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Old 10-10-2012, 08:24 PM   #1
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1969 18' Caravel
Rapid City , South Dakota
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 4
Looking for owner's manual and guidance

Just got an 18' 1969 Caravel that hasn't been used for over 30 years. I would like to get an owner's manual/service manual in pdf or hard copy format. I will be starting on the restoration soon and assume that I would find valuable information in the manual. She is getting in to towable condition now and then will be coming home for the winter for some interior work. I also need to replace things like the rock shield, window screens and gaskets, the gaskets that the window slides move in, door seals, curtains, treat the paneling, and clean and polish the exterior. And of course - check all the systems. Wow, this sure sounds like a big job now that I am tying all this. The clear coat is spotty so I'm not sure if I just need to remove it and polish her or if I really need to replace the clear coat. I've been told that a clear coat is very expensive, so that may have to wait (if it can). I am in western South Dakota so no Airstream dealer close. Any suggestions on where to acquire products and best course of action is greatly appreciated! thanks!!!

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Old 10-10-2012, 09:01 PM   #2
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1966 24' Tradewind
1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2,134
Welcome to the forums and congrats on your new Caravel. They are one of the best floorplans of all the Airstreams. I am also partial to the 60's trailers because of all the real wood and the I believe they were built better then than the new ones are now. Once you replace/restore all the systems and the interior and exterior it will be just as good or better than a new one.

All the info you need is here in the forums. I would start by just reading some of the restoration blogs or threads.


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Old 10-10-2012, 09:10 PM   #3
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1977 31' Sovereign
1963 26' Overlander
1989 34' Excella
Johnsburg , Illinois
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,925

I think you should do a complete inspection to determine what is functional and what needs repair. Getting the shell water tight is the first thing to take care of so no more water damage can occur. Your restoration should start with determining if the floor or axles need to be replaced. Make sure the window clips are secure. If they are rusted and the windows break, you will have a major expense. You do not need to worry about clearcoat or polishing till much later. If you can patch the clearcoat, it will be less costly than polishing and recoating.
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Old 10-11-2012, 08:23 AM   #4
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1969 18' Caravel
Rapid City , South Dakota
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 4
Thanks for the info!

Actually, she is at the shop now to get new tires, wheels, and bearings. She will be inspected and made towable. At first glance - floor and underbelly look good. Definitely, the systems will be inspected - electrical, gas, and water lines. I am not going to do anything with the water system beings she has been dry for so long and I know nothing will freeze in the winter (if we have one). All of the windows seem to close properly and it doesn't appear that there has been water leaking anywhere - yeah!!! I'll make sure that the perimeters are clean and then latch them tight for the winter. Once she is home - I can start cleaning the interior. Unfortunately, from sitting so long everything is just really dry from being closed up, and there is sun damage to the curtains, etc.

Question: By 'window clips' do you mean the lever latch at the bottom or the top hinge? Thanks again and I'm sure you will be seeing more of me as I go through this exciting process.
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Old 10-11-2012, 12:23 PM   #5
3 Rivet Member
1952 25' Cruiser
1967 22' Safari
1969 18' Caravel
Palo Alto , California
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 125
So exciting! We bought a 69 Caravel on September 24!! We ordered a manual from:
Helen Davis Secretarial Services, P.O. Box 484, Sidney, OH 45365. You can call them at (937) 492-8885 M-F 9-4. Just leave them a message and they will call you back. Our manual cost around 30 dollars. It's a copy of course but really nice to have.
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Old 10-11-2012, 02:24 PM   #6
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1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,592
Originally Posted by 69Caravel View Post

Question: By 'window clips' do you mean the lever latch at the bottom or the top hinge? Thanks again and I'm sure you will be seeing more of me as I go through this exciting process.
I think the poster was assuming you had the frameless curved glass Coring windows used in '66-68. They had difficult to replace window clips. Your '69 has the "new" stile window and should have no special window issues.

'69 was when AS first produced the new body shape which curved in at the base and out at the belt line, unlike all those previous ones which were widest at the floor line. Windows were changed too, but your '69 Caravel has the wood interior. By '71 (the last year of the old short 18' Caravel line) the interiors had changed to tambour rolling doors and vinyl coated wood interior partition walls. I think the one you have has white vinyl aluminum interior skin, as does my '71.

For what it is worth, I have never found the AS owners manuals to be very helpful. The service manuals are nice, but after 40 years or so the parts numbers are not of a great deal of value.

Have lots of fun with your new toy. I like the 18' Caravel series of '69 to '71. Mine is virtually stock other than safety upgrades like a new furnace, and a better converter/charger to replace the old Univolt.

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