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Old 11-21-2009, 08:48 AM   #1
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Loose gas lines

On the underside of my 1972 Ambassador 29, have several detached and broken copper line connectors. The lines do not leak and the corroded fitting connectors are still usable. My question is-what is the best way to reconnect to the underside? Should I re-drill or try and reuse the old holes? I am sure others have had similar problems
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Old 11-21-2009, 09:15 AM   #2
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On the underside of my 1972 Ambassador 29, have several detached and broken copper line connectors. The lines do not leak and the corroded fitting connectors are still usable. My question is-what is the best way to reconnect to the underside? Should I re-drill or try and reuse the old holes? I am sure others have had similar problems
The cause?

Vibration and lots of it.

The direct cause?

Lack of proper running gear balance coupled with axles that have rubber rods that have given out.

All torsion axles have rubber rods, and they will all fail in due time.

However, 74 and older Airstream axles, used rubber rods that were later determined to not have the correct composition of raw materials.

Usually, but not always, you can use the same holes in the underbelly. The underbelly was usually held in place with 1/8 inch pop rivets. When correcting the underbelly issues, use 3/16 inch "large head" pop rivets. They cost a little more, but they do a superior and longer lasting job.

Check the LPG fittings while under pressure, with liquid soap, to make sure that the system is leak free.

Old brass fittings, have a habit of cracking, which causes small LPG leaks.

Andy
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Old 11-21-2009, 09:29 AM   #3
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The underbelly was usually held in place with 1/8 inch pop rivets. When correcting the underbelly issues, use 3/16 inch "large head" pop rivets. They cost a little more, but they do a superior and longer lasting job.

Check the LPG fittings while under pressure, with liquid soap, to make sure that the system is leak free.

Old brass fittings, have a habit of cracking, which causes small LPG leaks.

Andy
You can see an example of the rivet here.Large Flange Rivets. I can find them at my local Home | Fastenal. Maybe you have one local.
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Old 11-21-2009, 10:09 AM   #4
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You can see an example of the rivet here.Large Flange Rivets. I can find them at my local Home | Fastenal. Maybe you have one local.
Hardware stores, Home Depot's, and the like, all have the larger head 3/16 inch pop rivets.

Be sure to use "all aluminum" rivets.

Andy
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Old 11-21-2009, 01:11 PM   #5
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Hardware stores, Home Depot's, and the like, all have the larger head 3/16 inch pop rivets.

Be sure to use "all aluminum" rivets.

Andy
Andy can you tell me what hardware stores carry the large head rivets. I have searched and would love to find an convenient place to find the large head rivets.
Home Depot or Lowes or Ace or True Value does not carry them in stock. They do carry regular rivets.

Fastenal is the only place I have found that you can buy them over the counter. Only get aluminum shank not steel shank.
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Old 11-21-2009, 01:49 PM   #6
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Andy can you tell me what hardware stores carry the large head rivets. I have searched and would love to find an convenient place to find the large head rivets.
Home Depot or Lowes or Ace or True Value does not carry them in stock. They do carry regular rivets.

Fastenal is the only place I have found that you can buy them over the counter. Only get aluminum shank not steel shank.
Hey Lee,

I haven't had any luck finding them at the big box hardware stores around here either. I usually order mine from McMaster-Carr or grab them from the Fastenal store too.

Kevin
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Old 11-21-2009, 01:59 PM   #7
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I would consider replumbing if not right away, in the near future, those lines are almost 40 years old and have been exposed to the weather and all kinds of stuff tossed up from the road.

The big headed rivets are available from any industrial fastener supply, Fastenal is a good example. I bought mine from Tidewater Fasteners in Va Bch. Look around, I have yet to hit a decent sized town that doesn't have a local fastener source.

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Old 11-21-2009, 03:11 PM   #8
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Only get aluminum shank not steel shank.
Aluminum shank (body) "and" aluminum pin.

No steel of any kind.

Andy
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Old 11-21-2009, 04:27 PM   #9
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Folks,
I'll clean up the underside and get as much corrosion off as possible and then go with the larger rivet. Looking at "patching" some small squares of aluminum in areas that are corroded, but have not looked at attaching the "patch" with anything other than the smallest aluminum rivet-then go with the big pop rivet for the rubber lined barcket.
ANDY-since I have a 1972 axle on my Ambassador, is it possible that the torsion action could still actually work? I did haul it over 1500 miles recently and am not certain the copper line bracket failure wasn't a result of age rather than trailer "bounce". Would shock replacement without new axles make sense?
Still no leaks using the sudsy water treatment on the lines. I do not inderstand the "T" here and the "T" there. It would seem to make sense to keep all of these lines along one secure area rather than floating them everywhere-I actually have one under the axle that is of concern as it would seem to unduly wear while underway.

Getting ready for some dirt in the eye work!
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Old 11-21-2009, 05:23 PM   #10
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Folks,

ANDY-since I have a 1972 axle on my Ambassador, is it possible that the torsion action could still actually work? I did haul it over 1500 miles recently and am not certain the copper line bracket failure wasn't a result of age rather than trailer "bounce". Would shock replacement without new axles make sense?
Yes, it's possible.

Best thing to do is check it out yourself, which is easy to do. No tools required.

Read the article about torsion axles, in the Airstream Central site.

Then, what you see, is what you have.

Andy
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Old 11-21-2009, 05:52 PM   #11
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On ours - can't speak for yours - the main cause of the rivets coming out is the galvanic reaction between the steel bracket and the belly skin. You can see that in the powdery metal decay under the bracket and at the rivet hole. That weakens the belly skin and the rivet pulls through. The skin of the belly just away from the bracket/rivet is still solid and in good condition for the age.

I have a couple popped loose. IF we use the metal brackets again we'll place a plastic fender washer between the bracket and skin - then use the larger head rivets. Another option is to back the bracket with a strip of shower pan liner if you have any laying around - anything inert that will separate the metals and not readily rot away....
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Old 11-21-2009, 06:51 PM   #12
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Folks,
I'll clean up the underside and get as much corrosion off as possible and then go with the larger rivet. Looking at "patching" some small squares of aluminum in areas that are corroded, but have not looked at attaching the "patch" with anything other than the smallest aluminum rivet-then go with the big pop rivet for the rubber lined barcket.
ANDY-since I have a 1972 axle on my Ambassador, is it possible that the torsion action could still actually work? I did haul it over 1500 miles recently and am not certain the copper line bracket failure wasn't a result of age rather than trailer "bounce". Would shock replacement without new axles make sense?
Still no leaks using the sudsy water treatment on the lines. I do not inderstand the "T" here and the "T" there. It would seem to make sense to keep all of these lines along one secure area rather than floating them everywhere-I actually have one under the axle that is of concern as it would seem to unduly wear while underway.

Getting ready for some dirt in the eye work!
Are those tees or are they shut off valves? IIRC on the 70's vintage Airstreams the shut off valves are on the underside of the trailer, you have one for each appliance. There are also different sizes of lines.

Hopefully it will stay leak free for you. I had a couple that pinholed shortly after I got my 75, so a complete replacement was warranted. My unit also spent a fair amount of time at the coast along at a beach front campground.

Aaron
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Old 11-21-2009, 07:52 PM   #13
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Replacing propane lines

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I had a couple that pinholed shortly after I got my 75, so a complete replacement was warranted.
Aaron
What kind of copper tubing should be used for propane lines?
Are there special fittings?
Do compression fittings have to be used, or could the connections be soldered?
I'm replacing the whole lot on the Sovereign.

Thanks,

Grant
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Old 11-21-2009, 07:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
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On ours - can't speak for yours - the main cause of the rivets coming out is the galvanic reaction between the steel bracket and the belly skin. You can see that in the powdery metal decay under the bracket and at the rivet hole. That weakens the belly skin and the rivet pulls through. The skin of the belly just away from the bracket/rivet is still solid and in good condition for the age.

I have a couple popped loose. IF we use the metal brackets again we'll place a plastic fender washer between the bracket and skin - then use the larger head rivets. Another option is to back the bracket with a strip of shower pan liner if you have any laying around - anything inert that will separate the metals and not readily rot away....
Why not use a strip of aluminum for the bracket with a piece of rubber against the line?

Bill
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