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Old 05-02-2013, 04:54 PM   #1
New Member
Vintage Kin Owner
Hilton Head , South Carolina
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 4
My Journey begins

I am a professional woodworker/problem solver that has become fascinated with all the historical aluminum trailers being restored and modified. My significant other and I are both in our 50's and looking to simplify our lives and live with a far smaller footprint in the near future. We are 5 years away from leaving the Lowcountry of South Carolina and re-locating to the Austin Texas area. I intend to continue working on projects that interest me, which so far has included residential/commercial/marine millwork and cabinetry, and specialized fabrication and installation.
We are putting together ideas for a trailer that we would work on for the next 2 years to use for travel and exploration as well as temporary housing when we relocate. The interest in airstreams and other artistic aluminum legacy rv's seems to be very strong, so I look forward to learning for our own adventure as well as a means to put my talents to use to augment a number of other interests that would fuel and finance our "retirement".
So far I seem to be drawn to the body styles and technology that was in the 70's airstreams in the 25-30 foot range as my starting point. I am curious to hear people's opinions, with far more experience than me, about different era's strengths and weaknesses. Were there decades or models with better running gear, stronger frames, better systems??? I know a lot of this stuff is very subjective, but I am looking at tons of pictures and reading peoples stories and just trying to build a knowledge base to make a better decision when the time comes to pull the trigger and start my journey.
I appreciate the welcome to the community and look forward to asking lots of questions

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Old 05-02-2013, 05:03 PM   #2
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eljay's Avatar
1968 24' Tradewind
Rural, blink and you'll miss it , Missouri
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 692
Images: 19
What fun and an adventure!!! sounds like you have a great skill set for this project. I'm partial to the 66-68 years because that's what I know the best through research but they have their own oddities that make them challenging. The grey tanks were added in the 70s (I don't know when; someone else will chime in I'm sure).

Good luck on your adventure!

Not knowing enough to be afraid... (I know more than I did, but I did it anyway!)


1968 Tradewind Double.
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:13 AM   #3
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1971 18' Caravel
Columbus , Montana
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 103
Images: 1
Welcome to AF Doug! My husband is also a professional woodworker, and we have similar ideas about restoring an AS. We actually purchased our first Airstream a Caravel, two weeks ago. It's in such flawless condition however, that we can't possibly use it a a rebuild project. Instead, we decided to go ahead and purchase it so we can immediately start camping; continuing to look for a project AS while we do.

Good luck with your search and keep reading the AF threads for information.
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:40 AM   #4
2 Rivet Member
strshpntrprz's Avatar
1973 23' Safari
Reese , Michigan
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 42
You have a big leg up on most people that get into AS because you found this place and you will know about bad axles and rusted metal frame parts and of course floor rot. And like restoring a vintage auto there are so many parts available to do the job. Just READ- READ- READ- here then make an informed purchase, and have a better idea of what is ahead for your rest of your life journey-- good luck
Gene and Sharol in starship enterprize (earthbound) don't grow up, it is a TRAP ---repairing, not restoring since 1999
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:33 AM   #5
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1999 30' Excella 1000
Nellysford , Virginia
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 957
Images: 6
Blog Entries: 1
Welcome to the world of Aluminitis from another old woodworker who also loves the Austin area, even though we don't live there. Much enjoyment ahead. For long term use and enjoyment get one with both a grey tank and black tank IMHO. There's plumbing and electrical work in your future, too, not to mention aluminum fabrication, repair, and installation. Fun!
Greg and Linda Heuer
'99 Excella 30 w/HAHA - The Silver Otter
'08 Chevy LTZ 2500HD 6.6 DuraMax
TAC VA-18 | WBCCI 1927 - Unit 149 | AIR 53869
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:54 AM   #6
New Member
Vintage Kin Owner
Hilton Head , South Carolina
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 4

I watched a video someone put up from I think the 60's(??) where they described the freezing and shrinking of the rubber rods that make the torsion axles which was amazing technology for the times!
How long can you expect to get good service out of a 40 year old axle?
Can they be repacked?
Is there a comparable substitute similar to the torsion axles on a Pace enclosed hauler?

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