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Old 02-16-2003, 12:53 AM   #1
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Picked up the 59 today!!!!

Well had to share.
Some background:
My wifes Father passed recently. Part of his estate included a 1959 22' Caravanner. Well I expessed interest in it. My Wife new her three brothers would not have any idea what to do with it and sell it. So one brother got the Van that towed it, one got the car he had the other was the executor and had a IRA. She decided to take the 59 after I told her of the great times my family had camping when I was a kid and how I wanted to do the same with our two girls. My wife had not seen the trailer since the early 80's.
The camper has been sitting at a campground about 30 miles north of out home for the last 10 years or more. It's been a weekend get away the whole time so was still enjoyed and was getting some attention.
Has a few problems including needing the floor repaired under the bathroom so I have some work before I would want to take it out. The damage also includes damage to the belly pan in the same area. The whole lip where it joins the body is rotted away under the bath. I'll need to make a patch pannel for that area. The rest of the floor seems pretty solid. Electrical is a little scary so I plan to rewire the 110v and put in a newer uptodate circuit breaker pannel. Get the plugs swapped out to three prong and make some of safety hazards I have already found right.
The biggest disappointment is the 2 way fridge is long gone and it has been replaced with a Kennmore 110v unit. Some of the camping I plan to do will not have 110v available so I'll be looking for a 2 way.
The dinette has been altered and I'll have to make a new top to correct that. The stove cover was made into a table extension between the table and stove cabinette. Probably put that back to stock as well so we can get a chair in there. My wife knows at one time the sink plugs were there but did not find them in the camper. We will go back and look for them at his house.
I planned to tastefully add a Auto CD stereo to replace the 8 track that resides on the shelf over the sofa.....MY wife wants it to stay LOL We found one Kenny Rodger tape in there LOL. So the CD stereo may be hid in the wardrobe to keep her happy hehe.
Picking up the trailer was interesting to say the least. We have not been able to find the hitch. The sway control was in the van but nothing else. The leveler bars were in the camper but not the ball. We ended up using a standard 2 inch ball and winged it. The camper loooks to have 20+year old tires on it as well.
We took our time on the way home. Passing semis got her wagging for sure. The tires were rated 100psi but after arguing about the pressure with my Brother-in-laws we put 50PSI ( I wanted 70 in them) in them and went for it. Old bias ply's and it took a good 5 miles to warm them up and get them round again. Stayed under 55mph and had one of the brothers following to keep an eye on the old girl. She did fine. We did luck out and after cleaning a couple sockets we had full running lights and working brakes.
Well here is a couple pictures. A few more in the photo album as well. I'll add some better shot in the daylite if it quits raining tomorrow.
So heres the "59toaster"




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Old 02-16-2003, 05:26 AM   #2
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Thumbs up Welcome!

59toaster,

Well it looks like you're about to relive your boyhood through your daughter's eyes! It also sounds like you have the capabilities to restore her and you definitely found the right Forum to have any needed questions answered.

I bet you're pretty excited about the whole deal and who wouldn't be!

Best of luck-John

p.s. In your top pic, it looks like the front end of a 73-80 Chevy? Is it a pickup or a Burb and what yr is it?
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Old 02-16-2003, 07:31 AM   #3
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gas lamp?

toaster

welcome to the forum!

looks like you have a cool trailer! you are are at the right place to get your questions answered.

is that a gas lamp in the living room?

john
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Old 02-16-2003, 09:44 AM   #4
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Re: Welcome!

Quote:
Originally posted by John
59toaster,

Well it looks like you're about to relive your boyhood through your daughter's eyes! It also sounds like you have the capabilities to restore her and you definitely found the right Forum to have any needed questions answered.

I bet you're pretty excited about the whole deal and who wouldn't be!

Best of luck-John

p.s. In your top pic, it looks like the front end of a 73-80 Chevy? Is it a pickup or a Burb and what yr is it?
Ahh a fellow Chevy Guy!
The truck in the picture is a 79 Blazer. It's my wifes DD. Behind that you can't see is a my 75 Jimmy that stands 7ft tall.
Unfortunatly we are in the process of selling the 79. Two doors and two kids (one being in a car seat) has not made it a very good main vehicle for us. We have owned that truck for 6 years. It has a 350 crate and was fully optioned including factory tow package with 3.73 gears and a Gov Lock. Hate to sell it, it's been a good reliable truck but it no longer serves our needs very well. I have been trying to talk my wife into replacing it with a late 80's burb. She want's a car for the lower seating to make it eaiser to load the youngest.
More pictures of the trucks available here. http://www.gbr4wd.com/profilepages/H...HummelEric.htm
The 75 is a trail toy. I'm very active in the four wheeling community. The pictures above are not up todate for the 75. It now rides on 35's, locked both ends and has a new STC top. Here is a review of the top I did http://www.coloradok5.com/stcreview.shtml I trade reviews for parts to suport my 4x4 habit LOL.
I help Moderate the Forums at www.coloradok5.com
At this point I think I will be selling my Toyota Supra and replacing it with a Burb. I have found a ad for a 91 3/4 ton burb near my home. Typicaly paint problems with the galvanized body but sounds otherwise in good shape. I should be able to swing 18mpg hwy with the Fuel Injection and 4L80 with Overdrive and be able to tolerate that as a Daily driver to work. I'm fortunate in that I go against traffic to get where I work. It would kill me to have to drive it in Rush hour.
Well back to the camper:
Yeah, the floor is scaring me. I'll need to start pulling it apart and see how involved the problem is. I was up late reading the floor stuff and I hope I don't run into one of the horror stories of ending up replacing most of the floor. I won't know till I get that rear belly pan off and the bath pulled out and that will be a few weeks down the road before I can get started on that. I have a few aces in that I know some folks at a race shop that can help me form a new section of the belly pan. I also have a great bunch of friends that I can ask for a little help if need be.

john hd:
Yep it's a gas light if your talking about the light in the top right mounted to the end of the overheads. Apears to work and has a good mantle still in it. Still trying to figure out the round lights next to the wall sconces(sp) on either side of the sofa. I have been looking at every picture I could find from campers that were built about the same time and I don't see any others with those lights. I think they were added along the way. I have mid 80's pictures that they are visable in so I think it was added before my Father-in-law became the owner. My bet is they are 12v and I'll pop the covers to confirm.


Ok I have a few questions now:

1. I have a 110v light switch behind the Sofa next to the window. Can't figure out what it operates. Any idea?

2. I have a second set of switches with no lables next to the bed over the area that has the water heater and 12v inverter. It's two Low Volt togle swithces. The top is a three way and the bottom is just a on off or a 2way. I asume this is the shore power switches but no labels on them. They seem to be configured the same way as the vent fan swtiches in the roof but also have an indicator light on them. Any info on that would be helpfull I can't seem to get the 12 inverter to come on and flipping the switches is not getting me any results.

3. Is the water system. I have a pressure gage behind the sofa that I asume is tank pressure. I read that some of these trailers used an electric water pump to move the water and some used air pressure to make it air over water. Finding the gage leads me to believe I have the later. Some pointers and instructions on that would be helpfull. I did find the shrader valve on the water connection outside. When I first saw that I thought it was for blowing out the lines for winterizing now I'm wondering if it is needed to get the system to function. I understand the principle just need some operator instructions like what pressures to look for and what things to watch out for.

Thanks for the welcome!
Eric
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Old 02-16-2003, 11:44 AM   #5
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Talking Nice play toys!

Eric,

Nice truck!! I bet you're going to miss it, but family 1st eh!!

I believe the 110V switch behind the sofa was added to turn the converter on and off. I maybe wrong and if I am, another fine member will let us know !

The other members will share their insights into your other questions because I don't have enough experience to answer those for you.

John
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Old 02-16-2003, 12:07 PM   #6
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Picked up the 59 today!!!!

Greetings Eric!

RE: Water Tank

Your water tank, at least at time of delivery, was in all probability a galvanized pressure unit. I don't believe that the switch to standard demand water pumps with "plastic" tanks occurred until later into the 1960s. The easiest way to find out is to look under the cushions of the sofa bed that resides in the area near the external water fill - - a galvanized cylinder will be the clue to a pressure system that may have a 12-volt air pump to maintain pressure. The presence of a plastic tank will be the clue that the rig has been converted to a 12-volt demand system.

The biggest potential difficulty if your coach has the pressure system is that the galvanized tanks have a habbit of developing pin-hole perforations resulting in leaks at the most inopportune times. It can also take a little more effort to properly winterize as air pressure is a requirement to safely evacuate the water - - and it isn't really practical to consider RV Antifreeze for the tank in such situations. The air pressure pumps are also almost impossible to find new, and rebuild kits can be somewhat difficult to source. One of my friends who has a '60 Overlander is in the middle of trying to source a properly sized replacement pressure system tank for his coach - - the modern replacements are typically too large to fit in the Airstream positions. I have never had a pressure setup in an Airstream, but in my Brand X trailer the guideline was to keep the pressure between 30 and 60 psi - - anything over 60 psi and you could be sure that there would be a pipe separation resulting in 30 gallons of water flooding the coach.

RE: Mystery Switch Behind Sofa

This is likely an aftermarket modification, but I might speculate as to possible purposes. One might be as a power on/off switch for the 12-volt power converter/Univolt(?) - - these were often added to avoid overcharging the battery or to reduce the noise level for sleeping. A second possibility might be to control an optional exterior porch lamp - - these were offered throughout much of the 1950s and 1960s - - the fixture was carried in the trailer and screwed into an outlet on the curbside of the coach - - I have one of these on my '64 Overlander as you can see in this photo:



The switch could also serve some purpose such as controlling some exterior lightling (an assumption based upon its semi-permanent location for the past several years); or could it be a "kill" switch for something like the mini-compressor style refrigerator that has been installed in the coach?

RE: Switches Near Converter

In its original configuration, your coach may have had a city/on-board power switch; the only question in my mind is that it was my impression that the Univolt Power Converter didn't become a standard feature for Airstreams until the very early 1960s - - that could point to an aftermarket addition or a factory option. If your coach has one of the exterior "scare lights", one of the switches might control this light.

Good luck with your check-out!

Kevin
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Old 02-16-2003, 12:17 PM   #7
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110V Fridge

59er,
The "previous owners" or PO's as we like to call them here on the forum, replaced the original fridge with a 110v only model. So far this has not been a problem. Instead of spending $1000+ for a new fridge, we decided to spend $859 on a Honda EU2000i generator that will run the fridge, which only draws 1.9 amps.

We run and pack the fridge a day before we will be departing. Most of our excursions are within 3 hours of home so, it has never been a problem, UNLESS we forget to put the chair in front of it to keep the doors from opening when you go around a sharp curve in the road! Velcro fasteners will be installed befor our first trip this year.
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Old 02-16-2003, 02:46 PM   #8
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Well I spent a couple hours snooping around and figured a few things out. The switch behind the sofa is original. It's the switch for the air compressor for the water system. It's original and the gromit where the wires come out has the oringinal paint overspray on it. Two screw in fuses located down there as well. One is for the pump and the other I asume is for the 110 electrical outlet.
The water heater has also been swapped for a 110 unit and I'm going to have to check it carfully. It looks like it had power to it with no water in it last night when we spent some time going through the trailer. Killed the power to it today. SO I hope I didn't burn out the element.
The tank I may have got lucky on. Looks like spun aluminum to me and appears to be in very good shape. The tank cap has a water spigiot attached to it. I asume the original set up was a cap to fill it and maybe a second city water cap. It looks to me that my Father-in-law or a previous owner did this and honestly other than it would need a gender reversing adaptor to hook it up it looks like a working set up. Only problem I see is purging the air out of the tank so you can get it filled. It makes a quick way to turn off water to the camper. I'll have to test it out to see how it does. Most of the time it wont be an issue.

I still haven't fully investigated the switches at the bed. That switch has a 3 way like the City/Off/12v on the fans and foward outlets. It also has a light. THere is a OLD triplite 12v->110v 300w inverter under the bed. THe wiring that it is hooked too looks original and again has overspray. I't possible that it had the converter and it was replaced. THe other possiblility is it had a 110v->12v charger and they reveresed the wiring. I did not find an onboard battery charger.

I asume the "scare light" is the light above and to the right of the door over the windows (see triangle shaped peice in side picture). I have a switch for that on the inside near the door. It works fine. I do have the screw cover receptical on the side of the camper in about the same location as yours Kevin. Not sure of the switch location and I'll have to look for it. Would the switch over the door on the inside possibly control both the light at the door and the light porch style light on the side? Both locations are visable in the side profile.
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Old 02-16-2003, 02:58 PM   #9
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Picked up the 59 today!!!!

Greetings Eric!

RE: Porch Light Outlet Switch

The four coaches that I know of with this option have the switch in four different locations. In each case, however, the switch has been a typical household type AC switch. In one coach, the '61 I believe, the switch is located behind the front lounge. On the second coach, the switch is located above the refrigerator on the pantry wall ('64 Sovereign I believe). On the third coach, the switch is located in the side of the cabinet near the entry door ('67 Caravel). In my '64 Overlander, the switch is on the exterior wall (streetside) to the left of the window that is over the kitchen sink.

I have run across several of the globes for the exterior fixture, but have yet to run across any of the fixtures for sale. I was fortunate in that my fixture and original globe were included with the trailer. I recently purchased an NOS gloge as a spare. The light is really nice in that it is less intrusive than the "scare light"; and it even has a switch monted on the light to turn it on or off from outside.

Good luck in tracing your switches!

Kevin
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Old 02-16-2003, 04:16 PM   #10
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Re: Picked up the 59 today!!!!

Quote:
Originally posted by overlander64
Greetings Eric!

RE: Porch Light Outlet Switch

The four coaches that I know of with this option have the switch in four different locations. In each case, however, the switch has been a typical household type AC switch. In one coach, the '61 I believe, the switch is located behind the front lounge. On the second coach, the switch is located above the refrigerator on the pantry wall ('64 Sovereign I believe). On the third coach, the switch is located in the side of the cabinet near the entry door ('67 Caravel). In my '64 Overlander, the switch is on the exterior wall (streetside) to the left of the window that is over the kitchen sink.

I have run across several of the globes for the exterior fixture, but have yet to run across any of the fixtures for sale. I was fortunate in that my fixture and original globe were included with the trailer. I recently purchased an NOS gloge as a spare. The light is really nice in that it is less intrusive than the "scare light"; and it even has a switch monted on the light to turn it on or off from outside.

Good luck in tracing your switches!

Kevin
Well maybe I'm totaly wrong about the switch then. I'll meter the conection and see what I find. It might be possible that the switches at the bed control the Grover compressor for the water system.

Now low and behold I found some interesting stuff. I started digging through the stack of paper work I have for the trailer. I had skimmed through it and noticed paper work for the new fridge and water heater and some stuff on the hitches. What I didn't pay attention too was some sheets stapled together. I thought it was some notes on trailer wiring (there is about 3 sets of this where there were some hand writen notes and pin outs).
Well started looking at this other paper work and its ORIGINAL paper work for the trailer from Airstream including how to use the water system. No mention of the grover pump but it did tell you how to fill the tank (as well as purge the water heater). Seems to fill the tank you connect a hose to the spigot hanging down under the "bib". This fills the tank with water and builds pressure in the system at the same time. From there you check for a max of 60 PSI on the shrader valve at the neck on the front. Method two is to fill the tank thought the front fill (the one that also has a spigot in the cap now) and pressureize with a bicycle pump or air hose at the service staion.
If your hooking to city water yoou just hook into the valve in the "bib" and go with it. That leaves the system ready to go. The "bib valve" is also used to drain the tank.
So that mystery is solved. Just need to figure out the switch at the bed.

Some of the other information in this packet was how to use the forced air heater. I took a good look at it this moring and it seem to be in good shape. Still want to pull out the burners and inspect the thing real good. It also explains another City/12v switch on the wall. It's for the blower motor power. Didn't test it out but it looks like it's all there and working. I want to get a CO2 alarm before I fire it.
Also included was winterizing information and draining the black water tank.


Oh this trip lite inverter instructions say it will also charge the battery but you have to energize the 120 volt side of the inverter and it will run backwards as a battery charger. With it fix mounted that's not so scary but it also makes mention of doing this through a cig lighter. On a portable unit.
On the down side I did find some bad floor under the sofa and water tank. So looks like a little more floor to replace. Not finding any problems in the middle of the trailer yet so might get off with just pulling the bath and now the sofa. Looking at the bath I don't even know where to start on pulling the walls loose without busting them up. Looks like I have to drill out the rivits on the track around the wood. Need to do a littl more reseach on the floor replacement section.

I'm having a good time just researching the old girl and figuring out how it works.
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