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Old 01-26-2012, 01:04 PM   #1
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1972 29' Ambassador
Chouteau , Oklahoma
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Where to start - 1972 Ambassador

my love and I are new Airstream owners as of yesterday. we purchased a '72 Airstream Ambassador that is in stripped/beautiful shape. What are the first things we need to do? it needs so much attention, we could start anywhere...

please, any suggestions? thanks!
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:51 PM   #2
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hello

and Welcome to the forums. The first thing is to make it water tight, and check the floors for rot. Then if you are going to use it on the road check tires, axles, and outside lights. Then the fun part of camping in an aluminum tent. Then start dreaming of your interior plan. Good luck and post some pics. MPJ
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:58 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by silver72 View Post
my love and I are new Airstream owners as of yesterday. we purchased a '72 Airstream Ambassador that is in stripped/beautiful shape. What are the first things we need to do? it needs so much attention, we could start anywhere...

please, any suggestions? thanks!
Replace the window, access door and entrance door gaskets.

Also check the ceiling vent cover gaskets.

Lastly, remove onr of the sewer vwent pipe covers and check that gasket, which most owners say only lasts 2 to 3 years.

After the trailer is waterproofed, then you can take your time with the rest of the trailer, as well as being easy on your budget.

Check all the appliances as well as the brakes and axles rubber rods, so that you can better prepare for down the road expenses.

Andy
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:59 PM   #4
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Most folks will say to start by making sure your Airstream is water tight -- no leaks if you are storing it outside in the elements.

Then what we did was research, research, research and ask questions as we began to understand our tasks. Here's a great thread about work on another 1972 Ambassador http://www.airforums.com/forums/f332...-71467-12.html Maybe it will be a good starting point for you.

We were most concerned at first about not making anything worse than it was -- making sure we knew what kinds of sealant and products to use -- and most importantly not to use.

We were helped so much by all the pictures that others had posted of their work in progress. Before we tore into a wall, we knew what to expect behind it based on photos on the Forum. I am using the "Royal" "We" here because maccamper did the work.

We have a 1974 29 ft. Ambassador with a rear bath. We were told our trailer was "camping ready" when we bought it. Well, we found out that was not the case. maccamper's first task was to completely re-do the rear bath area from the frame up because of water damage from the infamous rear bumper storage compartment with the piano hinge. Water intruded from the hinge into our bathroom floor and rotted it and did lots of rotting away of the frame. Our frame was pretty if you like lacy rust. You may come to be friends with POR 15 and have no fear about "dropping the belly pan."

We bought our Airstream in spring 2007. Here we are now getting ready to start our 2012 camping season and our "Emma" is better than she ever was. maccamper approached our renovation in phases so we've been able to camp as he did the work (you'll hear about camping in an aluminum tent).

One of the benefits of camping as you are doing your renovation is that you will gain so many rally friends who will be there to offer advice, share their knowledge and celebrate your accomplishments and feel your pain when something doesn't go as you hoped.

We were way out of our comfort zone on this project and learned so much. We have thoroughly our Airstream experience. You'll get discouraged and overwhelmed at times yet hang in there and hopefully you'll find the results well worth the effort (oh yes --- and the expense).

Nancy Mac (mrs. maccamper)

Wow . . . . someone already used the term aluminum tent and suggested the water tight before I finished this post!
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Old 01-26-2012, 09:12 PM   #5
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1972 29' Ambassador
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thanks for the welcome and for pointing us in the start direction. the community on this forum is amazing. looking forward to my next call for help! thank you!
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Old 01-31-2012, 12:02 PM   #6
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By stripped, I take it that the interior is gutted. You will want to look at the GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) on the nameplate. This will tell you how much weight the trailer frame, axles, etc, can support. You will want to keep that number in mind when finishing out the interior.

My '79 is relatively light by modern standards since a lot of the original cabinets are constructed with aluminum extrusions for framing and either sheet aluminum or thin plywood panels. I believe your '72 had a similar interior so loading it up with heavy pressboard cabinets and steel frame furniture wouldn't be a good idea.

Someone here could probably tell you what the dry weight (no water or provisions on board) of your trailer originally was before stripped. You could then weigh the trailer now as-is and have an idea of how much weight you have to work with when finishing it off.

From your avatar it looks like your trailer does not have an awning. Those are heavy so if you plan to add one, consider that additional weight. It also looks like your trailer was a rear bath model. Some early 70's models were known to have problems with sagging rear ends, can't remember if '72 was a problem but if it is someone could advise you on how to prevent any problems.

You might also want to do some searches here. I've come across some threads where people finished out gutted trailers. Maybe get some ideas because you need to plan ahead for wiring and plumbing, unless you plan to put it back to nearly the original floorplan.

Christopher
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Old 02-02-2012, 09:54 AM   #7
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thank you, Christopher. excellent information!
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:03 PM   #8
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Welcome!

Welcome to the forum and especially to Airstream ownership! The info available here is extraordinary and the members are always willing to help. I am still lurking and reading, trying to build a familiarity and knowledge base before we actually take the plunge and disassemble something.

Good luck! And don't forget the restoration rallies in Albuquerque: hands-on learning of everything, not to mention fun and meeting A/S fanatics.

Vivian
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Old 02-04-2012, 08:59 PM   #9
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i agree with andy seal her up 1rst ! find you a thinking chair for the inside and some sort of temp table. 1/2" wood chisel (sharp) and start scraping off old seals, a die grinder with a wire wheel , a drill would do but much harder to handle . wire wheel where old seals were until aluninum is clean, you will have to scrape up around hinges by hand, seals cost $ so we don't want dirt intrusion to cause them to fall off after replacement. spend time sitting in your thinking chair with a nice heavy rain or a good sweep sprinkler to check for skin/roof leaks. if gutted next project is to id all exposed wiring ie: dc-ac pump circuit ect. tag and insulate (so you don't get lit up )
i do 2/3 of these a year for customers and 1 for myself,currently polishing my 62 safari.
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Old 02-06-2012, 01:07 PM   #10
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1972 29' Ambassador
Chouteau , Oklahoma
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thank you everyone! great suggestions!

here is where we are at...

taking the first advice we received, i checked the seals to every opening. some look decent while others clearly need replacing. this last week, i've been working on tearing out broken cabinets/bed frames... all the while waiting for our first good rain. we got hammered with a good thunderstorm over the weekend and... no leaks! still the seals will soon be removed and new seals added.

while inspecting, i did notice some minor floor rot where the wall meets the floor. the previous owner made a sorry attempt to lay wood laminate flooring... makes me wonder what is to be discovered under there. i'll replace the floor in damaged areas but what if i was to replace the entire floor with new wood? how big of a job would this be? in my mind, it appears to be easy... but again... i don't know...

i've not began to look into the plumbing or electrical wiring. the rear bath is a nightmare. the tub has been pulled up to expose an awful mess... pretty intimidating.

also the kitchen counter top and cabinets are barely there. i'll be removing the remainder of these. who knows what problems i'll find...

i'll post pictures soon. and please, continue your suggestions. they have been a tremendous help. thanks everyone!

Sterling
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Old 02-11-2012, 05:49 PM   #11
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1972 29' Ambassador
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silver72,

hi there!!! we too just bought a 72 ambassador and having the same issue with the rear bath being a nightmare. today we gutted the whole back end to redo the flooring and all water lines leading to the kitchen sink. its really not that bad of a project getting it all out. my main concern is what to do to get tub and sink back in the bath. im also concerned with how the "grey" water is handled. if anyone has any suggestions would be great.
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Old 02-13-2012, 04:44 PM   #12
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1972 29' Ambassador
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hello!!! glad you found this tread with similar '72 problems. seriously, the rear bath is going to make me or break me. i can already feel it...

please share with me your trials as you tackle that beast! good luck!
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Old 02-13-2012, 07:36 PM   #13
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1972 29' Ambassador
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well its all gutted in the rear now. Im not sure we will be able to use much of the bath as most of it was broke already so we get to improvise with alot of it. We are going to try and reuse the tub if we can then go from there. The floor i think will be "fun" that'll be in a couple weeks as im also in the process of rebuilding a 1976 jeep j10 360. So "Stella" gets the attention every other weekend.... Have you named yours yet?
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Old 02-13-2012, 07:39 PM   #14
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Also im going to use pex piping for the water lines. That part does look fairly simple and easy to use. Ill post pictures as i move along
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