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Old 03-07-2011, 02:09 PM   #15
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1959 28' Ambassador
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Thanks everybody for all the info and interesting posts. So it sounds like I should plan on a new axle, lots of sealant and check the frame for starters. Is the axle something a normal person should try or is it a job for a mechanic? If so, does it have to be an airstream mechanic or can an auto shop or regular RV shop take care of it? Regarding the other stuff, I want to get by with the least amount of work at the beginning so that I can live with it for a while and decide what I really want to do. I look forward to hearing about all of your projects and seeing lots of pics. By the way, it is totally cruel of Colin to wait until he is totally done to post pics. Any chance of some in process photos????
Thanks so much!
Tim
Hi Tim,
Yes the axle can be installed by any mechanically inclined person. I have dropshipped numerous custom built Axis axles all over North America to DIY people & they have been installed without issues.
You're going to want to carefully check the perimeter of the trailer for structural floor rot & the chassis for rust before going too far with the restoration. Many people gloss over this step & end up with serious problems down the road.
I'm including a few exterior photos.......................just to perk your interest
Colin
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Old 03-07-2011, 02:21 PM   #16
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Whoa! That trailer shines like the rear bumper on a 1952 Buick. Forget the fun house mirrors . . . just walk by that unit at happy hour.
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:55 PM   #17
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Wow Colin. That is a thing of beauty. How much does an axis axle cost?
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:22 AM   #18
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Just got the owners manual and title for my 1980 Caravelle 20'. It is going to arrive around March 24th. Hopefully all the spring storms will be gone by then!! I'm feeling impatient. I'd be happy to scan pages if anybody needs specific info about their 1980 airstream. There is a lot of useful information in there.
Tim
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Old 03-24-2011, 03:48 PM   #19
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My Caravelle is arriving next week so I am getting very excited and nervous. I didn't have as much info as I would have liked in making this kind of a purchase but I figured I had to pounce quickly if I wanted to get it. Here's hoping that it will get me through this summer without too much work. I really want to take the family out camping soon. Worst case is a leaky aluminum tent, right??
Tim
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Old 03-27-2011, 08:31 PM   #20
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So my 1980 Caravelle 20'er arrived today. It had 2 flats and the belly pan came a bit loose on it's 1000 mile trip from KS to Utah but it arrived in one piece. The inside is covered in an extra layer of cheap vinyl and has very little of the original interior. There's a 110V fridge from an apartment, no furnace, no battery, the original oven which is pretty rusty and a water heater that is installed deep in the bathroom cabinet. I think it is electric but Im not sure yet. The body is in great shape, the brakes and lights work and the bathroom is intact. The windows are complete but the hardware is a bit rusty and the gaskets are shot. The frames for the upper cabinets are original but the tambour doors have been replaced by cheap white plastic and the hardware is all gone. The floor feels OK but I have yet to go at it with the ice pick and really check it out. One bad sign is that the little dinette table is screwed into the floor and all the screws have pulled out so it wobbles horribly possibly indicating a rotten. I'm hoping it just means bad screws or a poor design and not a rotten floor. Anyway, I'll post pictures soon. It's dark now. I was not planning on a full monte but it might have to be. Wish me luck.
Tim
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Old 03-29-2011, 06:45 AM   #21
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So I finally got a chance to look around my Caravelle in more detail. I think the floor is going to be OK so I am very relieved since I don't have a space large enough to take off the shell. I started a blog to post my pictures as I make progress. Hopefully I'll be able to make some progress. I think I am going to gut it and start over and since everything is so ugly and very little is original I'm probably going to do a renovation and not try to find all the parts for a restoration.
Some questions I wonder about to the experienced 1980s trailer crowd:
1. What is underneath the cheap vinyl that looks like a bathroom in a gas station?
2. Should I rip off the bellypan to at least clean up the crap under there?
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Old 03-30-2011, 07:23 PM   #22
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We bought a 1980 24 Foot Caravelle in November 2010. The interior is in really great original condition. The exterior is fairly decent too but it has tons of oxidation which we are hoping to tackle once the snow melts. I had taken many photos and put them in the photos section under 1980's trailers so feel free to have a look.

We would love to see some photos of the interior of that 24 Foot Caravelle with the front galley. Since these 1980 trailers are so rare it is nice to see any pictures that are out there.

Looking forward to seeing your restoration progress via your blog.
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Old 03-30-2011, 08:55 PM   #23
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One thing (among the millions) that I haven't figured out about my Caravelle yet is whether or not there is an interior aluminum skin under the white vinyl interior surfaces. I thought the aluminum was critical to the structure but when I poke around in cracks in the vinyl it looks like insulation and not an aluminum skin. The vinyl is messed up in spots and is sagging on others so I was thinking about dogging down to aluminum in places on the inside especially as a back splash for the kitchen. Anybody know??
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Old 03-30-2011, 09:18 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by timzog View Post
One thing (among the millions) that I haven't figured out about my Caravelle yet is whether or not there is an interior aluminum skin under the white vinyl interior surfaces. I thought the aluminum was critical to the structure but when I poke around in cracks in the vinyl it looks like insulation and not an aluminum skin. The vinyl is messed up in spots and is sagging on others so I was thinking about dogging down to aluminum in places on the inside especially as a back splash for the kitchen. Anybody know??
The interior skin is aluminum, however it has vinyl molded onto it at the mill, before it becomes a trailer interior This stuff was also used in Aircraft interior skins.
Colin
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Old 03-30-2011, 09:31 PM   #25
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She shines !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:56 AM   #26
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The interior skin is aluminum, however it has vinyl molded onto it at the mill, before it becomes a trailer interior This stuff was also used in Aircraft interior skins.
Colin
Colin,
Is this the material you are talking about? This is the ceiling by the AC. It looks like it is just held in by the little plastic moulding and doesn't look structural at all. It doesn't feel like aluminum on the back on the part that I can get to without being destructive.
Tim
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Old 03-31-2011, 10:04 AM   #27
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Colin,
Is this the material you are talking about? This is the ceiling by the AC. It looks like it is just held in by the little plastic moulding and doesn't look structural at all. It doesn't feel like aluminum on the back on the part that I can get to without being destructive.
Tim
It actually feels like plastic like you would use in cheap paneling for a bathroom
Tim
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Old 03-31-2011, 06:22 PM   #28
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It actually feels like plastic like you would use in cheap paneling for a bathroom
Tim
I've never seen this type of material used by Airstream. I think you're right, it looks like fiberglass panels used in bathrooms. I would try taking one down, perhaps there is the original aluminum below.
Colin
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