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From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: hot rodding a motorhome?
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 20:03:51 -0500

J Forbes wrote:
> I just paid for my new motorhome, I have to go get
> it now.  Hope it makes it's only about a
> mile, but it's having ignition problems.
> 1975 Travco, Dodge M300 chassis, 440, 727.  Not sure
> how long it is, I think about 20 feet.  Class A.
> So....will a Hemi fit in there?  Or should I go to a
> BBC, as I have goodies for them?
> Maybe just an RV cam (what, in an RV?) and possibly
> headers, if I can find any that are thick enough
> that they'd last.  Wonder what gears it
> has....probably a Dana 60 back there.

Back in the early 70s my motorcycle team's sponsor was a Winnebago
dealer.  He decided to hotrod the Dodge 440 engine in one of the
larger Winnebagos that we used for the team.  Our first trip on the
new engine was to Daytona for SpeedWeek from here in Tennessee.
Several things were notable.  First off, even pulling a large
enclosed trailer with several road racing bikes, it would bury the
100 mph speedometer.  That was the good part.  The noise in the
coach drove us bat-shit!  The body resonated in sympathy with the
header pulsations.  I spent much of the trip with ear plugs in.
Then there was the mileage.  Under 1 mpg over 80.  Even driving
65-70 it got no better than 3 or 4.  We were paying for the gas and
it broke us all!  First and last time I've ever had to be raped by
Western Union to get enough money to return home on.

I suspect that if you want to actually enjoy your MH you'll be
looking to going the other way instead of hotrodding.  Unless you
like trailing a tanker wagon of course :-)  Forget the headers.
Cast iron manifolds have a short enough life as it is from the
heat.  The RV cam is probably a good idea.  Might also consider the
Holly Pro-jection system.  It works very well in a motorhome
application.  You  might also consider one of the external overdrive
boxes (U.S. Gear for example).  When you're not pulling a trailer or
driving in the mountains, the OD will greatly improve mileage.  You
might even consider a SMALLER engine.  I have a 22 ft MH on a Chevy
chassis that has a 350 small block in it.  I get 10-12 mpg when not
towing a trailer and I still have adequate power so that I can come
up to freeway speed on entrance ramps.


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