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Topic: opinions 454 chevy engine

Posted By: DABOSS on 05/23/03 04:45pm

hi gang i wld love to hear from all who drive a chevy chassie p-30 with a 454 engine installed every where u go on the forum u read abt how great the dp is which i agree but all of us cant afford a dp especially if ur on a fixed income as i will be in abt 4 weeks i recently bought a 1988 coachman classic unit which is in very good shape new tires and the whole gammet i have installed a fan cooled tranny cooler on it with a remote filtering sustem using a 10 micron filter with a gauge on the dash for the temp of the tranny fluid as well as a guage to show how the pump pressure is doing. i changed thr tranny fluid and installed syn-blend with 2 pionts of LUBGARDE i am going to change the brake fliud this weekend and i have changed all the belts and hoses as well as the coolANT I PUT A PINT OF WATER WETTER in with the correct amt of collant and distilled water I plan to update my converter {THANKS TO A VERY GRACIOUS PERSON I MET ON THE FORUN WHOS NAME I WILL NOT MENTION GAVE IT TO ME WITH NO CHARGE THAT DONT HAPPED OFTEN THESE DAYS] now can any of u gassers think of anything i should do to mnake my trips more trouble free Now for my question abt the 454 engine if i take good care to do the maintance to it at regular intervills BTW the engine has never had nothin but MOBILE 1 used in it from the gitgo wht kind of service shold i expect from her i never work an engine to hard as i usually try to set me speed at between 58 and 62 the is the driving range i feel comfortable with and im never get in a hurry i would love to hear some of ur experiencs with ur 454 and wht kind of service u have had with it u can bet i wld own a dp if i cld afford one for i work around them every day and i know the advantages of havin one but cant afford one [ although i know if one goes down on u hold on to ur pocket book } so comon guys give it to me good or bad im 62 yrs old i can take it i am new to the forum and as u can see from my thread i have been doin some reading i do all the work to my coach and enjoy every min of it as i do readinf the forum trhanks for ur responce in advance hope to see u down the road and not from the back of a tow truck lol thanks agn da boss

Note: Due to invalid formatting, all formatting has been ignored.

terry ayers

Posted By: Montanadreamer on 05/23/03 05:27pm

I've only had my rig for 3 years now and haven't had a problem with the 454 (and I've been on several long trips during that period). The only major thing I've done recently is rebuilt the Rochester carb as the metering rods were pretty gummed up and float assembly needed to be replaced. Other than that, because my rig's an '86, I baby it a little bit like change the plugs, oil and filters a little more often than one normally would and if there's a steep incline I have to navigate, I try to see if there's an alternate route before pushing the engine to make the climb. I also don't take it over 65 (55-60 is more around where I'm comfortable) and that, again, is because I don't like to push it even though I know it's got more than enough power to get the job done. I suppose if I didn't live in it I probably wouldn't care as much about it's maintenance. One big thing I was looking for when I got this thing was that I wanted to be able to work on it MYSELF if problems came up. I do want to ultamately get a DP, but I know that, unless I get some classes of fixing diesel engines, I can't see any way to avoid taking it to a shop when even the smallest of problems arise. But for now, I like the piece of mind of knowing that unless the engine block becomes damaged, I know enough to hopefully get myself back on the road without calling for assistance or waiting overnight at a repair garage.

Actually I think the 454 is a good beginner engine for someone just getting their first MH.

Montana Dreamer
1986 Winnebago Chieftain 26ft
Chevy 454 7.4L V8 w/Rochester 4BBL

Posted By: PDMills on 05/23/03 05:59pm

The 454 is a pretty reliable engine, you will have some problems with the exhaust manifold gaskets from time to time however. I've had more problems with mine that others because I bought my rig used and it had sat for over a year. (Was told it sat but it looked good.) Everything rubber on the thing dry-rotted, the rear main seal went, valve cover gaskets, vacuume lines, etc all had to be replaced.

After we've gotten the kinks worked out it's been a very reliable engine.

Safe Journies!


Posted By: JR3 on 05/23/03 06:02pm

Due to the fact that we only have a 3 speed tranny, 60 mph plus or minus 5mph is a good target.
1) Mechanical gauges for engine coolant and Tranny. The factory gauges are not a good indicator. My current rig ran about half way on the factory gauge. When I installed mechanical gauge half mark is about 225 degrees. It nows runs between 190 to 205. Makes me feel better.
2) Change the differential fluid ( I prefer synthetic).
3)Don't forget the front wheel bearings.(I have new brake hoses on my todo list)
4)Change power steering fluid. I use a hand held pump to remove old fluid, replace with new and work the steering back and forth several times.
Repeat a time or two to flush old fluid.
5)Did you replace the waterpump bypass hose ????

I have driven several older 454's for several years now. So far no major breakdowns. I did crack the skirt on a piston on a 84 Pace Arrow. That was my fault , never could get that thing to run cool.
Enjoy !!!

05 Newmar Dutchstar DP
DSDP 3810 Cummins 370 ISL

Posted By: timz59 on 05/23/03 06:11pm

I have had 3 different MoHos with 454 engines. The first was an 88 with the electronic carbeurater and proved troublesome at high altitudes (8000 feet and up) but was fairly reliable. The Mobil 1 is good but make sure you flush the cooling system every year as it will sludge up. A good plan is to step up and go with the Banks or other aftermarket header type exhaust otherwise you will have exhaust manifold problems. Too much heat in the doghouse. Your rig probably has the 400 turbo transmission. It's a good solid unit and will provide lots of service if properly maintained. The Steer Safe units from Camping World will improve drivability and watch the air pressure in the front air bags. Adjust the coach to level by varying the pressure from side to side. Keeping the speed down will also prove beneficial to the engine but watch the revs when climbing a long grade. If your trans temp starts climbing shift it down a gear as more rpm will push more fluid through the cooling system. I have never had an engine or transmission failure but I am a maintenance fanatic and it pays off. Good luck with your new rig and stay from that tow hook.

Grandpa Timbo
2003 3778 Mountain Aire on Workhorse W22 (Traded 8/11/04)">
2005 Itasca Meridian 34H (Traded 6/28/05)
2005 Dutch Star 3810 Silver Plum Traded 9/13/07 ">
2007 Phoenix Cruiser on Ford 350 Chassis - V-10 Power">
'02 CRV EX Toad

Posted By: Clubmaxx on 05/23/03 06:34pm


Sounds like you are off to a great start. As noted above, get yourself a good exhaust and header system and your engine will run a lot cooler and you will have a great deal more low end power. We too run nothing but Mobil 1 in engine tranny and rear end. Get yourself some Monroe Magnum shocks and a Safe-T-Plus along with a Bilstein Steering stabilizer and you have got a rig that will outlast the coach. The P-30 has some quirks but all in all everybody knows what they are and for the most part they can be eliminated with aftermarket parts. We travel with spare belts and hoses (though never had one break yet) and a spare alternator (the original 90 amp). We upgraded the alternator to a 140 amp.
The nifty thing about the 454 is that it is easy to work on and parts are everywhere.
Just keep doing what you are doing and enjoy! Some day that lottery will come in and you can get that DP.

'84 Titan 36' 454, Thorleys, Monroes, Bilstein Steering stabilizer, and 16-months of rebuilding inside and out. Check out the whole rebuild project HERE.

Posted By: bill h on 05/23/03 07:09pm

Some of this may sound like overkill, but the price of overkill is cheap when compared with a Sunday breakdown far from help and parts and your cell phone doesn’t get a signal and several extras from Deliverance have already driven by twice in their pickup.

With gas MHs, heat damage to under hood components is common. The areas most affected are exhaust manifolds, plug wires, starters, upper radiator hose, and vacuum hoses.

Underhood temps can be lowered by replacing the exhaust manifolds with either Thorley or Bank$ headers. Both are good and will increase hill climbing ability and maybe mileage. Both have lifetime warranties. When headers are installed particular attention must be paid to shielding wiring and hoses from any header tubing nearby. I use sheet metal flashing from Home Depot clamped in position with hose clamps. Thermo Tech makes some nice shielding material, too.

Much of the cooking of wires, hoses and starters occurs after engine shutdown, when there is no cooling air flow. Both water and air temperatures are at their highest then.
This can be mitigated to some degree by letting the engine idle for a few minutes before shutdown.

The best avoidance of heat soak is afforded by use of an electric radiator fan with a thermostat. This will allow the fan to run after shutdown until things are cooler. On my coach, the fan almost never runs until a minute or so after shutdown. Then it runs for perhaps five minutes. It occasionally runs when in creeping traffic on a really hot day. These fans work most efficiently when installed as “pullers”, attached to the rear of the radiator.

The most common radiator hose failure is where the upper hose meets the thermostat outlet, or just above it. This is where the hose gets the hottest from a hot engine after shut down when there is no more water flow to cool it. Carry a spare. The electric fan I use has its thermostat attached to the upper radiator hose, and will blow air on it until it is cool.

Heat resistant plug wires will last longer. The Jacobs with ceramic nipples are good, but pricey. Champion has wires with a ceramic nipple insulator. A silicone rubber spiral wound wire from a reputable company will last a long time. Taylor Spiro Pro wires are rated at 600 deg. Thermo Tech (or other) sleeves at the nipple end will extend the life of the wires. I buy a length and cut it to 4 1/2 inch or so lengths that slip over the nipples. A double thickness sleeve made of two diameters of sleeves is even better. Firesleeves from an aircraft supply house will work, too. I like Thermo Tek because they use aluminum foil, which reflects heat, as well as fiberglass insulation. Make sure there are no leaks where the exhaust manifold meets the head, as a leak will blow hot gas on the wires and nipples. When removing the plug nipples, be sure to use the proper tool, rather than pulling on the wire itself. A silicon gel inside the nipple will prevent it from sticking when removal is attempted. A little Super Glue between the nipple and the wire helps keep things together.

A flexible 3 inch duct blowing under bumper ram air on each side will help cool both manifolds and plug wires, as well as lower doghouse heat. A flexible dryer duct to the air cleaner inlet will add a bit more power and maybe mileage. The formula is an increase of 1 percent for every 10 degrees F of temperature drop at the carb inlet. I have documented this on boats, but have not checked it on MHs, but it should help. I do it. Bank$ does it.

Vacuum hoses also suffer from heat. NAPA has an orange silicon rubber hose that stands up well.

Do not use any rubber fuel line in the engine compartment. BIG fire hazard there. The inline fuel filters are down by the frame rail for a reason.

Starter solenoids are notoriously heat sensitive on Chevys. I have found the Bakelite cap on solenoids already cracked, ready to fall apart if you looked at it wrong. The small terminal on the solenoid should have a Belleville or star spring washer under the nut. A conventional spring washer only provides tension at one spot, while the others provide 360 degree pressure. This will compensate for the heat-related growth in length of the stud. In many Chevies, even passenger cars, the stud grows when hot and causes a loose connection, which becomes tight again when it cools down. Sound familiar? A good speed shop should have a starter heat shield. After I have it installed and the wiring routed, I add a little more Thermo Tech shielding around the solenoid with their tape to hold it in place. If you feel like a new starter, the Chevy mini-starters are smaller, but more powerful, and allow some distance from the exhaust. If you want to make a heat shield, I have a pattern. There are other good mini starters out there, but stock Chevy will be easier to have repaired if you have a failure far from wherever.

Check your heat riser to be sure it opens.

Most of the goodies mentioned (except Bank$) can be had from or Spend the bucks and get their catalogs. It’s well worth it.

NOTE: Any incorrect spelling is intentional to prevent those annoying popups.

84 Barth 30Tag powered by HT502/Thorley/Weiand etc, Gear Vendors OD.
Siamese Calvin and Airedale Hobbes, 4WD Toyota toad

Posted By: femuse on 05/23/03 07:24pm

We drove a 1990 Chevy van G-30, longwheel base, 454, always heavily loaded, pulling a 7700 Lbs TT, for about 90,000 miles.
We went through several starters. We used to carry a hammer, it beats calling a tow truck when the starter fails again. Mike went under the van, and gave the starter a good wack while I started it. It saved our butt more than once. We went through 3 starters in a few years, and then we lucked out and found a keeper.

That engine has over 170,000 hard miles on it, and it's still going strong.


Chantal & Mike

working on the road: 1990 Airstream Excella 32' & 1998 International 4700
_________________ now with "Easy Rider Air Hitch"

now retired & staying home: 1974 Airstream International Ambassador 29'
1971 Airstream Land Yacht TradeWind 25'
1990 Chevy Van G-30, 454, extended wheel base

Posted By: MaineRoger on 05/23/03 09:26pm


Pay attention to JR3's item #5. I replaced all my hoses in 1997 and missed the waterpump bypass hose. Found it last year when changing my top airpump. It was the original (1988) and was mush.

Remember: Rear Drum Brake users; please do not forget to use the brakes when backing up occasionally to adjust them.

1989 Winnebago Chieftain
Chevy 454, Bilstiens
148,100 miles/115,000 of them mine.
No pets, no co-pilot.
Big Suitcase: Winnie
Little Suitcase: 1400 miles on AT in 2001.
325 miles in 2003.

Posted By: Kajtek1 on 05/23/03 11:31pm

I love those guys saying:
the 454 is very reliable engine, we replaced the exhaust, 3 starters, set of gaskets and have 60.000 trouble-free miles. The neighbors don't like us, because of oil puddles on the street, but they are mean people [emoticon]
Well.... there are gas engines, that run for 3, 4 or even 5 hundred thousands miles with only fuel added and oil/filters change.
The good part of 454 is, that it is very cheap and after being about 100 years on the road (with slight modifications) not only every HillBilly knows how to repair it, but also will have parts.
Certainly beats broken Rolls-Royce axle in the middle of Arizona desert.

*This Message was edited on 23-May-03 11:33 PM by Kajtek1*

Posted By: Coleygross on 05/24/03 12:46am

You said you bangged on 3 starters. Nice to see ya got 180k miles on her.

I have taken apart the solenioids and the main screw the earlier poster was talking about servs two purposes.
1) It holds the battery cable wire and can loosen up with heat and cool scenarios but what I have experiancesd in high mileage is the following:

2) Like I said the copper nut and bolt don't just hold the wire. When the solenoid is energized it flys forward or backward and contacts on 1/2 of the tip of the copper screw. Then the engine spins and starts.

What happens over time, especially if you have a cold natured engine where you may start a few more times than average each start wears (arcs) a little bit of the copper off the top 1/2 of the bolt top that is also a contact.

When it gets so worn it starts NOT making contact and a good old hammer will get you going, but eventually you will notice the hammer takes longer and longer to work.

This is such a simple repair, you need not even take off the starter or solenoid. Simply remove the nut that holds your starter wires. Turn it out until your wires and nut are just about ready to fall off, you will notice that you can grab the copper bolt and turn it 180 degrees and it will fall right into place. Pull it back out and snug up your staarter wires and tighten the nut.

This gives the solenoid circle ( bigger than a silver dollar) a new 1/2 of the copper head to strike against and route power to the starter.

You will be good for about 50 to 100,000 mlles depending n how cold natured your starting is.

I can't tell you how many folks with GM products, Cadillac, Chevy Caprice, trucks etc, freaked out when they realized turning the head of the bolt 180 degrees.

If your brave and like to see this for yourself you will notice that the top of the copper nut, also a contact will be missing almost 1/2 of it circle. Almost like someone took a penny's worth of copper off that half of the contact. Again flipping it over allows and never used section of the contact to be used for many years to come.

It would be ideal to install a new copper bolt, but with my directions it is not necessary to remove the starter or the solenoid.

I am fairly sure you can't drop the copper bolt into the solenoid but just to play it on the safe side if you have more than one or two wires on this bolt, remove the net and wires and take your fingers, grasp threads press in turning clockwise until it flips 180 degrees then pull back out and replace wires and bolt. If you drop the bolt, you'll just have to pull the solenoid.

PS It has never happened to me and I have never felt the copper bolt would fall in. Just do the movements slowly and if you want to play it safe screw the nut back on the bolt about 3 or 4 threads and you still sould have enough slack to flip the bolt 180 degrees.

Put your hammer away for another 50,000


Posted By: Godsmo1 on 05/24/03 07:26am

Very reliable engine, in my "non teckie" opinion. However, it failed the emission test at licence time and needed new exhaust manifolds - it has 70,000 miles on it (100,000 km for the Canadians). After the manifold work was done it started to backfire. I had the mechanic check the manifolds but they were okay, he said. He said that the engine was running correctly according to the diagnostic machine. We left on our Spring trip to Alabama from Canada and by the time we got to Bowling Green Kentucky the noise coming out the back-end was embarrassing! We went to Camping World and they put a new fuel filter. No improvement. Camping World sent us to D&D RV in Bowling Green. Richard Casebeer, (who I wish was my new mechanic except that Bowling Green is 900 miles from our house!) listened to the engine and said in a very nice way, "it don't sound right". He recommended changing the plugs, wires, and distributor which has totally solved the problems we were having. He also installed an o ring in the fuel filter that Camping World left out! So....if you buy the 454, and you are not mechanically inclined, may I suggest that you get a good mechanic to go with it, and do what you are told, and you should be fine!


Posted By: Godsmo1 on 05/24/03 07:28am

Very reliable engine, in my "non teckie" opinion. However, it failed the emission test at licence time and needed new exhaust manifolds - it has 70,000 miles on it (100,000 km for the Canadians). After the manifold work was done it started to backfire. I had the mechanic check the manifolds but they were okay, he said. He said that the engine was running correctly according to the diagnostic machine. We left on our Spring trip to Alabama from Canada and by the time we got to Bowling Green Kentucky the noise coming out the back-end was embarrassing! We went to Camping World and they put a new fuel filter. No improvement. Camping World sent us to D&D RV in Bowling Green. Richard Casebeer, (who I wish was my new mechanic except that Bowling Green is 900 miles from our house!) listened to the engine and said in a very nice way, "it don't sound right". He recommended changing the plugs, wires, and distributor which has totally solved the problems we were having. He also installed an o ring in the fuel filter that Camping World left out! So....if you buy the 454, and you are not mechanically inclined, may I suggest that you get a good mechanic to go with it, and do what you are told, and you should be fine!


Posted By: zertrider on 05/24/03 08:28am

For all of those people that have had exhaust manifold problems with their 454, my suggestion to you is to cool down. Before shutting your engine off after a run, let it sit and idle for a couple of minutes. The reason that the manifolds crack so easily is that when you are running down the road the temperature of the exhaust gets very high due to a lack of air flow in the engine compartment. Shutting the engine off directly after running down the highway causes the manifold temperature to drop to fast. Cast iron and rapid temp. changes results in stress cracks. So if you let the engine sit and idle for a coouple of minutes, the exhaust flowing through the manifold will be cooler than while running down the road under load, bringing the temp of the manifold down slower, therefore preventing the stress cracks that cause failure.

Posted By: Kayo on 05/24/03 08:48am

The previous owner of my 1984 Allegro had GM mechanical experience and changed the t'stat to 160.

After losing a tranny, I added another cooler with electric fan. And after reading several posts on air flow, have added sheet metal to control the air flow between the grill and the radiator, rather than lose all the air to the wheel wells, and under and over the radiator.

Posted By: bill h on 05/24/03 09:20am

Coleygross, something in your posts is messing up all subsequent posts in the same thread. Perhaps it is the graphics in your signature.

How about checking it out?

Posted By: sthygersen on 05/24/03 10:44am

Made two modifications that made a huge difference in power, mileage, and cooling: Gibson exhaust system and K&N Air Filter. Also replaced plug wires, vacuum hoses and connectors, any water hose and removed pack rat nest from air intake... Switched to Mobil 1, added Bilstiens, Air Ride and Michelin tires. I know engines (rookie at RV) and big block chevy's have several weak points - exhaust manifold, piston skirts and crappy engine ignition and electrical systems. Heat kills - always let the engine cool down before shutting it off (3-5 minutes) after long haul. If you really want to make it live forever - replace oil pump with TRW high volume, add aluminum pistons and Edelbrock aluminum manifold, and Crane Cam kit (not exactly bolt on, but I have seen set-up 454's last 300K+). Do have lottery ticket for Safari Panther!

Steve and Kathy Thygersen
Full Time (3rd Year)
1994 Thor Columbus 32'
2003 Ford Ranger
Taz - Australian Shepherd

Posted By: WA1NLA on 05/24/03 11:50am

I've had the 454 in my 94 Class C and the only problem with it was a small drip in the water pump which I replaced myself. Otherwise trouble free and it now has 46,000 miles on it. I've taken it out west 3 times from Connecticut, all over the mountains, no heating problems, and plenty of power. Fuel milage on it is 10 mpg average on flat no head winds, 7 in mountains, and 11 with tail wind. I have a DP pusher also that I found a deal on with 42k on it kept in a airplane hanger from a couple who had more money than they new what to do with that just didn't want it any more. It was on the Air Force base where my daughter was stationed. So right now we have both of them but think the Class C is sold.
Only complaints I've hear on the 454 was burned off plug wires as a problem. I never had that problem either. Mine never skipped a beat and I would not hesitate to jump in it and head out west again in it right now. that engine has been around a long time in one form or another. Pretty proven engine. I think the milage in the Class A rigs is around 7 or 8 with them, perhaps less depending on gearing, weight, coach design etc. If you keep it service, it should do well...

George & Jane
1994 F-350, Dually, Diesel 7.3 Turbo,5 Speed Manual
5th Wheel Hoilday Rambler, Prodigy Brake Controller
Ham Radio Call WA1NLA
Retired Ironworker/steel erector.
Down the Road Again.....

Posted By: Clubmaxx on 05/24/03 12:00pm


Backfiring can only happen because of one of two things: Valve timing or ignition timing. You can tell which it is by how it occurs. A backfire that starts suddenly and happens even at idle is more than likely valve timing. On the 454 it is probably a timing chain slip from an over worn timing gear or chain. This backfire will get much worst at the slightest increase in rpm and will it will do it in neutral. An ignition timing problem generally starts and progressivly gets worst with both rpm and load. Many times these are missed by techs on a machine because the engine is not under load. 454s are quite famous for frying ignition wires and arcing under load. The more load you put it under the worst it gets and the power is sucked out of it. Backfiring will not happen because of fuel starvation. The engine can "caugh" and sputter as it is trying to seek the proper fuel /air ratio to burn but will not "backfire". A backfire is fuel burning at the wrong time. If there is no fuel to burn there is nothing to fire. The 454/turbo 400 is probably the easiest drive line in the industry for most people to work on. Parts are cheap and readily available. They just need to be treated like old folks they are. With a little care and understanding. Keep the engine and tranny running cool and dump the cast manifolds. Those were always the biggest complaints on the them and todays knowledge of how to prevent them will let it run a long time.

Posted By: SieraSam on 05/24/03 01:11pm

I have had my P=30/454 for a couple of years now and I have two concerns for you to watch out for.
lst, make sure that your shift cable is suffieciently insulated from the heat of the exhaust manifold. If not, and you are on a long upward grade, the heat will cause the plastic insulator on the cable to melt and lock up your cable so that you cannot shift any more. Repair shops tell me that this is a fairly common problem with 454's. Carry a spare shift cable with you, especially if yoy plan to climb over some steep mountains.
2nd. The Chevy engines are not as robustly designed as Ford because is not uncommon for the timing chains to poop out somewhere around 70K miles.
I hav ealso had two Ford 460's. I would say that the fuel punp problems on the Ford are just as annoying and troublesome as the other problems on the 454 Chev.
Camping Cat

Class A, FMCA #F269745

Posted By: femuse on 05/25/03 04:33pm


I'm the guy with the hammer. We had problems with starters still under warranty or a week or two pass the time.
We learned from Chevy that we could not get NEW starters, they were selling only REBUILT ones.

As this was a few years ago, and our last one may have 50,000 miles on it, my guess is that for a time, their rebuilding was rather sloppy. And may be OK now. Or, we just lucked out.

Posted By: master52 on 06/04/03 10:12pm

I have the 454 in my 86 pace arrow. It is a sound and good running engine. I put on my rig right away the Banks Power pack and it cooled/powered and souped up that thing to be a pleasure to drive.
I have over 60K on it. I change oil every 3000 miles usualy in spring after a short run. I start it up every 2 months in winter and put it in drive and reverse to lube tranny. Someday I may get a DP BUT>>> have been told by two very high up retired engine guys ( one designed DP's and did not have one in his rig) that the cost of a DP is not for the faint hearted. The DP designer said that a good gas engine with Banks power pack and a gear splitter will do just as good of job and will not stink in the process. We are restricked at the current time on how big a rig you can get with a gas engine. I think that will change in the future however. Just telling you what I was told. I still would like to have a DP myself, ya, maybe to be cool to.

Posted By: mr. ed on 06/05/03 02:04pm

I've been fulltiming about 13 years in my current 1990 454-powered P-30 MH. The engine is entirely stock, except for a K&N air filter. It only has about 36.5K miles at this time and has been very reliable and a good performer. It's fuel injected (TBI) and mated to that reliable 3-speed tranny.

I use Mobil 1 synthetic oil in the engine and a semi-synthetic fluid in the tranny. I did add a large tranny cooler (Hayden) about 3 years ago.

My average speed is about 50 MPH and the only time the engine gets warmer than I like is when pulling a grade. At that time, I shift down and manually turn on the electric fans in front of the radiator. I also avoid travelling during the warmest part of the day, if possible.

I'd like to add all the goodies others have mentioned (Banks system, etc.), but I'm inclined not to do so at this time due to the fact that I may be replacing the MH in the not too distant future. In the meantime, she runs good enough for me at this time AND, she's been long paid for.

Mr. Ed

1990 Fleetwood Flair, 30' 454 Chevy
2000 Saturn SL2 toad (5 spd)

Posted By: L.D. on 07/25/03 07:04am

My motorhome is diesel but my last two trucks have had the 454 engines. The current truck turned 251,000 miles yesterday and has never even been tuned up. There have been only two recalls in the four years since I bought it. All that I have done to the motor is replaced the air conditioning system and a water pump.

The previous truck was traded in when it had 419,000 miles on it and still ran good. A company bought it at auction for a service / delivery truck. I replaced a couple of starters, an altinator and two water pumps. It also had three tuneups. other than that, it was stock.

I believe in the 454 and I believe in GM. I have never gotten that kind of mileage out of Dodge or Ford trucks.

It takes 43 muscles to frown, 12 muscles to smile but only 2 muscles to pull the trigger on a Colt 1911. Well I am old, lazy and tired of smiling.

Posted By: Astrodokk on 07/25/03 09:02am

Very good point about recalls. As soon as I got my MH, I went to a website that list all recalls for all makes and models. I don't remember what it was, but I had searched recalls and it came up with the site. Anyway, I got a resulting 2 recalls on it that had never been done. These are done for free! Fortunately, they were not about the engine. It had to do with seat belts and steering (gulp). Still have to do those.

Posted By: Kayo on 07/25/03 09:15am

When asked about the numb er of used RV/s with "new" engines", the previous owner of my 1984 Allegro was a GM mechanic and he had put a 160 degree thermostat in the unit - said that in his opinion overheating was the biggest culprit in engine failure and that the lower degree stat solved that

Kayo and DW Dale
2004 Damon Challenger 348 Workhorse w/8.1 Vortec) DW of 45 years Fulltimers, serving as a Park Ranger (Interp) for the NPS at Yellowstone NP and Evergldes NP.
What a hoot!



Posted By: Protoventures on 07/23/03 11:46pm

Dude! Try a spell checker or some grade school grammer. Reading your post is like reading jibberish. It takes a tremendous amount of time to abbreviate the stuff you do. You'd be better off, and you would come off better, if you just typed the FULL words. You appear to be a "wannabe-tekkie" with all the silly lingo.'s a simple, 1988, older motorhome, not a spaceship! Get a grip.

Yeah, I have a new motorhome with a Chevy chassis and a 454. That's all it is. All you gotta do is take care of it like you would a car. There will always be something going a bit wrong and something that needs tweeking. Expect it and stay on top of it. It's not ROCKET SCIENCE. You are not joining an elite club or something here. It's just a motorhome.

Posted By: Astrodokk on 07/24/03 11:16pm

I have a 1981 454/P30/TH400 28'. I've only had it for 3 months now, but we can smell exhaust fumes anytime the windows are open or at an idle stop. It's been suggested to me that I should replace the exhaust manifold with headers. Also, to improve rpm performance, I've been advised to get a Gear Vendor. I will be taking the MH to a Chevy truck dealer to get an inspection ($200.00), and I assume that I will not only be needing these items I just mentioned, but also alot of what has been described in previous above posts as well, i.e. hoses, et cetera. Although it most likely will be pricey, I have decided to do as the mechanics say for the longevity of the coach, and safety too. Next, I will be working on the suspension, such as shocks, damper, tires, that stuff. All in all, from what I've experienced in the past three months, this 454 is a heck of a strong engine, the tranny is bulletproof, and I'm glad I got it. Go figure, I was looking for a diesel when I found this one!

Posted By: Clubmaxx on 07/25/03 06:01am


Every mod you have heard about is a good idea to enhance the performance and its durability. Headers are almost a must not only for performance but to help keep the engine cool. Heat is the killer of the MH engine and trans. Remember if your engine overheats your tranny takes a hit as well. I would first do everything that helps keep things cool as possible. Headers, tranny cooler, auxilliary radiator and ductwork. Then go for the handling. Shocks, air bags tires etc. At the same time you can do a lot of things to stop leaks that I know you have with some simple, inexpensive tricks.

Good luck.

Posted By: poorboy502001 on 07/23/03 07:52pm

i just purchased an 1994 winnebago with the 454 and it has an exhust leak, do you think it is the gaskets or maybe a bad manifold..

thanks ralph

Posted By: mr. ed on 07/26/03 03:42pm

Be careful about putting a lower temp thermostat in the engine. I did that a while back and was told by my mechanic that it may not be good for the engine (we put the right one back in). Evidently, running an engine too cool is not good for it, either. It's best to use the proper temp range thermostat and address the overheating problems in other ways (coolant, fan clutch, etc.). Anyhow, that's one mechanic's opinion.

Mr. Ed (fulltiming since 1987)
Life is fragile. Handle with prayer.

2007 Hitchhiker II LS Model 29.5 LKTG (sold)
2007 Dodge Ram 3500/6.7 CTD/QC/4X4/SB/SRW/6-speed man/Big Horn edition (sold)

Posted By: Clubmaxx on 07/26/03 10:45pm

Mr Ed,

I agree with the fact you can run an engine too cool but not in one of these things. Unless you removed the thermostat all together and ran it in the winter you could not get these things that cool. They just plain work too hard. A 160 would be just fine in the warmer climates. The problem with them up north or in cold climates is that the heat does not get hot enough for the coach or defrosters.

Posted By: HuckleCat on 07/25/03 10:26pm

Spell checker? How about you start with it?
grammer is really spelled grammar
jibberish begins with a "g" I believe
tweeking is "tweaking"
+ you might have a run on sentence.
Thank you,

the spell police.

on edit: sorry but people correcting other peoples spelling is somewhat rude.

Me and the sweetie found a super 1975 Revcon 250-T
Road worthy as it is, just working out some bugs.

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