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Old 04-22-2014, 08:52 PM   #1
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Millertime's rear bathroom rot '76 Tradewind thread

I am starting this thread to help document the repair of our families first airstream. Hopefully the posting will also keep me motivated to keep the work steady. I work full time as a flight instructor for the Navy and have 2 young boys so this will definitely be a work in progress. Need to learn to pace myself, never been my strong suit!

Long story short we bought an airstream thinking we could inspect it ourselves, throw in some new floors, sinks, countertops, and sail off to the horizon. WRONG! Totally classic mistake there! We overpaid for a trailer that we quickly found had rear end rot. But at least all the appliances worked! Jeez I was a moron on that deal lol!

We'll to catch up to where I am at I have started demo on the rear bath. I am also working on dropping the pan underneath. The pan is totally rusted out and is a bear it get off thus far. I worked in an oil change and service shop in high school, my dad was a general contractor so I have some basics skills in both automotive and home repair.

I know everyone loves pics so to follow are here are some of our beautiful bathroom.

I have gotten in touch already with 2 local airstreamers . One who owns a trailer company and said he would come over and check everything out once I got the back end broken down to parade rest.

Getting the shower pan out tonight took more work than I thought. Drain was totally corroded and I couldn't get a wrench or screwdriver to hold it to twist off the tailpipe. Ended up having to hacksaw off the pipe at the trap while rust rained down on my face. Gotta love it.

Found some interesting stuff in the bathroom tonight. Thought that an old fan was broken and started to remove it. Decided to wait until daytime since I needed to disconnect power to unwire it. Minutes later I smelled something hot, burning actually. Turns out it was a combo heater blower, the heat still worked lol . Whoops glad I stuck around to catch that one. Got pretty darn hot actually. The PO also installed some kind up blower motor near the toilet to blow air, the motor was in the closet on the the left disconnect. No doubt burned out. Was that blower fan and the the heater blower combo original?

Oh we'll shower pan is out, next need to finish demoing closest and get all the old plumbing out the way so I can get the black tank . The rot stops just a few inches short of the divider wall, and correspondingly 1 sheet of ply!
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Old 04-22-2014, 08:57 PM   #2
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Our corroded shower pan drain
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Pan is out! You can see where the rot stops in this pic
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PO cut into black tank to get something... Ewwwww . Think marine tex and some fiberglass can repair this?
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Old 04-22-2014, 08:58 PM   #3
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There was a blower next to the throne on my 73 too. Like you I was wondering if it was stock...

Maybe so I guess...
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Old 04-22-2014, 09:01 PM   #4
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Tanks don't cost a lot if you shop.

I ditched mine instead of cleaning it...

You see there was this pile is stuff under the seat..
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Old 04-22-2014, 09:02 PM   #5
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Been there, got the t-shirt. I documented the work last year here: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f46/...up-100164.html

Take plenty of pix along the way, will help you to put it back together months later. Plan on it all taking 3-4x longer than you estimate. Are the axles original?
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Old 04-22-2014, 09:07 PM   #6
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As far as I know he axles are stock. I figure the boat trailer shop owner can tell me if I need new ones. How would I be able to tell?
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Old 04-22-2014, 09:23 PM   #7
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As far as I know he axles are stock. I figure the boat trailer shop owner can tell me if I need new ones. How would I be able to tell?
Nah, he won't have a clue...

They all look at the bearings and give it a blessing. The axle dealers all say you need new ones...

These things stiffen up with age and lack of use. It's not a big deal if your usage is to do short haul's and local camping...and you have plenty of cool options in your area!

Get the bath repaired properly and start camping. If you decide that you really want to haul it to Wyoming every year, then look at axles...
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Old 04-22-2014, 09:27 PM   #8
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If the axles are original, then they are shot. The rubber torsion rods dry out over time and the only way to repair is to replace the whole axle x2. Might as well get them with new brake assemblies for a few hundred more and be done with it. While not an absolute test, if the tops of the rims are at the level of the wheel well trim, then they are probably toast. There are a few threads on axles here, I'm sure somebody can chime in with a link or two to add some light to the subject. You will also have to cut the frame openings a bit as the original axles were a bit smaller than what is currently available. You would most likely need a pair of 3500lb axles.
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Old 04-22-2014, 09:31 PM   #9
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Millertime's rear bathroom rot 76 Tradewind thread

This trailer very well may travel to Washington or San Diego next January, is that safe on 38 year old axles? The boat trailer shop owner has rebuilt 3 airstreams, looks like I got lucky. We will see though. Will check the wheel wells tomorrow.
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Old 04-22-2014, 09:36 PM   #10
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Millertime's rear bathroom rot 76 Tradewind thread

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What's your initial take based on this picture? The rims seem well below the wheel well to me. NNeed to start mentally processing thousands more in spending if need be.
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Old 04-22-2014, 10:07 PM   #11
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What's your initial take based on this picture? The rims seem well below the wheel well to me. NNeed to start mentally processing thousands more in spending if need be.
Based on the age, yup, they are not performing as well as new. Do they need replacing?
Well, bouncing down the road with a happy family on the way to make memories and popping a few rivets is better (in my opinion) than spending another year in the back yard waiting on the cookie jar to cough up $$$ for axles.

You Milage may vary...
Oh, yes, I've replace a few axles...
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Old 04-22-2014, 11:16 PM   #12
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Fwiw, axles won't break the bank. Chances are you can get a pair with brakes for about $1,200 delivered, and without brakes for about $750 plus shipping.
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Old 04-22-2014, 11:20 PM   #13
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You can fudge a little, my trailer needed axles a year ago, and has traveled about 6K miles since, it will have new axles before it makes another trip though.
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Old 04-23-2014, 05:08 AM   #14
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Thanks all I will check the date stamp on them to be sure but I PMed Colin H for a quote.
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