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Old 09-13-2010, 08:10 PM   #1
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1973 25' Tradewind
Beautiful , Oregon
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maiden voyage with 37 year old TW Could you look over hitch vehicle set up

I am about to take off on my first trip after weeks of trying to get things set up right. I have practiced for about 30 miles around the neighborhood. Some practice backing up in yard. It helped me feel a little more comfortable but being my first time towing more than a tent trailer I am concerned about safety and best odds of finding enjoyment and not trouble.

I measured the wheel wells and set hitch height at about 19 3/4" When I set the bars it dropped what I think is text book about 1/2" give or take front and back. Van usually looks like it has a bit of a load even when empty. Has new tires Michelin ms 2s new monroe shocks and aux tranny cooler.

One concern I have is that the spring bars point up toward the A frame, is this bad?

The pictures show my set up any comments or advice would be appreciated.
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Old 09-13-2010, 08:23 PM   #2
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Looks like it's riding pretty good to me. If you stand on the hitch. When you bounce up and down. Do you get some deflection? If so it should be fine.
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Old 09-13-2010, 08:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony S View Post
I am about to take off on my first trip after weeks of trying to get things set up right. I have practiced for about 30 miles around the neighborhood. Some practice backing up in yard. It helped me feel a little more comfortable but being my first time towing more than a tent trailer I am concerned about safety and best odds of finding enjoyment and not trouble.

I measured the wheel wells and set hitch height at about 19 3/4" When I set the bars it dropped what I think is text book about 1/2" give or take front and back. Van usually looks like it has a bit of a load even when empty. Has new tires Michelin ms 2s new monroe shocks and aux tranny cooler.

One concern I have is that the spring bars point up toward the A frame, is this bad?

The pictures show my set up any comments or advice would be appreciated.
Tony.

The ball mount should be tilited rearward, some more, so that when under stress the bars are parallel to the chassis A-frame.

That gives the chains more room to work.

Also, please note that the LPG bottles arre not exactly parallel to the front of the trailer.

That gives you some what of an idea as to the stesses that are on the A-frame when hooked up, ready to go.

Andy
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Old 09-13-2010, 09:07 PM   #4
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Tradewinds are an easy pull. Did 4500 miles with mine this summer on a Yellowstone run. Sometimes it's easy to forget it's back there. I knotched mine up three links of chain on the sway/eq bars but your's may be different. Enjoy the road!
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Old 09-13-2010, 09:26 PM   #5
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They do tow nicely. Just always drive defensively - you are now 4000+ pounds heavier and somewhat less manoeverable (not that vans are sporty to begin with) so a little extra following distance behind other vehicles and extra caution in wildlife areas never hurts. I can't tell from your pictures, but you might want to put side mirror extensions on your van if you can't see the sides of the trailer or some road behind it.

Happy travels!
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Old 09-13-2010, 09:41 PM   #6
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Your setup looks ok but I have always been told that the spring bars should be parralel with the A frame of the trailer. Your ball mount is adjustable and could be tilted forward a few degrees to enable this. Instead of hooking on the 5th link, with the adjustment you probably would only need 3 or maybe even 2 links to get similar weight distribution on the spring bars.
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Old 09-13-2010, 09:46 PM   #7
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Thanks that helps. Yes I have extension mirrors but they are not up to snuff. I just got some Mckesh Mirror today from Hensley and they won't work window won't open past clips. I'm bummed. I will drive defensively thanks for the reminder.

Do I loosen things up and add washers to set that ball mount back rearward? Anyway to judge how far or is it all trail and error?

Are the tanks LPG Bottles a sign of a problem?

Thanks all you have gotten me from a non AS owner to almost down the road.

Tony Rogue River Oregon
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Old 09-13-2010, 10:57 PM   #8
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Tony,

First off...nice looking Tradewind! We took our maiden voyage with ours last year, and have enjoyed every minute (well, almost every minute!), I hope you experience the same enjoyment we have.

Concerning the tow setup, I don't claim to be an expert by any means, but there are few things that I thought I would mention, some of which have already been stated;

1) On the chains, I would recommend adjusting the way the chains are attached. I would make the links you're not using hang from the bottom of the top link. This will allow the links you are using to hang straight, right now the highest link used is crooked due to the unused links hanging off of the top of the top link (if that makes sense). I would imagine this would limit some movement of the chains and add unnecessary stress to the top link.

2) I can't tell if your WD setup allows for the ball angle to be adjusted forward/backward. It doesn't appear as though it does. However if it does, I would recommend pushing the angle of the ball backwards, allowing the end of the bars to point down towards the ground a little further. This will allow you to use an extra link or two in your chains, and improve turning performance. If this can't be adjusted, then I would leave it just as you have it for now, and maybe looking into a new WD setup in the future that allows for the ball angle to be adjusted.

3) Make sure you have the bars and ball well greased to prevent binding of these moving parts.

4) Are your tires in good shape? Since you're just using for the first time, do you know when last time it was towed? If it sat for a while, you will want to replace the tires.

5) Do you know if your axles are still good? My TW was garage kept the entire 34 years prior to me buying it, and was it great condition, however the original axles were shot. You don't want to use the AS anymore than required with bad axles or you will just unnecessarily abuse the trailer in several different ways. When I threw a jack under my frame and lifted the trailer, I only raised it about 1" before the tires started to lift off the ground. I believe the desired amount would be closer to 3-3.5" (don't take my word, I would research this number to be sure) before the tires lifted off the ground. Due to years of sitting, the rubber rods in the torsion axles had taken a "set" which basically prevented the axles from doing their job, resulting in a rigid harsh ride for the trailer. There is plenty of info on the forums on how to evaluate, test, replace, etc here on the forums.

6) If the axles are good, I would grease the wheel bearings and adjust the brakes if necessary.

7) This maybe be a dumb question, but are you using a brake controller? If you used a tent trailer in the past, you may not have used a brake controller, but you will certainly want/need one with the AS.

Sorry if these comments were more info than you wanted/needed, or if you have already addressed some of these items. I just know what I went through last year addressing all these types of issues the first month or so after buying our 35 year old Tradewind. It can be a lot to absorb at first, and I've had two other TTs prior to the AS!

Best of luck,
Eric
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Old 09-14-2010, 12:12 AM   #9
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Eric

Thanks for your info and "leading" question. Not more info than I wanted. I always rather learn and change to do it right.

Axels were replace 9 years ago from Inland stock along with shocks and brakes. I was told next weight rating up from original, still can see code sticker on them. AS tires replaced in May, I picking up matching spare tomorrow, mounted today. I have a new i stop drawtite Brake controller installed. The trailer has been used for last 9 years by PO and driven down 250 miles to my place as part of the sale so I could get the rig set up. TV tires brand new. I went to repack bearing and they didn't need it being down less than 1000 miles back.

I cleaned the ball and bars with a quick squirt of wd40 wiped down and greased with a multi purpose pensoil tan colored grease, what I had, this morning. This I read was good thing to keep grit from wearing moving parts over time.

The WD has some washers and a bolt that tightens perpendicular to the main bolts that I think allows adjustment I will have to see.

I will check out the brakes. I will figure out your chain adjusting come day light Yes, it is a lot to absorb and then it is easy when you learn it. I have been stressing a bit but look forward to canoeing and camping in the Bend Oregon area. Thanks for the help. Tony
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Old 09-14-2010, 02:09 PM   #10
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Greetings Tony!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstream ownership!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony S View Post
Thanks that helps. Yes I have extension mirrors but they are not up to snuff. I just got some Mckesh Mirror today from Hensley and they won't work window won't open past clips. I'm bummed. I will drive defensively thanks for the reminder.

I wouldn't give up on the McKesh mirrors just yet. I have used them with every tow vehicle that I have owned, and if the window is lowered below the clips interference can result particularly in the newer vehicles. When I attach mine to the tow vehicle:
  1. Lower each front window about 3/4 of its travel.
  2. Hook the mirror bracket over the rubber window sweep.
  3. Extend the bottom clip so that the web is about 2" longer than needed.
  4. Check placement of mirror and retaining web, and tighten take-up reel until it is very tight - - I have to turn until I can no longer turn the handle to get mine tighly secured.
  5. The window should now operate, but if it is lowered so that its edge gets belop the mirror retainer tabs, the window may catch -- if this happen, it is possible to carefully work with the mirror to pull it far enough out to allow the window to rise.
The infrequent issues with lowering the passenger window belop the McKesh mirror retainin tabs, for me, if far outweighed by the excellent rearward view that they provide.

Good luck with your rig!

Kevin

P.S.: If you are having trouble getting the rubber/vinyl window sweeps to flex enough to get the McKesh mirrors properly installed, one passibility is to pour a little hot water over the sweep or heat slightly with a hair dryer - - it usually isn't necessary to do this more than once or twice.
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Old 09-15-2010, 12:16 AM   #11
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1973 25' Tradewind
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I did get the Mckesh Mirrors to work. I had to tilt the arm above horizontal so the slips point back toward the outside of the door allowing the window to make contact in the bend of the clip and deflect enough to go up. I thought of making and adding a receiver bracket and attach to door to catch the clips that go into the door. My van is not an escalade but I will see how the current arrangement works. Thanks Tony
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