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Old 08-31-2018, 05:14 PM   #1
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1987 34.5' Airstream 345
Menomonee Falls , Wisconsin
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 418
The maiden trip of the 325

hey all,
Well, I got it all ready to go, looked great drove great, and we left meno falls,wi with high hopes. Got as far a Madison, and had 15 Pds of oil pressure at 65 mph. Brought it home, and took the excursion. Bummer.
So, i got the engine out, disassembled it, and found what appeared to be gravel in the cylinder bores, that took out the bearings, probably was done before I even got the coach. The block looks perfect. This thing really had only 5420 miles on it. The motor is super clean internally. Timing chain was like new, cam and lifters looked lik I fired it up for the first time, yesterday. So, I gotta rebuild the motor. I'll have it bored 30 over, bump up the compression to 9.1 and put in a little bigger cam. These engines have what is referred to as peanut heads. Perfect for truck/ RV applications. I'll port and polish the heads, put stronger valve springs in, and a double roller timing set. My wife wants to do the bear tooth highway again on the bike.
People, that road is breathtaking. It is really worth going to see. I won't recommend doing it in an airstream, but a car or bike,late July. It is well worth the drive. We got to glacier park 2 weeks before the fires, so, that was a blessing. It was a good trip. Next year the silver pig rolls west...
We stayed a sans sue and eds campground. Good place, quiet and pretty nice. A new couple owns it, so it's got some upgrades that are appreciated.
I met a fellow airstreamer with a travel trailor. An added plus to the trip.
Didn't see one AS motor home the whole trip. Bummer. These things are that rare I think. Well, I hope y'all had a great summer. DJ
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Old 08-31-2018, 07:31 PM   #2
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If I were you I'd trash the 454 and go diesel.......way longer lifetime between rebuilds, way better mileage, way stronger transmission (Allison), way better resale value, cheaper fuel; there are no downsides to going diesel.

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Old 08-31-2018, 07:51 PM   #3
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Ebro , Fla Panhandle
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No downside Tony, excepting the complete rebuilt will probably run 5 maybe 7k, then its plug and play.

How's that compare to getting and swapping in a diesel?

Sorry for your challenging trip DJ, keep at it and you will be rolling strong shortly.
If you don't have a gear venders overdrive, think about getting one.
This is a good time to really check out your radiator, they get gunked up and lead to chronic cooling issues.

Cheers Richard
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Old 09-06-2018, 08:15 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by tevake View Post
No downside Tony, excepting the complete rebuilt will probably run 5 maybe 7k, then its plug and play.

How's that compare to getting and swapping in a diesel?

Sorry for your challenging trip DJ, keep at it and you will be rolling strong shortly.
If you don't have a gear venders overdrive, think about getting one.
This is a good time to really check out your radiator, they get gunked up and lead to chronic cooling issues.

Cheers Richard
$10,000 for a diesel swap, including motor, new rings and bearings.
How many miles at 6mpg versus 13-15 mpg will it take you to recoup the extra cost? Not to mention higher resale value, especially if it's a 12 valve with an Allison behind it.
Yes, I hope to have a 12 valve with 80,000 miles, with an Allison for $1,500.00 at the end of the month. I already have a Cummins with a 47rh transmission for 1,500.00.

Cheers
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Old 09-06-2018, 09:53 AM   #5
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1984 27' Airstream 270
Scotia , New York
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Before you invest mega-bucks, do the math for what your cost to travel is now, vs the cost of a major engine/transmission project.
Ten G's buys a lot of fuel for a lot of years for a less than perfect power plant
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Old 09-06-2018, 10:05 AM   #6
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I used to be a truck mechanic for a trucking line, although most of my career was as an aviation electronics engineer for a general aviation manufacturer. I've continued to do mechanical work and mods all of my life (now age 69) and I'm pretty familiar with the pros and cons of diesel versus gas. I assume that this 325 has a 454 Big Block Chevy and a Turbo Hydramatic 400 transmission. I think that the OP is on target about rebuilding the engine with the associated mods he mentioned (more cam duration, combustion chamber work, etc.) A diesel is more work and fuss than is merited. You might want to exchange the three speed trannie for a 4L80E four speed version (derivative transmission with four speeds.
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Old 09-06-2018, 10:26 AM   #7
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Before you invest mega-bucks, do the math for what your cost to travel is now, vs the cost of a major engine/transmission project.
Ten G's buys a lot of fuel for a lot of years for a less than perfect power plant
He's already spending 7g's on the gasser already.......so only 3g's difference.
No plugs, no plug wires to overheat, no coils to fail, no rebuild in another 60,000 miles, just good old direct injection, compression fired goodness.

Cheers
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Old 09-06-2018, 11:30 AM   #8
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Port Angeles , Washington
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Hey Tony, are you starting a Cummins collection now?
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Old 09-06-2018, 05:41 PM   #9
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Hey Tony, are you starting a Cummins collection now?
Shhhhh, the DW is nearby...... Imagine her face when the tow truck drops off the 36' diesel pusher; mine ; hers

It's all for a good cause.....

Cheers
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Old 09-06-2018, 08:53 PM   #10
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You do live on the edge my friend.
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Old 09-08-2018, 07:55 AM   #11
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1987 34.5' Airstream 345
Menomonee Falls , Wisconsin
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Hey,
You know, I thought About going diesel, but the trans is rebuilt, the engine bay is for the 454 and my rebuild will cost me about 2500 I got fuel injection, so I'm thinking for the hassle factor, it's not worth it for me. If I can pull 9 mpg out of it, I'll be happy. Also, I'd love to put a great endears overdrive in it. But I still hear bad things about them. I got an old Dana OD that mounts in line. I could put that in. But it came off of a 56 2 1/2 ton tow truck. Don't know if it could handle the weight of an AS. Well, that's the news as of lately on the lowest mileage AS motor home out there. The cool thing about this adventure is, everything has been gone through. So I should be able to drive it to the moon with no problems........ Right? DJ
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Old 09-08-2018, 12:50 PM   #12
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1982 28' Airstream 280
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I had to rebuild my gear vendors after about 50,000 miles for a cost of $1,150 plus $35 shipping each way. With the rebuild life of many 454s in the same mileage range I can't complain. It's a maintenance expense like tires, tune ups and many other things we have to deal with. The benefit far outweighs the expense. I might add I bought the GV used so total mileage at rebuild is unknown.
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Old 09-08-2018, 05:35 PM   #13
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1987 34.5' Airstream 345
Menomonee Falls , Wisconsin
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Hey,
Well, to rebuild the 454 will cost me 1900 for the bottom end. The heads should need nothing, but a good cleaning. I am going to put new valve springs and roller rockers on them. 454 s had weak springs and rockers. I'm going to port and polish the heads. I'm going to put a weiland dual plane intake manifold on too. Anything we can do for better performance is a plus. I'm hoping to pull 9-10 mpg out it at 65 mph. I got a hydrogen kit I may throw on too. My excursion w a 7.3 diesel gets 16-18 freeway. It weights 8900 pounds. Way more arrow dynamic than an AS . So I'd be surprised if a cummins in one of these things will get much better than 12-14 mpg. Not worth it to me, to go diesal. Price of diesal is pretty close to gas nowadays. DJ
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