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Old 06-25-2012, 01:01 PM   #1
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1995 Itasca Spirit Engine Replacement

HI Everyone, I'm a fairly new RV'er and am looking for some advice.

Recently upgraded to a 27' 1995 Itasca Spirit Class C with about 27,000 miles on it. Ford 460 Engine, E350 Chassis

This thing obviously sat for a long period of time based on age and miles. Before I purchased, all fluids were replaced.

Interior of the coach is in great condition, everything works great and is perfect for our needs.

Problem is, it's developed a knock inside of the engine. I've had a local ford guy look at it and he thinks it is a bad wrist pin or piston skirt and is suggesting the engine be replace at a cost of about $5K.

Had a Ford dealer look at it and they suggested it was rust that had developed on the main bearing and it's rattling in there (not sure I buy that). Their suggestion was to just use it.

I'm going to get a third opinion in a few days.

I've put on about 700 miles and it doesn't appear to be getting worse. Only can hear the knock during acceleration after the engine has warmed up.

I went back to the place I purchased it from and we came to an agreement to split the price of the engine replacement. They cut me a check for $2500 and I went on my way.

My question is, does anyone have any experience replacing an engine in a class C. Wondering if the $5K price tag sounds about right.

Our tentative plan is to use it as is this summer - sticking close to home and just heading to local lakes/campsites. Replace the engine in the fall when we aren't using it. I did purchase roadside assistance so if it does go out, we are covered on the towing aspect.

This has certainly been a learning experience for me. Low mile RV's can be worse off than a high mile one.

Thanks for any input!
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:31 PM   #2
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I wouldn't drive it anywhere with an engine knock. It can and will fail at the worst time.

Shop around at some engine rebuilders instead of a repair shop. Many engine rebuilders will also install engines.

Doing a quick search on the internet shows a reman long block available for $1900 with a 3 year warranty, probably can find one even cheaper if you look around.
$3000 seems a bit steep for labor considering you have a Class C with engine access under the hood.

Consider purchasing your own engine and have it delivered to your repair shop. No sense paying someone a huge mark up for them to buy the engine for you.

I would think 15 to 20 hours max for labor, check your local labor rates to figure out what it should cost to install. Talk labor hours to get an estimate, when you talk price it's easier for someone to gouge you.
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:48 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wanabee FTer View Post
I wouldn't drive it anywhere with an engine knock. It can and will fail at the worst time.

Shop around at some engine rebuilders instead of a repair shop. Many engine rebuilders will also install engines.

Doing a quick search on the internet shows a reman long block available for $1900 with a 3 year warranty, probably can find one even cheaper if you look around.
$3000 seems a bit steep for labor considering you have a Class C with engine access under the hood.

Consider purchasing your own engine and have it delivered to your repair shop. No sense paying someone a huge mark up for them to buy the engine for you.

I would think 15 to 20 hours max for labor, check your local labor rates to figure out what it should cost to install. Talk labor hours to get an estimate, when you talk price it's easier for someone to gouge you.
If there is a problem with the remanfactured engine, who is going to assume the responsibility?
As a former shop owner, I would have no part of a deal to replace an engine someone drops off. To many variables when it comes to sorting out any problems. Part way into the installation you find out it is for a different application. Who pays for the labor to undo that problem.
Owning a shop is tough enough without being denied fair profit.
$3000. probably is steep, but the only way is to compare what another shop would do it for.
Another option is have a Ford mechanic take a listen and then do an oil sample. That should tell you if there is excess bearing material in the lube oil.
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:53 PM   #4
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I'd get another opinion on the knock. And get your oil pressure checked with a calibrated gauge. Is it really a knock or is it some preignition or is it some piston slap? What weight oil are you running?

Seems to me that the Ford 460 did have some oil pump issues and required a new oil pump to solve the problem....much chaeaper than an engine rebuld.

A decent mechanic should be able to better identify the noise with a little diagnostic work.

As for the oil analysys, you can get a test kit and send it off to a lab ...pretty inexpensive this way.

Ken
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Old 06-25-2012, 02:08 PM   #5
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Just for giggles, change the oil and filter again. There is the possibility that the oil filter has failed internally (happens sometimes with that orange brand) leaving you with marginal pressure. Cheap and easy to do and then you can cross that off the list.
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Old 06-25-2012, 04:22 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

We did have the oil changed at a ford dealer, they used genuine ford filter and recommended oil (synthetic 5w30). Have not had the pressure checked.

I made a quick video of what the knocking is.

Knocking on itasca motorhome with ford 460 engine - YouTube

Appears to go away if I pull the plug on the cylinder closest to the coach on the drivers side.

Anyway, will report back with what the 3rd mechanic says and will start calling around for some bids.

Thanks again! love the forum and wealth of information that is here.
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:04 PM   #7
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By removing the plug wire it pretty much tells you it's not a valve train problem.
It's most likely a worn/faulty wrist pin or bad piston, it's less likely to be a rod/main bearing noise. Either way the engine should be replaced. I would not try to repair the problem without replacing it.
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:57 PM   #8
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One more suggestion, examine torque converter flex plate before ordering up a motor. Cracked flex plate can make you think there is something internal broken.
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:11 PM   #9
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An update for anyone that was curious.

Engine was pulled today and was told that the thrust bearings were bad, movement in the shaft was causing the knocking.

We are going to replace with a remanufactured engine that comes with a 1 year 12K warranty. And I will be on my way (about $4,000 poorer).

It's only money right

Thanks again for the help! Looking forward to hitting the road.
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