Monthly Archives: October 2006



Today was a big day.  First thing I did was install the TwinTemp Jr.  It was a little scary because it needs an exhaust hole cut into the subfloor, an air intake through the subfloor and four bolt holes through the bottom of the floor as well.  All w/o hitting any frame members or blocking future tank or plumbing locations….  As it turns out two of the mounting bolts are in the grey tank cavity.  So if the TwinTemp ever has to be removed the grey tank will have to be dropped first :-(.

I started by measuring the vent locations and measuring the area I planned for the TwinTemp, from above and below where I had the belly pan pulled back.

Here is the bottom of the TwinTemp with the vent and air intake hole.


Next I used paper to create a quick template of the vent locations and drilled a small test pilot hole and ran a red wire through it so I could measue from below to make sure everything is free of frame members.


Everything looks good.  So the holes were cut and a screen was put in over the fresh air intake.  I then laid the twin temp in the spot to see how everything lined up and to outline the corners so I could fine the locations of the mounting bolts.


So here we go.  TwinTemp mounted! :-).  The system comes with rubber spacers that keep the TwinTemp elevated so the fresh air can circulate, and to cushion the unit.  What a relief to get this thing mounted.


The first photo of todays post showed that I had to totally remove the tub, vanity, and toilet and made the trailer a complete mess.  I needed to run a lot of wiring and plumbing behind the tub, vanity, and black tank.

I decided to run two #6 wires to get high current +12vdc back and forth to each side of the trailer, I still don’t know where the battery is going.  I also ran CATV wiring, speaker wiring, and CAT5 wire just to have it.  Also power for the TwinTemp power vent in the vanity.

The plumbing I needed to do was to get the TwinTemp furnace plumbing to the vanity as well as standard plumbing for the bath sink and toilet.  The red PEX is for the TwinTemp and the white PEX lines are for the vanity.  All lines were secured to the trailer wall.


Next an opening was made in the base of the vanity for a furnace vent.  The vents are like little radiators that hot antifreeze is pumped through.  Here are a couple of photos.  First the front.


And the back.  The muffin fans can be seen here.  They kick on when the TwinTemp thermostat calls for heat.


Here’s the bathroom more or less back together.  If you look at the bottom of the vanity you can see the hole cut for the power vent yet to be installed.


And finally an over view shot of the work today.


That’s it for today.  Tune in next time for more exciting Ambassador restoration! 😉

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More riveting work.

Time to break out the aluminum again!

I needed to close up those openings on the inside with insulation and some aluminum paneling.  These will all be covered up by cabinets and won’t be seen when complete.

So the first thing was to get out the ol’ Harbor Freight shears and the aluminum from Air Parts Inc.


Here is the first opening, which is where the orginal gas heater was.  When I got the trailer that had been replaced with a 110VAC heater.


Add a little insulation…


Then of course, finally the new panel.


I needed to get this done because I intend to mount the TwinTemp right in front of it.  While I was making panels I also sheated over the other two openings in the kitchen.


There ya have it for todays work.  Tomorrow is the last day of daylight savings.  I don’t expect to be able to do too much after work from here on out during the work week unless I can confine it to the inside of the trailer.

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Reworking the fridge vent

First off, I got the taillights back on.  These are now (knock on wood) leak free.

I also restored the license plate light even though its in the wrong spot since someone added the spare tire carrier and moved the license plate.  I thought of moving the light when I had the inside skin off during the floor repairs but did not do it.

I may yet find a better place for the spare tire and put the license plate where it should go.


I had a few more potential leak sources to check out.  The first of which are where some after market awning brackets were installed.  They used rather large screws.  My olympic rivets barely filled the holes.


Still need a rivet shaver….

Next up was removing the *eyebrow* fridge vent cover. I wanted to see what learked inside 🙂


Yes more wasps nests.  I have found tons of them in every conceivible hiding place.  I was able to dig these out.  Nice dry kindling for a fridge fire eh?  At this point I also blew out the chimney from the inside with the air compressor just for good measure.


Next it was time to add a screen and vulkem around the opening to keep it water tight.


Probably would not keep wasps out anyway, but it should keep other creatures of larger stature out.  Finally put it back together with the brow back on using pop rivets as original.  I dipped them in vulkem first and put a dab of parbond on the tops when done.


Here is what a restored 60’s fridge vent looks like.  Nice and clean and leak free.

Of course, I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to use it or not when I put in a modern fridge.  The original fridge only used the chimney to vent the combustible air out.  Modern fridges also vent out the heated air from the back of the fridge out the top to create the airflow that allows for cooling.  This small hole may not provide enough venting for a modern fridge.   If not, a new vent opening will have to be fabricated.

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You guessed it… more boring sealing

Carrying on with my weatherproofing my airstream, I continued on around and removed the tail lights.


They were in very nice condition.  But I decided to go ahead and paint them up.


And polish behind them.  I really was not intending on do it but I thought I might as well.  Even though this clear coat is killer.


I used more of my favorite butyl tape to seal the mounted lamp bases back.  It’s so much easier than using vulkem to clean up.  And that it what was used originally.  I decided to keep the lenses off and try to polish them up with Nuvite to see how they come out.


In the middle of all of this, I also removed the CB antenna in the front.  I polished behind it, painted it, and mounted it back with butyl tape as well.


So we’re getting there.  I only need to repair the license plate lamp holder.  It has too short a wire to install it back.  So I will have to solder a wire to it before I mount it.  After that is mounted, the only leak holes I know about are about eight awning mounting holes.  Someone used rather large bolts to hold on an after market awning.  I’m not sure a Olympic rivet will fill the holes or not.  So, I’ll have to check that out, do a little vulkeming and parbonding around and hope for the best! 🙂

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More sealing

I’m in the process of taking everything off the trailer that is mounted and seal it up again.  Turns out there are quite a few things to do.  Any everyone of them has had bad or dried up gaskets.  I guess 46 years in the Sun will do that.

Today I started on the water inlet on the front.  It’s a big mess.  Good thing I took it apart because it would have leaked like mad.

Here it is disassembled.


I decided to try and clean it up a bit and paint it.  I have no intention on using this again, but would rather avoid another patch.


Here it is installed again.  I was wondering what was supposed to hold the pipe in place.  The flange is screwed to the trailer but the pipe just flops around. Mine had a small strap around the pipe and screwed to the wall but it seems pretty whimpy.

A buddy on the forums explained that the pipe originally screwed directly into the metal tank that would have sat inside the trailer.  Of course mine was missing so I had no idea.


I also had no idea I put in back on upside down ;-)  That’s how it was when I took it off….. Oh well.  At least now it should not leak.  I put butyl tape behind the flange and put good amounts of Vulkem around the pipe inside the flange.  It’s pretty solid now, but I may look into a better way of securing it inside.

I also removed the original power inlet, and TV antenna wiring input and sealed behind them with the butyl tape.  All that’s left is the CB antenna, license plate light, and rear brake lights…

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Getting ready for rain.

Hard to believe that I’m trying to get ready for rain as its 85 degrees and sunny today.  But the weather turns on a dime around here so you never know.  Also today is the start of the last week of daylight savings time :-(.

I sealed the top of the main door gutter, I could see daylight through the seam.  I also removed the porch light and scraped off the old putty which was dryed out.  I added new putty, painted the heads of the screws and secured it back on the trailer.

I also decided to attack this little project.


The rusty old TV pole.  Its kinda neat actually.  Inside that rusty box in the middle is a gear that attaches to a crank inside. It functions as a nify rotor.  I had no idea if the seal was water tight behind this thing or not.  Plus I needed to deal with the rust.

So I took it all apart.  After fighting some rusty screws with the dremal and drill, I got it apart.


And it left this rusty mess on the trailer.


After completely disassembling it and painting what I could I got it back together.  Good thing I did this because the gasket between the rusty metal square and the trailer was completely wasted.  I replaced it with putty and vulkem across the top.

It’s all back together and working nicely.  Another project checked off the list.


We always use the cable TV connections at campgrounds, so I don’t think we’ll be needing the TV antenna anyway.  My plan now is to figure out how to use it to get better wifi into the trailer.  I have a nice high gain wifi antenna that could be mounted to this pole.  If I can figure out a way to get that hooked up inside the trailer that would be cool.  Only problem is the wifi card I have does not have an antenna input.  More to think about… 🙂

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A little here and a little bit there…

Didn’t have a lot of time lately to work on the trailer.  A few family obligations came first.

I did get a couple of hours in today and actually got some needed stuff acomplished.

First off I went back to installing the new AC outlets.  The holes that Airstream originally made barely fit the outlets they used.  I of course had slightly larger ones so each hole, six in all, had to be modified.  Trusty dremal on the job.  Can’t restore an Airstream without one!

Here is a original outlet removed.


And here is the new outlet ready to go into the modified opening.


And at last the test with power.  The two orange lights mean everythings OK! 🙂


Just multiply all of that time six, and it takes up a lot of your time!

After putting in the new gasket on the door, the deadbolt did not work at all.  It actually never worked pefectly, but it was usable.  I wanted a smooth operation.  I did not want the door to have to be pulled in or pushed tight for the bolt to operate.

The fix was to trim off more of the bolt.  Of course mine was a hollow deatbolt 🙁 so that made it interesting trimming it down.  But its still pretty beefy and will do the job, which is to keep the door from popping open while towing!



My mother is now a contributor to the trailer restoration! :-)  I wonder if she has a logo to add to the Contributor’s Banner? 😉

She saw that we needed a new mirror and had a couple of extras and brought one by.  Fits perfect!  Thanks mom!


And lastly, the TwinTemp has finally made it into the trailer.  It’s just sitting there waiting for its turn.  Which should be real soon.  I need to get it mounted and the logistics of all its support componets figured out.


Well, thats it.  Like I said, not much time in, but it was good to get a few things done.


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Let there be light!

I made a trip to Marinco and got my inlet swapped out.  So I took a couple of minutes and got it installed.


So here it is wired into the new circuit panel.  The orange lead is the 10 gauge wire from the new power inlet.  It feeds the 30 amp breaker on the left.  I also grounded the box to the trailer as well. 


And there was light!  That’s 110vac light 😉


I also purchased all new outlets that are the three prong varity.  My ground connection will be via the trailer aluminum.  But I tried to replace one real quick and as it turns out my replacement outlets are larger than the orginal so the holes will have to be enlarged slightly. 🙁

Nothing easy about vintage….

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Small step closer….

Nothing big today really.  A few small things.  Anything helps really since there is so much to do 😉

I replaced all the tear drop marker lights, and re-installed the door lock.  I also installed a new door catch and latch on the front battery box.

However, simply as this sounds it was far from simple.  The reason is I wanted to polish behind all of these items before I installed them.  Any the very bad news is my trailer has clearcoat on it.  Which means it has to be stripped off before it can be polished.

Not only does it have clearcoat but it appears to be much tougher than the clearcoat on my old ’71 Safari.  I’m using Bix stripper, and it took about four applications to get a head start.  I need something much tougher on this trailer.

Here are some shots of the work.  Here is the re-installed door lock.  I still need to do something with the deadbolt.  Since I put the door gasket on it does not lock.  I may need to get a new one and trim down the bolt.


And one of the tear drop marker lights.


Not bad.  It was just a once over with the compounder.  That clearcoat was a killer though.  I do not look forward to polishing this trailer!!

Next up was drilling the 2-3/4″ hole in the side of the trailer for the new Marinco 30 amp power inlet.  I moved the breaker box to the streetside so it will be closer to the utilities in the campgrounds.  I also wanted to update my power cable and power inlet at the same time.  So I had to drill a rather large hole for the inlet.  Not a fun job! 🙂

First I had to pay an obscene amount for the hole saw and arbor.  Then using my big drill I went for it.  All I can say is use a variable speed drill and go slow.  Real slow!  It has a habit of jumping on you and aluminum scratches easily!

Here is a shot of my newest hole.  It is right behind the streetside closet and comes in just under the new breaker box.


I dry fitted the Marinco to see how it looked.


Not bad.  One slight problem with the Marinco inlet.  It is supposed to lock in the open position with a nice positive *click*.  Well mine seems pretty wimpy.  If you slighly bump it it falls closed.  I called Marinco and they said it sounds like it has a problem.

Turns out they are not too far from me, so I’m going to head over and have them swap it out.  I think it will be faster than trying to mail it back where I got it.

After I get it back , should just be a matter of a few minutes to have power in the trailer again! 🙂

Now for a real bummer :-(.  I took off the lock to the fridge hatch door and took it to a locksmith.  I had to have him reverse enginner a key for it.  Which he did for $17 and provided me with two keys.  I though great.  Now I should be able to open the other storage door on the curbside.  I thought they would be the same key.

Guess what?  They are not the same!! 🙁 :-(.  And to top it off, that lockset is behind the inside wall.  So it’s likely I will have to remove the inner wall to remove the lock to replace or have it keyed.

Why would they make these different?!?!?!!  Either they are nuts, or one of the locks was changed in the last 46 years.

Nothing about vintage is easy… except the ability to spend money on it. 🙁


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More bathroom work…

I got to put a few hours in on the bathroom today.  I was able to get the new riser for the toilet completed and screwed down.  It’s very solid.  Still needs to be trimed out.

The toilet is not mounted yet, just sitting in place.  On my riser I carried it all the way to the wall inside the cabinet.  On the original design, the riser stopped at the vanity, so when you opened the little clothes hamper door, you saw the top of the tank.   Now you don’t, you just see nice flooring.


I had to modify the bottom of the vanity a little to meet my new dimensions.  Turned out pretty good.  I have not secured the vanity yet because I need to run the plumbing supply lines behind the tub and I’m considering putting a TwinTemp heating vent in the base of the vanity.  So I want to be able to pull it in and out for more modifications as needed.

Here is a shot of the black tank where it ends up in the closet.  I added some 1″ boards there to help keep the tank from shifting.   At some point I’ll have to run that 1.5″ vent line up the side of the closet and out the roof.  And I’ll box in the tank as well.


Here is a full shot of the bathroom for some perspective.  It’s coming together nicely.


Well, that’s it for this weekend.  Time sure goes by too fast ;-).

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