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goransons 01-21-2018 07:25 PM

Good to know. I suspected something must have been there. I was thinking of making an aluminum sleeve down to the belly pan, screen top and bottom to keep air moving but critters out. Mine's a Panel Ray but I haven't looked at the data plate to confirm which model it is.

steinVT 01-21-2018 07:54 PM

Did Someone Call a Furnace Repair Man? Nope...
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I grabbed a pressure regulator off of an old gas grill and using some fittings that came off of the trailer, I managed to put gas to the burner. Tried to light it and nothing. Bummer.

After unsuccessfully trying to find a replacement pilot/burner valve on Amazon, I decided to try a little debugging. I loosened up the pipe feeding the pilot light and sprayed it with soap solution. Bubbles, so the pilot jet must be clogged. I took it apart and filled the jet with carburetor cleaner. After some light probing with small pin, the cleaner emptied out and I knew I was good.

Put it back together and success!
Attachment 302799

dbj216 01-22-2018 07:54 PM

Very good diagnostic skills. The kind you need with these old trailers.


57Vintage 01-22-2018 10:45 PM

Furnace Fresh Air
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Mark, Scott:

I would expect the floor has a screened opening similar to my 58, which has a panel ray unit. I've outlined the furnace cabinet area in green and the inlet in red. The screen was so clogged with dirt it's hard to make out. I don't recall how the belly pan was done. I failed to take photos of it before removing.

Attachment 302850

StevieB 01-23-2018 05:44 AM

Welcome to the Vintage World
Very Very Very Nice. We sold our Safari back in about the same time frame as you purchased this one. It was a 54 and we made a number of modifications to take it back to the original looking state, along with adding some modern convinces. Should you have any questions, you can Private Message me, I will be glad to share a few ideas.

Additionally, there are two Facebook Pages that are on a closed group, which you could join based on owning a 56 Safari that are filled with great ideas and other willing owners who are glad to share their knowledge.
1. Airstream the Early Years
2. 13 Panel Airstream Safari Group

Finally, a very good friend of mine is currently restoring a 54 Flying Cloud, you may want to follow his blog on Airforums. "A Cloud Named Spoon"

I have had a number of Vintage Trailers and Vintage Airstreams. I am hooked and really enjoy the hobby and the life. Welcome to the Vintage World.


steinVT 01-23-2018 06:00 AM

Furnace Inlet
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Harold, that would line up perfectly with the 3" hole in the base plate. I like Scott's idea of using a tubular duct air to bring air from the pan. Maybe a short piece of SS flex. Then I could put screens on both ends.


I believe the large tube on the left side of the picture below is some sort of temperature sensor. It is attached to about 10" of capillary tube.

Is it used for measuring incoming air temp and throttling back the burner when it has warmed up or is it a safety device to keep the furnace from over heating?

When I found it, it was under the control valve. Seems like you would be measuring the temp of the outside air.

It might be possible to move it away from the incoming air to try to measure cabin temp. If it is to prevent overheat, maybe it should go behind the reflector.

What do you guys think?


Attachment 302855

57Vintage 01-23-2018 08:21 AM

I don't have a photo to answer your question. I have traded some furnace parts to Scott and Prairieschooner, I'll dig around in the shop and see if I have an answer for you.

dbj216 01-23-2018 06:12 PM

Seems to me all gas valves have to know when to turn off the gas, as well as knowing when to turn it on again. I think you are right be describing the capillary as a gas valve control of some type.

I think of it like a water heater thermocouple that senses the pilot light it lit, so the gas valve is allow to turn on, if the thermostat says the water is cold. Very old water heaters required a guy to press the pilot light button for a good 15 seconds until the capillary fluid expanded and allowed the gas valve to function.

Nothing worse than a malfunctioning gas valve that allows raw gas into the room. Big bang hypothesis?

Maybe someone has an old 56 Safari Airstream owner's manual that would give some clues.

Someone will chime in with the answer.


steinVT 01-23-2018 08:10 PM

Hi David, that is exactly how this one works. There is a smaller bulb and capillary tube that is directly in the pilot flame. And indeed, you need to light the pilot and hold it for some amount of time before will stay lit. Just don't know if the big one is for air temp control or furnace overheat protection. Guess I could just light it and hit it with a heat gun and see what temperature shuts it down.

Harold, thanks for looking in your shop.

StevieB, I have already joined the 13 panel Facebook group and now will read the Flying Spoon blog. Thanks for the tip.


safari62 01-23-2018 09:22 PM

Looking good
Very nice model trailer. Looks to be in great shape. You have some excellent advice via inside/out and MELODY threads. Glad you found were the smell was coming from! PO did a great floor repair, right?
We have a 57 Custom waiting for restoration. Needs frame off and everything else.
I may have a manual for that furnace, we have the same one. I will dig around.

HiHoAgRV 01-24-2018 04:43 PM


Originally Posted by goransons (Post 2058095)
Does your furnace have a fresh air intake up through the floor or does it burn air from inside the trailer? I have a similar heater for our 55 but wasn't sure if it had a vent hole or not.

I rebuilt a '55 and it used interior air for combustion and had a roof vent for exhaust gas.

steinVT 01-28-2018 07:19 PM

Furnace bulb
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I finally got some time to experiment with the furnace burner. I fired it up on the bench and then warmed up the bulb with an electric heat gun. Sure enough the burner cycled off. I was concerned that maybe it was an over temperature safety shut off, but it wasn't all that hot. Once it cooled back off, the burning came back on.
Attachment 303198

Looks like the 62 year old furnace works fine. :)

goransons 01-28-2018 07:37 PM

Congrats! I need to do that very soon once I get the bathroom back together. That's a great idea! Thank you for sharing!

dbj216 01-28-2018 07:46 PM

Very nice: A great feeling that your curiosity and ingenuity resulted in a solution. Now you have a functioning gas valve for your old heater. It will feel good on a cold, damp night.


steinVT 02-07-2018 08:43 PM

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Rather than tackle the tough design decisions like where and how to install black and grey tanks, I thought I might spend a little time cleaning up the lights that came with the trailer.

The bath room fixture and the gas fixture cleaned up nicely. The others I decieded to paint with a brownish hammered look paint that should go well with the zolotone. I replaced the wiring as well. I would love to have all of these little projects done by next spring. All of these will be 12v with screw in LED blubs.

Attachment 303747

We also have two ring flouresent lights. These worked when I picked up the trailer. When I disassembled one to clean it up, I found that the old electrical tape used to insulate the wires had totally fallen off. Both the hot and the neutral where within a half an inch of each other and the metal fixture. Not good with 115v. Glad I took them apart and glad I pulled off the inner walls so I can replace it all.

safari62 02-08-2018 11:26 AM

Follow up
Nice lights. They look similar to the style in our 57. On the subject of wiring, I did find some scary stuff inside the walls on the Custom. Worn casings were grommets should have been and damage from animals crewing. Oh, also a very large snake skin in a very small section of curbside wall.
Our 57 needs a frame off restoration so interior had to come out, but you may want to explore the lowest sections and access the situation. I have been finding the lower panel has more damage, and insulation problems from creatures and leaks.
That said, the leaks are coming from above so...hints of were the floor was replaced/repaired before will point to those areas in need of waterproofing.

I just installed two grey tanks and a black tank in a 63 Overlander. It is a project for sure. I think the 57 will be getting only one 16 gallon gray tank which will/should be so much simpler.
Still have not found furnace manual but it looks like you have ignition!

dbj216 02-08-2018 06:16 PM

Good job on the light fixtures. "Restoring" these old parts is all part of the project and takes considerable time to do well. I've taken my light fixtures down, but have not cleaned them up yet. They are not as delicate as your appears.

It's going to be a great Safari, nickname TBD.


goransons 02-08-2018 07:21 PM

Looking good! There is nothing wrong at all with working on different aspects of the project. For me it keeps me motivated. The dirty nasty stuff isn't very rewarding, but working on hardware, lighting, woodwork, windows, and all that helps break up the dirty work. Keep up the good work!

steinVT 02-11-2018 06:05 PM

8 Attachment(s)
Among other things, I have been working on our Refrigerator. It can be used on 115v or propane and obviously hasn't worked for many years. The insulation on the wiring was completely shot and the propane igniter parts very rusty. But I could hear the ammonia sloshing around and most of the parts seemed to be there. They are really very cool in their simplicity.

Here are a couple of before and afters:

Attachment 304080
Attachment 304081
In this case the before looks better than the after. I have prepped it for paint which I won't spray until the spring. I am thinking to paint it Dover White (like an old BMW motorcycle). I love the '50's look.

Attachment 304082
Attachment 304083
There was a lot of surface rust on the back and the bottom. I just cleaned them up and carefully brushed them with enamel.

Attachment 304084
The burner fell apart into two pieces when I took it apart. On closer examination, I believe it was actually three pieces, that may have just been held together with pressure from the mounting flange. I dressed both surfaces with sandpaper on a steel plate before reassembly. I don't want to connect the propane until it is safely in the garage, so it also goes on hold until spring.

Attachment 304085
Attachment 304086
The ignition circuit was kind of a mess. It uses what looks to be an flashlight bulb without the glass as the igniter. It is hidden behind the slotted cover in the photo below. When the knob is turned, that tube is pushed into the combustion chamber and makes contact with an exposed blade completing the circuit between the D cells and the flash light bulb. We will see if it lights next spring, but for now at least I could see it glow in the chamber.
Attachment 304087

I also disassembled, cleaned and checked the wiring on the 115v heater. Looked to be OK so I plugged it in to see what would happen. No smoke and it seemed to be working. I let it run for an hour and things in the back got hot and inside seemed to be getting cold. The door is off waiting for a gasket, but the coils seemed to be about 10 degrees cooler than ambient.

Anyone know how long these would take to cool down under 115v power?

goransons 02-11-2018 06:37 PM

Granted it was 40 degrees outside, but with the door closed I got it down very cold inside on the lowest setting in about 4 hours on electric and the outside piping was nice and hot.

I'd love some more pictures of your ignition setup, mine's missing some pieces I think.

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