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Old 08-01-2019, 09:58 AM   #1
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1966 28' Ambassador
Kingsburg , California
Join Date: Aug 2019
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I might be nuts

So some of my family members have a 1960's airstream in West Virginia, its been sitting in their field for the last 15 years as a vacation home, and now they're done going out there. So I offered them $1500 for it and my buddy bought a truck in Pittsburgh and now were flying out Monday night and going to get this baby back home to California.

Anybets on my making in back?

What are things I should look out for/ what is going to break?

Anybody think the frame is even still there?
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Old 08-01-2019, 10:18 AM   #2
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Of course you are... nuts. I would have done this as well and am nuts.

Even an automobile sitting for 15 years will have rotting tires and wheel bearings that forgot how to rotate within their runs.

Nice looking project. Be prepared to rent a long flat bed to load the trailer... and have a great time doing the restoration. Or, drag as a better term.

When one has a dream.. pursue it. "It is best to have tried something and failed, than did nothing... and succeeded."

Go for it and let us know how it is going...
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Old 08-01-2019, 10:24 AM   #3
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You are going to tow that back to Cali?

New tires
New or repacked bearings
New brakes
New batteries
Spare fuses
WD hitch with sway control
Auxiliary brake/running lights
A bucket full of curse words

These things I would consider mandatory, especially the bucket...

Ian
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Old 08-01-2019, 10:26 AM   #4
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1966 28' Ambassador
Kingsburg , California
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Im doing wheel bearings and tires before we leave town and bringing extra trailer lights with me. What else could go wrong? I just need 4 tires to roll for 2800 miles and nothing fly off right?
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Old 08-01-2019, 10:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chasecrider View Post
Im doing wheel bearings and tires before we leave town and bringing extra trailer lights with me. What else could go wrong? I just need 4 tires to roll for 2800 miles and nothing fly off right?


Your sarcasm and self-deprecation are noted . . . you may need them for this trip IMO! Oh, also -- welcome to the forum.

By law the brakes need to work, in addition to Ian's points:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iansk View Post
. . .
New tires
New or repacked bearings
New brakes
New batteries
Spare fuses
WD hitch with sway control
Auxiliary brake/running lights
A bucket full of curse words

These things I would consider mandatory, especially the bucket...

Ian
The inside looks pretty decent IMO.

Good luck,

Peter
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Old 08-01-2019, 10:36 AM   #6
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Imho, the list could be long on what could happen/break. It would be ideal if you could locate an AS tech/enthusiast to inspect the frame, brakes, lights, etc. I would first check the frame in the front/back where it is exposed for rust holes, metal cracks. Next check brakes, repack the wheel bearings, replace tires. Check window, vents, door for secure intact latches. Check lights and bring an extra magnetic base portable turn signal brake light set (harbor freight ) plus enough trailer wire extension in case of light failure on the road. Might want to tie the door shut as added safety. Get new safety chains installed if possible. Hope this helps!! Good luck!! Jim
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Old 08-01-2019, 10:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chasecrider View Post
Im doing wheel bearings and tires before we leave town and bringing extra trailer lights with me. What else could go wrong? I just need 4 tires to roll for 2800 miles and nothing fly off right?
I’ve towed two back to central Texas, one from upper Ca and the other from upper Michigan. What was useful for me other than what is listed was various sizes of rope, duct tape, aluminum tape, a roll of tie wire, battery operated drill with bits, a manual riveter with various sized rivets and a tool box full of tools. On the 55 I had part of the belly pan come down outside of Little Rock. I had packed a few strips of .032 aluminum and tin snips so was able to patch things back to get us home. It was an adventure. Tie door shut and tape windows if latches are loose. Tie down Hehr vents on the inside. Good luck and slow and easy wins the race.
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Old 08-01-2019, 10:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chasecrider View Post
Im doing wheel bearings and tires before we leave town and bringing extra trailer lights with me. What else could go wrong? I just need 4 tires to roll for 2800 miles and nothing fly off right?
That is the approach I would take. Keep in mind the axles are probably shot. If you keep the speed down you should be OK. If the brakes are not working take it slow. You will be depending on the tow vehicle brakes to stop both the truck and the trailer.
What you are describing is a bare bones tow. There are a lot of other things you could do to make the tow safer and more pleasant, depending on your schedule and your wallet.
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Old 08-01-2019, 11:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chasecrider View Post
So some of my family members have a 1960's airstream in West Virginia, its been sitting in their field for the last 15 years as a vacation home, and now they're done going out there. So I offered them $1500 for it and my buddy bought a truck in Pittsburgh and now were flying out Monday night and going to get this baby back home to California.

Anybets on my making in back?

What are things I should look out for/ what is going to break?

Anybody think the frame is even still there?
Number one on your list should be.....one full months prescription of Xanax and a case of Jack Daniels
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Old 08-01-2019, 11:55 AM   #10
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Hope you do not have to rent a bulldozer to tow AS out of the wet area.
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Old 08-01-2019, 12:57 PM   #11
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Welcome to the Nuts Club.


Others have already suggest my short list so I'll just say good luck and be SAFE.
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Old 08-01-2019, 01:04 PM   #12
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Take a look at the frame since the belly skin is loose. Reattach that skin before towing. Repack wheel bearings and get some better tires. I really doubt brakes and lights will work but if you are going to actually pull it as opposed to trailer it then you need to at least get the lights working. You better get it in pretty good shape including working brakes if you are going to tow cross country.



Perry
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Old 08-01-2019, 01:26 PM   #13
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I just want to say thank you for giving us some real entertainment. Here we all are...worried about converters/inverters, 25 vs. 28 feet, easy starts, A/C, refer fans, where to put our shoes..now you are making things interesting! (no offense to all you others!)
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Old 08-01-2019, 03:32 PM   #14
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Hi

If you are towing as far as you suggest *and* through the mountains, you do want the brakes to be working. I'd bet that there is a law somewhere saying they (and the breakaway system ) need to be functional. This is not a two mile / 5 mph scoot across town on a Sunday morning. You will be on the road at high speeds for a lot of hours.

To get the breakaway working, you will need some sort of battery on the trailer. Whatever group 24 is on sale for the least money should do the trick, regardless of type. Hook it up to the charge wire from the truck and move on .... forget about anything else on the 12V side of things. The lights and turn signals all run independent of the battery.

Like it or not, the plywood floor makes up part of the structure of the trailer (along with the frame and body). If it is rotted out (or the frame is rotted) that isn't something you want to have come apart at 55 miles an hour. I'd spend some quality time poking around to see what's what ....

Bob
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Old 08-01-2019, 04:01 PM   #15
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
. . .
. . . I'd spend some quality time poking around to see what's what ....
. . .
Well said in your entire post.

Peter
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Old 08-01-2019, 04:06 PM   #16
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Just saying.
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Old 08-01-2019, 04:22 PM   #17
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Hillsborough , North Carolina
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Click and CLack had geat advise

Click and Clack the car guys had great advise when talking about people trying to get some old car running.

to paraphrase them:

It is not important if it Starts........It is important if it Stops...Then worry about if it starts.

And then they went on to talk about all the super important aspects of suspension, tie rods, ball joints and brakes.
Of course they were talking about cars, but similar concept applies.

So if the law requires the breaks to be working for a trailer of that wieight class, and a working breakawy switch to activate the brakes, traveling without them could have a huge impact on your life's savings once a lawyer gets ahold of any prior knowledge that working breaks were required and a person chooses to tow anyway. Lawyers have a nasty alchemy of turning your Nuts into their Cash!

So sounds like you will definitley get the breaks working.

I have run across an interesting instance of when registering a Trailer, the State DMV required a state inspection for the first issue of the license tag but not for annual renewal. I bet Everyone Hates state inspections, but I guess they call them State Safety Inspections for a reason.

And for a cross-country trip of that nature, so many jurisdictions could apply, that when you left West Virginia, you thought you were in total compliance only to get a rude awakening in an intermediate state.

What a great vacation.
Have Fun.
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:35 PM   #18
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Kingsburg , California
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Okay more questions:

What size bearings do I need? is it something most shops will stock or is it something I need to order?

what size rivets should I buy for quick repairs that will later be done correctly ?

We have a new cummins 3500 so im not terribly worried about brakes (regularly tow 10K+ with no trailer brakes)

If the floor is bad, what are some quick fixes? ratchet strap the whole body down?

I pick up the truck in Pittsburgh on Tuesday morning (the 6th) and have to be back in CA for the first day of classes by Monday the 12th.

Thanks y'all for the advice! be ready for trip updates starting on the 5th
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Old 08-01-2019, 10:28 PM   #19
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See my replies in bold...


Quote:
Originally Posted by chasecrider View Post
Okay more questions:

What size bearings do I need? is it something most shops will stock or is it something I need to order?

Depends on who did what when on the trailer, chances are you’ll be able to get replacements at a quality parts store.

what size rivets should I buy for quick repairs that will later be done correctly ?

1/8” and 5/16” all aluminum pop rivets.

We have a new cummins 3500 so im not terribly worried about brakes (regularly tow 10K+ with no trailer brakes)

A big ol truck is a plus, granted, however it is illegal in most if not all states to tow a trailer this size without working brakes and a breakaway brake system. Your call, but just let us know your routes so we can steer clear.

If the floor is bad, what are some quick fixes? ratchet strap the whole body down?

Sure. A little crosshatch type deal on the interior would help.

I pick up the truck in Pittsburgh on Tuesday morning (the 6th) and have to be back in CA for the first day of classes by Monday the 12th.

Thanks y'all for the advice! be ready for trip updates starting on the 5th
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Old 08-01-2019, 10:39 PM   #20
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You know you'll spend as much on this one as you would a new one off a dealers lot right?
You would be rolling and sleeping in a new one tomorrow.

You have been warned!❤
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