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Old 10-27-2008, 09:10 PM   #1
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Boy Do I have a lot to learn!

I'm new to the forum and new to AS. I have had many different types of campers over these years, but this is my first AS. Bought a 73 Sovereign last week off Craig's List and my education has begun. I tried to get some info before going to look at the trailer, but this place is filled to the brim. I had to go with my gut feeling on many things and now I question my decision.

There are some oddities that maybe ya'll can help me with. The gas water heater was removed and an electric house type was installed. Seems it would have to be drained each road trip. Tank looks like about 15 gallons.

I don't see a grey water tank on the trailer. Probably didn't have one at that year. I don't know if I'm happy with that concept yet. Would require full hook ups or a blue tote to used the camper. The copper has been replaced with plastic, but I have no idea how the by pass works for winterizing, where the water tank drain is located, or how to drain the system.

I have not found an inverter yet. The battery might not be good enough to hold a charge, but when plugged into shore power, it does not seem to be charging. Seems to be a slight drain on the unplugged trailer.

The gas heater has been removed. Ceramic heaters work most of the time, but I would like to be able to winter camp here in VA. Unsure of how to rig the trailer for hat yet.

I can't get the Magic Chef oven to light. I don't know if it has a gas valve or not. The range does and I have 3 of the 4 burners working. the entire eye is missing from one.

I'm working on the overhead lights now. How many bulbs can go into such a fixture? And how do you keep the battery charged with so many bulbs burning?

It's raining now and I discovered a leak in the center ceiling at the rear bath. Possibly at the vent. Can I get on the roof?

Other than these small issues, all is fine. I'm going to take her to Cheatham Annex Friday night. Looking forward to a long relationship with AS. Hope it's this one.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. There's so much here, it's sometime difficult to determine where to begin.

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Old 10-27-2008, 09:24 PM   #2
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1962 26' Overlander
Lockhart , Texas
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Gee. You sound like an expert compared to me. I don't even know what questions to ask, but I sure like your list.
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Old 10-27-2008, 09:37 PM   #3
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1972 25' Tradewind
North Vancouver , British Columbia
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Welcome to the forums. I'll answer what I can. I'd remove the electric water heater and replace it with a 10 gallon Atwood. You can get a variety of models from simple pilot light versions to those that run on both propane and 110VAC with electric start (I have a 6 gallon version of the latter and love it). They aren't very expensive and are pretty easy to install.

Grey water tanks didn't start until the 1974 model years, but you can retrofit.

I'm not well versed in electrical systems, so I'll leave those questions to somebody more knowledgeable than me.

Are the ducts still in place for the original heating system? You can get a new Suburban furnace for your trailer and will find several threads on the topic in the appropriate sub-forum.

The oven may need to have the pilot light cleaned or replaced. Can you determine if gas is reaching it? As for parts to the stove, you may be able to find something in the forum classifieds if you watch for trailers being parted out. Or, you could replace the unit with something new. The range and oven in my '72 still works beautifully, so if you can get yours working, it might be worth it.

Theleak in the roof may be coming from deteriorated gaskets at the plumbing vents (those cast aluminum numbers). You can get replacements from Inland RV.

You can walk on the roof, but stay on the ribs and don't walk on the end caps.

I hope this helps.
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Old 10-27-2008, 10:00 PM   #4
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1971 25' Tradewind
1993 34' Excella
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1. I don't know why you would have to drain the hot water heater after each use. More details would help
2. Reader's Digest winterizing: if you put in a hot water tank bypass you need 3 gal of rv antifreeze without it you will need more than 5. Here's how I do it without the bypass on 3
a. get a hand pump and pump antifreeze from all hot water faucets (tub and 2 sinks until it enters the hot water tank. Drain off and reuse the antifreeze from the hot water tank and use the 12v water pump to pump this antifreeze until it comes out of kitchen, bathroom and tub cold faucets and also toilet. Pour a little antifreeze in the sink traps.
3. Your inverter is called a univolt and is located in the rear curbside. Plug in to shore power and follow the hum.
4. 4 bulbs in each ceiling light
5. A lot of people walk on the roof, even without worrying about the ribs. I use planks. Ditto on stay off the end caps at all cost.
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Old 10-28-2008, 07:15 AM   #5
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thanks for the assist. Amazing that folks have 1300 - 1500 post to a forum. That's a lot of history and knowledge.

I'm concerned about the weight of theHWH for travel. Since I can't see under the trailer because of enclosure, I'm not sure of the floor bracing and capability to handle 160#s bouncing at the end of the trailer. re routing the H20 wouldn'tbe a problem for a gas replacement. I don't know where the gas feed is caped off. The household HWH is wired for 110. Re-wiring to come off a panel block makes me scratch my head.

I don't hear the hum of an inverter. I assume it went in the curb closet next to the fuse panel. I don't see where it would have hung. Maybe an owner's manual will tell me where it was suppose to be.

I'll check tonight on the oven chut off valve. I don't know if it's getting gas or not. Any suggestions on how to check?

Re-plumbing for a forced air heater may be an option. The duct work is still in place. I don't see but one register by the door. Did the new carpet cover floor vents in the bed and rear bath?

Looks like the glass gaskets have been removed on the front skylights. There is a large putty filler on the outside of the glass. This is probably where that small leak is coming from.

I'm very interested in a grey water retro fit. How do I find threads on that? I'll have to experiment with the valves to see what turns what water lines on and off. Can I travel with a full tank of fresh water? Again, seems heavy.

Tanks!
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Old 10-28-2008, 07:51 AM   #6
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reno , NV
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Hi Dieselgrin --- I too just bought a “vintage” AS and had a similar experience as you… i.e. went with my gut and now question my decision. And I continue to find new reasons to bang my head on the wall due to my lack of examination, inspection, inquiry or whatever. But I’m building a good relationship with her and learning lots.

After a bit of inspection, I couldn't locate my Univolt system. Jim posted a picture of his and it helped me a lo. Well, it helped me determine that mine had been removed by a PO and replaced with a standard charger. Oh well. I see that there are various newer models that I will plan to install over the holidays. See pic at post #10 of this thread to see what the Univolt looks like:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...tem-45243.html

Also, my dump pipe (?) at my trailer is a Thetford fitting while the blueboy is Valtera – so I need an adapter. Until then, I have a rather primitive set-up in place. Ugly, but it works. Yours may need the adapter too…

Cheers!
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Old 10-28-2008, 09:08 AM   #7
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roof

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dieselgrin View Post
Can I get on the roof?
Yes you can.

Click here to see how to keep from damaging your unit.

Dan
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Old 10-28-2008, 09:16 AM   #8
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lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dieselgrin View Post

I'm working on the overhead lights now. How many bulbs can go into such a fixture? And how do you keep the battery charged with so many bulbs burning?
You will just have to test and see how long they will burn.
It is most likely that your switches are bad, or close to being bad. You will begin to see the backs of them get black from heat.

Here is a link to those switches.


Here is a link to Gen. info. on the lights and switches.

Dan
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Old 10-28-2008, 09:21 AM   #9
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1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
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The Univolt should have an on/off switch, probably located inside the bathroom vanity mirror over the sink. Right side, as you are looking in the mirror. If it doesn't hum, it either may not be working, is turned off, or has been replaced with a more modern unit that doesn't go HUMM in the night.
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Old 10-28-2008, 10:55 AM   #10
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Univolt on my 73 Overlander was under fuses,but stuck back under tub. 1156 bulbs will work in overhead lights{BUT SHOULD NOT BE USED} they put off too much heat,my trailer is not at home so I can`t give you #,RV place should be able to tell you.Dave
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Old 10-28-2008, 11:40 AM   #11
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1993 21' Sovereign
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Quote:
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Univolt on my 73 Overlander was under fuses,but stuck back under tub. 1156 bulbs will work in overhead lights{BUT SHOULD NOT BE USED} they put off too much heat,my trailer is not at home so I can`t give you #,RV place should be able to tell you.Dave
The bulb number should be #1141.
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Old 10-28-2008, 11:55 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dieselgrin View Post
Looks like the glass gaskets have been removed on the front skylights. There is a large putty filler on the outside of the glass. This is probably where that small leak is coming from.

I'm very interested in a grey water retro fit. How do I find threads on that? I'll have to experiment with the valves to see what turns what water lines on and off. Can I travel with a full tank of fresh water? Again, seems heavy.

Tanks!
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dieselgrin View Post
I'm new to the forum and new to AS. ... Bought a 73 Sovereign last week off Craig's List and my education has begun.
...
I don't see a grey water tank on the trailer. Probably didn't have one at that year.
...
I have not found an inverter yet. The battery might not be good enough to hold a charge, but when plugged into shore power, it does not seem to be charging. Seems to be a slight drain on the unplugged trailer.

The gas heater has been removed. Ceramic heaters work most of the time, but I would like to be able to winter camp here in VA. Unsure of how to rig the trailer for hat yet.
...
I'm working on the overhead lights now. How many bulbs can go into such a fixture? And how do you keep the battery charged with so many bulbs burning?
...
Any help would be greatly appreciated. There's so much here, it's sometime difficult to determine where to begin.
...
Welcome to the Forums, and welcome to Vintage Airstreaming.

I also have a '73 Sovereign (31' center bath) which is a project for me to work on in my spare time. I don't know what configuration and length you have, but I assume it's a 31'.

Here are several pics, one showing the area of the oven with wires sticking out, and another showing those wires and the Univolt behind them. The other shows the Univolt and original furnace after I've removed the countertop, range and other stuff. It's all empty now, and I was occasionally working on clearing out the bottom because a joist is broken underneath that area.

When I am ready to re-assemble (in the year 2525 probably), I am looking at getting a Progressive Dynamics 45 amp converter/smart charger.

You're right about the gray tank. None from the factory until 1974 I think. I am planning to re-plumb the drains and add a gray water tank.

Good luck, have fun, stay dry and warm without melting anything.

Phil

(added on edit: Please post pics when you can! We all love pics.)
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Old 10-28-2008, 05:31 PM   #14
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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Mac Chef pilot light

We have a Magic Chef oven in our MH. It takes a while for the low flow of gas to reach the pilot light area. After turning the knob to pilot, I have to count to 22 slowly before bending over to apply flame. I learned this by timing how long it took between knob turning & actual flame ignition at pilot. Try this. The oven won't light right away after lighting the pilot. This is a safety feature caused by the thermocoupler on the gas valve. If testing for the 1st time, be sure to open a lot of windows for ventilation. Wait about 2-3 minutes before turning the oven on. This should be enough time for the thermocoulper to do it's thing. When done using the oven, just turn the knob to pilot. This will allow the oven to ignite quicker for the next use. Only turn the knob to off when you're packing up to go home or to your next stop.
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