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Old 05-06-2020, 06:11 AM   #1
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1966 17' Caravel
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Hydro-flame

I have a 1966 caravel and the power light orifices must be clogged does anyone know how to replace or repair that
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Old 05-10-2020, 05:42 PM   #2
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VetteGuy- I'got mine out after a lot of wiggling. I'm going to re-use mine and currently I'm in the rewiring/insulation stage. I'm going to give mine a look inside with a borescope and I'll take it to a local RV/Mobile Home parts business that are very knowledgeable. The shop that did my shell off work says that I'll like the little unit, when I've got it up to specs.
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Old 05-11-2020, 01:27 AM   #3
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Hey Doc,

Once you get at it post some pictures along the way so we can see the process of how to pull that sucker out. A few people have talked about opening up and servicing it from the bottom I would love to see how that process works because this thing is a sealed unit.

Thanks Al
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Old 05-11-2020, 07:40 AM   #4
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Hydro-flame Furnace

Quote:
Originally Posted by VetteGuy View Post
Hey Doc,

Once you get at it post some pictures along the way so we can see the process of how to pull that sucker out. A few people have talked about opening up and servicing it from the bottom I would love to see how that process works because this thing is a sealed unit.

Thanks Al
Hey Al and others here, Be aware that if this unit is like the original one in my '67 Safari there is a very important check you need to make on the furnace! The combustion vent tube is a rubber (radiator type) hose that after all these years may leak at the connections, or have age cracks that can leak exhaust fumes (CO2) into the coach cabin space! There was an upgrade at one point made by an Airstream parts provider or perhaps the furnace manufacturer, I don't know which! I don't know if this part is even still available but, if you are taking the furnace apart this would be the best time to check it out. Just wanted you all to be made aware of this issue! Hope this helps, Ed
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Old 05-11-2020, 08:17 AM   #5
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A rreal good time to install a Carbon Monoxide Detector! & a Smoke Alarm
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:47 PM   #6
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check, check
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VetteGuy View Post
Hey Doc,

Once you get at it post some pictures along the way so we can see the process of how to pull that sucker out. A few people have talked about opening up and servicing it from the bottom I would love to see how that process works because this thing is a sealed unit.

Thanks Al
Will do. I bought a vintage Honda CT70 that I'm picking up this weekend, or would be on my list then.
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Old 05-12-2020, 07:48 AM   #8
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Thanks Doc for the info!

Does anyone have a picture of an open unit or how they got the unit open. Is this spot weld MIG welder Tig. I will have to take a picture of the inside of my unit and you know what it looks like
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Old 05-13-2020, 07:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
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Thanks Doc for the info!

Does anyone have a picture of an open unit or how they got the unit open. Is this spot weld MIG welder Tig. I will have to take a picture of the inside of my unit and you know what it looks like
Al-Here are some pics of my unit. Your questions are great about the unit. At first I though it was all sealed up as well, upon inspection, there are two nuts on the bottom that allow the bottom to fall away. Looks like you need to remove the controls first and loosen the pilot light line, the gas line going to the burner and the thermopile first. I searched the internet a long time last fall and couldn't find a service manual for the unit. I'm going to soak my threads over the weekend with PB Blaster before trying to turn them. I looked from the exhaust pipe inward and mine looks pretty good. From the access window to light the pilot light, all is good except some mud dauber's nests.
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Old 05-13-2020, 08:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGED52 View Post
Hey Al and others here, Be aware that if this unit is like the original one in my '67 Safari there is a very important check you need to make on the furnace! The combustion vent tube is a rubber (radiator type) hose that after all these years may leak at the connections, or have age cracks that can leak exhaust fumes (CO2) into the coach cabin space! There was an upgrade at one point made by an Airstream parts provider or perhaps the furnace manufacturer, I don't know which! I don't know if this part is even still available but, if you are taking the furnace apart this would be the best time to check it out. Just wanted you all to be made aware of this issue! Hope this helps, Ed
At least in '68 the exhaust pipe is a slip fit with the furnace end fitting inside the flue pipe end. Mine was nicely rusted together, but I think a hone will freshen it up, and then I'll do a little research to see how best to keep it from seizing back up, short of an expensive trip to the plating shop. Maybe some copper paste over galvalume weld over paint???
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Old 05-13-2020, 09:48 PM   #11
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Hydro-Flame Furnace

After a few hours of PB Blaster, the nuts on the bottom of the combustion chamber came apart, the one holding the snap valve was easy to turn and after a couple episodes of the Michael Jordon series of time with PB Blaster on the bottom of the combustion chamber, a few light raps with a small ball peen hammer on a gasket scraper got the bottom to give way.

The photos are below. My suspicions about a low time usage were confirmed. The rust looks like water intrusion or condensation as it was all on horizontal surfaces, ie, the top of the combustion chamber outside and the inside bottom of the "lid".

The snap valve hasn't been tried during my ownership, and I'm going to get a new thermocouple and an expansion bulb, then clean up with a rotary wire brush and then paint with some weldable galvanize paint and re-assemble. I haven't decide how to refinish the mesh grille, but I'll look for a heat resistant paint or figure out how to powder coat with my Eastwood kit.
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Old 05-14-2020, 05:08 AM   #12
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Good morning. I am in the process of restoring a 1966 Airstream Caravel 17 as well...stalled out due to the COVID restrictions...hoping to ramp back up next week, and if not, as soon as it is safe for the team. Although my aim is to restore my trailer, I took the original furnace out due to the potential for gas leaks. It is up in Plattsburgh, NY at the moment. I believe the guys kept the original heater for me. You would be welcome to have it, if you want to pay to ship it to you. Perhaps you can get the best out of both - mine certainly does not have this sort of rusting on it. BTW: Colin Hyde and his team recommended that I remove the heater because it will not stay lit, and they were worried about gas build up in the trailer. So, let me know if you would like to make arrangements to get this one. Perhaps you can PM me. Lakemaiden.
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Old 05-14-2020, 06:59 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lakemaiden View Post
Good morning. I am in the process of restoring a 1966 Airstream Caravel 17 as well...stalled out due to the COVID restrictions...hoping to ramp back up next week, and if not, as soon as it is safe for the team. Although my aim is to restore my trailer, I took the original furnace out due to the potential for gas leaks. It is up in Plattsburgh, NY at the moment. I believe the guys kept the original heater for me. You would be welcome to have it, if you want to pay to ship it to you. Perhaps you can get the best out of both - mine certainly does not have this sort of rusting on it. BTW: Colin Hyde and his team recommended that I remove the heater because it will not stay lit, and they were worried about gas build up in the trailer. So, let me know if you would like to make arrangements to get this one. Perhaps you can PM me. Lakemaiden.
I am interested for sure. Thanks
Let's chat.

Al
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Old 05-14-2020, 07:01 AM   #14
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This is Amazing Doc. This is what this forum is all about good communication good pictures and people that know how to do stuff. And most of all people that's willing to take the risk. I'm going to try this today hoping that I can do this without taking the entire unit out of the trailer.

This posting should be placed in the Hall of Fame because it will be used for many years to . this is an awesome diagram
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Old 05-14-2020, 01:36 PM   #15
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VetteGuy, you must be a coach or other type of motivator. thanks for your kind words. I'll drop by the mobile home parts place and see about a new thermocouple and an expansion bulb. I'll post those part numbers. I'm going to bead blast my base and get some mineral wool gasket material and bench test it next week. Stay tooned. BTW the key to good pics is rotate and crop slightly in a program like Paint before uploading. That way it's really easy to label or circle things with that program. To keep things straight I save them as .png files in a folder, then I know which one to upload. Just keeping the almost Medicare Age brain on track...
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Old 05-14-2020, 02:01 PM   #16
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I noticed your picture that I didn't seem to have a fan attached. I don't know if you took it off beforehand. And it stated in my Airstream manual that this was clearly an item that didn't need any electricity but it seemed to have what's look like a 12-volt fan you could be 120 volt but I doubt it.
I've seen many other pictures of this Hydro flame but I didn't have motors do you think this was an aftermarket add-on? I would doubt it because I've wanted from the original people and they didn't seem like engineers.

Thanks Al
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Old 05-14-2020, 04:13 PM   #17
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Hydro Flame apparently made several models of heaters. Ours is what is called a gravity heater, and doesn't have any need for electricity to operate, which is why I like it, all other things being equal. There might have been a recirculating fan, but the combustion chamber is designed to radiate outward and then is reflected forward by the metal behind the big "can". The specs show the fuel burn and the heat BTU, so roughly it's about 66% efficient. That's pretty good, meaning only a third of the heat is going out the flue. It takes the warm air rising to exhaust the gases. The top of the unit, though is slightly below the exhaust pipe height, which is a concept used in heating stoves, to get more of the heat in the room and not out the flue. The catalytic heaters don't need a flue, because a catalyst like Platinum gets the fuel to burn more completely and eliminates the Carbon Monoxide, but then you don't get the other byproduct of combustion, which is water, out of the room, thus the condensation on the inside of the windows

I do have a grommet on the right side of my furnace and had a 12V wire that had wire nuts on it in the cabinet. I'm guessing the fan was an option, but not a necessity. I only had one screw that was on a galvanized bracket spot welded to the surround, and it wouldn't be enough to handle the vibration, torque and centrifugal forces of the fan in my opinion.

When I re-wire, I'm running a 12v feed to the area, and thermostat wire that will go to the street-side bulkhead, and be tied up in the closet. I found an electronic ignition kit that could restart the pilot light that has 115V, 26VAC and 9VDC as options.
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Old 05-15-2020, 03:57 PM   #18
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Well. I took the bottom off the Hydro flame and yuck. The bottom was rusty.. a few holes but not a major issue as heat rises and this could be rust converted POR-15, jb welded. Is this thermocouple welded... maybe this can can be replaced with aluminium instead.

Dang!
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Old 05-16-2020, 09:49 PM   #19
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Al- you could maybe find a talented welder who could tig some metal in those places, but I had a trunk like that in my Camaro, from battery acid, and it was not an easy task to "build it up". See if you can get Lakemaiden to send you hers. Mine is going to be OK after a little bead blasting and high temp header paint. Take it to a welding shop that does TIG and get an opinion. Jerry
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Old 05-17-2020, 04:08 AM   #20
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Yeah I'll take your advice I'm afraid that it probably will burn through but I don't know. I thought about beatboxing it or soda blasting it but I'll probably be looking straight to it.

Please don't mention Camaro I have a 1967 convertible in my garage that I haven't touched in 15 years I decide I Pull A Part replace the floors I did that I never touched again. Your paragraph Yes I hope Lake Maiden still have it laying around.

I'll probably just put it back together for now wait for this when I do come around. All I need now is to find a black tank and I'm ready to hit the road.

Thanks Al
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