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Old 12-13-2012, 02:07 AM   #1
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HELLO Roadrunners and brick pilots

I bought an impossiby inexpensive 1981 empress 28 foot type a, 40,000km (24,000mi) and except for the age related maintenance, and age damage it is a supurb machine. But what a useless floorplan. i am recently single so where i sleep will not make a difference any more.

i have several questions i would like to discuss, but let be first tell you of my plan to remove the engine/trans and replace them with a pre 95 6.5 chev diesel and an appropreate trans including a gear vendors o/d unit. the pre 95 has a non electronic injector pump and would leave the unit home serviceable (could even carry a spare unit ). i will have to ask regarding transmissions with od and no electronics as to what would work best. i am 53 and i figgure thatthe new setup either with new crate engine or very good rebuild will last as long as ever needed by me. i have for a tow along a modified 1959 109 land rover, with a 327 th400 conversion.

let me tell you something which i find astounding, these chassis were built and stored in 1978 that is stamped as build date.i have found that the 454 versions were given an outdated, reformulated? version of the th400,
some call them thm400, or thm 425 (Thats toranado based 400) and this transmission is the only transmission officially called in GM paperwork as "the Slushbox". sure every auto tranny is unfavorably called that, but these ones are the only ones "officially" called that. they were as i can find out a project of the same team which worked on powerglides. when used un the big olds, pontiacs, and cadillacs they had a compicated kickdown sort of unit (Which is why they were discontinued in 67 or68.) similar trans a 325 or 375 continued till 84 or so in cadillacs

why the history lesson- mine has 4sp and switch pitch converter. i think the 4 gears cover the same ratio span as the 3 sp regular th 400, then i switch the converter when i am maxed out on revs (4300rpm, i think 4bbls not kicking in, i will check that out when we have some good weather, net result is a 800rpm drop, feels like another gear and fuel economy is double that of not using it.

i now modern electronic trans have most of these features but this was built in 78 and no one believes it exists. what do you folks know, i can find little hints in google arcticles on switch pitch transmissions. now im not really a super chevy guy, but i would love to see this powertrain in a 68-72 chevelle to see what got missed by chev fans. the closest i could find an interest in modifying something to run it in might be camero or t/a, and that takes things too far off topic, i will buy anotherempress 1978 vintage, if i can find one, but i notice most of the 78 empress were 440 dodge powered.

once i check the carb out, i may swap to an edelbrock 600-650 and run a distriuter curve check. this unit has only needed tires (due to age), oil changes and a fanbelt in its whole life. i am going to find some way to lower underhood temps, got warm on hills, but when i could feel the slowing starting,i just flicked the converter and power jumps smoothly but like downshifting, just no drama like pulling on shifter and having to be cautious incase you miss.
thanks, what do you think, im very exited to make this into a turbo diesel

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Old 12-13-2012, 10:20 AM   #2
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Monaco Owners Club
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Location: Columbus, MS
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Hi Jeff! Welcome to IRV! We're really glad you joined the bunch! Congrats on the new rig! Sounds like you've got quite a project going there! By the way, you may want to post any questions you have over in the appropriate areas of the forum for better results. Not too many folks hang out here in the welcome area. Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!


Joe & Annette

2002 Monaco Windsor 40PBT, 2013 Honda CRV AWD
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Old 12-13-2012, 02:49 PM   #3
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Howdy and welcome to the forum. I have moved your post to the "Vintage RV" section so it will get better visibility. Good luck with your projects!
Sarah (RVM69), Hubby, and Harry the RVin' Dog
.......2012 Fleetwood Bounder 33C | 2012 Jeep Wrangler

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Old 12-13-2012, 06:10 PM   #4
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05 Monaco, Signature 525 Hp Cummins
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:33 PM   #5
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sounds like an interesting project i thought about something similar be sure to ck the weight difference between the diesel and the gas burner so as not to overload the spindle bearings. if your are going to be real heavy replace them and carry spares bearings with you. bowtie overdrives has non computer controlled overdrives , I'm looking into them for an overdrive for the 1984 class b I'm in the process of rebuilding with the same goal of decent fuel mileage and dependability. take lots of pictures and good luck with your project.
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:53 PM   #6
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Have you done some research on the older 6.5l chev diesel? This maybe one that gm changed from a gas 400cid with new heads. I have heard of the slush box with switch pitch converter. A gm try to improve mileage with the 5.7/6.5 diesels. You might look into an rv built 700r4. They are built bulletproof and can be set up non computer controlled. I have one in my ElCamino with 450hp tpi 5.7. I would suggest newer chev diesel that is computer controlled and wiring harness are available. Just a thought.
Dave and Laura & two cats
02 Discovery with Accord toad
retired auto rv tech and teacher, wife rt nurse
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Old 12-14-2012, 05:22 AM   #7
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If I were you I would rethink the 6.5 in favor of a Cummins 5.9. The 6.5 is under powered and dated while the 5.9 has a large following and parts availability.The overdrive transmission shouldn't be a problem as there are stand alone systems out there to control it. It sounds like an interesting (and expensive) project !
92' Holiday Rambler 1000
The wife, me and two furry kids
If you have it, a truck brought it.
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Old 12-15-2012, 04:14 AM   #8
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Yes,yes merry christmas and seasons greetings to all

i will start off topic by saying i dont really get out much because of my devastated back. i live like a 90s yo in most respects, but i have recieved several seasons greetings and such through the board. i realised yesterday that i had not been told seasons greetings of any kind from any commercial based enterprise in the last 3 years, not 1. I thank your members for including a bit of that cheer even in their avatar locals. may be a seasons greeting of a multi faith spirit could help all with how others react ,and give a moments pause to all so, before what happened today gets a chance to even be a spark of thought. my best... wishes to you my U.S. neighbors.

also thanks for he replys, its great to get some feedback. a neighbor to me just lost his wife as i did, to the now seemingly accepable lack of effort to hold a marrage together, but do they ever learn to use those wireless devices to make their exit, stage left. i know effort is required by both sides . regardless the neighbour had a shop (has to go) he has several of each of the 6.2/6.5 and cummings i have to learn about the medium duty trans, i have even seen allisson trans i think 6 sp for $3000 or so brand new. i have had a 6.2 non electronic non turbo, the simpliciy is very appealing, even with turbo. but these reprograming for more power is also inticing. the non electronic would just be a bolt in swap i like he idea of more power but i carry no weight to need he programming of computers and i know how to get about 120 hp extra out of the older turbo with minor upgrades and an allisson or 700r gm built for towing gets me pretty close to optimum milage for somehing this heavy. i also have found a boat hull (Cigarette boat) That i could use the cummings in and have a very easy engine to service in there, it will cut the top speed in half but looks pretty good comming and going, using abou 1/8 the racing fuel consumption, range will go from 400 miles to about 3000 miles on full diesel tanks.

i am going to put on a few miles his weekend on the princess(empress) previewing a park i hope to rent for 2 months this summer ,i have a new performance distributor and a spare set of eyes(co-pilot) to check carborator opperation i also got a set of 9mm plug wires, cap and plugs, we will drive down do the changes and monitor for any improvements on the return ,i will post results, which section should i use .very flat roads but last 10 km is big bear hill ,there is a tow company right here because breakdowns from ovheating is prevelant there i am goin to try the breather as well to see if i can show the princess i can control that bit of bad behavior


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