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Old 04-16-2017, 01:09 AM   #1
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1975 29' Ambassador
Central , Texas
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Mad Maggie

Hey Guys, My younger sister just bought a 29' 76 Ambassador named Maggie. And I got volunteered to do the reno. I'm sure she's banking on the big brother discount also for compensation. Oh lort What have I gotten myself into

So anyways it was it has been with one family since new and has been parked for the most part since early 1991 under a covered porch. So far the electrical checked out. looks to be the original inverter which is crazy. Took out the Gaucho and carpet and found a couple leaks, I'm assuming the Vista view windows and door. I noticed a lot of sloppy caulking over the windows. after the Texas rainy spring I will be tackling those. Hopefully I can get a good seal with some new Caulk around all the windows and not have tear into them. Though I met a new friend that has also restored a 75 AS. And is also a retired and bored Airplane Sheetmetal mechanic.

Most of the AS has now been gutted. Esp the rear Bathroom which will be needing a new floor. At first I was panicking. But after looking up a couple rear floor replacements here in the forums, I feel a little more confident now. ( also any helpfully links to others who did a bathroom floor redux please share) If I would of known what I do now. I would of tried and find her another AS in a little better shape. But such is life you learn the hard way. I'm just glad its costing me much of my money. I haven't removed the floor just yet. but hopefully the underbelly looks good enough with minor repairs. Kinda stalling out of fear to be honest. the bathroom has been repaired before and had 3 different types of pipe before I removed it.

The plan is to update the airstream with new cabinets and new bathroom and equipment as needed. Trying to stay away from a full monty if we can. because we are on a time crunch per Sister request. Our father is a professional cabinet maker, so he also got volunteered into the deal. I tried to save everything worth saving during demo. And if you guys are looking for anything let me know.

Sister is a lil weary of all the gas appliances. Is up grading the the 30 to 50 amp possible with out taking the skins off and running more lines? She plans on living in it full time. and she doesn't cook a lot. I will talk her into trying to keep as many as the gas appliances as we can. I tried to explain the limits of living in a RV. But there not much you can tell a 20's something that they already don't know. She thinks its hip and cool to live in a airstream and I have a feeling shes fixing to get a education She initially had grand plans to put in a 2'x4' agriculture water trough as a tub (Damn you Pinterest). And I tried to explain to her that her tub and 400 pounds of water would probably work for a little while but would definitely end up with a tub with a view when the floor fails. Besides that where did she plan on getting all that hot water? lol So I finally talked her into settling for a rv tub. I have a feeling that my younger sister will either be the death of me or I will take on a new hobby such as drinking in the near future before I see this thing finished.



Anyways Its gutted and I'll try and post pictures of the process. To help others out and for possibly comical relief since this is a whole new frontier for me. Hopefully it works out and will still be on speaking terms with my sister. And once sister finds out that full time AS life isn't what she bargained for, I probably be the new owner of a 76 Airstream. with the big brother discount of course.
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Old 04-16-2017, 02:00 AM   #2
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Little sisters. Sounds like she has you wrapped around her little finger.
Good luck.
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Old 04-16-2017, 07:17 AM   #3
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Wow. Sounds like you're in deep. Good luck!

Upgrading electric depends on what new high draw appliances you'll be adding to require 50 amp. The run from the shore inlet to the breaker box is not too bad, but the runs to potential new appliances could require some additional surgery. The main electrical chase is behind the center ceiling panel, which comes down pretty easily. Fishing wires from there down the walls is theoretically possible, but it's probably easier just to remove the skins.

If you're pressed for time, I think your efforts would be better invested in convincing your sister to make as few changes to the original design as possible.
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Old 04-16-2017, 08:42 AM   #4
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Boy, is she going to OWE you! I'd definitely get the big brother discount ready. Try to convince her that propane is the way to go - it will have better resale value.
We agree that it's easier to run new electric with the inner skins out. Then, you can replace the insulation too. Oops, that's close to a full monty.....
Can we do a betting pool on the Airforums? (Not about you, about her ability to live in a trailer)
We wish you the best!

Chris and Kay
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Old 04-16-2017, 09:18 AM   #5
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Big Brother TX,

Welcome to the forums. You are already way ahead by discovering this resource in our opinion. We've found the community here to be extremely helpful. Pretty much anything you run into, someone here has solved. These folks can fix anything but a string of Christmas lights or a broken heart, and I'm not sure they wouldn't give them a good go. We'd suggest you might spend some time searching around the forums for ideas (that will work in an Airstream) and share those with your sister. If you get lucky, some of those ideas will become hers.

Most important, we hope you enjoy the project, even though you will be on a crunched schedule.

We agree with the comments made so far. Try to stick with propane appliances and the 30 amp service. We'd also add that by first looking at the features that are fixed in position (hard to move) like the door, the exterior access panels, the refrigerator vent, hot water heater, furnace, and the bathroom plumbing, then designing with those in mind, you may avoid a few major uh-oh moments.

If interested, our most recent trailer is documented here; https://www.airforums.com/forums/f39...er-155180.html We replaced two small sections of floor, but didn't include any photos. Our first trailer is documented at 64airstream.com . We replaced the bathroom floor and included some photos, but we haven't updated the web page for a long time.

Good luck and we'll watch for the progress,

Roy and Marie
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Old 04-16-2017, 01:42 PM   #6
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1975 29' Ambassador
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane View Post
Little sisters. Sounds like she has you wrapped around her little finger.
Good luck.
Don't tell her that. Shes also the youngest so she's got the whole family wrap around her finger. But she was forced to give up that title when my niece was born. Come to think of it, maybe that's why shes a little bitter nowadays.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGreatleys View Post
Wow. Sounds like you're in deep. Good luck!

Upgrading electric depends on what new high draw appliances you'll be adding to require 50 amp. The run from the shore inlet to the breaker box is not too bad, but the runs to potential new appliances could require some additional surgery. The main electrical chase is behind the center ceiling panel, which comes down pretty easily. Fishing wires from there down the walls is theoretically possible, but it's probably easier just to remove the skins.

If you're pressed for time, I think your efforts would be better invested in convincing your sister to make as few changes to the original design as possible.
The main panel for the umbilical is above the water heater. Kinda of a bad spot as it is. And its not a bad run as you said. But I'd like to move it less than a foot away inside the closest next to the bathroom if I can. I'd hate for the water and electrical panel to become close friends. My background is electrical, and I'm a pro at wall fishing . If the boss didn't give me a timeline the skins would already be off just to replace the pink sh*t and reseal the AS.

I was just tossing around the idea of upgrading the service to 50 amp if would of been a simple modification. If anything it would of been all electric fridge ( but I talked her into keep the newer propane/ electric one that's currently installed.) And would she wondering if you could convert the original oven over to electric. ( shes enjoys eating out more than she cooks.) and possibly a electric tankless water heater if we could but it will probably end up being gas as well. ( you know for that big ole tub she has to have ) Speaking of tankless water heaters, anyone tried to install one inside the compartment instead of run of the mill rv water heater? I know they make tankless ones specifically for RV's now. But they also require your first born as a down payment to afford one.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Minno View Post
Boy, is she going to OWE you! I'd definitely get the big brother discount ready. Try to convince her that propane is the way to go - it will have better resale value.
We agree that it's easier to run new electric with the inner skins out. Then, you can replace the insulation too. Oops, that's close to a full monty.....
Can we do a betting pool on the Airforums? (Not about you, about her ability to live in a trailer)
We wish you the best!

Chris and Kay
"Place your bets" Me and the family including aunts and uncles and cousins all ready have one going. She's hard headed I give it a few months or 5 years. Though to be honest though, the whole family is full of hard heads. And it will probably end in me being relieved of my mind and money.

If it was mine I would do a full monty. I still want to since it will probably be mine one day. Haha but its not mine yet and the boss gave me a timeline to fulfill. I have a Electrical background, And I got a retired airplane sheet metal mechanic less than a mile away itching for something to do. And pops is a 2nd generation cabinet maker/antique repair. I would've been the 3rd generation cabinet maker. But my stubborn sister takes after my pops. haha

After some talking with the boss. We plan on keeping the RV fridge as its been replaced and not very old it just needs a new relay switch. If anything I was speculating on seeing if we could remove of the original propane stove and replace it with a counter top oven large enough for a frozen pizza. I'll have to look up the amps for those. Nothing to extreme for replacing the gas with electrical. Btw I've been reading your novel on your "Little Girl" for information. What you've done is a amazing. even though i'm a fast reader I have a feeling it might take me a decade to read all it. haha


Quote:
Originally Posted by 64airstream View Post
Big Brother TX,

Welcome to the forums. You are already way ahead by discovering this resource in our opinion. We've found the community here to be extremely helpful. Pretty much anything you run into, someone here has solved. These folks can fix anything but a string of Christmas lights or a broken heart, and I'm not sure they wouldn't give them a good go. We'd suggest you might spend some time searching around the forums for ideas (that will work in an Airstream) and share those with your sister. If you get lucky, some of those ideas will become hers.

Most important, we hope you enjoy the project, even though you will be on a crunched schedule.

We agree with the comments made so far. Try to stick with propane appliances and the 30 amp service. We'd also add that by first looking at the features that are fixed in position (hard to move) like the door, the exterior access panels, the refrigerator vent, hot water heater, furnace, and the bathroom plumbing, then designing with those in mind, you may avoid a few major uh-oh moments.

If interested, our most recent trailer is documented here; https://www.airforums.com/forums/f39...er-155180.html We replaced two small sections of floor, but didn't include any photos. Our first trailer is documented at 64airstream.com . We replaced the bathroom floor and included some photos, but we haven't updated the web page for a long time.

Good luck and we'll watch for the progress,

Roy and Marie
Thanks, I just wish I would of found this resource before we decided to purchase "Mad Maggie". instead reading tips from glamour blogs about how airstream are the perfect RV. None of them told me about the bathroom floors. haha I would of waited and found a better candidate possibly. But shes not bad she just needs more love than I planned on.

Trust me the door is staying right where its at!!! The original layout will stay the same. most of the walls and overhead cabinets are staying in and quite possible the cabinet around the fridge is staying also. The bathroom and the kitchen cabinets are getting redone. And the bathroom might grow into the curb side closet a little.
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Old 04-16-2017, 01:53 PM   #7
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Best wishes on a successful project, can't wait to see photos as you proceed. Another vote here for keeping the propane appliances - we love our propane oven in particular, especially when camping out in the boonies. It makes great pizza, too, just keep an eye on the temperature as the settings on the dial are just an estimate.
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Old 04-16-2017, 10:41 PM   #8
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1975 29' Ambassador
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Anyways didn't do much today other shear 2 of the Bumper bolts off the bumper. And some nice words for the flat head bolts the still refuse to take a screw driver. No knuckles were harm in the process. So I call it a success. Happy Easter.
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Old 04-17-2017, 06:54 AM   #9
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Looks like your typical rear floor rot but otherwise in very good shape!
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Old 04-18-2017, 04:53 PM   #10
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Got the Water heater out today.

Also found out the belly pan under the grey and black water tanks just holding on by a 1" of metal that didn't rust out. The greywater tank came down with the belly pan. Glad that didn't happen when we were towing it home.

Also found some of the Aluminium shell deteriorating underneath the compartment door where it was touching the steel piece. Trying to figure out what my options are to fix. anyone have any Ideas?
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Old 04-18-2017, 05:21 PM   #11
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1974 27' Overlander
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Pretty common corrosion area. You can drill out the rivets and remove the compartment door assembly, then replace the aluminum under the bottom half of the door and put the door assembly back on. The door assembly will hide the seam. Or you can do what I did and sneak a piece of aluminum down there between the corroded skin and the rear hold down plate, rivet it together, caulk the heck out of it, and call it good since it's behind the belt molding anyway.

BTW I'd suggest you wait to deal with this issue until you're past the demo phase and into the rebuilding phase. It's tempting to take on projects as you find them, but it'll be faster if you just make a list of issues and do all of the similar repairs at once.
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Old 04-18-2017, 08:25 PM   #12
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My opinion, worth what you paid for it.

Just like sticks and bricks houses, kitchens and bathrooms are big features and really important.

If I were in your situation, here is what I might consider for the kitchen. A portable induction cooktop, a convection microwave, and if you can make the layout work, keeping the "vintage" gas stove as well. Add some fancy-pants cabinet storage/appliance garage for a George Forman Grill, Instant Pot, Ninja blender, Toaster, and Keurig. Then just make sure to have a solid 36 inches of continuous counter space and you are done. If I had a metal guy who was itching to do a project, I would have a NSF stainless counter with integrated sink and runnel drainboard.

For the bathroom I would have a stainless shower with integrated seat, and a high curb threshold (maybe 6 inches or so) that could be plugged to use for a shallow tub (very shallow but ok for a toddler or to soak your feet), party beer cooler (add ice and Shiner Bock) , dog wash, or art project room (tie dye, wash out paint brushes). I would add in as much storage as possible, good towel hooks, and I like the flip mirror on the 22 sport that is regular on 1 side and magnifying on the other. I think that the tankless water heater might be worth the investment unless the current one is on the new side.

And as far as everything else, just figure out the shoe storage and everything else will fall into place.

PS you sound like a really nice big brother.
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Old 04-18-2017, 08:33 PM   #13
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Pretty common corrosion area. You can drill out the rivets and remove the compartment door assembly, then replace the aluminum under the bottom half of the door and put the door assembly back on. The door assembly will hide the seam. Or you can do what I did and sneak a piece of aluminum down there between the corroded skin and the rear hold down plate, rivet it together, caulk the heck out of it, and call it good since it's behind the belt molding anyway.

BTW I'd suggest you wait to deal with this issue until you're past the demo phase and into the rebuilding phase. It's tempting to take on projects as you find them, but it'll be faster if you just make a list of issues and do all of the similar repairs at once.


Did you put the another piece on the outside or inside? That was what I was thinking of just adding some reinforcement since like you said its behind the belt moulding. The hold down plate? are you talking about the culprit steel causing the corrosion in the first place? I think Aquabob had the same problem. As for now I plan on leaving it alone till the flooring is replaced and I'm putting everything back up. Thanks for the Info.

Edit: Just decided to click on your blog. I just browsed over it. But I'm really impressed so far. Looks amazing!!
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Old 04-18-2017, 08:40 PM   #14
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Did you put the another piece on the outside or inside? That was what I was thinking of just adding some reinforcement since like you said its behind the belt moulding. The hold down plate? are you talking about the culprit steel causing the corrosion in the first place? I think Aquabob had the same problem. As for now I plan on leaving it alone till the flooring is replaced and I'm putting everything back up. Thanks for the Info.
Inside. I also re-engineered the bumper cover so it wouldn't direct moisture directly into the plywood floor. Lots of ways of doing that, too. There are some pictures of what did on the blog in my signature if you're inclined to look through my reno.

And yes. The rear hold down plate is that rusted mess of what used to be steel that is supposed to be holding your shell to your frame in the rear. You'll replace it when you replace the rear section of the bathroom floor.
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