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Old 12-21-2021, 04:00 PM   #1
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1983 31' Airstream310
scenery hill , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Dec 2021
Posts: 5
Questions concerning a 1983 310

Hello all, Long time lurker, new registree!
I am considering purchasing a 83' 310 that has been sitting for a few years... It's been started and moved every season, but not "driven".
I was at first just looking for a hunting cabin on wheels, meaning one trip and done... 50 miles or so...

But.... It's one owner, good service history, verified 80k, (damn manual's in a baggy) and in remarkably decent shape from the photos. I'm a pretty good BY mechanic, engineer by trade, advanced maintenance man by necessity. I should add that I just LOVE challenges like these...



The plan.
1) Inspect fuel lines, drain some fuel and change the air/FF.
Is there a drain plug on the tank?

Q's: where is the fuel filter?
I'm assuming the Qjet also has a filter screen to the inlet bowl??
Where is the fuel pump located? Classic BB Chevy location or another in the tank?


2) drop the oil and change/inspect belts/hoses



3) Inspect all brake lines/fluid and linings...
Disc all the way around? Shoes?


4)Check PH and level of coolant/ hose condition



5) inspect rubber/psi lugnuts etc.


6) verify necessary electrical systems:
Verify batt voltage, alternator output, lights/blinkers etc


7) verify PS system, no leaks etc.


8) air shocks? I'm assuming they die over time...


9) verify gauges




Where should I be looking for deal breaking rust on the undercarriage?
Any/all comments are welcome, and thanks in advance.
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Old 12-21-2021, 04:54 PM   #2
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1982 28' Airstream 280
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Typing here on my phone…so short answers!

Fuel filter at inlet on carb.
Fuel filter on inside of passenger side frame rail up by propane tank.
Fuel pump on engine block passenger side.
No fuel pump in tank.
My tank has a drain plug but I have never tried to remove it.
There is a fuel return line from fuel pump to tank.
There are short rubber fuel lines at fuel pump. REPLACE THEM.
Look to see if someone replaced any part of the fuel line from pump to carb. Replace it. Many times the metal pipe/fitting at the inlet gets damaged and folks cut off metal line and replace with rubber line. Mine has this (I will change shortly). Most will not flair the metal line to help secure the rubber extension. Like mine. Ha he or make sure no fuel leak. Engine fires are not uncommon but you can be safe by making sure fuels lines are good.
No fuel pump in tank.
Longer motorhomes had “extra” electric pump installed back by tank by Airstream. Yours probably doesn’t due to your length and year.
Replace ALL belts and hoses.
On my ‘82 280, I have a vertical radiator. Newer have a horizontal radiator. You will know what I mean one you see the radiator. The radiator hoses for the vertical radiator have not been available for many years. Top can easily be replace with a different hose. There is NO replacement available for lower hose. Don’t toss out the old one!
If you have any engine heating problems, it is the radiator. Don’t waste money replacing water pump, fan, etc. Have the radiator recored.
Yes, 4 wheel disc brakes!!!
Check brake pads-will probably have to remove tires to really see pads.
Have truck shop check wheel bearings front and rear and all steering.
Be very careful who you have look/ work on couch.
Most shops have no idea that the motorhome chassis is not a truck chassis.
Some idiot shop put wrong ball joints on mine when my dad owned it. They almost died driving down a mountain highway when one side broke.
Most alignment shops do not know how to do alignment as well. There are different specs for motorhome chassis.
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Old 12-21-2021, 05:02 PM   #3
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No air shocks but air bags that work in conjunction with the rear springs. If bags have never been replaced, you might need to. Check air compressor that feeds rear air bags and check all air lines. You need and want the air bags to function properly for nice and safe ride.
I don’t think rust issues on frame have really been an issue, but floor from front to rear is plywood. Check for rotten floor from water leaks (plumbing and rain leaks).
And this is only the beginning!
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Old 12-22-2021, 06:17 AM   #4
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Richmond , Kentucky
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I'm going to build on what Dean has offered.

My old 84 310 did have a pusher electric fuel pump back towards the tank. I do not know if it was installed by Airstream or a PO but it was a nice installation.

Follow the entire fuel line system from front to rear. On the longer coaches there were gaps between steel pipe sections that were connected with rubber hose. Look for these and replace.

I agree with statements about if it overheats it's the radiator. However if you do have to replace/recore the radiator that is a perfect time to replace the water pump AND power steering pump because this is about the only time you will have easy access to either of those pumps. Replacing the power steering pump as a standalone task is one of my least favorite tasks on these rigs.

The air compressor that is located in the rear compartment is powered by a LONG wire that plugs into the truck fuse block at the front. This connection at the fuse block typically melts causing all kinds of problems with compressor operation. I highly recommend you research how others have added a relay into the circuit which eliminates the fuse block issue.

If you happen to replace the hydroboost make darn sure you keep the plunger/pushrod from the old hydroboost. A replacement plunger/pushrod is near impossible to find and you won't be driving without one. I don't believe the replacement hydroboost units come with a pushrod but I don't remember for sure.

You will find wood floor rot, that's a given. You need to fix the source of the leaks before replacing the floor.

Like Dean said, this is only the beginning!

Good luck!

Brad
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Old 12-22-2021, 07:39 AM   #5
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1982 31' Airstream 310
Henniker , New Hampshire
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If you buy it, plan on spending hours on this forum reading through every previous post. It is worth your time, although all of the great ideas will cost you a small fortune to implement! Lots of knowledgeable people have participated here. Those who are still here are very helpful.
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Old 12-22-2021, 09:18 AM   #6
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Rockton , Illinois
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Air filter

[when they sit that long make sure you don’t start it till you look in the air cleaner real good. A friend of mine had egg corns (Thanks squirrels) sucked into the heads.

QUOTE=bjornson;2563733]Hello all, Long time lurker, new registree!
I am considering purchasing a 83' 310 that has been sitting for a few years... It's been started and moved every season, but not "driven".
I was at first just looking for a hunting cabin on wheels, meaning one trip and done... 50 miles or so...

But.... It's one owner, good service history, verified 80k, (damn manual's in a baggy) and in remarkably decent shape from the photos. I'm a pretty good BY mechanic, engineer by trade, advanced maintenance man by necessity. I should add that I just LOVE challenges like these...



The plan.
1) Inspect fuel lines, drain some fuel and change the air/FF.
Is there a drain plug on the tank?

Q's: where is the fuel filter?
I'm assuming the Qjet also has a filter screen to the inlet bowl??
Where is the fuel pump located? Classic BB Chevy location or another in the tank?


2) drop the oil and change/inspect belts/hoses



3) Inspect all brake lines/fluid and linings...
Disc all the way around? Shoes?


4)Check PH and level of coolant/ hose condition



5) inspect rubber/psi lugnuts etc.


6) verify necessary electrical systems:
Verify batt voltage, alternator output, lights/blinkers etc


7) verify PS system, no leaks etc.


8) air shocks? I'm assuming they die over time...


9) verify gauges




Where should I be looking for deal breaking rust on the undercarriage?
Any/all comments are welcome, and thanks in advance.[/QUOTE]
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Old 12-22-2021, 02:12 PM   #7
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1983 31' Airstream310
scenery hill , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Dec 2021
Posts: 5
HA!
I went through that VERY thing with my Porsche 928.... only they were WALNUTS. Caught it before I cranked it...
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Old 12-22-2021, 02:28 PM   #8
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1983 31' Airstream310
scenery hill , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Dec 2021
Posts: 5
Is the inline fuel filter an off the shelf napa part that I can through on with a couple of line wrenches?



Tell me about these air bags.. Do they inflate with each engine start off the compressor, or do they stay inflated? If the compressor is dead, can I inflate from a pancake unit?
Thanks for all the advice, I'm all ears.
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Old 12-22-2021, 02:35 PM   #9
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1983 31' Airstream310
scenery hill , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Dec 2021
Posts: 5
Also... I found an owners manual on line, but would love to find a SERVICE or REPAIR manual...
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Old 12-22-2021, 03:04 PM   #10
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1992 35' Airstream 350
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjornson View Post
Is the inline fuel filter an off the shelf napa part that I can through on with a couple of line wrenches?



Tell me about these air bags.. Do they inflate with each engine start off the compressor, or do they stay inflated? If the compressor is dead, can I inflate from a pancake unit?
Thanks for all the advice, I'm all ears.

The rear Airbags function just like your shop air compressor. On/Off controlled by a preset pressure switch. If the system is tight they can stay inflated for weeks. You want to avoid driving the 310 with flat rear Airbags, since the damage can be catastrophic. The front in spring airbags are a real mess. Last just a few years and many of us have replaced the springs with HD ones, instead of messing with those Airbags.

You will find many posts about Airbag replacement, incl source on this forum. On the 310 its relatively easy to replace them, versus the later models. Most of us have found that the compressor feed wire was insufficient and should be used as a relay signal wire after running a bigger gauge wire directly and fused from the battery.
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Old 12-22-2021, 03:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjornson View Post
...... I should add that I just LOVE challenges like these...
.



We are taken note of your statement and may remind you from time to time...
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Old 12-22-2021, 04:12 PM   #12
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1982 28' Airstream 280
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QuadraJet in-line filter is usually available at any auto parts store. Just bought new one at O’Riellys. Told him it was for an ‘82 Chevy P30 454. Kid looked at me with the strangest look and asked “what size engine”? I said “Oh, 7.4”. Don’t think he had ever seen them before. He tried to sell me the box of four. I told him they are sold separately. He looked and said oh yes.
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Old 12-22-2021, 04:17 PM   #13
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And yes, line wrenches are a must.
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Old 12-22-2021, 04:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dadstoy View Post
And yes, line wrenches are a must.


Yes, though we refer to them as flare nut wrenches. Seldom used, but they are indispensable when it comes to working on brake, gas, or hydraulic lines.

I store ours in the same drawer with the ignition wrenches, drum brake tools, and the distributor wrenches.


I suspect those over 50 know what I am talking about…
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Old 12-22-2021, 04:36 PM   #15
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And the screw holder for ignition point sets.
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Old 12-22-2021, 06:40 PM   #16
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'83 310

Not sure if ignition points/condenser setup was used in this engine but if available, get a PerTronix electronic setup for your distributor, again, if one is used. They're under $80 and well worth the aggravation of messing with the points and condensor.
Get or borrow a vacuum gauge once your engine is up and running with minimal fuss. You're looking for vacuum leaks around the intake gaskets as well as valvetrain and piston ring issues. Doubt you'll find any if the rig has been run up recently but JIC. Also check cylinder compression, both wet and dry to verify rings and head gaskets are in good order. Pay particular attention to the spark plug electrodes, gap and color of the insulator. There are a number of online graphics available to guide you to any variance from what's normal for an internal combustion engine.
If all's well, go for the other stuff: new belts, hoses, engine thermostat, and replace the water pump unless it was verifiably done recently. Get a new one--don't cheap out--get name brand.
While you're in there, replace the (cab) heater core. Once they have a few years on them, whether driven or not, they'll fail at the worst possible time. It's cheap insurance. How many of you have had a heater core fail and paid someone to replace it (raise hands)? Not a good experience, huh?
Once you're safely mobile, get to a reputable transmission ship and have them change the fluid and filter. "Oil change" shops will do a transmission flush but unless they change the filter--and a lot won't--you're asking for trouble. They'll say it cleans the filter but that's a load. It ain't possible.
Good luck with your project! Sounds like fun; the experience you'll gain and the financial reward you'll reap will pay lifelong dividends to you and your family.
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Old 12-23-2021, 02:44 PM   #17
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1983 31' Airstream310
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The deal is struck for $4500. Looking forward to some BYM action in michigan january!!!
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Old 12-23-2021, 03:13 PM   #18
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The deal is struck for $4500. Looking forward to some BYM action in michigan january!!!
Congratulations, that is an excellent buy in price. Looking forward to your journey forward from here.
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Old 12-23-2021, 04:06 PM   #19
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Congratulations, let the fun begin!

Looks like she will be a great project.
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Old 12-24-2021, 12:05 AM   #20
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Questions concerning a 1983 310

For those under 50, a line or flare wrench looks like a box end wrench with an opening cut in the end just big enough to slip over the metal line that matches the flare fitting’s size. The reason is to avoid rounding corners on the flare fittings like happens with an open end wrench, or heaven help us, an common adjustable wrench.

Hard to find, but worth it if you do a lot of flare fittings. Sometimes the only way to assemble or disassemble a tight fitting that wants to be difficult.

(Yup, I’m WELL over 50..)
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