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Old 11-10-2007, 10:18 PM   #15
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rhoward,

No magic, just a lot of hard work and elbow grease. A welder comes in handy with some frame issues, an angle grinder is indispensable, and you'll use up a lot of 1/8" drill bits and rivets removing stuff.

Not that difficult, just takes a lot of time. Is it worth it? In the end, only you can answer that.

This forum is a great source of information.

I have lots of pics in my member's photos detailling much of my efforts. Many have done the same.
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Old 11-14-2007, 11:38 AM   #16
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1978 23' Safari
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No nibbles on the classified, so I'm creeping closer to the parting out decision...

I know AeroWood and I can use a couple of the outer shell panels, a I'll use a good bit of the inside skin, but I hate to see the majority of a good shell go to waste. I thought a WBCCI unit might speak up and store the shell somewhere remote for their members, but not so far.

Joe
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Old 11-14-2007, 12:47 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by averagejoe
No nibbles on the classified, so I'm creeping closer to the parting out decision...

I know AeroWood and I can use a couple of the outer shell panels, a I'll use a good bit of the inside skin, but I hate to see the majority of a good shell go to waste. I thought a WBCCI unit might speak up and store the shell somewhere remote for their members, but not so far.

Joe
Joe,

Removing segments to salvage, is impossibele, unless you remove the interior end caps or sheetmetal first.

End shells are made in a jig.

The ends of the segments are held in place with "blind" flush rivets, to a main bow on one end and the inner window framing on the other end.

You cannot get to those rivets unless you remove the interior end shell metal, etc, so that you can remove the blind rivets, from the inside

Contrary to opinion, while it's a nice idea, segments cannot be removed and reused, unless the above is followed.

If you drill out every rivet that you can see, the segment will not move therefore it cannot be removed.

Unless you wish to rehab the trailer, giving it away or selling it, would be a better game plan.

It appears that with a "LOT" of hard work, that trailer could have another life.

Andy
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Old 11-14-2007, 06:39 PM   #18
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1971 29' Ambassador
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Not sure where to start

Hello All-

I didn't look before i leeped. I purchased the below about one month ago on an impulse buy, then i found this site. I have spent many hours reading so if their is a spot i missed to look for some answers please help me out.

Craigslist has proven a dangerous spot to hang out.

I believe what i purchased is an 71 29' ambassador. I have towed it about 60 miles from where it was stored to my driveway. I stopped a couple of times and checked the hubs to see if they were hot. Two were slightly warm to the touch and the others were fine.

Winter is closing in and my work space is in the elements so that will dictake part of this restoration. I plan on pulling the tires and repacking bearings, and installing new trailer breaks this spring or summer. Ill probaly wait till summer to address the tires. They have good tred but are weather checked.

What i am asking your help in is what to tackle first????

I will have the interior gutted by the end of this week and don't know if i should do a full "shell off" restore. The floor has a small area by door that rotten but the majority apears to be in good shape.

the trailer towed great and the frame apears to be straight with no saging. MT has a real dry climate and i believe this has been sitting in a field for 10-15 years.

I'm not conerened about the exterior a ton, i plan to pound out dents with interior skin off, to the best of my ability. If some day i have the time and the $ to replace i will. I believe this can be done without messing with interior.

I also don't want a trailer that is so nice that i'm afraid to use. I'm not great at backing up and plan on taking it on some wilderness adventures with trees all around.

Please take a look at the pics. I appreciate any and all advice. What size drill bit should i use for drilling out the interior shell rivits?

Thanks for reading and thanks for responding!!!!
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Old 11-14-2007, 07:28 PM   #19
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Great attitude and great work so far. You're on the right track with the wheels, brakes and tires first. Gutting it was also a very good idea.

The pop rivets on the inside (and on the trim outside) are 1/8". That's a #30 drill bit if you want to be exact. I use 1/8" bits, but I know Andy is going to jump in here and make this right.

I have a relatively new-to-me '75 Sovereign in great shape and a brand-new-to-me '77 Safari in pretty good shape. It turns out both of them have a cracked tank.

The black tank in the Sovereign is cracke around the circumferance of the fitting that the toilet ring screws into. I appears the tank shape wasn't quite right and their was a good deal of stress as the ring was screwed in and pulled up on the fitting.

The Safari fresh tank is cracked right next to the vent fitting. You'll find that the vent tubing used by Airstream was very stiff. In this case the tubing didn't quite curve enough to pass over the flooring, so it put a lot of stress on the fitting, bending it back a little.

So check you tanks. You don't want to get into doing interior cabinets and beds and such and find you've got a problem under the floor. I had checked the black tank as thoroughly as I could--filling it up to within an inch of the toilet just wasn't high enough to leak. The leak started on the first trip as the water (thank goodness it was still full of clean water) sloshed around.

Once you're convinced the frame, floor, and tanks are OK, I'd suggest replacing all the copper with PEX. Living in Montana you're going to be out a lot when the weather is below 32 degrees and PEX will let you rest easy at night. You're going to find that if you incorporate the water pressure regulator in the water system like Airstream did originally, you'll almost have to have some lengths of copper, and they are likely to be oriented in a way that you can't empty them without emptying all the plumbing (put a valve on the water heater so you can keep it full when you empty the pipes--that 6 gallons is a big percentage of your tank capacity and it won't freeze very fast, so it's safe to keep water in it if you're in the trailer). You might consider an external regulator--they have inline versions for you hose.

Now you're ready to do the cabinets!

Zep
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Old 11-14-2007, 09:24 PM   #20
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Quote:
Unless you wish to rehab the trailer, giving it away or selling it, would be a better game plan
.

Joe,
I have to agree with Andy here, although I totally respect your rights as the property owner. Be patient, we're not selling pizzas as fast as we'd like at the moment either! (Money seems to be tight all over.)

Fishing,

As a general rule, I'd start from the back and work my way forward. While gutting it is a good idea, I wouldn't get too far ahead of myself as you'll be amazed how confusing things look 6-8 months from now when you're trying to reassemble. (Take lots of pics and use ziplock bags and labels to keep track of what you're doing.) If it were me, I'd remove all the bathroom stuff and refinish it with 2-part expoxy paint, replace the toilet with a Sealand porcelin model, and replace the floor if it needed it.

Removing the belly pan back to the axles will give you a pretty good idea of what you have. (and what you're up against)

You can read a lot about rear end separation on the forum, which is definitely something to be concerned with. You want the rear joint (shell, floor, frame) to be solid before you button it up.

I've got a few pics in my members photos.

Good luck, it's a lot of fun (really)!
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Old 11-14-2007, 09:31 PM   #21
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1971 29' Ambassador
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Tanks Zep

Just came in from cleaing up some odds and ends. It's amazing how consuming it can be. It's been taking up a lot of my thinking time.

Thanks for your advice!!!!!!!

Can the potable water tank be replaced without removing belly skin?

I had a friend come over to second my opinion that there is only one questioable area near the main door as far as rot. I checked the edge of the floor with screw driver and every where i tested seamed firm.

I have a hundred more ? but i'll go see if i cant find out where they have been previosly answered.

I agree with the pex, i'm in contracting and i've seen it benifits in sub zero enviroment.

Is there anthing that i can do to verify frame stabiity without floor or belly removal? I think this is one of those million dallar?

Thanks again!!!
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Old 11-14-2007, 09:49 PM   #22
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if the belly skin is in reasonable shape, it's not a big deal to take it down. The difficulty with bad skin is you'll want to replace it and it's a very tough job to relocate the holes in the frame.

I recommend taking the skin down because then you can really check the frame for rust and even POR-15 it, if necessary. You don't have to POR-15 the top rail so much as the web and bottom rail of the frame, since that's what gets wet, mostly. I think once you get the skin down, it is necessary to paint the frame because otherwise you'll lie awake for 20+ years wishing you had.

Ron (Mr. Pizza) is right, the worst area would be behind the axles, so you can do it piecemeal, with the backend first. Besides, that's where you can get at the dump valves, which undoubtedly will need refurbishment.

No, you can't do the tanks without taking the belly skin down. Just make sure you have lots of the big head 3/16" rivets (or are those suckers 5/32"?) from Vintage Trailer Supply, so you can put the belly skin back up.

Don't think of picking up the floor unless it's last resort time. As you can see, that would require cutting and somehow repairing, or picking up the shell first. Ouch. Plus, if you cut, there isn't much clearance between the flooring and the top of the tanks.

Zep
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Old 11-14-2007, 11:07 PM   #23
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Before you begin, it is a good idea to safely elevate the entire coach by backing it up onto some 6"x6" lumber, or equivalent. The extra space is absolutely necessary. Don't plan on moving it for a while, and you may want to have a talk with your neighbors (if you have any). It gets worse before it gets better.

Zep is right, there is no way to get to the important stuff without removing the belly pan. You'll get over it after the 100th rivet or so. If you're going to do it, you need to go ahead and do it right. Removal of the belly pan is just par for the course.

The freshwater tank sits atop a 1" thick piece of plywood and it is not removed easily. (Ask me how I know.)

When you've finished, you'll know exactly what you have, and you'll have no questions as to the integrity of the frame or major systems.

Good luck, perserverance pays off in the end.
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Old 11-14-2007, 11:21 PM   #24
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1978 23' Safari
High Mountains , Colorado
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Scylla and Charybdis

Andy, Ron, and all other Airstream lovers out there--I hear you.

...

However, I've already recovered my share of unused [for years] and unloved Airstreams and I can't store this Ambassador. Sorry. And I don't think that it's appropriate to give it away, which you all know I'm perfectly willing to do with parts. It was expensive to "recover" this trailer and it was dangerous to dig through piles of rodent waste to make it possible to bring it back into civilization. Many of the parts have signifcant value to me and since Cherokee RV Salvage closed in Denver it's not easy for me to obtain them.

On a fundamental level it upsets me that the shell appears to be of no value to anyone, but that's life. I can't bear to throw it away, so be looking for a very short two-axle mid-bath model that will make men cry and women swoon at the rallys.

What this exercise says to me is that the Vintage Airstream world needs a hangar and shop somewhere that can support a rescue and/or an exchange of parts. If the airplane boys and EAA can do it, why can't we?

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Enough said,
Joe
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Old 11-14-2007, 11:26 PM   #25
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1978 23' Safari
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Zip Dee schematic

The Zip Dee will be parted out. The fabric is in tatters, but most of the hardware seems OK. It rolls out and retracts fine. As of now, both of the 3B3 bottom curved arm piece (the 3B2 is straight and is not on this awning) and one of the 5B pieces from the arms are not available.

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I have no clue how to get the roller off of the awning rail if the arms are detached (or even if they are attached). I would guess it would start rolling/flapping. There is no brake on the roller at the junction of the axle and the support arm. Anyone got an old owner's manual?

Joe
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Old 11-15-2007, 08:10 AM   #26
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I could use the plastic gaucho pieces that allow it to slide out into the full open position. Thanks.
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Old 11-15-2007, 03:07 PM   #27
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1971 29' Ambassador
Gallatin Gtwy , Montana
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Zep An Pizza thanks a ton. Your input has realy put my mind at ease as far as deciding which way to go. Ill do some more research on riviting but i believe i don't need a special numatic rivitor.

I'll begin demo on the bath this wekend being as careful as i can to keep fixtures in original form. I plan on pulling the belly to the axels as Zep sugested. I'm leaning to replacing the fresh water tank if i have the belly off that far.

We have the Annual Cat Griz game (U of M vs MT state, GO CATS) this saturday which is the biggest sporting event in MT. Part of my justification for this purchase was for tailgating but i will have to wait until next year to make my entrance. I'm off to MN the next week for turkey day and hope to get right back at it after that.

Pizza is right on about the neighbors. I asked all of them prior to bringing it home but i still anticipate a letter from the HOA. at least i'm not that guy with the RV hooked into the subdivisions sewer system.

Average Joe-

I would be interested in the curb side awning as mine is missing the majority of it. Will zip dee still make these parts???.

Now the big question, should i remove all interior panels, insulation and wiring and start from the begining or do some testing and work with what i got. I plan on filling all of the holes on the interior skin and repainting the vinyl.

Thanks again for everyones help, i can sleep a little better knowing i'm not flying 100% blind.

Have a great day!!!
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Old 11-15-2007, 03:23 PM   #28
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What do i have to do to get one rivet, I suppose i need to actually rivet something. THanks again for everyones help and support!!!!
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