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Old 08-01-2011, 08:36 PM   #1
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1989 Southwind motor replacement

I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this...forgive me if it isn't. I have a 1989 Southwind. The motor recently overheated. The lower smog pump seized up thus throwing the belt. Everything went south from there. So I found out that the left and right heads and/or gaskets cracked or blew (chocolate milk dripping from the exhaust pipes). Since the old girl is in pretty good shape we've decided to replace the motor. The $64,000 question is, what is the best way to remove this monster? I've searched net-wide and the few answers I got were vague at best. I've read about going through the front which involves nearly dismantling 1/3 of the RV , or removing the doghouse completely and pulling it up through the floor and out the driver's door (I have no passsenger door). That route sounds more sane to me. I was hoping someone here may have taken on this insane task before and can share what they learned about doing it. I would greatly appreciate it.
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Old 08-01-2011, 08:41 PM   #2
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If You strip it down to the bare block it will easily come up and out the drivers door!

Put the Rebuilt back in the same way !
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:24 AM   #3
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Ditto, I've also heard recommendations for stripping it down to the block and out the drivers door. You can work a large cherry picker right in there.
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:29 AM   #4
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And just for general FYI, we sealed a pretty well blown/cracked head/gasket in an '83 Winnie with a 454 with a product called Steel Seal.

Our mechanic recommended it to us, worked like a dream. Costs about $100 to treat an 8-cyl.
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Old 08-02-2011, 11:11 AM   #5
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Our dealership did not replace engines. We rebuilt them in the frame.If we had a customer who wanted a new engine, we sent them to two garages nearby. they both jacked up the front of the motorhome and dropped the engine out the bottom.
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Old 08-03-2011, 07:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobRV
If You strip it down to the bare block it will easily come up and out the drivers door!

Put the Rebuilt back in the same way !
Hi Rob! Your answer is the most popular one throughout the net...stripping the block. I find doing this to be ironic since my issue seems to be cracked heads or a blown gasket. My first thought was, if I strip it down am I not already half way done with doing a head gasket change anyway? Granted, I am not 100% sure that it IS the heads. I'm still going to replace the motor just to be sure.
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Old 08-03-2011, 07:52 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Senior Chief
And just for general FYI, we sealed a pretty well blown/cracked head/gasket in an '83 Winnie with a 454 with a product called Steel Seal.

Our mechanic recommended it to us, worked like a dream. Costs about $100 to treat an 8-cyl.
I've researched this product and have concluded that the best thing to do is engine replacement. I suspect that some people didn't follow the directions properly but but I saw a few YouTube video ads for Steel Seal and it is dangerously close to false advertising. It says on the bottle that there is "no disassembly required." That is totally false. You have to remove the thermostat while the product runs in the motor. To the makers of this product I say, sorry, but that IS disassembling. Albeit a minor inconvenience removing the thermostat is considered a disassembly. Anyway, I'm not up for spending $100 to hope it works. My next thought is, an engine has to run for it to work. My engine, and some others, probably won't run with a blown head gasket. I thought I'd pass this along for something to think about if someone else is thinking about using it. I'm very glad it worked for you but I suspect it may not be the norm.
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Old 08-03-2011, 07:53 AM   #8
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If you are doing the labor then maybe stripping the motor down would be the easiest way. However with labor costs today if you are paying to have it done the costs could be extremely high. I think I would pull the front end apart, hood,grill etc, remove the radiator and its supports and jack the frame up and drop the motor/transmission out the bottom. That's how we did it with VW Bugs years ago.
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Old 08-03-2011, 12:55 PM   #9
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I've researched this product and have concluded that the best thing to do is engine replacement. I suspect that some people didn't follow the directions properly but but I saw a few YouTube video ads for Steel Seal and it is dangerously close to false advertising. It says on the bottle that there is "no disassembly required." That is totally false. You have to remove the thermostat while the product runs in the motor. To the makers of this product I say, sorry, but that IS disassembling. Albeit a minor inconvenience removing the thermostat is considered a disassembly. Anyway, I'm not up for spending $100 to hope it works. My next thought is, an engine has to run for it to work. My engine, and some others, probably won't run with a blown head gasket. I thought I'd pass this along for something to think about if someone else is thinking about using it. I'm very glad it worked for you but I suspect it may not be the norm.
I'm sorry but you are incorrect.

You do not have have to disassemble anything, remove the thermostat, clear out the antifreeze or anything else. I know this because we literally drove our old Winnie out of the woods where it had been sitting since the previous owned blew the head gasket 2 years prior.

You pour the product in the cold radiator, turn the heater to max and run the engine for an hour. If your engine doesn't run, of course the product won't work for you. My experience has been that engines will and do run, even with blown head gaskets and cracked blocks, you just don't want them to.

With our old Winnie, the white smoke and water out the tailpipe quit in about 15 minutes, the engine smoothed out and it ran like a top thereafter. We immediately drove it 125 miles home with no issues. We sold it about 18 months later.

Whether you use Steel Seal or not is certainly up to you, but your opinion seems to be based on incorrect understanding.

The video on their website is certainly trying to sell the product, but its factual enough.

And in this circumstance, I'm not sure your opinion that it won't work trumps my factual experience that it does. JMHO
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Old 08-03-2011, 01:09 PM   #10
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To pull the engine on a Southwind you take off the exhaust manifolds, but not the heads. I have pulled them with the exhaust on, it's very tight with them on but doable. I've taken them out the drivers door and the side entry door. If you go side entry you will need a folding cherry picker.
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Old 08-03-2011, 01:50 PM   #11
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If it is like the all the other Chevrolet chassis you drop the front axle and take it out the bottom. You don't have to dismantle half the engine or tear up the inside of your coach.
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Old 08-03-2011, 01:54 PM   #12
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If it is like the all the other Chevrolet chassis you drop the front axle and take it out the bottom. You don't have to dismantle half the engine or tear up the inside of your coach.
I can see why this would be the preferred method in a shop, but I don't quite see how you could hoist that front end high enough in a back-yard mechanic kind of situation.

Big tree, block and tackle, gin pole well-driller...?
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Old 08-03-2011, 02:24 PM   #13
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I can see why this would be the preferred method in a shop, but I don't quite see how you could hoist that front end high enough in a back-yard mechanic kind of situation.

Big tree, block and tackle, gin pole well-driller...?
I've done the frame drop method also, in the back yard. Not a lot of fun. There was no other way, it was on a front engine gas bus, 460 FORD. Driver door removal: remove steering wheel and driver seat.
Side door removal: Cover couch and remove barrel chair(s). Cover floor. Have fun.
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Old 08-03-2011, 04:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senior Chief

I'm sorry but you are incorrect.

You do not have have to disassemble anything, remove the thermostat, clear out the antifreeze or anything else. I know this because we literally drove our old Winnie out of the woods where it had been sitting since the previous owned blew the head gasket 2 years prior.

You pour the product in the cold radiator, turn the heater to max and run the engine for an hour. If your engine doesn't run, of course the product won't work for you. My experience has been that engines will and do run, even with blown head gaskets and cracked blocks, you just don't want them to.

With our old Winnie, the white smoke and water out the tailpipe quit in about 15 minutes, the engine smoothed out and it ran like a top thereafter. We immediately drove it 125 miles home with no issues. We sold it about 18 months later.

Whether you use Steel Seal or not is certainly up to you, but your opinion seems to be based on incorrect understanding.

The video on their website is certainly trying to sell the product, but its factual enough.

And in this circumstance, I'm not sure your opinion that it won't work trumps my factual experience that it does. JMHO
Well, I'm very glad that it worked for you. Most of my info came from the company itself. They told me that indeed you "should" remove the thermostat to ensure smooth unrestricted flow of the coolant. They also admitted that the product only works about 90% of the time. My engine won't run because I have water block. That is, coolant has entered my cylinders thus making the engine inoperable. It's a nightmare no matter what way I slice it. Anyway, I think it is much better to remove a crack than it is to plug one. I appreciate the heads up on the product, though.
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