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Old 09-09-2018, 10:06 PM   #1
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1977 27' Overlander
Portland , Oregon
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What (if any) pieces of hardware / appliances have value in a 70s Airstream?

Hey guys. Iím currently gutting a 76 Overlander that was not exactly well taken care of. While gutting, what pieces of gear should I set aside for reuse, if any? I figured id replace the water pump, heater, furnace, air conditioner, power components, range hood / control center, etc. Is any of this worth keeping if still functional? Or is it safe to say this is all junk compared to modern technology?
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Old 09-09-2018, 11:13 PM   #2
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1978 25' Tradewind
Metro Phoenix , Arizona
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Just buy a rebuild kit if it's the original belt-drive water pump.

Keep the original A/C unless you know the compressor has died, and maybe even then. The Armstrong units are sturdy and easy to work on.

Throw away the original "Univolt" power converter. New design units are lighter and will make your battery last longer.

Put some oil on the range hood fan bearings.

And yeah, I'd toss out the furnace and the water heater.
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Old 09-10-2018, 09:43 AM   #3
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1977 27' Overlander
Portland , Oregon
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It looks like my AC unit is a "Quick Cool", an older unit. I'm attaching photos of the uncovered stuff so far. Any of this worth keeping? I'm doing a complete gut job and am hoping to keep the budget within $10-15k (I know, probably unrealistic). So far I'm not sure if any of this stuff works.
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Old 09-10-2018, 09:31 PM   #4
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1978 25' Tradewind
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I have no knowledge of the Quick Cool units. The stuff in the third photo looks pretty suspicious.

What's the chances of putting in a good 12v battery to see what happens?
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Old 09-10-2018, 11:21 PM   #5
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1977 27' Overlander
Portland , Oregon
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Yeah the third photo gear is nonstock right? As of now the battery door is locked but I can try when the keys come by or if I stumble upon it while tearing out cabinets. Lol
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Old 09-10-2018, 11:39 PM   #6
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1980 24' Caravelle
vallejo , California
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hello Licoricewhip, i would sell the control center: it can be rewired with new switchs and lites, looks realy cool! can also be used as-is if wireing is still good. many vintage guys and gals might be looking for one. good luck. kurt
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Old 09-11-2018, 12:16 PM   #7
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1978 31' Excella 500
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How Rebuiltable is the Refrigerator. We have 1978 Excella 500 and the price of a new unit is shocking....
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Old 09-11-2018, 12:30 PM   #8
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1975 27' Overlander
Galena , Illinois
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Woah don't replace the control panel. I's the on off switch for your range fan, it also opens and closes the vent. It tells you when your gray and black tanks are full, it's the on/off switch for your water pump. I know you can replace switches with new ones but it's there and already wired. The other thing is your A/C unit. Do not replace it unless it's broken! Have you read the complaints about new AC units? It takes 2 new units just to keep up with that old one. The freon in the old one can not be replaced per the EPA so therefore, it can not be purchased legally. But if it still works you can use it and it's way colder than the new ones. I was able to maintain 75 degrees with just the one unit in July in Lake Havasu, outside was 123 degrees. I tried to sell all that stuff I took out but didn't have any luck, so I threw it all out after 1 year. Then I met some people that wanted it. Go figure. The only things I kept in my remodel were 1. That controller 2. The medicine cabinet in the bathroom and 3. The upper cabinet in the front, over the new dinning table. I also upgraded the electric box to 50 amps to run a microwave and upgraded the hot water tank to a 10 gallon. The one you have is a 6 gallon and it has a pilot light (new ones have electronic ignition and run off electric or propane). Good luck.
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Old 09-11-2018, 12:58 PM   #9
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1977 27' Overlander
Portland , Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 75Bob View Post
Woah don't replace the control panel. I's the on off switch for your range fan, it also opens and closes the vent. It tells you when your gray and black tanks are full, it's the on/off switch for your water pump. I know you can replace switches with new ones but it's there and already wired. The other thing is your A/C unit. Do not replace it unless it's broken! Have you read the complaints about new AC units? It takes 2 new units just to keep up with that old one. The freon in the old one can not be replaced per the EPA so therefore, it can not be purchased legally. But if it still works you can use it and it's way colder than the new ones. I was able to maintain 75 degrees with just the one unit in July in Lake Havasu, outside was 123 degrees. I tried to sell all that stuff I took out but didn't have any luck, so I threw it all out after 1 year. Then I met some people that wanted it. Go figure. The only things I kept in my remodel were 1. That controller 2. The medicine cabinet in the bathroom and 3. The upper cabinet in the front, over the new dinning table. I also upgraded the electric box to 50 amps to run a microwave and upgraded the hot water tank to a 10 gallon. The one you have is a 6 gallon and it has a pilot light (new ones have electronic ignition and run off electric or propane). Good luck.
Thanks so much for the reply, that's just the info I was curious about. Do you happen to know if the old controller is compatible with new devices? Like if I swap out the water tank, water pump, range fan, etc, it should all be compatible if wired correctly, yeah?

For the AC unit, that's a good call about using the older units, though I don't know if the Quick Cool unit is old enough to have freon or not. I don't see much info about it only.
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Old 09-11-2018, 02:47 PM   #10
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1977 27' Overlander
Portland , Oregon
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To add on to my last post, are there any RV-style control panels that do the same thing but aren't as large? It's cool to have a panel that manages multiple devices but you would think with modern technology there'd be something a little smaller.
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Old 09-12-2018, 08:25 PM   #11
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1975 27' Overlander
Galena , Illinois
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Quote:
Originally Posted by licoricewhip View Post
Thanks so much for the reply, that's just the info I was curious about. Do you happen to know if the old controller is compatible with new devices? Like if I swap out the water tank, water pump, range fan, etc, it should all be compatible if wired correctly, yeah?

For the AC unit, that's a good call about using the older units, though I don't know if the Quick Cool unit is old enough to have freon or not. I don't see much info about it only.

Yes it is. I swapped out the old water pump with a new one with out a problem. I did not change the range vent fan. I also added a second battery in parallel and the amp-meter still works. The controller and the built in clock and thermometer above your couch are the cool items that prove it really is a 75 or 76 trailer. Even if you change the cabinets that hold them they would be cool looking to re-install them in your new cabinets.
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Old 09-12-2018, 09:50 PM   #12
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1975 27' Overlander
Galena , Illinois
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Me again. I forgot to mention, if you change your upper cabinets from those horrible roll up things that fall on your arms every time you open one, remember to save the trim! You can reuse the trim in your new replacement material and it's pre cut to fit saving a huge headache. Look closely at the edge trim, it's all original.
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Old 09-14-2018, 04:45 PM   #13
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1977 27' Overlander
Portland , Oregon
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I tried posting this earlier but I must not have hit submit. Hereís my water pump and furnace. The pump appears to be relatively cheap, though furnaces seem a little more expensive. Should I clean up this furnace and see if it works or go with new? The existing furnace seems to specially adapt to the vents on the outside of the airstream. But Iíd rather have new if it means more efficient and less a fire hazard.
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Old 09-14-2018, 04:46 PM   #14
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1977 27' Overlander
Portland , Oregon
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Oh, and yeah, thatís a bee hive and a mouse nest in the furnace.
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Old 09-14-2018, 07:18 PM   #15
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1977 27' Overlander
Portland , Oregon
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Just looked inside and itís a Suburban NT32 FCA, which Iím reading should probably be replaced since they can leak carbon monoxide. Guess Iíll scrap it and plan on buying a new one.
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Old 09-15-2018, 03:50 PM   #16
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1975 27' Overlander
Galena , Illinois
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Again, that thing probably has a pilot light. The new ones have electronic ignition. Imagine some cold night and your propane runs out on one side ( now your pilot light is out but you were sleeping and don't think about that). You go outside and switch over tanks and go back to bed. What's that smell? Your 1977 AS did not come with a propane detector as it hadn't been invented yet. This scenario goes away if you buy a new heater. At least the part about the pilot lite. I also installed a new propane detector for added security. It's worth the $120 for the best one. The downside to having one is when the batteries get to a certain low level the alarm goes off and won't shut up until the batteries are re-charged, During this period I take out the fuse. Ah but these are the things people tell you about when they say many unexpected surprises will take place when rebuilding a AS. Still it's fun and challenging Good luck.
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Old 09-16-2018, 09:06 AM   #17
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1987 32' Excella
Nepean , Ontario
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I replaced the Suburban NP-30 furnace in my 1987 Excella with a new NP-34 (34K BTU instead of 30K btu) in December 2017. New furnace has been a PITA - the new generation of control boards from China are mostly POS, all defective - not the design so much as the wave soldering. Since the entire furnace has to come out to get to the side panel where the control board is mounted, I strongly suggest that you replace the original control board with a Dinosaur board before installing the furnace. I've had to have my new furnace pulled out three times before I realized that AirXcel's warranty isn't worth the powder to blow it to hell.
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Old 09-17-2018, 12:02 AM   #18
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1977 27' Overlander
Portland , Oregon
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Hmm... so new furnaces have electric ignition but potentially crap boards stock. Sounds like the best route would be to buy a new model and board rather than attempt to overhaul the old furnace and rely on a co / propane detector (which I plan to get anyways, just saying).
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Old 09-17-2018, 06:16 AM   #19
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What (if any) pieces of hardware / appliances have value in a 70s Airstream?

On the boards, a lot of the problems are traceable to the lead-free solder being used. The stuff gets corrosion and gets brittle, plus tends to grow ďtin whiskersĒ that short out things when they are in a wet or humid environment. You can thank the environmental regulations for this mess.
Iíve had success reviving some of this stuff by re-soldering all the joints with quality lead/tin solder then cleaning the board with solvent to remove the flux. For a board exposed to moisture, coating it with clear acrylic waterproofing spray helps.
If you have the tools and skill, this technique can help. If not, go with a dinosaur board. Life is too short to fight with OEM boards from China...
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