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Old 02-17-2005, 12:23 AM   #1
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Post Getting my 1st '65 AS Caravel !

Hello eveyone, I currently own a 1965 16ft Aristocrat.(which is for sale BTW) I am getting a 1965 17ft AS Caravel. I am very excited about the prospect of having am Airstream finally ! After 3 yrs of looking I found one that I can basically use right away. Are there any things with that model or AS in general that I should be on the lookout for ? What are the typical things that I might have to replace or fix ? Thanks in advance for your replies.

Chris
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Old 02-17-2005, 12:51 AM   #2
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Getting my 1st '65 AS Caravel !

Greetings Chris!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstream ownership!

Quote:
Originally Posted by C Johnson
Hello eveyone, I currently own a 1965 16ft Aristocrat.(which is for sale BTW) I am getting a 1965 17ft AS Caravel. I am very excited about the prospect of having am Airstream finally ! After 3 yrs of looking I found one that I can basically use right away. Are there any things with that model or AS in general that I should be on the lookout for ? What are the typical things that I might have to replace or fix ? Thanks in advance for your replies.

Chris
There aren't any particular problems unique to your coach, but some of the things to be aware of would include:

1.) If you have the original Worthington (or equivalent) aluminum LP tanks, you may find that you need to upgrade to OPD valves especially if the coach hasn't been used regularly in the recent past.

2.) Your coach would be near the time the switch was made, but it may have come from the factory with split-rim wheels. If it still has these split-rims, the general consensus is to replace with modern steel or aluminum wheels - - I know the original split-rims were replacement items on my '64 Overlander. You will also want to be sure that the coach has ST rated tires with adequate weight carrying ability for your coach.

3.) It seems like most of us with coaches of near this vintage have been or are preparing to be faced with the necessity of axle replacement. The Henschen DuraTorque axles tend to take a set and loose much if not all of their springing ability resulting in popped rivets among other less obvious problems. You can learn more about assessing your axle's condition at:

http://inlandrv.com/articles/dura-torque-axle-92001.htm

At the very least, you will likely find that you need a set of new shock absorbers.

4.) I would suggest a thorough examination of the LP system by a qualified RV LP Technician. This is a service that helped to identify weak points on both of my coaches after I acquired them - - the Overlander needed a new furnace, RV Refrigerator, and LP regulator; while the Minuet needed only a water heater and LP regulator - - both needed to upgraded to OPD valves.

5.) Leak patrol is part of Vintage Airstream or Argosy ownership - - seams and other exterior penetrations need to be examined for good seal and will need periodic attention. The entrance door can be a problem if it has ever blown open in-transit - - the usual result is a sprung door and a leak - - it is repairable, but takes someone with patience and experience (IMHO).

6.) The Breakaway switch is also another item that often needs replacement on vintage coaches if my experience is any indicator. I have had better luck with the round, metal cylinder style switches, but these are becoming somewhat difficult to find - - the last time I had trouble with the Overlander, my Airstream dealer had a new cylinder style Breakaway switch on the shelf.

7.) If your coach has the original Univolt, be forewarned that it may be unfriendly toward your battery. These older style units have a tendency to boil the electrolyte in the battery causing a variety of problems. One of my coaches has a Univolt while the other has a more modern replacement that is much kinder to the battery. It is not uncommon to find that the original Univolt is ready for replacement in a '60s era coach. There are several models of modern power converters that members recommend - - a Forums search on "power converters" should yield a number of threads.

Beyond these items, most of the systems will be familiar as they are quite similar to what you have on your Aristrocrat.

Good luck with your coach!

Kevin
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Old 02-17-2005, 01:25 AM   #3
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Thanks Kevin ! The RV dealership is checking out everything right now. Does this unit have shocks ? I didn't see then under there.
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Old 02-17-2005, 03:07 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C Johnson
Thanks Kevin ! The RV dealership is checking out everything right now. Does this unit have shocks ? I didn't see then under there.

Chris,
Welcome to the forums.....I am an AS fanatic, but chose not to go Vintage AS, since I have no rehab skills! So I have no tidbits to offer you! I watch the AS Vintage folks on these forums and cheer them on with their projects with envy, because it looks like it could be fun! Which dealership is checking out your Caravel?? I took delivery of a new AS 28' CCD today at George M. Sutton RV in Eugene today, and thought I saw your unit in the service lot (I may be completely mistaken)! Hope everything works out! And BTW....we have a super group of forum members in the NW that like to have a good time! Stay tuned for some NW forum Rallies coming soon! I know this for a fact because I've been to a rally with none other than "forum stars" such as "71Safari, Janet's Husband, Janet, Stefrobrts, 3Ms78Argosy, and Campcollector".....all real good folk, and what a fun group to meet! Let us know what they find to be repaired on your Caravel and keep us in mind on future ralliesl!!

Jim
Corvallis, OR
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Old 02-17-2005, 12:22 PM   #5
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Getting my 1st '65 AS Caravel !

Greetings Chris!

Quote:
Originally Posted by C Johnson
Thanks Kevin ! The RV dealership is checking out everything right now. Does this unit have shocks ? I didn't see then under there.
Yes, your coach should have shocks. It is possible that you didn't notice them as they aren't always obvious as they would be on an automobile or truck as they are often horizontally mounted rather than vertically mounted. Another possibility is that a previous owner may have removed the shocks for some reason.

Good luck with your coach!

Kevin
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Old 02-17-2005, 02:44 PM   #6
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Chris - The first item I replaced when we got our 67 Caravel was the axle. I was at the VAC rally in Colorado Springs last summer and saw pictures of a trailer that had it's spindle snap off stranding the rig and damaging the aluminum around the wheel well. After reading more on the subject - it seems the steel can continue to work harden becoming brittle which could then snap off. I hate to even think some of the circumstances that could arise it that happened on the highway.

I did the visual check on our axle and it looked like it was fine. But it seemed to bounce a lot when you walked around inside. Once I got the new axle and shocks installed the bounce went away. I definately feel better going down the road knowing the entire running gear is as dependable as that on a brand new Airstream.
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Old 02-17-2005, 11:22 PM   #7
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Thanks Paul, I am thinking that will be the first thing I will do here. I read about the weak spindles(by age) on the early AS trailers. I will do the shocks at the same time. I am very mechanically inclined so that should not be a problem for me to replace it myself. Hey I already have a 40 yr old trlr ! lol plus a 42 yr old car. Hey what can I say, I like the old iron !

Chris
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Old 02-17-2005, 11:30 PM   #8
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Hi Jim, Thanks for the warm welcome. Pacific RV in McMinnville is doing the once over before I take delivery. They have found that the water pump has been frozen, so they are going to replace it for me. I would love to go one of the NW rallies. Is the dealership in Eugene good to deal with ? I will be needing to get a new axle after I take delivery. I want to head off any problems with that right away. I was thinking of buying it from them down there. Other than that it seems like after a good cleaning I can use the trailer right away as everything else works in the unit.

Chris
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Old 02-18-2005, 09:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C Johnson
Thanks Paul, I am thinking that will be the first thing I will do here. I read about the weak spindles(by age) on the early AS trailers. I will do the shocks at the same time. I am very mechanically inclined so that should not be a problem for me to replace it myself. Hey I already have a 40 yr old trlr ! lol plus a 42 yr old car. Hey what can I say, I like the old iron !

Chris
Yes, I've got the old car/boat/trailer ... bug myself, although someone talked me into selling my old 66 pickup. (I still kick myself when I think about it). I've got a 49 year old boat - it makes working on the Airstream look like a 1st graders project.

The axles are a piece of cake. It took me 3-1/2 hours from the time I jacked the trailer up till I finished to replace the axle. The only snag I hit was the shock mounting bracket that came with the axle had to be modified in order to work. That part was done by heating and bending the part. There are some pics in my photo gallery of the whole process. Good luck - it's worth it.
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