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Old 03-13-2013, 06:00 PM   #1
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1971 18' Caravel
Camden , South Carolina
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Hello to all. My wife and I are new to owning a camper. We bought a 1971 Land Yacht Caravel that had been sitting for 5 years. The lady that we bought it from didn't know how to get anything working. We have no owners manual nor an AIRSTREAM FOR DUMMIES book. I have yet to try the fridge and pilot lights for water and heat but intend to try this over the weekend. My current 1st issue is when I plug in the 110 pwr cord... NADA ....the water pump and lights do work when I just have the battery hooked up.....any tips?
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:37 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums! This place can provide you with knowledge for just about any and everything. I hope someone will help with your concern pretty quick
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:26 PM   #3
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Greetings Landyachtfan!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstreams!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Landyachtfan View Post
Hello to all. My wife and I are new to owning a camper. We bought a 1971 Land Yacht Caravel that had been sitting for 5 years. The lady that we bought it from didn't know how to get anything working. We have no owners manual nor an AIRSTREAM FOR DUMMIES book. I have yet to try the fridge and pilot lights for water and heat but intend to try this over the weekend. My current 1st issue is when I plug in the 110 pwr cord... NADA ....the water pump and lights do work when I just have the battery hooked up.....any tips?
Beginning in 1964, all Airstreams came equipped with a Power Converter referred to as a Univolt. It was at this time that virtually all lights and electrical accessories permanently installed in the Airstream were designed to run on 12-volt DC. It sounds like there are ploblems with your Univolt/Power Converter. The following might help as a starting point:
  • While connected to 120-Volt AC, walk around inside the coach listening carefully for a humming noise . . . if it is an original Univolt its operation is accompanied by an identifiable humming.
  • If you don't hear a humming, find your AC Breaker Box and be sure that the main breaker as well as secondary breakers are in the "ON" position.
  • If you still don't hear a humming with 120-volt AC connected, begin looking in all floor-level cabinets/compartments for a rectangular box (often forrest green or beige) with electric wires entering/exiting -- in most Vintage Airstreams the Univolt tends to be on the streetside near the rear where the electric enters.
  • Once you have found the Univolt, check to see if it is plugged in (if it isn't hardwired which they often were).
    • The next check would be for burned out 12-volt fueses. If you have an original univolt, it will likely have glass cylinder fuese. On the original Univolts, the 12-volt fuse panel is generally located in the Univolt itself . . . it is usually accessed by removing a screw and dropping an access panel to display the fuse block.
    • If the fuses appear good, cleaning the various connection terminals (power off beforehand) tightening as necessary. Ground wires are often problematic on the 12-volt system.
  • Since not all 12-volt circuits are working with battery connected makes me think that you might have bad fuses or dirty terminals on those circuits.
You can order a copy of your coach's original Onwers' Manual from Airstream at this link. The 1971 Owners' Manual would mark Airstream's seventh year of publishing Owners' Manuals so there is more useful information than in some of the earlier model Owners' Manuals.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin

P.S.: Please avoid the temptation to test your Air Conditioner unless you are connect to a 30-AMP, 120-Volt AC circuit as it can quickly burn out the compressor if the air conditioner is run on a typical 110 volt, 15 AMP circuit. There are only three items in your coach that require 120-volt AC -- Air conditioner, Univolt/Power Converter, and the 120-Volt AC heating element for the refrigerator (not required for operation, but is an option).
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