Second, do you know what the beeping is here......
https://photos.app.goo.gl/bsi8MjBvvzwJ3sYcA
The beeping doesn't stop with the engine running.

Lastly, any more advice before trying to get this down the road to where I can properly start a rehab?

On my list so far....
Tire press
fluids
checking for leaks
check braking and shifting function
lights
Cursory look at hoses and belts

Sorry for the new guy dummy questions,


Thanks!
Bryan
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Old 08-06-2020, 03:55 PM   #2
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Newbie! What is this noise!

Check fuel lines, especially the rubber parts for any leaks. Check very carefully. Old rubber and newer gasoline formulas do not get along well. They can swell internally and cut off fuel flow.

Worse, old cracked rubber fuel hoses under pressure can spray on hot surfaces in the engine room and cause a nasty fire.

Iíd replace every bit of old rubber with modern hoses, and have a big new dry chemical 10B:C fire extinguisher or two on board before you even try to move it.

There have been a few that have burned to the ground due to undetected fuel leaks...not a good scene, to put it mildly.
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Old 08-06-2020, 04:02 PM   #3
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Could the noise be a reverse gear indicator?
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Old 08-06-2020, 04:26 PM   #4
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On the carburetor, the front top butterfly valve is the choke. It will be closed when the engine manifold is cold and the engine not running, it will partially open after the engine starts and fully open once warm. The rear upper valve is spring loaded to prevent leaning out and bogging when the accelerator is opened rapidly. It encourages higher vacuum to initiate fuel flow and a more gradual increase in airflow.
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Old 08-06-2020, 04:32 PM   #5
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You mentioned tire pressure but also carefully inspect them for signs of ply separation. I realize you're only going 30 miles but you don't want the tread separating.

Let it run long enough for the engine to heat up and ensure while idling the temperature does not just continue to climb indicating the cooling system is malfunctioning.

edit: seat belt chime?
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Old 08-06-2020, 06:10 PM   #6
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1983 30' Airstream 300
Oceanside , CA
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Awesome.....Thanks for the advice!

I just finished watching a few quadrajet vids as well. I'll be back at it tomorrow with hopes of moving it next week.

I report back once I get her home, unless she burns up in the process .

Let's hope that doesn't happen! Scary!
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Old 08-06-2020, 06:56 PM   #7
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Good luck, if the engine runs rough, particularly at idle, you could get yourself some some "Sea Foam" fuel system cleaner. It does a good job of removing carbon and varnish from the system. Now if it misses that would be a spark plug/tune up thing. Hard to describe the difference.
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Old 08-06-2020, 07:03 PM   #8
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Welcome to the group! Looks like a nice coach.

The reverse indicator is the only thing that beeps on mine.

Roadside assistance insurance is good to have. Towing will be expensive otherwise.

Your rear suspension is held up by airbags. There will be a compressor that will hopefully come on and inflate them. If there is no gauge for that system, the air tank is behind the rear axle and it should have a Schraeder valve at the bottom of the tank. You can use that valve to both drain accumulated water out of the tank, and air up the system if the compressor is not working. You should get air in the bags before driving on the highway.
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Old 08-07-2020, 09:52 AM   #9
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Hey Brian,
I'm a newby, here, also. So far, these guys have been pretty gracious and helpful. I've run across a few skeletons that fell out of the closets of the sweet machine, and (still) sweet deal that I found. Be thankful that you are not heavily invested, and that the person who "Blessed" you with that beauty likely had no reason to mislead you about the condition of systems that you just can't put to the test until you get it out on the road, or in the camp.

I'll gladly share with you any of the skeletons that I have successfully kicked out the door. I just overcame an issue with my leveling system that an "ace" RV mechanic misdiagnosed. Now, as I JUST went out to drive to the sherif's office to get her titled in KY, I can't get the retractable step to retract. So, now I have to get my grubby work clothes back on, and scrounge around underneath, and follow a troubleshooting guide, and hopefully fix it. It was giving me intermittent trouble, but it is no longer intermittent, and I'm sure I don't want to drive down the road with that step sticking out.
So, if you, or anyone else here can suggest something to check, that the (very inadequate) owners' manual mentions, I'm all ears... rather "eyes"... I just realized...
Anyway, Happy Trails! Let's Do This!
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Old 08-07-2020, 11:46 AM   #10
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1985 34.5' Airstream 345
Oceanside , CALIFORNIA
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Welcome to the group. FYI Mitch at Bob's Carbs (here in Oceanside) is an excellent resource for all you carburetor needs. He was very helpful in my efforts to source a California smog compliant carb for my '85 345. Looking forward to reading more on your refurbishment of your 300. I, hopefully, will soon drive my 345 down from Idaho and start on the adventure of restoring this classic.
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Old 08-07-2020, 01:21 PM   #11
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In the first video, it sounds like a massive vacuum leak! Check all vacuum hoses at air cleaner, to see if any are 'sucking air'? The beeping in second video is likely a warning buzzer. Not acquainted with all systems on this MH. Does it have an air brake system? If so, it may be that engine has not run long enough to build enough air pressure. Could be an 'emergency brake is on' warning, seat belt not fastened? hoonose?
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Old 08-07-2020, 03:11 PM   #12
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Idk, it sounded pretty normal to me. With the air cleaner top off you can hear a very strong hiss from the air through the idle passages in the throttle body. I'd also expect the idle to be terrible with a large vacuum leak and it wasn't too bad.... All in all the engine sounds very good considering.
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Old 08-07-2020, 06:51 PM   #13
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1987 34.5' Airstream 345
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Hi Bryan,
Yes these machines can be overwhelming at first till you relax gather yourself and you'll find all maintance is very rudimentary, (a good thing) compared to later machines.

Your'v probably fixed your step by now, it caught me out with the switch on the wall above kitchen bench next to door being either up or down! There is also a push contact switch on the hinge side off the door frame that trigers it. Fuse also supose..
Rus
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Old 08-07-2020, 07:14 PM   #14
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1983 30' Airstream 300
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Thanks again for the continued advice!

I made it back to the coach today to continue the prep. I put in a new coolant reservoir, topped off the coolant and checked all the other fluids. Aired up the tires and checked for separation. So far so good. Put in 5 gal of super to dilute the old gas. Luckily, I think it was pretty empty. I am going to grab some sea foam for next time.

My wife actually figured out the mystery beep. Dead bolt for the entry door. Beeps till the deadbolt is thrown. Definitely was not my first guess.....or even on my list.

Looking for possible fuel line failure points, the only rubber one I (think) I could find in the danger zone (hot spots) was coming off the back of the carb (return line?). I'm not even positive that is what it is. Should have taken a pic. It looked to be in serviceable condition. There are short lengths off the fuel pump, no problems there. There is evidence of some recent work (relative term, probably 5 years old!) as the spark plug wires all look new.

For the first start today (fire extinguisher and blanket handy), I had to use just of bit of starter fluid to get her going. After that, it would start right up! I believe the loud hiss from the carb is simply the sound of the air intake. I will most certainly take a better look at the vacuum lines though.

Gotta take care of that exhaust leak pronto! That will get old really quick!

And then.....test time. Back and forth about 50 feet on the driveway I went, testing the brakes, shifting, engine, temps, and so forth. All went well except low idle while in gear when applying the brakes. A few turns on the carbs idle screw and it seems better.

After the test run, I checked out the rear airbags. They looked good and felt solid. The pump did run for awhile the first time I started it up a few days ago. I tried to drain any water out of the air tank. While I did get a few drops, I think the valve is plugged up. I was expecting to get a rush of air but didn't. On second thought, maybe I better have another look at the air bags. I'm pretty sure that they are full though.

RETIREDRIVER As far as the carb goes....I talked to Mitch at Bob's Carbs in Oceanside. Nice fellow. Said that I would have to take it off and bring it in. They are not allowing RV's to come in any longer. A rebuild would be $350-$450. A few years back I took in 84' Lazy Daze over there for some work. I was happy with how it went.

Let me know if you think of anything else! I'm hoping to make the move next week. Fingers crossed!
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Old 08-07-2020, 08:04 PM   #15
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The hose on the back of the quadrajet ( back in high school we called them quadratoilets) is usually the vacuum for power brakes or the pcv valve vacuum line. Pulls in crankcase vapor and burns it in the engine so it doesn't pollute so much and stink up the place. I tend to agree the hiss seems normal. You could check the pcv valve by pulling it out of the valve cover and giving it a shake, it should rattle. You can check for other vacuum

On the exhaust leak, hope its not a broken bolt. Either way get a head start on that by coating the bolts with CorrosionX or WD40 several times to break some of the rust free.
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Old 08-10-2020, 09:17 PM   #16
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1985 34.5' Airstream 345
Oceanside , CALIFORNIA
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The air cleaner housing, on my '85 345, has the emission hose routing schematic for the carb and associated components. The information on the schematic can be very helpful in sorting out vacuum line from fuel line connections on the carb.
FYI, my carb has an in line fuel filter just inside the carb. If the fuel filter is fouled it can be a source for fuel flow issues.
Keeps us in the loop and safe travels.
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Old 08-17-2020, 11:31 PM   #17
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1983 31' Excella
1983 31' Airstream310
Jax , Florida
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Sounds familiar

We too inherited a 1983 300. We too had to bring it home. We also had carb issues. We had to put new calipers all the way around. New tires were next. Our trip was just under 100 miles. Donít play around with the carb issues. It was hard to keep running and the vacuum was necessary to operate the brakes. I almost got run over by it on a slight downhill embankment and it took out a short retaining block wall before coming to a stop. All good now. The Trip home went well. I had it up to about 75 mph at times. The steering is in good shape and the airbags seem to be holding up. I think I need new leaf springs. I used a portable fuel tank to get home. Still have to drain the old fuel out and check all the lines. Hear is something I learned just in the past few days. There was a system to use engine coolant to heat the water in the water heater. It has a loop of 3/4 inch copper lines that run down the inside of the driver side wall behind the potable water tank from just behind he drivers seat. These lines had several points where corrosion indicated leaks. I have removed the water heater and will remove this system from our coach. The leaks damaged the subfloor behind and under the water tank. I had to cut out the damaged wood and replace it with new. In the most rotten areas the floor wood just powered away.
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Old 08-18-2020, 05:05 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitester View Post
...It was hard to keep running and the vacuum was necessary to operate the brakes.
Unless some PO has made a major change to your 300 brakes you should have brakes powered by the power steering pump routed through a hydroboost module.

If your brakes really are powered by a vacuum booster I would change that as soon as possible back to the original hydroboost design.

Brad
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Old 08-19-2020, 11:28 AM   #19
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Yep, you are correct.. the vacuum is supplied to the turbo boost. I was incorrect in saying that the brakes were receiving vacuum from the carburetor. But if the carb is not working well and the engine is not running smoothly all the vacuum operated systems will not operate well. So when the coach was moved from one parking spot to another which was on a down hill slope and the motor quit the brakes were not effective as they should have been, the monster did not stop on itís own. Add to that that the master had more sludge than fluid, the calipers were not working well and the driver could not get his hand on the emergency brake fast enough.... well gravity did the rest. Only the short retaining wall and a piece of plastic under the bumper were damaged. All is good now. New master, calipers, carb, tune up and multiple trips around the block and the time was right for it to come home! I have been removing rotten floor, broken waterlines, and components that we will no longer need. Itís getting a new interior, composting toilet, recirculating shower and solar power! Who wants the old Dometic fridge, ice maker, or ac units? BTW... the system for ďpre heatingĒ fresh water with the engine coolant may have problems over time. Ours had leaks in the copper tubes and the moisture kept the floor wet under the water tank and jackknife sofa. Anyone who has this system with that much age on it should check the lines.
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Old 08-22-2020, 06:34 PM   #20
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1983 30' Airstream 300
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Sorry for the slow reply guys! After a somewhat successful move of my "new" 300, I headed directly up to Tahoe for a week of camping. Wish it could have been in my new ride! It's clearly not up to the task......yet.

Last Thursday came with a mix of excitement and nervousness. The day to finally move my 300 to it's new home was here. After another quick once over of the coach, I jumped in and she fired right up. No carb spray needed, alright, good sign! Navigated out into town with no trouble other than a finicky idle which threatened to stall. The wife was in the "chase" vehicle, just in case.

The route I decided on stayed off main roads and highways, but is pretty hilly. I had no problems at all going downhill, just a quick shift to 2nd or 1st and she did just fine. All was going pretty well till about halfway home. After a quick stop on side of the road to have another look at everything, I started up another hill. Put, put, cough, cough, stall! Crap!!!!!!!

With my new RV tow policy in place for about 5 days, I figured at least I wasn't in for a huge tow bill.

I tried a few times to start it up again with no luck. I yanked off the doghouse cover and crossed my figures while giving it another try with some carb spray. Vroooooom, back to life! I wiped the sweat off my brow and decided to retreat. After backing down about 150 feet of road, I got back to a clear spot to pull over. With some more thought, I switched up my route to a less hilly, but longer route.

The rest of the trip was uneventful till the end. A waive to the Airstream showroom in Temecula when I went by! When I finally arrived at my destination, I had about 10 minutes of slow speed maneuvering, and to power up over a curb with the help of some 2x4's. Got to my parking spot and turned off the ignition. I made it! Yeah! While I was not surprised, I started to hear the dreaded sound of the radiator boiling over. It probably didn't help that even though it was only 9 AM, it was already about 90 degrees out. Ha! Another thing for the list!

Thanks for your help guys! I probably won't be able to start on the project for a few months, but will keep reading up here on the forum to keep learning about what I'm getting myself into.
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