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Old 06-08-2009, 06:20 PM   #1
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1966 28' Ambassador
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Just purchased my first airstream Friday night. It's a 66 abassador with light use over the years and has been sitting for 10 years. When I pulled it slowly home 10 miles at a very slow pace, at two occassions a wheel locked up on me and skidded. Both times I put it in reverse, backed up and managed to unlock it to continue home. Now my question is what can i expect by way of needed maintenance repairs to get the brakes and axels to where they need to be? The good news is that the torsion arms of the axels all seem to be loaded correctly in the positive angle as described in the article at Airstream Central. My main thought is to know what I can fix/maintain myself and what I ought to take straight to a RV repair? I was assuming I would be repacking/replacing the wheel bearings, when I bought it but the locking up of the wheel and the little knowlege I have of the braking system has me wondering what else?
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Old 06-08-2009, 07:18 PM   #2
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Good job! Now the fun begins. First of all (you'll hate this...) I bet both axles need replacement due to sitting)...good news is that if you buy the right assemblies you can get the axles, brakes and wheels all at once for a great savings....tires too. Now your ready for the inventory of projects.....I won't go into that, but set it up, plug it in and hook up the H2O. Make it your own. You will need a converter and battery I'm sure. Now just search the forums for the items that concern you from that inventory. Have fun and don't get overwhelmed.
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Old 06-08-2009, 07:22 PM   #3
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help for a newbie with an oldie

Greetings new2air!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstreams.

Quote:
Originally Posted by new2air View Post
Just purchased my first airstream Friday night. It's a 66 abassador with light use over the years and has been sitting for 10 years.
This does not bode well for your DuraTorque axles. The DuraTorques like regular exercise and tend to take a set or "freeze" when exposed to long periods of inactivity. To learn more about your axles, check out the article on AirstreamCentral.

Quote:
Originally Posted by new2air View Post
When I pulled it slowly home 10 miles at a very slow pace, at two occassions a wheel locked up on me and skidded. Both times I put it in reverse, backed up and managed to unlock it to continue home.
At the bare minimum, there is a problem with the brakes on that axle. It could be a wire that is periodically grounding out resulting in the lock-up, or it could be a problem with corrosion in the trailer connector (car or trailer end) shorting two or more of the terminals periodically.

What you are likely to find is very rusted hardware in each of the wheels. The least expensive method of dealing with such a situation is to install fully loaded backing plates which will give you all new wear parts plus magnets of the latest design. You may also want to have your drums turned and shoes chamfered to match your drums for maximum braking performance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by new2air View Post
Now my question is what can i expect by way of needed maintenance repairs to get the brakes and axels to where they need to be? The good news is that the torsion arms of the axels all seem to be loaded correctly in the positive angle as described in the article at Airstream Central.
Assuming that the axles still flex (aren't frozen in the current position), overhauling the brakes, repacking the wheel bearings, and replacing the shock absorbers would renew the suspension/running gear. Careful inspection of the bearings is a necessity given the periodic brake lockup.

Good luck with your coach!

Kevin
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Old 06-08-2009, 11:08 PM   #4
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Thanks, Melody Ranch and Overlander.. I now have a place to begin..
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Old 06-09-2009, 02:28 PM   #5
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I would check the water and propane lines with air pressure before using water and propane.
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Old 06-11-2009, 01:57 PM   #6
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If the brake is seizing and backing up helps to disengage the skidding wheel, you most likely have a broken retaining spring. However, as others have said on here, new backing plates would be recommended (short of replacing the whole axle.)
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