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Old 07-24-2011, 07:45 AM   #1
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Replacement breakers on a '70 Overlander? Do they exist?

Assuming the breakers on my 70 overlander are now 41 yrs. young and original like much of this nice AS is (I'm petting her as I type) with possible fatigue, anyone know where to get replacements? Our 20 amp breakers almost look like a newer 15 amp mini-they are thin, thinnner than a standard 20 you get at the big box stores-anyone know the brand, or make of the box? Only reason I'm asking-we're out for 12 days camping and we had our 20 to the AC trip last night at 4:45 after running continously for the past 3 days-nice way to wake up before the birds! If it weren't almost 100 here I would worry but this poor AC has been working overtime to try to keep us comfortable in this terrible heat wave down in SC. The breaker reset just fine but I ran the AC on fan for the rest of the morning until the sun came up and started heating things up again. It's held fine for the past hour or so but I'd like to get a back up especially since I looked in my crystal ball and saw a floppy switch with no way to reset in my future!
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:59 AM   #2
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If you're handy with electrical, a 2 or 3 breaker breaker box is less than $100, and the breakers to go in it are less than $20 each. IIRC, the box is in a corner behind the toilet, simply remove the toilet for better access, and replace the entire box with stuff you can get anywhere. It probably would be a good idea to wait until you get home to tackle this, though.
If you want somebody else to do it, you can take it to the nearest Airstream dealer for repair.
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Old 07-24-2011, 11:51 AM   #3
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Replacement breakers on a 70 Overlander? Do they exist?

Greetings rayandre!

I second Terry's advice. In 1995, I was experiencing a similar problem with my '64 Overlander and the technician's suggestion was to replace the electrical box with modern components. The peace of mind that was bought with that $250 expenditure continues to pay dividends as I can't remember the last time either of the breakers tripped - - and I know that if a breaker fails that its replacement will be easy to find in the electrical department of most home centers.

Good luck with your project!

Kevin
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Old 07-24-2011, 02:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rayandre View Post
Our 20 amp breakers almost look like a newer 15 amp mini-they are thin, thinnner than a standard 20 you get at the big box stores-anyone know the brand............
I found 15 and 20 amp thin breakers at Lowes last year when I put air in our '72 Tradwind.
I don't remember the brand but do remember the cross-references weren't that accurate. All the info is on the inside of the breaker box cover.
Take the failing breaker with you to make sure you've got a match.

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Old 07-25-2011, 04:27 AM   #5
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I can still find breakers for our 71. You might try Mars Electric Supply or Statewide Electric Supply in your area.
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Old 07-25-2011, 11:25 AM   #6
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I found a GFCI breaker for my '79 at Lowe's. If you have no luck at the big box stores you could always do an on-line search and you should be able to find a source for discontinued or vintage electrical items.

Example: The panel I wanted to to install a 30 amp breaker in for my shore power connection at home is made by Wadsworth electric. Best of luck finding that at the store. Found one on-line easily enough but forgot the name of the web site since that was a while ago.
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Old 07-29-2011, 04:51 PM   #7
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Thanks to all for comments-we're back from our trip-the breaker held after opening the cabinet and keeping it cool. We do have electrical updating to do on this unit-which will likely include the panel and breakers. I'd like to update with a new converter, new fuse panel and updated breaker panel. If I'm going through all of that is it a good time to update to 50 amps. Anything else on the electrical side?
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Old 07-30-2011, 09:39 PM   #8
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Changing out the supply side to 50 amps sounds like an interesting project.
Today while rummaging around in the toolbox for a knife I found the extra breakers I bought last year.
For anyone still searching for these, they are the General Electric THQP style single pole thin breaker.
Good luck with your conversion,

Tom.
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Old 07-30-2011, 10:51 PM   #9
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Changing the supply to 50amp is a lot more then putting in a larger breaker. The 50amp service has a different plug and the power is supplied to the trailer on two hot wires or a total of 4 wires in the plug. 50amp is commonly used for RVs with 2 AC units.
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:15 AM   #10
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replacements

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.......................... anyone know where to get replacements? Our 20 amp breakers almost look like a newer 15 amp mini-they are thin, thinnner than a standard 20 you get at the ............
This is them?

Click here to see the 15 amp

Click here to see the 20 amp

Click here to see the 30 amp
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:52 AM   #11
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sure looks like them! and to think...I drove right past them on my way in to NC!
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azflycaster
Changing the supply to 50amp is a lot more then putting in a larger breaker. The 50amp service has a different plug and the power is supplied to the trailer on two hot wires or a total of 4 wires in the plug. 50amp is commonly used for RVs with 2 AC units.
A 30A to 50A is a do-able project but one should be knowledgeable of residential wiring, and understand some of the subtle differences between household and RV demands, and possess a great respect for electricity. The 30A service is strictly a 120V circuit coming from the park's power pedestal. It feeds a single 30A main breaker in the coach which in turn feeds a handful of lesser rated branch breakers within a 120V distribution box that serves individual circuits within the coach.

As azflycaster points out, there are 2 hot wires coming in with the 50A service. This is a 240V circuit with each leg providing separate 120V (X and Y) legs. What is obvious to most is the bigger 4-pin power plug and heavier looking (heavier gauge wire) power cord from the coach to the pedestal. What is not so obvious is the breaker box is designed differently inside. The main breaker is typically a double unit and it feeds 2 separate 120V bus bars within the breaker box. All of the branch breakers serve individual 120V circuits within the coach just as the 30A service did but this is a 220V distribution box by definition even though there are not any 220V branch circuits present in the coach. Some consideration is given to distribute the various loads evenly between the two legs. In coaches with 2 A/C units, each is on a different leg and that is why they can both operate at the same time.

In a coach with only 1 A/C, you would want to put other heavy load items (microwave, elec water heater, etc.) on branch circuits opposite the leg the A/C is on and distribute the remaining lesser branches between the two legs. Things are more complex in a 30A motorhome as there is typically a switch that allows both A/C units to operate alternately and a provision to run 1 A/C on shore power and the 2nd A/C off the generator concurrently by isolating the generator from the shore power. Converting one of these can be more complicated as the generator output cannot co-exist with shore power, but still provide 120V needs of the coach when shore power is not available.
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Old 08-01-2011, 03:47 AM   #13
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sure looks like them! and to think...I drove right past them on my way in to NC!
I would have to say the strangest thing I saw concerning these breakers is, over time the breakers loosen up and put out a lower AC voltage. Some times when you meter them (when they are old) you will get 72 VAC or 44VAC. I guess, over time the grip of the little teeth was less and it produced less voltage. Whenever I have/had any voltage problems with a unit that had this kind of electrical box, I would change those breakers. That was the first thing I would do.
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Old 08-01-2011, 03:01 PM   #14
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Now that we're back from our trip I'm sure I'll be able to locate these breakers at Mars or Leff Electric but I do like the idea of updating to a more common breaker that can be found almost anywhere. Switching out the box and staying with 30amp service would be the simplest thing and I could do that pretty quickly myself. If I were doing a total renovation I'd consider splitting out these outlets a lot more with a new panel and some 15 amp mini's-that's what I did in my house-pretty simple to do a panel and breakers-although I've never fished a ceiling ro wall int he Airstream-seems like it could be a pain in the a@#!
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