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Old 10-27-2009, 09:53 PM   #1
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Talking Newbie - Overlander or Ambassador ?

After a couple of months of the forum(and a growing addiction to aluminum!) and trying to decide what style AS would work for me I am interested in 69-75 Overlander 27 or Ambassador 29.I have had the opportunity to visit a new AS 25ft and a gutted to restore 72 Overlander 27.Haven't seen much else live here in Texas.
I want to renovate the unit.I have the skills to do most work myself.I build furniture and have redone 4 homes and a classic 70 Bronco (frame up)

My questions would be the downside and upside of the two models and any quirks in each.

1.I don't like the laminate on the later 70's and would probably replace dividers,cabinets,frames,with birch ply and exotic venner(curly maple,zebra wood,walnut burl,etc.)I do like the vistavue windows in these models

2.I do like a rear bed set up(I have not seen any on the sites especially Overlanders),but do not know what a side bath consists of.
What problems with rear bed? Side Bath?
Are most bad floors in the rear caused from BR leaks or external?
is water heater in mid cabin?

3.Is the 2 ft. noticable in the two models?
Is the Ambassador wider?

4.1/2 chevy truck for towing?( although I won't base my decision on TV)

5.I assume anything after 73or74 has two tanks b&g?

6.Is the actual length less 2 feet of hitch?

7.considering a gutted unit or one mid project someone has lost interest in.or should I purchase complete?
8.Is the old furnace necessary?Is there a lighter more modern alternative?

9.Budget $3500- $5000 for purchase



I want to use as a full time office- living space(I am a commercial photographer/designer and need space for large monitor and Macbook to work on pics.)I also cook for a hobby so that is a consideration.I plan on hitting the road in another year after son graduates shooting pictures.Just me with maybe a guest or 2 for a week or so.
Any imput is appreciated.Thanks,Steve
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:10 PM   #2
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I drive a 1/2 ton chevy 4x4 and would think you'd want to steer more towards the 25 or 27 than 29, but thats my bit, I guess it matters how many people you plan to sleep etc.

In the gut job, is the bathroom intact, if not that gets real expensive and complicated rather quickly (custom tanks, etc). The rear water leaks are often from the seam between the body and bumper cover, which lets water back up under the plywood and rot it out, but in our 63 a lot of rot was from a sink and tub leak let go long enough it actually rusted away parts of the frame.

Furnaces, many lighter options available, many ideas on here depending on how you want to use the space.

I'm sure others have lots more to share, welcome and good luck, love the 25' tradewind here, our favorite length (we've had 23, 25 and 26').
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:36 PM   #3
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A few more.

Subtract 3 feet from the overall to get the inside. A 27 foot Overlander is around 23'.

When I step into a trailer that is 2 feet longer then mine, I notice the difference right away.

Overlanders and Ambassadors (70's) were all 8' wide.

Grey tanks were standard in 74.

Rear beds can be found in some mid 70's Overlanders. Check out the floor plans here: Airstream, Inc :: Specs - 1970
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:40 PM   #4
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Thanks Scott,
Checked the blog.Nice Safari.Exceptional work.
How are most belly pans attached?One piece of metal with screws?
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwaysteve View Post
...
2.I do like a rear bed set up(I have not seen any on the sites especially Overlanders),but do not know what a side bath consists of.
What problems with rear bed? Side Bath?
rear bath means the black tank is back there and some think that the weight of the tank contributes to rear end separation. For esthetic reasons, I prefer a mid-bath. Your guests are forward on the goucho and you're in the back. Otherwise, there is always traffic through your "bedroom."

BTW, the black tank was added in late 74, per DOT regulations. Maybe a little later. Anyway, 75s have the black tank. I think people refer to that as three tanks--fresh, gray, black.

Quote:
3.Is the 2 ft. noticable in the two models?
Is the Ambassador wider?
no ... and no. you'd think the extra 2 feet would add something to the kitchen, but it doesn't. It all goes into the front sitting area. OK, that does make a bit of difference if you're going to sit there with friends for extended periods.

Quote:
6.Is the actual length less 2 feet of hitch?
less 3 feet

Quote:
8.Is the old furnace necessary?Is there a lighter more modern alternative?
If you are full timing, you need to consider replacing the original with a new replacement model. The hot air ducts are designed to also keep the water pipes and fresh tank from freezing. But the blower will eat your battery in a day or two, so you need to be plugged in to shore power if you rely on the original-type heater. You can get away with a catalytic heater in low-humdity parts of the country, but not otherwise--to much condensation.

Quote:
I also cook for a hobby so that is a consideration.I plan on hitting the road in another year after son graduates shooting pictures.Just me with maybe a guest or 2 for a week or so.
no vintage Airstream has any counter top space. horrible. So if you cook, you need to figure out ways to get more space when you remodel. You can turn the sink sideways, for one. In a rear bath Overlander, I cut the tub in half and moved the bed back 12" to get more counter top.

If you're only going out for two weeks at a time, a catalytic heater is probably OK. That's what I use. When temps are below about 27 degrees, I drain the plumbing and use 1-gal water bottles

As far as space to work, you'll find it difficult to have a permanent desk. Here's how I solved that problem. http://www.airforums.com/forums/f38/...esk-21037.html

Zep
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Old 10-28-2009, 12:02 AM   #6
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Check out our 68 Ambassador

We chose an Ambassador for the extra room in the living area.....and yes, we had a computer desk built in (my husband wanted a work desk)......we kept the original floorplan except we put in a dinette instead of a gaucho....we also kept the rear bath because (1) the windows in the bedroom were not where I would want a mid bath to be and I didn't want to move windows(2) I was concerned that a mid bath might feel small and confined (not sure that was a valid concern or not)....That is one of the complaints new Airstreamers have about the toilet area and our 68 is narrower than newer Airstreams...even narrower than the 69's....so if you want to check it out, go to www.area63productions.com and click on blog and scroll down to the Grand Reveal. Our SteSpot was built by Uwe and we love it......and we have a lot of counter space because I like to cook as well---we have space on either side of our single sink and above our gas oven......concerning the furnace--we have a Precision Twin Temp that is a tankless waterheater/furnace combined (so we have endless hot water when plugged in).....good luck with your rehab....you will be happy when you are done.....paula
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Old 10-28-2009, 01:04 AM   #7
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Thanks Paula,
I ran across the Grand Reveal a couple of days ago.Top Notch craftsmanship.It is a beautiful home!
I don't need much bathroom space( just me).
Did your coach have a full tub originally? If so, did converting to the shower give you more space for kitchen counter?
Really impressive and inspiring!Thanks for sharing.Steve
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Old 10-28-2009, 08:05 AM   #8
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More space?

Thank you for your kinds words. Yes, we originally had a tub. Not sure if that is what gave us more space.....I wanted the kitchen sink on the curb side--that way I could look out on our patio when cooking---not the neighbors patio. Our shell has two windows that are pretty close together on the curb side aft of the door. Between the windows was the natural place to divide the galley and bedroom.....then the bath started at the end of the bed. The streetside window in the bedroom is larger than the curb side and is not in the same place (this was originally a double bed unit). But that is not really an issue in the bedroom--it might have been an issue if we had made a rear bedroom and mid bath. At any rate, there is plenty of room from the bedroom to the door for the sink, counter, and 2 burner cooktop.....on the other side is the oven with counter above, refrigerator, 2 pull out pantries. The front dinette converts to a double bed. We had the benches made longer so that you can sit there with out without the table in front of you......sort of couch like.....We can have an extension on the table but haven't decided to do that yet.

Our Franke single sink is bigger than one side of a double sink but smaller than a double overall......it is big enough to put big pots in it....or a small bowl for dishwater and space to rinse as well....the drain is on the upper right hand corner not in the middle....also our bath sink is tiny but big enough......

Our closet is in the bathroom where the tub had been....it is divided--top has shelves and bottom has hangers.....even has a place from my broom...the inside of the trailer is 25 feet long......I think Uwe posted the floor plan on his website. Anyway, the trailer works for us and we are enjoying it. paula
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Old 10-28-2009, 10:24 AM   #9
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As mentioned, there are some side bath Overlanders out there but they're very rare. They were essentially a special-order trailer from the factory.

If you want a side-bath trailer, they become more common in the larger models. Otherwise, you have to go into the mid-80s to a 25' Sovereign or Excella. Those trailers have their own pros and cons (can often get a front panaromic wrap window, but they're heavier and have OSB floors instead of plywood.)

Tom
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