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Old 02-18-2010, 06:10 AM   #1
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1978 28' Ambassador
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Pig in a Poke '78/28' Ambassador

I am looking to buy a 1978 that has not been moved in 8 yrs. Have read a lot and printed out all the forms. There is no electricity where the camper is located. Know the tires need to be replaced. It needs a bath. Belly pan is there, but several rivets have failed. Soft spot in front, but does not appear to be rotted. Rusted bumper. Water leak in bathroom that appears to be from ceiling exhaust. Tree limb dented in rear endcap, but no holes in aluminum. Minor dent in front endcap.
Questions galore. Can I clean the outside where it sits with a spray cleaner? Need to remove pinestraw from roof to inspect. PO says everything worked 8 yrs ago.
Any help and guidance appreciated.
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Old 02-18-2010, 08:40 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skamper1 View Post
I am looking to buy a 1978 that has not been moved in 8 yrs. Have read a lot and printed out all the forms. There is no electricity where the camper is located. Know the tires need to be replaced. It needs a bath. Belly pan is there, but several rivets have failed. Soft spot in front, but does not appear to be rotted. Rusted bumper. Water leak in bathroom that appears to be from ceiling exhaust. Tree limb dented in rear endcap, but no holes in aluminum. Minor dent in front endcap.
Questions galore. Can I clean the outside where it sits with a spray cleaner? Need to remove pinestraw from roof to inspect. PO says everything worked 8 yrs ago.
Any help and guidance appreciated.

The following should be checked.

All exterior gaskets, especially the sewer vent pipe cover gaskets, that only last 2 to 3 years. That may be the leak you found.

You can easily make an in field LPG leak test.

Check the running gear. You can learn how to easily do that by reading the "axle" article in the Airstream Central section of this Forums.

Check for any signs of mold.

Broken windows patched with plastic.

Carpet, drapes, and upholstery.

Andy
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Old 02-18-2010, 09:47 AM   #3
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End cap dents are very hard to fix. Even the easy way ( a relative term) of pushing them out requires removal of the interior and it is a big deal. The hard way, and only way to completely fix dents, is complete panel replacement. Make sure you can live with the dents and don't pay to much and you should be OK. You will find lots of things to fix,take the "everything worked" with a grain of salt. If you can get someone with experience to look at if with you, you will have a much better feel for what you are getting, and what would be a fair price. You can find a list of folks who will help with inspections here on the forums. There is not much that can't be fixed on older Airstreams, question is time and money.
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Old 02-18-2010, 10:52 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. Just spent another 3hrs there. Original 7.0x 15 tires. Steel wheels need to be wire brushed and painted. Plan to install D225/75R15. Found one leak over refrigerator. The cabinet has sagged. Will add pictures (when I figure out how to) of upper vent. It was burried under alot of decomposed pinestraw. Second dent on rt endcap has a flared piece of skin. Gaskets all need to be replaced (windows, doors, access doors). Meet with PO tomorrow. Do not plan to offer much money. Will check out axle, shocks, brakes. Plan to move it to a campground about 200 miles from here. Not going to use it to travel.
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Old 02-18-2010, 11:20 AM   #5
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pictures: look for the paperclip icon above editing window to "add attachments" then find them on your computer and add away (helps to give the pic files descriptive names first like 'cabinet interior' etc)....then you can insert each shot into a post with captions, questions, etcx
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Old 02-18-2010, 12:08 PM   #6
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Dent in endcap

First try at adding pics. Thanks for the info.
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Old 02-18-2010, 12:14 PM   #7
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Looks familiar, but worse...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f381...air-49308.html
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Old 02-18-2010, 01:50 PM   #8
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Hope it works out for you. We love our 78 Ambassador and fortunately it was garaged and well maintained. Our 65 on the other hand was an everytiing worked once a long , long time ago experience. Even with that we were able to bring her back to life and had some good camping trips before we bought the 78.
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Old 02-18-2010, 02:14 PM   #9
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Hello Skamper1,

First of all Welcome to the forum, we're glad to have you. The issues of leakage, loose belly skin and soft spots in the floor are all common issues with older Airstreams. Two major items of concern for me when looking to purchase any unit is floor damage in any rear baths and missing, or non functioning appliances.

Rear bath removal to fix floor damage can be a major project and is not for the faint of heart. RV appliances tend to be expensive and the cost to replace a furnace, refrigerator, water heater and AC may exceed the cost of the trailer in some cases.

That is quite a dent in the rear segments. Some dent removal is possible and others here have had good success but large dents with creases usually means segment replacement. Some have pushed dents such as this out from the inside and simply live with the cosmetic boo-boo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skamper1 View Post
PO says everything worked 8 yrs ago.
I'd take this comment with a grain of salt. Even if the Seller is truthful and honest I'd want to know for sure or have him be prepared to negotiate the price accordingly.


Best of luck and welcome again,

Kevin
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Old 02-18-2010, 04:05 PM   #10
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Sitting for eight years is really tough on an Airstream. The tires will definitely need to be replaced even for a short trip. The axles will need to be replaced to take on the road any distance. The brakes probably need replacing, too.

A lot to replace to move 200 miles. You might consider a newer unit or one in better condition to become a park model. Even at $2,000-$3,000 more than this one, you'd be money ahead.
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Old 02-19-2010, 06:13 AM   #11
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I bought a 78 a few years ago and it had not moved in 14+ years. Check out my blog to see what you may be in for. Good luck.
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Old 02-19-2010, 07:15 AM   #12
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If you have not figured it out yet, hangin here you will get lots of different opinions. So here is mine.

If the tires hold air, you are careful, take it slow, bring a spare and some axle grease you will probably be OK towing the trailer. My big concern would be the trailer brakes, but a big TV should take care of that unless you have some BIG downhills.

As a general rule of thumb you will put in a lot more money into a handiman special than spending the bucks on a trailer which has had this work already done.
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Old 02-19-2010, 08:42 AM   #13
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Thanks for all the advice. I am leaving now to meet the owner and go over the camper. Have checklist filled out. Lots of questions. Taking propane bottle to check for leaks. Won't have power or water. If the price is right, who knows.
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Old 02-19-2010, 10:31 AM   #14
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1978 28' Ambassador
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Update: Owner showed without keys and manuals. Showed him the two leaks, floors, tires, and new dents. The propane gauge said there was some gas, but he didn't even know how or remember how to light the stove. Low balled an offer. He said he did not know what it was worth and would get back with me. Thanks for all the help on what to look for and how to decide on a fair price. This may not be the one, but has been fun none the less.
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