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VAL Digest V1 #186

VAL Digest          Saturday, March 13 2004          Volume 01 : Number 186

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Topics in Today's Digest:

Re: [VAL] leak
[VAL] Re: "Legendary Airstreams"
[VAL] (no subject)
Re: [VAL] (no subject)
[VAL] Insurance Resources-72 Globetrotter.
Re: [VAL] (no subject)
[VAL] Airstream on the cover of Forbes this week
[VAL] 69 axles a problem?
Re: [VAL] Re: "Legendary Airstreams"
Re: [VAL] 69 axles a problem?
Re: [VAL] 69 axles a problem?
[VAL] Venting Wash Water and Black Water
RE: [VAL] best hitch for a 18 ft 1969 Caravel
RE: [VAL] optima batteries - inteli-power - chargewiz
[VAL] Bookbinding my owners manual


Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2004 10:02:26 EST
Subject: Re: [VAL] leak

Faith Navarro wrote:

> We have a very small leak in our 1974 A/S that only happens when it rains. 
Hi, Faith
  My 74 Also leaked in that area, In my case every leak I had was coming from 
the belly band
That is the trim between the upper skin and the belly pan with the blue  
vinyl insert
Around the end cap the trim sits right on top of the plywood. If the trailer 
is off level the water would be directed to the plywood and soaked up by end 
grain. also check the trim in the back by the bumper storage box. 
.............................Good luck Thomas 


Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2004 11:32:43 -0500
From: "Patricia V. Raimondo" <>
Subject: [VAL] Re: "Legendary Airstreams"

I thought it was funny when I read the article and got to the part "I 
don't think anyone's ready to tattoo an airstream on their arm". I 
guess they haven't seen the Flying Cloud on my right arm!!!



Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2004 11:45:36 EST
Subject: [VAL] (no subject)


I thought you were going to attempt to use Dexter axles?


The factory excluded, I have probably repaired more damaged frames etc, than 
anyone else. Some 30 years ago, as a Special Representative to Caravanner 
Insurance Company, it was part of my job to find the trouble spots, come up with 
reasons for that trouble, come up with a solution to the problem, "AND" 
document the fix.

That covered many areas of the Airstream and Argosy trailers.  The basic 
causes for rear end separation and frame and/or axle mounting plate damage, is 
lack of proper wheel balance. The longer the trailer, the greater the problem. 
Gray tanks had nothing to do with the separation problem. Gray tanks were not 
used until 1974, but the separations preceded that year.

No attempt has ever been made to balance any travel trailer hub and drum 
assembly, by the manufacturer of the hub and drums. Perhaps someday they will. The 
new style "unicast" assemblies however, while still not in balance, are much 
less of a problem.

The results of not having a proper running gear balance, was far greater with 
the old style hub/drum assembly, which was two parts bolted or riveted 
together. It was not uncommon to find that assembly to be "one pound or more" out of 
balance. The worst one I ever saw, was 3 pounds out of balance.

Therefore to assume that an out of balance hub and drum assembly, more than 
an ounce or so, will not cause a vibration problem with a balanced tire and 
wheel, is not true. Jack the trailer up and spin that assembly at 60 miles per 
hour, and watch the trailer shake. I have performed that test many times in the 

The idea is to promote anything and everything, that will help someone keep 
their Airstream or Argosy trailer, in tip top shape, if they so desired. Most 
do, some could care less. Preventive care is always a matter of controversy. 
What is "proper care?" 
That question will get many different answers. I think the idea is to promote 
the best methods, and let each owner pick and chose as they wish.

Unfortunately, those that disregard proper PM, will seldom let others know 
that they made a bad decision. Reliability and dependability can and is built 
into the Airstream products, but they still must have reasonable PM. 

There are many very abused trailers today that are offered for sale, 
especially on e-bay. I have been involved, as a witness, with three local law suits 
involving e-bay purchases of trashed out Airstream trailers.

Also Scott, manufacturers seldom come forward and advise owners of problem 
areas. GM has many problems, as I have experienced with my 2002 Buick Park 
Avenue. After 21 months, I still have not been able to get some items corrected, 
that are obvious factory defects. Airstream is no different. They also don't 
advertise the clear coat problem of years past, either GM or Airstream.

Inland RV Center, Inc. 


Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2004 11:59:41 EST
Subject: Re: [VAL] (no subject)

Andy, regarding the rearend separation on the older trailers, if a spare tire 
were mounted to the rear of the trailer would that not also contribute to 
rear end separation?

Paul E. Mayeux, Jr.
Riverbend East, Inc.
(817) 919-3651


Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2004 09:09:27 -0800
From: "John Wilson" <>
Subject: [VAL] Insurance Resources-72 Globetrotter.

Any suggestions for insurance ?
I understand the liability goes with the vehicle insurance but if you want 
collision, comprehensive or towing you may want to use a alternative 
Received some fairly high quotes from Good Sam.
Anyone found alternatives?


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Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2004 13:03:39 -0500
From: "Mr. Joy H. Hansen" <>
Subject: Re: [VAL] (no subject)

Hi Andy,

Like my Safari restoration, it takes a long time to get some things done.
Especially when work and other hobbies get in the way.  For example, I
travel to Los Angeles next Friday for my work and return about April 3.
Then finish my taxes before the 15th, do some Cowboy Action Shooting &
reloading, and just maybe the spring grass growing will go slow and give me
some time for restoration. (Whew!)

Yes, I have the axle from Dexter  for the '69 Safari and will get started on
it's installation in the near future .  The axle is rated 10 % over the
Henchen (per your advice), has a 32 degree down angle, and an optional
parking brake.  However, the shock tab faces down rather than up.  Don't
think it's a big deal as the dampening is the important thing.  Not being an
engineer, I have no idea if the orientation will affect the performance of
the shock.

Working alone, it will be a bit testy as the axle is quite heavy and
backward to handle.  However, if I can trust my measurements and
specifications, the replacement will work just fine and closely approximate
the Henchen.  Just need to drill a new mounting hole in the existing
mounting plate to complete the installation.  The parking brake is another
matter that I'll have to figure out how to accomplish.

During the interim, I use a '74 Argosy 22 with bad tandem axles.  Not a
great layout with the rear door entry, but it does get me camping.

More than you asked, but this is the way I am .  .  .


- ----- Original Message ----- 
From: <>

> Joy.
> I thought you were going to attempt to use Dexter axles?


Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2004 16:15:11 -0500
From: David Morrison <>
Subject: [VAL] Airstream on the cover of Forbes this week

*The article can be read at...

- --Dave

PS - Just dropped my '78 31 Excella at South Jersey RV for brake work.  
The place is like an Airstream museum.  I will have some fun pics up on 
my site by tonight.*


Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2004 19:13:06 EST
Subject: [VAL] 69 axles a problem?

I have read in a few of the replies about the 69 axles being a problem. I 
wrote i have a 23ft Safari (1969). It has a single axle, it looks as though it 
may have a shock mounted sideways. This is very new to me, does any one know 
what I have and can i expect problems with it? if so what is the best fix?

ps..sorry, but who is ANDY again? ( a website, parts supply, or knowledge 


Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2004 16:27:11 -0800
From: Joann Wheatley <>
Subject: Re: [VAL] Re: "Legendary Airstreams"

    Honest to God, you've got an Airstream tatoo. You have got to post a 
Jo Ann (Thinking about it but not too hard.)

On 12, Mar 2004, at 8:32 AM, Patricia V. Raimondo wrote:

> I thought it was funny when I read the article and got to the part "I 
> don't think anyone's ready to tattoo an airstream on their arm". I 
> guess they haven't seen the Flying Cloud on my right arm!!!
> Patti


Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2004 18:48:35 -0600
From: "Dr. Gerald N. Johnson, electrical engineer" <>
Subject: Re: [VAL] 69 axles a problem?

Some time in 1968 or 1969 Henschen axles shifted to the horizontal
shock. Means it takes a special shock not found it auto stores. The
older Henschen axles tend to sag and take a set with old age. If the
trailing arms slope is flat or upwards from axle to wheel spindle they
are at their end of life.

There are two options for replacement, Dexter and Henschen. Dexter takes
a bit of engineering to get the axle made to fit but costs half the
price of Henschen. Certain models of Dexter can be had with a parking
brake that would make parking the single axle trailer a whole lot

Gerald J.
- -- 
Entire content copyright Dr. Gerald N. Johnson, electrical engineer.
Reproduction by permission only.


Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2004 20:32:16 -0500
From: "Mr. Joy H. Hansen" <>
Subject: Re: [VAL] 69 axles a problem?

Hmmm,  I think you need to do a bit more reading! :)

The shock is indeed horizontal mounted to the axle plate welded to the frame
and the other end mounts to a bracket on the torsion arm.  It's a whole
subject to get it out and replace it due to impossibly close tolerances.
However, the shock is necessary as it dampens vibrations that damage the
monocoque and other components.  What frequencies?  Don't know which is
worse, the high or low frequencies.  Some say it's not needed as the torsion
axle is somewhat self dampening?  You can remove and check the condition of
the shock as you would for an auto.  It should have considerable resistance
to changing position.  If it can be moved with a little or no resistance, it
must be replaced.  Best option is to replace the shock.  Doubt that any
shock is expected to last for 40 years.Finding replacements is the subject
of many past posts.  Think it's something like a 60s chevy truck shock
available at Napa.  Think it's a matter of finding the right working length
and diameter.

The condition of the axle is a different matter.  The torsion arm should be
parallel to the frame or better yet, have a 5 degree down angle.  If the
angle is up, the axle is shot.  There's a limiter in the upward movement of
the torsion arm.  If this continually hits the stop, it can damage the
monocoque of the Airstream and other accessories.  Some restorers try
jumping up and down at the rear of the trailer and having another observer
determine the range of movement of the torsion arm?  Also, keep in mind that
the single axle has a lot of bouncing down the road as compared to a tandem
axle.  Bad axles and shocks keep stuff inside the trailer bouncing all over
the place.  Ask me, I'll tell you why things need to be tied down!

To my knowledge, Andy was an insurance investigator and did trouble shooting
and diagnostic service for Airstream for many years???  When something
seemed to go wrong, Andy determined the cause and recommended construction
changes to resolve the problems.  After that, I presume he went to work for
Inland RV in Southern California.  Inland RV maintains a collection of
impossible to replace parts for vintage airstreams.  There are other
sources, but Andy is  likely the most knowledgeable about Airstream
restoration and the availability of parts.  After all, it seems that he's
spent most of his life working with Airstream travel trailers.  Andy has
cornered the market on molds, specialized parts, and other impossible to get
parts.  Inland's corner on the vintage Airstream Henchen axles is just one
example.   The Henchen axle is costly, but Andy has the expertise to supply
an exact duplicate of the OEM axle for any vintage Airstream.  Besides,
Inland RV is the only authorized supplier of vintage Henchen axles -
something like all axles over 25 years old.  All younger axle replacements
must be through an Airstream dealer.

Most likely you already have an axle problem, check it and see.

You might take a look at the Inland RV website and learn a lot!

Most likely I've confused you, but that's the way I am and the information,
regardless of its accuracy, is only of value if it helps you start think
along the proper track.

Safari, Joy

- ----- Original Message ----- 
From: <>

>i have a 23ft Safari (1969). It has a single axle, it looks as though it
> may have a shock mounted sideways. This is very new to me, does any one
> what I have and can i expect problems with it? if so what is the best fix?
> ps..sorry, but who is ANDY again? ( a website, parts supply, or knowledge
> base????)


Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2004 21:41:10 -0500
From: "eemerick" <>
Subject: [VAL] Venting Wash Water and Black Water

Hello All,
I'm in the process of plumbing my black water tank and my gray water
lines. The question is can I vent my kitchen sink and black water tank
through the same vent stack? I have only one opening in the top for a
inch and 1/2 vent pipe and thought I would check with you professionals
to see if I can tie the two together or should I keep the black and wash
Not wanting to stink up the kitchen
68 Sovereign ( all sinks and tanks vented separately)
59 Traveler 


Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2004 21:46:12 -0500
From: "eemerick" <>
Subject: RE: [VAL] best hitch for a 18 ft 1969 Caravel

Hey Dan,
I'll trade you my 500 pounders for your 750s!

- -----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of
Sent: Tuesday, March 09, 2004 10:16 AM
Subject: Re: [VAL] best hitch for a 18 ft 1969 Caravel

Switch to a lighter bar. Like 500lbs.
But first check the hitch head height.
May need to drop it down to level it out better.

  ----- Original Message -----

  >>>My present hitch does not seem to match my 69 caravel.  It is a
  >>>reese with two 750 lbs bars.  Hitch says it is good for up to
  >>>10,000 lbs.  I believe that  the caravel is bouncing excessive in
  >>>the front.  Any suggestions?


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Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2004 21:55:11 -0500
From: "eemerick" <>
Subject: RE: [VAL] optima batteries - inteli-power - chargewiz

I have Inteli-Power converters in both trailers with Charge Wizards, I
run AGM batteries and have been very happy with the whole system. With 2
kids who "forget" we are on batteries I very seldom run out of power
with this set up. The Charge Wizard keeps me from cooking these big buck
batteries but eliminates my worries of not being charged enough.
As an FYI, Camping World was the cheapest source for the Inteli-Power
and Charge Wizards and the Batteries were from West Marine.
68 Sovereign
59 Traveler

- -----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Tom
Sent: Tuesday, March 09, 2004 12:16 PM
To: VAL Airstream
Subject: [VAL] optima batteries - inteli-power - chargewiz

Last night I began a hoped for great relationship with a new to me
product, the Optima blue-top RV and Marine Deep Cycle battery or in our
case, batteries.

This design of battery has no fluids to check and it can be mounted in
almost any direction that suits your needs.  I received a 10% discount
from Advantage Autoparts which saved me almost $30.00 for the pair of
batteries - our 34' Classic uses two deep cycle batteries to run things
when not hooked up to AC power.

Next, I want to look into the Inteli-Power converter along with the
Charge Wiz so that these expensive batteries last a very long time if
that is at all possible.  I have confidence in the Optima product and
these came with a no-hassle 3 year free replacement warranty.  After
three years it would be pro-rated according to how long I've had them,

Our Classic 34' Airstream has the Front Kitchen rather than the side
galley all the others have and we really love this layout because for
one, the chef can have the entire front end to work without others
trying to slide by as we've experienced with the side galley in our '69
Intl Ambassador which is 29 feet in length.

Underneath the front kitchen sink which is centered in back of the front
window is a raised shelf.  It is at the outer edges of this raised shelf
where the house batteries are stored in their separate cubbyholes which
are accessed only from the outside of the trailer.  The housing for
these cubbyholes is a solid piece of black plastic material.  It looks
like the access door provides the needed ventilation for the batteries
as there is no rubber tube hooked up to a screened vent like we have in
our 1969 29' Intl Ambassador model Airstream so that is a good thing in
my book.

What I am trying to find out now is this:  how does anyone access the
*converter* which came with our 34' Airstream?  I can't seem to find the
*secret* passage door that leads to where the converter 'lives'. ;)

I will most likely remove and replace the standard converter in the
coming months but for now when the trailer is in storage I will hook up
the AC lines about 12 hours per month to keep the batteries topped off.
I'd prefer to just leave the trailer plugged into the AC power all the
time and I would IF I have the Inteli-Power and Charge Wiz installed.
But I can't install what I can't see! ;)

Does anyone on this list KNOW how to access the CONVERTER which lives
under the front shelf of our Airstream?  Has anyone here done this job

And - are you totally happy with your Inteli-Power converter and Charge
Wiz products?  What would you change if you could?

Thanks in advance.

WBCCI 5303

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Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2004 21:56:52 -0800
From: Glyn Judson <>
Subject: [VAL] Bookbinding my owners manual


    This is an FYI for those of you who have a tattered owners manual as bad
as mine was.  

    About mid February I sent what was left of my loose paged owners manual
(every page was there.....barely) to a bookbinder and just got it back
yesterday with a nice dark green hard cover on it.  They even printed

                                    Airstream Caravel
                                 1969 Owners Manual

on the cover and spine in nice white letters.

    I know, I know, it ain't original anymore but the three rings going
through the holes someone had punched in it years ago were eating it alive.
Some of you might have ones in similar condition with loose pages and all.
After putting all those pages in order, they cut the three edges ever so
slightly, making a crisp new look to it and then added cover sheets front
and back under the hard cover.

    I can't remember what they charged me but whatever it was, it wasn't
enough for the great job they did.  I can tell you that the whole thing was
well under $20.00. 

    The folks that did it are:

    Long's-Roullet Bookbinders
    Attn: Karen Lauderback
    2800 Monticello Avenue
    Norfolk, VA 23504
    Phone: 757.623.4244, fax 757.627.1404

    Tell them that I recommended them and if after hearing my name, they
don't slam down the phone on you, they might just treat you as good as they
did me.  

    I have no economic interest in their company, I just thought I'd pass my
good fortune on to you all.

    Glyn Judson
    1969 Caravel
    Santa Monica CA


End of VAL Digest V1 #186

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