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Old 05-24-2017, 01:47 PM   #1
Can down by the river
 
1962 26' Overlander
Denver , Colorado
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 3
12V wiring help!

Hello all. I bought a 1962 Overlander on Craigslist about six months ago and I am continuing the shell-on renovation that the previous owner started. I am getting ready to buy my battery bank and inverter etc. The PO had not planned to use the 12V system (despite the fact that she was wiring for solar!) and for the life of me, I cannot find the fuse panel or ANY place where the wiring might start!

I took off two makeshift access panels at the front revealing the TV connections to the running lights and the battery box by the propane tanks. There is no evidence of any kind of wiring to the rest of the trailer other than a single orange wire leading from the battery box outside into the front wall of the trailer to who-knows-where. The trailer has been gutted down to the inner skin so it's pretty easy to see panels or patches inside where something might be hiding the wires. The PO also marked the places where the 12V wiring can be found behind the 110V receptacles so I know the wiring is still there. I have taken off the patches on the street side where the furnace and water heater once resided revealing no wiring. There is no wiring near either of the curbside access doors and no evidence of any 12V wiring near the shore power access and circuit breaker.

Does anyone have any suggestions of where the wiring might be? I would really like to avoid taking off the inner skins but I don't know what else to do at this point.
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Old 05-25-2017, 10:30 AM   #2
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2009
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Welcome to the forums!

Well, start by looking at the things that are traditionally running off 12V in your year of trailer. This would include the ceiling (or any other original) light fixtures and roof vent fans, the fan for the stove exhaust hood, the water pump and the furnace. If these items have been removed, try to locate the place where they were once installed.

If the PO didn't remove the inner skins and tear out the 12V wires, then they should be there somewhere. Now they might hav snipped them off flush with the wall, which would suck, but maybe you will get lucky, and all they did was push the 12V wires into the hole in the wall where they protruded. I would not expect to see any 12V wiring visible from an exterior access hatch. I also find it hard to believe that

Your 12V wires will all be the flexible stranded wire type. If you find solid, Romex style wires, then they are for the 120 V system. You mention that they marked the 120 V outlets where 12V wires can be found, which is unexpected, to me. Typically there is an effort, by design, to keep 12V and 120V wires quite separate.

Best course of action might be to get your hands on a "shop" manual for your year and have a look at the wiring diagram.

good luck!
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Old 05-25-2017, 05:19 PM   #3
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
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Greetings from a fellow Colorado resident! And welcome to the vintage Airstream hobby. I nearly purchased a 59 Overlander some years ago. See photo. It was nice, but I balked at the single axle under it. I found a 66 Trade Wind a month later and purchased that one instead.

You never know what we previous owners might be up to! My trailer had all the propane appliances removed as the owner didn't trust propane! He wanted an all electric trailer.

Here is a copy of the wiring diagram from my 66 trailer from my owner's manual. It may give you a bit of perspective. As Belegedhel suggests, take off a 12v fixture and see what the wiring looked like. The fuse panel on my 66 was located in the rear cargo compartment. It was an Airstream made affair. I replaced it with a store bought one.

You might very well be in for an interior skins off rewiring job. At least then you can design your own circuits and power the 12v devices you want. You could include solar power, a big inverter, air conditioner, and boondock in luxury.

David
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Old 05-28-2017, 10:53 AM   #4
Can down by the river
 
1962 26' Overlander
Denver , Colorado
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 3
Thanks

Thanks for your help dbj216 and Belegedhel!

I am just going to have to start taking the skins off until I can either find where the 12 wiring originated or I have completely removed the interior aluminum. I will start by removing the front piece of aluminum where the battery wires came in and then the very back piece since that appears to be where the fuses were in most early 60s 'streams

The PO appears to have taken the original 12V wires near 110V plugs pushed them into the wall and run them back behind the 110. This needs to be fixed before I run both 110 and 12V simultaneously. They are all nice, pretty heavy-gauge stranded orange wires. Yesterday I found where the running lights go toward the back in the ceiling and where one 12V wire is running back but that doesn't help me figure out where they split into separate fused circuits.

Jacob
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Old 06-02-2017, 05:41 AM   #5
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1960 24' Tradewind
Savage , Minnesota
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 18
12V Wiring Help

My 1960 had the 120 volt circuit breaker box located in the rear storage compartment also. My 12 VDC fuse box was located in the front passenger side. My unit had old screw in fuses. My unit has the water tank and air compressor pump also located at the front and air pump near the fuse block. Each light has 2 lights, one for AC and one for DC. So you have both types of wires to each light. The overhead fans only run off AC so you do not have any DC wires running to them.

The PO had a RV shop install a 7 pin female/male connector on the outside under the battery box. They then wired all of the wires from that point. Check your furnace wiring. The furnace in mine is located near the stove. I have a AC/DC converter mounted under the stove so the furnace blower can run off battery or city power.

The DC is only one wire (Positive). They use the skin of the AS for the negative wiring.

Good Luck.
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Old 06-02-2017, 08:06 AM   #6
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Hi

You might try a circuit tracer. They are gizmos that you hook to a wire to put a tone on the line. You then can track it by holding the other half of the system near the wire. They are useless for a wire under a metal skin. They are fine for checking at each likely hole in the skin to see if something is buried nearby. The run from dirt cheap to terribly expensive. Best bet is to borrow one of the expensive ones from a neighbor

Bob
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Old 06-02-2017, 05:20 PM   #7
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
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Hi Gumperoncini: I didn't realize the early 60s trailer weren't "univolt". This concept was a Airstream first where they made the whole trailer run on 12v. Wally Byam could then go caravaning in Africa and boondock in comfort. My 66 is "univolt". The only 115vAC are the seven outlets and the air conditioner.

You would be wise to just bite the big bullet and plan on rewiring your vintage Airstream to modern standards. Time consuming I know. It won't be original, but it would be much better.

David
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Old 06-02-2017, 05:43 PM   #8
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1991 34' Excella
1963 26' Overlander
1961 26' Overlander
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These old trailers can differ a bit but I suspect you will find that it never had a 12v fuse panel. My 63 and 61 had 2 fuses, both right at the battery. The 12 v house wires were all one color and strung as one run with multiple splices inside the walls. Only the tail light wires resemble modern standards.
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Old 06-02-2017, 10:22 PM   #9
Can down by the river
 
1962 26' Overlander
Denver , Colorado
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 3
Solved!

Solved! And I managed to do it without a circuit tracer.

Thanks for your help everyone!

Hihoagrv you were right, no fuse box just two fuses near the front, one run with two splice points.

After pulling on some of the wires and listening to where they are in the walls, I unriveted and peeled back a few edges of skin to find the locations of the 12V wires. I may be the only person ever to say this but the insides of my walls are immaculate. No evidence of critters, leaks, anything. The insulation is in great condition, the wires and sheathing look fantastic for being 55 years old. It makes me feel better about my laziness in not removing the skins and rewiring, reinsulating, etc.

I have attached a few pictures and a diagram of what I found to help anyone else who encounters similar issues.

Thanks again for the help, it is great to be part of such a great community.
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Old 06-03-2017, 06:36 AM   #10
Half a Rivet Short
 
2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Hi

Glad you worked it out !!!

So, what's the next step?

Bob
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Old 06-03-2017, 08:03 AM   #11
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1963 24' Tradewind
Maumelle , Arkansas
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I have a '63 Tradewind that is similar. I haven't tackled my 12v system yet, but your diagram got me thinking to look for 12v wires by the rear light in the bath area. I think I've found all of the others. I love this forum! :-D
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