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Old 12-07-2017, 05:32 AM   #1
New Member
1962 24' Tradewind
Nantucket , Massachusetts
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 4
1962 Tradewind Renovation

After years of looking, I found the Silver Bullet a state over in RI. on Craigslist.
The price was right and the shell looked great, so how bad could it be?!? Yep...pretty bad.

My plan is a little different than most, as I'm not looking to return this beast to road ready condition with full plumbing. I'm looking set up the trailer as an open space to use as a mobile office. I do want to make sure the trailer is road safe incase I ever do sell it. Seems crazy to only use it as an office, but real estate prices are pretty insane out here, so trust me when I say this is a great investment, even with the soon to be found problems.

I should also mention that I live on Nantucket Island, where there are zoning laws against living/sleeping in travel trailers and RV's, even on privately owned property. Gotta keep the rifraf away

The interior had a dry chard look, and since it was pissing rain when I went to pick it up, and only two little leaks showed, I assumed the frame would be fine. I really thought the trailer was from a dry hot climate. I imagined Arizona. I was wrong. I already planned to gut it and replace the floor, but after pulling the front section yesterday, it's clear I'm going to need a bunch of frame welding before that "quick" floor replacement happens

Day one I pulled the interior with a plan to tackle tub, toilet and floor on day two. Who decided the tub trim needed 100 rivets? Literally the sturdiest thing on this trailer

Day two, tub came out easy enough, toilet came out easy, then the front floor came out...way to easy. Yep, that dry chard look wasn't from sitting in a dry climate. This floor had been wet for a long time at some point, and the frame has got what I would call pretty horrible rust. Replacing the axle certainly seems like the easy part now that the frame is showing.

The front shell looks like it's sitting on the frame a little bit as it's bulged out a touch where the frame comes out to the tongue. I think thre is some C channel missing, and what's there is crap.

Considering most people seem to have rust and frame issues by the mid-mounted water tank and the bathroom, I'm not looking forward to what might be lurking back there!

I'm off a couple days a week, so this is going to take a while I'm afraid. Ive read through some threads, and now plan to read a whole lot more before the weekend.

Thanks for any thoughts and input.
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Reelsnrods is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2017, 11:20 AM   #2
Vintage Kin
Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 7,998
Images: 1
The advice isn’t specific, but more a general observation: it’s only original once.

Understand that gutted trailers are ruins in the eyes of many. Most “restos” stop at that point. The visuo-spatial skills necessary to finish an interior to near factory quality in design aren’t automatic. Thus, a gutted trailer has low value.

That this unit needs serious work doesn’t quite obviate (for me, a dictum) the desirability of original. “Original” more a matter of layout and materials quality.

A desk in place of a bed? Sure. If it’s temporary.

To want to buy a restored unit (the dirty hard work done) it’s reassuring to see the charm (lack of a better word) of OEM 1962. Better materials and appointments, yes, if that comes up. Not ever “less than”.

A unit not then difficult for the next owner to “finish” to travel spec.

An electric instead of original manual water pump? No

To the point of modern hardware inside an obsolete appliance? No.

Flooring (such as Marmoleum), and cabinetry near-identical to original in all respects (even if of different wood; etc)? Yes

Identical floor trim? No

Identical cabinet hinges? No

Additions or “improvements “? Sure, if it’s a pocket door for the bath. Better fixtures mounted in original locations, etc., with a judicious addition perhaps.

As a third generation Silver Streak owner (a lifetime of looking at them), I find near-original to be highly satisfying. I’ve not met anyone who disagrees, in essence.

Leaving something out would be preferable to including that not easily changed.

Purely my opinion as it’s an aesthetics question. I believe it “safe” and back that with first impression of many trailers long past factory rollout.

Good luck!


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Old 12-07-2017, 09:14 PM   #3
Rivet Master
TouringDan's Avatar

1966 24' Tradewind
1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,262

Welcome to Air Forums. You have come to the right place. All the information you will need can be found in this forum with the wonderful and knowledgeable members.

Looks like you have found a nice Tradewind with a great shell and windows. Looks like you may be a candidate for a shell off rebuild. Step one would be to read some of the great shell off restoration threads. Step two is to decide what you are going to do. Step three is to just do it. It will take a lot longer than you think and cost more than you think, but you will learn a lot and it should be an incredibly satisfying experience.

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Old 12-09-2017, 03:00 PM   #4
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1962 24' Tradewind
Nantucket , Massachusetts
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 4
I only had a couple hours today as it's pissing rain and cold. Manageged to get another section of floor up and a wheel cover. More crossmembers and outriggers revealed that will need replacement. There appears to be plenty of replacements sections available online, so I feel ok about getting proper replacements, now I just need to lineup a welder here locally.
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Old 12-09-2017, 06:27 PM   #5
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1959 26' Overlander
Western , Massachusetts
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,466
Images: 6
Welcome to the forums and congratulations on finding an Airstream from a great year.

The rain on your end of the state is all snow on our end. At least you won't have to clear off your roof!

As mentioned earlier, a good start is to read some of the well documented restorations on this site. This thread is an older one, but has very good information.

C-channel is easy to reproduce. A lot of us have used this.

Do you have a bulge in the Aluminum by the big plate in the front? Did it break off the frame? My '59 had rotted away in the same place and now has a new, larger one in place.
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Old 12-10-2017, 03:43 AM   #6
New Member
1962 24' Tradewind
Nantucket , Massachusetts
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 4
Definitely reading and reading some more.

When I pulled the front floor, the C-channel was there, but it literally pulled away from the body when I was trying to clear the screws holding it to he deck.

I did see the replacement piece online. Once I get the whole floor up and I can get a count of how many sections needed, I’ll sell a small organ and buy all the frame parts at once.

Thanks for the links. I’m using the search function and learning lots!
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Old 03-14-2018, 05:46 PM   #7
2 Rivet Member
1960 24' Tradewind
Kingsville , Ontario
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 60

Looks a lot like ours a year or so ago.... get that shell off. We just jacked it up in the yard, not the best way, but that and a bunch of guys can do wonders. Watch the wind.... get the frame out form under and lash the shell down preferrably in a sheltered spot.

Measure the floor before you rip it all off. copy dimensions, many many dimensions. Measure the overhang from the frame to floor, width of door etc....

Get the frame to a competent wielder. replace all or scab on new, do not worry about weight too much here.

Before weld, you may want to replace bearings, brakes, shocks....bushings.

get proper hitch apparatus installed and jack stand. get C channel fabed( get to know local sheet metal guys. also get them to fab you up wheel wells give them the old ones for model.

Install 3/4 inch plywood after sealing edges to prevent future rot (slow down). Use marine two part paint from ..... interlux ???

Find proper bolts to bolt down floor, ones from VTS are pretty soft and if I had to redo it I would've found another product....

Find source for hardenned buck rivets, dimpled to put shell back on. Get air hammer, cheap one from Canadian tire was fine... Mastercraft.- $30.
However you need the proper head; VTS.

Get about 15 tubes of Trem Pro 635- gray... use rubber gloves, stuff is nasty. This is to seal shell to c-channel.

Drop me a line, we are just sealed windows, vents, starting interior, but anything else we can help with let us know. Dig in Brother it's a trip !!!

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