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Old 08-19-2004, 10:29 AM   #1
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Talking Picking Up 1961 Caravel

We are leaving Saturday morning to pick up my "new" 1961 Caravel. I am excited to get going and eager to finally meet both Angie (Farm_Girl) and the Caravel (who needs a name badly).

I think we have everything we need for the trip. The trailer brakes and lights work, has new tires and bearings have been repacked. Durango has new hitch, wiring and brake controller. I have maps, AAA triptik and one week vacation for the trip. I don't know why I am so nervous. Maybe because I have never done this before???

Anyway, soon our Airstream will be home where she belongs. I say "she" because with pink appliances it must be a girl.


Kaye
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Old 08-19-2004, 12:09 PM   #2
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Picking Up 1961 Caravel

Greetings Kaye!

Congratulations on your acquisition. One caution that I might make is that, if you haven't done so already, you will need to verify that the height of your hitch ball is correct for the Caravel - - the height according to the Airstream Weight and Measures page is 17.5". I suspect that your Durango may need a rather significantly dropped drawbar in order to achieve this ball height. Towing, even for short distances, with a hitch that is too high can have both handling as well as coach damage issues - - I thought that I could tow my Minuet the relatively short distance home with a hitch that was less than 2" too high, and succeeded in damaging the dump valve termination components exiting the previous owner's driveway.

Good luck with your coach!

Kevin
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Old 08-19-2004, 12:53 PM   #3
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Welcome to Airstreaming (and the wonderful world of 61's)! Looks like you got a great trailer--and gotta love those pink appliances (soooo Jane Mansfield)!

Kevin is right about the hitch height--though don't panic if it's too high! There are adaptors you can get for a reasonable cost (I think we paid about $70) that will attach to your existing car hitch. You can get this at a trailer supply store.

While you are at the trailer shop, you'll want to buy a "blue boy"--a plastic grey water tank (grey water is the leftover water from showers, sinks, etc.). On the old trailers, they just let this drain off, but trailer parks won't allow that these days (I suppose there's something bad about soapy water). We were advised to get one of the big ones with wheels--that was certainly good advice, since the wheels make it much easier to handle.

When you pick it up, have the previous owners show both of you how to start up everything--and if you can, take notes and photos. It's kind of tricky with these old ones to light the fridge, water heater, heater, dump, make connections if you aren't familiar with trailers. I picked up our trailer by myself and a few months later I had the darnest time figuring out how to get the fridge started (but I did remember, finally)!

You may want to go down to the library and borrow (or buy) a good book or two about rv maintenance. That way, if a problem occurs, you will have a reference to work with. It's also good for the checklists they have for reminding you of all you have to do before moving the trailer. We like Trailerlife's book,RV Repair and Maintenance Manual by Bob Livingston, fwiw.

Make sure you arrange insurance now, if the selling state requires it for temporary tags. Also, be aware that the DMV will probably take some time to figure out the procedure for issuing temporary tags for this old a trailer--allow several hours for that.

For me, the most trying part of my first ride with the trailer was backing up. It helps to do this as a team (one person outside directing) and remember, turn the wheel in the direction you want the trailer to go. And be patient!

Also, don't get freaked by Jersey barriers. Remember to breath, go slow and recite "the trailer isn't as wide as my truck, the trailer isn't as wide as my truck..." Convince yourself of this, even if it isn't true!

Mary
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Old 08-20-2004, 11:24 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by overlander64
Greetings Kaye!

you will need to verify that the height of your hitch ball is correct for the Caravel - - the height according to the Airstream Weight and Measures page is 17.5". I suspect that your Durango may need a rather significantly dropped drawbar in order to achieve this ball height.
Kevin
Hi Kevin,

I looked at the hitch and it is higher. The hitch ball with sway bars comes with the trailer. Hmmm, this could be interesting.

Kaye
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Old 08-20-2004, 11:30 AM   #5
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Mary,

Thanks for the info. Liability coverage is on the Durango's insurance but State Farm won't insure the trailer itself until they see it. I was going to just wait until I got it back, but you got me thinking. I called Foremost and got a policy to cover property damage, etc on the trailer.

Kaye
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Old 08-20-2004, 11:30 AM   #6
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Make sure you have some sort of sway control as well. While it's a small coach it is single axle and a single aaxle is more prone to sway then dual. I had a single axle 5x10 cargo trailer that was around 2500lb iwth cargo just about crash me when it started to wag.

You have their address. Might want to go a head and look up the nearest place that has hitches incase what hitch gear she has will not work with your tow vehicle.
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Old 08-20-2004, 11:43 AM   #7
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Good luck on your trip. I'm excited to see more about this Caravel as you get it home and start learning more about it.

It is interesting that State Farm won't insure the trailer without seeing it. I used to have an agent that made me bring every vehicle down to them, they inspected it and took pictures for their file and wanted supporting documentation on the value of the vehicle (this was when I had the classic mustang) like appraisals.

Then I moved out in the country and got a new agent. This agent doesn't need to see anything, doesn't want to take pictures. I offered them supporting documentation on the value of the collector vehicles, the vette and the Caravel, and they said not to worry about it, it would be outdated anyway by the time anything happens. If there's an accident, we can document it's current value then.

So I was surprised to find these two agents, both state farm, with very different ways of handling things. Apparently the visual inspection and photos are not required by State Farm, but are at the agent's discretion. Consequently, the Caravel is insured by them, and they've never seen it.
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Old 08-20-2004, 12:18 PM   #8
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Agent

S.
I would love to get in contact with such agent, as I need to insure a couple of vehicles along with a trailer. Your explanation sounds very logical and I am
willing to give it a try.
Thanks,
F
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Old 08-26-2004, 04:49 PM   #9
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Cool

We are back!!! Our Airstream is parked in the yard, safe and sound. Pretty uneventful as these thing go (thank goodness). Lynn is a wonderful tow vehicle driver. The lights went out in Iowa and the temp tag disappeared in Wyoming. Otherwise it was a smooth trip. Now the fun begins.

Kaye
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Old 08-26-2004, 05:59 PM   #10
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Good for you! Glad you had a fairly uneventful trip. Now you have a list of things to start working on
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Old 08-26-2004, 06:15 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Stefrobrts
Now you have a list of things to start working on
Boy do I. The first task is deciding where to start.
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Old 08-26-2004, 06:39 PM   #12
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Thumbs up Oh goodie!

Another vintage Colorado trailer & owner! Hope to hook up at a rally sometime! Check out the DenCO link for upcoming events ~

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Old 08-26-2004, 11:08 PM   #13
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Glad that you had a safe trip.

Good Luck with all your fixing-up projects!
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Old 08-26-2004, 11:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kayelm
Boy do I. The first task is deciding where to start.
I know what you mean. That is actually my favorite part. I just brought home yet another old mustang which was too cheap to resist, and I just sit in the garage and dream of what must be done. Actually doing it, while giving a great sense of accomplishment, is a little less fun!

Luckily there is a lot of help on the forum, and it seems like a lot of Vintage folks in CO. So, tell us all about it!
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