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Old 08-14-2012, 12:26 PM   #1
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1972 25' Tradewind
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 4
Where do I begin?

Hello everyone. First time Airstream owner for about 2 weeks now. Very excited about my purchase, but before I really start tearing into my trailer, I would like to get a few opinions about my current situation.

I just bought a 1972 Tradewind for about $4000. Its pretty clear to me that I need to replace both axles, two tires and maybe the wheels. But after removing (part of) the belly pan, I noticed that a lot of the insulation has rotted out and that part of the wooden floor has too. I understand that before making the trailer nice inside, I have to take care of basic functions like the frame and floor along with the axles and wheels. I am thinking of starting on the wheels and axles. After that, removing all of the interior, the belly pan and working on the floor and frame. Thoughts?
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Old 08-14-2012, 04:50 PM   #2
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1973 25' Tradewind
Ringoes , New Jersey
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 573
Images: 2
welcome and...

Congrats on your purchase. I have a 73 TW. I got mine, checked it over, and went camping. I knew it was in usable shape. I wanted to get a feeel for camping in it. So far my renovations/improvements have not held it back from being used. I do have a set of axles to replace, got them just need to install. I have a small amount of floor rot by the entry door (to the right) which I will tackle. I have almost everything checked and working. I have yet to check the frame/insullation. Someday the bath will come out and get renewed/ relace end of floor. Good luck, keep us posted. Sounds like you have a good plan started, MPJ

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Old 08-14-2012, 05:56 PM   #3
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1972 27' Overlander
Venice , Florida
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 180
John hit the nail on the head. Take it out a few times just to get your feet wet. If you tear into it with no camping experience you may wind up wasting time & money. Our '72 Overlander has a few issues but it is safe and we use it a lot. This keeps my interest up.
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:41 PM   #4
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1968 28' Ambassador
Cedaredge , Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,542
If you are going to use it right off the bat, I would replace the axles. I did a lot more damage to my 68 by putting miles of the trailer with bad axles...

I think they may have used fiberglass insulation under the floor. If you do, rip that stuff out. It rots not only the floor but the frame. It's nothing but a sponge.

floors can be fixed later if you want to get some camping in and it's usable do it while you can...

And what ever you do don't get discouraged. there a lot of us here and we have all done a lot on our AS. Sometimes it's a shell of restoration. sometimes you don't have to. but there is plenty of info here, just ask away...

And con-grates on the good looking AS..(airstream)

May you have at least one sunny day, and a soft chair to sit in..

2008 5.7 L V8 Sequoia
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Old 08-15-2012, 10:47 AM   #5
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1972 25' Tradewind
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 4

for the advise guys. I'm going to get started on the axles, tires and wheels and go from there. After I know that it is towable, (without risking the health of the trailer) I'll get out there and get a feel for my new baby! Thank y'all for the encouragement! I'll keep yall up to date with my new project.
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Old 08-15-2012, 11:48 AM   #6
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Vintage Kin Owner
Virginia Beach , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 5,677
Double check your axles - they look to be sitting low, but the real test is if they are SET. Jack up the unit on the axle mounting plate OR by taking one wheel at a time up on a ramp (stairstepped wood, or the big orange or yellow legos) IF the axle with no weight drops 3 or 4 inches, there is still life in the rubber. If the top of the rims still show the same or nearly the same distance from the wheelwell the axle is SET for death!

Good axles? NOT likely to be true with a 70's unit, but the axles might have already been replaced within the last 10 years. If the axles are decent, go ahead and replace the shock absorbers - just on general principles. Buy replacements from Airstream - they are horizontal shocks and while you might find some cheap shocks that look right and will fit - they're designed to work in vertical mode and won't perform correctly in the horizontal.

Oh, and consider carefully when ordering new axles. You can get them "fully loaded" with new hubs (includes new brakes and fresh bearings, new magnets, etc.). Just one of the MANY "spend it now or spend it later" choices you'll be making.

The advice to go camping a couple of times before you tear into it? I agree - just go camping within 50 miles of your home base. It's unlikely, but I've seen a lot of people buy NEW campers, use them three times, then decide they just don't have a serious interest in having an RV. Should that happen to you... let it happen BEFORE you spend the big bucks. It makes a lot more sense to sell an unrefurbished unit 3 months after you get it than 3 years later when the value has just gone down, down down.

Best wishes, Paula
Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:39 PM   #7
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1973 27' Overlander
Sparks , Nevada
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,383
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Next step.... get it weatherproofed! Seal the seams and vent gaskets. And then check the windows for leaks as best as you can. Unfortunately, many leaks go unnoticed because they're behind the inside skin. I'm betting your weatherstripping at windows/doors/compartments is shot as well. Replacement gaskets are available but if you don't notice the leaks (air or water) you can probably wait until you take a break in camping to do this relatively simple but time consuming job.

Your umbilical is probably not wired to match a newer tow vehicle. So your brakes/lights might not work correctly. There are posts on this forum on how to rewire it correctly.

I'd probably check the LP gas lines for leaks too - if you're planning to use any of the appliances/furnace. OHHHHH speaking of furnace, many of those put into the 70's trailers have been recalled for safety issues. There are posts on this forum on how to check the s/n of your unit and lists of recalled ones here too.

Get familiar with the Search function on this site. You can find 'bout every & anything...

I did my axles in a day. It was a long day but there wasn't any reason to rush...

Have fun - post pics!

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Old 08-16-2012, 12:16 PM   #8
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1972 25' Tradewind
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 4
Paula. Thanks for the axle tips. Ill jack one side up and see if the wheel drops a bit. I bet they won't, but it won't hurt to check I'm not sure however about just replacing the horizontal shocks and not the axles?? I don't know what to look for in that. If the wheels dont drop, I was just thinking of replacing the whole enchilada (axles, brakes, bearings, blah blah). Also, where would you buy your axles ("fully loaded")from? I emailed and called Inland RV. No response yet.

Laura. Good point. The part of the floor that is rotted is a foot or two away from the door, which is not sealed correctly!!!! Also, most (if not all) of the seals on the windows are cracking and probably not working as they once were. The only way I can think of checking the shell is with a hose and all of the interior of the RV out. Your right about the umbilical. And for the LP lines... I heard someone talking about some kind of pressure test that is done to check for leaks??? Ill look more into it.

Guys. A million thanks for the replies. Your shared experience and wisdom is gold to me. I'm all ears and if you have anything to add, don't be shy.


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