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Old 05-08-2012, 09:25 AM   #1
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1960 28' Ambassador
Bakersfield , California
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Hello all, I was so focused on repair I missed this post, sorry. I just bought a 1960 28ft Ambassador two weeks ago. It is extremely straight, one booger on the lower door, (previous post). It has all the original fixtures, and appliances, it's like a time capsule. One soft spot at the front door threshold about the size of a softball. It also has the on demand water heater. So far all the circuits work. I paid 1K for the trailer, smoken deal eh? but being in Ca. registration was $700 , and tires $500. I want to thank Rick (member) for the L77 door handle and Janie for the post on Johnny Alonzo. Next weekend is the vintage trailer meet at Pismo and if I can get in, I plan to take it. I appreciate all the help soo far. The first shots were the as found in a field and the rest are after cleaning. So, what do ya think?
Brett
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:44 AM   #2
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Wow very nice! Congratulations and welcome. The interior doesnt look bad at all. My 65 was in pretty rough shape and cost me a bit more. Be sure to check around (and under) all openings for water damage. My floor was damaged under every window. Im sure your door gasket is toast. Mine leaked so bad I had to chop the frame and rebuild under the door. Before you tow to Pismo make sure the frame is sound. Check where the tongue meets the frame in the front. I would also be careful of those axles as well. From one of the pics they look done.
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:52 AM   #3
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1960 28' Ambassador
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Are the axles weak on the older ones? Where do they fail? I will be repacking the wheel bearings before I go so I can check for cracks. The belly pan is complete so checking the tongue will be tough. Do the welds crack out there? Will you be out at Pismo?
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:15 AM   #4
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Are the axles weak on the older ones? Where do they fail? I will be repacking the wheel bearings before I go so I can check for cracks. The belly pan is complete so checking the tongue will be tough. Do the welds crack out there? Will you be out at Pismo?
The torsion axles have rubber rods inside that over time dry out and fail. The rods act as the major part of the shock absorption in these trailers. Unbalanced running gear will result in all kinds of damage to the interior and frame. If you jack up the trailer and place it on jack stands with the tires off the ground, the axles should allow the tires to lower. if not the axle arm is frozen (like mine were) and the axles will need replacing. Not too hard of a job. I did mine myself (I don't recommend). If you have frame rot it will usually be in areas that get lots of water intrusion. Usually under doors and other openings. The floor and shell act as one to support the frame. When you lift the shell and remove the floor the frame sags. Any weakness in the floor and it can result in damage to the trailer. You can remove a few rivets under the front of the trailer near the a frame and inspect with a flashlight then re rivet using large flange pop rivets like these. If you are going to tow the trailer take it slow, don't drive above 55mph and make sure your tires bearings and wheels are in good shape. The inbred that towed my trailer out here from Delaware towed it with the rear frame support support missing, floor rotten bad tires old split rims frame cracks and the belly pan coming off. So it can be done
Not sure about Pismo, what day is it? If you go be careful and have a great time!
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:06 AM   #5
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Greetings 428cj6v!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstream ownership!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 428cj6v View Post
Are the axles weak on the older ones? Where do they fail? I will be repacking the wheel bearings before I go so I can check for cracks. The belly pan is complete so checking the tongue will be tough. Do the welds crack out there? Will you be out at Pismo?
Your 1960 Airstream Ambassador likely has straight axles with leaf springs as I don't believe that the Henschen Dura-Torque axles were adopted for the Airstream fleet until 1961. With the straight leaf spring axles, the main things to monitor are condition of the spindles (something that hasn't been reported as a significant issue on tandem axle rigs), condition of spring hangers and bushing, and condition of the leaf springs. It is possible to have the leaf springs rebuilt, and that will restore original operation . . . or some have chosen to replace their leaf spring axles with Dura-Torques or similar products from other manufacturers . . . it is a personal choice. A good friend of mine has a 1960 Overlander with a single axle and it has its original leaf springs that have been totally rebuilt . . . and when we tow our Overlanders to the same destinations, his rides at least as well as, if not better than, my '64 Overlander with tandem Dura Torques.

Good luck with your Ambassador!

Kevin
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:23 AM   #6
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Greetings 428cj6v!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstream ownership!

Your 1960 Airstream Ambassador likely has straight axles with leaf springs as I don't believe that the Henschen Dura-Torque axles were adopted for the Airstream fleet until 1961. With the straight leaf spring axles, the main things to monitor are condition of the spindles (something that hasn't been reported as a significant issue on tandem axle rigs), condition of spring hangers and bushing, and condition of the leaf springs. It is possible to have the leaf springs rebuilt, and that will restore original operation . . . or some have chosen to replace their leaf spring axles with Dura-Torques or similar products from other manufacturers . . . it is a personal choice. A good friend of mine has a 1960 Overlander with a single axle and it has its original leaf springs that have been totally rebuilt . . . and when we tow our Overlanders to the same destinations, his rides at least as well as, if not better than, my '64 Overlander with tandem Dura Torques.

Good luck with your Ambassador!

Kevin
I have a buddy with a 1960 and he had dura tourques mabe they were replaced. Who knew!
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Old 05-09-2012, 03:45 PM   #7
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1960 28' Ambassador
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The Pismo Vintage Trailer Meet is May 17,18,19 with the 19th being a kind of open house. It is at Pismo Coast Village, I called and there are 250 spots reserved and filled with a wait list. I'm going on sat with a camera and a note book of questions. Thanks for the help on the axles, When I pack the bearings I will jack the whole trailer up. I will use the rear bumper, tongue, and spring perch/axles for jack points. If this is not correct please let me know. I didn't see any jack pads.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:18 AM   #8
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The Pismo Vintage Trailer Meet is May 17,18,19 with the 19th being a kind of open house. It is at Pismo Coast Village, I called and there are 250 spots reserved and filled with a wait list. I'm going on sat with a camera and a note book of questions. Thanks for the help on the axles, When I pack the bearings I will jack the whole trailer up. I will use the rear bumper, tongue, and spring perch/axles for jack points. If this is not correct please let me know. I didn't see any jack pads.
428cj6v
Do not support your trailer from the front and back! You want to jack it up under the axle mounting plates. Check you manual (or the forums) for a safe place to jack up your trailer. If you have leaf spring axles you probably wont need to check your axles that way. I dont know much about that type of axle but I am going to read up on them.
I am going to be working on the days of the Pismo Rally. Have fun and post pictures!
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:39 AM   #9
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Greetings marzboy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by marzboy View Post
I have a buddy with a 1960 and he had dura tourques mabe they were replaced. Who knew!
I suspect that 1960 may have been something of a transition year. I do remember from early in my days with the Vintage Airstream Club there was mention that the Dura-Torque axles were available by special order or on certain coaches during the 1960 model year. I also know that a friend's 1961 Bambi came from the factory with a leaf spring axle, so as with everything Airstream, there are exceptions to the general rule of thumb.

Kevin
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:24 AM   #10
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Jack point

Quote:
Originally Posted by 428cj6v View Post
The Pismo Vintage Trailer Meet is May 17,18,19 with the 19th being a kind of open house. It is at Pismo Coast Village, I called and there are 250 spots reserved and filled with a wait list. I'm going on sat with a camera and a note book of questions. Thanks for the help on the axles, When I pack the bearings I will jack the whole trailer up. I will use the rear bumper, tongue, and spring perch/axles for jack points. If this is not correct please let me know. I didn't see any jack pads.
428cj6v
If you do have a leaf spring axle setup, you should be able to jack the trailer up on a 1/2" plate that runs vertical, right where the axle mounts to the frame, just behind the tire. The vertical plate runs front to back about 8-9" both in the front and back (although I have a single axle). This is where I jacked up my '58, basically jacking it up at the axle, but not under the axle, and on the plate that mounts the axle to the frame, but not on the frame per se.

Once you get under there you'll see where there is a spot. In theory it's not being jacked up under the axle, and also not on the frame... Does that make sense?

Good luck, and have fun in Pismo (take pics)

TIMK
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:03 AM   #11
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Brett,

Welcome to the informal SoCal Airstreamers group! We are a great bunch, if I do say so myself. I will want to check out your trailer in the future at some point. Definitely looks to be in amazing condition--nice find.

As for axles, I have found RJ Dial's site to be the most helpful on leaf springs:
1956 Flying Cloud - Axle
(there's also a link at the bottom that compares the axle alternatives side by side)

Andy's Inland RV site has the most technical info on the torsions:
Inland RV Center - The Nations Leading Expert in Airstream Innovations

If you replace them, just be careful about starting a thread here asking which one you should do--it will never end

Keep posting pictures too
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:45 PM   #12
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Congratulations!!! Love your pics!! We love pics. Safe travels!!
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Old 05-13-2012, 06:12 PM   #13
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Welcome.. btw

Looks like you got some local knowledge right quick. Great looking rig, and great price btw.

Quote:
Welcome to the informal SoCal Airstreamers group! We are a great bunch, if I do say so myself.
Add Brett, a Safari or Flying Cloud and a Tradwind, and we'll have almost every size!


What are your plans for it now?

I second Kevin:
Quote:
the main things to monitor are condition of the spindles (something that hasn't been reported as a significant issue on tandem axle rigs), condition of spring hangers and bushing, and condition of the leaf springs.
It's important to re-pack the bearings at minimum (if not replace), you can check the spindles, and associated hardware at the same time.
May want to get a new set of tires if they've been in the sun for a while.

Take some axle picks, and you'll start a whole topic!
(again don't want to start a straight/drop axle debate)
but can help to get your rig running smooth.

Good luck,

TIMK
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Old 05-14-2012, 04:43 PM   #14
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1960 28' Ambassador
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Smile

First priority is road worthy and weathertight. I plan to do 99% of the work myself. I am an A&P and did my sheetmetal time at McDonnell Douglas in the 80's and 90's. The only skin repair is on the lower door. I removed the small panel. I need to fab one up and tighten up some of the loose rivets at the top of the door. Then a new dump valve. Boy the list goes on and on. I am heading out to Pismo as a spectator on Sat. I have my list of questions and a camera. If those owners are 1/2 as helpful as you guys I will have it made.
Brett
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