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Old 11-05-2011, 12:37 AM   #1
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Portland , Maine
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Newbie question about evaluating a '78 Airstream Intl.

Hello,

I'm recently infected with the airstream obsession, and I'm going to look at a 78 international 28' for sale. Talked with the owner, who has basically never used it in 5 years of owning it...may have contact info to previous owner. He does not know what works and may not have done much in the way of maintenance.
My newbie question is- If I need to put a fresh battery in this thing, just to see if things will turn on, what kind of battery do I need? Is it like a set of car batteries? How should I go bout this? I have to determine what utilities work somehow...

Thanks!

Max in Maine
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Old 11-05-2011, 02:13 AM   #2
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Morada , California
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Our 78 Ambassador 28 ft has two battery compartments in the forward outside skin, just aft of the propane tanks, accessible by locked doors or hatches...

You'll need the keys - ours are a different lock than the other outside compartments...

The original installation had a short wire harness that attaches to the battery terminals - the other end has a molded two-prong plug that mates with a similar plug going into the interior 12 volt wiring - this set-up allows you to easily unplug the harness, then remove the battery for service or replacement...

These battery compartments are are designed to accommodate the Group-27 size DEEP CYCLE type batteries - don't use a regular automotive STARTING type battery - they aren't designed for RV, repeated discharging/charging type service.

If there are old batteries in both compartments, they will be 'shot' after 5 years sitting unused! I'd remove them before trying to check out the 12 volt system - you could install only one new battery for testing purposes, but you'll need two when you use your trailer later...

The old, original 'Univolt' converter/charger should be changed to a modern, 3-stage type C/C to insure your new batteries will be bulk, finish, and float charged properly...

Send a Private Message to Lewster here on Airforums for info about your old Univolt and options for replacement...he's closer to you than Randy at Bestconverter.com, used by many out West...

Some of the stuff we've done to our 78 AS in the three+ years we had it can be seen here: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f173...way-41888.html

Hope it all works out for you...
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Old 11-05-2011, 05:17 PM   #3
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Portland , Maine
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Thanks for your help! I got a basic 27D and took it with me...there was no old battery in the opening for it behind the propane tanks, and I plugged mine in and things turned on...it was exciting! Lights inside worked, radio, and the central control console above the stove. Couldn't get the AC to turn on. Took lots of pictures. Rust in the wheel wells...I'm not sure what this thing is worth, but feels a little rough to me.
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Old 11-05-2011, 06:29 PM   #4
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Welcome! Those are big ol boats. If they're in pretty good shape, 10 to 14 grand over purchase price to fix up to decent but not same as new shape. More if they need frame and axles.

Here 14 grand will buy a new wood frame trailer, ready to go, and if stored inside they will last longer than me.
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Old 11-05-2011, 06:59 PM   #5
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1996 34' Limited
1976 31' Sovereign
1983 31' Excella
Greeneville , Tennessee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxJ View Post
Hello,

I'm recently infected with the airstream obsession, and I'm going to look at a 78 international 28' for sale. Talked with the owner, who has basically never used it in 5 years of owning it...may have contact info to previous owner. He does not know what works and may not have done much in the way of maintenance.
My newbie question is- If I need to put a fresh battery in this thing, just to see if things will turn on, what kind of battery do I need? Is it like a set of car batteries? How should I go bout this? I have to determine what utilities work somehow...

Thanks!

Max in Maine
Max If you think that trailer is going too run you into too much money for purchase and repairs, there is a mid 80's Excella 31 foot in what looks to be excellant condition for sale near me in TN, for 8500 is not a bad price and they are somewhat negotiable on that.

Sarge
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Old 11-05-2011, 09:27 PM   #6
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Portland , Maine
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I suspect I'd be getting in over my head, which would be easy to do as a newbie to all this. I think I'm more interested in something cleaner. I'm looking at an 88 excella also. No rush to buy, lots to learn.
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