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Old 05-26-2011, 05:22 AM
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how to get better milage/performance 454 motor home

My buddy has a 35' motor home with a vortec 454 chevy engine. He would like to wake it up a little bit but he would really like to increase mpg! I'm sure they sell headers for it? I was thinking that maybe he can have the computer reflashed? any other suggestions?

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Old 05-26-2011, 08:01 AM
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Not much you can do with a Box for MPG. Headers & Dual exhaust w/crossover will help. Not sure what Cam GM used in those but, an RV/Towing type Cam may help, most of these can be used w/out Chip mods.
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:46 AM
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Gale Banks Systems

These systems are engineered and tested. Eliminates the guesswork. Cost about $2000, but could pay for itself in gas savings. RV shops install this system on alot of motorhomes. Smog legal too. Check it out;
http://www.bankspower.com/products/show/135/66
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:24 PM
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X 2 on both replies...Banks does make nice stuff but as said it is EXPENSIVE!! and there's usually some stuff that really isn't needed. A set of Thorley tri-y headers (not cheap either) but will never wear out, a good 2.5" free flowing exhaust with turbo type muffs and a home made fresh air intake. This can be done by running flex 3" hose to the air cleaner intake tube (s)....keeps the heat out of the carb/FI

These different ways of improving mpg depends on how much money your buddy wants to spend but in the end you have to remember that you're still pushing a barn door at 70 mph. If you gain 2 mpg you'll be lucky no matter how much you spend.
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Old 05-27-2011, 04:55 AM
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I did see that he had his air box mounted it the rad support area, but he also had a long run of dryer vent tubing that had some sort of defuser at the end of it. I figured to atleast remove all of the rippled tubing and replace it with aluminum piping of the same size. I am going to recommend that he do a set of headers and exhaust then see if he can find a place to dyno it so he can send the results with the computer to have it reflashed!
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Old 05-27-2011, 07:58 PM
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I had a 454 moho and did all the banks stuff. Headers, air inlet etc. Mpg went up about 10% as advertised. Thats 1/2 mpg!!! However I was towing a 24 ft inclosed trailer and there was a big increase in torque. Entering the freeway and pulling hills I could feel a big differance. If you are just looking for mileage it isn't worth the $$
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Old 05-28-2011, 07:41 AM
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Calculate how much fuel you would spend over the life of the motorhome, then compare that to the cost of the modifications it would take to get 1/2 or 1 mpg and see how much money that puts in your pocket. While you're at it, compare the cost of the banks kit with just dropping in a 6.5L diesel. Same basic HP and TQ, but probably almost double the MPG.

Lots of ways to skin a cat, but probably none of them will put money back in your pocket. Its a 20,000 lb billboard. It will never get any kind of mileage that will even vaguely make you "happy."
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Old 05-28-2011, 08:42 AM
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A 454 GM or a 460 Ford in a 35' motor home chassis just isn't going to get much in the way of great gas mileage. If your buddy is getting 5-7 mpg - there just isn't going to be a quick and dirty plus cheap fix. If it has a carb on the engine, it might make a difference if he were to go to one of the after market EFI units and a set headers and free flow exhaust - but of course that's, by the time it's installed, in the 3 to 4000 dollar bracket - with maybe a 1 mpg increase. Payback period - many years!! Of course, he could dump the 454 and install a diesel - and be good for 2-3 mpg increase, but the +/-.50/gallon premium on the fuel almost makes that a useless mod pricewise.

A good tune, a free flow exhaust, tires inflated 5-10 pounds more (but not to exceed the side wall max psig), maybe put an air dam under the bumper and streamline the clutter on the roof will help some as well.

Even the new six figure 30-35 foot motor homes with Cat or other commercial diesel engine is only in the 6-9mpg range - no RV's are cheap in any sense from buying, depreciation, insurance, registration, etc - it's a toy/hobby/past time

My 8400 pound gas engined truck, pulling my kinda streamlined 34 foot 12,000 pound 5th wheel will on occasion get 9-10 with 'real' gas, but normal is 7-9 with the ethanol junk.

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Old 05-28-2011, 08:43 AM
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I think the mpg would just be a welcome benefit but the performance seems to be his major sticking point. In a perfect world a diesel would be the way to go but he isn't up for a project like that, just some bolt on goodies!
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Old 05-28-2011, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irelands child
A 454 GM or a 460 Ford in a 35' motor home chassis just isn't going to get much in the way of great gas mileage. If your buddy is getting 5-7 mpg - there just isn't going to be a quick and dirty plus cheap fix. If it has a carb on the engine, it might make a difference if he were to go to one of the after market EFI units and a set headers and free flow exhaust - but of course that's, by the time it's installed, in the 3 to 4000 dollar bracket - with maybe a 1 mpg increase. Payback period - many years!! Of course, he could dump the 454 and install a diesel - and be good for 2-3 mpg increase, but the +/-.50/gallon premium on the fuel almost makes that a useless mod pricewise.

A good tune, a free flow exhaust, tires inflated 5-10 pounds more (but not to exceed the side wall max psig), maybe put an air dam under the bumper and streamline the clutter on the roof will help some as well.

Even the new six figure 30-35 foot motor homes with Cat or other commercial diesel engine is only in the 6-9mpg range - no RV's are cheap in any sense from buying, depreciation, insurance, registration, etc - it's a toy/hobby/past time

My 8400 pound gas engined truck, pulling my kinda streamlined 34 foot 12,000 pound 5th wheel will on occasion get 9-10 with 'real' gas, but normal is 7-9 with the ethanol junk.

Dave W
He had the Vortec MPFI on it now. I know the spider assy is junk on the 5.7 engine but not sure about the 454? my recommendations are going to be headers, free flowing exhaust, smooth air intake plumbing, and a computer upgrade. I think an air dam would help by getting cool air to the filter. I will look into different cam options before he does a computer upgrade.
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Old 05-28-2011, 09:02 AM
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What Trans is in it? 4L80E or TH400?
A Gear Vendors OD could be used w/400 but, they're not cheap either. About $1500 used & $2300 new.
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Old 05-28-2011, 09:59 AM
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I am 99% sure it has the 4L80E trans. I want to ask him what the rpm is when he is hwy driving. if he dyno's it then we can see where his hp/tq bands are to determine if a cam would help or if gearing is an issue.
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