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Old 04-20-2013, 10:47 AM   #1
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1963 28' Ambassador
Foley , Alabama
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Newbie giving new life to a '63 Ambassador

My 1963 Airstream has the original tires and brakes (yes I was very, very nervous when we brought it up the road to it's new home). At this point I don't expect to have it on the road very often; but at least once a year I do want to take it to Sewanee, TN so brakes will be very important!
I'm really fishing for some advice here. I haven't spent much time researching brake systems, and I realize this community has a wealth of knowledge. Should I stay with drum brakes, or even try to rehab the originals on there? For safety reasons, should I modernize?
Bottom line, the Airstream is my baby and I just want to make sure I can stay safe and stop. Otherwise it's an awfully expensive can bouncing on a road?
HELP PLEASE!
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:12 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by tredding View Post
My 1963 Airstream has the original tires and brakes (yes I was very, very nervous when we brought it up the road to it's new home). At this point I don't expect to have it on the road very often; but at least once a year I do want to take it to Sewanee, TN so brakes will be very important!
I'm really fishing for some advice here. I haven't spent much time researching brake systems, and I realize this community has a wealth of knowledge. Should I stay with drum brakes, or even try to rehab the originals on there? For safety reasons, should I modernize?
Bottom line, the Airstream is my baby and I just want to make sure I can stay safe and stop. Otherwise it's an awfully expensive can bouncing on a road?
HELP PLEASE!
Start by making sure the trailer is water proofed, that is good gaskets etc.

Then, since you will be using the trailer on the road, check out the axles.

If they need replacing, then get them complete with machined drums and new style brakes which are far superior to the originals. Of course, replace the shocks as well.

The following article will help you with the axles.

The Dura-Torque Axle

Andy
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:22 AM   #3
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Original drum brakes are just fine, the vast majority of all Airstreams on the road use them. At the age of your trailer, I would recommend you just consider replacing the entire axle assemblies, complete with new brakes. That way you will get all new running gear and it will hold up for many years with little attention. The cost of doing it will be not a whole lot more than just having the brakes replaced. The rubber torsion spring suspension system on your old axles I am sure is shot and needs replacing in any event. One job will give you double benefits.
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Old 04-20-2013, 06:26 PM   #4
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Lyme , Connecticut
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Welcome, and I agree with above: waterproofing, axles and brakes, then start using it. In my opinion, the 63 Ambassadors are the best!
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