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Thread: Engine meltdown disaster

  1. #21
    mrblanche
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    Re: Engine meltdown disaster

    That RV was severely in need of an overdrive, truck-grade automatic transmission.

    Diesel suppliers have a high turnover, so the fuel sold on any given day is usually formulated for the current weather. Diesel sold at 32 degrees is not the same as diesel sold at 100 degrees. Usually that's not a problem, but it's important to know it.

    Also, diesel is prone to algae formation if it sits at high temps and humidity for a period of time. This can be fought with additives, and I've never had the problem.

    If you buy a diesel RV, don't buy one from 2007 up. To many emissions controls.

  2. #22
    Senior Member
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    Re: Engine meltdown disaster

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    The tranny oil pan looks like it got damaged by a large rock or something. It does not leak, so I don't worry about it. Besides, that happened so many years ago I forgot about what even caused it.
    If the damage to the oil pan had been caused by a thrown rod, the dent would have been an "outie" not an "innie"

    It still may have thrown a rod (just not damaged the oil pan). Or spun a bearing, or broken the crankshaft, or any number of expensive items.

    The eBay option is a good one. Someone who has a spare 4-bolt main 350ci motor is probably out there looking for something to put it in.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  3. #23
    DonTom
    Guest

    Re: Engine meltdown disaster

    "but 4,000 rpm continuously was (and is) excessive strain. It's actually impressive it held together as long as it did..."

    If that's the case, they designed a RV that should not ever be driven on today's freeways. And if it did have an overdrive, that would probably strain the engine even more. They geared it low for a reason and I doubt the reason is that GM wanted it to blow out on the freeway.

    But I just remembered something. In 1979, the national speed limit was 55 MPH. So perhaps the RV was designed for 55 MPH.


    "I forget whether the RV had an overdrive transmission; sounds like it did not. "

    The TH400 does not have an OD.

    My next RV will have a more reliable engine, perhaps a large diesel in a small RV (25 feet long or so). But I won't even be looking for a while.

    -Don-


  4. #24
    DonTom
    Guest

    Re: Engine meltdown disaster

    "The eBay option is a good one. "

    Could be, but I would rather just junk it and get it over with.

    -Don-

  5. #25
    mrblanche
    Guest

    Re: Engine meltdown disaster

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    "The eBay option is a good one. "

    Could be, but I would rather just junk it and get it over with.

    -Don-
    In the real estate business, we called that a "don't wanter." The biggest bargain you can ever get.

    My boss called it "Getting up from the game and leaving your money on the table."

  6. #26
    Senior Member
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    Re: Engine meltdown disaster

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    "The eBay option is a good one. "

    Could be, but I would rather just junk it and get it over with.

    -Don-
    List it, and give it a couple of weeks to sell. You'll still have the option to junk it afterwards, and you might actually find a buyer.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  7. #27
    DonTom
    Guest

    Re: Engine meltdown disaster

    I would like to know opinions here on the type of engine I should be looking for in my next RV. I want something large and reliable, even if it sucks gas (or diesel).

    And I will make sure that it does have an OD tranny. I think all the newer ones do anyway, and larger RV get better MPG than my old smaller one. I hear they are a bit lighter too, yet can carry more weight.

    -Don-

  8. #28
    DonTom
    Guest

    Re: Engine meltdown disaster

    Mike,

    The tow truck that towed my RV was a diesel. It was so quiet that I thought it was a gasoline engine, so I asked. I expect tow trucks to be diesel, as all I have been towed with so far have been. It was a year old, had more than 100,000 miles on it and had no problem towing my 11,100 lbs RV up several hills (drive line disconnected, of course) . I asked what type of engine it has and it was a name I never heard before, so I assume it's a company that only makes diesels.

    But I don't know a thing about diesels and this one had a minor problem where, usually after a stop, he had to get out and lift the hood and pump some thingie a few times so it would run correctly. I asked him what it was about, and I didn't understand his answer and just let the subject drop. Do you have any idea what that thingie could have been?

    -Don-



  9. #29
    DonTom
    Guest

    Re: Engine meltdown disaster

    "My boss called it "Getting up from the game and leaving your money on the table."

    Yep, but I don't care. I don't like to bother to sell vehicles, I just drive them until they are junk.

    I think from now on, if a vehicle is more than ten years old, I will junk it at the first major problem.

    I have made this mistake before. More so on this RV than any other vehicle. I feel sorry for the poor sucker that ends up with it!

    I have decided that the money it will take to fix this thing could be better spent on a newer RV that has a better and more powerful engine, OD, and all the safety features (my 1979 doesn't even have a shoulder strap for the seatbelt). And our next RV will be a small class A, not a Class C. A class C is really a one ton van, junk added to make it a RV. A Class A is designed to be a RV from the ground up. A class B is a van conversion. My 1979 RV was a Class C, one ton van, where the weight was above the GVWR the day it was sold (no longer legal to do such).

    Or, as some say, in a Class A, none of it is made in Detroit. In a Class B, all of it is made in Detroit. In a Class C, half of it is made in Detroit.

    When we do buy another RV, we will spend some bucks from the start, but it most likely will NOT be a new one. I would only consider a new one if we were to live in it full time and then it would be much larger too. But we plan on always owning these two houses, so there's no need for a large new RV.

    Anyway, no hurry as it will be a while before we desire to go on another RV trip.

    -Don- (Reno)





  10. #30
    mrblanche
    Guest

    Re: Engine meltdown disaster

    What make of vehicle was the tow truck? He may have used the term Powerstroke?

  11. #31
    DonTom
    Guest

    Re: Engine meltdown disaster

    "What make of vehicle was the tow truck? "

    I don't know. I never looked at it that close.


    "He may have used the term Powerstroke?"

    That could have been it, but I am not sure.

    -Don-

  12. #32
    mrblanche
    Guest

    Re: Engine meltdown disaster

    "Powerstroke" is the Ford engine, which is actually made by International Harvester.

    "Duramax" is the the GM brand, made by AM General, I believe.

    Dodges use a Cummins engine.

  13. #33
    DonTom
    Guest

    Re: Engine meltdown disaster

    " "Duramax" is the the GM brand, made by AM General, I believe."

    That was it! It was a Duramax. I never heard the name before. It seemed very quiet for a diesel. He said it was less than a year old and had more than 100,000 miles on it.

    Have any idea what hat thingie was he had to pump? It had something to do with the fuel. He said it was a minor problem that he never go around to fixing.

    I just talked to Bob at Bob's Auto & Truck Repair. I told him he could keep the RV and they will, as long as I can get him the title. I told him it's at the other house, but I will either mail it to him or bring it here the next time I come to this house in Reno.

    -Don-

  14. #34
    mrblanche
    Guest

    Re: Engine meltdown disaster

    I'm guessing it's a priming pump, and it means he has some sort of a leak in the plumbing somewhere, maybe a checkvalve letting fuel flow back to the tank.

  15. #35
    DonTom
    Guest

    Re: Engine meltdown disaster

    "Ideally, you want "cruise" RPM to be closer to 2,200-2,500 RPM."

    Do you believe we should cruise in all engines at less than 50% of red line, or is the 400 CID a special l case?

    BTW, I have blown three rods in three different engines. Now, two times in the RV.

    Things in common:

    1. All three engines were GM small blocks (two 400 CIDS in the RV and one 305 CID in a 3/4 ton 1984 van conversion).

    2. In every case, a rod broke while going down hill, after climbing up a lot of hills.

    3. All three engines were rebuilds.

    BTW, the 1984 Van ran at very LOW RPM's. It had the same TH400 tranny as the RV, but the rear axle or whatever was geared a lot higher and less than 2,000 RPM's would be freeway speeds.

    I have to wonder if the high RPM's had little or nothing to do with my rod breaking on this trip.

    And while I realize the 400 CID is unreliable, isn't it because of blown head gaskets only? I have not had a blown head gasket in ANY vehicle I have driven.

    Is there any reason for me to believe that a rod would be less likely to break in a 350 than in a 400?

    BTW, do large block engines use different rods?

    Are rods less likely to break in large block gasoline engines and diesel engines?

    -Don-


  16. #36
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Engine meltdown disaster

    "Do you believe we should cruise in all engines at less than 50% of red line, or is the 400 CID a special l case?"

    For an old-design V-8 like the Chevy 400 (with a long stroke and not an especially tough bottom end or rods and prone to overheating), steady-state operation at 4,000 is abusive; I installed an OD transmission in my Trans-Am to keep the revs down in my 455 for just this reason. A 327 or 350 (shorter stroke relative to bore) would handle high RPM loads better, but even that engine would likely have an abbreviated life if operated continuously at 4,000 RPM.

    "Is there any reason for me to believe that a rod would be less likely to break in a 350 than in a 400?"

    Not all rods (or bottom ends) are created equal. Some "rebuilds" use junk rods that are marginal at best. The 350 is aninherently better (stronger by design) engine than the 400, but a 350 with "junk" rods won't stand up to HD service much better than a 400 with "junk" rods. If you look through the spec. sheets for 350s used in HD/high-performance/truck applications, you'll discover they typically feature things like four-bolt mains and forged rods, etc. For a standard passenger car, these extras are not usually needed. But for HD service, they are a necessity - if you don't want to replace the engine every 8,000 miles!

    "BTW, do large block engines use different rods?"

    Different engines use different rods; displacement is a function of stroke and bore, etc. Materials-wise, high-perf. engines (or engines designed to handle HD service) typically have higher-strength (forged vs. cast, etc.) rods than standard-duty rods.

    "Are rods less likely to break in large block gasoline engines and diesel engines?"

    Many engines have "weak points" - long-stroke engines (like my 455) tend to be more susceptible to rod/bottom end issues if they are operated at excessively high RPM due to the loads experienced. My 455 has stock rods and the block is a standard (non SD/HO) block, so only two-bolt mains. Which is why I do not rev it past 5,400 RPM - and only briefly, as under hard acceleration. Steady-state cruise RPM (thanks to the OD) is under 2,500 RPM.


  17. #37
    MikeHalloran
    Guest

    Re: Engine meltdown disaster

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    1. All three engines were GM small blocks (two 400 CIDS in the RV and one 305 CID in a 3/4 ton 1984 van conversion).
    2. In every case, a rod broke while going down hill, after climbing up a lot of hills.
    3. All three engines were rebuilds.
    Those rods may have gone up a lot of hills before you got them.

    Rods and cranks have a finite life, limited by metal fatigue. There is no way to visually or instrumentally assess the life left in them. Reputable rebuilders discard rods and cranks with detectable cracks, which are clearly in the process of failing. On the rest, they bascially gamble. . Racers discard them after a predetermined number of cycles at a given stress level. Nobody keeps history for individual rods and cranks, so you don't know if your cores wound up in the rebuild pile after 5 pct, or 95 pct, of their life was consumed.

    The typical fatigue life curve for steel is hyperbolic. At some low stress level, a steel part will last indefinitely. At a much higher stress level, the life is drastically shortened. In between, you can think of the usable life as being roughly proportional to the product of load and speed and time, e.g. horsepower-hours.

    Regardless of the rpm your engines were turning, they were all running at a high _power_ level in order to drag an RV around at speed. The problem is, they may have _already_ dragged around someone else's RV until something else failed, that left them uncracked, but near the end of their life anyway.

    In a beater car, where expectations and power levels are low, rebuilds make sense. In an RV, you are much better off with a new engine.


  18. #38
    DonTom
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    Re: Engine meltdown disaster

    "In an RV, you are much better off with a new engine."

    And other than with the 400, wouldn't a larger engine be more reliable?

    IAC, my next RV will be a small class A with a rather large engine, OT tranny, perhaps a diesel. I won't be looking for a couple of years as we won't desire another RV trip until then anyway. Just as with cars, RV's keep on getting better and better in countless ways, even if technophobic Eric doesn't agree.

    -Don-





  19. #39
    MikeHalloran
    Guest

    Re: Engine meltdown disaster

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    And other than with the 400, wouldn't a larger engine be more reliable?
    Yes.

  20. #40
    mrblanche
    Guest

    Re: Engine meltdown disaster

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeHalloran
    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    And other than with the 400, wouldn't a larger engine be more reliable?
    Yes.
    However, a larger engine usually likes a lower RPM range, so putting a big block in and running it at 4,000 rpms all day would kill it as quickly as a small block, and maybe quicker.

    The stroker 383, designed for trucks, would be a good choice, along with a truck-grade overdrive transmission and a higher rear-end ratio.

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