Sunday, February 8, 2009

Systems check continued

The next thing on my list was the refer. It worked on 110v ac, but it was untried on propane. I tried lighting it without any luck at all. It seemed that the lighter was frozen. This refer came with a built-in lighter which was probably state-of the -art for the time. It was a long tube with a rod in it. the rod was atteched to a flint at one end and a knob at the other. when you would spin the knob it would make the flint spark and , hopefully, light the gas at the burner. The flint was rusted solid and the knob would not turn at all. I took it apart, a common statement in airstream parlance, and I cleaned and lubricated it , and I put a new flint and spring in it, scavanged from a bic lighter. I put it all back together and tried it again and it spun and sparked great. I put the lighter back into the holder under the refer and turned the gas on. When I held the button down and tried to light the pilot nothing happened at all. I pulled the burner out to inspect it, and it looked good. Then I realized that it had no visible hole in the orifice. I took my air compressor and blew the orifice out really well. Then, when I checked it again, It had a small visible hole in the orifice. I put it back in and did a leak check. No problems, so I turned the gas on to the refer, and waited about twenty seconds, like it says in the book. Then I gave the lighter a spin, and it fired right up!
I let it run until the burner kicked up and then shut it down. It was looking very good. The burner sounded like a jet. The thermostat checked out good also!
I decided to try the stove next. It looks pretty good in the picture but there are some problems. The tubes that go from the burners to the pilot light are not all in place. I found two of them rolling around in the stove. The other two were still in place, so at least I have all of them. The pilot had been turned down all of the way so that was the first thing to go through. stoves are the easiest of all the rv propane appliances. They have no safety valve for the pilot light so it's really easy to check them out and light them. Just turn the gas on and light the part that hisses. Well, The pilot just needed a couple of turns of the adjusting screw to get it to light, then a little fine tuning to get it just right. Then I tried lighting a burner from the pilot, like they are supposed to work, right! The first one lit up just fine, the second was weak, but it lit also. the other two, I had to put the pilot tubes back in place first, so I got that handled and tried the other two burners. One worked great and the other wouldn't light from the pilot no matter what I tried. I could light it from a match or a lighter, no problem, but from the pilot, no way. I tried cleaning it really well and I used a pipe cleaner on all of the orifices, but still it won't work. I will console myself with the idea that I probably wouldn't ever need all four burners anyway. I guess I could light it by hand when nobody is looking.... They'll never know.....
Oh well! onward. The oven pilot worked flawlessly as did the burner. This is so clean inside, it must have never been used.
The vent hood has a switch on the right side for the fan, and it works fine. It is loud as hell though. same with the ceiling vent fan. It's so loud I can't really use it until I fix it.
The plumbing was not really tested before I got it home, and I expected to be replacing most or all of the system anyway. I filled up the fresh water tank and turned the switch over to battery, then I went inside and turned the waterpump switch on and it made the usual rattling, crashing sounds until it got some water in it. Then it smoothed right out and sounded fine. I had not checked the faucets, and the one for the bathtub was opened a little so it ran some water out with a good amount of pressure before I turned it off. The pump shut off after a few seconds, like it's supposed to. This all made me very happy. There was no water leaking from anywhere and the pump worked fine. So I decided to try it on shore power. I should have left well enough alone. When I switched over to shore power and turned the waterpump switch on it made a bad sound, like a wild animal trapped in a box. A very frantic, urgent sound. I turned it off quickly.
I knew that this was an aftermarket pump. There was a picture of the original pump type in the owners manual. I went to the forums to find out what I could about '64 safaris and aftermarket waterpumps. It did'nt take long to find a post about this very issue. I never would have guessed it, but the converter used in 1964 was a 110vac to 19vac converter. Why not use a converter made for 12vdc output? ? ? ? I have a electrical schematic for my trailer, and it says right on it 12vdc/ 19vac for a single circuit! When on battery, it is 12vdc, and when on shore power, it's 19vac. Apparently the 19vac would work just the same as 12vdc on the lights and fan motors, and the water pump. The problem was with the new water pump. For some reason the original pump would work fine on 19vac, while the new one would not. It has something to do with the way the motor is wired. I scratched my head alot over this.
The solution is to get a converter that puts out 12vdc, or get a pump that works on 19vac. Try getting a pump from the guy at your local rv supply place; Yeah, Hello? I need a pump that's made for 12vdc, but also works on 19vac. Can ya help me? That'll get you some interesting answers! So far I have just avoided the need for running the pump when on shore power. usually I have shore water if I have shore power anyway. I do foresee a new power converter in my future, though.
The last thing on my list is the holding tanks. I already tested the fresh tank and it checks out fine. The early Airstreams had no grey water holding tanks. So there was nothing to look for in that department. Tha black tank is directly under the toilet in this model, so if you really want to, you can just hold the flush pedal down and look right into it.I tested the toilet water inlet and the flush pedal, and they were both fine. Next I filled the black tank with water and let it sit for about an hour or so. The level didn't go down at all so I can assume there are no leaks there, thank goodness!
So of all the things that were un-tested on my safari when I got it only the right rear burner on the cooktop was not in working condition, although I have learned since then that the furnace is a "must go" item. I'm very happy with the condition of the remaining appliances. Some will need additional repairs to get them working at their best but most of them will get to be reused in the New Safari. Now I just have to find a good air conditioner.....


  1. Glad to hear it, replacing a refrigerator ain't cheap, if you want both gas and electric.

    One thing to note, sometimes it takes a while for the LPG to get throughout the trailer if you've had the gas cylinder valves turned off for a while, or the system open to atmosphere. In this case, sometimes it seems like the refer and/or the water heater pilots take forever to light. One thing I have done that works (recommended by others, I can't take credit for it myself) is to run the burners on the stove for a while to draw the propane into the system. Since the stove burners are larger and use more gas, they are quicker to light, and this activity seems to help get propane to the other systems as well.

    Keep it up!

  2. The thing I really like about the refer is that it can run on propane only, no electricity necessary at all!
    I've also heard that about getting the propane throughout the system. Also, the stove has no safety pilot so you can just open it up and blow gas big time!

  3. Yup, mine is a 3-way but can run on propane only, even without the 12V connected to the board. I've heard enough complaints about the flakiness of the 12V side that I never hooked 12V to my refer, nor did the PO for the same reason. But it works great on 110VAC and LPG, and that's all I'm really worried about.