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Old 09-05-2012, 12:25 PM   #1
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1966 Furnace Recall?, or, I'm Really Lazy

I have never learned to do a proper forum search, so please forgive if this has been covered adnauseum elsewhere.

I have had 2 1966 Airstreams come into my life in the last week: my brother bought a Tradewind, and close friends just brought a Safari home on Monday. Both trailers, and every 1966 pictured on vintageairstream.com have a big patch for the furnace, with the standard Suburban-looking intake/exhaust shroud in it.

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I can't believe that a premium brand like Airstream would have found it acceptable to send these to showrooms looking like this. The patch looks crappy, and appears screwed in, or with very few rivets that don't match the rest of the trailer. This got me to thinking-was there a recall on whatever furnace was used in these trailers, and this was the fix the Mothership came up with for the local dealers to take care of customers? I just can't imagine that everyone that I have ever seen has had the same looking retrofit done.

Just curious, thanks.
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:49 PM   #2
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I believe they were made that way. Not a retro fit mod for a recall. I worked on a '66 recently and it had the same cover on the outside. The big metal case that shrouds the heat exchanger slides in from the outside. It has a flange that is screwed to the skin and then the cover is screwed to the flange and skin. Much like a modern water heater.
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Old 09-05-2012, 01:03 PM   #3
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The search function will get you at lot more on this subject but for the quick answer..... Yes There was an issue and recall on Suburban furnaces. I cannot recall all the model/years involved but on my '67 Safari the recall concerned the crossover tube. It was subject to leaks and allowing exhaust/combustion chamber gases to escape into the trailer. Use the search feature above on the blue tool bar or go to the forums tab and restoration tab looking for suburban recall or furnace replacement. I think if the exterior patch was factory or dealer installed by Airstream it would be a more professional job. (Rivets and matching aluminum to exterior of trailer). Taking into consideration that these trailers average 46+ years old it would not be out of the question that fixes by P.O. ( Previous Owners) or non Airstreamer RV shops my have modified the exterior with a patch as a faster way to repair or replace a furnace issue. Top, My '67 has no outer patch at the furnace location although I have seen other trailers with that outer patch/access on them. Ed
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Old 09-05-2012, 01:19 PM   #4
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I know the NT22a furnace was recalled. But IMHO any Suburban original furnace in a vintage unit should be replaced.
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:30 PM   #5
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That's not a patch, it's an access cover

The furnace in a '66 Airstream can be removed for servicing by removing those screws and lifting the "patch" off. It's really an access cover, and was designed that way.
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:43 PM   #6
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63 Airstreams had a different brand of furnace that also gave trouble. The hole for them was quite large and you had to make a big patch to fill the hole before you installed the new Suburban furnace.
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Old 10-13-2012, 06:34 AM   #7
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My 66 tradewind also has the large access panel that allows you to work on or remove the entire furnace through the panel hole. My surburban nt20 also had the factory recall years ago when the parts were still available. The crossover tube is a short piece of radiator tubing that slips on to it's fittings. The repair was easy.
You should definitely pull the furnace and check the crossover tube as you will probably see cracks where the tube slips on it's fittings. The biggest problem I see is even if you replace the crossover tube to fix the recall issue you still have an obsolete unit with limited to no parts availability. Mine however is still working after 46 years.
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Old 10-13-2012, 08:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dumpster View Post

I can't believe that a premium brand like Airstream would have found it acceptable to send these to showrooms looking like this. The patch looks crappy, and appears screwed in, or with very few rivets that don't match the rest of the trailer. This got me to thinking-was there a recall on whatever furnace was used in these trailers, and this was the fix the Mothership came up with for the local dealers to take care of customers? I just can't imagine that everyone that I have ever seen has had the same looking retrofit done.

Just curious, thanks.
This is how they were built. This was done so the furnace could be accessed without dismantling all the cabinets inside to get to it.
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Old 10-02-2015, 09:31 PM   #9
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Suburban furnace

The suburban furnace in my 1966 Safari has this access panel on the outside. The outer case on the furnace is rotted on the bottom , not sure if furnace is functional or not, PO did not use it. Is it possible to patch this case and does anybody know what the long steel rod with a knob on it that runs through the furnace from front to back is used for?
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Old 10-02-2015, 09:52 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by caperjoe View Post
The suburban furnace in my 1966 Safari has this access panel on the outside. The outer case on the furnace is rotted on the bottom , not sure if furnace is functional or not, PO did not use it. Is it possible to patch this case and does anybody know what the long steel rod with a knob on it that runs through the furnace from front to back is used for?
It's been a few years, but as I recall, you press the knob (hard), it opens a valve that allows you to light the pilot light. Keep pressing the knob until the thermocouple heats up.
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Old 10-02-2015, 11:09 PM   #11
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Not worth fixing. Take it out and scrap it. Install a new furnace.
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Old 10-02-2015, 11:11 PM   #12
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Get it out and scrap it ! It will KILL you in your sleep !
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Old 10-02-2015, 11:38 PM   #13
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Please replace the furnace so you will be with us on the forums for a long time. They rust out, they had recall issues, no recall parts are available now and on and on. Any 50 year old RV furnace should be replaced if you value your life. Hell, any 50 year old home furnace should be replaced if you value your life.
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Old 10-03-2015, 06:34 AM   #14
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Another suburban furnace recall was for the nt30ma, it was for the cross over tube. But a much later furnace than yours I believe.
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