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Old 04-30-2011, 12:18 PM   #1
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1974 29' Ambassador
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Overwhelmed!

Hello, bought a 74 Ambassador to fix up, I am way over my head. First I thought a good cleanup paint removal etc. Now I want to strip and remove cabinets, refrigerator, oven,etc. I tried cleaning 35 yrs of grime and filth but have decided to strip and don't know how to. For example how do I remove the refrigerator, what needs to be disconnected. What about the stove?I don't know where the access is to the refrigerator, its the original gas electric Dometic. Any help is appreciated, I've tried searcing the site.
Mo
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Old 04-30-2011, 12:26 PM   #2
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Welcome into the pool.
Sorry I cant give you specifics on the refrigerator, but everything that I have had to remove is like an onion.. layered. Start by removing the top layer and work your way down.
Don't get in a huge hurry and break or bend something that you don't have to.
Have a place to store the junk once you get it out.
Have a drill with a 1/8 bit (might as well get a few bits), a pry bar is good to have, and a couple flat screwdrivers.
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Old 04-30-2011, 12:42 PM   #3
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Thanks Daniel, right now I'm sitting down scratching my head, wasted 3 hrs cleaning what needs to be dumped but feel like I need to accomplish something before I leave for the day
Mo
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Old 04-30-2011, 12:47 PM   #4
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It is overwhelming.. the big project.. The worst part is not really knowing what to do a lot of times. Most of the time I really don't know what I will have to do next.. until I get to that point.. this has been going on since the first week of December.. being in a hurry def. increases the stress and frustration level... it does for me anyway..
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Old 04-30-2011, 01:07 PM   #5
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If you can find a copy of the 74 maintenance manual, it gives some info on various part removals. Mostly just work from the outside in like DanielB says, removing fasteners and prying (Gently) till you find where those hidden fasteners are that someone (not necessarily airstream) put there. Big job yes, but the end result will be something to be proud of and hopefully a bit of fun..........Phil.
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Old 04-30-2011, 01:14 PM   #6
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Welcome to the Forum.
An onion is a good way to describe the situation your in.
The fridge is typically screwed or bolted to the floor and riveted to the back wall. You will probably have to remove the cabinet side panels from the walls to gain access to the fasteners.
The gas and electric connections are usually gotten to through the outside access hatch.
There's a guy selling manuals on CD on eBay. Good investment.
Go slow, don’t force anything and you’ll come out smelling like a rose.

Good Luck,
Tom
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Old 04-30-2011, 03:54 PM   #7
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My service manual told me exactly how to remove the refrigerator and it was very easy. I wrote a little about it in my blog. I'm very happy I bought that service manual.
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Old 04-30-2011, 07:22 PM   #8
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Thanks for the advice and help, Daniel, I tried to PM you, but wasnt allowed until I become a "trusted member"? Thanks so much or the help, I'll let you know how I progress plan on trying again tomorrow.
Mo
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Old 04-30-2011, 07:29 PM   #9
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Mo, one thing I learned when taking on a big project is - NEVER look at the big picture. You will be overwhelmed. Take one bite at a time. Today was replacing the inside of the door. The rest of the trailer didn't exist. Only the door. It's done and now I will move on to a leaky roof vent. That is all I will concentrate on this week. If I looked at everything I had to do, I would give up. One step at a time.
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Old 04-30-2011, 08:28 PM   #10
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Mo, hate to say it but you've started down that dark path of the DIY Airstream restoration Jouney. Mine also began with a dead fridge on my 72 Tradewind. I started to take it apart with pliers and a screwdriver. Then while I had it out couldn't fix it so bought a new one. New one was bigger so some cabinet work had to be done. Hey while I got this thing apart might as well replace that old orange Formica. Well if I do that then I have to replace the Formica on the sink counter too so it'll match. Then I might as well replace that old two knob faucet. See where this goes... So take it slow and enjoy the ride. I'm no carpenter or construction guy and most of it ain't hard. There's always someone on this forum that's done EVERYTHING you'll ever encounter. Hire a pro when needed, trade a few 6 packs of Beer for help and you'll see that long list begin to disappear.
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Old 04-30-2011, 08:57 PM   #11
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I can identify with you. We bought a 27' Overlander a month ago. All went well at first. Brought her home - 2 hour drive - no problems. Plugged it in. Everything worked fine, even the fridge. We spent all day cleaning up the old fridge after unplugging the whole thing. With the fridge clean and shining, we plugged the whole back in - DEAD! No power anywhere. Go figure!! All the old mold and dirt must have kept it working. We ordered the service manual from Airstream. Still haven't figured it.
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Old 04-30-2011, 09:14 PM   #12
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Electric power is my favorite problem. Easy to diagnose. Just get a non-contact voltage tester and start working backwards. Wherever the bird chirps, that's the problem spot.
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Old 05-01-2011, 07:41 AM   #13
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It's definitely reasuring to know others have and are going thru the same thing...not that I subscribe to the saying about misery and company.....DougZ, I agree fully, but it's still hard to do, I started by trying to strip paint in the bathroom, the whole AS has been painted a hellashious pink/purple with what looks like a very stiff paintbrush, couldn't finish, worked for hours, thought I'd tackle the kitchen, got nowhere, sat down lit my pipe and thought about taking a nap in the midst of all the crap. Definitey a "dark path" Rich. Also have rotten floor board by the left of the entrance, by the corner of the door and the kitchen cabinet, the guy I bought it from said the only reason there was rot was because he left the window open (window is on the right) so now I have to try to figure out where the leak is coming from and fix the floor. The refrigerator was working according to previous owner but is rusty and moldy, the floor board on the edge of it also looks bad,which is why I want to remove it. I was laying in bed this morning thinking I should have spent more and gotten something in better shape, maybe newer, but then again how nice will it be when I'm finished knowing that it was mostly sweat equity...or will it?
Mo
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Old 05-01-2011, 08:18 AM   #14
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Mine had floor rot by the door and the guy told me the reason for the floor rot was he had left the window open. Part true . . . he had left the window open AND I found 11 separate leak points from the entry door to the front of the curbside window. The trailer looked good from 50' away but there wasn't anything not leaking in that 6 feet of space.

I bought the trailer with the assumption that nothing worked and I wasn't disappointed. I hoped something worked but virtually nothing did. I have invested time and cash. On the other hand I enjoy a project. My trailer was a project but not a basket case. It was in good to fair condition with deferred maintenance. All the windows were good without one torn screen. It wasn't abused . . . it was neglected. . . but it was being used as a camper the day I bought it.
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Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...g?t=1278182564
Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
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