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Old 07-04-2020, 07:44 AM   #1
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1966 Caravel Restoration

Morning, following a shell-off restoration of the chassis, replacement of aluminum electrical wiring, and an unexpected but necessary pivot, I am working on completing the restoration of my 1966 Caravel. I have searched the Forums for information detailing the black tank replacement. There are many excellent threads (thank you) but none seem to answer the following question:

Do you need to build a wooden box or other structure which would be placed over the black to provide structure for the original fiberglass shower/toilet form and toilet, and to which the flange can be affixed?

Apologies in advance if I missed a thread. Thanks!
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Old 07-10-2020, 06:09 PM   #2
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I haven't done this work - but from what I understand our black tanks live in that raised section under the toilet. So assuming you would have to replicate that configuration to replace it. Is there a specific need driving your decision to replace the tank? Mine is the original tank and doing just fine. However, I don't boondock and I hook up to the sewer line at campgrounds. I'm not certain of this number, but I believe our tank is a 10 gallon tank - so very small.
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Old 08-09-2020, 02:08 AM   #3
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YES! I have a 1966 caravel that had a shot black tank. When I pulled it out I noticed that the black tank hat two 1x2 sitting on top to give support. If you are using the same tank.. oh boy... these were cheap ABS plastic tanks. My tank was broken on top due to weight.. the wood stops the tank from being crushed by a heavy load.. PUN not intended..but sure does fit😃..
I'm building a new tank as we speak. Are you using the old tank?
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Old 08-11-2020, 12:02 PM   #4
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As I told Flostream in a PM, 3/4" plywood over the tank, cleats on the wall to support the back, support under the front of the plywood, and a new tank that is more robust than the old one are the needs for fixing the black tank problem. The VTS tank is great as a replacement.
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Old 08-13-2020, 02:58 AM   #5
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When I disassembled my '68 Caravel getting ready for a shell off frame rebuild, there was a piece of wood to help support the load of the person on the thone. Your mileage may vary, but I'm guessing that black water tank cracks are load related.
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Old 08-15-2020, 03:11 PM   #6
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When I renovated my 67, there was a 3/4 sheet of plywood on top of the black tank. I ripped it all out, made a new wood support structure and installed a waterless toilet. I store the replacement cartridges under the toilet platform
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Old 08-15-2020, 06:29 PM   #7
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All It Takes is the Perfect Pit Crew

What do a Porsche racing rock star, a masterful Mac Truck mechanic, who now manages a fleet of 2000 trucks for the county highway department, a vintage car restorer and a former Boars Head premiere deli meats distributor have to do with the restoration of my 1966 Caravel '17? Everything.

When I unpacked the trailer upon my return from retrieving her after a shell-off renovation, I discovered that the fiberglass shower surround had a 4" crack at the right-hand corner between the sink and the window. It was so big and jagged that I knew it was beyond my skillset, and I phoned a friend of mine, who used to own a regionally-recognized vintage car restoration shop and said, "Help." After looking at the extent of the crack he said, I feel like we need to bring in a real fiberglass expert. I know a guy - little did I know who this "guy" was....

The next day, I walked into this private garage just north of this tiny town of 2200. It was amazing. Awards from Porsche, Lamborghini, and Ferrari, to name a few, hanging everywhere. You see, this "guy" is world-renowned for his restoration and rebuilding of race cars. Race car drivers and vintage Porsche owners have brought their treasured cars to his shop to be reconstructed, or an obsolete part machined by his hand. A Porsche he had reconstructed recently sold for $3 million at auction at Sotheby's. A race car he build from scratch was featured in the movie LeMans, starring Paul Newman and Steve McQueen, who raced the car in the film. My buddy Billy, painted it in true vintage orange.

The Porsche expert took a look at the surround and was intrigued by the quality of the vintage fiberglass craftsmanship. He agreed to give it a whirl, having never done this sort of repair work before. And with incredible artistry, he rebuilt Flo's cracked surround, and repaired and sanded the hairline cracks in the surface from years of trailering. He also was not happy with the "vintage" plywood that appeared to have been affixed to the bottom, and so he replaced it, using the same honeycomb core structural fiberglass panels he uses to rebuild Porsche's. Truly a work of art.

But it needed to be painted, and so my friend Billy (now retired) tapped the shoulder of one of the best vintage car painters around. And days later, Flo's shower surround was popped into the booth and painted with a single stage paint with matte finish. Looks better than new. He also will be throwing the original vent hood and furnace cover into the booth, as soon as I have finished stripping, scraping and sanding the old, rust-ridden paint off of these pieces...a moment that is slated for this coming week.

In the meantime, the mechanic, who in addition to having a 25+ year career in metal work and mechanical systems, is a very skilled carpenter and home-builder. In the short time Flo has been in his care, he has repaired the front gaucho (water-damaged from an old fresh water tank that sprang a leak), built a new countertop form, tied in the electrical wiring that runs the emergency brakes, wired all the trailering, license plate, and marker lights, installed Marmoleum flooring - looks amazing (especially the corner I did - hahaha -see photos), and built a wooden support for the toilet that covers the black tank - thanks, Argonaut, for your insight on that - the support has a channel cut into the top in the back to house the exterior plug for the shoreline power.

Under his guidance, I crawled under the upper half of the surround to rivet the original shower wand hardware into place (Pcasa - the original pieces look great, just like yours!), using a pneumatic rivet gun (an amazing tool!), and I have removed, sanded and replaced all of the rotted gaskets around the windows. I am in the midst of hand sanding each of the original Philips window latches - they look amazing...my fingernails, though, not so much!

Today, we installed the brand spankin' "new" shower surround - stunning! And Toastie, I can say with certainty, and first-hand experience, that you CAN get both pieces into the trailer as long as you move gingerly, with the first person edging into the right and the second person bringing in the back half, turning to the left. We used the cleco's my buddy Billy and the race car expert suggested to hold the top half in place while the surround was riveted - whomever invented those is genius.

Tomorrow is the start of replacing the plumbing with pex and getting the black tank ready for the toilet install. I have a larger tank, and we are going to fashion a cover, so that the piece that extends into the streetside closet will just look like the floor of the closet (with a secret stash spot for a bottle of wine or two - hmm, guess it's not so secret any more!).

But what about the Boars Head distributor guy, you ask? Well, you see, he had a fleet of 20 trucks and unbeknownst to me, over the years he hand painted the logos and branding on the sides of his trucks. So, when I asked his nephew, the master mechanic/craftsman, who is quarterbacking the interior restoration, if he knew of someone who could restore the Airstream signs back to the way they were before the shell-off, he looked at his uncle and said, "Why, yes I do, don't I, Uncle John?" And one afternoon, this amazing artisan went to the garage where we are working on Flo, and redid the front and back Airstream signs...by hand, restoring them to the way they were pre-shell-off, just as I had wanted them. Such a gift.

Since regrouping, this restoration has been an exciting, but humbling experience to say the least. Every step of the way has been so thoughtfully and meticulously done...by the most perfect pit crew I could ever have assembled to help me get Flo to the finish line. I cannot wait to be able to reveal the revamped Flo. "Soon," I am told.
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Old 08-16-2020, 12:59 PM   #8
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Yes you do have a great pit crew. That's more work done in a few days than most get done in 3 weeks. Looks like we're on the same parallel tract on our restorations.
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Old 08-17-2020, 06:22 AM   #9
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The Perfect Pit Crew

Thanks, Docboy. I am very fortunate, indeed, to have assembled this talented group of master craftspersons to help me press ahead with my 1966 Caravel restoration. I have read the thread you started about your '68 Caravel and we sure are on parallel tracks, though your skillset is equally impressive...I've had to lean on an entire village just to keep pace! BTW: do you still need parts for the Hydro-Flame furnace? I am keeping the cover and the frame to which it attaches - everything else is up for grabs. PM if interested and we can make arrangements to get pieces shipped to you.

Your AC install looks good. I keep looking at the unit in the box and looking at my trailer wondering, how? So your photos were timely. Due to height constraints in the garage, the AC will be the last piece to install. The opening and wiring is all set, as is the condensation tube, so the plan is to move Flo from the garage and install it. I like the idea of using a hoist, though, rather than two arms and a ladder.

Yesterday was dedicated to riveting the skins back on the ceiling and custom-fitting the bottom half of the shower surround and black tank support...to make sure everything is ready for the plumbing install...which we pushed to this coming weekend, after inspecting the underbelly prep.

Toastie - the design of the black tank support was refined, so that if it ever needs to be replaced, I can ease the tank out and then slide it around the toilet side of the shower stall without having to remove the entire surround - just the streetside closet. I was so pooped [pun intended] when all was said and done, I forgot to snap some photos of the removal, but I am attaching a photo of the modified support in case it would be of help to you. I will take a removal sequence before I rivet the lower shower surround in place.

And now, back to my day job...
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Old 08-17-2020, 09:55 PM   #10
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Very tidy black tank cover. The whole project looks very good. Copper wire throughout? I redid the wiring and used an Intellipower unit for both 12V and 120 primarily because the electrical boxes and connectors were original and junk. A benefit was that there are now modern electrical and water connections in the side of the trailer rather than hidden under the gaucho.
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Old 08-18-2020, 05:08 AM   #11
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Argonaut, thanks for the encouragement. The black tank design has been a very thoughtful work in progress. Yes, the aluminum electrical wiring was all replaced and run through the walls and ceiling. I did not do that with the plumbing, as it seemed to make more sense to have it run along the floor and then under the front lip of the showerpan, so that I can get to it without having to rrmove cabs and skins if there is a problem. The plan to run it as tight to the side walls as possible, so that it is up and out of the way. I also have figured out a fairly simple way to have a collapsible outdoor shower with all the parts stowed away. But first, the basic plumbing...the focus for this weekend's work!
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Old 08-18-2020, 06:23 AM   #12
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Flostream66-I seem to remember two wood strips running left to right to support my shower pan. I think they were different thicknesses to support the weight of a person in the shower and create a slope. Since you are a frame off, like me, how did you set that up. I've got to replace the de-laminiated plywood also, and just as soon as my Marmoleum is down, that's my next install.

I sent you a PM. thanks for the offer. Jerry
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Old 08-18-2020, 07:03 AM   #13
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Shower Support

Doc, as noted in my original post, the Porsche restorer used honeycomb, layered between two strips of fiberglass, to support the base of the shower pan. I asked him to slope it when he crafted the bottom because the old pan used to collect water in the corners...which was gross. You certainly could use shims, but I know that the craftsman who is helping me expressed concerns about putting anything under there that could create the potential for a stress crack in the shower pan.

As a matter of fact, we had to pull up the marmoleum we put down under the shower pan because it raised it up too much (we also added a 1/4" underlayment before installing the marmoleum, which added to the height of the flooring). We also are going to trim 3/16" off of the shower pan where it goes under the window because it is preventing the backside of the surround from going flush to the back wall - it is flush at the top under the window, but then pushes out about 3/4" away from the wall at the floor- so that will get fixed this weekend.

I will try to send you photos of the bottom of the shower pan before we rivet it into place, in case that will be of help to you. I had the Pit Crew Sign the back of the surround...for posterity...so you will see that as well!
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Old 08-18-2020, 02:36 PM   #14
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Hollie-That's cool that they signed it. I understand what you're saying about the height of the rivet holes lining up. My shop didn't put enough space under the door threshold to slip the Marmoleum under, so it's easy to see how the vertical measurement can change. Paul who did my frame said the bulkheads need to be a little shorter for some reason on the reinstall. When you get around to making your bulkheads there's a really good post on making a "story stick" that goes back to around 2007 or so. It looks like a real handy technic to use to scribe to curved walls and get other templates made.

I'll probably use some PlayDough on a test fit to figure out the shim issue.
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Old 08-20-2020, 03:17 PM   #15
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Water lines along the floor are the way to go. The only place the lines are hard to get to is the front of the shower pan and with pex lines, you may never have trouble. I found the shower pan was going to give trouble whatever you did. Your teak shower fixture should distribute the load on the floor and make stress cracks less likely. As for bulkheads, etc, I used the original pieces as templates and really had no major adjustments to do. Remembering back to the rebuild, the only thing I could reuse of the original cabinetry, gauchos, water system, and appliances was the kitchen sink. I was lucky that the front and rear fiberglass pieces had escaped damage over the years.
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Old 08-20-2020, 03:29 PM   #16
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66, 67, 68 Caravels

Flostream66, Docflyboy, and all of you posters: I am so envious (in a nice way , of course!) of all of you being able to work on your own Caravels and describe your inventions and work-arounds. And thank you for these descriptions! I am able to be "part" of my Caravel's restoration virtually at least through all of you. Mine is in SoCal, undergoing a full Monty, and I so wish I could be there and assist in this, but Idaho is just too far away, and I am in the process of a "full Monty" on my 1930s bungalow anyway so must keep working here at home.

Thank you so much for your comments and entries on this thread, and thanks to Flostream66 for starting it! I am following with great interest....

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Old 08-20-2020, 03:51 PM   #17
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1966 Caravel Restoration

Quote:
Originally Posted by Argonaut20 View Post
Water lines along the floor are the way to go. The only place the lines are hard to get to is the front of the shower pan and with pex lines, you may never have trouble. I found the shower pan was going to give trouble whatever you did. Your teak shower fixture should distribute the load on the floor and make stress cracks less likely. As for bulkheads, etc, I used the original pieces as templates and really had no major adjustments to do. Remembering back to the rebuild, the only thing I could reuse of the original cabinetry, gauchos, water system, and appliances was the kitchen sink. I was lucky that the front and rear fiberglass pieces had escaped damage over the years.
Running the lines along the floor where there might be heat in the winter is an absolute must for us Nor'easters! I managed to save my kitchen sink as well. Ikea has a clean white, stylish plastic storage bin that is an exact fit for the original sink...I use it to conserve water, and hold stuff during transit...$4.

Well shall see whether we can make that shower surround fit...as it currently is (or it wants to be), it pushes the drain largely over the metal support bar, which would mean a major welding alteration to fix the misalignment...I can't even allow myself to consider this as a possibility...
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Old 08-20-2020, 10:37 PM   #18
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Support bar? Was this added to the frame when you had the trailer worked on?

By the way, I used a flow through trap for the shower so there was no 'p trap' hanging below the belly pan to be scraped off thanks to a hump in the road or other inconvenience.
I didn't have any trouble putting the shower assembly back in the trailer. The frame was essentially two main members front to back with cross members between the frame rails and out riggers. The area under the shower pan was really pretty clear of obstacles as the drain from the kitchen and wash stand had to pass under the floor and pick up the shower drain on the way to the dump valve. When the shower pan was pushed up against the back wall, the exit for the shower drain easily missed cross members and frame rails. Check to see if your shower is as far back as it needs to be.
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Old 08-21-2020, 05:31 AM   #19
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Flostream. I notice of wire coming from your kitchen vent area. Is this the original can you take a picture of it for me Mine for some reason doesn't have one. I don't know why someone took it out. I need to see how this thing is mounted it so I can have one made.

And after Doc gets all the parts he wants from that Hydro flame I'll buy the remnants.
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Old 08-21-2020, 06:25 AM   #20
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1966 Restoration - Kitchen Ceiling Wires

Hi Vetteguy! On the 1966 Caravel, there are two sets of wires over the kitchen/cook area. The ones on the left are for the light fixture which is roughly over the sink, and the ones on the right are for the vent hood fan...which I am in the process of refurbishing. It's all primed and ready for single stage auto paint in the same matte color I used for the shower surround, which is a near match to the original oven.

For reference, I have attached a photo of my kitchen/cook area pre-shell-off so that you can see the two fixtures in place. The wires go up into the upper cabinet and down into the fixtures. I will be back at the work site tomorrow and will snap a straight-on photo of the two sets of wires.

As for the Hydro-Flame, I am keeping the outer shell because that has the hinge I need for the grate cover I am refurbishing. I will affix a new catalytic heater to the frame for stability while in motion. Docflyboy laid claim to the rest of the unit, so you will need to negotiate terms with him...but just so you know, I gave it to him, at no charge (other than shipping costs and a glass of AS rally vino some day)...The unit (sans outer shell) will get shipped out once I get the outer shell off, which I hope will be this weekend.

Thanks for reading my restoration thread.
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