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Old 03-24-2015, 12:33 AM   #1
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1961 24' Tradewind
Broomfield , Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2015
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1961 24' Tradewind restoration .... sort of

I'll attempt to document my restoration efforts here in hopes that I illustrate either what worked or what not to do. I consider myself reasonably handy but up until about 3 weeks ago, I knew NOTHING about airstreams.

The final product will not be a fully restored AS but rather an AS used for a business purpose. So ultimately there will be a nice floor, nice shelving, solid frame, low voltage lighting and functional windows and vents.

I have made some progress already. I'll start with some pictures of how it looked when it began.

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Old 03-24-2015, 06:13 AM   #2
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That puppy could use some TLC. Keep us posted on your progress.
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Old 03-28-2015, 06:47 PM   #3
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1961 24' Tradewind
Broomfield , Colorado
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Today I got the two aluminum propane tanks off. The nut holding the clamp (which holds the tanks) was completely rusted on, so I had to mangle that clamp to get them off. I was able to get the coupler innards out and will be replacing them soon with a kit I bought online. We also have been able to get all the bottom inner panels off and most of the insulation removed. This showed us we had way more mice droppings behind the insulation and in the u-channel than I believed we did, so taking the time to get the inner panels off and insulation out has proven to be a good idea.

I also took the outer bottom band off (I'm sure its called something else) but it is the small aluminum strap that wraps around the front and the back at the bottom on the outside. These were blind riveted on and exposed the buck rivets which hold the shell to the u-channel.

Also, I found a large steel plate in the front right under the front window. I thought I read something about this plate somewhere else, but right now, I don't know what it is for or if it will hinder lifting the shell off.
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Old 03-28-2015, 07:12 PM   #4
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1957 30' Sovereign of the Road
1959 28' Ambassador
1949 24' Limited
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rohayre View Post
Today I got the two aluminum propane tanks off. The nut holding the clamp (which holds the tanks) was completely rusted on, so I had to mangle that clamp to get them off. I was able to get the coupler innards out and will be replacing them soon with a kit I bought online. We also have been able to get all the bottom inner panels off and most of the insulation removed. This showed us we had way more mice droppings behind the insulation and in the u-channel than I believed we did, so taking the time to get the inner panels off and insulation out has proven to be a good idea.

I also took the outer bottom band off (I'm sure its called something else) but it is the small aluminum strap that wraps around the front and the back at the bottom on the outside. These were blind riveted on and exposed the buck rivets which hold the shell to the u-channel.

Also, I found a large steel plate in the front right under the front window. I thought I read something about this plate somewhere else, but right now, I don't know what it is for or if it will hinder lifting the shell off.
As long as you drill out all of the rivets going through that plate, it won't hinder the removal of the body. We have done this hundreds of times & you're approaching it correctly. As a side note, you'll likely find a lot more mouse evidence when you remove the rest of the interior skin.
Good luck with your project.
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Old 03-29-2015, 08:26 AM   #5
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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Hi rohayre, welcome to Air Forums and the Airstream community. Rebuilding one of these old trailers is a lot of fun, and as you rightly speculate, an attention getter.

There are a lot of Airstream enthusiasts on these Forums from the Denver area. My son worked in Broomfield for many years, but now works in his home town of Golden. We have pulled our Airstream to the Denver area many times. I can tell you that Timeless Travel Trailers in Wheat Ridge could design and build you a business Airstream that would be fabulous. They are top notch trailer builders. $$$ Visit their website and see what I mean. They advertise in these Forums.

You might enjoy the Airstream Knowledge Base section in Air Forums. Find it in the lower section of the home page. This section is year and model specific. Select trailers, and then select Trade Wind, and then select your year range, like 59 to 69. Meet other folks who have done what you are wanting to do. Maybe you would enjoy starting a "full monty" thread and make entries as you progress with the tear down and rebuild. The tear down is fast, the rebuild is much, much slower.

I've been working on my 66 Trade Wind, but my project is not as extensive as yours. I'm renovating to a "travel ready" trailer with replaced major systems but still the old twin bed layout. My trailer had significant floor rot in the rear under the toilet.

David
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Old 03-30-2015, 07:12 PM   #6
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1961 24' Tradewind
Broomfield , Colorado
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Had to undo buck rivets around the door. Used rivet remove tool from VintageTrailerSupply.com - really seemed to help keep the bit centered, although there were some that were slightly off center.

Got the last interior panel off today, which is really three huge long panels buck riveted together. These were the ceiling panels. I have it all laying upside down right now. Hoping not to have to drill out all the buck rivets holding them together. Planning on rolling it up and getting out the front window.

Hoping to get all interior panels sandblasted (probably not sand - probably something less abrasive of course) and paint stripped and then put them right back in after figuring out the wiring, windows, vents and insulation. Anyone know how realistic it is to drop the panels off somewhere and pick them up later looking beautiful? Everything for a price right?

Turns out mice were all about the ceiling insulation. Disgusting. Chocolate sprinkles came raining down when that top panel came down.

Can someone tell me what the end cap piece housing the license plate light is not aluminum? It is all rusted.

I'm thinking about taking the wheel wells off now, in hopes that it will give me a glimpse at the frame/belly pan area. Thoughts anyone?

Also, I took out all the weather stripping for all the windows. Do the window frames simply slide out from the channel that appears to hold them? If so, is it just this one set screw which seems to hold it in?
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Old 03-30-2015, 07:35 PM   #7
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1962 24' Tradewind
Buffalo , Wyoming
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Yes, the windows slide out from the channel after you remove the set screw. You have to bend the end of the rain gutters to slide past them. I had to use a little WD-40 to get mine to slide.

Did you see the message I sent you about your parts?
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Old 03-30-2015, 09:39 PM   #8
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1961 24' Tradewind
Broomfield , Colorado
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Colin H.... you did the axle on this trailer last year. I have an email you sent the previous owner.
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Old 03-31-2015, 12:57 PM   #9
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1961 24' Tradewind
1967 26' Overlander
1973 27' Overlander
Savannah , Georgia
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Wheel wells will not give you a very good look at the frame. Only real way to do that is through the belly pan or floor. There is basically a block of frame surrounding the wells. Since you pulled the cabinets, you might be able to pull the floor panel that spans between the wheel wells. It will all depend on where the panel seams fall. I know on my Overlander there is one floor panel in that area. On my Tradewind, seems to me the panel splits down the middle of the wheel wells. Another tactic some have used where the shell is not being pulled is to cut a section of the belly pan and patch it back with new material. That way you can leave the curved sections alone and just cut out part of the center. I know I was surprised at the condition of my Tradewind frame, even though I had a couple of longer term leaks. The frame was solid. My Overlander did not fare so well, and needs some welding done, even though it is 12 years newer.

On the plate holder, I had the same question! Since I am in the polish phase, I am removing it, sanding it and painting with Rustoleum to match the rear bumper and putting it back.

Michael
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Old 04-01-2015, 02:45 PM   #10
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2014 23' Flying Cloud
Longmont , Colorado
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Hi rohayre, welcome to Air Forums and the Airstream community. you are making nice progress, I may go by your place and take a look at the trailer, I am near you in the Longmont area, but I am further behind that you, I am still looking for the right trailer to remodel, any thought on how to choose the right trailer?

HectoR
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Old 04-03-2015, 01:57 AM   #11
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1961 24' Tradewind
Broomfield , Colorado
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orignal bumper?

As I plan for the shell lift off and frame evaluation, I'm fully aware the rear of the frame has significant rust in spots, so much so the rear bumper simply rusted out and fell off when the previous owner was towing it to Colorado from Michigan. The bumper seems to be unique b/c of how it holds the spare tire. It makes me wonder if its original and thus worth repairing. Can anyone tell what they know about this bumper?
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Old 04-03-2015, 06:49 PM   #12
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1966 24' Tradewind
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My 66 bumper is welded on to the end of the frame channels. The belly pan extends and is attached to the bottom of the bumper forming the "bumper storage compartment". It looks similar to yours.

David
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Old 04-04-2015, 06:25 PM   #13
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1961 24' Tradewind
Broomfield , Colorado
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Today's progress:

- Installed the 2" marvel coupler repair kit I bought from vintagetrailersupply.com. Took 5 seconds. The old setup was missing the top latch and the spring was old and rusted out. Looks funny on rusted coupler.

- Had to roll up top, inner skin and get it out through the front window. Gee, that was a lot of fun

- Took the front end cap off, lots of mice and insect evidence in the insulation above it, plus it revealed the rest of the wiring.

- Drilled out about 1/3 of the buck rivets holding the shell to the u-channel. About 9 million more to go....

- Took the inner wheel well covers off, which allowed me to remove the rest of the insulation.

Got a full picture of the wiring. Have the following questions regarding the wiring.
- There are two cables coming up through the u-channel in the front under the front window. One clearly seems to be for the trailer exterior lights coming from the hitch. What the other one is for is still a mystery.... and what the grey wire is next to the right one is also a mystery.
- Looks like the orange wire is for 12v. The larger romex-type is obviously the 110 wiring and came from the breaker box. Some of the fixtures had both 12v and 110 wiring going to them, indicating those fixtures were able to run off both?
- The battery was mounted in the front of the trailer, behind the propane tanks. Is it true the battery is supposed to be charging while the trailer is being towed? Not sure how that works.
- I've seen a lot of talk about converters - are those used so the battery can be charged while the trailer's 110 v system is plugged in somewhere?
- Some of the smaller red wire (which is for the running lights, marker lights etc) is rolled up in spots and taped to the inside of the outer shell. Seems like they did that to store lots of extra wiring in that spot? Maybe if someone in the future planned on adding a light at that spot perhaps? Seems kind of odd.
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Old 04-04-2015, 07:38 PM   #14
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1966 24' Tradewind
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You're making progress. The tear down takes about 10% of the time of the rebuild. You're "sort of rebuild" is turning into a major project for sure!

I might be able to answer some of your questions. Your 61 is pre "uni-volt" where Airstream ran all devices inside the trailer on 12v. So you have some 115vAC stuff, and some 12v stuff.

So here goes:

- There are two cables coming up through the u-channel in the front under the front window. One clearly seems to be for the trailer exterior lights coming from the hitch. What the other one is for is still a mystery.... and what the grey wire is next to the right one is also a mystery.
I don't know about the mystery wires. I do know you need to follow them until you know what they are and then label them as well as making a diagram. Photographs help too.

- Looks like the orange wire is for 12v. The larger romex-type is obviously the 110 wiring and came from the breaker box. Some of the fixtures had both 12v and 110 wiring going to them, indicating those fixtures were able to run off both? I am unaware of devices that can run off both 115vAC and 12vDC. Careful The wiring in my 66 contains large dia romex 2 conductor cable for 12v and similar romex for the 115v runs. 12v from the fuse box, 115v from the breaker box.

- The battery was mounted in the front of the trailer, behind the propane tanks. Is it true the battery is supposed to be charging while the trailer is being towed? Not sure how that works.
The standard "7-pin" umbilical cord from the tow vehicle contains a 12v charge wire that does indeed charge the trailer battery while towing.

- I've seen a lot of talk about converters - are those used so the battery can be charged while the trailer's 110 v system is plugged in somewhere?
Yep. The modern converter is the result of Airstream's "uni-volt" system they started about 1964 or so. The converter takes 115vAC and makes 12V DC. There is a wire from the converter to charge the battery. New style converters are three stage battery chargers so they don't over charge the battery and ruin it.

- Some of the smaller red wire (which is for the running lights, marker lights etc) is rolled up in spots and taped to the inside of the outer shell. Seems like they did that to store lots of extra wiring in that spot? Maybe if someone in the future planned on adding a light at that spot perhaps? Seems kind of odd. Pass on that one. I don't know.

Hope this helps a bit. There is a lot to learn.

David
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