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Old 09-21-2013, 02:52 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
lambertville , New Jersey
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 16
1972 Tradewind - Should I buy?

Hey everyone! Newbie here - first post in the forums! I've been reading these forums and have gained so much knowledge from here, I am hoping you all will help will suggestions about this 1972 25' Tradewind I'm considering. The PO has it listed for $5500 and said he would come down to $5k. Here's what I know:

- axles and tires are original (tires look fine enough though)
- no front benches or cushions, PO took them all out, but has the dinette table
- PO installed new carpet, says floor is solid (it's not - we used a screwdriver and it was soft in the front where the front couch/bed would go (thanks for taking that out, PO!)
- exterior under where the soft spot in the floor is, is kind of soft and when I push up with my finger, it gives (unlike the exterior walls higher up)
- tons of mice droppings and insulation inside the oven which I'm assuming the mice brought in there
- PO didn't have a battery so we couldn't turn it on and see if it worked
- propane hose is busted
- twin model - the cushions for the beds are available for one, the other was taken apart but is there (and I actually like the 70's fabric)
- tons of rust underneath
- a/c, heat, fridge, and oven work according to PO
- only has one dent in the rear top

I don't mind doing the work. Going to work on it with my dad who is extremely handy and good with all of this stuff. Because of the mice droppings, I'm assuming I'm going to have to take out the insulation and redo the insulation and walls. Also assuming, because of the age, I'm going to have to take out the rug and the plywood underneath.

My concern is the frame and the belly that I keep reading about (I don't understand what part is the belly??). With all this rust, how do you fix it? Does the rust mean the frame is busted?

I am going to attach pictures and would appreciate any advice you guys have to offer! Thanks in advance for your help!

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Old 09-21-2013, 03:06 PM   #2
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1973 27' Overlander
Portsmouth , Virginia
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 775
Hmm. Big dent on one end, lots of visible rust, customizations on the plumbing and you already say the floors are soft. I'm not liking what I hear. For that kind of money, even in NJ, you should be getting something with fewer obvious issues. FYI, the belly pan is the sheet metal that covers the bottom of the frame between the frame rails. It protects the insulation and above that, the plywood subfloor from the weather. It also hides a multitude of sins and is mouse and roach central.

I wouldnt say pass, but I would suggest that you try and find somebody in your neck of the woods that can come and help you inspect it. They can give you a better idea of what you are in for. And before you jump in, keep in mind that replacing floors is major work that involves removing all the built ins and all or part of the interior walls. It is not a job for the feint of heart. The axles are also going to need to be replaced, thats 1500 right there, just for the parts. And then the appliances are all suspect and you havent been able to see anything run. To quote Hans Solo, "I have a bad feeling about this..."


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Old 09-21-2013, 03:22 PM   #3
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1969 23' Safari
Raleigh , North Carolina
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 60
Images: 5
When I bought my AS I knew of some issues but uncovered many more. I personally think $5k is high. Are you set on a tradewind or just any AS? For me I wanted a Safari, so I was willing to wait for the right one at the right price. They can all be fixed, just depends on how much time and money you want to spend. You try I found mine by misspelling airstream....
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Old 09-21-2013, 04:57 PM   #4
1 Rivet Member
lambertville , New Jersey
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 16
Aquinob, thanks for explaining what the belly pan is. I'm prepared to remove walls, built ins, and subfloor. Time is not a factor. Would like to spend no more than 5k on repairs though. Walls are in good shape so I can out those back. Any idea on how much insulation would cost for the floor and walls? We have a 1 yr old and hopefully another on the way soon - I'd want to take everything out any completely clean it anyway. I'll post to see if there's anyone in the area. Thanks for your help; I really appreciate it.

BoCox, not set on Tradesind. Looking for 22-27ft. I learned that 60's probably had better workmanship, but feel that 70's feel less claustrophobic. Not set in stone though. Looking for a project. Most concerned about not getting screwed out if too much money. Will try searchtempest - thanks for the advice.

So do you guys have any idea on what a fairer price would be based on the pics? Is it more like $4500 or much lower like $2500?

Thanks again for your time.
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Old 09-21-2013, 05:37 PM   #5
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1966 17' Caravel
Newport , North Carolina
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,286
From what you are showing and telling you will have between 7 to 10k when you are finished but that depends on you skill time and available assistance. Looking at many adds you can find cheaper out there but travel cost to retrieve and repair cost may eat the difference so if you can point out the cost consideration for repairs and have 4k in hand perhaps it is not such a bad deal. In the rear there is a panel (3.5x 4 foot section) of belly pan that can be dropped with removing just a few rivets and if he or they will let you then you need to take a peak at the frame. If you have the tools and can weld then you Can even save there. Post a thread requesting any available inspector in your area and call ask if there is a fee, if not then at least offer gas and possibly a meal. Do a search for the inspection check list download and print it. Airstreams have gone through the roof and are even being stolen and sold for parts so the one you are looking at is not outrageous. As for me I would probably go 2.5 to 4k for that one but I already have an airstream. Obtw I have just finished the frame repair will put the floor, belly pan and axle on next and paid 5k for the caravel.
Gotta get busy! Have a great day! Now where did I put those revits?
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Old 09-21-2013, 05:53 PM   #6
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1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,592
From your description, you had better be ready for a lot of work, and a lot of $$ to bring it back. The plumbing has been modified, the floors are soft, you don't know if the electrics work nor the propane system because they are conveniently out of service. The owner says things work, (or worked) but they may not now. The axles will need replacing, and the tires. I'll be the furnace, refrig, water heater etc are all on their last legs or are not working. The floor is soft and the frame is questionable.

Pass this one up. Others will be available. Take the investment money and the repair money you have in mind and look for one which already has been renovated and restored, you will be much better off.
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Old 09-21-2013, 06:02 PM   #7
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1966 17' Caravel
Bethel Park near Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Jan 2007
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I think you will a lot better off just paying more for a good! I searched 3 years for my AS. Its was well worth the wait. I got a Caravel in great shape for only a few k more then what they are asking.

Ace in PA

WBCCI 2169
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Old 09-21-2013, 06:05 PM   #8
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1972 25' Tradewind
North Vancouver , British Columbia
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,375
Images: 23
I'd pass. There's a lot of costly work needed on top of needing 2 new axels and possible frame & subfloor repairs/replacement.
Cameron & the Labradors
Kai & Samm
North Vancouver, BC
AIR #11529
Live! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! - Mame Dennis
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Old 09-21-2013, 06:12 PM   #9
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1973 27' Overlander
Portsmouth , Virginia
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 775
I'd look at it as a possibility at 2-3K. I'd figure that's the going price for a frame and shell and not much more. If its a total renovation you are looking at then make sure most or all the parts are there. You don't want to have to source broken windows or things like that they can get expensive.

I put closed cell foam board insulation in mine under the floors, probably a couple hundred for the material. If you want to see some pix, check my blog below. If you total for upgrades is 5K, it might not be feasible with this trailer.

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Old 09-21-2013, 08:57 PM   #10
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1972 25' Tradewind
Currently Looking...
McHenry County , Illinois
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,104
Images: 5
Been There, Done That

Just looking at the pictures made me think this would be a huge undertaking. The asking price is unrealistic for the condition for the rig.
As a comparison I paid $3400 for the TW with damaged roof, no A/C, TV antenna and damaged vents (pulled under a tree). No propane tanks, no umbilical, dry rotted tires, soft floor in the wet bath and a crappy smelly futon up front. Axles were fair, new water heater, everything else was original and worked on delivery.
I pulled the trigger due to the fact that the rear section of frame had already been repaired and the DW really, really wanted it.
It took a Grand to make it road worthy and $1800 to be livable. More still to do.

If you’ve got the skills, a shop to work in, the woodworking and machine tools, plenty of time and patience, and, you can get the price down to $1500 -$2000, then think long and hard about what you’d like to do with the trailer. Just camp, rehab, or, rebuild the trailer to last another 40 years.

Personally I’d pass on this one and keep looking.
When the right one comes along you’ll know it.

Good Luck,
AirForums # 2806
WBCCI / VAC # 6411

Not All Who Wander Are Lost.

Avid supporter of trailing edge technology.
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:27 PM   #11
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Dunwoody , Georgia
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 153
I think I would pass. I traded an old boat for my 26 foot trailer last year and was able to use it from the start. It had ugly interior materials but almost inside everything worked, new tires/bearings/brakes and no body damage. If you are really set on it I think it is worth 2-2.5K max. I see you easily spending 5 or 6k to get it up to speed, that is if you do all the labor.
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:04 PM   #12
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1972 25' Tradewind
Hopkins , Minnesota
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 437
My '72 Trade Wind was in similar shape. I got it for less than half what your seller is asking. And considering what I have sunk into mine (so far), I seriously doubt that a 5k rehab is realistic.
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Old 09-22-2013, 05:09 AM   #13
1 Rivet Member
lambertville , New Jersey
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 16
Thank you all for taking your time to give me some wonderful advice. It is much appreciate. I am going to take your advice and pass on this one.
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Old 09-22-2013, 05:30 AM   #14
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1984 34' International
Toronto , Ontario
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As dad of three young kids, oldest is three, then one year old twins, all I can say is that your time for hobbies will evaporate like you never expected.

I don't know if your wife would be prepared to be the primary caregiver to the kids whilst you're out restoring a vintage camper, but mine would have opinions

Just something else to keep in mind perhaps.

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