Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 01-17-2018, 07:15 PM   #1
3 Rivet Member
 
1970 29' Ambassador
Santa Rosa , California
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 184
1970 New to us Ambassador reality check

Hi All,
My wife and I purchased a "time capsule" 1970 Ambassador a week ago. After the initial layer of dust and filth was removed, we found that most original items are still there. Instead of a renovation, I am now thinking more in the direction of restoration -- at least to usable condition.
Today I got my first of what I'm sure will be many reality checks. I knew that the floor in the back end of the trailer was soft, but I haven't started tearing into much of anything yet...
I unwrapped the rope that was around the bumper, as well as the heavy duty extension cord and lifted the "door" between the bumper and body. We had purchased this Airstream via auction, so this was the first real inspection the back end/underside of the trailer. Below are some pictures (I hope) that show the rusted out brace for the tank(s) cover(s) and the portion of that cover that has given way... The other picture is of the poor at the rear of the trailer. It looks as if it is simply gone for much of the distance side to side...I will start to research replacing at least the rear section and quite possibly more of the floor.
I also need to replace one of the stabilizing jacks and one of the aluminum propane tanks. Anyone know of a salvage/parts yard in Northern California?

Thanks,
David
Attached Images
  
__________________

2002sheds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2018, 07:18 PM   #2
3 Rivet Member
 
1970 29' Ambassador
Santa Rosa , California
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 184
1970 New to Us Ambassador reality check

I meant floor, not "poor"...

Thanks,
David
__________________

2002sheds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2018, 08:05 PM   #3
Rivet Master
 
dbj216's Avatar

 
1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,266
Images: 1
Hello from Colorado 02sheds : Your 70 Ambassador bought without an appraisal will be a big project and fun one at that. You are describing what most of these 70 trailers have; rear end rot and rear end separation.

You can do the "bumper bounce" test for rear end separation. Stand on the rear bumper in line with the left or right frame rail and bounce like on a diving board. Watch the intersection of the body to the frame rail. If it opens up while bouncing down on the bumper, that means the body ain't attached to the frame rail in the rear. It has separated.

I bought a 75 Overlander 27' last fall, one size smaller than yours. I inspected the trailer before the purchase. I had a very open and honest seller. I knew what I was getting into. My floor was rotted out all along the rear body of the trailer. The subfloor is bolted to the frame, and the body is bolted to the subfloor (and frame). Loose the subfloor and it all comes loose.

I have now fixed the rear end separation. I am renovating my trailer to modern convention. I'm not a big fan of some of the designs in the 70s, like a small grey water tank, or a noisy plunger water pump, or a oven on the countertop next to the sink, or 70s patterned fabrics. I'll try to improve on these features and many others. Many vintage Airstream enthusiasts like to restore their trailers to "just left the factory" condition. They become show pieces.

Yet another David
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	1709 Colorado Springs Awnings (Small).JPG
Views:	192
Size:	165.6 KB
ID:	302597  
__________________
WBCCI #8607
VAC Region 11

Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f17...ml#post2053792
dbj216 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2018, 09:38 PM   #4
3 Rivet Member
 
1970 29' Ambassador
Santa Rosa , California
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 184
1970 New to Us Ambassador reality check

Hi David,
Thanks for the response, and nice looking Overlander! I am sure that I will find plenty of info on this forum -- it is great!
Did you repair the floor yourself? How difficult was it? I remember reading something about Airstreams being assembled from back to front, so to get to the floor in the back I will need to disassemble the front and work my way back...is that your understanding? is there another way, or should I be counting on just that -- stripping the interior from front to back...?

Thanks,
David
2002sheds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2018, 12:43 AM   #5
2 Rivet Member
 
1980 24' Caravelle
vallejo , California
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 91
hello David, welcome to the world of vintage airstreams! if you are looking for salvaged rv parts check wrecking yards; some have rv's. there use to be a rv only yard up near sacramento. good luck. kurt
ke6gkv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2018, 07:11 AM   #6
2 Rivet Member
 
1970 27' Overlander
Liberty , North Carolina
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 24
I purchased my 1970 Overlander last fall ! I have removed the interior including the bath, waterlines and the rotted flooring in the rear. Finally ready to start putting things back in. This is a long term project, it will not happen over night.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	image.jpg
Views:	211
Size:	240.5 KB
ID:	302607  
B Wilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2018, 08:53 AM   #7
Rivet Master
 
Minno's Avatar

 
1972 31' Sovereign
Lexington , Minnesota
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 3,407
Welcome! We renovated a '72 31ft Sovereign: took 4 summers to get her functional. We're still finishing up a few details. ( Minnesota winters are not conducive to renovation of a trailer outside. There's just something about -15 degrees...) If it's a '70, you will not have grey water tanks unless added aftermarket by a PO. There are many threads on floor repair and replacement here, including a whole thread devoted to renovation threads by various people. We gutted our trailer and replaced literally everything but the kitchen sink (it was in good condition). Others have replaced just rear floor so it is do-able.
Good luck and please report your progress. We LOVE pictures here!

Kay
Minno is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2018, 09:31 AM   #8
2 Rivet Member
 
1970 27' Overlander
Liberty , North Carolina
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 24
I may postpone work for a few days !
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	image.jpg
Views:	149
Size:	321.0 KB
ID:	302610  
B Wilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2018, 11:50 AM   #9
3 Rivet Member
 
1970 29' Ambassador
Santa Rosa , California
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 184
1970 New to Us Ambassador reality check

Hi David, B, Kay, K,
Thanks for your responses! I am very grateful for all of the knowledge that is shared on this site!
Kay, I have been reading about your journey with Little (Lil?) Girl with great interest. In our case, I am under a bit of a time constraint. We have an 11 year old son who will likely not want to camp with his parents by the time he is 15 (if not sooner
My goal is that because the trailer is fairly complete, (with some notable exceptions) I will attempt get some of the most urgent items addressed and take on further renovation/restoration as time allows. I am definitely in the camp (so to speak that these beautiful coaches are to be used as well as admired.
With that in mind, I am planning on a rear floor replacement as one of the first major projects to get the coach ready for some camping in late March/early April. I grew up in Wisconsin and am very familiar with the seasonal aspect of the weather in the Midwest (not to mention that in most parts of the country it actually usually rains during the warmer months), so I feel doubly lucky to live in an area (Northern California) that boasts not only spectacular scenery and camping but temperatures that allow me to get after this -- as long as I stay dry, even while we are in our rainy season.
I am probably going to go with a shell-on approach for the rear sub-floor replacement, but there is much to learn before I even start removing the components for the bath in order to get to the floor, and I have to admit that, while very versed in construction and in possession of most tools I will need, I am still a long way from experienced in terms of what I will attempt.
My first few steps (if I have read the posts correctly) will be to strip the bath fixtures, tub and connecting walls as I move towards removing the floor... does this sound correct?
Thanks again for your posts. I look forward to hearing any (and reading as many as possible) specific tips to hopefully gain from your collective experience!

Thanks,
David
2002sheds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2018, 12:04 PM   #10
4 Rivet Member
 
SuzyHomemakr's Avatar
 
1972 29' Ambassador
Boynton Beach , Florida
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 453
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2002sheds View Post
Hi All,
My wife and I purchased a "time capsule" 1970 Ambassador a week ago. After the initial layer of dust and filth was removed, we found that most original items are still there. Instead of a renovation, I am now thinking more in the direction of restoration -- at least to usable condition.
Today I got my first of what I'm sure will be many reality checks. I knew that the floor in the back end of the trailer was soft, but I haven't started tearing into much of anything yet...
I unwrapped the rope that was around the bumper, as well as the heavy duty extension cord and lifted the "door" between the bumper and body. We had purchased this Airstream via auction, so this was the first real inspection the back end/underside of the trailer. Below are some pictures (I hope) that show the rusted out brace for the tank(s) cover(s) and the portion of that cover that has given way... The other picture is of the poor at the rear of the trailer. It looks as if it is simply gone for much of the distance side to side...I will start to research replacing at least the rear section and quite possibly more of the floor.
I also need to replace one of the stabilizing jacks and one of the aluminum propane tanks. Anyone know of a salvage/parts yard in Northern California?

Thanks,
David
You should probably buy a new jack: https://goo.gl/svXtZN The treads strip out on the old ones, making them difficult to turn. I like the good old BBQ-type propane cylinders, you get a new one every time you exchange it.

Changing out the floor (if that's all that's wrong) isn't that big of a deal- it's all of the stuff that sitting on top of it that has to be removed is the problem. I'm assuming you've got a rear-bath? All of the old fiberglass will probably break when you pull it out, sorry to say. You basically pry up the U-channel on the edge, and use a sawz-all to cut the bolts holding the top to the bottom. Use your skillsaw to cut out the bad parts, and slip in the new (treated) plywood. Many are the descriptions of this process here on the Forum.

I ripped out my rear bath, and moved it to the side. The RV queen bed that I built in its place acts like a spar to make the rear end more solid. Hopefully your frame is still intact, and this relatively simple fix will suffice.
SuzyHomemakr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2018, 01:26 PM   #11
3 Rivet Member
 
1970 29' Ambassador
Santa Rosa , California
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 184
1970 New to Us Ambassador reality check

Hi Suz,
I should have mentioned earlier that your posts were the first ones I read from start to finish. Just enough snark to make me push the laptop in front if my wife a few times, exclaiming "you HAVE to read this" ;-) Very entertaining AND informative.
In fact, your approach/layout is very much what I would like to do with this coach. I feel as though I would be biting off more than I can chew, however, with somewhat limited time (we are planning on taking "Retha" to the California coast (a whopping 45 minutes from us) in late March/early April. I will be in a spot of bother if she is not ready, as my wife agreed to us buying this AS with that trip in mind. Still, if the tub breaks (as several of you have suggested it will), I may be looking in doing more sooner than I thought.
I know that it may be too ambitious, but I really would like to at least pull the interior skins and replace the subfloor before camping, if possible. There were definitely critters in this coach, and I have cleaned the visible stuff. I would feel much better if I knew that the whole thing was rid of the smell and any other traces of previous inhabitants.
Did I read correctly that the reason that new plywood can be slid in through the rear of the trailer (while jacked up slightly) is because the C channel is further forward on the frame? I realize that I will learn a bunch more as I dismantle -- I am just trying to marshal my forces, tool-wise. I am also planning out my time for what promises to be an exciting "dig"...


Thanks,
David
2002sheds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2018, 06:34 PM   #12
Rivet Master
 
dbj216's Avatar

 
1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,266
Images: 1
Hi 02sheds: I recommend you assess your Ambassador from the ground up and then decide on the "must do" projects. Your first assessment was rear end separation. Did it pass the bumper bounce test? If not, fixing that is important as towing with the rear end separated isn't the greatest. You will likely have "rear end sag" also as your frame rails start to bend. You need to check the plumbing and electrical systems. Then appliances and the like. Unless you can verify replacement, the original axles are likely as hard as a rock and not providing any suspension anymore. But maybe not the top priority.

Yes, many folks have repaired rear end separation on these vintage trailers, including me. It is a class A project for sure. I had to hire a mobile welder to complete the project as I don't have a welder or the necessary skill. I have about 200 hours in the project.

I disassembled my bathroom carefully and did not break any parts. This is necessary to gain access to the rear subfloor and more importantly the frame to body hold down bolts (2 of them). I believe any cabinets or parts inside the Airstream can be removed by themselves. They fit through the entry door. I did not gut my trailer to gut the bathroom.

You will also need to remove the belly pan under the rear of the trailer to gain access to the rusted out rear crossmember. Here you will find the cause of the "old trailer smell". And you will likely find other stuff that needs fixing "while your at it". I certainly did.

David
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	1710 Frame Rust Rear Cross Member 1 (Small).JPG
Views:	128
Size:	156.8 KB
ID:	302628   Click image for larger version

Name:	1710 Waste Tank Black and Grey (Small).JPG
Views:	133
Size:	128.8 KB
ID:	302629  

Click image for larger version

Name:	1711 Floor Rot Rear 2 (Small).JPG
Views:	131
Size:	123.7 KB
ID:	302630  
__________________
WBCCI #8607
VAC Region 11

Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f17...ml#post2053792
dbj216 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2018, 08:07 PM   #13
3 Rivet Member
 
1970 29' Ambassador
Santa Rosa , California
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 184
1970 New to Us Ambassador reality check

Hi David,
I totally agree. Based on what I can see, the bathroom floor is definitely in need of replacement. I am certain that the entire back end is sagging...
Axles also do not look great, but that can come after getting the floor fixed.
I am also grateful to learn that the fixtures mat survive. It sounds like I will need a bit of luck as well as using some caution as I pull them out. For now, I intend to keep the same layout. I am also glad to hear that replacing that floor may start to knock down the smell..
I hope to start stripping the bathroom fixtures over the weekend. Glad to hear that they can fit out the main door, if needed.
Thanks for all of the encouragement and pointers -- I will need them all !


Thanks,
David
2002sheds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2018, 12:43 AM   #14
2 Rivet Member
 
1975 21' Globetrotter
Lincoln , California
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 24
David,
My wife and I bought a Globetrotter '75 vintage 6 months ago. We live near Auburn & Lincoln off Hwy 80. We have pulled most of the old "Erector Set" out and will get the rest, rear bath out this weekend. I have subfloor rot a couple places up front and will see what it looks like under the bath soon. I've been going back and forth with removing inner skin, Need to remove Vintage Smell issue. We plan a custom replacement that fits our needs. I have a deadline for Lake Almanor Memorial weekend. Would like to discuss our trials and errors. There is a RV dismantler in Sacramento a friend of mine has used but I have yet to visit. RVDoctorGeorge.com 1142 Dixieanne Ave Sacramento, CA 95815.
Gary A
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9254.jpg
Views:	104
Size:	287.5 KB
ID:	302653  
__________________

sac1gaa is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Another Reality Check! RLS Hitches, Couplers & Balls 24 09-23-2009 11:38 PM
Bathroom ABS repair-Reality check SilverHoot Upholstery, Blinds, Walls & Interior Finishes 1 07-21-2009 10:02 PM
POR15 reality check truckasaurus Repairing/Replacing Floor &/or Frame 20 06-07-2009 08:19 AM
Check , Check and Re-Check a new refer saga. thenewkid64 Refrigerators 13 06-24-2002 09:54 AM


Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:05 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.