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Old 04-05-2011, 05:24 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
Pacific NW , Washington
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 14
Just purchased '59 Tradewind!! :)

After a long search my girlfriend and I finally found one! It is a 59' single bed model in great shape! We have already got started with the remodel by pulling out all of the old non-functioning appliances as well as the carpet. The plan is to do the floors (cork?), re-finish existing cabinets, re-upulstor the seating, new countertops, polish the exterior, new fresh water tank/pump, install grey and black tanks.

So after spending hours a day on here I have got a pretty good knowledge base. This forum is AWESOME! I have been able to use the search function to find answers to most of my questions but still have a few maybe some of you guys/gals can chime in.

-Is it a good idea to replace the front water tank? I am thinking it would save weight over the orignal (aluminum?) tank. From what I have read the original tank was a pressurized system. Ours has a pump next to the tank so I am guessing one of the owners converted it.

How can I check the axles/ leaf springs condition?

I have hydraulic brake safety switch on the tongue. Can I remove this and install electric brakes?

The stairs seem impossible to put back up. I think 9 out of 10 AS we looked at had this problem! Any advice?

We have some holes from the previous owner installing a satellite for the TV. What are the options of repairing the holes? Would it be easier to replace the entire panel?

The previous owner raised it up by flipping the leaf springs. Is this ok? Will this cause any damage? I am assuming he did this because the wheels were 16" with 85 profile. I have since purchaed OEM size 15" trailer wheels with proper size tires.

Thanks! Look forward to hearing from the group!


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Old 04-05-2011, 05:42 PM   #2
Site Team
, Minnesota
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That's a very nice unit. The first thing you need to do is check in with flyfshr to register this historic early tradewind in the Early Tradewind Registry List.

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Old 04-05-2011, 08:37 PM   #3
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1974 Argosy 26
Morrill , Nebraska
Join Date: Nov 2009
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Step maintenance

The step can be made to work smoothly; there are crescent shaped slots on each side up under the trailer. First; clean the slots with a wire brush, the type that is used to clean copper pipe fittings works really well. Then lubricate the pivot points on the side of the step as well as the slots and the pins that slide in the slots. Regular maintenance in this area is required.
I can operate the lever that releases the steps on my trailer and the step drops down and locks into position without any assistance.
Knowledge: "A gift to be shared. A treasure to receive."
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Old 04-05-2011, 10:04 PM   #4
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
St. Cloud , Minnesota
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That's a few questions to get started with, but let's go!

Replacing the panel is both expensive & unnecessary. See Zeppelinium's post of the last couple days here. Hey guys -- was it alclad in 1959?

Leaf spring axles -- I hope markdoane (or anybody please) looks in here and makes a comment -- markdoane has a '59.

5 meter Langford Nahanni

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Old 04-06-2011, 05:27 AM   #5
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, Minnesota
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That's certainly one of the finest Airstreams ever built. Congratulations!

I definitely think you should convert the brakes to electric. Save the original brake cylinder, it's got to be worth something, even as a door stop. You can unbolt the old backing plates and replace them with new electric brake backing plates for about $100 each. Add a breakaway switch from VTS and you'll be good to go. And legal.

I would soak the stairs in penetration oil like Liquid Wrench. Also check the very back of the slot the step rides in. Sometimes they crack at the very back and will need to be welded.

Go with cork floors. Expensive but worth it. Check the floor integrity, especially around the door, under the water tank, and around the rear. Tahe a look at the photos in my album to see what might be involved if you need to replace the floor.

The water tank can be replaced with a plastic tank to increase your carrying volume, but be careful about making the tongue weight too high. You won't save a lot of weight by taking out the aluminum tank, they don't weigh that much.

A few patches will cover those holes and won't look bad after you polish the whole trailer. Be sure to use Alclad for the patches otherwise they won't match.

I'm kind of partial to switching the axle back to it's axle on top configuration. I just like the original lowrider look, and it's a lot easier to get in and out of the trailer.

You've got a great trailer and I'm sure you will enjoy it form many years. Welcome to the joys of Airstreaming.
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Old 04-07-2011, 04:56 PM   #6
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1959 24' Tradewind
The Grass Capital of the World , Oregon
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 174
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Score! Congrats!

Some comments to your questions:

Water tank - I have the same 20-gallon galvanized stainless steel water tank that you showed in your photo. I chose to upgrade to a 30-gallon polyethylene tank after I dumped nothing but rusty water out of the steel tank. Still have the steel tank, wondering how to best reuse it. It's pretty cool. Grill? Kegerator?

Leaf Springs - Les Schwab checked out the springs when they packed the wheel bearings. Not much can go wrong with chunks of steel.

Electric Brakes - yes, you can do it, my '59 has electric brakes.

Stairs - my stairs are busted too. They work, sort of. The metal that the stairs attach to on the right side (when facing door from outside) is ripped and it looks like your metal might be compromised also. Would love to hear how you fix that.

Gas furnace - it looks like you have your original gas furnace on the wall. If you ever decide to get rid of it, I would be interested. No pressure, just mentioning it (mine arrived without one and they are difficult to locate).

Holes - I wouldn't replace the whole panel. The aluminum patches look cool, and no one will be able to tell that the patches aren't part of the design. Aluminum tape works very well in the meantime. Use it instead of duct tape as duct tape will weather poorly in the PacNW (trust me) and the adhesive is gummy and difficult to remove (quite annoying). Aluminum tape on the other hand is sort of sticky to apply but very nice and easy to remove after time. The adhesive peels off nicely and stays together. And it's shiny! Some of the old guard say they never travel without a roll.

Floors - I've read that cork doesn't hold up to extended use as much as you'd like it to, and that when it's nicked and chipped it looks kind of crummy. Never seen this first hand. I'm in the PacNW as well and I prefer the lightweight waterproof floors. Vinyl tile, marmoleum, vinyl floating floors. Everything just sweeps clean or wipes off. It's soooo nice and easy to clean.

Nice to have another '59er in the region! Please post pics of the inside!

Congratulations again. Reading your excitement brings back memories of my Airstream purchase and makes me smile!

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