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Old 01-14-2013, 01:29 PM   #1
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8.1 L Chevy Vortec

I am looking at a 35' MH that has the 8.1 L motor and would like to hear some pro's and con's on this set up before i get too serious on the purchase.
thanks in advance.
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:39 PM   #2
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About the only Con I can think of is that on some coach brands the 8.1 L engine doesn't have enough air circulation and it burns the plug wires.

We had a 2003 Tiffin Allegro Open Road 26 1A with the 8.1 and had on problems with the motor.

We now have a 2006 Tiffin Allegro Open Road 35 TSA with the 8.1 and (knock on wood) haven't had any problems with the motor.

MPG is usually 7 to 8 mpg depending on how heavy your foot is.

Jon
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:40 PM   #3
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A little more information on the MH would help. What year, model, transmittion, weight etc. I have a 2003 Class C Chateau 26' with the 8.1 Vortec and weight max at about 12.8K lbs. with the standard 480LE transmittion. I have plenty of power, got about 10mpg bringing it home 2 weeks ago. Liked the way it got upto speed and how easy it moved through the gears. I spoke with my mechanic before purchase and he had nothing but praise for the engine.

I hope that helps
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:08 PM   #4
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This is our second MH with the 8.1 and we have been satisfied with both. You did not say which chassis or year model is being considered and that would determin which transmission it has.
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Old 01-15-2013, 01:00 AM   #5
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It is in a 2003 Damon Daybreak 35 ft. , I do not know what transmission it has
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Old 01-15-2013, 01:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDP243 View Post
It is in a 2003 Damon Daybreak 35 ft. , I do not know what transmission it has
It has the Allison 1000 which is the only transmission used with the 8.1. The 8.1 is great, I've had two of them.

The only other gas engine you will see in a newer class A motorhome is the ford V10 and those who have them are happy campers too.
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:10 AM   #7
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There have been some post about 8.1's flying apart. I was never sure of the context whether or not the claim was they had a greater record of doing this more than any other engine? Mine is intact at 50K miles and running strong.

I have a 2003 in a Dolphin LX and one of the decisions I made when purchasing new was to get the 8.1 and the Allison combination over the V10. The transmission besides a stellar reputation had one more gear and the dog house on the Ford chassis was taller and as I recall the basement was larger.

Other than that which was more personal than technical both have been good set ups for gas MH's.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDP243 View Post
I am looking at a 35' MH that has the 8.1 L motor and would like to hear some pro's and con's on this set up before i get too serious on the purchase.
thanks in advance.
Pros:
The 8.1 is basically a good engine. There have been reports of problems, but Ford has them, too.

The chassis is built by Workhorse. Unless it is a Workhorse P32 (unlikely with a 35' motorhome), it will have an Allison transmission, which is a very good transmission. If it is a W20 or W22 chassis it will have an Allison 1000 transmission. The Allison 2100 transmission (also an excellent transmission) was used on the W24 chassis.

Cons:
The 8.1 L engine is no longer in production. However, there are enough of the engines around that parts should not be a problem for some time to come.

There has been a brake recall for the Workhorse W20 and W22 chassis. If the motorhome you're looking at has one of these chassis, make sure the brake recall has been done.

Navistar (the parent company of Workhorse) is no longer producing chassis for the general RV market. Most parts are common to medium duty trucks, but there could be problems with the availability of some parts and service in the future.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:50 AM   #9
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I believe Workhorse had a fix kit for this.

Depending on what brand motorhome you are interested in that has the 8.1 engine, find the owners club and see what they say about the engine in their coaches. Motorhome owner clubs and their forums can be a great source of information; "TREK Tracks", for Safari TREKS, is a wonderful example of how owners communicate and help each other.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jfran304 View Post
About the only Con I can think of is that on some coach brands the 8.1 L engine doesn't have enough air circulation and it burns the plug wires. Jon
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:50 AM   #10
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Had a 2004 Holiday Rambler with a 8.1, w22. Bought new back then, in three trips from Michigan to Florida a exhaust manifold either cracked or blew a gasket every year. Lucky it was all covered under warrenty at the time. Was told by the shop that did the work it was not unusual for that to happen because of the amount of heat in the doghouse. My brother had a 2002 Mountain Aire with a 8.1 that had the same problem. Does not mean they all have that problem. Both of us sold those and moved up to a diesel.
Good luck, Rick
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:27 AM   #11
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I changed my headers to Banks headers. Not the exhaust or air intake.

What a difference. It woul pass like a car and had more power than I ever needed. It was also much cooler under the hood. Never had any spark plug problems.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njs42 View Post
There have been some post about 8.1's flying apart. I was never sure of the context whether or not the claim was they had a greater record of doing this more than any other engine? Mine is intact at 50K miles and running strong.

I have a 2003 in a Dolphin LX and one of the decisions I made when purchasing new was to get the 8.1 and the Allison combination over the V10. The transmission besides a stellar reputation had one more gear and the dog house on the Ford chassis was taller and as I recall the basement was larger.

Other than that which was more personal than technical both have been good set ups for gas MH's.
I've followed two RV forums for about 10 years and haven't seen more than one post where a new engine came apart.

Could you provide more information or point to the threads that you refer to about "8.1's" flying apart?
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:09 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by LDP243 View Post
I am looking at a 35' MH that has the 8.1 L motor and would like to hear some pro's and con's on this set up before i get too serious on the purchase.
thanks in advance.
HERE is a fairly recent thread from the Workhorse forum that, although lengthy, should answer a number of your questions.

Rusty
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:39 AM   #14
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We have an '06 Tiffin Allegro Bay with the 8.1 Vortec on a Workhorse W24 chassis. I have been very happy with its performance, although I have not taken it on many mountain passes or steep grades. It loves to cruise along at 68-70 on IH 35 through Texas...gas mileage is about 6-7 MPG, but I'm less worried about MPGs than I am about getting to my destination. Burns a tad bit of oil, but nothing I really worry about. I consider it one of the advantages/upgrades I have on my coach vs the Ford V10.
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