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Thread: "Miracle" gas savers/gadgets?

  1. #21
    DonTom
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    Re: "Miracle" gas savers/gadgets?

    "It's not hard on any warm day to see a number of cars and trucks broken down by overheating up that grade."

    I have broken down three times on highway 80 in the mountains. First time was when going downhill (west bound) in my 1984 GM Van (305 CID) when a piston rod broke. The second time was in my 1979 GM RV (400 CID) when the same thing happened at the very same place about a year later (and still downhill west bound) and we were picked up by the same tow truck driver as the year before. The tow truck driver mentioned he has seen several other vehicles break rods at about the same place, all while going down hill and all west bound.

    His theory is on the east side where it's mostly uphill to the summit and then more than 40 miles downhill is very tough on rods. Kinda makes sense that rods will break when going down hill as the rods are being "pulled on" or "stretched" while going downhill after just being made weaker by being "compressed" more while doing uphill.

    The other time I broke down I was east bound, uphill, in my 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee (5.2 L). That was when my plastic power steering pulley broke apart.

    I seriously doubt if synthetic oil would have prevented any of these failures.

    BTW, have others here broke rods? If so, was it while driving downhill?

    BTW, when it happens, even in the 11,500 LB RV, it feels like a blow out. The engine gets so far out of balance that it is hard to control the vehicle just to make a stop.

    -Don- (SF, CA)

  2. #22
    mrblanche
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    Re: "Miracle" gas savers/gadgets?

    OK, I'm going to ask an important question here.

    Did you have the transmission in a lower gear than Drive, using the engine to brake you coming down the hill?

  3. #23
    DonTom
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    Re: "Miracle" gas savers/gadgets?

    "Did you have the transmission in a lower gear than Drive, using the engine to brake you coming down the hill?"

    In the 3/4 ton van, no. It was in drive the entire time.

    However, in the RV, I was asleep and Tommy was driving and he did not realize he was in 2nd gear. I noticed when I woke up and then had Tom put it back in drive. About ten minutes later is when the rod blew right out the bottom of the oil pan. So it was in drive too, when it happened, but I assume the extra high RPM's when in second is what lead to it.

    I do have an added tech in the RV, but Tom never noticed it that night. Even in second gear, the RV isn't all that obvious that it's in second and not in drive.

    I know that GM 400CID small blocks don't like a lot of RPM's.

    -Don-






  4. #24
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: "Miracle" gas savers/gadgets?

    As I recall, the 305 was known for having pretty marginal stock rods...

    And the 400, prone to overheating due to its siamesed bores.

    My Pontiac 455 is also known for "rod issues" - but only if you're foolish enough to rev this very long-stroke engine beyond 5,400 RPM.

  5. #25
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: "Miracle" gas savers/gadgets?

    "I know that GM 400CID small blocks don't like a lot of RPM's. "

    Nope!

    They also don't like to be "lugged" at low RPM under heavy loads, as sometimes happens with OD trannies (forget whether you've got one of those).

    I'd want a big block Chevy - or at least, a 350 small block, which when built right can take enormous abuse - in an RV like yours....


  6. #26
    DonTom
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    Re: "Miracle" gas savers/gadgets?

    "They also don't like to be "lugged" at low RPM under heavy loads, as sometimes happens with OD trannies (forget whether you've got one of those)."

    No, both vehicles had / have the same tranny, a bullet proof TH400 or whatever it's called. The "Texas" oil pan.

    "I'd want a big block Chevy - or at least, a 350 small block, which when built right can take enormous abuse - in an RV like yours...."

    Yep, if one would fit, I would have had a big block put in.

    Or simply use synthetic engine oil in the small block ;D (just kidding, of course!)

    -Don-

  7. #27
    mrblanche
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    Re: "Miracle" gas savers/gadgets?

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    Yep, if one would fit, I would have had a big block put in.

    Or simply use synthetic engine oil in the small block ;D (just kidding, of course!)

    -Don-[/color]
    Almost anything that has room for a small-block Chevy has room for a big block. Very close to the same dimensions, except the big block is a little longer. That's the reason for the big space between the engine and the radiator in a lot of older GM cars.

    http://www.enginefactory.com/chevdimensions.htm

  8. #28
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: "Miracle" gas savers/gadgets?

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    "They also don't like to be "lugged" at low RPM under heavy loads, as sometimes happens with OD trannies (forget whether you've got one of those)."

    No, both vehicles had / have the same tranny, a bullet proof TH400 or whatever it's called. The "Texas" oil pan.

    "I'd want a big block Chevy - or at least, a 350 small block, which when built right can take enormous abuse - in an RV like yours...."

    Yep, if one would fit, I would have had a big block put in.

    Or simply use synthetic engine oil in the small block ;D (just kidding, of course!)

    -Don-
    Next time, go with the 350; it's a much better design than the 400.

  9. #29
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: "Miracle" gas savers/gadgets?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    Yep, if one would fit, I would have had a big block put in.

    Or simply use synthetic engine oil in the small block ;D (just kidding, of course!)

    -Don-[/color]
    Almost anything that has room for a small-block Chevy has room for a big block. Very close to the same dimensions, except the big block is a little longer. That's the reason for the big space between the engine and the radiator in a lot of older GM cars.

    http://www.enginefactory.com/chevdimensions.htm
    Yep - probably just a matter of getting the right frame mounts (which could involve some very minor welding). It might also be necessary to dimple the firewall a little for clearance; maybe notch the subframe here and there to avoid exhaust pipes touching anything... but the TH400 will bolt right up.

    A 396/402 or 454 would be ideal; GM has even larger cc big blocks in the Goodwrench catalog...

  10. #30
    DonTom
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    Re: "Miracle" gas savers/gadgets?

    "Next time, go with the 350; it's a much better design than the 400."

    I tried to get a new 350. But there was all type of problems. First, there would be no warranty. And it wasn't possible to get a heavy duty new 350 or a two bolt and there were some other issues too, but I don't now recall them all.

    -Don-

  11. #31
    DonTom
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    Re: "Miracle" gas savers/gadgets?

    "Very close to the same dimensions, except the big block is a little longer. "

    Isn't the large block a little wider too?

    -Don-

  12. #32
    mrblanche
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    Re: "Miracle" gas savers/gadgets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Yep - probably just a matter of getting the right frame mounts (which could involve some very minor welding). It might also be necessary to dimple the firewall a little for clearance; maybe notch the subframe here and there to avoid exhaust pipes touching anything... but the TH400 will bolt right up.

    A 396/402 or 454 would be ideal; GM has even larger cc big blocks in the Goodwrench catalog...
    I wouldn't think the firewall would be a problem; if you use the original motor mounts, the big block doesn't extend out the back any more than a small block. The big block IS a little taller (as much as 6 inches, depending on manifold) and wider (about 5 inches).

  13. #33
    DonTom
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    Re: "Miracle" gas savers/gadgets?

    "and wider (about 5 inches)."

    That makes the large block impossible to put in my RV. BTW, I did ask about the possibility when the engine blew. I certinly would rather have a large block engine if there were such a choice.

    I also asked about a new 350. All I got was a list of reasons to put in a rebuilt small block 400, which is not even available new.

    BTW, one thing I did learn from all this is that there are several different types of Chevy 350 CID small block engines.

    Anything other than a rebuilt 400 CID in my RV would void the engine warranty. But if a decent new engine were available for the thing, I would have taken my chances without a warranty. But none of the newer 350 small blocks are designed for a 11,500 lb RV.

    And BTW, I think this new engine has a leaking real main seal, just like the older one. I will know more the next time we take the RV on a trip, which may come in a few weeks (regardless of the gasoline price!).

    BTW, what happened with the gasoline price during the time we were in China? It sure went up very fast, especially in CA. It's about $3.60 per gallon of regular in South San Francisco.

    Now, it's cheaper here in NV. It was cheaper in CA just before we went to China.

    -Don- (in cold Cold Springs Valley, NV)




  14. #34
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: "Miracle" gas savers/gadgets?

    I am pretty sure there are several "brand new" (with warranty) Vortec-series small blocks in the Goodwrench catalog that wouldwork well in your RV.

    The siamesed bore 400 was not one of GM's best small block designs; there's a reason why they stopped making it - and only built it for a few years.


  15. #35
    DonTom
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    Re: "Miracle" gas savers/gadgets?

    "I am pretty sure there are several "brand new" (with warranty) Vortec-series small blocks in the Goodwrench catalog that wouldwork well in your RV."

    How sure are you? And what is the price tag on those? The next time I blow the engine out, I will ask you for more info!

    BTW, I hope you know that a lot of warranty on engines ONLY apply when NOT installed in a RV.

    But some companies simply give a shorter warranty on the same engine. Such as three months in a RV or three years in a car.

    -Don-

  16. #36
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: "Miracle" gas savers/gadgets?

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    "I am pretty sure there are several "brand new" (with warranty) Vortec-series small blocks in the Goodwrench catalog that wouldwork well in your RV."

    How sure are you? And what is the price tag on those? The next time I blow the engine out, I will ask you for more info!

    BTW, I hope you know that a lot of warranty on engines ONLY apply when NOT installed in a RV.

    But some companies simply give a shorter warranty on the same engine. Such as three months in a RV or three years in a car.

    -Don-
    There are many choices; I recommend browsing the catalog!~

    Prices for these engines run (last time I checked ) from around $1,800 for a basic replacement 350 to $3,500-$5,000 for upgraded/up-rated small blocks (both 350s and 383s, etc.) in various configurations....

  17. #37
    mrblanche
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    Re: "Miracle" gas savers/gadgets?

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    How sure are you? And what is the price tag on those? The next time I blow the engine out, I will ask you for more info!

    BTW, I hope you know that a lot of warranty on engines ONLY apply when NOT installed in a RV.

    But some companies simply give a shorter warranty on the same engine. Such as three months in a RV or three years in a car.

    -Don- [/color]
    The RV installation is an important consideration.

    But I would bet a 4-bolt 350, originally designed for truck work, would work well.

    And there is a variation of the LS1 that is a truck engine and I'll bet you'd be happy with it.

    What year is the engine/RV?

  18. #38
    DonTom
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    Re: "Miracle" gas savers/gadgets?

    "What year is the engine/RV?"

    1978.

    -Don-

  19. #39
    mrblanche
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    Re: "Miracle" gas savers/gadgets?

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    "What year is the engine/RV?"

    1978.

    -Don-
    Fuel injected or carb?

  20. #40
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: "Miracle" gas savers/gadgets?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    "What year is the engine/RV?"

    1978.

    -Don-
    Fuel injected or carb?
    That's about ten years too old to be asking that question. Q-Jet all the way.

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