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Old 10-22-2014, 09:51 AM   #1
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Andy's 1959 Tradewind Restoration

I bought a 1959 Tradewind earlier this year. I started refinishing the interior this past spring. Once we were working on the trailer I noticed some rot pretty far back on the A-Frame. I took it out to Paul Mayeux's shop called A&P Vintage Trailer Works for them to check it out. After removing more of the belly pan Paul informed me the best plan forward was to replace the frame. Paul has been a member here on AIR going way back more than 10 years. He first started tinkering with Airstream's to fix his own unit and slowly that hobby turned into a business. Now he has a team of amazing folks who help him fabricate amazing refurbished Airstreams.

He's going to be working on my Tradewinds and posting photos to this thread from our smartphone app. It was the easiest process to keep me in the loop and also for him to share his work for others to learn from as well.

The plan is to keep a lot of the original interior but build a new dinette that folds into a bed up front. I'd like to keep the bathroom the same but it's a bit small. We have the bunk version which is going to be great for the kids but we'll need to build a little ladder for them to get up and also some rails on the sides so they don't fall down from way up there!

So far I have called this project The Onion because every time I pull something back I find something else that needs to be done. fortunately we are getting close to the middle and soon there can't be any more layers. I'm just looking forward to some adventures with my family next spring and summer!
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Old 10-22-2014, 06:48 PM   #2
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I'm subscribed. This is going to be fun! I've noticed A&P's ads in these Forums. It is always interesting to learn from others approach to renovating or restoring vintage Airstreams.

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Old 10-23-2014, 06:03 PM   #3
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Thanks Andy! We're very excited to have the opportunity to give the "Onion" a new life.

This trailer has a beautiful body! We're at one of the most interesting phases of this type of project. As you "peel back the layers" you discover a lot of the history of the trailer. At some point in time this trailer had entire curb side lower sheet including the front curved segment and the rear lower curved segment replaced as evidenced by the old style repair rivets that predated Olympics.

At this point we are ready to install the cribbing that will allow us to lift the body from the frame.

We'll see if the pictures come up. I'm pretty rusty at posting...
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Old 10-23-2014, 06:21 PM   #4
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Ok - we'll try again with some attachments...
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Old 10-23-2014, 06:25 PM   #5
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Very exciting! I can't wait to see how this project goes. Maybe we'll finally get a chance to see you around a campfire sometime, Andy!
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Old 10-23-2014, 06:31 PM   #6
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The pictures are so very slow to load - it seems if you attach more than two it locks things down. So here are some more.
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Old 10-23-2014, 06:39 PM   #7
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I suppose I need to go back to the drawing board on resizing the photos - I assumed that 1000 x 1000 @ 72 would not be too large. Here goes again...
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Old 10-23-2014, 06:51 PM   #8
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I know Paul and he should be up to the challenge. That frame is a mess from a worm's point of view. Glad this old TradeWind is being fixed up proper. Maybe one day we can camp next to ecah other and compare '59 TradeWinds.

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Old 10-23-2014, 07:07 PM   #9
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Wow! Paul is actually posting on Airforums! (again)

I'm looking forward to following this thread, for sure.
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Old 10-23-2014, 07:32 PM   #10
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The PO did not use duct tape at least! Looks like patches and some mods with no attention to the exterior!
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Old 10-24-2014, 05:33 AM   #11
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Hi Paul,

Yes, photos are slow to load. Start the upload, and go have a diet coke. It's better earlier in the mornings, and worse after dinner.

But I have noticed that the upload process automatically "re-sizes" my 3 meg photos to about 300k. I think Air Forums web site was designed for lots of photos, and does the re-sizing job automatically to save server space. I don't think you need to re-size first. Try selecting your photos, and then let the system re-size them for you.

I've noticed i-phone photos don't upload as well. They sometimes post way to big and mess up the thread page size. I have no idea why that is.

Nice looking shell on this old Trade Wind. Maybe this is what VAP folks call a "polished turd?" But a good shell and decent windows and door is worth quite a bit. Everything else can be rebuilt.

David
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Old 10-24-2014, 01:19 PM   #12
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Its lovely. Can't wait to see what you do with the interior. I had a dinette that makes into a bed built into the front of my '58. I haven't done much with the small bathroom area. Just left the tub unplumbed for now (tub tends to be a storage space) and installed a composting toilet. Looking forward to see how you handle the small space in back as well.
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Old 10-24-2014, 01:59 PM   #13
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Great thread! Brings back old rotten memories!
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Old 10-24-2014, 02:31 PM   #14
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wow. can't believe a frame can be rusted out like that. I only have experience with my 64 and it had almost no rust. The previous owner kept it painted, and I have to assume under cover, or he was good about the seams. It was in Connecticut. Even with new axle and wheels, I'd be scared to tow something like that. Agree, there's not really any saving that frame.
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Old 10-24-2014, 06:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyfshr View Post
Maybe one day we can camp next to ecah other and compare '59 TradeWinds.
I look forward to that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Top View Post
Wow! Paul is actually posting on Airforums! (again)
I've been trying to coach him on how a thread for each restoration like this is a great way to communicate with his clients and for others to observe and learn from his work and thus a grassroots marketing tool. I wish all restoration shops would do this for their projects. It would be a win-win for everyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
Nice looking shell on this old Trade Wind. Maybe this is what VAP folks call a "polished turd?"
I actually had it polished so it was just a turd. Actually the interior is/was in great shape. We are going to reuse as much as possible. I want to keep the retro feel but with modern conveniences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by robwok View Post
wow. can't believe a frame can be rusted out like that.
I have a 1961 Bambi and it has a different kind of frame, the type of metal is totally different, it's just fine. I think this was a specific frame for certain years. The body and interior held up great compared to the frame. I actually didn't see this when I bought it. I looked up under the a frame but a good portion of the corrosion was hidden by some weight distribution brackets and then some other aluminum covered up the rest of the frame to the belly pan (nice cover up).
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Old 11-18-2014, 05:15 PM   #16
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Well in between the bouts of snow, ice, rain and everything else we achieved lift off.

After removing the inner lower skins and installing the cribbing and lifting beam I drilled out all of the perimeter rivets along the floor channel to outer skin line and cut the blind rivets that hold the ribs to floor channel, attached the chains and popped the shell off.

Then came the process of removing the perimeter floor channel and removing the plywood and belly pan. You can see one of the residents (one of many!) that didn't make it out. Also exposed is a crack in the main frame rail just aft of the front hold down plate on the road side. This crack extends all the way up the frame on both sides - just a bump away from catastrophe.

Now that the frame is stripped we'll use it for measurements for a new frame constructed of 2x4x1/4" rectangular tubing for the main rails and 2x4x11ga crossmembers. We'll also be converting it to a torsion axle with disk brakes along with a 2 5/16" coupler and electric jack. The finished product will be primed then painted with two part epoxy paint..
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Old 11-18-2014, 05:17 PM   #17
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More pictures...
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Old 11-18-2014, 05:20 PM   #18
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And the last pictures...
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Old 11-18-2014, 06:06 PM   #19
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That's exciting, thanks for the update. That critter looks like it was there a LONG time!


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Old 11-18-2014, 06:08 PM   #20
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That's exciting, thanks for the update. That critter looks like it was there a LONG time!


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