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Old 08-05-2020, 09:34 AM   #1
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1977 29' Ambassador
Keene , New Hampshire
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 1
1977 Land Yacht - Novice DIY renovation - PLEASE HELP :)

Hello! Thanks for your help
I am a new member and a new owner to an old Airstream...
I purchased this beautiful 1977 Land Yacht Ambassador a few months ago, and have finally started on this project during the quarantine (Covid blessings in disguise!).

This is my first time doing any kind of renovation or construction on an airstream (or anything for that matter). I'm taking my time, and trying to read and learn as much as possible along the way.
I am very grateful for this forum, and hoping that some of you experts out there can help advise me as I embark on this epic journey.

I bought the airstream in its original 1977 condition, and wanting to do a full renovation, I have begun by gutting it entirely. I'll post picture of the day I purchased it, and where it stands now. I have a found a lot of old/ broken/ rusty secrets along the way... I was expecting to uncover a certain amount, but the condition I thought it was in vs the condition it seems to be in, is somewhat of a disappointment. I have a lot more work cut out for me than I realized!

I now have it in a place where it is down to the bones: the entire frame and shell are exposed, and I overwhelmed the next steps.
Shell on or off renovation? Repairing the frame vs buying new parts; repairing the holes in the shell; replacing windows and gaskets; choosing insulation for the floor and the walls; purchase new water tanks (or is it safe to use the originals), what kind of flooring should I buy; how will I run the electric, solar panels and battery, kitchen appliances, new toilet... the list goes on and I am overwhelmed!

First off, I think I should deal with the frame. It seems like there is a lot of welding to have done: there are holes in the longitudinal tubing, there are areas where the outriggers are heavily rusted and no longer fully intact and there are also holes and major edges of rust in the underbelly (banana?) skin. Aesthetically it needs to be repaired, but I'm not sure about the structural integrity. Can these be repaired/ welded, or do I need to buy new parts? Will hiring a mobile welder suffice, or will I have to tow this to a shop? I have avoided doing a shell-off renovation up until this point, but after seeing how much rust and Frame damage there is, perhaps I have to take the shall off and tow the Frame to a welding shop for a full refurbishing. Anyone have input on the condition of the Frame, and what they think my next steps are?

I'm young, recently lost my job due to Covid, moved back in with my parents, and not looking to spend a fortune if I can do the work myself. Any suggestions and help you have are very much appreciated.

Thank you and I look forward to sharing my process with you along the way!

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