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Old 09-23-2011, 02:11 AM   #29
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(Still trying to convince myself all this work will be worth it)
I think it will! When I bought my Caravel in '03 everyone said 'oh, you'll keep it a few years and then get something bigger'. Well, here we are 8 years later and I still have no intention of doing that. It's a great size trailer, a great layout, and it's just danged cute! I'm a big Caravel fan - I'll bet you will be too
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Old 09-23-2011, 05:29 AM   #30
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Caravel For Sale

If anyone is looking for a Caravel there is one for sale near me. This one just came up on CL just south of Pittsburgh. What do other Caravel owners feel about this price.

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Ace in PA (I'm not selling ours)
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Old 09-23-2011, 07:42 AM   #31
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Just a warning

"(Still trying to convince myself all this work will be worth it)"

Bruce,

I do have to admit that I burned out by the end of the job. In fact, I plan to finish the cabinet over the galley this weekend -- nearly 2 years after our first big trip.

If I had it to do over again, I would have had a pro do the axle, shell-off replacement, under-body tanks and belly pan. Also, I'd have them review my design in detail so that any holes in the floor and walls were perfectly located.

We had the opportunity to do a cross-country trip and I ended up pressed for time. If you have no deadline, things could be much easer for you.

Expect a LOT of hours. I purposely didn't count, but it was far more time consuming than I expected.

In the end, we love it. Very rarely do we think it is too small. Our mileage is good and we can access sites that most trailers and RVs wouldn't even consider.

One thing that really kept us going was using it along the way. When we first achieved the aluminum tent stage, we took it to a beautiful state park in Vermont as the leaves were changing. Even with just a mattress on the floor, it was a lot of fun, and an real inspiration.

I know this was a little wordy, but I'd hate to see you give up because you underestimated the commitment you are undertaking. For us it was definitely worth it.

John
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Old 09-23-2011, 07:44 AM   #32
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I wish they were worth this much

aceflys asked: "What do other Caravel owners feel about this price?"

Très cher.

Maybe with a new floor and axle.
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Old 09-23-2011, 07:58 AM   #33
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aceflys asked: "What do other Caravel owners feel about this price?"

Très cher.

Maybe with a new floor and axle.
I feel the same way. Still whats it worth? Put the money on it! $$$$

I think its not even worth 10K. But I see people paying near 5K for projects. Then they put tons of cash into them to make then useable.

Ace
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Old 09-23-2011, 09:39 AM   #34
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Ace-

With the assumption that the floor and frame are good and that the axle has to be replaced, I think it's probably worth $7500.

The pictures don't do it justice. If it is really as sweet as described, maybe $9,500 max.

Just my humble opinion.

John
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Old 09-23-2011, 11:09 AM   #35
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Putting the money on it

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Ace-

With the assumption that the floor and frame are good and that the axle has to be replaced, I think it's probably worth $7500.

The pictures don't do it justice. If it is really as sweet as described, maybe $9,500 max.

Just my humble opinion.

John
I was thinking the same. Thanks for your input.

Ace
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Old 09-23-2011, 08:56 PM   #36
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I'm struggling with deciding how to approach this renovation. On one hand I want to do the minimum necessary just to get the Al tent roadworthy so we can start camping asap. And John, I'm with you re just throwing a couple of mattresses on the floor and using public facilities at campgrounds. Sounds like a blast to me.

But in order to get to that stage the belly pan and interior skin need to be reinstalled after I've checked the frame, floor and replaced the insulation. If my wiring and plumbing are not complete and correct we're looking at having to pull one or both off again. Aaargh.

On the other hand waiting till everything is complete could mean 6 months to a few years without being able to enjoy the trailer for the main reason I purchased it.

So, here's my current take on things, and I'd appreciate any feedback:

1) Replace the axle,
2) inspect the frame and make sure it's right,
3) replace the floor,
4) remove interior skin and all insulation,
5) replace insulation with reflective type sandwiched between pink fiberglass,
6) Strip old paint and maybe vinyl coating from inner skin
7) reinstall inner skin with absolute minimum number of rivets to hold things in place. This will expedite later removal to finish running the wiring that needs to go between skins,
8) reinstall belly plan as #7
9) go camping
10) finish remaining renovation as time permits

Are there any dangers with the minimum rivet approach for the inner skin? Will the structural integrity likely be too compromised to use the trailer for a few short trips?

Regarding the belly pan I would put quite a few more rivets on the forward leading edge(s) so I don't have to worry about airflow getting underneath and ripping it off.

Bruce
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Old 09-23-2011, 08:58 PM   #37
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If I had it to do over again, I would have had a pro do the axle, shell-off replacement, under-body tanks and belly pan. Also, I'd have them review my design in detail so that any holes in the floor and walls were perfectly located.
Great advice. If anyone knows of a good pro or pros in the New Orleans area please let me know.

thanks,
Bruce
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Old 09-23-2011, 09:20 PM   #38
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The axle is about a 3 hour job - even for a novice. There is alot of prep work and having a nice level concrete slab to work on and a couple of friends over makes it easier. I did mine alone and it still was only 3 hours from removal of the old to the install of the new.

Good quality floor jack, several automotive jack stands, the right hand tools and lots of cold beer...... AND buy a axle to spec for the install with new brakes on it already.
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Old 09-23-2011, 09:29 PM   #39
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What to do

I have seen many people camping in "Aluminum Tents" at rallys. I have also seen other running with out the full belly pans on. SOB don't have pans.
Your other option would be to buy a trailer that is usable now and then sell it down the road when your Caravel is ready to roll. I think that is what I would do. If you are looking someone to work on yours. I would talk to Frank @ Franks Trailer Works in Baltimore. He could do your Axle, Frame and have you rolling very quickly. I would not waste my time putting the inner skin in just to take it back out.

Hope this helps

Ace in PA
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Old 09-23-2011, 10:15 PM   #40
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The axle is about a 3 hour job - even for a novice. There is alot of prep work and having a nice level concrete slab to work on and a couple of friends over makes it easier. I did mine alone and it still was only 3 hours from removal of the old to the install of the new.

Good quality floor jack, several automotive jack stands, the right hand tools and lots of cold beer...... AND buy a axle to spec for the install with new brakes on it already.
I spoke with Andy at Inland RV and he was very helpful. If I remember correctly he told me the Henschen with brakes was a essentially a drop in replacement with the exception of having to drill a couple of new holes in the frame and welding a couple of plates for the shocks. If I send him a photo of the current axle taken from above so he can see which version I have, which of course means dropping the axle first, he would weld the plates in place for me before shipping. Super!

Also found a local guy with a small trailer repair business who's willing to remove the existing axle for $100. He's got whatever gear we may need so no muss, no fuss.

Finally, contacted a welding shop whose owner is a mechanical engineer. When I mentioned I'd like someone to inspect the frame and in a worse case either build a completely new one if mine is too rusted, or maybe just repair a few bad members, his first comment was: "It needs to be square". A very good sign I think.

I agree it's probably a good idea to use professionals whenever possible. Costs a bit more but increases the chances things will be done right and should save a bunch of time.

Bruce
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Old 09-23-2011, 10:21 PM   #41
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I would talk to Frank @ Franks Trailer Works in Baltimore. He could do your Axle, Frame and have you rolling very quickly.
Good idea Ace. With what I've read about the axle problems on these trailers I'm a little reticent to pull it a long distance. But it sure would be nice to have someone else do the basics first and get her roadworthy in a hurry. I think I'll give him a call to discuss.

thanks,
Bruce
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Old 09-24-2011, 04:35 AM   #42
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Sealing small holes in exterior skin

There are a few holes in the exterior skin from what looks like previously removed rivets. I suppose I could seal them with new rivets and/or Al patches, but has anyone tried a product called Dura Fix? It looks like a welding rod but can be used at relatively low temperatures of a simple propane torch.

Here's a video of it being used to seal a hole in an aluminum can.

How to weld thin material, Aluminum Can (Puerto Rico) - YouTube

Seems like it could make almost invisible repairs after a little sanding and buffing.

Just wondering if there are any downsides like discoloring the skin.

Bruce
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