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Old 11-12-2005, 08:23 PM   #1
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1974 29' Ambassador
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Thumbs up Starting work on a 29' '74 Ambassador

My wife and I began fulfilling a lifelong dream in September by rescuing a 74 Ambassador from the campground where it's prior owners had parked it for the last 20 years. Overall, it was the most original of all the 70's era Airstreams we had looked at, but we knew we were buying into a major renovation project.

What's happened so far??
We began by removing all everything that wasn't original to the unit (paper towel dispensers, coat hooks, etc), removed the gauchos, and started a massive cleaning effort.
We then removed the foul-smelling non-original carpet and found the sub-floor to be in very good condition with only one soft spot from what appears to be a recent leak.
We're fortunate to live a mere 45 minutes from Jackson Center so a trip to the service center was one of our first stops. The excellent service center crew performed the 25-point inspection and presented us with a laundry list of needed fixes...furnace bad, water and propane lines leaking, bad leveler, etc. After recovering from a mild case of sticker shock, we prioritized the fixes and had the center begin the first round of repairs. Yesterday we got our Ambassador back with it's major systems now fuctioning.

What's next?
Top priority is to find and eliminate that leak, followed by repairing the subfloor. After that, we intend to start restoring the rear bath. Our ultimate goal in this project is to restore this Airstream to all of it's 70's splendor (what can I say, we grew up in the 70's and love the style ). Pink flamingos and light-up plastic palm trees have already been purchased.

These forums have been a great source of information and we intend to make a lot of use of them...thank you all for sharing your knowledge with us newbies!
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Old 11-12-2005, 08:49 PM   #2
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Hi, xFieldTech,

Lucky for you that you live close to Jackson Center, but why do you call it the subfloor? That's plywood with a covering, so what's the "sub" part?

Just curious.

Regards,

Lamar
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Old 11-12-2005, 11:38 PM   #3
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New project

Sounds like a great trailer. I've been working on a 1963 Bambi. It's been a big project, but I have enjoyed it. How about some pictures of yours. Enjoy your new adventure.
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Old 11-13-2005, 01:05 AM   #4
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Cool Project

What a cool project. And you have just the right attitude. Restoring an Airstream takes a lot of hard work but it is worth it. Look forward to seeing you "on the road".
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Old 11-13-2005, 12:32 PM   #5
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Hi all,

The 'sub' part is my poor use of terminology; I considered anything under carpet to be 'sub' (I'm a sys admin, not a carpenter but I'm learning ).

The 'before' pictures are posted here:
http://www.airforums.com/photo...mageuser=10017

We're definitely looking forward learning a lot and eventually getting this can on the road!
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Old 11-14-2005, 05:25 PM   #6
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WOW! Looks like you found yourselves a beauty. What a find, what a treasure. Good luck on your renovation.
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Old 11-14-2005, 05:51 PM   #7
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Welcome

We to love the 70's so we found a 75 and have started doing the same. Only I wish we had Airstream centers as close as you do. We will have to drive 3 hours to have ours checked out. Keep everybody posted.

Becky
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Old 11-14-2005, 06:00 PM   #8
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Whoa!!!! Deja vu. Good luck on your project; the results will be well worth it.

Frederic
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Old 11-14-2005, 07:10 PM   #9
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x

just looked at your pics, nice rig!

what a find, it appears to be a very original trailer. some items to consider, where exactly is your leak? some more info will be helpfull.

i can say that you may want to consider resealing your vista view windows. i see from your pics you have 3. consider yourself lucky, my buddy has a '74 excella with 9, every one needed resealing.

your sewer vent covers can be a source of leaks, the gaskets are only good for 10 years.

john
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Old 11-17-2005, 09:20 PM   #10
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I believe the source of the leak is the bottom vista window, door-side. The glass on this particular window appears different from all of the other glass on the trailer, leading me to believe it's not original. An ugly caulking job around this window combined with glass shards we found when ripping up the carpet (got one through the finger - ouch!) seems to be the smoking gun.

Assuming the temperature rises above freezing tommorow, I plan to hose the area down and find out for sure.
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Old 11-18-2005, 08:19 AM   #11
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Hey! That looks just like MY trailer...oh wait...mine's a '72. Do you have the twin beds? Is it an International? They would be identical if you do.

We're also pretty close together with me right up here in Piqua. We should try to reduce the beer population around here sometime...it's getting CRAZY!

You might get some repair estimates from Paul Sherry RV's...my Airstream authorized service department might be able to save you a few bucks. If nothing else you won't have to drive as far. If you call, ask for Jake. He's the man. We don't do any skin work though because we're so close to JC. We just send 'em up there.

Either way, congrats on your trailer and keep posting pics of your resto.
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Old 11-18-2005, 11:08 AM   #12
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That happens to be the same window, on our trailer, that has been replaced, with a single pane. Ours doesn't leak, but I suspect the window was broken out to gain entry, prior to our ownership.
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Old 11-18-2005, 11:36 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coastalview
That happens to be the same window, on our trailer, that has been replaced, with a single pane. Ours doesn't leak, but I suspect the window was broken out to gain entry, prior to our ownership.
My trailer has a bunch of fiber glass looking particles in between the dual panes of my upper "Vista View" windows. It doesn't look like the seals have broken, but I've been kicking around replacing them with single pane so I don't have to look at that "stuff" in there. Not sure what it is.
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Old 11-20-2005, 07:56 PM   #14
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Leaks Identified!

The weather this weekend remained chilly but was warm enough to start hunting down leaks; a task made considerably easier after we scraped off about a 1/4" of foam carpet backing that had been glued to the floor.

John HD hit it right on the head; every vista window leaked. As shown in the attached picture, we found only one soft spot in the floor itself.

We were surprised to find a wet spot about 6" in diameter on the floor right in center of the living room area. We sat bewildered about the source of this water until my wife looked up and pointed out the antenna connection directly overhead.

Now with the major leaks found, we're looking to plug 'em for good. I've read some of threads about the virtues of vulkem vs. sikaflex; each seem to have its strong points. Does anyone have any suggestions which would be a better choice for this particular situation?

The other thing we accomplished this weekend aside from the foam scraping was to remove all of the screens for refinishing/rescreening,

Checked out Rivitdudes pictures; our trailers are pretty much identical, right down to the same the same color scheme. The only major difference seems to be our unit doesn't have twin beds. Your AS looks great; hope we can run into you sometime!
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