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Old 09-09-2018, 09:10 PM   #253
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Today I bolted down the fresh tank and installed the accumulator in one of the cold water lines (which should reduce pump cycling) and I reattached the kitchen shelves to the kitchen wall. I then temporarily reinstalled the kitchen drain line with rubber couplers to check for clearances to the fresh tank, bed base, and kitchen wall opening.

I am starting to think I should put some water in the fresh tank to check for leaks between the tank and pump before I permanently install the bed base and kitchen wall, since leaks will be easier to address before everything is bolted down. I am most concerned with the threaded fitting at the bottom of the tank where the pump hose attaches. A leak there would be easier to see and address while everything was out in the open and the tank would have to be partially lifted to unscrew that fitting and apply more sealant if necessary.
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Old 09-10-2018, 07:01 PM   #254
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A light day today trailer wise. My main accomplishment was relocating the kitchen faucet shutoffs to their final position. They were previously temporarily located where the Pex ended when we ran out of Pex. Today I took measurements on the kitchen cabinet so that I could locate them where they will be reachable once the cabinet is installed.

Tomorrow perhaps I will move on to the underfloor drain plumbing.
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Old 09-10-2018, 07:36 PM   #255
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Do ATWC Airstreams have water heater bypass valves? I find them rather handy on my more "modern" trailers.

Plumbing ought to be tested before final assembly. The Airstream factory does this. I tested my plumbing with compressed air and soapy water. Threaded fittings are the only ones I've ever had a leak. The PEX clamps are rock solid. In the plastic molding factory I worked in, we tested water tanks with 2 psi air. That was an effective process also. We used propane pressure regulators to maintain the 2 psi. Plastic molded tanks won't handle much air pressure at all as you can imagine.

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Old 09-10-2018, 10:17 PM   #256
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
Do ATWC Airstreams have water heater bypass valves? I find them rather handy on my more "modern" trailers.

Plumbing ought to be tested before final assembly. The Airstream factory does this. I tested my plumbing with compressed air and soapy water. Threaded fittings are the only ones I've ever had a leak. The PEX clamps are rock solid. In the plastic molding factory I worked in, we tested water tanks with 2 psi air. That was an effective process also. We used propane pressure regulators to maintain the 2 psi. Plastic molded tanks won't handle much air pressure at all as you can imagine.

David
Hi David,
I doubt any ATWC trailers had water heater bypasses originally. I know mine did not. I don't think Airstream started to install them until decades later.

So far I have not put a bypass into Cramer as part of my new Pex plumbing. It will be easy to add one later if I change my mind because there is enough space to do so right next to the water heater, but I have just never found a bypass to be of any real value. For 15+ years I have winterized by just draining the water heater, blowing the lines out with air, and putting a little RV antifreeze into the traps. The only value I see to a bypass is if one wished to pump antifreeze thru the cold & hot lines, something I have never done, other than possibly our first year (can't remember for sure).

At this point, I have not even put low point drains into the hot and cold lines. I debated the decision a long time and am still debating it in my mind, but I'd never rely on the low point drains alone to winterize and would follow up with air, so the value of the low point drains seems questionable too. If I were to add them, they would also go next to the water heater - that's where the original low point drains were located and is where the new Pex lines are at their lowest point in the trailer. I can add low point drains later if I change my mind.

We tested the "high pressure" side (i.e. after the pump) of the plumbing with air pressure when getting ready for Salem. No soapy water, but when the pressure did not drop a psi after an hour or two, we figured we were good. Now that I've made modifications to the hot & cold lines, I will have to do that again.

I'd love to air pressure test the "low pressure" side (i.e. from the fresh tank to the pump), but I am not quite sure how to do that. I would have to seal the vented fill cap somehow and likely disconnect the pump as I am guessing the pump check valve in the pump does not work in the opposite direction. If I was able to find a way to induce a couple of psi into the low pressure side, I think the soapy water solution would be a must as I am not sure the leak down procedure would be effective as such a low pressure - I am sure my pressure gauges are not accurate at that point on the scale. No use buying special equipment for a one time test.

It'll get posted to this thread if I ever decide to add a bypass or low point drains.
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Old 09-11-2018, 10:16 PM   #257
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Today was another light day trailer wise. I spent some time on a creeper under the trailer temporarily installing the black tank valve and collector and making measurements so that I could mock up my below floor drain plumbing outside of the belly pan. Much better kneeling over a mock up on cardboard than trying to hold pipes over my head while laying on a creeper under the trailer.

On a large piece of cardboard I drew lines representing the main frame rails and cross members and all "ports" that I had to connect pipes to: gray water tank, bath tub, bathroom sink pipe, and discharge collector that connects the black and gray discharges to a sewer hose. I could then try different fitting layouts to see what worked best and decide where I need to cut holes in frame rails and cross members and confirm if I had all the necessary fittings.

I had a general plan in my mind and had previously worked out the connection between the gray tank and collector, but I had never finalized how the bath tub and bath sink would connect. The bath tub and bath sink will drain into the gray tank using the same pipe that will drain water out of the tank when the gray water dump valve is pulled. A wye connection makes this possible. The gray tank, gray water valve, and collector were all 1 1/2" connections, but the bath tub and bath sink pipe were 1 1/4".

The attached photos show the general plan I settled on after trying several different configurations using a variety of different 1 1/4" and 1 1/2" fittings, many of which are not shown in the photos. The result is a mix of 1 1/4" pipes and fittings in the rearmost frame bay and 1 1/2" pipes and fittings in the next bay forward, which will contain the gray water valve and connection to the gray tank and connection to the outboard collector after passing thru the existing hole in the curbside main rail.

I decided to use three rubber couplers for vibration isolation and ease of maintenance, should I ever need to change out a valve in the future. I did buy a 1 1/4" to 1 1/2" rubber coupler later in the afternoon that I did not have when I did the mock up. Most of the white pipes in the mock up will be replaced by black ABS in the final installation. My first rough mock up used white PVC years ago when I settled on a design for the custom gray water tank I had made. The PVC fittings were then returned, but the cut sections of PVC could not be returned. I later purchased black ABS pipe and fittings to match the original drain pipes on the trailer.
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Old 09-12-2018, 06:22 PM   #258
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Hi Joe: Talk about light days working on the trailer. I actually assembled my bathtub drain today. 10 minutes progress, not including the trip to the hardware store.

I have replumbed two trailers and did not plumb in low point drains. In my wife's Limited, I removed them as one of the plastic valves failed while on a trip. Otherwise we never used them. I did not including them in the Trade Wind or Overlander projects. I vote that you don't need them.

There are many recipes for winterizing. My son's 69 Globetrotter is an example of several recipes that don't work. It has several copper plumbing patches. I recently blew out all the water in my 75 Overlander, drained the old 10 gallon water heater and the holding tanks. During my renovation, I removed all of the copper plumbing about 2 months after the blow out. I was shocked at how much water was still in the lines as I sawed them up. I don't trust blow out as the only winterizing step. I always pump fresh RV antifreeze into the cold and hot until I get pink at every faucet. Note, my city water connection and pressure reducing valve do not get the benefit of RV antifreeze. So I vote for the water heater by pass valves.

You are much more experienced Airstreamer than I will ever be, so take my comments with a grain of salt. It is good fun following along with your painstaking restoration of this Cramer. It will be "best of show".

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Old 09-14-2018, 09:46 PM   #259
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After a couple of days spent on other things, I finally got back to the trailer this afternoon.

First I installed the Bathroom Door Header (but not the track and door yet), so that I could feel like I actually permanently installed something today.

Then I moved on to mocking up the below floor gray water plumbing on the trailer. Figuring out the appropriate pipe slopes allowed me to determine the proper height for the hole and drill the hole in the cross member for the Bath Tub/Bath Sink pipe going to the gray tank.

I also figured out where I need to drill the hole in the main rail for the Gray Tank Valve Handle Rod, but I ran out of daylight before I got to drilling that hole.

I am attaching a photo showing the black tank dump handle mock up, though I actually drilled the new hole in the belly wrap for it before I left for Salem. Because to the Black Tank Valve Adapter Plate (from VTS) turns the valve slightly, the hole moved about 1 1/2" rearward.

The Gray Tank Valve Handle hole will eventually be about 5" forward of the original hole. I will rivet a patch over the original hole, since it will not be reused.

I am currently debating using the new Valterra Dump Handles for the Black and Gray Valves or trying to make my own handles that look more period correct, using aluminum tubes and roll pins.

I hope to complete the mock up tomorrow, then remove everything so I can paint the raw edges of the new holes I drilled and start figuring out how to insulate these bays. I am thinking I might use foam board, or Prodex, or some combination of the two, rather then fiberglass.

If I get lucky, I might even get to permanently installing some of the insulation and below floor plumbing before the weekend is over.
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Old 09-15-2018, 09:24 PM   #260
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Well, I did not get as much done as planned today. I did get the holes drilled in the curbside main rail and belly wrap so that I could mock up the Gray Water Valve Dump Handle. I did enlarge the hole thru the main rail slightly after the photo was taken to eliminate the possibility of a rub condition.

When I went to paint the newly drilled holes in the main rail and cross member, I found that my paint had dried up inside the can. I'll buy more Glossy Black Rustoleum (brush on) tomorrow and get back at it.

I also made detailed measurements so that I can cut all of the necessary sections of black ABS pipe to the proper length, but I did not actually start cutting them yet. Maybe tomorrow.

I am still debating my underfloor insulation plan, so no progress there yet.

It's both a blessing and a curse to not be working under the pressure of a deadline.
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Old 11-03-2018, 11:54 PM   #261
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Another long stretch with no posts because Lorrie and I were traveling again in our other Airstream. We are back home now and the Classic has been winterized and put into storage and a few more projects around the house have been addressed, so it is once again time to begin working on Cramer.

I have to admit that the cool fall temperatures (highs in the 40s lately) don't have me too motivated to get out and work in the cold, so I've spent some time researching the last great engineering project of this restoration: What to do about the refrigerator?

Don't get me wrong, there is lots still to do, and many, many smaller decisions to make, but what to do about the the original "propane only" Dometic M50b fridge has been occupying my thoughts lately. Since I must keep the fridge looking original, dropping in a modern fridge is NOT an option. Potentially viable options could include:
  1. Trying to get the original M50b absorption guts working properly on propane.
  2. Retrofitting it with modern propane based absorption fridge guts.
  3. Replacing it with a modern fridge (propane or electric) but finding a way to keep the original door and door frame in place.
  4. Retrofitting it with modern Danfoss compressor based "ice box conversion" kit.
My current thinking is to choose option 4. There are several reasons, but the most important to me is that 1962 was the last year that Ohio built Airstreams configured their fridges to "breathe" cabin air (California eliminated that practice a few years earlier) and thus eliminating a propane burner altogether makes the most sense to me. By "breathe", I mean there is no air inlet so the burner burns cabin air. Also the condenser on the back exhausts it's heat back into the cabin as well. I do not want to cut additional inlet and exhaust vents in the side/roof of the trailer to make the fridge breathe "outside air" as all modern fridges are set up to do, because I want to keep the exterior looking as original as possible. I also don't want to risk the chance of a bad burner causing carbon monoxide in the trailer and/or burning up all the oxygen. I don't want to have to leave a window or roof vent cracked just to be able to use the fridge.

Thus a modern Danfoss based fridge conversion makes the most sense. There will be no propane burner, thus no carbon monoxide risk. Also the modern compressor based system will exhaust far less heat back into the cabin than the original absorption guts. It will use FAR less electricity when operated on electricity (either 12V DC 0r 120V AC) than an absorption 2-way or 3-way fridge.

There are downsides, with the main one being that the fridge will now always require electricity. Long boon docking sessions will be a challenge.

That said, I will go with an AC/DC version of a Danfoss compressor rather than a 12V DC only version, so that the fridge will run on 120V AC whenever we have hookups. 12V operation will mainly be while traveling down the road and maybe an occasional overnight at a Walmart or similar. I expect that the truck generator will cover us when on the road and the trailer battery, combined with the two truck batteries should get us thru one night of boon docking. If we have to go longer, we may have to investigate finally getting a generator.

That was the easy part. Now to research the many brands of Danfoss compressor based "ice box conversion" kits. I've looked into about 10 different brands, but expect I may have missed some. Most brands offer several options as far as compressor and evaporator size and shape and thus cooling capacity. I quickly decided that I wanted a box shaped evaporator that would make a small freezer compartment inside the larger refrigerator box. This basically will replicate the old absorption guts that I will be removing to make room for the new guts.

I am in the process of narrowing down the choices to 1 or 2, so that I can call and talk to their customer service to talk me thru the details. There are lots of things to consider:
  • Insulation: I am sure the old fridge is not as well insulated as modern fridges - how do I decide how much compressor, condenser, and evaporator I need to keep it cool?
  • Thermostat: Do I want a simple mechanical thermostat mounted inside the fridge, or maybe outside, or should I upgrade to a digital thermostat with a internal temperature readout that would allow the fridge set point temperature (and many other parameters) to be adjusted without opening the fridge door?
  • Compressor Speed Control: Do I want to stick with a basic fixed speed compressor (if so, how do I determine the best speed to run it at?) or have the option to easily adjust the compressor speed manually "on the fly" or even get an optional module that will control the speed automatically based upon cooling needs and also offer "easy start" protection for the compressor? The basic premise of speed control is to be able to run the compressor as slow as possible while still providing adequate cooling. Slower equals more efficient and less electrical current draw. I do like the though of startup protection, too. But these options cost money.
Decisions, Decisions. Right now the leading brand and model before I make any phone calls is the Isotherm 2501 with its "large" box evaporator (i.e. a whopping 1/2 cubic foot freezer compartment) that uses the larger BD50F compressor. This happens to be one of the more cost effective options as well as having better user reviews than some of the other brands. This is the same unit that Bubba L used to convert the Dometic M16 fridge in his 1955 Flying Cloud (http://www.airforums.com/forums/f73/...ml#post2156697). But some of the other brands better address some of the other "options" I have mentioned like digital thermostats and compressor speed controls, so a final decision has not been made yet.

I'll post back here when I make a final decision. Hopefully I can do the retrofit in my garage over the winter and be ready to install the fridge in the spring.

The attached photos are my original Dometic M50b fridge before it was removed.
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Old 11-04-2018, 12:25 PM   #262
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Frig Conversion

Joe I also converted to a Danfoss on my Krefft frig. My reasoning was basically the same as yours, with a few differences. I have 400 Watts of solar and lithium batteries that help ease the frig's consumption while traveling or boon docking. Removing the propane/electric unit off the back of the frig allows me to insert it further into the cabinet (~3"), and a slight weight loss.

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I mounted the compressor over the frig in the cabinet. The compressor fan is positioned against the side wall to draw air from the enclosure were the panel heater used to be. It will exhaust above through the original frig vent cap. I haven't built the enclosure around the compressor yet.

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I left the original insulation in the cabinet. Fortunately there is empty space around the frig so I could add rigid foil faced insulation all around: 1" on each side, 4" on the bottom, 2" above, and 2" to the back. The door will get new insulation. The interior door panel was in numerous pieces and its taking longer to fix that than I expected.

The evaporator was a close fit to the original freezer so I could use the original door.

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Old 11-05-2018, 09:06 AM   #263
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Joe,
You may want to call Leon down in Indiana and discuss this with him and see if you would like to have him take on the project. I took my Krefft down to him last week, and he is looking at gutting it and installing a new Dometic inside and utilizing the Krefft door and cabinet to give it an "Olde World Feel" with the benefits of today's technology.
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Old 11-05-2018, 09:33 AM   #264
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Harold,
Thanks for sharing your experience. You inspired me to do more investigation yesterday to see if I could find a box evaporator (or dual plate evaporators or even a plate evaporator that could be bent) to allow me to retain the existing freezer compartment door in my M50b that is only 4" high, but 19" wide. There are evaporator options that might work, but in brands other than Isotherm. Talking with Lorrie, she supports the idea of an external digital thermostat with temp readout. I did find that Isotherm has such a model, called ITC (Intelligent Temperature Control), but I actually like the modules from some other companies better (specifically Frigoboat & Sea Frost). Still deciding what to do. I am now even considering buying the condenser and evaporator from one company and the digital thermostat and compressor speed control from a different company. Other than possible warranty issues, this seems totally possible since they all use the same Secop (Danfoss) compressors and Secop compressor control modules in their condenser assemblies.


StevieB,
Thanks for the suggestion. I did call Leon a couple of months ago after Lorrie and I stopped by to see your beautiful Commodore Vanderbilt. If I wished to retain propane operation (my options 1, 2, and possibly 3 listed above), I would probably be taking my fridge to him to have it refreshed or rebuilt. Leon indicated that he could even add a 2-way or 3-way modern absorption system to the fridge (but those are very inefficient on electricity), but he really recommended that I cut the holes in the trailer and convert it to be breathe outside air, rather than cabin air, both from a safety and absorption fridge performance perspective. Quite frankly, it is his opinion that helped me change to consider the Option 4 - a Danfoss electric conversion. At the time of my call to Leon, option 4 was not even on my radar screen, so we did not discuss if he would undertake that type of conversion. It is probably worth another call.
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Old 11-05-2018, 10:54 AM   #265
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Solar panels for boondocking & travel

Joe:

As you are considering a 12 vdc/120 vac Danfoss compressor refrigerator, and you don't want to alter the exterior of your Airstream, you should look into mounting solar panels on the roof of your tow vehicle camper shell (assuming it has a shell over the pickup bed) to charge the Airstream's batteries when boondocking or traveling on the road.

My 1966 Alaskan camper has a 12 volt Engel marine refrigerator, and the Alaskan's single AGM battery that powers the Engel is charged by two 100 watt solar panels mounted above the camper's roof. The two 100 watt solar panels keep the Engel running on 12 vdc 24/7. Details are found here:

http://www.wanderthewest.com/forum/t...in-1966-8-nco/

I later installed an DPDT A/Off/B switch in the Alaskan to direct the solar panel energy thru Anderson connectors to a second solar charge controller in my 1955 Flying Cloud, to charge the FC's AGM battery when I am traveling down the road or boondocking. I can also attached a remote detached solar panel to the FC's Anderson connector to charge the FC's AGM battery when stationary. Details are here:

http://www.wanderthewest.com/forum/t...%E2%80%99-nco/

You will have to determine the number and size of the solar panels if you are interested in this approach, but I thought it as worth mentioning as a possible alternative to always using a generator. Take from it what you will and Enjoy!
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Old 11-05-2018, 06:22 PM   #266
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I find this aspect of the restoration very interesting; keeping the original looks with improved behind the scenes mechanics. I'm following along to see how it all works out.

Me, I'd through a block of ice in a pan in the fridge and call it good.

David
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