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Old 10-06-2008, 12:53 AM   #1
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santa clara , California
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Tradewind Purchase Being Considered

I have been considering the purchase of an older Airstream for almost a year now and have been doing a lot of research in the many forums available here. The information contained in the many forums has been invaluable.

I believe I have found what I have been looking for and of course the trailer is located in a different state. It is a 1968 Tradewind with twin bed and a center gaucho. I have made arrangements to have the seller tow the trailer to a local Airstream Dealer for a complete pre delivery inspection. I would like to think the dealer is going to do a thorough inspection and of course provide me a thorough report. The question I have is, am I being too naive in thinking the inspection will uncover all possible problems with the trailer, is there something I should tell them to look for or should I put my trust in them.

When I spoke with the dealer, they told me they would check everything. Does that mean they will check for rear end seperation or do I need to ask them to look for it?

I was also told if there were any concerns on their part about the safety of the trailer they would want to fix those items and also provide with a detailed quote on the other repairs needed. In other words they want to make it road safe, i.e. repack bearings, insure the brakes work, etc.

I have a family member in the area that will do a visual inspection of the trailer once Airstream is done with it and let me know if the pictures match what he sees. Is there anything I should have him look at that Airstream may not consider, i.e. jump up and down on the back bumper and see if the shell moves with the bumper or if the bumper is the only thing that moves.

Any and all advice would be appreciated. If things work out I am hoping to soon join the ranks of other Airstream owners.

Regards,
s_zamora
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Old 10-06-2008, 01:29 AM   #2
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Another questions came to mind. Anyone have experience with the AS dealer in Spokane.

Thanks,
s_zamora
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Old 10-06-2008, 09:25 AM   #3
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1972 25' Tradewind
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I've heard nothing but good things about Airstream of Spokane. For your year of Tradewind, I don't think rear end separation is an issue. I would be more concerned with floor rot and frame corrosion. However, if the trailer is located in the interior of Washington State, the dry climate may have prevented the floor and frame from being water damaged. I'm not sure if this year has the dura-torque axle or not. If so, they're probably shot and will need to be replaced. You may also need new tires, if the trailer has been sitting for any length of time. Have the dealer recertify the gas lines and appliances and check the electrical.

Good luck!
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Old 10-06-2008, 10:39 AM   #4
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OK, we have a '68 Ambassador and the dealer will miss something, so don't be surprised.. Unless the trailer has been on jacks for 20+ years you will have issues... It is never in as good condition as the PO says it is... Not that they are trying to deceive you, they just don't know.. And I wouldn't have known about my issues if I hadn't started the restoration of mine....

It's an old trailer and unless they pull up all the carpet and move cabinets and appliances you never know what the floor is like,, ,,,,,, I know I had some surprises... Mine had some bad spots....

If there is rear end separation, It's hard to tell how bad unless you peal the skin of the bottom..... You could end up paying more for the inspection and repairs than what your paying for the trailer...not uncommon... Unless it's been restored....

Check the axels, more than likely they will need to be replaced. $1200... for parts alone...

Unless the PO has done a restoration on it, you better be a handy type of person...

Don't mean to make you feel discouraged, just want you to know with a 40 year old trailer there will be issues.
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Old 10-06-2008, 10:43 AM   #5
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Soft spot

Hello Cameron,

Thank you for your response. I was told by the seller that there is a soft spot at the door. In all the research I have done, that seems to be fairly common. What I have not done is researched the root causes of soft spots at the door. Could it simply be the stress of stepping into the trailer over the years or could it possibly be water damage? Thanks again for the input on Airstream of Spokane, that make me feel better.

Thanks,
s_zamora
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Old 10-06-2008, 10:50 AM   #6
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I had the same issue with mine... Must likely it is water... Mine was.... the floor was totally rotted out under the fresh water tank under my couch and by the door..... Cut in new bits of plywood in both cases... Also under the fridge was gone, or should say had a bad patch, those old fridges use to leak... My front window leaked at some point I think.
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Old 10-06-2008, 10:53 AM   #7
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Tradewind 68

Hello Jason,

Thanks for the heads up. The trailer has been partially dismantled. The dinette/twin bed configuration has been removed. Only the table remains. The prior owner before the current owner lived in the trailer, so it was not on the road. The current owner was told everything was operational, we will see what the inspection uncovers. It needed a lot of cleaning which has been done as well as sanding of the woodwork. The question for me is what will be the deal breaker if any. I know what to expect from reading all the informative posts.

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s_zamora
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Old 10-06-2008, 11:19 AM   #8
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If it's been sitting the axels will need replacing... My rear one is shot and my front is marginal.... The rubber in them just wears out.... It you drive to much with shot axels is can cause rear end separation, like mine.... I've got a good 2" drop in my rear end.... part of it is the floor is rotted out in the very back of the trailer, so there is no support for the shell...

If I would have knew what I know now I would have not paid what I did for the trailer, but I sold a popup so it didn't cost me to much in the end.... and I am doing all the work myself so I won't have to much money in it... Just time..

Also with this older trailer remember there is no grey tank just a black... You need to have a portable tank for the grey stuff.

Hopefully I'm gonna put one in between the axels...
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Old 10-06-2008, 12:05 PM   #9
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I also have a 68 Tradewind. The floor is bad in several spots due to water damage. Near the water pump under the front gaucho and also a very sneaky spot...near the curbside wheel well. This was caused by a leak in the seal of the outside electrical outlet. We will be starting our own floor replacement soon. The axle replacement will take place next spring.

Consider the cost of repairs in your purchase price. I too would not have paid what I did if I knew then what I know now. Good job doing your homework!

Oh, did I mention the plumbing? Mine leaks everywhere!
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Old 10-06-2008, 02:47 PM   #10
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Guys,

Thank you for all the advice, this information is invaluable. I suspect all that everyone has experienced will be a given for any AS that old. It is just a matter of negotiating a good price knowing there will have to be some repairs. Keeping on feeding me info and things to consider.

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s_zamora
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Old 10-06-2008, 08:14 PM   #11
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Just think that it all might have to be replaced.... really, what you are buying is a good shell when it comes to the old units... anything that works is just a plus.

Even when I bought my '75, I found out later that just about everything needed to be replaced, except for the shell and floor structure.

AS of Spokane are good folks. I'm not sure how much vintage stuff they rebuild, but I'm sure they're more than up to most of the bigger tasks. Tow it home on the axles it has after repacking the bearings. You can replace them later. In fact, other than running gear, nothing needs to be touched this far from home, unless you want a turnkey trailer when it gets to you.

How much rebuilding are you planning on doing? I'd really think the water system (pump, pipes, hotwater tank), electrical 12v converter, fridge, and oven probably need to be replaced if it is all orginal. Oh yes! Propane tanks need to be changed (if they're aluminum, you can just put new OPD valves and new pigtails on them. Your local propane dealer should probably be able to do this. You'll need a new regulator too.)

Small softspots are usually not that hard to replace.. just time consuming.

Softspots are caused by water leaks.... they can be fun : ) to find. Make sure the frame is solid.

Good luck!
Marc
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Old 10-06-2008, 10:33 PM   #12
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Hello Marc,

Thank you for the words of encouragement. Simply having the bearings repacked was my intent. Do enough to get it road safe. As for how much work I would do if any, that depends on many things. Many of which are not yet defined. I would like to keep it as original as possible what ever that means. Once I get the inspection report I will have a better idea.

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s_zamora
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