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Old 07-17-2007, 07:30 PM   #1
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Taking the plunge

Hello all. Can you tolerate some newbie questions? I have found a 1970 Ambassador(? Owner claims it is 30'). Never owned an Airstream before but have always admired them. Have camped in tents and other trailers all my life. Brother has a 1960 Overlander. Dad has a 65 Avion pickup camper. I sold my Sierra this weekend in anticipation of a change. I have been lurking here since finding this camper for sale 2 weeks ago and decided to join today so I could get some advice before buying this rig. I have read alot of horror stories about rear-end sag and separation (heard similar story lines while washing dishes in a nursing home as a teen ). Seriuosly, I see alot of combined knowledge on this sight and wanted to tap into it before taking the plunge. I cannot see any serious flaws on the exterior. I did find one outrigger on each side, directly behind the wheel well that has cut through the skin. I cannot find any shell wrinkles in the wheel well area though. Someone has fabricated a new rear bumper for it. No, I have not jumped on it to check the frame. The interior is 90% original minus the fridge (has a dorm firdge in it now). AC works, all lights inside and out work. Nice awning, horrible tires. Asking $2500. Is it worth it? I work in the metal stamping field so welding, cutting and fabricating are no big deal to me. Thanks for the input. I'll try to attach some pics.

Aaron


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Old 07-17-2007, 09:09 PM   #2
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1974 31' Sovereign
1956 26' Cruiser Overlander
1970 23' Safari
Lambertville , Michigan
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Welcome

There is so much to consider when it comes to price. The price vs condition link say for an as found Ambassador a fair price is 1100 to 2300. If you do a search you will probably also find that link. Then cost of fridge is can be close to $1000. There can be deals to be found through Palamino though. Research how to test for rear end seperation and try it out before you buy. Rear end sag is very common in the rear bath but also occurs in center bath on lesser degree. We have a 74 Sovereign that we just spent $800 on beefing up the frame due to sag in addition to the stiffener plates that were previously installed. It had the elephant ear repair also done at some time but we have no record of it. I can't tell from the pictures if there any wrinkles. I think it is more common in the 31ft Sovereign than the 29 FT Ambassador but can happen. Other questions I have is does the air conditioner work, is the floor solid, is there any leaks and how do the axles look. There are also guidelines here on the forum for determining axle life. It is a good thing to check here first. We jumped in and bought ours before we found the forum and like they say "if I only knew then what I know now...."
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:12 PM   #3
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1974 31' Sovereign
1956 26' Cruiser Overlander
1970 23' Safari
Lambertville , Michigan
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There are people here on the forum who do inspection for no charge. They give a range on how far they are willing to travel so try looking that up in the search function also. It seems like a fair price to me but realize it will need and need alot!
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:17 PM   #4
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1974 31' Sovereign
1956 26' Cruiser Overlander
1970 23' Safari
Lambertville , Michigan
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Pss

Oh my goodness am I rambling tonight. And If you do buy it you should check out the Metro Detroit Rally thread. We will be at Apple Creek Campgrounds on Aug 3-5. It is a good time. The best forum rally there is in my own opinion!!!!!
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:18 PM   #5
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If what you say about the condition is true, sounds like a good deal to me. Is there any sign of rear end separation?
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:22 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by metalhead
I did find one outrigger on each side, directly behind the wheel well that has cut through the skin.
Aaron
hi aaron and welcome to the forums...

wow, frame outriggers coming through the skin?

i've never seen that, have you got an photos?

is this an axle or running gear problem?

the price doesn't seem unreasonable but imo the more important issues are...

-when do you expect to go camping?
-is this a project trailer or with a little sweat and new tires, is it ready to go?
-how much money and time are you expecting to invest to get her ready?

cheers
2air'
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:24 PM   #7
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Montrose , Colorado
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Appears to be a reasonable price

Our first AS was a 1968 International Ambassador. Your post brings back the great memories of our first adventure of owning a peice of rolling history. We really enjoyed the room that we had with the Ambassador, but we opted for shorter trailers since. It really depends on how you plan to use it.

There are lots of great articles on this site that will help you in evaluating the condition of the trailer and the tail droop problem. Although, you sound as though you are already well versed in the issues that are most important.

You may want to check with a local WBCCI unit to see if someone would be willing to check out the trailer with you.

I wish you well in your search. Keep us posted.
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:28 PM   #8
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1970 31' Sovereign
1963 26' Overlander
Greeneville , Tennessee
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Just from looking at the pics, I'd probably pay $2500 and have it for a second project! Our new awning ran $1700. You can probably count on replacing the axles. We repaired our tail sag without too much trouble and if your handy with a welder and torch you wouldn't have any trouble making repairs if you had tail sag. Jumping on the bumper is probably a good idea though...ours would separate about a 1/2" and required a good amount of repair and reinforcement in the rear.
Good Luck
Kevin
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Old 07-18-2007, 10:39 AM   #9
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Thanks

Thanks for the input everyone. I will make sure to check it out well and keep you posted. The outriggers coming through the skin is something I found while searching this site. I wasn't sure what I was seeing until reading that post. Some say it could be frame problems, others say it could be unbalanced running gear. Since this rig has old, cracked bias ply trailer tires, I'm hoping this is the cause. Just so I know, if I jump on the bumper, everything should move together?
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Old 07-18-2007, 11:10 AM   #10
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Monterey Bay , California
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Metalhead,
Great name. I too am doing all of the fabricating/ rennovating on my 72. Even though you will be doing all the labor yourself, parts is parts. They don't give em away. In a nutshell if you are buying a vintage unit be prepared to spend the bucks. It adds up pretty fast. They just go hand in hand. You sound like the kind of person that will not just settle for pretty good. Once you tear into her, you won't be able to stop until it is just right. Is it going to be worth the time and $? Only you can answer that one. Good luck....
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Old 07-18-2007, 03:43 PM   #11
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I'm hoping it is sturdy enough to finish this season out. Then it can go to the barn for repairs if needed. The biggest concern of mine are the torsion axles. Pretty pricey from what I have found. Purists, please dont string me up, but has anyone done a straight axle conversion on these? If so, does the ride quality suffer alot?
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