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Old 02-11-2015, 12:33 PM   #1
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1971 25' Tradewind
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 10
Smile 1971 Tradewind Towing Requirements

Hi all!

It's my first post to this forum, but I've read so much helpful wisdom here already!

I recently purchased a 1971 Tradewind (25') that I'll be towing 500 miles to my house. Weight is listed at 4,000 lbs.

I'm in the process of getting a tow vehicle arranged, and since the Airstream is currently 500 miles away (and being stored by someone who hasn't towed it themselves), I'm wondering if anyone here can help me out with a few of the details.

What hitch ball size will I need: 2" or 2 5/16"?

Should I use an extra sway/weight distributing hitch? Or just a regular hitch?

What kind of pin connector/adapter will I need for the brake/turn signal connections?

Thank you so much for any help, and I apologize if any of this has already been answered elsewhere on the forums. I'm just starting to fully dig in!

Cameron
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Old 02-11-2015, 08:32 PM   #2
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Hi Cameron, nice to meet you. I have a 66 Trade Wind. It is the old body style compared to your new 71. I find it to be a nice size. Mine is a twin bed, front gaucho layout.

My Trade Wind requires a 2" ball. You can always take one of each size along with your big box end wrench. Note the 2 5/16 ball may have a bigger bolt and nut on it. Make sure it fits the shank. The Trade Wind will be a "7 pin" electrical connector. So you will need a 7 pin socket on your tow vehicle to power tail lights, brake lights, turn signals, running lights, brakes, and charging the trailer battery. This is standard fare on pick ups, but my wife's SUV has just the 4 pin connector.

I've towed my 66 with just a standard 2" shank and 2" ball. I'm towing with a heavy duty pick up, and get almost no "squat" when I drop the Trade Wind on the ball. I have a weight distribution hitch for it, but just haven't rigged it to my pick up yet. You can get your trailer home on a regular shank and ball. My Trade Wind is about 18" in ball height with the trailer level. So you will want the appropriate "drop" in your shank so you are towing your Trade Wind level. I needed a 2" drop from my receiver to the ball for proper height. If you are going to tow it with a lighter weight vehicle, then weight distribution and sway control become more important. I estimate the tongue weight on your Trade Wind about 500 pounds. Your tow vehicle receiver needs to handle this load.

Maybe this 71 Trade Wind hasn't been towed in a while. Check the tires, tire pressure, trailer brakes, lights, etc. Make sure you are safe to tow. Trailer tires are typically replaced about every 5 years. They can dry rot and develop side wall cracks. Inspect them carefully.

Hope this helps you a bit.

David
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Old 02-11-2015, 08:49 PM   #3
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1971 25' Tradewind
1993 34' Excella
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Estancia , New Mexico
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The ball is 2/5/16. It cold be towed with a basic hitch but a WD with sway control is always better.

The last part is the most complicated. The easy part is you need a standard 7 way connector. The hard part is the wiring on a 71 will not match up with modern Tow vehicles. If you are real lucky the previous owner has switched the wiring to match up with the new universal standard. As an alternative you can bring a light bar. But that won't take care of the trailer brakes. You can jury rig a jumper from the tow vehicle to the trailer brakes by trial and error. There are electrical schematics in the archives if you do a search. Or I can mail you a copy.
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Old 02-13-2015, 10:45 AM   #4
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1971 25' Tradewind
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 10
Thanks so much to you both! We are renting a 3/4 ton pickup to tow it--an F-250 or similar--so I think we're covered for that 7-pin connector and that 500lb. tongue weight. That is really helpful to know--we are obviously total noobs!

Thank you for noting the wiring issue too, Lumatic. I've had a shop pick it up from the seller to check out the wheel bearings, tires, etc., before we travel up to the trailer's location to tow it home, and I've called them back to ask them to test that electrical connection just to be sure.

Sounds like a 2" ball will work, but a 2/5/16 is the better option. We will probably forgo the stabilizer/sway control hitch, since it sounds like our tow vehicle should keep us relatively stable for the trip. This trailer will have a permanent "home" in our backyard, so we won't be towing it frequently--just need it to make this trip safely for now!

We're excited to get it home! We stayed in an identical Airstream (Tradewind-D) in Big Sur several years ago, and I never dreamed we'd be bringing home one of our own someday! This also rounds out three separate 1971 vehicles between family members and me (completely by coincidence)--there's got to be some significance there!
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Old 02-14-2015, 06:07 AM   #5
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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CamBess, we were all rookies at one point. I can still remember the first time i towed the Airstream. Nervous as heck. (Unnecessarily so, but it was all new to me.)

Have your seller or selected shop advise you on your trailer's coupler ball size. They will know as they have towed it. It sounds like it is a 2 5/16 size.

You can't tow a 2 5/16 trailer with a 2 inch ball. The trailer will pop off the hitch! The hitch ball has to match the trailer's coupler.

Your rented heavy duty pick up will serve you well, because it's heavy! Maybe you can select a route on lesser traveled highways so you can drive slower. I can't recommend an Interstate and 65mph for your first trip. Just take it easy. You might even consider making it a two day trip so you don't get too tired.

David
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Old 02-14-2015, 08:29 AM   #6
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1977 25' Tradewind
Waskesiu Lake , Saskatchewan
Join Date: Dec 2008
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Yes, it will be a 2 5/16" ball only. Don't try a 2"!

Also, check tire age and condition, brake function, lights, etc. before you hit the road for the first time. Even something as simple as a shredded tire can lead to a delay on your way home and cause body damage to your trailer.
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Old 02-19-2015, 04:46 PM   #7
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1971 25' Tradewind
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2015
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Thank you!!

We are getting ready to roll this weekend to pick her up. Got my 2 5/16 ball and the right drop hitch, and she's all ready to go...except the RV place that's taking care of her chose today to tell me she needs new tires. And they don't sell them. Argh!

Can anyone confirm the size of replacement tires she'll need? I'm seeing 225/75/15 elsewhere--would 215/75/15 work? Trying to get them for cheaper at a used tire shop here in Austin, if we can.

Thanks so much everyone!!
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Old 02-19-2015, 06:18 PM   #8
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1971 25' Tradewind
1993 34' Excella
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Estancia , New Mexico
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225s are what I have run.

Undoubtably if you are going to do any touring you will need new tires. I have towed trailers on 30 year old cracked and rotten tires for relatively short distances without problems. Another advantage is the Tradewind has 2 axles and in a pinch you can tow on three wheels. I'm not recommending it but you may be OK for 500 miles if you take it easy and stay off the interstates. Bring a spare though.Towing to a nearby tire store is even better. If there has not been regular maintenance grease the bearings before the tow, or at least stop frequently and feel the hubs are not overheating and bring some grease.
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Old 02-19-2015, 09:13 PM   #9
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1971 25' Tradewind
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2015
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Okay, 225s it is. I didn't realize the Tradewind had 2 axles--good to know! We do have a spare tire, so that eases my mind a little bit. The seller said he replaced the tires in 2012 before a long-haul trip (I don't know if he replaced with new or old tires), but it's mostly been sitting outdoors since then, so it's a toss-up. The bearings have been repacked and serviced, so we *should* be all good there.

We're not planning to tow it again for a while once we've gotten it home, so I'd love it if these tires could last us this one trip (we'd replace them in the future, when it's ready to get back out on the road). Then again, I'm sure I'd be kicking myself if I don't replace them and anything goes wrong.

I'm sure no one is waiting on pins and needles to see how this goes, but I'll keep you posted regardless!

Thanks, Lumatic, dbj216, and kevin242, for all your advice and welcomes!
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Old 02-20-2015, 06:55 PM   #10
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1971 25' Tradewind
1993 34' Excella
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Estancia , New Mexico
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Did you know the date of manufacture of the tires is stamped in the sidewall? Figure tires are good for 5 years. 7 on the outside. The problem with trailers are the tires are only used occasionally, can still look good, but deteriorate with time.
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Old 02-22-2015, 11:26 AM   #11
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1971 25' Tradewind
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 10
Success!

Hi all,

Our towing adventure was a success! We picked up our Tradewind (who has been christened Cherry) yesterday morning and towed her 500 miles. She did great--we were well prepared with all the right equipment thanks to your advice, and we were able to check out the tires and made a gametime call to roll on without replacing them. They appear to be about 3 years old and looked in good condition, and they did fine on the trip. The towing was much easier than we expected and couldn't have gone more smoothly. (I think all the anticipation and preparation was harder and more stressful than the towing itself!)

She is now at the polisher's yard while we make room for her permanent home in our yard (though we are reconsidering taking her on the road in the future, now that we feel confident about towing her!).

Thanks so much again for all your help and advice!
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Old 02-22-2015, 02:11 PM   #12
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1969 25' Tradewind
Shasta Lake , California
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Cograts on your purchase and successful trip home.

Now the FUN begins

Here's ours the day we brought it home and what it looked like in May 2014.

Looks different today. Sorry no current full pic . Here's a view of the louvered refer door , water heater and water and electric inlets on the street side. I just tinted the windows also.


I'm going to have to do a build thread on this complete remodel.
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