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Old 01-20-2004, 10:24 AM   #15
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Weight issues

Hmmm, remove 100 pound gaucho install 70 lb Dinette, am I missing something here?

What is the issues with weight?

I too removed original components to do Dinette, surely a wash wouldnt you think?

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Old 01-20-2004, 11:34 AM   #16
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I can always weight the gaucho when we takle it out and use it as a basis for trying not to exceed that weight with the new unit. I had thought about weight distribution and decided it was a wash.

Rich, you make a good point about the wheelwell cover. Mine is also plastic and cracked here and there. I was thinking of making a box over the whole area, basically the whole area behind the drawers now, which would cover the wheelwell, water system, and battery. I also wondered how much work it would be to make a nice aluminum cover to replace the plastic one on the wheelwell, but that would be for later. Got to try not to make this too involved to begin with - I have a tendancy for my projects to go spiralling out of control!

The leaks worry me too. The canopy we bought for it is a tarp over a metal frame, like a small carport. So nothing will actually touch the trailer skin. I hope to have it up before the week is out.

Then I can see if there are some seams that need resealing, or I'm thinking I should look into the gaskets around the pipe vents, or the marker lights. I'm trying to get in touch with the previous owner to ask him which he did most recently, because I know he did a lot of work to it. Anyway, hopefully I can stop the leak and then use some Stop-Rot on the floor to fix the wood, and the damage won't be too bad. I'm optimistic because it is a small area, and I know the previous owner kept it under cover when it wasn't on the road, so it hasn't been just sitting outside rotting away for years. If nothing else just keeping it under cover when we're not using it will be good for it.

Fixing the leaks and replacing the gaucho also sounds like a good time to look into some cork flooring...Since everything will be pulled apart anyway.
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Old 01-20-2004, 12:02 PM   #17
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Ken, I think the gaucho in a '68 Caravel is much lighter than the 70's and later models. There's almost nothing to it.

It is basically a light frame of 1x1 wood members plus a piece of 1/4" plywood at the rear, and a piece of 3/8" plywood for the face frame. The left side is the 1/4" wall dividing the living space from the bath closet. The right side is actually part of the existing dinette. The cushions are backed with 1/4" plywood for stiffness. There is no top except the 6"x75" hinged piece along the wall.

Most of the weight is the drawers themselves, which are simple boxes made of 3/8" plywood. I haven't weighed my gaucho but I would guess it is in the range of 50-60 lbs, cushions included.

The weight sensitivity of a '68 Caravel is more than you might think. I believe (but can't find the source now) that the original axle was rated to 2,800 lbs GAWR, which with a 2,400 lb empty weight minus tongue weight, leaves a pretty tight useful net carrying capacity.

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Old 01-20-2004, 12:30 PM   #18
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Hmm, more arguements in favor of a new axle...

I agree, the gaucho's construction is extremely light. After looking at it, I'm surprised it supports as much abuse as it gets, being used as a couch and a bed. The piece down the center of it, from the dinette to the bathroom wall, is 1/4 plywood, almost like an I-Beam which braces it and supports most of the load along with the face frame. It's kind of ingenious really, because they mangaed to make it fold out into a full size bed without any tricky framing, slides, etc.
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Old 02-13-2004, 07:53 PM   #19
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I am glad to see this thread at this time, as I am just about to start a gaucho to dinette transformation.

We have a 67 tradewind and I just hate the front sofa thing. Sitting sholder to sholder with my wife, and eating on that fold up/out table just isn't for me. My wife on the other hand hates the dinette idea because as a kid, she was always jamed in first and wasn't let out by her older brothers. Ah, the trama of childhood.

The big problems as already mentioned seem to be 1) original vs. modified 2) the center mounted water tank and pump and 3) weight of new construction.

Like with that link above, most dinettes seem to be very square. I have removed the sofa frame and really like the curve of the front wall. So I want to do a "dinner booth" thing where the dinette makes a continous even curve around the wall. I can continue the seat over the water tank to make it continous. Then I think a round table that is removeable and MAYBE converts to a bed.

So I will keep all the stuff I take out and tell myself I can always make it original again. Water tank kinda has to stay there with the seat over it. Sooooo, how do I make it light enough? I see above the spruce and thin plywood idea. All my stuff is going to curve so that will be a pain. I wish there was some kind of high strength composite stuff.

Anyone know where I can buy some cheap carbon fiber 2x4's?
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Old 02-13-2004, 08:13 PM   #20
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Minkus,

Your curves will have to be wood, but you could see if the local screen room place will sell you some aluminum box shaped tubing. It will be strong, easy to cut, and lightweight. Not to mention it will never rot! You can skin it with the luan and maybe come out with no gain in weight!
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Old 02-13-2004, 08:23 PM   #21
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couch to dinette

Minkus, hit this site. Shows a couch to dinette conversion step by step. I don't know if this link works, you may have to type it in yourself.
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Old 02-13-2004, 08:23 PM   #22
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try again

try again http://www.insideout-design.net/maxwell/index.html
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Old 02-13-2004, 08:26 PM   #23
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I'm thinking of building a dinette

Greetings Stephanie!

As was mentioned in one of the earlier posts, an option would be to have a free-standing dining table with Leg-O-Matic chairs. There is a precedent for this as that is exactly what Airstream coaches from earlier in the 1960s had - - I believe that 1965 may have been the last year for the free-standing table. The table below is from my Overlander (Fowler Interiors restored it replacing the damaged Formica top with a solid oak top):



The table folded is shown in this shot:



I posted photos the reproductions of the original Leg-o-Matic chairs in the thread below:

Leg-O-Matic Chairs

The table rides on the front lounge when traveling - - there are hooks on the back sides of the drop-leaves that allow the leaves to be tethered together for travel. The Leg-O-Matic chairs fold and travel in the bottom of the rear wardrobe.

Good luck with your decision/project!

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Old 02-14-2004, 01:16 AM   #24
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Neat-o table! The new oak top is beautiful! I looked up some leg-o-matic chairs on the web. Neat concept.

I'm still thinking about my dinette-for-two idea. My hubby disapproves, as he loves the Caravel just the way it is, pulling the bed out every night and everything. We might just use it for another summer in it's original configuration until I can convince him to let me experiment. That or I can see the need for a new floor covering coming up in the future, and while the gaucho is out for that project (while the ugly old vinyl comes up) would be a good time to experiment.
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Old 02-14-2004, 01:44 AM   #25
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Thanks Tin Hut ~

Quote:
Shows a couch to dinette conversion step by step.... http://www.insideout-design.net/maxwell/index.html
Actually this link will take you right to the Dinette section: Front Gaucho-to-Dinette

I also have some photos on AirstreamPhotos...you can use the "photos" link below

Shari
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Old 02-14-2004, 08:43 AM   #26
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dinette

Minkus, when we first got our '67 I thought about a dinette as well but then realized I didn't have time for another project. I've come to appreciate the gaucho more now. With four of us and a big dog in the trailer it's nice to have that open area to move around in. We carry two fold up wooden slat chairs that match the trailer with us and when the table is up we use them as well as the couch. Also gives us extra seats for outside in a pinch. I've noticed we tend to eat outside on the picnic tables if available and usually only pull the table out for board games at night.
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Old 02-14-2004, 08:08 PM   #27
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Thanks Tin, I think the key is 4 people and a dog vs. 2 only. Like you said, the need for another project is always questionable, but, what the heck.

Speaking of projects, your trailer looked finished, but weren't you just asking about floor repair? What gives? I would hate to have those pin-ups disturbed for something like floor rot.

And speaking of rot, I have to start my floor, and was wondering if there is any value to taking out the pocket door in addition to the bath?
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Old 02-15-2004, 03:28 PM   #28
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floor rot

Back in my battey compartment I was pressing down on the plywood feeling proud about not having the floor rot problems I hear about and then my finger went right thru. I've got to figure out the extent of it and get it fixed. Don't want the battery to fall out next. Oh ya, since you've got a '67 as well, make sure your access doors are always on tight. I lost one already. I ordered a replacement from Inland RV and have been waiting several months for it and they're not cheap. I may try to hinge them or something.
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