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Old 11-20-2005, 01:28 PM   #1
Yorkshire Airstreamers
1979 23' Safari
1968 22' Safari
near Bridlington , East Yorkshire
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 20
Unhappy Urgent assistance needed for Sad UK Owners

Hello all...
we are writing from the UK as we have just taken delivery of our 1979 International Safari 23' which arrived in England from the states on Friday. We were told by the seller/dealer that this was a nice little rig and ready to roll but after a 7 hour drive to the port we found something entirely different and we are desperate for assistance/ help in giving us some light at the end of the tunnel as the trailer has used all our savings.

The Dometic fridge does not work at all gas or electric.
the concertina door is very badly burned and beyond repair.
The front end of the trailer floor is very rotten and needs replacing.
Univolt centre is completely burned out and needs replacing.
Pilot light on furnace will not work.
Broken water pipes under the floor in kitchen area.
Wasp nests in the bathroom fan and main ceiling lights which have damaged the fittings.
Sticky wood effect wall coverings have all peeled away.
Broken switch on an eyeball reading light.
Electric brakes didn't work at all during the 7 hour journey home (car wiring ok)
Broken tambour door which is completely detached.
All the plastic fittings throughout are brittle and today when removing a roller blind in the kitchen, all the plastic housing broke away.

Has anyone at all any advice on why the plastic everywhere is untouchable because it is so brittle? what could have caused this and are the parts replaceable?
Has anyone a Univolt centre they would like to sell which fits ours? Or indeed, any other part listed here in this message.

Does anyone know where we can obtain another door? has anyone any advice on how to test the fridge or if broken does anyone know where we can locate a repair manual for 1979 or are parts available?
The floor may be too bigger job for us to undertake.
Does anyone know where I can get the curtain tabs - part no 204-265 - they are all brittle and are the type that little pieces of elastic fits onto.

Does anyone have any idea why all the internal fabric is crumbling and hard?

does anyone know where we can get the wood effect sticky paper to match the rest?

Sorry if this is a tall order.. we have contacted the dealer who claims to be reputable but as yet we have not had a reply so if anyone can help we will be very grateful. Just by pointing us in the right direction will be a start as we have to now restore it, however the plastic fittings are a worry because everything we touch seems to disintegrate.

We thought we were getting a really nice trailer because that is what we were told - we had no idea the inside was such a disaster and was a sad and upsetting shock.
The outside however is very nice.

Hoping you can help us

Stuart and Jane
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Old 11-20-2005, 01:50 PM   #2
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Sorry to hear that your buying experience was such a bad one. I think everyone might like to know the name of the dealer that you bought this jewel from. As for the curtain tabs you might try Inland RV. The only thing that I can think of that would make all the plastic brittle is storing the trailer in high heat. Maybe others can weigh in on this. Sounds like you are in for a major interior restoration but there are many people on this forum that may be able to help.
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Old 11-20-2005, 01:56 PM   #3
Remember Burma Shave!
driftwood's Avatar
2006 19' Safari
2000 25' Safari
1985 25' Sovereign
Fort Myers , SW.Florida
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 510
Images: 35

My symphathies ....

Please post the name and location of the seller/dealer. Others need to know this.

I am confident that Forum members will assist you in your endeavors.

Send me an email address & I will reply with a .pdf attachment = Dometic Refrigerator Diagnostic Service Manual.
HERE is a good link to start the Univolt replacement process. There are others ....
NORM #3305

"... there is nothing you can't fix yourself ...
... if you're handy ...
... with a check book! ..."
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Old 11-20-2005, 02:05 PM   #4
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1974 27' Overlander
1954 26' Romany Cruiser
1960 26' Overlander
Rockingham County , New Hampshire
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Sorry to hear that your dream seems now to be a disaster. You have a good start on your list of repairs, and have come to a great place to help solve the problems. For the Dometic, don't give up on it too fast. did you try to light it manually? @ of mine will not light from the inside. I light them from the back of the unit. Sounds like the original fabric needs to be tossed out and new put in. Make yourselves a list of things to do and work on them one at a time. Check out my website to get some hints on how I did mine... Good luck!
'74 Overlander (T-O-Bee)
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Old 11-20-2005, 02:07 PM   #5
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1964 26' Overlander
1964 19' Globetrotter
OlyPen , Washington
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 13,488
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High heat - We have a 77 that has been in the dessert on the west coast most of it's life. The plastic is brittle - the fabric was rotted and surfaces were faded and aging. But - it looked great when we bought it.....

the roll up doors are called tambor (tambour) doors - use the search function on this site to find info - they are replaceable - if you're a little handy. Many parts including curtain tabs are available - again use the search function.

The leaks will have to be fixed - the univlot replaced, floor repaired - etc.

All these things are do-able and many of us have undertaken these kinds of repairs. The bigger issue here is that you believed you had purchased a unit in good working condition. I would try to get my money back - or some of it... if you are willing to repair this unit...
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Old 11-20-2005, 02:18 PM   #6
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1968 26' Overlander
Wenatchee WA , Cape Cod
Join Date: Apr 2005
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For other resources for fixing things also try there is a list of restoration sources as well as how to's and a great catalogue of other trailer pictures.

Someone on this forum has done all of these repairs. We have found that searching threads usually answers most of our questions. If not, start another thread and many people are bound to tell you how they did it.

Good luck with everything.
Jim & Kathleen
1968 Overlander - WBCCI #5793
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Old 11-20-2005, 02:21 PM   #7
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1971 29' Ambassador
Braunschweig , Germany
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 410
Images: 9
Hi Stuart and Jane,

sorry to hear about that desaster... I am not shure if our Univolt will fit, but PM me with the data of yours and I will check. We probably won´t need ours anymore as we change everything to 230V and 12V. We have also some other stuff left from our 1971 Ambassador that we won´t take into the new interior... So send me a PM or email and I will check or maybe I can help in any other way, just let me now.

I think you can be shure that everyone her in the Forums will try to help - You are not alone out there!!

All the best to the UK from Germany!!

Björn H. Adam
Wolfenbuettel, Germany

AirstreamForumsMember No. AIR 5535

Proud Owner of a 1971 Ambassador 29' called "Dave"

-A stranger is a friend you just haven´t met before!-
unknown irish

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Old 11-20-2005, 02:30 PM   #8
Round on both ends
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1979 31' Excella 500
1975 28' Argosy 28
Rutledge , Georgia
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Hi, Stuart and Jane,

I'm sorry that you were taken advantage of by an unscrupulous person. As I see it, you can either start legal proceeding to get some or all of your money back and keep the trailer or send it back.

The fact that your shell looks good might be justification to undertake the restoration.

Heat and age make plastic brittle. I've found that oftentimes it becomes a question as to whether to attempt a repair on plastic or... to find out how it was done in the pre-plastic era on the vintage Airstreams.

You name it, and somebody here has done it, so you're certainly in the right place if you decide to tackle this.


1975 Argosy 28 "Argosy"
1979 Excella 500 31 "Betsy"
1992 Lincoln Mk 7 LSC
2003 Dodge 2500 Cummins "TowHog"
"Lucy Loosehair" the cat - Airstream mascot
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Old 11-20-2005, 02:42 PM   #9
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Posts: 932
That sucks!

But rather then restore it why not sell it to someone that wants a hamburger stand and buy another Airstream from a more reputable dealer?

How much are you in it?
Who sold it to you?

I may be able to find you a buyer in the UK if needed.
Who knows depending on how much you are in it you might even turn a profit!

RichardT of Bat Cave
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Old 11-21-2005, 03:31 PM   #10
Yorkshire Airstreamers
1979 23' Safari
1968 22' Safari
near Bridlington , East Yorkshire
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 20
A big thank you to all out there that is offering their help.

We have asked the dealer for a response - we haven't had one yet so we are giving him the opportunity to extend the time just incase he is away and if he doesn't reply then we will of course inform the forum who sold us this beauty!
We have found that the airstream is most definately a big wasps nest... every hole and opening is nest infested... our latest finding tonight was in the porch light! It makes interesting photography as every finding is captured on film. We have also found out that the bathroom floor is rotten too.

We are trying to remain positive and crack on... however, we are shocked that the unit was sold without proper inspection from the seller - I don't think the customs would have been very pleased if they knew we have imported a colony of wasps! Albeit dead ones.

Thanks to all again - we are so pleased we have support and if anyone has any of the parts mentioned that they would like to sell, we would be pleased to hear from you...
We fully intend to stick with this one... we are accepting the challenge of the wasp!

Jane and Stuart
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Old 11-21-2005, 03:36 PM   #11
Site Team
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1964 26' Overlander
1964 19' Globetrotter
OlyPen , Washington
Join Date: Aug 2003
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Images: 90
What a positve outlook! Keep after that dealer.

And now you have a name for your new project: WASP

I love it: the Wasp AirStream Project
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Old 11-21-2005, 03:46 PM   #12
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1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 7,173
Images: 40
It maybe a blessing in you won't have to wait for stuff to break before you fix it....

I think it should be What an AirStream Project. If the univolt is toast, I would go ahead and upgrade to the correct unit for the UK, ditto the fridge. IIRC Dometic has some really nice stuff that is sold in EU and not the US. I have friends that RV in both countries and they always bring the brochures back from over there. The laminate is available from Wilsonart, I will have to see if I can find the part number. Curtain tabs are availble from most Airstream Dealers and you might find some in a Marine (as in sailboat/motorboat) shop too.

Good luck and let us know how you are making out...and don't forget the pictures!

__________________ many little time...
Why are we in this basket...and where are we going
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Old 11-21-2005, 04:10 PM   #13
We can tow it!
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1996 28' Excella
Where the water tastes like wine , Michigan
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,625
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Angry Seller has more gall than a brass monkey.."ready to roll?"

So sorry to hear that you had this experience. Such a shame! I hope that you find some things that you will love about this trailer as you work on it.
Feel supported by this kind and helpful community.
Steph in MI Air# 6996-
I Hockeytown USA!!
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Old 11-23-2005, 04:52 PM   #14
4 Rivet Member
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1983 31' Airstream310
Iwerne Minster , Dorset. UK
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 274
I do hope you will be able to sort this out. It certainly leaves a bad taste in the mouth. My 310 Motor home is about to "go sailing" out of Galveston - I am now gettting nervous!

If it is any help I have a power centre that I took out of a Winnebago Lesharo when I revamped all the electrics. I dont know if it is the same type but it does the 12vdc conversion and charging but it is not the "intelligent" charger. It works, well it did when I removed it.
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