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Old 12-15-2010, 12:43 AM   #1
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1963 28' Ambassador
Richardson , Texas
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Hello, new guy with a '63 ambassador

Hello all,

I just agreed to purchase a '63 ambassador, but haven't dragged it home just yet. It's a project, but from what I can tell it is in fairly good shape. After a long run of restoring cars I've decided to get something the family can enjoy.

I plan on restoring it eventually and changing the interior back to original. Most of all the cabnetwork is there, but the goucho thing at the fron has been removed.

I have quite a few questions about it and I'm really starting from scratch.

first question: there's an air valve on the "street side (?, opposite from door) behind a little access panel.. what is that for? does this have some sort of air suspension?

Second question: what does this thing weigh?
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Old 12-15-2010, 05:06 AM   #2
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Hello George welcome to the forums. there are plenty of members in Texas so you will be in good company. Good luck with your restoration.
Some members have replaced the front Goucho with a built in dinnette.
There has been a rash of airtsream thefts in Texas recently so take as many precautions as you can to secure your trailer.
I`m not familiar with 63`s but some early models had pressureized water tanks so that may be what the air valve is for. Original equipment did not have air suspension but it may have been added later.
Airstream lists the weight as 4190 lbs. Usually though the trailers weigh a few hundred pounds more than factory specs.
If you have restored many cars then this should be no problem. Some common issues are axles, frame repairs and rotten floors. You will want to make sure the chassis and floor are sound before spending time and effort on cosmetics. Most of the appliances are obsolete are have no replacement parts available, just update them with new ones with better features. You will need to weatherproof the shell. Window,door and compartment door gaskets,roof vents,sewer vent pipe gaskets and the like should be replaced. The goal is to keep the outside there ( outside).
There are several sources to find parts and components unique to airstreams. Here are some links. I highly reccommend INLAND RV in California. Speak to Andy he can help with a lot of parts and tools needed for the tasks.
Inland RV Center - The Nations Leading Expert in Airstream Innovations
Vintage Trailer Supply - Vintage travel trailer parts and supplies!
Out-of-Doors Mart!, More Airstream Parts on-line than anyone!
Airstream, Inc :: Home
Airparts Inc. Homepage
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Old 12-15-2010, 06:14 AM   #3
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1965 22' Safari
Vassar , Michigan
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Hey George - welcome to AS & welcome to the forums. As you embark on your project you will find much help on these forums. I was amazed at the amount of info and help I found here. Please post lots of pics of your project. We all love to see progress on another vintage AS.
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Old 12-15-2010, 06:38 AM   #4
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1974 31' Excella 500
Charleston , South Carolina
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Originally Posted by GeorgeB View Post
I plan on restoring it eventually and changing the interior back to original.
Why on earth would you want to do that?
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Old 12-15-2010, 06:43 AM   #5
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2008 30' Classic S/O
Dearborn , Michigan
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The corporate Airstream website has scanned docs for all trailers, that's where I found this:

As you can see, these guys are LIGHT

I gutted our '66, and have most of the furniture
If you're interested PM, I've still got the gaucho and side bolsters

Take a pic of the valve...
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:49 AM   #6
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1962 28' Ambassador
Phoenix , Arizona
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Congratulations on your purchase and it is great to see another 60s Ambassador. We have a 62 Ambassador and if your trailer has a pressurized water system, the air valve is so that you can pressurize the tank and have water in the event that your battery is dead. There should be an aluminum cap with a hose bib attached to hook up to a city water connection. (at least that is how ours is configured) On ours the shrader valve is next to the hose bib. Under your kitchen sink is where the water pump (grover compressor) would have been or hopefully it is still there. It is possible that your unit was converted to an on-demand system using a standard rv water pump. We are still using the pressurized system and it works very well.
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:06 AM   #7
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1981 27' Excella II
mays landing , South Jersey
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Just a silly question, but can the air valve be the cable TV connector? Sal.
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:22 AM   #8
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So you can use a standard bicycle pump to pressurize the fresh water tank, instead of using a 12v pump? Pretty neat idea. How many lbs. of pressure do you get it up to, and how long does that last? Enough for a shower? Has anybody here retro-fitted this idea into a newer AS?
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:23 AM   #9
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1963 28' Ambassador
Richardson , Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielB View Post
Why on earth would you want to do that?
Maybe original is not the right word, but I need the second bed, so at least something like the orginal configuration.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LHall View Post
Congratulations on your purchase and it is great to see another 60s Ambassador. We have a 62 Ambassador and if your trailer has a pressurized water system, the air valve is so that you can pressurize the tank and have water in the event that your battery is dead. There should be an aluminum cap with a hose bib attached to hook up to a city water connection. (at least that is how ours is configured) On ours the shrader valve is next to the hose bib. Under your kitchen sink is where the water pump (grover compressor) would have been or hopefully it is still there. It is possible that your unit was converted to an on-demand system using a standard rv water pump. We are still using the pressurized system and it works very well.
This sounds like what I have. It looks factory and has a nice outside door with latches that match the rest. the schrader valve is on top of a crew on cap.. similar to a gas cap. I do also have the pump under the sink still.
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Old 12-15-2010, 06:05 PM   #10
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1963 28' Ambassador
Lyme , Connecticut
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all the above sounds correct. My trailer has the same cap you describe, use that to fill your water tank with jerry jugs, there should also be a small copper pipe with a wing nut cap in the same compartment, unscrew that to bleed down the pressure and to stop gurgling when filling.
City water is hooked into the system in the rear streetside lower compartment with the power cord. When hooked to city water, it will automatically fill your tank.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:24 PM   #11
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1974 31' Sovereign
Ottawa , ON
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Just a silly question, but can the air valve be the cable TV connector? Sal.
You mean for those early 1963 air-powered TVs?

Sorry, couldn't resist. Hey, you DID say it was silly, right?

Seriously, cable TV was in its infancy in '63, so very unlikely...

Hey, don't hit me!
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Old 12-16-2010, 03:24 AM   #12
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Hello George: All the best on your project.
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Old 12-16-2010, 06:56 AM   #13
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Now I know why my TV exploded when I hooked up the air hose. Sal.
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Old 12-16-2010, 07:22 AM   #14
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1963 26' Overlander
Austin , Texas
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George, congratulations and welcome to the Forum! You really will find pretty much everything you need to know about renovating and using vintage Airstreams on this Forum, it's a miraculous resource.

You're also lucky because there are several people who have documented restorations on 63s. Mine is a 63 Overlander, quite similar to yours aside from a couple extra feet at the front. If you're interested, you can check out the thread on the restoration of my Overlander linked down below in my sig, or my blog linked there as well. Another Forums user, Uwe, did a complete renovation on his 63 Overlander as well. You can find it here: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f142...ler-11687.html

Please keep us updated on your progress, and good luck!

-Marcus
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