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Old 01-14-2011, 11:45 PM   #1
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2012 23' International
North Everett , Washington
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Ready To Begin Tear Down To Frame.?.?!

So I haven't been on here for a little while with Vegas Wedding, Holidays, and New Job. But we're ready to start, having secured Funding (thanks Moms and Dads for the Wedding presents). I expect to have hangar space rented for the first of Feb. so We'll get started on the physical stuff then. But for now I could use some FYI tips as I plan out the logistical stuff. Also I expect the Frame will be in pretty rough rusted out shape and am looking for info on repair and or replacement. Being that this is a 68' 24' Tradewind L.Y. I have had 0 luck in locating any parts i.e. outriggers, crossmembers or framerails. Does anyone have any info on these parts? Will frame parts for 1969 work on a 1968? Such as the outrigger available from Our of Doors Mart, could they be cut trimmed or modified? Will I have to see about having a frame built or take a welding class and buying a mig welder?(I am an AP mechanic so I'm not afraid). What kind of steel are the framerails made of?
We have about $4500.00 available for this project and I would like to get this thing in solid useable condition. Will this be enough in anyones opinion? Again I'm intending to do most of the labor myself so keep that in mind. All replies welcome and appreciated.

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Old 01-15-2011, 03:42 AM   #2
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Althea68 Your best bet would be to talk to Andy at Inland RV in California. His company specializes in vintage airstreams both parts and service.
Inland RV Center - The Nations Leading Expert in Airstream Innovations
Having a new frame built will run you about $2500 and by the time you took a welding course and bought material and equipment the costs would be the same. I'm not sure if outriggers and crossmembers are available for your year but definatly frame rails are not you will need to have them made locally.
Figure on $500 to $1000 for a new floor depending on your choice of wood and finishing including fasteners.
Replacing the belly will be probably $750 to $1000. Add another $500 for insulation and misc. supplies. Now you are over budget and you haven't replaced the axles yet which more than likely you will need. 2 axles will run you $1500 plus freight.
Then there are things like waste and fresh water tanks to consider, plus tires. Another $1000 would cover these.
Now you have a usable chassis. Moving inside, what about appliances: water heater $500, furnace $800, fridge $1000, stove $500, water pump $100 and power converter $200. That's another $3100. There are many small costs for wiring and plumbing that can mount up quickly also. What about sealing up the shell. Window gaskets, roof vents, stink pipe gaskets will cost some more money.
What about your shell will it need to have repairs done to it? How about soft finishes: carpet, flooring, upholstery and drapes? Cabinet and furniture repairs or replacements?
$4500 might get you a decent chassis but you will most probably need 3 times that to completely finish the trailer, more if you are paying to rent a hanger like you said.
I'm not trying to scare you off just let you know what you are in for. I probably have $20k in to mine now and haven't even started the interior finishes yet.

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Old 01-15-2011, 06:43 AM   #3
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Costs and time

Nice break down Chris. I too have just started my restoration. I'm not going with a full shell off but just taking care of the rear half for now.
There are other suppliers for parts out there too. All the generic things can be had from any RV parts warehouse like PPL Motor homes. You can get new axles at a fraction of what Inland RV charges from Colin Hyde Trailer Restorations. Also Out of Doors Mart has a large selection of Airstream parts.
Since you're an A&P, I'm sure you probably can get away with repairing the frame yourself. Rent a MIG welder, watch some videos on you tube and teach yourself!
Good luck and post pics of your progress!

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Old 01-15-2011, 07:14 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Althea68 View Post
We have about $4500.00 available for this project and I would like to get this thing in solid useable condition. Will this be enough in anyones opinion? Again I'm intending to do most of the labor myself so keep that in mind. All replies welcome and appreciated.
Without seeing the condition of the trailer, my guess would be $9,000.00 to $18,000. Posting pictures would help.

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Old 01-15-2011, 08:40 AM   #5
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I concur...our first trailer ('64 GT) was in excellent condition and we spent well over $4500 (at least $9000+) to fix it up . Our second ('56 Safari) was in worse shape but the frame was solid, we were able to re-use most appliances and it still cost over $15000+. We did all the work ourselves on both. The Safari took over three years (2 people > total of+/- 4000 hours) to complete around our "real life" and most DIY'rs consider that a pretty quick turnaround for the scope of work we undertook.

Not to be discouraging, but it's always going to cost more and take longer than be prepared. Good luck!

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Old 01-16-2011, 02:42 PM   #6
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Smile Well Yeah.

Being in professional maintenance, I understand the best laid plans often don't come to fruition as planned. But when I say $4500 for a "solid useable trailer", I mean a solid safe frame and yeah probably new axles and brakes and acutator, the whole assemblies basically. The interior is in pretty good shape. For being all original for the most part. The oven is new and all the electrical works the furnace still works and the refridgerator still works. Its got a new water heater and new pex lines for the plumbing. However the interior is on the backburner for now anyhow. I can address that and the trim and soft finishes as we go forward and can do it with it put back together. The hangar space is just luck that I have a friend who's building a plane and we're spliting the space so I'm only paying $190 for the space where I was paying $100 already for the storage space its been hanging out in. I have compressors airtools rivet guns buking bars and a full mechanics tool box and a 2 1/2 ton floor jack. So where many incur costs for the equipment to do the job I will be able to minimize this or nulify it all together. Also being in the aircraft industry I have access to clad sheet aluminium in thicknesses from 0.016 up to 1/4 inch at really good prices where others have to go to RV stores or metal sales that charge a premium to the general public. Finally my wife works days I work nights and am of weekends when I want and we don't have any kids. So I'll be able to throw considerable and consistent work at it. I will be needing 3 windows though so if anyone has some laying around I need a front back and right side middle. So with all of that will the $4500 be a good ball park figure to start off with?
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Old 01-16-2011, 03:28 PM   #7
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Althea68 Well you might just squeak by at $4500.
A 20' frame will have 8 to 10 crossmembers at $30 each = $240 to $300. There will be about 16 outriggers at $19 each = $300. The main frame rails sourced locally might be $800. So frame materials alone are $1400, add labour or rental cost for a welder and you get to $2000.
You will have 5 sheets of plywood for the floor at $75 each for marine grade = $375, add hardware and sealant and you get to $500 for the floor.
$1500 plus freight for two axles and your'e probably at $4500.
Now you still need to insulate, replace the belly pan and repair/replace/install any waste plumbing. Can you get rolls of aluminium 65" wide like the original belly pan.It is avilable from INLAND RV. If not you will have to install 5 sheets across the belly and have seams to make and close up.
Your 68 does not have a grey waste water tank. Now would be the time to put one in. Figure another $500 for tank/ freight and misc plumbing.
I would hazard a guess that $5500 to $6000 will get you where you want to be.
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Old 01-16-2011, 04:05 PM   #8
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I have a 74 31' and the original frame was made out of thin 5" C channel, and then had holes all in it to reduce weight even further. Looking at the crossbeams and the outriggers, they looked to be basically made out of the same stuff.

Because I am cheap, I decided to go with straight C5x6.7 channel for everything. I had someone else fabricate it for me and they got the materials.
I have no idea how much the original chassis weighed, but the guy that did mine told me the C channel in the new chassis was 1000 lbs. It has no holes cut in it like the original.

I priced it locally and a 20' length of C5.6.7 was somewhere around $100 or maybe $75.. don't remember.

Used the A frame for the hitch off of the old chassis. I think the only other thing to the chassis was plates for the axles to bolt to and a few pieces of angle iron to support the tanks and some 3" c channel for skids in the back.
I think that my new chassis is substantially better than the original.

Again, because I am cheap, and I don't care if my great-great-grandchildren have to replace the floor, I didn't go the marine plywood or composite floor direction. I'm using DCX plywood (I think that is what it is). It has the voids filled already. I'm sealing with epoxy and water based Verathane. The plywood is $30 a pop at Lowes.

I paid 1,200 for my trailer, paid 2,300 to have the frame fabricated (labor and materials), 200 or so for the plywood, another few hundred for nickel and dime stuff. So I've spent less than $3,000 and have a new chassis and floor and am ready to set the shell back on. Including the cost of the trailer I have around $4,000 in it now.
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Old 01-16-2011, 04:32 PM   #9
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I say just start... those outriggers are light gauge steel.. since you're in aircraft repair.. I think you'll see that what's there isn't all that special. You might just bend up your own with a metal brake. The frame is just box steel, nothing special there. Wood... take your pick... find your price. Marine grade is $$... ACX.. not too bad.

I'm envious that you have a hanger! My '63 is a way from me living in Seattle.. it's up in Marysville. Gas cost + kids stuff has stalled me for the time being.

String up the sheel from the rafters and pull it off! You don't have to use the expensive alumanum grades on the belly pan either.

I bought my Dexter's from Uwe at

I bought the whole Dexter Disc setup for about the price of drums elsewhere.
Fridge.. rebuilt older ones at in Everett.
Go for it!
I think I remember that the interior of your trailer looked good.. just the frame was toast.
Take care!
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Old 01-16-2011, 04:36 PM   #10
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Welcome and congrats on your 68TW. I am kind of partial to them myself. Your budget may be a bit light. If the interior is in good shape you are way ahead of where I was. Count on axles!!
Bruce & Rachel
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:42 PM   #11
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Yep Im going to have to agree with all of the above. I am knee deep in a shell off resto. Im looking at 15K good luck!! Post lots of pics!!
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Old 01-26-2011, 04:28 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by marzboy
Yep Im going to have to agree with all of the above. I am knee deep in a shell off resto. Im looking at 15K good luck!! Post lots of pics!!
Well thanks all the same for the encouraging words at the end. We'll see if I can keep it in budget. I started a blog for documentation so I'll post the site info soon. We're moving into the hangar this weekend and I priced out axle assy's frame metal sheet aluminum 2024 t3 and some fasteners and floor wood and I think I'll be able to squeak it in. But we'll see.

J. Tyler Tuck
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