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Old 08-10-2015, 08:24 PM   #1
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1976 25' Tradewind
Tallahasee, Fl , Florida
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Question Good Bones or Good-to-Go?

Or neither? How do you guys fall on this topic? Would you rather buy something that's a totally blank canvas, or something that's already been worked on and slightly renovated by someone else?

I'd love links to your favorite (or worst) stories of 60s/70s trailers renovations. I either need something that's gunna scare me or educate me, or both. XD

I'm torn right now, I'm considering two very different trailers. I don't want to limit my options, but these both have good features and very different challenges.


"Good Bones" is a 67' Tradewind that needs a lot of love but has a straight and undented skin, and a manageable amount of rust damage. The unbroken windows are original, two need to be replaced with flat glass. It's also a good size trailer for a beginner, but needs a lot more work than I've learned how to do yet.

It will need just about everything from the ground up, but I may be able to get a good deal on it. Appliances, AC, plumbing, electrical, LPG - you name it, it needs it. It's located 1 hr from me and I may be able to tow it with my family's existing vehicles. At the very least, all the outdoor panels and the door itself are in good shape, some removed for safekeeping.

Asking price: $3000-$4000
Doesn't want to sell to a flipper or dealer
May take lower offer for my "pure" intentions haha



"Good-To-Go" is a less-impressive 78' Argosy that has been successfully lived in and semi-renovated in a style I really appreciate. Most of the systems are working, but some are less tested than others. City water works, propane works, electric works, AC works.

The biggest problem is that it's too big and very far away. It's bigger than I can tow comfortably with anything other than a borrowed truck or large SUV, and I'm nervous about making my first trailer 30 ft long just because I've barely towed anything bigger than a small flatbed trailer. And it's also located in NORTH CAROLINA, which makes it hard to inspect for myself.

Asking price: Reserve unknown, $3000 starting bid
It expired on Ebay with zero bids


Advice, discouragement, encouragement, criticism? I'll take it all. It seems like with every new thing I learn about Airstreams, I learn about 3 new things I don't know yet. Trying to make as informed a purchase as possible.
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Old 08-10-2015, 08:28 PM   #2
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1976 25' Tradewind
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I'm thinking I may have to trade in my small SUV for a better Tow Vehicle at some point no matter whether I go with a smaller model or a bigger one. My current vehicle, if I were to put a tow rig on it, would haul up to 3500 lbs comfortably. My dad's minivan (already has a hitch) may tow slightly more.

A factory Tradewind from 67 weighed 3800, and the Argosy here weighs something like 4200. *sighs wistfully*
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Old 08-10-2015, 10:50 PM   #3
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Tradewind vs. Argosy

Both are good vintage trailers to restore. Both will have issues to be addressed. The Argosy Squarestream will supply more living space if you fulltime and don't haul it around much. The Tradewind 24 foot on the other hand is a good size and able to be moved around easier than a 30 footer. The best bet is for you to thoroughly check out each to see what your preferences are for the use of each and make a decision as to which to try to buy! The one that was previously listed on eBay that didn't get a bid on the listed minimum bid is an advantage for you. If you make them an offer see what they will go if you offer say $2500.00 cash! They will likely negotiate for a higher price and then you can dicker with them for an agreed price. Only do this after you make a trip to inspect the trailer. You can get a local inspector on this site to assist you in inspecting the trailer. Look on the entry page here on the forums on the right hand column to find an inspector to help you. Ed
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Old 08-11-2015, 12:11 AM   #4
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Ms Star,


Despite a variance in opinions, I think that everyone here admires your determination and perseverance. So, for whatever opinions are worth, I would pursue the Tradewind.


The 67 Tradewind is close to finest of all Airstreams, ever. At nearly 25 feet, it is a sought after size, regardless of its year. It's lightweight and narrow, something to appreciate when a tow vehicle is chosen. The later sixties Airstreams are easy rebuilds.


If the Tradewind isn't a shell-off, frame rust project, even without much interior, it's a steal at that price if the title is good.. Looks like the bath might be there, and if it is, Jackpot. It appears to be towable, or near roadworthy as is. Having the freedom to design and fabricate a tailored to fit interior, is very rewarding. Not having the constraints of restoring old rat-chewed cabinets and 45year-old appliances is a blessing, as you get to pick and style exactly what fits you with clean new stuff.. On the romantic fantasy side, an artist facing a gessoed canvas, a sculptor contemplating a block of marble. On the reality side, pulling down the bellypan with the itchiest mouse turded insulation ever falling in your face, and just keep scrubbing those vinyl walls, they will eventually look like new...


It's a Twin, but you can build out your own interpretation of a mid bedroom with higher quality materials and workmanship. What you can't do with tons of cash, you can do with time and learning skills. I'll bet that you are resourceful enough to create a showpiece within your budget, which will be in reality, forever rising. My '68GT good bones “rebuildable core” cost $6500. Add to that five years of time and an unrecorded amount of more money, and a few years to go.... Never had a moment of buyer's remorse, In fact, I'm as stoked today as I was day one. It has easily entertained me, It's been a fun puzzle.



http://www.airforums.com/forums/f454...nt-111812.html


http://www.airforums.com/forums/f7/a...od-129180.html


http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ew-126474.html


http://www.airforums.com/forums/f7/p...ce-128019.html


Best wishes, Tradewinds are SWEET.
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Old 08-11-2015, 12:27 AM   #5
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Go with the Tradewind, and be prepared to dump a whole lot of cash into the rehabilitation. Be very cautious about towing this trailer until you know what the frame is really like - you won't know until you drop the belly pan, unless the PO has done the frame and axles.
From a purely financial perspective, if you spend the same amount on either trailer, the Tradewind would be worth more when re-habed to full functionality.

Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 08-11-2015, 07:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALUMINUMINUM View Post
If the Tradewind isn't a shell-off, frame rust project, even without much interior, it's a steal at that price if the title is good.. Looks like the bath might be there, and if it is, Jackpot. It appears to be towable, or near roadworthy as is. Having the freedom to design and fabricate a tailored to fit interior, is very rewarding. Not having the constraints of restoring old rat-chewed cabinets and 45year-old appliances is a blessing, as you get to pick and style exactly what fits you with clean new stuff.. On the romantic fantasy side, an artist facing a gessoed canvas, a sculptor contemplating a block of marble. On the reality side, pulling down the bellypan with the itchiest mouse turded insulation ever falling in your face, and just keep scrubbing those vinyl walls, they will eventually look like new...
I actually forgot to ask about the title, on the Craigslist ad he listed it as a Parts Only title, aka a Salvage title - I don't know how difficult that is to get re-registered as a working vehicle title.

I could see bits of the frame from inside the vehicle, the main parts of it were rusty but solid - there was some frame rot near the door and around the back of the trailer. He seems to want me to buy it, he's talking up guys he knows that can reinforce the frame if it has any weak spots. I think I can handle windows as far as initial needs go, and SuzyHomeMakr aka Doug went with me and is confident that the frame and aluminum sides are reasonably straight. It's biggest selling points are basically that it's towable, it's a good year and model, and there are no major dents in the aluminum.

I am very tempted by the option of designing it myself, and Doug paid me a huge compliment by saying that if he thought I was some airhead or adhd kid, he wouldn't recommend the project to me - but since he knows I'm an artist that can appreciate the process and the work involved, this might be a project I can handle - emotionally at the very least if not financially.

My biggest worry is that if I use my art to get full-time hours and income, I'm only going to have two days a week to actually work on the airstream. The most intimidating project by far is the frame and subfloor. Doug started talking about the bolts and stuff and I'm just so in over my head when it comes to that aspect of the project. I want to know how to do it! Not knowing things is so frustrating. XD

She really is a diamond in the rough, I'm just not sure if it's too rough for me or if I am capable of unearthing her!
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Old 08-11-2015, 07:49 AM   #7
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1976 25' Tradewind
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When Doug jumped on the tail to test the frame, there was a visible gap between the shell around the door and the subfloor - can someone sum up for me how the shell is supposed to be attached to the subfloor and frame, and how one goes about restoring the watertightness at the base of it?
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Old 08-11-2015, 07:58 AM   #8
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It's a lot o' work, but the end result is well worth it. Wander thru some of the threads in this link: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ons-35399.html

May be one in there for the year/model you're looking at. It'll give you some ideas about the task(s) ahead. Have fun with it.

Jim
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Old 08-11-2015, 08:10 AM   #9
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Here are some of the pictures I took
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Old 08-11-2015, 09:08 AM   #10
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Hi There,

The title is valuable, not worth much but parts without it. The window edging, door hinge, foam remnants on frame, indicate 1968.

Separation repair looks inevitable, it's tedious, but at least it's obvious, and not a depressing surprise after purchase.

Nice to have a good inspector along. Talk it out with him, he's a great resource.
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Old 08-11-2015, 09:11 AM   #11
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If you want something with good bones, that one <points up> isn't it.

If you only have maybe two days a week to devote to it, you will find out after about a year that you are in it knee deep with no end in sight. You may be very capable of doing the work and you would learn lots of new skills, but there are very few people that can or want to do a job like this over 2-3 years which will seem like forever half way in.

Find a trailer that is the right size and has had some work done or is in usable shape from the git go. Yeah, its going to be more than 3 grand, but in the end you will probably spend less and have way fewer woman hours in it. There will always be things to fix and improve, so eventually it will be "yours" but you will get some immediate use and gratification out of it.
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Old 08-11-2015, 09:39 AM   #12
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1976 25' Tradewind
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquinob View Post
If you want something with good bones, that one <points up> isn't it.

If you only have maybe two days a week to devote to it, you will find out after about a year that you are in it knee deep with no end in sight. You may be very capable of doing the work and you would learn lots of new skills, but there are very few people that can or want to do a job like this over 2-3 years which will seem like forever half way in.

Find a trailer that is the right size and has had some work done or is in usable shape from the git go. Yeah, its going to be more than 3 grand, but in the end you will probably spend less and have way fewer woman hours in it. There will always be things to fix and improve, so eventually it will be "yours" but you will get some immediate use and gratification out of it.
I went into the forums reading threads by someone who bought the same model in basically similar condition and after 9 years of working on it she had the basic repairs done, but the shell off the frame and no way to sell it and a sick husband.

I know it's not exactly the same situation, but it's enough of a wake-up call for me. If I want a ten or twenty-year project, it'll be years from now when I'm settled and maybe have a partner. I need something that's going to be ready in 6 months to a year, and I don't think this is it.

The argosy is firmly priced at 6k minimum, and I need to look into getting a different tow vehicle regardless of whether I go 24 ft or 30 ft. So even that is something that would be months away from me considering actually buying it.

So this isn't the end of my search. If someone else wants a tin can to work on in the south florida area, I'll offer free labor in exchange for learning! But there's no way I can take on a project like this by myself with my schedule and budget. I have to be realistic and do much more research.

Thank you all for your advice!
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:30 AM   #13
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I personally don't have enough time, money, knowledge, or patience to do a renovation.
I must have a trailer that is ready to camp.
If it's like classic cars- it's cheaper to buy them already done-
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:58 AM   #14
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Starstruck
Like Aluminuminuminum said, we admire your spunk and can-do attitude. But the photographs look very very ugly...a lot worse than your descriptions. My advice is don't do it...get the Argosy instead or, better yet, keep saving some more and get something that you can enjoy rather than dread. You're young....you have time. Don't let an old AS become a new albatross. jon
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