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Old 08-13-2003, 12:16 PM   #1
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Angry vintage brakes

Help me! Would love to get my '59 Tradewind back on the road, but can't get the 6 volt brakes configured. Last time I had it working, I wired a big variable resistor alongside a 12 volt controller, but that truck is long gone. Can anyone recommend a conversion kit or where to go for 12 volt magnets that I can use to replace the 6 volt magnets? And, would I be reducing the value of this all-original, mint-condition unit if I stuck a new axle and running gear under it? I kind of like keeping it in "as purchased" condition.
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Old 08-13-2003, 12:28 PM   #2
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Just my opinion, I would replace the axle and backing plates. I don't think you will reduce the value at all and you'll have the comfort of knowing your running gear is brand new. For a single axle such as yours you can get the whole thing done for not too much money.
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Old 08-13-2003, 01:12 PM   #3
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Re: vintage brakes

Quote:
Originally posted by markdoane
Help me! Would love to get my '59 Tradewind back on the road, but can't get the 6 volt brakes configured. Last time I had it working, I wired a big variable resistor alongside a 12 volt controller, but that truck is long gone. Can anyone recommend a conversion kit or where to go for 12 volt magnets that I can use to replace the 6 volt magnets? And, would I be reducing the value of this all-original, mint-condition unit if I stuck a new axle and running gear under it? I kind of like keeping it in "as purchased" condition.
First off...you don't need to replace the axle and the fact of the matter is I doubt you will find the right axle. your unit uses conventional springs and not the torsion axle of the later models. The axle is offset to the spindle. I doubt you will be able to find anything but a straight axle that will cause the unit to sit 4-6 inches higher then stock.

You just need backing plates with 12v magnets. That's a standard item and about $70 per side. Then make sure to remove any resistors that were installed for the 6v brakes.
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Old 08-13-2003, 01:53 PM   #4
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Hmmm thats interesting, I've known lots of folks who have replaced their pre 62 leaf spring axles. I've also know several who have upgraded their leaf spring axles to the Henschion (sp) axles. I've also known several who have broken old axles.

I think its best to inspect the axle carefully for rust etc. If there is any doubt, I would replace. In fact even those of you with eariler torsion axles should inspect their spindles - there was an article several years ago in Vintage Advantage (the VAC newsletter) about that.

Ken J.
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Old 08-13-2003, 03:03 PM   #5
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I agree with Ken. I don't think replacing the brakes and/or the axle would adversely effect the value of your Airstream. To the contrary, I would think that most folks would prefer a rig with new running gear. New brakes/axles don't show, and they're safer for everyone.

Split rim wheels are original, but the consensus is that they're unsafe and should be replaced. I think the same can be said of 44 year-old brakes. You can always save the old parts. They might make an interesting exhibit at a rally some day.
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Old 08-13-2003, 05:02 PM   #6
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Smile Vintage brakes

Thanks for all you comments. Very helpful. Be on the road soon.
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Old 08-13-2003, 06:15 PM   #7
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If you really, really want...

to keep your six volt brakes, just wire them in series instead of parallel. I'm assuming here that they are not inherently grounded, and have two leads coming out of the coil.

Your mileage may vary.
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Old 08-13-2003, 11:27 PM   #8
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Thumbs up Vintage brakes

drboyd:
dwhs (DO-OH, w/ head slap)
meaning: why didn't I think of that.
thanks.
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Old 08-14-2003, 06:26 AM   #9
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If you run 6 volt brakes on 12 volts will your stopping distance be cut in half?
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Old 08-14-2003, 08:40 AM   #10
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Great looking trailer - in fact looking for one of those myself. The puller looks good - thats what I call towing in style!

Ken J.
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Old 08-14-2003, 10:22 AM   #11
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Wink

Pick: Actually you're correct, as I found out when I first got the trailer and hooked up a standard 12 volt controller. Which is not a good thing, because the smell of fried rubber just catches up to you that much faster.
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Old 08-14-2003, 12:19 PM   #12
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Smile

I dint know that older AS units used split rims. Several people i know have been injured and killed working on them. In what years did they use them.

Bruce
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Old 08-14-2003, 12:27 PM   #13
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I'm not sure what years they were used by Airstream, Bruce, but the VAC website indicates that they were "popular until the early 1960s."

My '63 did not have split rims when I got it, but a prior owner may have already replaced them.

Tom
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Old 08-14-2003, 05:48 PM   #14
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Don't think split rims were used. My '59 still has original wheels, unit was bought new by her uncle and I have every invoice and service record. I think the previous post about split rims was trying to make a general point about using outdated/obsolete equipment.
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