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Old 11-26-2006, 01:42 PM   #1
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1969 18' Caravel
1978 20' Argosy 20
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New to the forums and our '69 Caravel!

Hello to all of you helpful folk:

We have been reading the forums for the past few weeks, sort of stunned by the impulsive purchase of this very original 1969 Caravel. Feeling kind of overwhelmed, hard to know where to get started, also excited all at the same time!

Now as winter is fast approaching here in Richmond, VA (though the temp today was near 70) we feel we need to get a few things in order. Our first priority is to find an adequate replacement for a missing front left (streetside) wing window. It's now temporarily covered with plastic but want a more solid fix. Glass or Lexan, we don't feel picky but we are a bit dizzy with all the discussion of sealants, gaskets, tapes and aren't sure how to proceed. Of course there are many, many more questions. We would certainly welcome thoughts and the support of other Caravel owners. We feel lucky to have found this sweet trailer (photos to follow when we learn how to post them!).

We were lucky to get this trailer (1st of 150 + callers); PO had obtained the A/S in trade for tree work he'd done. It has sat unused (and unloved) for at least 10 + years. We remain hopeful but realistic about the long road ahead. We anticipate needing some partial floor replacement, have questions about wiring (some electrical does work), battery type, water tanks , how to check for other leaks and heater (OK, it's clear we are really green).

We are having fun discovering all the little nuances of this trailer. Thanks in advance for your help! This seems to be a great place for fellowship and learning. How did anyone every accomplish anything before the internet made all this communication possible??

We are Stephen and Allison living with two young kids in Richmond, VA.
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Old 11-26-2006, 02:24 PM   #2
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Welcome to the AS world

Hello,
My wife and I also live in the Richmond area, however, we're in the process of relocating to Lynchburg. We have a friend who has a mid '60's Caravelle parked at VA Tech that needs me to tow to town as he doesn't have a tow vehicle yet.
Maybe we can link up.
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Old 11-26-2006, 02:39 PM   #3
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congrats on your caravel----
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Old 11-26-2006, 04:30 PM   #4
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Caravel a neat model of Airstream. We were looking for one or a Bambi. Could not locate one in New York State. We found our 20 ft GT an love it.
We have met some wonderful people on Forums with all the information we needed. ENJOY....the work and the friends you will meet.
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Old 11-26-2006, 05:23 PM   #5
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Welcome Stephen and Allison and congrats on your new "baby".

We have a 69 GT - and most of the internals are the same.

You have a special year - change over year - and one particular element was the shape of the wing windows.

I am afraid you have no choice but to replace it with Lexan. Unless of course you are really lucky to find another 69 that has one still intact.

We have a hole bunch of picutures when we changed our out. Both were intact but once the oldy started to travel it did not take long for them to break.

If we can be of any help just give us a hollar....
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Old 11-26-2006, 06:21 PM   #6
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Welcome to the Forums and Airstreaming. Best of luck with your Caravel.
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Old 11-26-2006, 07:04 PM   #7
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1969 18' Caravel
1978 20' Argosy 20
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Hi Folks. Thanks for all the quick replies! It really makes us feel welcome. Reached a high point after we posted here. Was toying with a wire in the Univolt and suddenly I had all the lights come on instead of just the rear half. Not a bad way to end the day and Thanksgiving weekend. Even the old Dometic seemed to begin to cool. The door looks very rough with dry rotted fiberglass and mildewed gasket. Should we try to keep the unit going and replace the door or remove the entire fridge?

We realize that the wing window replacement is going to be a tricky one.
We really appreciate the willingness of others to share their photos and tips with us.

A question: to replace the wing window do you need to remove the rivets and frame surrounding the window?? And if so, where do we find a primer on rivets? Has anyone tried to cut Lexan with a jigsaw?

Thanks again for your help and we will keep checking the threads for Caravelers and GT'RS.
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Old 11-26-2006, 07:33 PM   #8
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window

Nice choice of Caravel!

Yes, you can cut lexan with a jig saw....and drill thru it without cracking problems. Be sure to leave expansion space. If you use lexan be sure to get lexan SR. ( scratch resistant.)

If you want a real window, let me know. I know where there is a source.
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Old 11-26-2006, 09:13 PM   #9
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congrats on the Caravel find. I've been looking for months now and found one in I think it was Ohio but was too slow on the draw. Can't believe there was one in Richmond. I'm guessing it's more luck then persistence.
I'd go for the quick fix with Lexan and then try and find a replacement window later. Chances are you will have to replace some of the floor. Good luck and use the search for anything your having issues with. I just keep reading and wanting a trailer more every week.
I guess I'll find mine one day. Since some here have 2 or 3 I'm sure there is one for me somewhere.
Remember to enjoy your time with the kids. They grow way to fast.
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Old 11-27-2006, 12:23 AM   #10
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Welcome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RivrCtyStrmr
Hi Folks. Thanks for all the quick replies! It really makes us feel welcome. Reached a high point after we posted here. Was toying with a wire in the Univolt and suddenly I had all the lights come on instead of just the rear half. Not a bad way to end the day and Thanksgiving weekend. Even the old Dometic seemed to begin to cool. The door looks very rough with dry rotted fiberglass and mildewed gasket. Should we try to keep the unit going and replace the door or remove the entire fridge?

We realize that the wing window replacement is going to be a tricky one.
We really appreciate the willingness of others to share their photos and tips with us.

A question: to replace the wing window do you need to remove the rivets and frame surrounding the window?? And if so, where do we find a primer on rivets? Has anyone tried to cut Lexan with a jigsaw?

Thanks again for your help and we will keep checking the threads for Caravelers and GT'RS.
Welcome to the forums! Congrats on your great find!

We have a 1963 Bambi. Although it isn't the same model we have several things that are similar...I am posting a link to my husband's thread that he did when he restored our trailer last winter. Lots of work...it is quite lengthy, but he has lots of cool pictures, explanations, and stuff that can give you an idea of what to do when you repair, etc. If you have specific questions, just send a PM (private message) and we will get back to you!

http://www.airforums.com/forum...mbi-17925.html

Good luck and have fun!

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)
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Old 11-27-2006, 11:58 AM   #11
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We are Stephen and Allison living with two young kids in Richmond, VA.

Hey guys!! We are also here in Richmond VA!!

Send me a pm and I will give you all our address and phone#

Look forward to meeting you all!!!

Abe
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Old 11-27-2006, 07:32 PM   #12
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1969 18' Caravel
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Thanks for all the help! More questions ...

We continue to be so thankful for all the continued interest and support and technical expertise as we "get our feet wet" with this new to us '69 Caravel.

Thanks to Melody Ranch and GT6921 for their window input and tips for how we can get covered in that realm before winter arrives!

We never knew there were so many airstream folk in this neck of the woods and we hope to link up with those of you who are nearby.

Owning a vintage Airstream has been a longtime dream of Stephen's; Allison is trying to get on board and all the repairs we can manage will help to make this dream more of a reality for our family of four.

It looks like the consensus is that rivets needs to be removed in the window replacement process. How can we learn to become accomplished riveters and leak finders??

We know very little about the viabilily of the appliances. The Dometic refrigerator appears to cool but it is also very mildewed and cracked in the door and gasket. The Bowen hot water heater seems original; we haven't yet figured how to tell if it is even functional. The stovetop seem to work, but we've not yet lit the oven. We have no idea whether the Hydro Flame furnace is viable. Does anyone have an ordering of priorities for newbies to get started?

This is just a start. We will continue to read and search for answers. Any offers of help will be welcomed.
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Old 11-28-2006, 11:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FordTruck
Hello,
My wife and I also live in the Richmond area, however, we're in the process of relocating to Lynchburg. We have a friend who has a mid '60's Caravelle parked at VA Tech that needs me to tow to town as he doesn't have a tow vehicle yet.
Maybe we can link up.
Hey FordTruck,
Sorry you are leaving Richmond, but we hope to see you in the future!
Maybe we can meet at Highland Haven Airstream park, Its near Roanoke VA
here is a link:http://www.vahighlandhaven.org/

Abe
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Old 11-28-2006, 03:18 PM   #14
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Welcome to the forums! I'm sure you will be happy with your vintage Caravel.

As far as a primer on riveting, I was given this book when I first got into my aviation career. It has a lot of quick reference info and primers in it and may be a good start for you. I would find a way to practice on something to get the technique down. It's not that hard (if I can do it, it can't be).
Have fun,
Baron
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Old 11-29-2006, 07:10 PM   #15
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1969 18' Caravel
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riveting

Baron,

Thanks for your book suggestion on Rivets. I am definitely going to pick it up. Thanks for your encouragement. That window project is really coming into focus with everyone's help.

Stephen and Allison
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Old 11-29-2006, 08:24 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RivrCtyStrmr
.....riveters and leak finders??.....
for the rivets - steady as she goes - all the reading in the world will not make the first one any easier buck up that confidence and drill the puppy out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RivrCtyStrmr
We know very little about the viabilily of the appliances. The Dometic refrigerator appears to cool but it is also very mildewed and cracked in the door and gasket.
Check out our photos - is your fridge the same size or smaller? We had the same problem with the interior door - our seal was fine but the plastic was held together with duck tape. There is a Dometic guy up here in Canada that has tons of the parts. We were lucky to pick up a replacement door for $29.00. We removed our door and the replaced the bad parts with the good parts - sorry the left over is long gone - but I could look up that fellows number for you? pm me if you think it might be an idea for you.

Sort of depends on what you want to do with YOUR trailer - keep it all orginal and get into the Vintage scene - or do you want to make the trailer fully functional right away.

a $29.00 price tag compared with a 400-600 price tag was the intial decision for us. Our fridge works great.



Quote:
Originally Posted by RivrCtyStrmr
The Bowen hot water heater seems original; we haven't yet figured how to tell if it is even functional.
You can follow one of our threads about the Bowen Water Heater - when we look back oh how green we were!!! to the point of almost blowing Peter's head of - with no orifice in the flame mechanism. - We were so tuned to getting all the parts to fire her up - that we bypassed the fact that it might just leak - so learn from our mistake - fill it up first and see if it leaks - if it comes out the bottom then you will be replacing it. For good deals try Camping Worlds discount store in BowlingGreen Kentucky

OLD PROPANE LINES???? if they are the orginals - they will be extremley britle and need to be replaced. As the pipe is outside the belly pan it is susceptible to stones - with britle copper it will punture and crimp easily affecting your presure. The Propane appliances are very sensitive and if they do not have the right pressure they will not operate. This could lead you to believe that the appliance is faulty when in fact it could be a split or pin hole in the lines. Next take your Regulator to a profession propane supplier and have them test it.

The stovetop seem to work, but we've not yet lit the oven. [/QUOTE] We have to turn all the burners on to perge the lines if we have not used her for a while. Our oven cooktop works great to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RivrCtyStrmr
We have no idea whether the Hydro Flame furnace is viable.
Recommend that you completely remove the furnace to inspect and give a thorough clean - they are not often used by most people (hmm no Canadian Climates in the South) There could be nests or surface rust accumulated - huge fire hazard. With all the 69's I have met that have this furnace the big comment is that they have replaced the old thermo-coupler and the pilot light gasket and she fires up no problem. We are in the midst of that process now - waiting on parts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RivrCtyStrmr
Does anyone have an ordering of priorities for newbies to get started?
Of course all of the above is burried deap within the bowels of this forum and could take you months to get answers to all your questions. And I am sure you will figure out there are 100 different ways to do the same thing.

The most important item while she is sitting on your driveway going no where is to leak proof her - it does not have to be a pretty job but there is nothing worse that have a leak unoticed. Check everywhere after a rain or better still during a rain - behind the seats, under the counters in the trunk.

The 69's have a pop rivet in the window eyebrows where water can drip inside the window - the window well will then fill up and overflow inside the trailer drip down the wall then along the ledges and keep going toward the floor. If this is unchecked for 35 years then there is your floor rot - we were lucky that only a portion of the compartment lid was just starting to show sign of water damage. Thus we jamed those holes really quick. parbon silver or clear is a good quick fix - put it everywhere - lights markes, rub rail - seams that have space - clean up with paint thinner.

Window and door gaskets check - big job - time consuming - but worth it

Up at the atenna is another big culprit - or around the AC. Another sneaky one is the stink pipe - there is now a black rubber gaskect that you can install to prevent rain from dripping onto the black pipe and down in through the closet again to the floor.

A big tell tail of water damage is the original floor is no longer there or the tiles have lifted and long gone. We were extremely lucky in that department.

Before going anywhere - systems are always a good thing to start with. Plumbing, Electrical, Applicances.

A really smart investment on these old trailers is a NEW Axle and full running gear. They are made to travel on soft feet - not hard nails - and the speeds in which we now travel compared to 37 years ago is considerable.

You can make your wish list on all the appliances -but the two best to have is a proper charging and operating electrical system and nice to have running water. But a 5 gal jug will suffice as you knock off the items on your list.

Do you have any manuals for your appliances???? We found really nice people at these forums who also just purchased a 69 GT a month after we purchased ours. Theirs came with the original manuals and a lot more headaches than ours did - but we had no manuals - they copied everything for us. PM me if you would like a copy.....of a copy.....

for those who have seen this a 1000 times I do appologies - but I know what it is like to wade through 100's of threads to try and get a quick answer which we all can provide.

Keep your questions coming - that is what this forum is and info exchange - and it is really great!!
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Old 11-29-2006, 08:42 PM   #17
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Hi Peter and Sharon,

We are blown away by your generosity and thoughtfulness. We were about to sign off at the end of a long day of work trying to wade through all the piles of threads. You have singlehandedly with your careful and thorough response today and in yesterday's pm with pictures and text about window replacement pulled us back from the brink.

Your empathy and enthusiam for the plight of 2 newbies is phenomenal. I plan to plan to digest your ideas and respond over the next couple of days with more questions.

That darn day job is still getting in the way of my A/s fever.

And we thought this thread was dead.

Thanks again!

Stephen and Allison

PS We think you and Sharon make a great team.
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Old 11-29-2006, 08:54 PM   #18
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Furnace recall info for ALL VINTAGE

This may be a place to remind all members of an old thread... Furnace Recall....
..... for all Furnaces made from 66 to 77.
Campaign : 77E-012 initiated summer of 77
Campaign : 81E-015 initiated winter 81-82
The furnaces were models NT-17, NT-20, NT-22 and NT-30 manufactured between 66 & 70 The serial numbers were 0064881 and lower.
Also Furnaces made between 1970 & 1977 except those with an "M" suffix, The serial numbers are: 0064881 through 0715865
The recall specifies:" if the model and serial number of your furnace falls within those noted, have it inspected unless you are VERY SURE the Suburban recall has already been completed on your unit"
The furnaces in question have a rubber-like crossover tube that could crack . Extremely dangerous carbon monoxide would then be expelled into the interior.
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Old 11-29-2006, 08:57 PM   #19
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Quote:
That darn day job is still getting in the way of my A/s fever
Stupid work....Who invented that anyway

I see you all are from Richmond. I used to live in Hampton and my aunt still lives in Richmond. I used to go there on weekends and hit the bars in Shokoe (sp?) bottom. Saw Dave Mathews there before he made the big time. I miss VA but not the taxes.
Cheers,
Baron
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Old 11-29-2006, 09:05 PM   #20
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Quote:
my aunt still lives in Richmond
Now that I think about it, my aunt is a costume designer for the Richmond theatre. Years ago I customized my van interior and recruited her to sew curtains and upholustry (sp? again). She did a jam up job and might be interested in doing some side work if you are interested. I'm going to try to get her help with mine when the time comes but that is a way off.
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