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Old 07-20-2013, 08:07 PM   #1
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Questions about an AS I am looking at

Hello all. Looking to purchase my first AS as an upgrade from tent camping. I looked at this nice 1976 25ft Trade Wind. The body and everything seems to be in great shape but I found an area of concern. Now im not sure if I am using the right terminology but the front frame of the trailer where it meets the aluminum looks pretty rusty. I pushed on it and it felt soft, but I didnt have anything hard enough to really poke it and see. Is this a common problem? Im not expecting a perfectly rust free trailer because of the age but would this be an expensive repair? I attached some pics, one is of the left side and one is of the right. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:20 PM   #2
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It looks like the A-frame is in pretty bad shape where it meets up with the main frame members that run the length of the trailer. Hard to tell the extent of it without dropping al least the banana wraps and having a look. It wouldn't be that big a deal to have a welder weld on a new A-frame. But again, it's hard to tell how far the damage goes.

How is the floor? If there are soft spots in the sub-floor, you could be looking at extensive damage to the frame from continued moisture contact....and a complete over-haul with new sub-floor. Unless you have a considerable bank account, I wouldn't buy it with that damage without at least taking off those banana wraps and having a look at the extent of the damage.

All Airstreams leak at some point. Most vintage Airstreams have some damage from continued leaking...and rust/damage to the frame. But a good welder can fix a lot of the damage....just depends on how far you are willing to go.

Good Luck!
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:22 PM   #3
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GB (is this sarah?) ,
there can be corrosion where aluminum meets steel, or the frame could be rusted there. i cant say for SURE, but it sort of looks like the tongue / frame you are showing has holes rusted through?

there are usually bigger signs that you should avoid a trailer; soft floor, rear-end separation, frame failure. if there ARE holes in the frame at that juncture, it could be future frame failure. i cant really tell from the photo.
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:24 PM   #4
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As a recent purchaser of a polished terd, I would suggest you take some time reading the forums and "Restoring a Dream" by Tim Shephard. It's available in hard copy and e-book format. The members of this forum are more than helpful when it comes to purchasing and restoring a trailer. You can always ask if there's someone in your area that can go look at this AS with you. It could save you money, sweat, money, swear words, money, time and get you camping in an AS that is solid and ready to roll.
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Old 07-20-2013, 09:39 PM   #5
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Thanks for the quick and helpful responses everyone.

Is taking off the banana wrap an easy task? Im pretty mechanically inclined, but Im not sure how involved this task is and being that I dont own it yet Im not sure how well that would fly.

I didnt see any holes in the frame up front but I didnt have any tools to really poke it. It was pretty soft though.

The floors felt fine, I couldn't fine any soft spots.

NJtoNC - No this isnt Sarah

IrishM - Thanks for the book. Im doing to download it now.
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Old 07-21-2013, 09:01 AM   #6
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Thanks for the quick and helpful responses everyone.

Is taking off the banana wrap an easy task? Im pretty mechanically inclined, but Im not sure how involved this task is and being that I dont own it yet Im not sure how well that would fly.

I didnt see any holes in the frame up front but I didnt have any tools to really poke it. It was pretty soft though.

The floors felt fine, I couldn't fine any soft spots.

NJtoNC - No this isnt Sarah

IrishM - Thanks for the book. Im doing to download it now.
What, you don't have a screwdriver or butternife?
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Old 07-21-2013, 09:19 AM   #7
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I've seen much,much worse....it actually looks to me as if most of the damage is oxidized sheet metal,and not structural steel damage.
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Old 07-21-2013, 09:28 AM   #8
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Taking off the forward banana wraps is not that difficult....but your seller may object. Although, he/she should understand that there is a problem, and ought to let you investigate if they are serious about selling the Airstream.

You would have to use a drill/driver with a 1/8" cobalt bit to drill out the rivets that are holding the trim on along the bottom edge where the side panels meet the banana wraps. Then you would need to drill out the rivets that are holding the banana wraps on. You could release just enough to pull down on the banana wrap and get a strong flashlight in there. More than likely, all of the insulation in the belly pan (also a source of constant water retention) has fallen to the bottom...and you would be able to view the main rails, front cross members and the A-frame/tongue where the damage is apparent.

If you are allowed to do this, be very careful and precise with your drilling...so as not to make the resulting holes any bigger than the 1/8 inch bit.
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Old 07-22-2013, 07:56 AM   #9
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Questions on trailer...

Try and find a local inspector through this site, there are many of them around the country that will inspect it for you, just depends if they are close enough to you.
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Old 07-22-2013, 08:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB2000 View Post
Hello all. Looking to purchase my first AS as an upgrade from tent camping. I looked at this nice 1976 25ft Trade Wind. The body and everything seems to be in great shape but I found an area of concern. Now im not sure if I am using the right terminology but the front frame of the trailer where it meets the aluminum looks pretty rusty. I pushed on it and it felt soft, but I didnt have anything hard enough to really poke it and see. Is this a common problem? Im not expecting a perfectly rust free trailer because of the age but would this be an expensive repair? I attached some pics, one is of the left side and one is of the right. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks.
By clicking on the pictures I was able to zoom in on the area you marked with the red arrow. The A frame is covered at that point by a hard plastic type cover that attaches to the A fame and the trailer skin to make the transition from the skin to the frame look better. The tear you see is actually in this cover. You should be able to pull this back to see the actual A fame and any damage.
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Old 07-22-2013, 08:48 AM   #11
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I thought I was pretty familiar with the undersides of 70's era trailers, but the glimpse I see in your pics gives me cause for concern (in addition to the rusted A-frame). For example, the spare tire is typically tucked up under the trailer in a carrier that keeps it from protruding too much below the belly. I see that the spare on your trailer of interest is hanging down off the A-frame--I've never seen this configuration before. Also, I can see what looks to be some kind of tanks hanging down below the belly further aft. If you have more pics of the underside of the trailer, it would be helpful. My concern is that there could be some wonky modifications done that you will have to correct at some point (that are not adding value to the trailer).

good luck
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:28 AM   #12
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What, you don't have a screwdriver or butternife?
I don't carry silverware in my vehicles.

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Originally Posted by swampthang7 View Post
I've seen much,much worse....it actually looks to me as if most of the damage is oxidized sheet metal,and not structural steel damage.
Thanks, it seems like I need to make another visit. Wish it wasn't so far away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by adonh View Post
By clicking on the pictures I was able to zoom in on the area you marked with the red arrow. The A frame is covered at that point by a hard plastic type cover that attaches to the A fame and the trailer skin to make the transition from the skin to the frame look better. The tear you see is actually in this cover. You should be able to pull this back to see the actual A fame and any damage.
By pull them back you mean drill out rivets and remove? I didn't see anything that would let me just pull it out. I need to find out if they owners will let me get close to it with a drill lol

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Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
I thought I was pretty familiar with the undersides of 70's era trailers, but the glimpse I see in your pics gives me cause for concern (in addition to the rusted A-frame). For example, the spare tire is typically tucked up under the trailer in a carrier that keeps it from protruding too much below the belly. I see that the spare on your trailer of interest is hanging down off the A-frame--I've never seen this configuration before. Also, I can see what looks to be some kind of tanks hanging down below the belly further aft. If you have more pics of the underside of the trailer, it would be helpful. My concern is that there could be some wonky modifications done that you will have to correct at some point (that are not adding value to the trailer).

good luck
I attached a better picture of the trailer so you can see the rest of the tubes. lol

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Originally Posted by cdmagda View Post
Try and find a local inspector through this site, there are many of them around the country that will inspect it for you, just depends if they are close enough to you.
That was my next step.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arktos55343 View Post
Taking off the forward banana wraps is not that difficult....but your seller may object. Although, he/she should understand that there is a problem, and ought to let you investigate if they are serious about selling the Airstream.

You would have to use a drill/driver with a 1/8" cobalt bit to drill out the rivets that are holding the trim on along the bottom edge where the side panels meet the banana wraps. Then you would need to drill out the rivets that are holding the banana wraps on. You could release just enough to pull down on the banana wrap and get a strong flashlight in there. More than likely, all of the insulation in the belly pan (also a source of constant water retention) has fallen to the bottom...and you would be able to view the main rails, front cross members and the A-frame/tongue where the damage is apparent.

If you are allowed to do this, be very careful and precise with your drilling...so as not to make the resulting holes any bigger than the 1/8 inch bit.
Thank you for the information. Will be contacting seller to see what they say.
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Old 07-23-2013, 02:07 PM   #13
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Has the current owner explained what the large PVC pipes that are bolted to the underside of the trailer are? If they are just storage, then I suppose it is benign enough. If they are a kludged on waste/water tank of some kind, then be afraid.
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Old 07-23-2013, 02:57 PM   #14
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They are storage for random hoses etc. The previous owner seemed to be very meticulous, he had a storage spot for everything.
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