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Old 11-01-2012, 07:40 PM   #1
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Restoring our Caravel Land Yacht - lots of pictures

Believe this to be a 1969 Caravel. Going to bring her home this weekend. Here are some pictures.

There is a serial number on an oval plate that reads 0050006. I can't quite read the number on the Caravel plate, but made a high contrast picture. Maybe someone can interpret it for me?

Seems pretty much original, but I don't know what to look for. The fabric, curtains, Flooring and most of the paneling are in excellent restorable condition. Flooring seems solid when I walk on it, and I weigh about 200 pounds.

Your comments are appreciated.

I want to bring her back to original, authentic condition.

The shell is about perfect with a small dent in the front roof. Should be able to pull it out with a suction cup or plunger, I think.
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Old 11-01-2012, 07:45 PM   #2
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A few more pictures.
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Old 11-01-2012, 09:02 PM   #3
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The trailer serial number is the one on the Land Yacht plaque. O 18 D 9 J 176.
You are right. Its an Ohio built 18 foot Double bed 1969 Jackson Center #176.
Not a bad looking find.
Enjoy the world of Vintage Airstreams.

Good luck,
Tom
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:07 PM   #4
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Hi Bill. Welcome to the forums!

Yup, your Caravel looks to be quite original.

I, too, have a '69 Caravel and I really love it.

It appears you have a good one to work with. You can do the essentials and then enjoy using it while you restore/update it as you please. Keep us posted on your progress and feel free to ask questions/opinions. The forum members are a 'gold mine' of Airstream knowledge.

It's always nice to have more Caravel owners participate.
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Old 11-02-2012, 03:02 AM   #5
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We really liked our Caravel, but I wasn't too kind to its single axle on rough roads, so we moved up to a two-axle Safari. Here's a link to photos of how I redid the interior. The permanent bed drove a lot of the design.

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Old 11-02-2012, 06:27 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Zeppelinium View Post
We really liked our Caravel, but I wasn't too kind to its single axle on rough roads, so we moved up to a two-axle Safari. Here's a link to photos of how I redid the interior. The permanent bed drove a lot of the design.

Attachment 171872

ZEP
Very interesting redo on the interior. I will probably stay with the original as much as possible. But you have incorporated some very interesting ideas. I like the velcro on the cabinet doors under the bed.

What was the problem with the single axle on rough roads?
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Old 11-02-2012, 06:41 AM   #7
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Very nice looking trailer. I know you will enjoy it. Fine business on keeping it original.
The aluminum on Airstreams is much stiffer than auto sheet metal. Hopefully you can pull the dent out but I had several on the back of mine and I had to remove the end cap in the bath to be able to push them out. Suction cups did not work at all. Take your time as you work through the trailer and don't get in a hurry as that will cause more problems later. Think things through before you begin and you will actually save time.
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:48 AM   #8
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...What was the problem with the single axle on rough roads?
The axle was too stiff and I occassionally would break the shelves in the fridge door. At $20 a pop, I got tired after about three new shelves and stuff spilled inside. And it just felt bad. The new owner was OK with that, since they intended just to say on main roads.

There's a full thread on replacing the axle. In the end, Axis replaced the first axle that was too limp with one that was too strong. The right spec for axle max load is about 25% above the max trailer weight (loaded with food, clothes, and water). This gives you about 33% spring margin, since the axle doesn't support the arms, wheels, or brakes.

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Old 11-02-2012, 12:30 PM   #9
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1968 17' Caravel
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Great find!

Hi Bill,

Your trailer looks beautiful We just purchased and 1968 Caravel, and though we have yet to camp in it, we are in love. Ours looks a lot like yours, though there are some real problems. It is almost completely original and we plan to keep it that way. The biggest problem with our trailer is that someone cut away a section of the under-belly and attempted to add a grey water tank. This added tank was later taken off by someone, and the end product is kind of a mess. I will be attempting to make things right this winter, and add a gate to release grey water into a 20 gal. blue boy tank. It you get an opportunity, please take a photograph of the rear underside (below the shower.) I would love to see what the original plumbing looked like.

All my very best!

fred
Clarkston, WA.
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Old 11-03-2012, 06:30 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the replies! Will sort out the axle question once we get it going. Don't see pulling it down rough roads, so we may be ok.

I want to keep it original because that is the way I like it, and so did my Dad. This Caravel was Dad's pride and joy! A remembrance to him.

Did not know that the aluminum was so stiff. That is good and adds even more structural strength. I have not looked at the specs, but would imagine the shell gives strenght through a monocoque construction where an object's strength is in the shell, and this is better than in a rigid internal frame.

One of my tenants is a body shop. I will have him work on getting the dent out correctly.

fdole - once I get her home, I'll see what I can do about getting her up on a lift and take pictures of the underside. Please follow this thread and remind me if I forget!

Plan on getting her out today. She is behind two semi trailers and we will have to cut a path about 100 feet long through some brush to get her to a road. One tire is flat and off the rim. The other looks pretty good and may inflate.

Don't know if the lights are operational and whatever else we might find. There is a possibility that I may hire a flatbed wrecker to bring her home, about 30 miles.

This may be the safest way. Hopefully will have some more pictures tonight! I love taking before, during and after pictures.
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:54 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fdole View Post
Hi Bill,

Your trailer looks beautiful We just purchased and 1968 Caravel, and though we have yet to camp in it, we are in love. Ours looks a lot like yours, though there are some real problems. It is almost completely original and we plan to keep it that way. The biggest problem with our trailer is that someone cut away a section of the under-belly and attempted to add a grey water tank. This added tank was later taken off by someone, and the end product is kind of a mess. I will be attempting to make things right this winter, and add a gate to release grey water into a 20 gal. blue boy tank. It you get an opportunity, please take a photograph of the rear underside (below the shower.) I would love to see what the original plumbing looked like.

All my very best!

fred
Clarkston, WA.
Fred: Your '68 Caravel and his '69 Caravel will have very different bath setups and locations. The body stile changed between those years. I think his is a side bath in the rear, and yours is probably a rear bath.
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Old 11-04-2012, 04:55 AM   #12
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We managed to haul our Caravel out of the woods here are some photos of the saga. We will be forever grateful to a neighbor, Kim and his friend Mike. If it wasn't for them, we would not have gotten it out yesterday!

I had put new radials on it when we left it there in 2006. One tire was off the rim and had been sitting a while. As all of you know, it can be hard to get a tubeless tire to seal when off the rim. I would have taken it to a tire store to get it to hold air.

Kim and Mike showed up on two ATVs with a jack, an air tank and other tools They jacked up the Caravel, removed the wheel. Laid it on the ground and tried to get it to seal.

When just pumping air in did not work, Kim had a most novel idea. I had enough trust in him to try it. He laid he tire on the ground, sprayed starter fluid in it, and lit it!

The tire went "whoomp" and sealed, back on the rim!! Filled it from his air tank, put it back on the Caravel, and both tires were now inflated.

I am NOT giving this advice to everyone here. It seemed a bit dangerous, but Kim said he had done it before and I trusted him! If you try this you are on your own!

Then Kim went and got his Massey Ferguson tractor and pulled the Caravel about 300 feet down an old logging road. We had to cut branches and a few trees, but finally she was free!

Another final checkup and we were ready for the open road!

We drove 35 miles to get home, stopping a few times to be sure that all was well. I felt the wheel hubs to be sure they were not heating up (meaning a bearing problem).

But she followed us straight and true all the way home. Rather than bringing her inside our warehouse home, we parked her outside and will do a wash job before bringing her in..

Here are some additional pictures.
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Old 11-04-2012, 06:09 AM   #13
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Kim is the man! With a Massey Ferguson tractor and skills to get a tire to seat/bead he is certainly on his way to Redneck Knighthood! An option I prefer to beading tires is a ratchet strap wrapped around the tire in the direction of the tread and tightened - not saying I've never used the starting fluid approach it does work.
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Old 11-04-2012, 01:00 PM   #14
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Bill,

Congratulations! What a great story to start your adventure. I very much look forward to y'all joining us for some camping when you are ready to venture out.
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