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Old 04-22-2014, 09:48 AM   #1
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1966 28' Ambassador
Austin , Texas
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Looking at a '66 Ambassador today - any known issues?

I'm new here and I'm ging out to look at a 1966 Ambassador International today. Is there anything in particular I need to look for? I'm taking the AIRforums Inspection Report with me. I'm just wondering if there are some problems unique to the '66 Ambassador that I might not be obvious to a newbie.
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Old 04-22-2014, 10:32 AM   #2
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1966 28' Ambassador
Austin , Texas
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I've been reading through the section on 66-69 Ambassadors. I have two project trailers already, and I'm looking for an Airstream that DOESN'T need a lot of work. Is that possible? Everything "looks" good from the photos. A/C, refrigerator, water heater are fairly new. Assuming floor is solid and all appliances work, what else do I need to worry about?

Do I need to somehow inspect the frame?
Will I need to re-wire and how hard is that?
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Old 04-22-2014, 03:02 PM   #3
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1973 21' Globetrotter
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Well, you are looking at a trailer that is 50+ years old. So, when you ask what could go wrong, the answer is pretty much everything.

If you don't want to spend a bunch of time working on your trailer, then your best bet is to find one that has already had the work done on it. You want to see receipts and pictures of the work being done in process. Plenty of people buy an old wreck, slap down new flooring over rotting subfloor, paint the walls, and fix up the upholstery, and call it "refurbished." You will find the problems eventually.

Do you need to replace the wiring? if everything is working satisfactorily, then probably not. In order to do so, you will need to completely gut the trailer, including removing the interior skins and insulation. Two years or so from now, you will be ready to camp.

There isn't much you can do to inspect the frame, as it is mostly covered by the bellypan. Look up underneath it anyways. Also, stand on the rear bumper and bounce up and down a bit. The bumper should not move independent of the shell. If it does, then the rear end is separating.

So go through your inspection checklist, ask if the axle has been replaced, verify everything is working, ask if grey tanks have been installed, confirm that there is a true RV style refrigerator, and not some kind of dorm fridge. Check all along the edges of the floor for rot, especially behind the refrigerator, near the door, and in the back and front.

There are several Forums members in Austin--go to the tab that says "portal" on it, and from here, you can locate members who offer to act as inspectors. See if you can get one of them to go with you trailer shopping.

good luck!
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Old 04-22-2014, 09:27 PM   #4
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1966 28' Ambassador
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I think it's a keeper... couldn't find anything wrong with it. Floor was solid everywhere I looked, I even tested inside all the closets & under the beds. Had hubby jump on rear bumper - no movement. No rotten wood anywhere, not even around windows. All windows are there and work. Lights all converted to LED and functioning. Roof looks great! I'm telling you, I tried HARD to find hidden problems.

It does need A/C work or replacement. I live in Texas and I'm willing to do that to stay cool. I'll probably have to replace the axles, too. No gray tank; we'll go with the blue boy for now. Seller is replacing the battery and tires this week, then I can bring her home.

So, is it not necessary to rewire a 66? All electric is working and it has a new breaker panel. I just hear stories of fires in old campers. How real is that danger and would a new breaker box alleviate that risk?
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Old 04-22-2014, 09:51 PM   #5
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If the trailer has been in use, and no fires have resulted, then you are probably safe. One thing that can cause fires is mixing aluminum wiring with copper components. You can look and see if your wiring is aluminum or copper at the fuse box. I have heard that some trailers had aluminum wiring, but I couldn't tell you what years. Houses built in the 70's sometimes had aluminum wiring, but my '73 AS is copper wired.

Even with brand new wiring, you could rub off the insulation during travel, or a mouse could take a bite out of it. I guess I am trying to say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

So, did you buy it? If so, congrats and welcome to vintage ownership!
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