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Old 07-15-2009, 09:11 PM   #1
RWK
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BATTLE CREEK , Michigan
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79 ambassador - new here

New here in this forum, would like to know about a 79 ambassador international, have an opportunity to purchase one in good shape, been setting some time,used very little, any suggestions,problems to look for, value ect.
Thanks
RWK
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Old 07-16-2009, 12:07 AM   #2
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1988 25' Excella
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RWK-

Welcome to the Forum!!

Trick #1 - Learn to use the "Search" tab above in upper blue bar... Click on it, type magic words, and find lots of threads.. Try searching for words like "purchase checklist" or "trailer inpection" or "Pre-purchase inspection" and see what you can find...
Trick #2 - there are other members here that will possibly inspect trailer based on lots of experience and give you a more learned opinion... Look at links on front page
Trick #3 - recognize that "fixing it up" is expensive, time consuming, frustrating and a few other things for many members.. You may be a sheet metal worker with experience in aircraft repair, electonic wiring and cabinet-making, but if not, you'll need to acquire those skills over time to try and fix one that needs lots of work
Trick #4 - Most of them that have been sitting, not running, troubled appliances, etc "need lots of repairs"!

As starter, look at suspension (axle/frame/brakes), sub-floor (wet plywood or dry rot is a pain..), plumbing (tanks, piping, pump, water heater, drains), propane systems (tanks, hoses, regulator, furnace, stove, water heater burner), electrical systems (110V power and breakers and wiring, lighting, fans, batteries, charger/transformer), refirgerator and Air Conditioner, and interior furnishings (mattress, fabrics, curtains, carpet).. A quick estimate of cost to repair or replace should b edoubled, and then rounded up.. Good luck!!
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Old 07-16-2009, 05:04 AM   #3
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1986 25' Sovereign
Atlanta , Georgia
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I agree with all the points Condoluminum had, plus I will add some.

I owned a 78 and a 79. Both great trailers with lot's of neat features.

I liked the 70s because the shine up like the vintage trailers, had armstrong airconditioner (bullet proof), were lighter than the 80s+ and thinner. Throw in a lava lamp and some 8-tracks off of Ebay and you will have a great time.

A couple of things to keep in mind that I had issues with:
  • axles, probably shot. Do a search, but if the axle arms sink below level they need to be replaced.
  • frame rust. poke at the frame in wheel wells, in the step case, and look for rust in the frame access holes in the sewer pipe bumper holder.
  • find any soft spots in the floor
  • seperation between the frame and body behind the wheels (search for frame seperation).
Good luck and remember there are a lot of trailers for sale, so it is probably less expensive to buy one in good shape.
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Old 07-17-2009, 01:29 PM   #4
RWK
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Thanks,
Is the axle a trailing arm style with torsion bar springs? what would need to be replaced? springs,axle, or are they one unit? have not looked under it yet other then to see tires are original but dry rotted. Will try to get under and poke around for rust, unit has only be out on the road couple times AC, WH, stove, electric ok, other appl. dont know yet, propane tanks are out of date. any body care to guess a value range? Tires need replaced,grease bearings,needs eq. bars they are missing, no water damage or leakage, clean unused interior. Hope to make a fair offer this weekend and become a member of the Airstream dream!
Thanks again,
RWK
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Old 07-17-2009, 04:22 PM   #5
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1986 25' Sovereign
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The axles are torsion axles and are typically just replaced. there are a number of dealers. I replaced my 86 axles a year ago from Inland RV and was very happy with their expertise/price/service. There are other options as well. Someone was talking about repairing them, but it seemed that it was quite a project.

I had paid $6,500 for both of mine from private sellers. When you look at repairs you can pay a couple thousand for axles, floor and frame repairs are either real expensive or a lot of work depending on your handiness and time.

I would review some of the prices in classifieds and watch ebay for one to sell to get an idea.

GOOD LUCK AND WELCOME
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Old 07-23-2009, 11:43 AM   #6
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Looks like it needs axles, one on each side is level or less, plus tires, gas side of refridge needs work, brakes probably need work also, may be rusted from setting so long, looks like couple thou. to get going. Thanks for input.
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Old 07-23-2009, 11:56 AM   #7
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79 ambassador

Greetings RWK!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RWK View Post
Looks like it needs axles, one on each side is level or less, plus tires, gas side of refridge needs work, brakes probably need work also, may be rusted from setting so long, looks like couple thou. to get going. Thanks for input.
RWK
Something else to keep in mind is that the coach may have Excella Hydra-Vac disc brakes, and if this is the case the following are some considerations:
  • A vacuum source from the tow vehicle is required for them to operate.
  • There are specific brake controllers that are most friendly to this system.
  • Parts are not readily available from auto parts or non-Airstream sources. In fact, Inland RV probably has the most experience/knowledge in dealing with this system since many of the parts have become obsolete.
The Excella Hydra-Vac disc brakes were known to be excellent in their day, and can be today with very careful maintenance -- just be aware that parts can be a bit difficult to obtain.

Kevin
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Old 07-23-2009, 12:00 PM   #8
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I replaced the axles on our 78, myself...no big deal...when you buy axles, get them complete with new outer ends - hubs, brakes, etc...the brakes come assembled on the backing plates ready to bolt up...

The axles are held to the trailer's frame with only two bolts per side - the square tube of the axle fits into a notch in the frame...

It's easy to back one axle of the trailer up on blocks, so the other just 'hangs' there - then you can remove and install it...then reverse the process and get the new axle up on blocks to work on the other...

Good luck - we really like our 78 Ambassador...and we've made a bunch of other mod's to it as time goes by...you'll always get comments as you travel around with your AS - most everyone wants to 'look' you over!
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Old 07-23-2009, 12:35 PM   #9
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Another thumbs up here for the Ambassador. We love ours...just the right size.
Tom
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