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Thread: Big Fat RV engines

  1. #1
    DonTom
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    Big Fat RV engines

    I am in the market for buying another RV. Nothing too fancy or new because it won't get a lot of use and two doggies will always be with us on all trips. I am thinking about a gasoline powered (diesel doesn't like to sit around ) RV made in the mid 1990's so it will have a four speed auto tranny and be fuel injected and have most other features I am looking for. However, I think most of the EFI used in RV's then are TBI, not MPFI. But I assume I won't notice any difference.

    I have noticed most of the RV's of the mid 1990's have one of these three engines:

    Chevy 454 CID (7.44 L) V8
    Ford 460 CID (7.53 L) V8
    Ford Triton V-10 (415 CID, 6.8L)

    Of the three engines above, which is the most reliable and unreliable, has most guts and etc?

    And should I rule out the V-10 after reading THIS?

    Besides, why have the extra parts to go wrong if the engine is going to be smaller than the V-8's?

    -Don-



  2. #2
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    I'd rule out the V10 just because I don't like the sound. It never sounds 'happy', even when it's running perfectly.

    I have no particular preference between the other two, but I think 454 parts might be slightly easier to find and slightly cheaper when you need them.

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom View Post
    I am in the market for buying another RV. Nothing too fancy or new because it won't get a lot of use and two doggies will always be with us on all trips. I am thinking about a gasoline powered (diesel doesn't like to sit around ) RV made in the mid 1990's so it will have a four speed auto tranny and be fuel injected and have most other features I am looking for. However, I think most of the EFI used in RV's then are TBI, not MPFI. But I assume I won't notice any difference.

    I have noticed most of the RV's of the mid 1990's have one of these three engines:

    Chevy 454 CID (7.44 L) V8
    Ford 460 CID (7.53 L) V8
    Ford Triton V-10 (415 CID, 6.8L)

    Of the three engines above, which is the most reliable and unreliable, has most guts and etc?

    And should I rule out the V-10 after reading THIS?

    Besides, why have the extra parts to go wrong if the engine is going to be smaller than the V-8's?

    -Don-


    The Chevy 454 "big block" is a very durable - and proven - engine that has been in continuous production since the late 1960s. It would be an excellent choice.

    The Ford 460 would be my second choice. It, too, has been around for decades and the basic design is known to be sturdy.

    I have heard some not-so-good things about the V-10. It would be my third choice. In fact, I'd avoid choosing it at all - for two reasons:

    * The other two engines are known to be better.

    * I know of no advantage to going with the V-1 over the others.

  4. #4
    DonTom
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    "The Chevy 454 "big block" is a very durable - and proven - engine that has been in continuous production since the late 1960s. It would be an excellent choice."

    Thanks. That was the answer I was hoping for. But do you know the difference in performance between the engines?

    We will be in Reno this weekend and we will take a drive to Fernley, NV to look at this here. However, Fernley was recently in a flood. See here. I will have to check for water damage the best I can. These 22 foot Class A RV's are quite scarce and have not been made for years. But we might also consider bidding on this Class C here and if we win it will drive in from Colorado back to NV, if possible.

    -Don-

  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    "Thanks. That was the answer I was hoping for. But do you know the difference in performance between the engines?"

    The 454 has been built in literally dozens of versions (different cam profiles, compression ratios, combustion chamber/head designs, etc.) so it's hard to say what the difference in performance would be unless you can ID one specific version of the 454 to compare with one specific version of the 460 Ford.

    One immediately obvious difference I can think of is that the 454 was built for everything from very high performance, high hp/high RPM (Corvette, Chevelle SS, etc.) to low RPM/high torque (what you'd want for an RV) and everything in between. It has been used as a big car engine ('70s-era Impala station wagons, etc), performance car engine, to truck and RV engine. GM also sells a variety of versions through its Goodwrench parts catalogue. (See also: Summit and JEGS, etc.)

    The 460 Ford, meanwhile, was pretty much a "big car " engine and not used for high-performance (the 427, 428 and 429 Fords were the "performance" Ford big blocks).

    The 454 is apt to be more common (because it's still in production) and you're likely to be able to find one that exactly meets your specific needs. Parts, too, are apt to be more readily available - as well as cheaper...

  6. #6
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    I'd go with the 454 for all the reasons Eric stated.

    Just out of curiosity -- did you think about one of the 1970's GMC motorhomes? They used a 455 Oldsmobile V8.

    Chip H.

  7. #7
    DonTom
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiph View Post
    I'd go with the 454 for all the reasons Eric stated.
    Just out of curiosity -- did you think about one of the 1970's GMC motorhomes? They used a 455 Oldsmobile V8.
    Chip H.
    No, mainly because I want to stay away from carburetors and three speed automatic trannys. There's also many other nice features in the newer RV's.

    -Don-

  8. #8
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom View Post
    No, mainly because I want to stay away from carburetors and three speed automatic trannys. There's also many other nice features in the newer RV's.

    -Don-
    Much as I am a fan of the Olds 455, it hasn't been in production since the late 1970s - more than 30 years ago. It was never offered with EFI, as you note - and as an antique engine, replacement parts, though available, are much harder to find as well as much more expensive than for a Chevy 454.

  9. #9
    DonTom
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    We looked at this Class A RV today. What a piece of junk! I knew the photos were not all that great, but it looked even a lot more junky when seeing it for real. I would not take it if the guy would let me have if for free. It looked like it belonged in the junk yard. The guy tried to paint the exterior but it looked like he used house paint. We could see rust all over underneath. This 93 was a lot more junky than the 1978 Class C that we junked!

    I noticed on the map that he lived right next to the canal that flooded last year. I bet much of it was under water. Some places the water got 8 feet deep and that might have been one of them!

    Then later today, we looked around Carson City & Reno dealers for used RV's. Some dealers were open today (New Year's Day). There was nothing we liked. Some were quite decent but way too large (near 40 feet). Seems smaller ones are rare these days. I mean we see them on the road, but not for sale. Perhaps a lot of people who lost their homes are now living in small used RV's, which makes them very difficult to find for sale.

    BTW, we never saw so many homes for sale as today in that area of Fernley. The homes are all quite new (built during the time they gave loans to everybody). We didn't notice any flood damage on the outside of the homes or a water line or anything like that, just that most streets in that area had every third house or so up for sale.

    Here in this area of Cold Springs Valley (extreme NW Reno) , the HOA would never allow such a junky RV to be parked anywhere that anybody could even see it! So I assume they don't have an HOA there in Fernley, even though the homes there are several years newer than here (this home was built in year 2000).

    We have decided to take a gamble again (we purchased our 1999 Mustang on E-Bay, which was fine) and make a bid on THIS CLASS C RV and have it delivered to us here in Reno for $550.00. We talked to the guy selling it on the phone and it sounds great, as if we can trust a used car salesman. We considered driving to Colorado and driving two vehicles back, but it seems having it shipped here is a lot less hassle. But first we have to see if we will win it. We put in an e-snap bid already and we will know by tomorrow if we won it. I figure the odds are about 50-50, by what we bid.

    This RV has the Ford 460 engine. I assume it is TBI as are most RV's of that era (1993).

    Now, I have a few questions.

    BTW, what's the most likely engine used in Chrysler RV's? Do they have something larger than the 5.8L?

    And is there such thing as a GM engine that's around 500 CID? I think I heard of it somewhere, but never saw it. I think I heard it was not available in CA because of smog requirements, but I never saw it here in NV either. Does it really exist and if so is it any good?

    And does anybody other than Ford make a big V-10
    for use in trucks, RV's? And if so, is it any good?

    -Don-

  10. #10
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    The Chevy '454' is available as a crate motor from your Chevy dealer in displacements up to 502 ci.

    I think Cadillacs once went as big as ~572 ci, but not currently.

  11. #11
    DonTom
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeHalloran View Post
    The Chevy '454' is available as a crate motor from your Chevy dealer in displacements up to 502 ci.
    You mean it's a 454 bored out to 502? Is it only used to replace a 454 or was it ever stock in a new vehicle?

    Does boring it out make it less reliable? And is there a large noticeable difference in power or torque?

    -Don- (Reno)

  12. #12
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom View Post
    You mean it's a 454 bored out to 502? Is it only used to replace a 454 or was it ever stock in a new vehicle?

    Does boring it out make it less reliable? And is there a large noticeable difference in power or torque?

    -Don- (Reno)
    Yes, exactly. A 427 Chevy big block (and also the 396 and 402) are likewise essentially the same engine as the 454 (and 502) just slightly bored, etc.

    Absolutely nothing to fear from the larger displacement/newer versions - these are all among the toughest/beefiest/most un-killable engines out there. It's why they are revered by the hi-perf. crowd and perhaps the most popular such engine available...

  13. #13
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    On Chrysler - if memory serves, the 5.8 (360 CID) is the largest recent production V-8. After this, there's the V-10. Chrysler does sell its big block as a crate engine, however.

    But I still think the Chevy is the best choice for what you want...

  14. #14
    DonTom
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    On Chrysler - if memory serves, the 5.8 (360 CID) is the largest recent production V-8. After this, there's the V-10. Chrysler does sell its big block as a crate engine, however.

    But I still think the Chevy is the best choice for what you want...


    What size is the Chrysler V-10? And is it more reliable than the Ford V-10?

    And do any new vehicles come stock with that Chevy 502 CID?

    -Don-

  15. #15
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom View Post


    What size is the Chrysler V-10? And is it more reliable than the Ford V-10?

    And do any new vehicles come stock with that Chevy 502 CID?

    -Don-
    If memory serves, the Chrysler V-10 is around 8.1 liters. It was developed as a truck/heavy use engine, incidentally - and only later got hopped-up in the Viper.

    On the Chevy: I think (and will check) that the 502 is currently (or recently) the production "big block" used in GM's heavy trucks.

  16. #16
    DonTom
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    If memory serves, the Chrysler V-10 is around 8.1 liters.
    How long has it been around and how reliable is that V-10 8.1L (494 CID)?

    At least that V-10 is larger than their V-8's, unlike Ford's.

    I never heard anything good about Ford's V-10, but what about the Chrysler V-10?

    It seems the Chrysler RV's are the rarest of the three in both the Reno and SF area. But if I don't win that Ford on E-bay, I want to know in case I come across one some day.

    In four hours, I will know if I am the new owner of this.

    -Don-


  17. #17
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom View Post
    How long has it been around and how reliable is that V-10 8.1L (494 CID)?

    At least that V-10 is larger than their V-8's, unlike Ford's.

    I never heard anything good about Ford's V-10, but what about the Chrysler V-10?

    It seems the Chrysler RV's are the rarest of the three in both the Reno and SF area. But if I don't win that Ford on E-bay, I want to know in case I come across one some day.

    In four hours, I will know if I am the new owner of this.

    -Don-

    The Chrysler V-10 has been around for about 15 years, if memory serves... .

    Its not a bad engine, from what I have read/heard - but a couple of things to consider relative to the BB Chevy :

    * Definitely more expensive to maintain;
    * More parts to deal with;
    * Parts not as readily available - or inexpensive;
    * Probably uses more gas

  18. #18
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    "In four hours, I will know if I am the new owner ..."

    You are brave!

    I hope it turns out ok.....

  19. #19
    DonTom
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    "In four hours, I will know if I am the new owner ..."
    You are brave!
    I hope it turns out ok.....

    Brave because we cannot find anything we want near either of our two homes.

    It turned out okay because we didn't win it. I think we were the only legitimate bidders. I think he had somebody shill bid for many reasons, instead of just setting a reserve price. Our bid was $8121.33 and it sold for the minimum bid allowed above ours ($8221.33, as you can see here.

    Anyway, we are now thinking about buying this Class A here, but it's being sold from Kentucky. This seems to be exactly what we're are looking for so we don't mind paying the higher price. Also the 454 engine. We might take a trip to Kentucky just to look at it. But January might not be the best month to drive a RV back to NV if we decide to buy it.

    -Don-

  20. #20
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom View Post

    Brave because we cannot find anything we want near either of our two homes.

    It turned out okay because we didn't win it. I think we were the only legitimate bidders. I think he had somebody shill bid for many reasons, instead of just setting a reserve price. Our bid was $8121.33 and it sold for the minimum bid allowed above ours ($8221.33, as you can see here.

    Anyway, we are now thinking about buying this Class A here, but it's being sold from Kentucky. This seems to be exactly what we're are looking for so we don't mind paying the higher price. Also the 454 engine. We might take a trip to Kentucky just to look at it. But January might not be the best month to drive a RV back to NV if we decide to buy it.

    -Don-
    I think luck went your way on this one - that second RV looks much better. And not just because it has the 454.

    There was something cheesy about the first one; my Spider Sense tingled at all the caveats and disclaimers the seller posted. He seemed to be hinting that it was a POS with all kinds of problems - problems that would be your problems as soon as money changed hands!

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