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Old 08-08-2015, 12:04 PM   #1
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Am I crazy?! 57 caravanner rehab in 3 weeks

My wife,our 2 year old son, and I are planning a 3 month cross country RV trip starting sept 1st. We originally planned to buy a new(er) 19' camper trailer, but we're very disappointed in the build quality of everything in our price range (10k-15k).

We went to a family BBQ yesterday and found out that her uncle has a 57 Caravanner sitting in his backyard.

I did a prelim survey and found that all windows are intact and complete, roof was resealed and does not leak, and the floor has been replaced.

Most of the interior is there sans bed and couch.

The shell is in great condition with only 1 small surface scrape, non puncture.

Axle and leaf springs look rusted, but not rotted. Hitch is in good condition.

I am an experienced home mechanic and have brought several vintage European cars back to life. I have ample space, resources, and tools (and a decent budget) to work with.

I plan on doing a full survey of all systems tomorrow. I will report back my findings with pics.

I've read through many forums and know the basics of what to check. (Plumbing, gas system, electric)

Please chime in if there is anything specific I should pay attention to.

Thank you in advance.
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Old 08-08-2015, 01:11 PM   #2
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1956 22' Flying Cloud
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Just plan on it

Quick and dirty is what I will call this. You should plan on a new converter, a new (good) battery, a new water pump, new tires and a spare, go ahead and replace the bearings ...you were going to grease them anyway. Expect little maintenance items along the way so have a good little tool box along. A 57 Caravaner is a great Airstream.....lots of windows so plan on curtains.
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Old 08-08-2015, 01:53 PM   #3
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We bought a 75 Overlander 27' knowing it needed work, but the price was acceptable in comparison to what needed repaired or replaced. Getting it road worthy and useable took maybe a month, mostly because we're a hours drive from anything. When finished, with me doing all of the work, we'll have less in it than a brand new white box of smaller size.

If possible hook it up and smoke test it, check everything ... the stuff that makes it an RV, as well as the trailer side (to include age of tires).

There is a buyers check list somewhere on the forum that might come in handy.
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Old 08-08-2015, 02:47 PM   #4
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Thanks for the insight. If all checks out And there aren't any major surprises, I already have a basic gameplan.

New power system: fuse box, converter, dual batteries.

New axle, hub bearings, electric brakes, wheels, tires. Researching the torsion system retrofit.

New water management system: pump, tanks (add gray). Updated external fittings.

Sand, prime, paint bumpers and hitch.

Custom cabinetry throughout. Brother in law is a cabinet maker by trade and said he knock it out in a couple days.

Pergo floors.

Wife is handling all fabrics and furniture.

If time allows, I will strip and polish her.

We don't need it fancy. Just clean, safe, and dry.

Total goal is 150 hours or less of my time (plus help).
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Old 08-08-2015, 03:38 PM   #5
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You might enjoy this:

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Old 08-08-2015, 04:42 PM   #6
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You did say departure around Sept 1st.
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Old 08-08-2015, 05:44 PM   #7
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You did say departure around Sept 1st.
Yes, that's the plan!

I've done more in less time. Albeit on a car platform that I was familiar with.

I think it's feasible (with lots of long days) if everything is working as the current owner says. Tomorrow will be the determining factor.
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Old 08-08-2015, 06:50 PM   #8
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It is not going to happen.
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Old 08-08-2015, 10:05 PM   #9
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May take a little longer than you think.
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Old 08-09-2015, 12:19 AM   #10
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Get it useable and road worthy in that amount of time - easy.

All changes as listed ... I'm retired, it can wait until we get back.
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Old 08-09-2015, 11:27 AM   #11
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The buffing will take 60 to 90 hours
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Old 08-09-2015, 06:39 PM   #12
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1958 22' Caravanner
Atlanta , Georgia
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Call me. I started full timing in the same vehicle 2 mos ago adding 400 watts of solar, 750ah bats, fantastic vents, fridge composting toilet and more. I'll share everything Dave 67890892.32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icrashcars View Post
My wife,our 2 year old son, and I are planning a 3 month cross country RV trip starting sept 1st. We originally planned to buy a new(er) 19' camper trailer, but we're very disappointed in the build quality of everything in our price range (10k-15k).

We went to a family BBQ yesterday and found out that her uncle has a 57 Caravanner sitting in his backyard.

I did a prelim survey and found that all windows are intact and complete, roof was resealed and does not leak, and the floor has been replaced.

Most of the interior is there sans bed and couch.

The shell is in great condition with only 1 small surface scrape, non puncture.

Axle and leaf springs look rusted, but not rotted. Hitch is in good condition.

I am an experienced home mechanic and have brought several vintage European cars back to life. I have ample space, resources, and tools (and a decent budget) to work with.

I plan on doing a full survey of all systems tomorrow. I will report back my findings with pics.

I've read through many forums and know the basics of what to check. (Plumbing, gas system, electric)

Please chime in if there is anything specific I should pay attention to.

Thank you in advance.
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Old 08-09-2015, 06:53 PM   #13
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may take that long to get an axle ! the torsion is the choice . be aware new springs are 26.5" originals are almost 35"
with your schedule , check spindles and bearings / brakes maybe a good pack and you are on your way ? brakes should be replaced if stock !
as for systems for 1 trip a new grey tnk is pretty ambitious ! a blu tnk would get you through and then you can take your time and do it right.
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Old 08-09-2015, 08:14 PM   #14
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Have you opened up the bellypan to inspect the fame and floor for rot? It's almost inevitable on trailers this old.

Good luck, please share pictures and keep us posted.

-Marcus
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