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Old 09-16-2009, 01:16 PM   #1
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1972 29' Ambassador
abilene , Texas
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Help help 72 ambassador troubles

Well my loving father has gracefully given me his old 1972 ambassador, with the bathroom at the back of the trailer with the full size bed in the middle. Well the good old days when he purchased her from my ex-stepmother parents the original owners of it. It is awesome shape, I remember so may good times camping and going on all summer long road trips. The carpet down to window treatments everything was all original inside. She was a bright shinny silver bullet in her prime.
Now she has no shine left, needs new floors new roll tops from the living room all the way to the bathroom. Her shell has seen better days has a few dents and dings around the bumper, and hitch but look at her age. The wiring Iím hoping is not shot. When we 1st got her my father in law and dad checked to axles, breaks, tires (which I had to purchase 4 new that day) bearings where in good shape. Running lights worked when we picked her up and when we pulled her home now not so much. My hubby (which is getting upset with her) pulled her back and I followed behind at a safe distance of course. The lights were working turn breaks you name it. Now when we hook her up they don't want to work they flicker and then stop working all together. Wonder what happened there?
We hooked her up to the house and everything was working except the panel in the very front with the battery meter, and water pump under the kitchen sink. Everything else likes a champ. We hooked up a battery that we have itís a gel cell rechargeable, everything was running. Now here is the problem, When we hook it back up to the house it seemed to be working fine, the frig wasnít running but we didn't know that at that time. We left it hooked up to see if she would charge the battery and give her a good work out overnight. We when out later that night and the frig, was hot and the lights on. He switched her to battery and only the front light in the living room area worked nothing else and the univolt was humming! He switch it back to the house power and everything came back on even the frig. Anyone have any clues at to what we need to do. I don't want to scrap her, I would love to get the bugs all worked out and then restore her as best we can with the minor cosmetic stuff.

Frustrated new owner
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Old 09-16-2009, 06:48 PM   #2
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1972 29' Ambassador
abilene , Texas
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what is going on here the trailer lights are still a no go. We are finding it hard to get the lights to work with us here. anyone have a clue as to what we can do? Just picked up new trailer plug and cable. follow the directions and still no running lights but the blinkers are working
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Old 09-16-2009, 08:17 PM   #3
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1972 29' Ambassador
abilene , Texas
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running light problem

I am at a loss here what can i do or what are we doing wrong. i have both blinkers, hazards, breake lights but no running lights. Just installed new trailer plug, because the old one was rusted out and not making a connection. i have replaced some of the bulbs with newer ones that my father had in the trailer, still in the package. we have found 2 blade on the plug for the blinkers that have 12v and 1 onther that i would think is the running light blade, but when we try and put a wire on it nothing happends. We also checked our trailer fuses on the truck as, i even hooked up my boat trailer to make sure it was not the truck???? need help please someone.
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Old 09-16-2009, 09:38 PM   #4
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Help help 72 ambassador troubles

Greetings 72Ambassador!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstream ownership!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 72Ambassador View Post
I am at a loss here what can i do or what are we doing wrong. i have both blinkers, hazards, breake lights but no running lights. Just installed new trailer plug, because the old one was rusted out and not making a connection. i have replaced some of the bulbs with newer ones that my father had in the trailer, still in the package. we have found 2 blade on the plug for the blinkers that have 12v and 1 onther that i would think is the running light blade, but when we try and put a wire on it nothing happends. We also checked our trailer fuses on the truck as, i even hooked up my boat trailer to make sure it was not the truck???? need help please someone.
Don't panic, the problem that you have is not uncommon and shouldn't be too difficult to solve once you understand a few of the peculiarities of the early 1970s Airstream coaches. The first thing to be aware of is the fact that the wiring schematic and color of wires used were not directly related to the current industry standard. You can find the 7-pole plug wiring diagram that Airstream utilized in 1972 along with the color and function of the wires as originally installed at this link (note that 1972 information is on page 2 of the document). Today, the typical industry standard pattern follows the diagram/schematic at this link.

Beyond these considerations, it is not uncommon for the blade-type RV connector to develop severe internal corrosion. I finally gave up after having to replace my blade-type connectors every-other year and went with the classic metal round pin connectors . . . they are said to be much more durable. This is my first year with the setup and I have already noticed that the connection is much more positive than with the blade-type connectors. Grounding can be a problem at virtually any/every light on the coach - - - for the 3rd time in the last 15 years, I have had to go around to every light on my Overlander and clean grounds and reattach the lamp fixtures (not hard to do, just very time consuming).

It is possible that there is corrosion or loose/erratic connections where the umbilical cord attaches/splices into the coach wiring. I am not certain how this was handled on the 1972 models. In the earlier models, there is a junction box in the bellypan on the curbside about 30" behind the A-Frame hitch. In some of the later model trailers this was replaced by a junction box in the front wall of the coach just above the A-Frame hitch (I believe that this box was on streetside and accessed from a removable panel inside of the coach under the front lounge).

Good luck with your investigation. This gremlin is among the more frustrating to locate, but with a methodical approach, it is one that you can usually locate and correct.

Kevin
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Old 09-16-2009, 09:42 PM   #5
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I suggest you focus on one or 2 problems at a time. Your list is TMI.

Here are a couple of things that stand out to me.

First, what are you basing the axles are "in good shape" on. The could look OK but still be shot.

If you are talking about AGM batteries the original Univolt charger is not a good choice.

For the running lights check for corrosion in the sockets.

Check your fuses and the fuse receptacles in the Univolt.

NO NO NO don't even think about scraping her.
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Old 09-16-2009, 09:57 PM   #6
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Can't seem to find this on Airstream's current website, but I printed a diagram from their site about a year and a half ago. It covers year models from 1966 to 1981 and gives the color codes for the trailer wires to the tow vehicle as follows:

green - running lights and tail lights
brown - right turn and stop
blue - charge line
white - ground
black - back-up lights
yellow - brakes
red - left turn and stop

1966 thru 1981 Airstreams used an older version of the 7 way plug. It has to be re-wired to fit the plugs on today's trucks.

Hope the color codes above are some help.
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Old 09-27-2009, 07:51 PM   #7
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1972 29' Ambassador
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Hi, we just purchased our 1972 Ambassador which we are planning to restore. Major panic also. Here is our question on batteries: Our battery seems to be located behind the awning arm at the rear. Does the awning arm have to be removed to access the battery? It is blocking the panel. Thanks.
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Old 09-27-2009, 08:24 PM   #8
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running lights

This is probably not common to Ambassadors but I have the same problem on my 74. I have the most problem with corrosion at the plug at the trailer side behind the propane tanks. I use battery cleaner and battery protector (in spray can from any automotive store). This usually lasts about 3-4 months.
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