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Old 03-07-2008, 05:36 PM   #1
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1978 29' Ambassador
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Rats!!

Hi I am the new owner of a 78 Ambassador. I bought this AS off of Ebay. It was advertised that before the unit went into storage “everything” worked. Well, since then I have found out that nothing works. The electrical did work when I bought it but now needs a new converter. My lesson in this is IF I ever buy something like this on Ebay again to have it checked out by a professional before spending hard earned money. Even at this point I do not regret buying the AS. I think that it will be a great project to re-do. I am planning on re-placing all of the appliances, and re-doing the interior. Since pulling everything out of the interior I have found the unmistakable deposits of small rodents that have lived under the cabinets, in the stove and furnace, and under the beds. I have also found that the fresh water tank leaks and will need to be replaced. I am not sure about the other tanks. As I have read through some of the other threads I now have concerns about some other things that I need some advise on checking out. I am concerned about what is going on under the floor. I don’t know what shape the frame is in, and if my little friends have lived underneath the floors as well. The decking is in good shape with no soft spots, and the underpinning is in good shape. Someone at some point has rerouted the LP lines to go underneath the trailer which I am O.K. with and will leave that way, except that I will replace with new lines. How do you think that I should go about checking out the important things that are in-between the decking and the underpinning without tearing everything out?
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Old 03-07-2008, 06:33 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums! Buying on ebay is a crap shoot. Everything worked the last time we used it is a common expression. The good news is the converter was not that great to start with and there are many much better units available.

The rat problem is a big issue. If they had a run of the place there is no telling what is under the floor. The best thing to do would be to pull the belly pan and see what you have. Remember that deadly viruses can be found in the waste of some mice, be careful.
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Old 03-07-2008, 06:52 PM   #3
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Rivet Welcome to the forums

I bought my ’67 Trade Wind in San Marcos when I lived between Wimberley and Driftwood. I guess I have been fortunate, I have had mice, but no rats (knock wood). Best of luck!
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Old 03-07-2008, 07:00 PM   #4
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I would definitely make a 10% bleach solution to spray onto the floor in the case that there was Hanta virus in the mice droppings.

Welcome to the forums.

Steve
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Old 03-07-2008, 07:11 PM   #5
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Welcome and congrats...even if there are some unpleasant surprises. I had a chance to look at mine first, but did make the mistake of taking the word of the PO "Everything works!" (except the electric, the gas, the heater, the water, the brakes, the tires, etc.) Oh well, all the better to play with. Don't discount the appliance though. THe original stove if it is not worn can probably be coaxed into shape. Lots of us have had refrigerators that did not cool that were recovered using the tried and true inverting to free up the ammonia system. I had one that I thought was pure trash that ended up cooling great. Fresh water and holding tank probably need replacing. I had no plumbing that had not split (you know how it is way up north in Bertram
Best of luck, and of course, pictures Hope to see you up in the lakes or on the coast. (Probably can't miss the AS with the Ambulance towing it

rob n terry
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Old 03-07-2008, 07:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azflycaster
Welcome to the forums! Buying on ebay is a crap shoot. Everything worked the last time we used it is a common expression. .
I have had two 78 Airstreams a 25' tradewind and a 31' sovereign and I think it was one of the better years. ALL sellers tend to emphasize the good features in their opinion. Read the ads carefully and read between the lines. Batteries, tires, water heater, toilets and convertors are maintainance items and you will be replacing within two years. The big ticket items are the A/C and the refrigerator hopefully they are good. If the body is solid, windows intact, and general upholstery and interior clean, you can maintain and update at your convience.
I just bought a 63 Safari and am in process of replacing the floor. The trailer smelled from the wet floor, and upon opening discovered it was the home of mice for years! (adding to the smell). I replaced patches of floor in both 78 trailers and I believe Airstream improved the floor to side wall connection considerable(comparing 63 and 78 ). Althogh there were signs of mice in the 78's I never saw any signs of them living below the floor. Droppping the belly pan is the only way to confirm.
Good Luck with your new trailer. Get a service manual (not owners manual) it was very good in 78 and shows you how things are put togeather and tells how to repair or replace! , well worth the price!
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Old 03-07-2008, 08:13 PM   #7
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warnicks,
Welcome to the funny far...I mean forums

I have a 1975 and 1981 that are under rehab. The LP lines are supposed to run on the underside of the belly pan, that way if there is a leak it won't build up and go boom.

How to check between the floor and the belly pan? Easiest is to drop the pans. With "easiest" being a subjective term.

Aaron
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Old 03-07-2008, 10:57 PM   #8
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thanks

[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']All good advise. Thank you for your help. I will drop the bottom and see what I have. I really don't mind replacing the appliances. Better piece of mind especially the furnace, and water heater. I was hoping that the fridge would work. I plugged it in and got nothing. Does anyone have any tips on troubleshooting on my own with the Dometics? I know that I can probably take it in somewhere and have someone bench test it, but I would like to see some life in it at least from the electrical side. I will be very careful in cleaning up the rodent droppings with gloves and a mask. The body of the AS is in good shape just needs a clear cote. I have been watching the DIY AS renovation videos on YouTube. They are very inspiring. I have the service manual for my year but no owners manual. I figured the service manual would be all that I need. Any special tips on removing the belly that I should be aware of before I begin? Thanks for all of your help. I am VERY happy and excited to be an AS owner. When we graduated from tent camping to a pop-up we thought that was great. When we decided that we wanted to go beyond glorified tent camping into a real RV I knew that we would get an AS. I believe that it was a great decision. I know that fixing mine up will be some work but I get to acquire some new skills, gain a lot of knowledge, and learn everything about my AS in terms of maintenance and repair as possible. It is really a pleasure to be a part of the AS community! [/FONT]
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Old 03-07-2008, 11:42 PM   #9
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Don't give up on the fridge yet. How long did you let it run? It takes hours for it to get cold. If it still does not work, try it on propane.
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Old 03-08-2008, 05:16 AM   #10
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warnicks,
My only advice on the belly pans is to make sure you mark them as to where they go and which end is forward. I would also get some large head rivets just in case a few of the old ones have pulled thru. Some people reattach their belly pan with screws, just to make it easier to remove in the future.

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Old 03-08-2008, 04:50 PM   #11
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Try turning the fridge up side down for 24 to 48 hours.
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Old 03-08-2008, 06:28 PM   #12
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This 1's 4 U.

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Old 03-09-2008, 07:23 PM   #13
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1978 29' Ambassador
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fridge

As suggested I turned the fridge over (upside down) for a day. Turned it back this afternoon, plugged it in and it is cooling very nice now. I still need to test the LP but am very pleased that it is working on electrical. Does anyone know if I can still get knobs and parts from Dometic on a 78 model? I guess that I can contact them tomorrow just thought that someone might know.
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