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Old 05-28-2023, 11:25 PM   #1
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1965 17' Caravel
Jamul , California
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 48
Advice on 1965 Caravel

Hi all. Im looking at a 1965 Caravel 17 tomorrow. From the photos, it appears to be in fairly good condition. The air conditioner and fridge have been replaced. Plumbing and electrical are in working condition.

I know I should look underneath at the belly pan and I have a moisture meter to check the floors. What other sorts of things should I look for?

Apparently this model has a small fresh water tank and only a black water tank - so Id have to carry a gray water tank.

Id like to upgrade the battery with lithium and add a microwave instead of the oven plus cosmetic upgrades.

All recommendations and suggestions welcomed. I previously owned a 2 International.

Thanks!

Susanne
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Old 05-29-2023, 05:41 AM   #2
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2007 16' International CCD
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Somewhere , Colorado
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I’m not experienced with inspecting vintage Airstreams, but I am expert on camping with only a single waste tank: you don’t need two. The only impact of a single tank is that you have to dump more frequently. To this day 16’ Airstreams come with only a single tank.

Given the plumbing involved, it will not be cheap or easy to add a tank.
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Old 05-29-2023, 01:10 PM   #3
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1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
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RE: Advice on 1965 Caravel

Greetings Susanne!

Welcome to the world of Vintage Airstreams!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcgintyrch View Post
Hi all. Im looking at a 1965 Caravel 17 tomorrow. From the photos, it appears to be in fairly good condition. The air conditioner and fridge have been replaced. Plumbing and electrical are in working condition.
One question that you will want to ask about the refrigerator is what is its energy source. So many owners replace the RV refrigerators with 120-Volt AC home type refrigerators which is an inexpensive alternative, but is quite restrictive should your plans include any boondocking or long travel days. An RV/Marine refrigerator that is either absorption (operates on LP Gas or Electricity) or a modern RV/Marine 12-Volt DC Compressor type refrigerator is desirable for the greatest flexibility in use of the trailer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mcgintyrch View Post
I know I should look underneath at the belly pan and I have a moisture meter to check the floors. What other sorts of things should I look for?
My suggestion would be to take a copy of the inspection checklist found here in the Forums. It is very helpful in organizing your inspection and focusing on the important systems. The AstroVent utilized in some 1964 and 1965 Airstreams (large rectangular vent) in the front living area has a cover that is slightly smaller than the typical replacements available today so it is wise to check the condition of the cover on the trailer as it can take some time to locate the correct size replacement -- they are available, but aren't always in stock.


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Originally Posted by mcgintyrch View Post
Apparently this model has a small fresh water tank and only a black water tank - so Id have to carry a gray water tank.
You are correct, the fresh water tank may be on the small side if you are accustomed to the late model trailers. I believe that the fresh water tank was 20 gallons on the Caravel while the black water tank was approximately 13 gallons. I am not certain whether the black water tank is mounted below the floor (as in my 1964 Overlander) or above the floor immediately below the toilet (like many other Airstreams and Argosy trailers). If the tank is mounted below the floor, it is possible to redirect gray water to the black water tank, but it does create a mess as it is done by capping the sewer outlet, opening the dump valve and allowing the gray water to back up into the black water tank (the process is described in the owner's manual is it is possible in a particular model as it is in my 1964 Overlander). You can view the 1965 Caravel Owner's Manual on the Airstream website at this link.

[QUOTE=mcgintyrch;2680676]Id like to upgrade the battery with lithium and add a microwave instead of the oven plus cosmetic upgrades. [\QUOTE]

Before upgrading batteries in any way, ascertain what kind of power converter is installed in the trailer. Should an original UniVolt or one of its close relatives still be present, installing any modern battery would not be recommended as these old Converters are noted for boiling the electrolyte and ruining batteries. Unless the trailer has received very significant updates and modifications very recently, it is unlikely that it will have a converter that is compatible with lithium batteries.

Adding a microwave shouldn't pose a particular problem, other than its location. Again, if boondocking is in your future plans, the OEM oven is quite useful to have. I use my microwave at home nearly daily, but never miss it when traveling in either my Overlander or Minuet as I just use their ovens instead.

Good luck with your investigation!
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Old 05-29-2023, 04:59 PM   #4
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1965 17' Caravel
Jamul , California
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 48
Thank you for responding, Kevin!

My trips will be short one or two nights. Maybe boondocking.

The fridge has been replaced with a two-way. I'm fairly sure that everything else is original. It has been stored indoors but there is a little dirt and corrosion on some of the exterior parts - like the hydro hot outlet. The belly pan has no corrosion.

I don't know what an AstroVent is - but I saw no vents in the living area. There is a ceiling vent/fan towards the back.

The converter is probably the original - it's a Newmark 40 amp. So, could it be replaced with a new converter that would be compatible with lithium?

I will be digging through the manuals and the Caravel threads!

Thank You!

Susanne
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Old 05-29-2023, 05:01 PM   #5
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1965 17' Caravel
Jamul , California
Join Date: Aug 2012
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Thank you for responding! I'm sure I can get by with one. My trips will be short in duration.
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Old 05-29-2023, 07:53 PM   #6
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1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
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RE: Advice on 1965 Caravel

Susanne, you are welcome. Happy to be of assistance. The Caravel may not be large enough to have included an AstroVent, it is a vent that is approximately 14" X 25" in the ceiling of the front lounge area on the longer trailers.

While the Newmark power converter may not be OEM, it is likely contemporary to the trailer, and likely is only slightly more friendly to batteries. Upgrading to a modern multi-stage power converter capable of handling lithium batteries certainly would be a reasonable decision in my opinion. Even if you choose to stay with AGM batteries for the near term, a modern multi-stage power converter will help to extend their life.

Good luck with your Caravel!
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