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Old 04-16-2007, 11:32 PM   #1
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Modernizing: Vintage Owners Sound Off

As I get ready for the modernization of my trailer, I have been making a list of things I want the new trailer to have or be capable of. Two of these things are a fantastic fan, and a grey water tank.

I would like input from other vintage owners about what they have upgraded, what they wish they had in their vintage that is in modern trailers, etc.

Thanks for your time.

Steve
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Old 04-17-2007, 06:23 AM   #2
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Insulation??!!
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Old 04-17-2007, 07:37 AM   #3
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Steve-

You are facing the same issues I have had for some time; restoration vs. modernization. Either is a wonderful way to get a vintage Airstream back on the road. Having a wonderful '05 Safari gives us the opportunity to get out of town in a moments notice. The Trade Wind is becoming a combination of restoration/modernization. Finished up the new tongue, installed gray tank, front end inside will be modernized with a horseshoe lounge w/ removable table, all new applicances and electrical systems along with hi-tech audio video throughtout. From the mid bulkhead back it will be all vintage right down to the pink head.
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Old 04-17-2007, 07:41 AM   #4
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A power tongue jack was a great investment for us. If yours doesn't have one, it would be a simple and positive upgrade.
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Old 04-17-2007, 08:01 AM   #5
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Besides the graywater tank, you can add a macerator pump to the blackwater tank. It's a lot easier to run a 1" hose to the sewer dump than a 3" corrugated hose. Also, a built in tank flusher is nice to have.

Add wiring for either an amplified antenna or a Satellite dish. Definitely upgrade the electric. I went to 50a, but a solid 30a system is good too.

Getting a DSI water heater with electric heat is nice. Or go all the way with a tankless heater.

A new water tank with demand pump will give you less headaches than the old Par pump, or even worse, the old air compressor system.

A/C will be very nice with global warming.

A new 3-stage converter will get rid of that old and noisy Univolt. What is a Univolt anyway? Does it only put out a uni volt?

New axles and shock are great. Redo all the window and door seals. Yes, a power tongue jack will make docking a breeze!
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Old 04-17-2007, 08:57 AM   #6
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A newer three way fridge is a good thing to have especially if you plan on boondocking, which we do alot of.

So is a new set of steel rims to replace the split rims. Probably the first thing to go for most folks.

Converting all of the exterior lighting to LED's for their brilliance and safety features. I also plan on adding a third brake light in the rear window that I can unplug and stow when we're not on the road.

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Old 04-17-2007, 09:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soldiermedic
As I get ready for the modernization of my trailer, I have been making a list of things I want the new trailer to have or be capable of. Two of these things are a fantastic fan, and a grey water tank.

I would like input from other vintage owners about what they have upgraded, what they wish they had in their vintage that is in modern trailers, etc.

Thanks for your time.

Steve
I was faced with this question two different times -- with my '64 Bambi II and with my '54 Flying Cloud.

For the '64, we decided to RESTORE the trailer to keep it in line with what the trailer looked like when it rolled off the assembly line back in 1964. The condition of the trailer was mostly pristine which lended itself to the restore rather than the modernization. Hence, all our "modernizations" have been kept to a minimum and are not visible when looking at the trailer (i.e., new plumbing, new hot water heater).

For the '54, we are leaning toward RENOVATING the trailer to modernize it into our ideal trailer. We plan on keeping the original floorplan but will be updating the electrical, adding a water pump (the original used a pressurized tank) and adding a gray tank.
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Old 04-17-2007, 09:31 AM   #8
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We're knee deep in replacing exterior panels on the '48. This gets us into the "wouldn't it be nice to have" conversations since electrical and gas lines are next. Since there wasn't much of an interior left inside, we're going to do all modern. We've already replaced the wheels, tires, axle and shocks. Inside will have 3 way refrigerator, up dated stove/oven, a real fresh water tank with grey water tank. Maybe a water heater and furnace? We'll be using the trailer so we want it to be comfortable.

Bob
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Old 04-17-2007, 09:32 AM   #9
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In our '67, we have not regretted the installation of the MaxxFan, the new fridge, new converter, new hot water heater, etc. We took out the old rusty oven and replaced it with a convection/toaster oven/microwave combo. The Bargman 99s were replaced with school bus LEDs.

In our '60, we kept everything as original (or original in spirit) as we could, considering the changes the PO had made. It did get a new fridge (the original was long gone, replaced with a mid-70's model) and a new hot water heater.

Due to the condition we purchased both trailers, we didn't feel pressured to restore them back to original - in most cases, it just wasn't an option. I'm just happy to have them out camping with us!
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Old 04-17-2007, 09:47 AM   #10
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I camp with no hook ups

An additional battery and a smart charger was high on my list
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Old 04-17-2007, 09:49 AM   #11
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Well, these days, I advocate anyone with a unit of this age throwing out the Univolt and upgrading to a new 2 or 3 stage converter/charger. We also have:
New AC
New Water heater
New Fridge (BTW, there is no "3-way" that fits in the original opening)
New Water pump
Fantastic vent, we're going to "Upgrade" to the new vintage cover at the factory, after I get it back from the axle guy (they're right down the street from one another!)
New kitchen faucet.
All new exterior lights.
And, probably a new axle.

I am not the kind to change or "Modernize" the woodwork, the counter tops or the walls. I like that stuff original.
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Old 04-17-2007, 09:52 AM   #12
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Functionality and enjoyment of our trailer were the top priority while maintaining the overall looks and flavor of the 1951 era.

We've added a bathroom, grey and black tanks, upgraded the wiring, added a converter, power jack, just now changing over the fresh water tank to 32 gal, the axle and brakes have been replaced (and added mag wheels but they are easily changed to vintage wheels when desired), microwave, portable A/C, converted to rear twins, rebuilt cupboards, added hardwood floor. Most of the upgrades are hidden or inside cupboards so unless they are in use when you look in you wouldn't know they were there. I've got the fantastic fan that I've yet to install. I like to see restored trailers but couldn't live with one. I'm a slave to modern conveniences. Also, going through the parts of the work I completed (some was done when I purchased - not done right, but done so I had to redo it) I found many issues with factory and former owner build outs. As with my cars, it comes down to the intended use. If it's going to be used extensively to do a job it's been my preference to make it the safest and dependable, most convenient to use and enjoy, easiest to repair on the road, and not have to worry if it picks up a ding or scratch (OK, I still worry, but not as much).

I learned a long time ago that I could never meet everyone else's expectations of what I should or could do with my "stuff" and I'm the one who has to live with the results.

Barry
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Old 04-17-2007, 10:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
A new 3-stage converter will get rid of that old and noisy Univolt. What is a Univolt anyway? Does it only put out a uni volt?
May have to do with who built them. The one in our Argosy was built by United. (Uni?) Not that it matters, just pointless speculation after all these decades.
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Old 04-17-2007, 10:31 AM   #14
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Early on I came to the conclusion mine was going to be a camper primarily, and so I don't worry too much about what is original or not.

I replaced:

the barely-functional fridge with a 3 way unit
the heater when the old smudge pot went out
the univolt just because
put a sealed, high end battery in it so I could keep it inside without venting it
a new axel of course
new faucets
new toilet
carpet
a nice car stereo and speakers, but they are hidden away, and we plug in our laptop for video, so we have all the comforts
Oh, and a new floor on the front 2/3rds of the trailer

and that's about it so far. I am hoping this summer to refinish the woodwork (because of the new heater there's some new pieces that need to be stained to match the old) and freshen up the polish. The previous owner polished it and did the curtains and upholstery, so I didn't have to worry about those things.

It's no showpiece, but it's very comfortable, easy to camp in, and most people don't think much about the upgrades when they come inside. In fact the first thing everyone notices is the angled front table at the dinette, which is original.

I did keep the hand crank jack on the front though, you have to at least LOOK vintage on the outside I feel like when I'm out there cranking away to hook up the other campers go 'wow, look at that old Airstream, they don't even have an electric jack"!
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