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Old 11-24-2011, 05:39 PM   #1
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Furnace on Safari '70

Hello, I just bought a ī70 Safari but I canīt turn on the furnace and start the Fridge on gas, is there a special trick to turn them on?

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Old 11-24-2011, 06:05 PM   #2
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Furnace on Safari ī70

Greetings Lfemat!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstream ownership!

Originally Posted by Lfemat View Post
Hello, I just bought a ī70 Safari but I canīt turn on the furnace and start the Fridge on gas, is there a special trick to turn them on?
The first thing to check is to be certain that you have plenty of LP in at least one of the tanks and that the supply pointer is directed to the tank that contains fuel and be sure that the LP valve(s) is/are open. The next thing to check would be the individual supply valves for the refrigerator and furnace -- these valves are typically on the exterior of the coach mounted on the bellypan directly below the appliance involved. With the valves open, the devices should be ready to receive fuel. If it has been a long period of time since either has been used, it can be helpful to light one or two burners on your cook top and wait for a good constant flame indicating that trapped air has been expelled from the lines. Both appliances should have general lighting instructions on their control panel -- but in general:
  • The Dometic Refrigerator typically requires that you turn the fuel selector knob to gas . . . then there is either a knob that is held to light position -- or a button that is depressed . . . while clicking the ignitor button until you see a clear blue glow in the sightglass. I am assuming that you have a Dometic refrigerator approximately the same age as your coach -- the controls would most likely be at the bottom of the refrigerator door opening.
  • The Furnace is very likely an old-fashioned pilot light model unless it has been replaced. If it is the original furnace and the condition of its heat exchanger isn unknown -- use would be risky as the heat exchangers on furnaces of this era are noted for problems with corrossion. When looking at the furnace, there is a likely a small porthole with a screw retained cover where a match is inserted to light the pilot. I am working from memory on this, but I believe that the wall thermostat needs to be set to call for heat just before attempting to light the pilot . . . then one depresses the pilot button and holds while holding a flame/match in the pilot opening . . . the first lighting of the season is often exhausting taking several minutes and multiple attempts depending upon how much air is in the LP lines.
If these general guides don't apply to your refrigerator or furnace, posting the make and model will certainly help to focus the responses as there are nuances to the various models of similar refrigerators and furnaces utilized in Airstreams.

Good luck with your coach!


Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 11-24-2011, 06:08 PM   #3
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It takes a while to purge the air out of the gas lines if they have not been used for a while. Try lighting the cook top burner, one of the fastest way to get the propane back into the lines. Then try the furnace and the fridge again once you get the range going.
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Old 11-25-2011, 08:05 AM   #4
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Thanx for your comments Iīll try to purge the gas lines and turn on the appliances!
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Old 11-25-2011, 11:14 AM   #5
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Just a word of warning - the furnaces on a lot of the old trailer were recalled long ago; some may never have been replaced. Either inspect this or have it done before sleeping in the trailer - ours was faulty, and would have happily dumped exhaust (carbon monoxide) into the trailer.

- Bart
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Old 11-25-2011, 03:32 PM   #6
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1970 23' Safari
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I've got a '70 Safari and each of the gas components has it's own shut off valve. Great suggestions already, confirm propane, purge using the stove light the pilots. My Suburban heater was long gone when we bought our Landy just over a year ago. The Refer now works great however the pilot spark igniter was lost over the years, now use a 20" lighter...
Congrats on your new Airstream, great size and layout on this model.

Stream Safe,
Bob U-
San Diego, CA.
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