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Old 08-11-2011, 02:04 PM   #1
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New to Airstream '74 Mid-Twin Ambassador

Hi all! Just secured a 1974 Ambassador Mid-Twin in NC. My wife and three kids (9,9 & 12) are all very excited to take delivery of ("Rusty", "Clarabelle" or ???) next week!

I already know I've got a dry camp plumbing issue to resolve, so it'll be trial-by-fire (or is it water?!?) before our first outing at the end of August.

Can't wait to put our own numbers onto the shiny new thing!

Best,

e
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:38 AM   #2
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First $ spent will be on a Prodigy2 for the Land Rover DiscoveryII. The PO has this same system, so I'm hoping for a free lesson / configure session when I pick up "Ohana" next Thursday!
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Old 08-12-2011, 08:09 AM   #3
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I'd like to tow with my Disco II. Please post how the Prodigy2 install goes.
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Old 08-12-2011, 09:19 AM   #4
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Welcome!

3 possible names already, eh? Except for the concern that it might curse your frame, I'd go for "Rusty" and get a blue beret with "Rusty" stitched in it... but then again I always liked those movies. I never really made the beret connection between Wally Byam and European Vacation until I saw "Rusty" in your post.

Happy camping!
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Old 08-12-2011, 12:25 PM   #5
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Welcome...

Welcome Erik!

We as a group like pictures of new found love. So, post away!

Chris
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Old 08-21-2011, 10:21 AM   #6
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Ohana (plate OHANA 74) is home! Sort of...

Towing the 29' Ambassador with our somewhat trusty Land Rover, we discovered that the newly installed Bargman / Draw-Tite ActivatorII didn't seem to be controlling the brakes. Lights okay, brakes... not so much.

Thankfully, the Rover has newer rotors and pads and we didn't get killed on our 20 mile trip home.

Pulled the entire rig into the muffler shop that installed the towing electrics and they told us a wire at the trailer was popping a TV fuse each time they activated the brakes. A call to the PO only told me that the brakes worked fine on their July 4th trip (Ford F250 / Prodigy2). He is a very nice fellow and seemed confounded that there was a problem - the kind of owner who had a couple of copies of the owners and service manual in the trailer and provided an equalizing hitch with the purchase!

So!

Is it possible that every owner since 1974 has wired their vehicle to the improper Airstream standard? It seems incredible that it wasn't changed in the past 20 years. I mean, when you go to tow anything else with your TV, it's just wired wrong?

I'll be at the mechanic's door at first light tomorrow to try and convince them (diagrams in-hand) that we should change over the Airstream to 21st century Bargman standard. I think there might be a 5.4 F150 Lariat or Dodge Hemi TV in our very immediate future and I'd prefer to not to alter them to the AS way of doing things.

From that sticking point forward, I'm 100% all into the unique and wonderful AS experience!

[/rant]
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Old 08-21-2011, 12:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik Olson View Post
Ohana (plate OHANA 74) is home! Sort of...

Towing the 29' Ambassador with our somewhat trusty Land Rover, we discovered that the newly installed Bargman / Draw-Tite ActivatorII didn't seem to be controlling the brakes. Lights okay, brakes... not so much.

Is it possible that every owner since 1974 has wired their vehicle to the improper Airstream standard? It seems incredible that it wasn't changed in the past 20 years. I mean, when you go to tow anything else with your TV, it's just wired wrong?

I'll be at the mechanic's door at first light tomorrow to try and convince them (diagrams in-hand) that we should change over the Airstream to 21st century Bargman standard. I think there might be a 5.4 F150 Lariat or Dodge Hemi TV in our very immediate future and I'd prefer to not to alter them to the AS way of doing things.

From that sticking point forward, I'm 100% all into the unique and wonderful AS experience!

[/rant]
It's not the way Airstream wired their trailers, it's the way the rest of he RV industry did it differently.

By the way, the Bargman "flat blade" connector, is probably the WORST connector mankind ever invented.

The flat blades, are ALWAYS a problem, since they corrode so easily and must be cleaned before each trip.

One, repeat one grain of sand will prevent a proper connection, using flat blades.

The "round" terminal connectors, have self cleaning terminals, and "never" "ever" fail.

Perhaps the round blade connectors have caused all the wiring confusion.

Andy
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Old 08-22-2011, 02:26 PM   #8
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The trailer has been updated wiring-wise to the round 7-pin standard and layout and should now tow with any 21st century TV with brake controller. Now onto the real and rewarding work!
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:36 AM   #9
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Shakedown run to Lake Powhatan was successful to somewhat quite successful.

Since my last post, we upgraded the tow vehicle to a 2004 Dodge 5.7 Hemi short bed. The 4.0L Land Rover simply wasn't up to the task and I felt no confidence that it would pull a 29' Ambassador up those hills. Draw-Tite Activator II controller worked well on the steep sections of 74-26 near Asheville. Don't really believe it is supposed to / capable of bringing the vehicles to a stop on its own and used it only occassionally and very lightly at highway speed.



Conclusions on the trailer:
  • Does not leak. We had two solid rainfall-provided water tests over the three-day weekend. Noted that all window gaskets look pretty dry and cracked. Anyone know the most appropriate gasket material for the 74 Ambassador?
  • Dometic fridge. This is known to work on electricity, but, despite following directions, could not get it to light on gas. Noted that the gas knob ("Set to 4" according to Dometic) seems to simply turn infinitely with no discernable start or stop point.
  • Newer fabric on what I believe to be a Carefree awning system. That's the good news.
    • The arms, one long, curving one made to the lowest part of the trailer and a stabilizer mounted near the beltline are all kind of deflected back toward the back of the trailer. Getting them up and locked under the sliding metal hook for travel is difficult (the stabilizer bar nests inside the longer curved bar during travel). I'm thinking of systematically disassembling the arms, updating the bracket bolts, nuts and pins for new stainless wherever possible. I'll figure out if there is any bending or deflection in the arms as I tackle this.
    • The piping that holds the dead end of the fabric goods to the roof has pulled out toward the back of the trailer by 18" or so, so that will need to be fed back into the channel and then sewn or glued in place to keep it from happening again.
    • The roller is definitely sprung and retracts with relative ease - however - the aft end cap appears to be about to fall off. I'm very nervous to do anything relating to the roller. I'll have to see if there is a dealer / installer local to Charlotte to help with those issues.
Any suggestions or hints on how to handle this hit list are very much appreciated!
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:53 AM   #10
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About the Carefree awning

The issue with getting the awning furled and locked for travel may not be due to the displacement you mentioned, I think it may be the natural condition of these awnings. My awning's arms are more or less plumb and it's still fiddly to get it to settle into just the right place to get those locks engaged, and while I *can* deploy and furl it myself, it's much easier to do so with 2 people. Getting the 2 middle arms in just the right place to go into the slot in back of the larger arms is fun while trying to control the rolling of the awning with the strap, etc. It's just not quite as slick as the ZipDee from what I've seen, but since mine doesn't have problems other than what seem to be design shortcomings, I'll keep it. There are PLENTY of other things to fix on my Argosy.
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Old 09-06-2011, 12:40 PM   #11
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Thanks - I too have decided to delay the awning issues as long as possible. The caveat, to me, is the safety of the thing when I'm barreling down the highway at 67mph. I really don't want to see that thing jetison into traffic behind me because the stowing hardware is sub-par. I'll feel a little more confidence once I've re-installed the hardware at the hinges for new, graded bolts, nuts and so on.
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Thanks - I too have decided to delay the awning issues as long as possible. The caveat, to me, is the safety of the thing when I'm barreling down the highway at 67mph. I really don't want to see that thing jetison into traffic behind me because the stowing hardware is sub-par. I'll feel a little more confidence once I've re-installed the hardware at the hinges for new, graded bolts, nuts and so on.
Heh... it's hard enough to get loose from those locks when you WANT to release them. If you're concerned, you could wrap a bungy around the lock slider and the aluminum bracket mounted on the trailer to hold the lock down, but on mine I haven't seen any tendency for the lock slider to release spontaneously once it's really locked.
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Old 09-28-2011, 08:48 PM   #13
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I'm going to start an Ohana 74 thread in the 1970s area of the forum to consolidate everything we'll be doing (and wishing we could do) to our 1974 Ambassador Mid-Twin.
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