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Old 09-05-2013, 01:30 PM   #1
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1963 24' Tradewind
Dubois , Wyoming
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Slightly bruised 1963 Tradewind

Hello, all! I'm Stefanie. My husband and I are the new owners of a 1963 Tradewind in less than ideal shape.

I've been obsessively reading threads for a few weeks now but I've resisted posting because I'm preeeetty sure you're going to now warn me about the ridiculously expensive project we've taken on

Trailer is a totally impulse eBay buy. Don't all great adventures start that way... My parents picked her up from the seller this week and are graciously dealing with plumbing, electrical, mechanical issues before we bring her to our home in Wyoming. On that note, we semi-recently moved from Detroit to rural Wyoming to own a powersports shop (ATVs & snowmobiles). We quickly realized that camper ownership is a forgone conclusion for anyone in the area so I, ever the sucker for old things that need to be rescued, started the search for vintage trailers. An Airstream was never really the plan (well out of budget) but here we are, totally thrilled!













And now for the ugly one...



I know. This wasn't a surprise.

Obviously I want the dents repaired, but they won't stop us from enjoying her in the meantime. Until I meet her in person, I'm spending my time obsessing over whether she needs a complete gut job or just some attention. If the dents need to be pushed from the inside then we're looking at semi-gut job no matter what, so I keep going in circles. If she needs new end cap pieces... we'll deal with that when the time comes. For now, she seems in surprisingly good shape. Frame is good, floor is solid, interior smell is minimal, appliances are fine, and wheels, axle and brakes are all far better than expected.

I've spent a lot of time lovingly gazing at old floor plans and ended up redrawing one because the scan was so poor and I need to expend energy somehow.



I'm in love and we haven't even met. She still needs a name, but I may wait until we meet. If you are all as crazy as me and want the short list of names, I can share them, but until someone speaks up I'm going to assume I'm the craziest person in the room for now.

I'll be documenting her progress on my blog once she's made the big move to Wyoming.
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:06 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums, and congratulations on the acquisition.

The trailer doesn't look to be in that bad of shape from the pictures (of course, they never do). The big dent in the rear upper section is going to need to have the segments replaced if you want it to look "good as new" again. This could be done by removing the inner skins in that area, removing the old panels, and then buck-riveting in new ones. Or, the repair could be done by removing the panels from the outside, and installing the new panels using Olympic rivets with the heads shaved. Bucked rivets might be the best way, but there are plenty of trailers riding around out there with Olympic riveted panels too. You could try to pound or roll out the dents from the inside, but the skin is now stretched and wrinkled, and it is unlikely that you could ever get it totally smooth again.

Anyway, try the trailer out for a few trips before starting any major surgery.

good luck!
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:18 PM   #3
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Greetings and may I say what an awesome airstream! You have done well and I hope that she graces you property soon! The panel you may be able to fix and if it is not leaking at the moment then enjoy it for a while until you decide just what you want to do and when. I don't have to say it but I will burn up some memory on that camera for your records. The cost? Only as much as you want to put into it, if you DIY then you save money and have fun. Learn how to do the things you are not confortable with and read ask and read again! Again welcome and enjoy her she is yours! I am looking forward to reading about your adventure!
Cliff
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:19 PM   #4
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1962 24' Tradewind
Buffalo , Wyoming
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Always good to see someone else from Wyoming. I'm just over the hill from you a bit. Your trailer is very similar to mine, and I'm very jealous of your table. I've been hunting for one of those for a year.
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:26 PM   #5
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Welcome!

The big dent sure looks marginal to me. If you are looking for a functional FUN camper without it being a work of art, why not try to roll out the dents and see if you can get "good enuf"

Start with an under-inflated basketball and roll it around on the dents gently pushing out. Go a little bit at a time - you can actually stretch the aluminum if you use too much force. Once you get the big "boyoing" you could use a dent roller to minimize each small line or wrinkle. It wouldn't be perfect, but you'll always notice it more than other people will. Be careful around the seams, and reseal them after you've moved the metal.

Paula
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Old 09-05-2013, 04:38 PM   #6
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1963 24' Tradewind
Dubois , Wyoming
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalweg View Post
Your trailer is very similar to mine, and I'm very jealous of your table. I've been hunting for one of those for a year.
Funny what a story that little table has turned into. When my mom delivered payment and checked out the trailer for the first time, the seller very specifically wanted to point it out. You know better than me, but I guess it's original?

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. Paula, I very much appreciate the dent suggestions. I'm absolutely going to try to pop and minimize it myself. I don't need a perfect trailer. On the flipside, I'd hate to put a ton of work getting her *close* to perfect then always be disappointed in that corner. We'll see what happens.

Since we own a powersports shop I thankfully have access to tools and a mechanic husband. He doesn't quite share my Airstream enthusiasm, but I suspect he'll come around.
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Old 09-05-2013, 05:38 PM   #7
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Welcome to the Forums and the wonderful world of '63 ownership. Yours looks to be in MUCH better shape than our was. If your floor is in reasonable shape, clean it up, get the thing safe for the road and have fun. we will be in your area next summer in our '63 if things go as planned.
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Old 09-05-2013, 06:17 PM   #8
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With a rear bath, in order To take out the end cap to push out the dent a you likely need to remove the entire bath ( such Is the case with a 68 I'm working on). This means taking out everything In front of the bath - ie upper cabinets and bed and possibly everything ahead of the bath just to get the interior end cap out. It was fairly easy to replace an end cap segment on my dads AS. Id just replace the end cap segments. We used Olympic rivets and it took 2 people a day. Looked new. The hardest part was finding salvaged end caps.
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:12 PM   #9
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An "easy" first step toward minimizing the dent could be to get an auto body suction cup dent puller on it and see what that does. Certainly it won't be the ultimate solution, but it might make it more live able for the immediate future.
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:07 PM   #10
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Stefanie

Congrats on your new Tradewind. I think that it looks terrific. Other than the "dent" the shell looks to be in remarkable condition. The trailer also looks like it has been well cared for with no abuse.

I would fix whatever needs fixing and just go camping. My TW was in nice shape so we have been camping in it from day 1, but I have been making improvements to it continually. I have a thread "Dan's 66 Tradewind Improvements".

I am glad that you are so excited about your Airstream. Glad that you found it. The folks on this site are wonderful- just a wealth of knowledge that they are all willing to share. Different backgrounds, ages, etc., but a common love of Airstreams and vintage kin.

I grew up in the Detroit area, but have been here in VA for 40 years. We have been out to Yellowstone once about 5 years ago. Wyoming is awesome. I hope that you enjoy it.

A new business and a new Airstream- now that is two adventures. Glad to have you with us.

Dan
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:50 AM   #11
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From what I have read on this forum about recovery of vintage trailers, I would get someone to verify the date code on the tires before moving the trailer again. If they are quite old, new ones should be installed before the long tow. Also, inspect and adjust the brakes and repack the wheel bearings before the trip West. When the unit arrives, a good axle inspection may reveal that a call to Andy at Inland RV may provide information for a new axle. When the running gear is safely up to snuff, go camping.

Everything else can be done as time and materials become available.
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Old 09-06-2013, 01:14 PM   #12
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1963 24' Tradewind
Dubois , Wyoming
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THANKS for the comments, guys! I'm particularly thrilled by the positivity about her shape, especially because I've been going back and forth between thinking we got a deal and thinking we impulsively paid far too much. It's a moot point, I suppose, because we're already in deep and will probably never sell her.

To any of you visiting Yellowstone or Wyoming, definitely keep me posted. We're in a small town near one of the Yellowstone entrances and have an annual pass. If you don't know Wyoming well, just assume we're in Jackson Hole - close enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by switz View Post
From what I have read on this forum about recovery of vintage trailers, I would get someone to verify the date code on the tires before moving the trailer again. If they are quite old, new ones should be installed before the long tow. Also, inspect and adjust the brakes and repack the wheel bearings before the trip West.
Great advice for everyone. The seller replaced one tire just to get the trailer moving prior to sale, but we've already verified that it's of insufficient load rating. My Dad, the automotive engineer, already ordered new tires which should arrive today. He inspected the trailer on the spot and brought tools to rewire the electrical connection and grease bearings before the trailer left it's prior grassy home. He took the back roads home and said the brakes eventually unstuck themselves and were surprisingly good. Even then, we have a spare set of trailer brakes sitting around and may replace hers prior to the big move.

While I'm not (yet!) greatly informed on mechanical matters, I'm lucky enough to come from a family of engineers and mechanics. Our toys range from vintage Fire trucks to snowmobiles (and necessary trailers), MINI Coopers to dirtbikes. The family has owned and towed countless trailers of all varieties over the years. Compared to 4 place enclosed snowmobile trailer full of long track mountain sleds, I'm told the Airstream is a "breeze" (ugh, I didn't even plan such a terrible pun) to tow.

Since we're a "toy" family, almost all the Airstream needs have been met via our own parts inventory.

Me: we should probably get a generator
Dad: I have two extras, one small, one big. I'll bring both.
Me: I might want to eliminate the stove for weight/storage space
Dad: I have a two burner cooktop that we never used, I'll throw it in the trailer just in case
Me: I wonder if the brakes are ok. I'm hearing that we need to worry about axles.
Dad: Already inspected, new tires on order, we have a set of trailer brakes at the cabin. Axle looks great and I checked the frame for rust while I was under there.

In short, I literally could not be luckier. I'm sad to miss the progress that's already going on, but they're keeping me updated along the way!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
An "easy" first step toward minimizing the dent could be to get an auto body suction cup dent puller on it and see what that does. Certainly it won't be the ultimate solution, but it might make it more live able for the immediate future.
Absolutely my plan!
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Old 09-06-2013, 01:20 PM   #13
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1963 24' Tradewind
Dubois , Wyoming
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Originally Posted by TouringDan View Post
I am glad that you are so excited about your Airstream. Glad that you found it. The folks on this site are wonderful- just a wealth of knowledge that they are all willing to share. Different backgrounds, ages, etc., but a common love of Airstreams and vintage kin.
I missed this in my previous reply! I come from the world of car forums and the Airstream community already very much reminds me of the MINI Cooper community. Which is to say... I'm sure I'll love it here
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Old 09-07-2013, 04:09 AM   #14
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I was wondering if there was a belly pan cause you dad checked the frame while checking the axle means no belly pan or insulation. You need both for comfort and to prevent damage to the subfloor from road water! I am replacing a 4 foot side panel damaged by a broken spindle (axle) so look close and that panel is 4X5 foot and over the wheel well.
Cliff
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