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Old 04-18-2017, 08:02 AM   #1
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Capistrano Beach , California
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Close to purchasing 66 Caravel

I'm new to this forum and quite honestly in the process of purchasing a 66 Caravel... first trailer ever. I was wondering if anyone could provide advice or could make me aware of things that I need to look for specific to this model and year (good & bad). Any information is appreciated. Thanks in advance for your time... :-)

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Old 04-18-2017, 10:26 AM   #2
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1967 17' Caravel
Cadillac , Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2009
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Soft or rotted floor is a problem with most older Airstreams.

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Old 04-18-2017, 10:50 AM   #3
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1999 30' Excella 1000
small town , Maryland
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Welcome Mr Magoo, Have the owner hook up the trailer and show you how everything works, ie heater, water, stove, etc. etc. As stated above look for signs of leaks and rotted floors. Check tires for dry rot. Check Onecraigs, E-bay, and the net for price comparisons. Hopefully this works out and your making camping reservations soon Are the swallows in yet?
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Old 04-18-2017, 12:17 PM   #4
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1966 17' Caravel
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Las Cruces , New Mexico
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 536
As above, make sure everything works. The heater, if original, may not be safe to use. In any case, get a CO detector.
Axles do get old and brittle. The original axles were a little prone to breaking the spindle and should be replaced.
Some of the toilets were mounted directly on the black tank which will break the tank and tear the bathroom fiberglass.
Do the drain valves work for the water system? Copper piping been replaced with PEX?
How recently was the trailer taken out and used?
Look at the plastic pieces like the refrigerator scoop, the refrigerator vent cover (on the roof). These are ABS plastic and they crack.
The list goes on... Careful inspection is a must. Get used to the idea you will have to fix something.
1966 Airstream Caravel
2006 Toyota Tacoma
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Old 04-18-2017, 01:16 PM   #5
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1974 29' Ambassador
1966 20' Globetrotter
Central , Illinois
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You have not mentioned if this Caravel is in "original" condition or if it has had some work done by a previous owner and is well maintained.
If this is an all-original trailer, I suggest you go to the Forums and find some threads about a restoration and/or remodel for an early to mid 60's trailer. It will give you an idea of the enormous amount of work required to make it a fully functional trailer.
I knew I had a lot on my plate when we bought our '66 Globetrotter, having done a lot on our '74, but it surprised me how much more needed to be fixed.
Good luck, if you do buy the Caravel, you might consider finding a mentor in the area and look for Vintage rallies and workshops.
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Old 04-18-2017, 03:18 PM   #6
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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Posts: 2,428
Welcome to the forums!

Download the buyer's inspection checklist from the link below. If you go through it completely, you should find just about every problem that can be identified without disassembly:

As far as common problems, it mostly depends on how and where the trailer has been stored for the last 50 years. A trailer in a barn in southern California might be pristine, but a trailer of the same year stored outdoors in knee-high grass on the Florida panhandle will be ready for a frame replacement. The only way to know what to look for is to look for everything. Also, manage your expectations, afterall, if you were buying a car that had been parked in someone's backyard for the last 20 years, you wouldn't expect to immediately take it on a road trip--same principle, only worse, since these trailers all have wood floors.

good luck!
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Old 04-19-2017, 12:23 PM   #7
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1964 26' Overlander
Rancho Palos Verdes , California
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 73
Just in case you aren't aware: on May 20th there is a Vintage Trailer rally in Pismo Beach. There will be all types of vintage trailers there, including many airstreams. It's a great way to learn about older airstreams (and others). There are a lot of people to talk to about various aspects of caring for an older trailer. If you go, plan to get there early: parking is a bear.

Held at Pismo Coast Village RV Resort. An open house for visitors is from 10 am to 3 pm. ... Date. May 20 2017
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Old 04-19-2017, 12:53 PM   #8
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1967 17' Caravel
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 162
I am nearing completion of the renovation/restoration of my '67 Caravel. So, if you have specific concerns ask away and I may be able to help. Axles and floors are the two biggies as mentioned before.
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Old 04-20-2017, 08:46 AM   #9
Camano Islander
2007 19' Bambi
1965 17' Caravel
Iowa City , Iowa
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 29
I had my 1966 Caravel for 20 years and I loved it, BUT, it's like a boat, every season when you take it on the road there will be some "little" thing that needs repair. I replaced the Axle and the floor, I had to add AC, then it was the refer and then the toilet and the cabinet locks, the bed was so old it hurt my back so I replaced it and the grey and black tanks.......

Over the years I could have bought a much newer trailer, of course I was in love with my old 66 but once the arthritis kicked in I sold it and bought a 2007.

The good news was that will all the work I had done on my Caravel I got a good price for it!

Good luck,

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Old 04-21-2017, 08:13 AM   #10
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Capistrano Beach , California
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Thank you!

First, I want to thank everyone for the thoughtful responses. Second, well, I'm still looking for a Caravel or Pacer.

If anyone knows of any that are fairly priced or has suggestions with regard to locating one it again would be appreciated. ANY tips are welcome...


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