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Old 04-07-2016, 08:22 PM   #1
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1961 24' Tradewind
Lockport , Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 18
1961 Trade Wind Hydraulic Brakes

Hello,

I've been a lurker for several years but just bought a 1961 Trade Wind - which I have not yet picked up from the seller. When questioning whether it had electric brakes so that I could buy an appropriate brake controller, I was told that it does not. It has the original hydraulic brakes and the seller knows nothing about them.

I have read through this forum and I am confused to say the least. If the brakes have never been converted, what do I need to do to get it safely home (it's roughly 450 miles from me). The seller says he's been towing it just fine with his truck. I have a Lexus LX470 with the factory towing package but I've never towed anything this big or heavy. My current trailer is a little vintage Shasta.

Help, please?

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Old 04-07-2016, 10:21 PM   #2
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1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
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If it does truly have hydraulic brakes, there is little you can do to tow it safely now. I suppose some kind of electric over hydraulic system could be devised but it would not be an easy or inexpensive solution. You cannot tap into the hydraulic brake system on your tow vehicle the way one did in the distant past.

Since I believe that the '61's were the first Airstreams with the dura torque axle, probably your best bet would be to change out the axle to a current one with electric brakes. If it is the older spring system axle, you would have to develop a system to use the newer dura torque axle, or find a way to convert the old hydraulic system to electric.

I have and idea in my mind that the seller is wrong, that it does actually have electric brakes. I can't recall seeing any Airstream made that late (1961) with hydraulic ones, but I certainly could be wrong.

You could pay the seller to deliver it to you, then deal with it at home. You could have someone flatbed trailer it to you. I would not tow it home with your current TV, not only would it be illegal, but it is also dangerous.

I wish you could actually confirm that it does not have electric brakes. That would give you a much better idea of what to do.
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Old 04-07-2016, 10:38 PM   #3
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There were some optional hydraulic brake systems available on Airstreams of that vintage. Assume the seller is telling the truth. I don't think there is a way to jury rig it to work with current tow vehicles.
Cheapest and easy way would be jack it up, slap on a pair of loaded backing plates, new hubs and bearings, run some wires and hook it up to your electric brake controller. If you've ever done a brake job you should be able to handle it.
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Old 04-07-2016, 10:39 PM   #4
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1999 34' Excella
Davidson County, NC , Highlands County, FL
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When I clicked on the photo (which is actually a link to Photo Bucket) there is a second photo of the front of the trailer that shows the hydraulic brakes system on the trailer tongue.

In Illinois it is illegal to tow a trailer without brakes, if the weight of the trailer is over 3000 lbs.
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publ...?Name=093-0344

add edit: further examination of the photos shows no evidence of the required emergency brake disconnect switch. That is also a legally required item that is missing (per the requirements in the above web link)
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Old 04-08-2016, 12:21 AM   #5
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1961 24' Tradewind
Lockport , Illinois
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No electric brakes. That's a certainty. It appears that this was a 1960 model which only had hydraulic brakes but was not titled until 61.
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Old 04-08-2016, 12:25 AM   #6
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1961 24' Tradewind
Lockport , Illinois
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Thank you A Warn. This was expensive. I likely overpaid but wanted something with minimal restore work. Now I'm not sure what to do. I won't tow it like that.
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Old 04-08-2016, 12:27 AM   #7
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A W Warn: I looked at the original photos as you suggested, and yes, that does look like a hydraulic brake system front part. So, I would have to agree with you, it does not have electric brakes, as the original owner said.

So, it does need to be converted in some way to a new brake system, probably electric, and as you note, also needs a break away system activator for the electric brakes. That of course means it needs an operating 12 volt battery in the trailer.

Good call, looking for the other photos.

To the OP and new owner, you may have more than you expected to get this AS to your home. Something will need to be done with the brakes to make it legal to tow.
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:21 AM   #8
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1961 24' Tradewind
1967 26' Overlander
1973 27' Overlander
Savannah , Georgia
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I do not think that is a 61. It has different vents and doors than does mine, and I know mine is a 61. Check the serial number. That could explain a lot.
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:38 AM   #9
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1961 24' Tradewind
Lockport , Illinois
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beatrix1 View Post
I do not think that is a 61. It has different vents and doors than does mine, and I know mine is a 61. Check the serial number. That could explain a lot.
It is likely a 1960 that wasn't titled until 1961. It matches the layout of a 1960 model.
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Old 04-08-2016, 12:07 PM   #10
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Palmer Lake , Colorado
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Could be a solution - not cheap but less than a new axle & brake system:

Hydrastar Trailer Brakes - HBA-10
Anodized aluminum electric-hydraulic actuator lets you use your brake controller (sold separately) to activate your trailer's hydraulic drum brakes. Includes hardware. Hydraulic lines and breakaway sold separately.

Features:
Electric-over-hydraulic brake actuator activates your trailer's hydraulic brakes when you apply the brakes in your tow vehicle
Brake controller (sold separately) is required to send signal from tow vehicle to actuator when brakes are applied
7-Way trailer connector (sold separately) is needed to transmit signal from brake controller
Improved functionality when compared with surge brake couplers
Faster response time - trailer brakes are triggered when you apply brakes in tow vehicle, as opposed to when trailer pushes against hitch ball
No need to manually lock out brakes when you back up
Trailer brakes can be intentionally activated when you reverse
Manual override on brake controller can be activated so you can engage the trailer brakes without having to apply your vehicle brakes
Electronic, proportional pressure valve ensures that braking is smooth and effective
Built-in bleeder screw lets you easily flush air out of the brake lines
Durable extruded aluminum provides corrosion resistance
Compatible with any standard, 5-amp-hour-battery breakaway kit (sold separately)
DOT compliant
Unit installs on trailer frame and connects to trailer's wiring and hydraulic brake lines (sold separately)
Made in the USA
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Old 04-08-2016, 12:16 PM   #11
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1973 31' Excella 500
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I had a boat trailer with hydraulic brakes that were activated by the hitch. When the tv braked the activator acted like pushing the brake pedal. They worked fine for a while but the launching into salt water eventually ruined them. It seems that for you this would work fine.
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Old 04-08-2016, 06:19 PM   #12
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1966 24' Tradewind
2005 22' Safari
Bastrop , Texas
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This is an electric servo type system that applies the brakes using what ever voltage is supplied by the tow vehicles electric brake controller. It was built in 1960 so it came with 12 volt wiring and servo . The same as your fancy new Lexus . It should work just fine as is if in working order . As far as having to have a break away brake activator , Most all vintage car trucks and trailers are perfectly legal with the equipment installed at the time of manufacture . Sort of like a 33 Ford V8 with cable brakes . They are legal on the road as is . This is more than likely why the seller has had no problems towing it where ever .
Go for it !
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Old 04-08-2016, 08:29 PM   #13
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1961 24' Tradewind
Lockport , Illinois
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannydimitt View Post
This is an electric servo type system that applies the brakes using what ever voltage is supplied by the tow vehicles electric brake controller. It was built in 1960 so it came with 12 volt wiring and servo . The same as your fancy new Lexus . It should work just fine as is if in working order . As far as having to have a break away brake activator , Most all vintage car trucks and trailers are perfectly legal with the equipment installed at the time of manufacture . Sort of like a 33 Ford V8 with cable brakes . They are legal on the road as is . This is more than likely why the seller has had no problems towing it where ever .
Go for it !
Thanks you. I "wish" that Lexus was new. It's a 2006 however.

This trailer only has hydraulic brakes...no electric to use a brake controller.

I'm working my way through all the new information I've received from all the great people here.
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Old 04-08-2016, 10:35 PM   #14
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Saskatoon , Saskatchewan
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When I picked up my 33' sovereign in Arizona it has hydraulic drums I ended up getting a surge actuator coupler installed for the trip back to Canada and would not really recommend it. Not bad for a shortish trip with a bigger tow vehicle but there were days of stressful driving that I never want to endure again. Your trailer sub combo would probably be much better but it might be easier on yourself to just book it into a shop near the seller and get electric drums installed
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