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Old 01-09-2011, 10:25 AM   #141
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Thanks for this helpful Thread! I've learned so much. I've started stripping interior paint in my 55 Safari. Question: Some documentation says the old Panel Ray heater is butane. Do you know if it can run on propane?
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Old 01-09-2011, 11:06 AM   #142
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Looking good!

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Old 01-09-2011, 03:24 PM   #143
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Originally Posted by wheelerimage View Post
Thanks for this helpful Thread! I've learned so much. I've started stripping interior paint in my 55 Safari. Question: Some documentation says the old Panel Ray heater is butane. Do you know if it can run on propane?
Lots of good info on Panel Rays here. Restoration Topics - Panel-Ray Heaters
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:57 PM   #144
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Originally Posted by wheelerimage View Post
Thanks for this helpful Thread! I've learned so much. I've started stripping interior paint in my 55 Safari. Question: Some documentation says the old Panel Ray heater is butane. Do you know if it can run on propane?
I think butane was the more prevelent fuel in the 1950's, but it's propane now (I think the reason is that it's better at lower temps). As far as I know, you just need to adjust the jetting slightly to change from one fuel to the other.

But I'm speaking theoretically, because I haven't restored, nor even tried my Panel Ray heater yet. That will likely be one of the last things I do in my restoration.

Glad you like the thread - I'm trying to make it detailed enough to give others encouragement to tackle their own projects. I am definitely learning along the way myself, having never done this before.

I'll probably be posting about my plumbing plans soon, because it's too cold outside to do any work on the trailer, but I have been trying to figure out what I want to do for plumbing (wet bath or dry?, how large should the tanks be and where should they be located, how to vent them, etc.), so I can get going again when the weather gets warmer. I've been searching the internet to see what holding tanks are available, trying to keep from having to order custom tanks (but may end up having to go that route anyway). Once I have my plumbing plan thought out, I'll be able to figure out what I want to do for wiring, since I am planning to use a 110/120V water heater (so that I don't have to cut a hole in the side of the trailer for a propane unit) and where the water heater goes will affect my wiring plan. Where the WH goes is a function of how large it is - and there are many options to choose from with significant size differences. I'll probably be posting more on water heaters soon, but not tonight.

Congrats on your '55 Safari - it's a great floor plan!
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:01 PM   #145
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Time to resurrect this old project and this old thread. Given that I've got no usable Airstream at the moment (but am looking for one), I've now got time to get back into restoring the '55 Safari. I've been thinking about how to proceed for a couple of days and have some ideas to bounce around (in no particular order) . . .

1. Combo Black/Gray Tank: Given that we will not be adding a shower to this trailer (gray water will come from the kitchen and bath sinks only), I am beginning to think I do not really need a dedicated gray tank below the floor. I already was leaning toward an above floor 13 gallon blank tank and was considering a variety of 13 to 15 gallon fresh tanks. With these capacities, I think I could plan on using the black tank as a combo unit, with some sort of bypass to allow the gray water to be collected in a blue boy or dribbled on the ground, when appropriate, but I could also allow it to be connected in the black tank when appropriate. I think I can do this either by some sort of valve in the sink drain pipe, or by use of a gravity overflow once the gray water discharge pipe filled up. I think this should simplify the drain and vent plumbing without compromising the usability of the trailer.

2. 120VAC Mini-tank Water Heater:
I don't want to cut into the skin to install a normal RV propane water heater. There are a variety of "point of use" and marine water heaters that operate on 120VAC only. Without a shower, the overall need for a water heater is less, but having one when in a campground would be nice. When boon docking, water would have to be heated the old fashioned way . . . on the stove. At the moment, I am leaning to a small 2.5 gallon POU electric water heater from Home Depot, mainly because it will fit better that the available space under the kitchen cabinet than the available marine units. The price is about the same. The tankless versions have been ruled out because they draw too much current.

3. Platinum Cat Catalytic Heater:
I would like to eventually restore the Panel Ray heater so that I could say that it works, but in reality, I doubt I'd plan to really use it. When I got the Safari, there was an old Barnes 120VAC vented propane heater that had been added between the twin beds. The cabinet hole is almost the perfect size for a Platinum Cat 3P12 catalytic heater and I could use the existing hole on the rear street side corner for the vent. This heater has the advantage of having an electronic thermostat, so it operates similar to a furnace, except that it is radiant heat only and it doesn't burn inside air, so there is no risk of asphyxiation.

4. No Air Conditioner:
I may run a dedicated 120VAC line to the proposed catalytic heater location in case I want to add a window unit in that location (my prior plan) at a later time, but we have found we have rarely used the A/C on the Airstreams we have had that had it, so the need is small for us. Also, I do not want to add an A/C unit to the roof. It just does not look right on a 1950's Airstream.

5. Propane Cook Top Instead of Stove: The original stove location below the front window is troublesome, both from a (lack of) ventilation standpoint, and from a height standpoint. Because the front window is lower than the side windows, the counter height in that area is about 6" lower than normal, making use of the stove uncomfortable). I am now thinking that maybe I could just build in some storage cabinets in that location and install a cook top in the counter above the fridge. I have seen at least one or two 1950's Safaris that have been converted this way, and it just makes sense (although I give up a few points in regards to maintaining the original floor plan). I have enough cabinet doors and drawers salvaged from two other 1950's Airstreams in my basement that I think I can make this change and actually make it look factory original - that is assuming I can find a vintage cook top to use (I'd rather not install a brand new one - it just wouldn't look right).

6. Aerosol Can Interior Paint: I want to maintain the speckled Zolatone look, but think the current interior paint is probably beyond saving. I have no experience using spray painting equipment, so the thought of buying the equipment and expensive Zolatone intimidates me. The cost of having someone else do the painting also scares me. I have seen one Airstream that had it's entire interior painted using the speckled "textured stone" paint that can be purchased at Home Depot. Lowes, and just about any hardware store. I am thinking this that might be a good way to keep the restoration cost down and keep it "do it myself".

Well, those are my thoughts at the moment. Please feel free to provide your thoughts about my thoughts. None of these are committed plans yet, but some may become plans soon if I don't come up with any good reasons to think otherwise.

I need to now draw up a 12VDC and 120VAC wiring plan and get the wiring and insulation installed so that the inner skins can go back on and get to the items I mentioned above. I'm sure I'll be asking some questions on the electrical topic in the near future, but not tonight. Good night!
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:06 PM   #146
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Zolatone.... Joe its so easy a caveman can do it.... I'd offer to loan the pressure pot to you to use for your project, but shipping back and forth would be more than I paid for it. I'll dig out where I got it on ebay. Was cheap, worked well.
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:37 PM   #147
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Joe, I know that my 60 ambassador is the trailer you saw with the spray can paint. It's been on about 3 years and is holding up very well. One caution, it does not cover dark very good. Mine was over painted white that I sanded with a power sander to smooth it out but anywhere there was dark had to be primed white to cover with the spray evenly.
It does use a lot of cans as the coverage is only about 4'x 4' per can so I made a deal with the hardware store to buy in bulk. I am happy with it as it was easy to do, has stood up and would be easy to touch up.
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Old 01-08-2012, 08:30 PM   #148
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I just saw this post for the first time and when I saw your water heater it made me smile. I think that the water heater started it's life as an aircraft oxygen tank. I haven't seen one of those old low pressure military oxygen thanks in a long time. Somebody got real creative to convert it to a water heater.

Kip
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You are right! I recently saw an episode of Pawn Stars where the "old man" takes a ride in a B17 Bomber and there during the show was a shot showing an oxygen tank above the ball turret that is an exact replica of the water heater from my '55 Safari! I then did some poking on the internet for better photos and sure enough the tanks straps, etc. are an exact match. Of course, I suppose our tank could have come from a different WW2 era aircraft, but I like to think it was from a B17.

Attached are a photos of the the water heater under the front dinette bench before removal from our '55 Safari as well as a few B17 tank photos I found. And here is a link to a similar tank for sale on eBay:
WW 2 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress G-1 Steel Oxygen Tank | eBay

This kind of makes me want to get the water heater working again and reuse it in the '55 Safari restoration. On the other hand, this water heater is much larger than the replacement units I was considering which would make it harder to fit in the fresh and gray water tanks under the front dinette bench as I had been planning. I guess I've got a while to think about it though, because I've got to get our ATW 1962 22' Safari back into working condition before I get back to restoration of our '55 Safari. I feel sorry for the '55 Safari because it's restoration has stalled, but I will eventually get it done . . . some day.
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Old 01-08-2012, 10:25 PM   #149
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That is really, really cool!!!!!
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Old 01-09-2012, 08:14 AM   #150
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Ha! I thought it was a "belly tank" there for a while! Is it big enough just to use as a fresh water tank? What's the capacity? That's some cool history there! Wonder why they used it... probably cheap to buy.. maybe the original burst in some cold weather?
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Old 01-09-2012, 06:10 PM   #151
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Ha! I thought it was a "belly tank" there for a while! Is it big enough just to use as a fresh water tank? What's the capacity? That's some cool history there! Wonder why they used it... probably cheap to buy.. maybe the original burst in some cold weather?
Marc
Overall, the tank is about 24" long and 12" in diameter. Doing the math means the volume could about 9 gallons! Since I am note sure how thick the tank is, it might actually be a little less.

The tank is buried in the basement under other things. Some day I'll get it out and take some photos. Because there are some weld marks on it, I always thought it was a conversion from something else. Now I know it's prior purpose.
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:27 AM   #152
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Now I know.

I have been finding and buying most of the tanks like this I can find at swapmeets. I just liked the shapes and construction. They are Aluminum though. And I have found 2 sizes. Your size and a much bigger one, about 18x24. Glad to know what I have. They are usually olive green and not yellow.

I always figured they were an air reserve for air brakes or such.
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Old 06-04-2012, 07:42 PM   #153
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Hi Joe,I'm a new owner of a 54 flying cloud (13 panel) and it's nice to see the different layouts on the inside since I'm starting from scratch on my restoration. Thanks for the photos. I'm having trouble loading pics with my iPad so if you have any pointers on loading pics, I'm all ears!
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:13 AM   #154
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Hi Joe,I'm a new owner of a 54 flying cloud (13 panel) and it's nice to see the different layouts on the inside since I'm starting from scratch on my restoration. Thanks for the photos. I'm having trouble loading pics with my iPad so if you have any pointers on loading pics, I'm all ears!
Hey there 54breadloaf (funny... We call ours the Shiny Twinkie),
I've attached a floor plan pic of a 56 Safari. I believe the only difference in a 54 and 55 Safari is the heater would be on the right of the door (as you walk in) verses the left side on the 56 models.

As for attaching pics from an iPad (you ARE using the iPad app, right?) click the "Advanced" button in the upper right corner when you're reply to a message and click the "Attach From Photos" option. It's easy. :-)
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:15 PM   #155
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Originally Posted by SafariSteve

Hey there 54breadloaf (funny... We call ours the Shiny Twinkie),
I've attached a floor plan pic of a 56 Safari. I believe the only difference in a 54 and 55 Safari is the heater would be on the right of the door (as you walk in) verses the left side on the 56 models.

As for attaching pics from an iPad (you ARE using the iPad app, right?) click the "Advanced" button in the upper right corner when you're reply to a message and click the "Attach From Photos" option. It's easy. :-)
Cool. Thanks for the photo advice. Here's a sample... JT

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Old 06-15-2012, 04:21 AM   #156
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Hi JT (54breadloaf),
Glad you liked the photos. Unfortunately my restoration of my '55 Safari with the unusual front kitchen layout is stalled while I instead concentrate on my '62 Safari. Therefore you won't be seeing any more photos in this thread for a while (probably quite a while).

As for posting photo's from an IPad, I am glad someone else could help you because I've never touched an IPad nor any Apple computer since an Apple 2e back in the 1980's when I was in school.

P.S. Nice looking Flying Cloud!
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:29 PM   #157
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You never know what a week might bring. About a week ago I got a call out of the blue asking if my '55 Safari might be for sale. I hadn't considered it to be for sale, but the more I thought about it, the better the idea sounded. With me concentrating on restoring my '62 Safari. the '55 Safari was not going to get finished (by me) for quite a while.

Long story short, a deal was reached and today I watched the '55 Safari head off to it's new home with all of it's guts packed inside. The new owner was looking specifically for a '54 to '56 front kitchen Safari and wants to continue the restoration and put it back in original condition rather than put in a new custom interior. That's all I could hope for. The new owner lives only about 3 hours away so hope to see it some day when the restoration is finished.
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