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Old 10-26-2004, 05:23 PM   #1
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'63? overlander questions

Hello all, I am new to this forum, and I'm hoping maybe someone can answer some questions for me.
I might be able to get a good deal on a '63 Overlander, but it's in pretty rough shape. The battery in there is totally dead, and I hooked up a good battery to it and it ran the lights, etc from battery, but even with everything turned off the multi-meter still showed a huge drain on the battery, big enough that you see a spark when hooking up the battery too.. I've never owned a trailer before so I'm sure that I'm just forgetting to turn something off, but what is it?

I saw on another thread that it looks like a good idea to update the whole electrical system with a modern charger (and inverter?) system but I'm not sure which one would work...
In addition, It looks like the plumbing above the under-sink furnace messed up and it leaked down and maybe wrecked the furnace. The propane tube to the furnace is un-hooked, and I don't see a shutoff there so I don't want to hook up the propane to test the other stuff...

This looks like a great forum, and hopefully someone can help with my questions... I don't want to spend too much time on the trailer yet because I'm not sure if I can get it at a price that will make it worth it once I add in my time... I can do most of the work myself, I've done plumbing/gas/electrical/hvac for my house, and I'm an ok wrench, but trailers are new for me...
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Old 10-26-2004, 06:53 PM   #2
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'63? overlander questions

Greetings ramstream!

Welcome to the Forums!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ramstream
Hello all, I am new to this forum, and I'm hoping maybe someone can answer some questions for me.
I might be able to get a good deal on a '63 Overlander, but it's in pretty rough shape. The battery in there is totally dead, and I hooked up a good battery to it and it ran the lights, etc from battery, but even with everything turned off the multi-meter still showed a huge drain on the battery, big enough that you see a spark when hooking up the battery too.. I've never owned a trailer before so I'm sure that I'm just forgetting to turn something off, but what is it?

I saw on another thread that it looks like a good idea to update the whole electrical system with a modern charger (and inverter?) system but I'm not sure which one would work...
In addition, It looks like the plumbing above the under-sink furnace messed up and it leaked down and maybe wrecked the furnace. The propane tube to the furnace is un-hooked, and I don't see a shutoff there so I don't want to hook up the propane to test the other stuff...

This looks like a great forum, and hopefully someone can help with my questions... I don't want to spend too much time on the trailer yet because I'm not sure if I can get it at a price that will make it worth it once I add in my time... I can do most of the work myself, I've done plumbing/gas/electrical/hvac for my house, and I'm an ok wrench, but trailers are new for me...
I am not absolutely certain, but the '63 Overlander may not have come from the factory with a Univolt. I know that it was around the time that the Univolt became standard - - it was a standard feature by the time my '64 was manufactured. Replacing the Univolt isn't an uncommon issue, and it is one that had to be addressed on both of my coaches - - since my dealer does virtually all of my maintenance, I went with the Magnatek replacement that he recommended (similar to what is used in the new Airstreams). The new power converters that have been installed in my coaches were both rated at 60 AMPs. If the '63 Overlander didn't have a converter from the factory, one could be added without too much difficulty. The new converters are all generally smaller than the early Univolts so fitting a new converter in the place of an old one isn't typically a problem - - the one issue that can crop up is if the original converter has a built-in fuse block and the new one doesn't - - it then becomes an issue of adapting an external fuse block for the 12-volt. Intelli-Power is the converter that is often recommended on the various Vintage Airstream lists and message boards.

I wouldn't be too alarmed if the original furnace appears incomplete - - it is one of the items that often is on the "must" replacement list for safety. The furnace was one of the first replacement items on my '64 Overlander, and the new furnace required very few modifications to fit the existing ductwork - - the plus of the new furnace is that it has electronic ignition - - no more crawling around to light the finnicky pilot. The replacement furnace that my dealer used in the '64 Overlander is a Suburban and it heats the coach beautifully (it had a 10% higher btu output rating than the original).

The drain on the battery could be any number of sources. A prime suspect might be the break away switch if the coach is so-equipped. A fan motor or water pump that is trying to start would be a second guess - - a phantom like that was present on my Minuet and as it turned out the range vent fan motor had seized and someone had left the switch on creating a constant drain on the battery until the fuse would blow.

If you get serious about the coach, don't forget to carefully check the usual floor areas for rot - - near the jalousie window, front door, around the refrigerator, and along the rear in the one-stop service center if the coach is so-equipped. You might also want to check the water system - - I believe it would have originally been demand with a galvanized pressure tank (these tanks are prone to developing pin holes that can contribute to floor rot in the vicinity of the tank). The '63 would also have DuraTorque axles creating another item that you will likely want to check (you may also find that the coach had electric brakes on one axle and hydraulic brakes on the second axle - - not exactly common, but not unheard of - - my '64 was ordered with that set-up but was converted to four-wheel electric drum brakes in the late 1960s).

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 10-27-2004, 02:28 PM   #3
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Ok this is probably a _really_ dumb question, but what/where is the breakaway switch? How can I tell if it has one? Still trying to figure out why there's a drain on the battery. I'd expect to find some 12v fuses somewhere that I could pull but I'm not seeing them...
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Old 10-27-2004, 04:02 PM   #4
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The breakaway switch is mounted (bolted) to the tonque of the trailer - its a small round thing with a wire coming out of it. It is very likely that early 60's trailers did not have them.

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Old 10-27-2004, 06:31 PM   #5
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'63? overlander questions

Greetings ramstream!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ramstream
Ok this is probably a _really_ dumb question, but what/where is the breakaway switch? How can I tell if it has one? Still trying to figure out why there's a drain on the battery. I'd expect to find some 12v fuses somewhere that I could pull but I'm not seeing them...
I can't say with any cetainty whether the '63 would have had a breakaway switch from the factory (my '64 has had one since at least late 1968 as it was visible in one of the family photos showing the coach behind its new 1969 Mercury towcar). If it is an early 60's style, the breakaway switch is a cylindrical device as Ken described, but if it happens to be later it may be a small black plastic box mounted to the tongue.

There were several tansitional changes between 1961 and 1964 coaches so this is something of a guess on where to find your 12-volt fuses. I am going on the assumption that the Univolt wasn't a standard feature at the time, and that the fuse location will be more similar to 1961 than to 1964. I would begin by looking under the front window in the cabinetry below the front lounge - - the fuse block MAY reside behind a samll plate on the front wall attached with one or two screws - - if this turns out to be the location, the fuses may not be what you would expect to find - - if this follows with the '61 example that I know of the 12-volt fuses are round, glass fuses like those used in old-fashioned home fuse boxes (on the '61 Overlander that I am familiar with there were two of these glass fuses for the 12-volt system). If the coach happened to have a Univolt from the factory (I don't believe that this was the case) then the fuses would have been the glass tube-type similar to those used in automobiles mounted to a block that was attached to the Univolt behind a metal access panel in the Univolt cabinet. If the coach had a factory installed Univolt, it was likely in the rear corner of the coach below the wardrobe cabinet "floor" - - on my '64 it was a large green metal box with circular ventilation holes with the 12-volt fuse panel behind a metal plate that secured with a screw and dropped down toward the rear of the coach.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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