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Old 04-27-2011, 07:53 PM   #1
Joz OP
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Build your own diesel RV

So here's the plan:
1. 27' Class C RV that's just too thirsty:



2. Remove 7.5 liter gas engine & 3 speed auto transmission and replace them with these:





A 5.9 liter first generation Cummins turbo diesel & an Allison 542 (with the 545 extra capacity oil pan) 4 speed auto transmission.

Lots of the diesel conversion forums say it can't be done but I've seen a few photos and videos of those who have!

What could go wrong?
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:01 PM   #2
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So here are a few photos of getting to where I am now:

Donor truck:



A 1992 Dodge, so it's a first generation 5.9L Cummins which means no electronics. Only needs two wires to run: one for the starter and one for the fuel solenoid; and even then the fuel solenoid can be held open manually. That makes the electrical part of this conversion much easier.

Engine still in the donor truck:


The truck had 187,000 on the clock. The stock 5 speed manual transmission went to a buddy for his own conversion project.

Here I am pulling the engine. Slight problem: The lift is at full extension and I still need a few inches to clear the front clip:


No problem. Pull the front wheels & drop the chassis to the ground so I can get the engine out:




Engine out and getting cleaned up:





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Joz screwed with this post 04-27-2011 at 08:13 PM
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:07 PM   #3
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A little into the engine:



The heads on these things are freakin HEAVY!












Oh no! Found the problem:


Looks like the injector on #4 was leaky and washed oil off the cylinder till the piston went. What's the cylinder look like?


The awesome thing is that the cylinder measures well within specs. Got a ball hone - she'll clean right up. Just shy of 200K and you can still see the cross hatching!

Well. That's where I am now. I just ordered the engine rebuild parts yesterday! Now comes the fun!
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:16 PM   #4
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I'm sure you can get it done. But you can buy a lot of gas for what it is going to cost you esp. if you're time is worth anything if the 460 is still strong. Not sure what you had in the old dodge But I've sold burned up complete cores for $1000.00 just for the engine. Good luck. I'll be watching this one.
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:21 PM   #5
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Love these kinds of threads
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Old 04-27-2011, 10:19 PM   #6
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Love these kinds of threads
Big + ONE
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Old 04-28-2011, 12:52 PM   #7
Range Motorsport
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NDEBT View Post
I'm sure you can get it done. But you can buy a lot of gas for what it is going to cost you esp. if you're time is worth anything if the 460 is still strong. Not sure what you had in the old dodge But I've sold burned up complete cores for $1000.00 just for the engine. Good luck. I'll be watching this one.

With nearly double the fuel mileage out of the Cummins it would be worth it vs buying a new camper or just simply not using it anymore and letting it sit. The ability to run the Cummins on bio diesel also makes it worth it to me.
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Old 04-28-2011, 05:34 PM   #8
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forget the hydro boost, use a vacuum pump to power the brakes since the ac controls are probably also vacuum powered, you will need a tank for additional safety
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:17 PM   #9
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I approve of this thread
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:31 PM   #10
Joz OP
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@NDEBT: You're right: I could go a long ways on gas for the money this will cost but what fun is that?

My conversion budget it $3000. So far I've paid $1000 for the donor truck. That means: engine, transmission, fuel tank & lines, radiator, intercooler, etc. I just ordered the full gasket kit, cylinder head bolts & piston/rings for $890. I'm still ahead.

There's a few more expensive things on the list:
1. Hydroboost system to replace the stock vacuum brake booster system (about $300)
2. VSS to mechanical conversion box - also about $300. Unless I can find a mechanical speedometer pickup for the 500 series Allison transmission.
3. Gas to propane conversion kit for the generator - hmmmm.... also about $300. Till then I'll just haul a small spare gas can.
4. Drive shaft modification


Of course there will be lots of fabrication and creativity along the way.
The math says I should be able to double the mileage and be able to push the RV, fully loaded, including my 6x10 trailer loaded with bikes across the Colorado mountains at ~adequate~ highway speed.

We'll see.
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:40 PM   #11
Inane Cathode
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joz View Post
@NDEBT: You're right: I could go a long ways on gas for the money this will cost but what fun is that?

My conversion budget it $3000. So far I've paid $1000 for the donor truck. That means: engine, transmission, fuel tank & lines, radiator, intercooler, etc. I just ordered the full gasket kit, cylinder head bolts & piston/rings for $890. I'm still ahead.

There's a few more expensive things on the list:
1. Hydroboost system to replace the stock vacuum brake booster system (about $300)
2. VSS to mechanical conversion box - also about $300. Unless I can find a mechanical speedometer pickup for the 500 series Allison transmission.
3. Gas to propane conversion kit for the generator - hmmmm.... also about $300. Till then I'll just haul a small spare gas can.
4. Drive shaft modification


Of course there will be lots of fabrication and creativity along the way.
The math says I should be able to double the mileage and be able to push the RV, fully loaded, including my 6x10 trailer loaded with bikes across the Colorado mountains at ~adequate~ highway speed.

We'll see.
Per the VSS thing, i dont know how yours is put together, but if you're trying to trigger a pulse style speedometer without a pulse generator, you can use an inductive proximity sensor, and figure out how many 'vanes' on the output shaft you'd need to drive it. Probably not as easy as a bolt on, but certainly less expensive than a $300 part :)
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Old 04-27-2011, 10:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joz View Post
@NDEBT: You're right: I could go a long ways on gas for the money this will cost but what fun is that?

My conversion budget it $3000. So far I've paid $1000 for the donor truck. That means: engine, transmission, fuel tank & lines, radiator, intercooler, etc. I just ordered the full gasket kit, cylinder head bolts & piston/rings for $890. I'm still ahead.


.
Oh I agree This is cool don't get me wrong I love this stuff and the mini winnie looks great. I would not be a prisoner to that budget though. Whats the 460 get I'm guessing about 9 MPG? I'm sure you can recoupe some from selling it. I'm still not sure why other than just because wich is cool too. Is there another problem with the big Ford other than MPG?
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:23 PM   #13
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Ya gotta love a 12 valve B-Series Cummins. Tried and true non-electronic goodness. I've got over 300,000 on my '94 and it still runs like like the day I brought it home. The only thing I've ever had to do to the motor it is replace a $2 piece of injection return hose.
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:30 PM   #14
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Ummm. How's the RV's rest of the powertrain gonna take a diesel? Does the diff's, axle's, driveshafts, etc.. gonna put up with the power?

Best of luck!
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:33 PM   #15
Joz OP
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Ummm. How's the RV's rest of the powertrain gonna take a diesel? Does the diff's, axle's, driveshafts, etc.. gonna put up with the power?

Best of luck!

Well, my *expert* analysis says that since lots of guys are putting the same setup in 1/2 ton pickups and putting 10's (or more) thousands of miles on them I figure my E350 chassis should handle it. Yup - that's the extent of my assessment!
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