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Old 03-03-2014, 06:29 PM   #1
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1973 29' Ambassador
Riverside , California
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Where do I start with my '73 Ambassador

Hello everyone. We're excited about our new 1973 ambassador airstream. We don't know where to start. We could save significant cost by stripping it down ourselves replacing insulation and electrical. Click image for larger version

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we need help thanks for your input
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:02 PM   #2
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1973 29' Ambassador
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Where do I start with my 73 ambassador

Need advice on where to start with my 73 ambassador. we like to tear down ourselves but how do we do that?


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Old 03-03-2014, 07:24 PM   #3
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1972 31' Sovereign
1975 31' Excella 500
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Benton , Arkansas
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Start by taking out screws and drilling rivets, taking care with anything you want to save or reuse.

It is a little bit of a PITA, but not hard overall.
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:30 PM   #4
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1972 31' Sovereign
1975 31' Excella 500
Currently Looking...
Benton , Arkansas
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Where do I start with my 73 ambassador

IMHO that roof SHOULD look more like this in a few months....

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Less than a year ago my 72 Sovereign was a well used stock trailer.

Your interior looks rough, but what that offers you is complete freedom to make your trailer less of what was sold over 40 years ago, and more of what you want it to be.

Start with an empty shell, strip the interior to every last rivet and every stitch of insulation.

Plan out what you want and where you want your fixtures, etc ., and just do it and don't look back.


Or..... Bring it to my shop and we can work something out.

I would love to build another Airstream. Mine was my favorite all time vehicle rebuild.
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:43 PM   #5
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1973 27' Overlander
Portsmouth , Virginia
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Welcome aboard, but not really sure what to tell you? Looks like somebody was less than kind to this trailer with these "Mods". What is your intention, to do all the work yourself or pay somebody to do it? Maybe if you could post some more pics of the current state of the interior then we could help a bit more. From what I can see you have quite a bit of work to pull down all the crap and start fresh. The plastic end cap is gone, you could replace it with aluminum sections, that is what I would contemplate.
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:58 PM   #6
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1972 31' Sovereign
1975 31' Excella 500
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Perhaps a bit of inspiration here if my work is similar to your vision.

I started my initial build in March of last year and finished it well enough to make a one thousand mile one way trip in July. I changed some inside stuff and polished and worked on the outside for about two months after the trip.

It can be done fairly quickly if you are motivated.
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Old 03-04-2014, 12:28 AM   #7
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1973 29' Ambassador
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J. Morgan thanks for the input, this definitely gives us vision. So how do we remove the rivets. Does teardown and removal of appliances, countertops, etc. affect the structural integrity (i.e any bracing needed).
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Old 03-04-2014, 12:29 AM   #8
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What material is that by the way?
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Old 03-04-2014, 12:42 AM   #9
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Where do I start with my 73 ambassador

The rivets are mostly 1/8 " pop rivets with a few 3/16" pop rivets thrown in here and there.

You can drill clean through these rivets with the same size drill bits but I mostly used a 3/16" bit and a 1/4" bit to quickly remove the heads.

Some rivets will require a sharp chisel to shear them off.

The trailer will be strong enough to work on even with everything stripped out, but the inner aluminum sheets do add structure to the trailer. No bracing is needed, it is pretty stout even as an empty shell.

The inside of my trailer is covered with 1/4" birch plywood. It is placed over top of the aluminum interior sheet sheathing.
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Old 03-04-2014, 12:50 AM   #10
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Disassembly is pretty straight forward, for the most part it is the removal of rivets, hundreds of rivets.

You and a helper should be able to strip to the bare walls in about a day or two.

You will likely find some floor rot around the front perimeter under the windows and floor rot in the bath.

I used a full sheet of plywood in the bath, and most of a second sheet piecing in around the front. This is all an easy fix.
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Old 03-04-2014, 01:58 AM   #11
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1973 29' Ambassador
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Thanks so much. I have some time tomorrow to look at it. Removal of rivets sounds easy, but time consuming. No problem. Hopefully we can keep in touch and you can guide me through this first stage. Question: why did you cover the aluminum with wood? Is it hard to re-skin for a DYIer like myself?I will tackle the disassembly this week and send more pictures. Click image for larger version

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Old 03-04-2014, 05:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by santina View Post
Need advice on where to start with my 73 ambassador. we like to tear down ourselves but how do we do that?


Attachment 206774
The interior skins are held in place with 1/8" rivets, so use a 1/8" drill to remove them. This will allow you to reinstall the original skins without much difficulty. It is a time consuming & filthy job, but not too difficult. You might want to check out The Vintage Airstream Podcast | Vintage Trailer Restoration for more details as all of this has been covered numerous times.
Good luck with your project,
Colin
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Old 03-04-2014, 05:28 AM   #13
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1973 29' Ambassador
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That sounds easy enough. How do I tackle removing the appliances and cabinets?Click image for larger version

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Old 03-04-2014, 05:32 AM   #14
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Everything is riveted in? Once I am bare including removal of insulation, what's next? It has vinyl floors.
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