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Old 07-10-2006, 09:48 AM   #1
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What to look for? - 28' 1968 AS

Hi there,
I'm new here and am thinking about buying a 68 Airstream 28'.
My husband and I will be viewing one tonight but have a few questions.

What should we be looking for? Any problem spots to keep an eye on? What questions should we ask the current owner?
(They're asking CAD$ 6,000)

We own a 2006 Dodge 1500 Ram w/ a Hemi. Would this be a sufficient vehicle to tow that size Airstream?

Thanks in advance for any info you can give us.

Cheers
Moni
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Old 07-10-2006, 10:59 AM   #2
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2006 19' Safari
2000 25' Safari
1985 25' Sovereign
Fort Myers , SW.Florida
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Lightbulb It's all here!

MONI,
Everything you want to know about airstreams, fixing, buying, insuring, what will tow what, what hitch to get, etc., etc..... you will find within this forum. You can even find inspection volunteers!

You can find previous discussions and even photos for any and all of the repair experiences of others. You will also find ‘what to look for when buying’ posts or even 'what I found after I bought it!' posts ... by using the 'search' tools at the top right of each page. Within the 'drop down box' the advanced search may serve you best, by allowing you to choose specific forums to search within.

Once you access the ‘Advanced Search’ try typing in a Key Word on the left side.
Then choose one or more of the most specific Forums e.g. = ‘Electrical / Window / Air Conditioners / etc., etc.’ in the area on the right called Search in Forum(s)

For a more general beginning just click the FORUMS tab at the top left of each page and wander around.


You might also look at this: CLICK HERE ... you may get a kick out of it. (or not)

Oh yeah ... Welcome!
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Old 07-10-2006, 11:18 AM   #3
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Hi and thanks for the welcome.
Thought I'd quickly clarify that I did search in the 68 specific section but couldn't find anything that helped me re possible problems for that particular year. But maybe I just didn't look 'deep' enough. I'll try harder next time

Cheers
Moni
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Old 07-10-2006, 11:23 AM   #4
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1963 16' Bambi
Yreka , California
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Look for leaks.... almost all older Airstreams leak if they haven't been stored inside their whole life...especially down to the floor. Check to see if the floor is soft anywhere. Floor replacement is a BIG item.

You might also look at the thread that is about considerations when buying an airstream. It generally refers to newer models, but has very good ideas to consider.

I would spend quite a bit of time just reading through restoration threads and others... you will pick up a lot of knowledge in all of them!

Good luck! If you are looking for someone to help you inspect your potential purchase, post where you are and ask if someone is available. Airstreams are very cool. We love ours!

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)
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Old 07-10-2006, 04:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaddyGrn
Look for leaks.... almost all older Airstreams leak if they haven't been stored inside their whole life...especially down to the floor. Check to see if the floor is soft anywhere. Floor replacement is a BIG item.

You might also look at the thread that is about considerations when buying an airstream. It generally refers to newer models, but has very good ideas to consider.

I would spend quite a bit of time just reading through restoration threads and others... you will pick up a lot of knowledge in all of them!

Good luck! If you are looking for someone to help you inspect your potential purchase, post where you are and ask if someone is available. Airstreams are very cool. We love ours!

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)
Thanks so much for the tips, CaddyGrn! I really appreciate it
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Old 07-10-2006, 07:16 PM   #6
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You are welcome! By the way, you might also seriously consider if you have space to store your Airstream... are there city ordinances to struggle with or other similar factors? Will you have to pay for storage? Can you work on your Airstream in the storage facility? All of these items should factor into your final decision. For example, many cities have a 24 hour limit for parking your trailer on city streets even if it is in front of your home! If you live out of town perhaps this won't be a factor.

When I spoke about leaks... I probably didn't clarify. Most leaks run down to the floor and the wood floor is the trailer's weakest point... dry rot... also if it has been in an area where it freezes in the winter, you want to check the water lines ~ all of them! Have the people who show you the trailer how the water works, look under cupboards for leaks. Take a flashlight. Pretend you are some kind of CSI. Ask about what kind of water tank it has. Plastic, metal? Also ask about hot water tank.

Well, this is just the very beginning of things to think about. I would make a detailed list (probably one already somewhere on the forum, or web) of what to look for in a pre-owned trailer. I would be very detailed and even then you will miss things, just happens.

Good luck, again!

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)
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Old 07-10-2006, 08:30 PM   #7
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From my personal experience, I would be concerned about the rear end sagging and the axles. I'm getting to repair the floor in my head, and the damage was not obvious until I read about rear end sag and figured out how to test for it.

The floor repair sucks, but for me that's more of a time than money problem. The axles you pretty much have to buy; that'd be a money problem. Throw in the shocks and some new tires to boot.

Maybe the one you're looking at is fine, but it seems these are pretty common items of discussion on the older ones.

Search on the rear end and axles and get acquainted with what to look for.

I've learned after the fact, but at least I bought it right. After the initial freaking out, we got a plan and one day this tin can's gonna roll again.

Good luck,
Rob
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Old 07-10-2006, 09:18 PM   #8
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'68 was the third and last year for the curved Corning windows. If they are not all there and operable, you're in for a surprise when you try to find replacements. They are available, but expensive. Also, '68 was the only year (I think) to use spray-on foam insulation under the plywood floor. This effectively sealed the floor from below trapping any moisture that got in the floor. The tile floor on top of the plywood prevented it from drying out from the top, so there was a lot of floor rot in this year. Check the floor carefully, especially arount the door, refrigerator vent, bath area, and wheel wells. Just above the rear bumper storage bin lid is the joint between the body and the floor. This is a typical place from water entry. If you remove the trim piece that goes around the base of the trailer you can actually see the edge of the plywood floor (if it isn't already sawdust!). This joint should be caulked liberally after repairs are made to prevent further water damage. You should expect to replace some of the appliances in a trailer this age. The water system is a usual suspect - see if the seller is willing to fill and operate the water system. Good luck! Darol
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Old 07-11-2006, 11:23 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the info!! You all are fantastic
We had already left to drive to the location where this baby is located, so I missed lots of your tips but, on the way there we thought: what the hell are we thinking? it's really far too big of a unit for us...
But well, we took a look anyway.
It was the first time we've actually been in an Airstream and it was pretty cool. But we'd rather get something that we can actually fit into our garage. At first we thought we could just store it in the carport, but here in Central BC it gets so bloody cold in the winter, that it would be hard to work on it unless it's in the heated shop. So we'll continue to look for something that's right for us.
Thought I'll post some pics of it anyway.






inside:


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Old 07-11-2006, 11:32 AM   #10
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Looks like a good one...but if it's too big for you and yours, its not "THE one" for you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moni
But we'd rather get something that we can actually fit into our garage. At first we thought we could just store it in the carport, but here in Central BC it gets so bloody cold in the winter, that it would be hard to work on it unless it's in the heated shop.
We had hopes of storing ours in our garage too...but, unless you have an extra tall, oversized door, most are going to be too tall, with or without A/C. So double check your height as well as length...

Good luck with your continued search ~

Shari
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Old 07-11-2006, 11:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideOut
Looks like a good one...but if it's too big for you and yours, its not "THE one" for you.We had hopes of storing ours in our garage too...but, unless you have an extra tall, oversized door, most are going to be too tall, with or without A/C. So double check your height as well as length...

Good luck with your continued search ~

Shari
yes we have extra high overhead doors. we built the garage w/ a large camping unit in mind. (thank goodness)
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Old 07-11-2006, 11:55 AM   #12
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However, that is a really nice looking unit, very straight, end doesn't look like it's sagging much, though maybe the black tank is coming loose??? Inside looks very nice, I love the layout of the 67-68 bathrooms, much better use of space than before.

BTW, it's cold here in Michigan too. We don't work on ours then. That's what spring is for! Honestly, how much work you expecting to do? If the floor isn't too messy, there's not much to do on that one, depending on the kitchen state. Sure, replacing appliances and water pipes is always in issue, but I don't think you need to spend thousands of hours on that Ambassador.
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Old 07-12-2006, 12:31 AM   #13
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Great pics! We love pictures!

Be sure you also have a tow vehicle that can fit the size trailer you purchase! It does look nice, but it is really loooooooooong. But then my trailer is 13 feet.

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)
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Old 04-12-2007, 06:23 AM   #14
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I echo the post to check the rear end for sagging. If the trailer doesn't have the beef up of the frame just rear of the tires, it will need it. If separation hasn't started it will. AFter completing my '68 28' Ambassador. I was on a trip through the East coast and the frame simply started to bend tearing the skin around the rear access door. I had installed new bolts through the rear frame, new floor and body. The bolts held but the skin couldn't take the stress. During a rest stop I discovered the rear door missing and the tears along with buckling along the side of the trailer. I ended up taking the rig to the factory for repair. Several thousand dollars later it was repaired permanently. Should have had the frame reinforced before all my restoration work.
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