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Old 03-14-2019, 09:25 AM   #1
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1973 29' Ambassador
Orlando , FLORIDA
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Hey!

Brand new to being an Airstream owner and I'm jumping all the way in. Just purchased a 29' 1973 Ambassador. It's all there(except for 1 banana wrap...)and in really solid shape.

Goal is to go through and make sure things are all working right, add AC, and be living in it by summer. Ambitious? Crazy? Why not both? Hahaha...

Looking for an Orlando mechanic I can trust and some sort of Airstream Bible, if it exists.

Hello and thanks!
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:36 AM   #2
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Brand new to being an Airstream owner and I'm jumping all the way in. Just purchased a 29' 1973 Ambassador. It's all there(except for 1 banana wrap...)and in really solid shape.

Goal is to go through and make sure things are all working right, add AC, and be living in it by summer. Ambitious? Crazy? Why not both? Hahaha...

Looking for an Orlando mechanic I can trust and some sort of Airstream Bible, if it exists.

Hello and thanks!
Welcome to the forum KingJason!

Ambitious or Crazy? It depends on what you find your trailer needs. I hope it is indeed in as good or better condition than you think. But expect the unexpected and have some reserve cash in your wallet.

Let us know how it goes.
.
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:52 AM   #3
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us. Best wished in your project.

Brian
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:52 AM   #4
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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Welcome to the Forums!

You are definitely not alone in buying a vintage trailer, expectiong to do some superficial sprucing and fixing, and be using it in a matter of months. Usually the reality is that the trailer needs a shell-off, complete sub-floor replacement, and repairs to the frame. Next thing you know, you have a big project on your hands. But it really all depends on what condition the trailer is in. If it has sat neglected for the last 20 years, then you have a project on your hands, guaranteed. If someone has been using it regularly and maintaining it, then maybe the deterioration won't be so bad.

My advice is to start by seriously evaluating what you are up against. On the "Portal" tab of these forums, you can scroll down and find two valuable resources. One is the "Inspector's checklist." This is a pretty exhaustive list of things to look at/for when you are considering buying a trailer. If you go through it in detail you will have a better idea of the condition of your trailer. The second thing is there is a utility to find Forums members who are volunteer trailer inspectors. If you enlist the help of a seasoned owner up front, they may be able to help you see what is obvious to them.

As far as an Airstream Bible goes, the closest thing is the official Airstream Service manual for your year of trailer. I found one for my trailer on eBay, but there are other sources as well. Another resource is the Vintage Airstream Podcast (The VAP). You can buy DVDs of the old old episodes and listen to them during your daily commute or whenever. It is easy to absorb a lot of information this way. These Forums are another great resource. The Search function is your friend. Every topic imaginable has been covered in many threads. Start by reading through some of the "Full Monty" trailer restoration threads--this might help you calibrate your expectations.

Good luck!
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Old 03-14-2019, 10:20 AM   #5
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1973 29' Ambassador
Orlando , FLORIDA
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Thanks!

Thanks for the welcomes and advice. I'm sure I'll have a million questions, stupid and otherwise, but hopefully I won't set the record?
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Old 03-14-2019, 10:43 AM   #6
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That's one shiny project you have there! When you say you want to live in it this summer, do you mean park it and live in the same place for a good while, or get on the road and live in it while moving from place to place?
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Old 03-14-2019, 10:57 AM   #7
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1973 29' Ambassador
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Same place. I'm on a waiting list for a spot at a really cool Tiny Home Village here in Orlando.

The guy I got it from said he paid 4k to get it polished! Seems a little steep, since all the trim, awning, and lights are inside the trailer!
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Old 03-14-2019, 02:52 PM   #8
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Same place. I'm on a waiting list for a spot at a really cool Tiny Home Village here in Orlando.

The guy I got it from said he paid 4k to get it polished! Seems a little steep, since all the trim, awning, and lights are inside the trailer!


Thatís about right if he had had to strip the clear coat and do 3 stages of polishing and removing
All the exterior lights and awning rails.
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Old 03-14-2019, 07:39 PM   #9
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Hello from Colorado: The Airstream 'bible" is right here on Air Forums. You have already attracted some very good advice concerning your 73 Ambassador. Polishing a 29' Airstream is very labor intensive and thus the high cost.

Your interior is similar to my 75 Overlander 27'. Airstream developed new building techniques in the 70s to match the RV market's concern for fuel mileage. So they built them light weight, and I believe they built them with a lower tongue weight so you could tow the thing with a Ford station wagon.

Like mine, your trailer may have waste water tanks under the rear bath, have a 10 gallon water heater back there, and may have a battery compartment back there too. As a result, the frame got stressed pretty good on rough roads with the weight bouncing up and down back there. Frame issues are common in 70s trailers. Mine had it. It is called "rear end separation" where the rear of the body becomes detached from the rear of the frame. When that happens, the frame is even further stressed and can even buckle. Test for this condition by bouncing on the rear bumper over the left, then right frame rail. Watch the seam between the body and the frame rail. If a gap opens up during your downward bounce, your body has separated from the frame. This problem is worse in lush, wet climates like Florida.

I've been renovating my trailer for some time. My goal is just a reliable, comfortable Airstream the whole family can use. My axles were shot, I had rear end separation, the plumbing was shot, the waste water tanks were broken, and all the soft goods were mold and mildew infested. And my trailer was in pretty good shape when I towed it home. I wanted a project trailer. I have been impressed with how it is built compared to my old 66 Trade Wind that I renovated. I like the aluminum extrusions and some of the laminations. See photo.

The folks here can explain and help get your trailer ready for living.

David
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Old 03-15-2019, 08:38 AM   #10
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1973 29' Ambassador
Orlando , FLORIDA
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Nice. I'm currently having a mental debate about sleeping arrangements. Mine has a crappy, non original couch up front, which has to go. I am going to reupholster the fold down bed and likely upgrade the foam. I'm a pretty big guy(6'1", 250), so I gotta have a quality bed!
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