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Hittenstiehl 12-13-2013 07:53 AM

And the beat goes on.......
3 Attachment(s)
So while we were underneath, yes its slightly out of order, a slight electrical update.

Hittenstiehl 12-13-2013 09:24 AM

Progress Post
6 Attachment(s) we are trying to button her up underneath so we can take her down from her perch (yes she has been up there since June) we take a closer look at the tires. We knew they "were" bad and they are "still" bad, go figure. Plan was to attend 4CU Thanksgiving gathering. We live locally so the total trip maybe 70 miles but will they hold out. Don't want to add our experience to the "blowout thread" so we decide to get new tires".

The spare tire rack was hard to work, hard to get to and the handle was nearly impossible to reach.

Coupler is also giving us fits. It wont let go of the ball when we try to unhitch so it time for the big boy.

Photos show:
Old tires
Waiting for new tires
Reworked spare tire rack under front belly
New Coupler

Hittenstiehl 12-13-2013 10:21 AM

1st Outing and Lessons
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So the time to head somewhere instead of the trailer repair yard was finally here. (4CU Thanksgiving Rally) We worked Thanksgiving and had our family meal on Friday. The dishes at home were piled high but we were outside the trailer repair yard hooking up for our first outing. We had new tires, new coupler and managed to get her out of the air without crushing the new grey tanks. Its dark, slightly chilly and we were hooking Henrietta up with our headlamps on.

Not so fast there newbies............1st weight distribution bar goes on easily,
2nd bar doesn't want to cooperate. We twist, we turn, lean, angle, shimmey, on knees, bent over, you know the drill it won't go on. Argh!!!!!! Oh wait, there's a little metal tab hiding up underneath. Its hard to feel and right where the bar goes in. REALLY this is not our first time using the bars but we click the metal tab and a few jiggles later the 2nd bar finds the sweet spot and goes in. Yeah!

Not so fast there newbies.......again.......that nice new coupler is several inches longer than the old coupler/ball set up. Swing the bars toward the trailer and bingo they are now too short and the chains don't reach the lifters. (Yes we could have saved 30 minutes if we had swung bar #1 towards the trailer)

This learning curve sure is enriching my vocabulary.

We didn't let that stop us as this entire last year of working on the trailer had been with this goal in mind. We threw the bars in the trailer and hook up and take the freeway for the first time (new tires). Yes we can feel that the bars are not on but we take it easy.

The next morning does NOT disappoint in the least. Fabric tents, Pop Up camper we will NOT be back as we have upgraded to ALUMINUM(okay an ocassional tent night is possible as we will not be able to take the Airstream into Havasupai).

Photos show:
Lost Dutchman, Apache Junction Arizona w/4CU for Thanskgiving. It was wonderful, they were very gracious and warm and Henrietta is such a blessing and fun adventure.

Hittenstiehl 12-13-2013 11:15 AM

What's next and more lessons
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We had such a good time at 4CU Thanksgiving and the attendees were very friendly and full of good ideas. Since we got there Saturday we missed several people and hope to meet them on the Picacho New Years Rally.

With the short time between the two events we're not sure how much else we will get done to the trailer but we would like to have some improvement. We decide the WD and sleeping arrangement will be our next task. When we got back we went back to her favorite spot, the trailer repair place, to get the weight distribution set up decided.

We purchase a new WD as ours was not looking very good. So the hangers for the chains need to be moved, yes we just had ours welded on, and we learned there is a definite pro for having them bolted on as they could have been moved more easily.

So the tongue accessories were taken off, taped off, and the old hangers removed and the new hangers and knob welded back on and tongue accessories reassembled. All done right?

Newbies, Newbies, Newbies (seems this is a recurring thread).... not so fast....the chains fit on the hangers, the hangers/lifters lift up (but that was before all the accessories went back on the tongue). ARGH!!! when they were dry fit for proper spacing and height clearance the battery box and tanks had not been reinstalled on the tongue. Now the tanks were in the way.

The husband and trailer guys figure out a way to lift the tanks without getting in the way of the front window and they set to work on that.

I visit an upholsterer and discuss foam density for our double slide out. We order two 5 1/2" denser piece(s) and add 1" softer pieces on top. They will be cut and glued together at production and we will have them upholstered in commercial grade fabric so that when we take off our bedding the bed can double as a seating area. I go home with armloads of fabric books for homework. The foam will be in soon but the covers will not ready until after Picacho but the sleeping should be better than the blow up mattress.

Just made our Christmas lists for our family Secret Santa drawing and it had all VTS stuff on. We are sharing our Aluminum affliction.

Murphy must be a jolly old fellow for all the amusement he see's with newbies everyday. How many trailers does it take to not be a newbie anymore?

Photos show:
New WD set up

dbj216 12-13-2013 05:35 PM

Hi, my Trade Wind is up in the air waiting new axles, new tanks, and new heat ducting. But only two feet up. Budget buster, but needed parts for the trailer to run the next 50 years. I learned from your tank install photos, thanks. I'm renovating the bathroom a bit, but will try to keep the 1966 décor. I also have a new water heater and new furnace to install and make work. I like my heat in cold Minnesota!

Thanks for the thread. We learn from each other at the Air Forums.


Hittenstiehl 01-28-2014 09:54 PM

So where were we..oh more lessons!
8 Attachment(s)
So at last update I mentioned a problem with our current WD so we ordered a new weight distribution and upholstery in preparation for our 2nd outing to Picacho w/4CU.

We got the new WD bars, rewelded the sway knob, lifted the propane tanks so the bars can lift up, we should be good to go. Picked up the foam from the upholsterer so we can try sleeping on it at the next outing.

We take it back to our parking spot and have some water to work around in our parking spot. Yes it rains in Phx on occasion. Yes those deep furrows were very soft and we got stuck so we couldn't get it back into its spot any deeper but it was good where it sat.

Couple weeks later we return, hook up and head out. WHAT ANOTHER we go through the hook up and raise our fancy (to us) new jack. Gosh this is better than cranking the old wobbly up. So we start to pull off the dirt parking spot and our friend MURPHY slaps us newbies upside the head yet again. KABAM we hear as we gently leave the dirt spot and cross the sidewalk. Now what, seems we raised the jack but failed to manually lift the jack the remaining 3 pinholes and we just barely smacked the sidewalk at the dirt. Really? yes our brand new welded jack was jacked up and bad. We head over to the trailer shop to get it looked at. They tighten everything up and say we can safely drive just maybe not a good idea to unhitch. And yes the new WD bars, no we can't use them because we just broke the part that lifts the back of the truck up. ARRRR

Murphy be dammed we are persistent wanna be Airstreamers and we head out. Great time at Picacho thanks to 4CU. Meet more great people with mad skills and generosity. Watch out for the quiet ones they usually have lots to share but are often modest about their skills.

The sleeping was great on the foam versus air mattress last time and it has since been covered in fabric.

A couple of pictures to ensure I am not making this up and because you like them.

Newly installed parts and modifications for WD system
Water & Mud
Jacked Jack
Street side double bed before, foam with sheet and beautiful upholstery

dbj216 02-05-2014 10:16 AM

I bet many of us have pulled away only to discover we forgot on of the "depart" steps. I have left my tongue jack down before, I have left the tire chocks in front of the tires, I have left the steps up and I have left my door dead bolt unlocked. The last one resulted in my door blowing open at 60 mph. I figured I would need a new door as it was now 1" away from the seals on the bottom. I was lucky the door could be repaired with some gentle forming back to shape. Aluminum metal workers can do some magic things.

Newbie mistakes are part of the learning process. I use a check list and Ellen verifies I have done all the steps before we depart, both inside and out. She kicks my butt if I forget something. Make yourself a check list. It doesn't take long before you have it memorized. It can save you some grief. To error is human by the way.

I like your new gaucho materials. Did you also replace the foam cushions? And very wise budget allocation on the new tires. Do all that is necessary to avoid tire failure. At least our Trade Winds have dual axles, 4 tires. A blow out is pretty scary on a single axle trailer.


Hittenstiehl 02-05-2014 11:40 AM

Thx DBJ for the encouragement. So far all our mistakes have been fixable and not to expensive. And to think I started a thread called "show me your checklist" better get ours done and use it.

The upholstery is from scratch and professionally done there was only a old throwaway mattress there to start. There are two pieces of foam inside, a 4 1/2" piece of dense foam with a 1" piece of softer foam adhered/glued to it. That gives a firm overall sleep with some cushy on top. The two upholstered pieces you see are separate so when we pull the bed out the back piece slides down. We will put our mattress cover and sheets on the upholstered pieces. The fabric is a commercial grade we pick out of the upholteres book.

How are your axles, tanks and ducting going.

dbj216 02-05-2014 02:01 PM

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My axles were delivered last week, thanks Colin Hyde. Colin did exactly what he said he would do, and I like that. Good job! But the axles are the last thing to assemble before I set it back on the pavement.

I did hang my new black and gray water tanks. I think I have the method figured out for a good installation. I found Inca Plastics in California good to work with on my new tanks.

The furnace ducting plan I haven't got figured out yet. I want to blow heated air from the furnace clear back to the bathroom in 6" by 2 1/2 oval ductwork. I didn't want to sacrifice drawer storage space with flex ducting inside the trailer. And I want a heat register on the curb side. The oval ducts fit well in the stringer slot openings, and that is what Airstream used for cold air returns. BUT Airstream didn't have a gray and black tank in the way! So I have to convert to 4" round flex to get around the tanks, (and to heat the tank "compartment". I am having trouble finding duct fittings that adapt to the 6" oval ducting. I can't find a 6" oval to 4" round fitting, yet.

My project is on hold as I recover from heart bypass surgery last week. Dang the luck! But I have a new lease on life and should be able to enjoy my Airstreams for many more years, both traveling and fixing. Project delay is much less of a hit than a major heart attack!

So I will watch you guys do your Trade Wind from way up here in the frozen tundra listening to wolves howl at the moon, and steal your good ideas!


TouringDan 02-07-2014 11:13 AM


Originally Posted by dbj216 (Post 1412148)
My project is on hold as I recover from heart bypass surgery last week. Dang the luck! But I have a new lease on life and should be able to enjoy my Airstreams for many more years, both traveling and fixing. Project delay is much less of a hit than a major heart attack!

So I will watch you guys do your Trade Wind from way up here in the frozen tundra listening to wolves howl at the moon, and steal your good ideas!



Nothing like burying a little thing like "heart bypass surgery" in the bowels of a reply. I hope that you are recovering well. Glad that you found out in time that this was needed. Keep us posted. At least it is the middle of winter and you are not missing any nice weather.


dbj216 02-07-2014 06:22 PM

Thanks Dan! I'm 12 days down steam of the surgery and feeling much better. I guess this is a "full monte" on my major systems instead of my Airstream. I wonder if Surflo has a pump that would fit my chest? I look like I was in a knife fight and lost!

Nope, not missing any nice weather. But we Minnesotians huddle around the potbelly stove and talk Airstreams.

Now I'm just going to sit back and watch Hittenstiehl and the gang renovate their 65. Should be fun!


Hittenstiehl 02-08-2014 09:23 AM

Astrodome on, not that hard.
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We brought Henrietta home for part of a weekend to get some chores done. One of the first parts that we purchased was an Astrodome as we were missing ours (Inland). After lots of forum searching, reading and suggestions from our 4CU friends, we finally had enough confidence and decided to tackle the project. It should be noted that our frame was intact, we had the arm brackets, we had old lifters but they would not lift (yes we tried a variety of methods to unstick them first), we purchased new lifters (Inland).

-We took our old doggie door off: just lift off and donate
-We popped up through the roof hole and cleaned the area thoroughly just because it needed it. We used any cleaner we had that worked, green pads, paint thinner, mineral spirits, steel wool etc. Hours of scraping and Mineral Spirits worked best. Although the dome doesn't touch the roof we wanted a fresh tight water seal up there.
-We inserted a rubber weather seal strip (3/8" Home Depot) in the track of the metal frame to keep the dome from sitting on the sharp edges
-We laid the dome on for dry fit and tried our best to center on the metal frame and marked our holes for drilling
-We drilled holes with a sharp 1/8" drill bit, high RPM's, patience and firm pressure but not hard. We drilled through without splintering or cracking the dome. (yes some shavings do get stuck inside the plastic layers)
-We used #6-32 Zinc Machine Screws with Nylon Lock Washers (versus riveting). We fastened the lifters to the dome and used TremPro on the screws for water sealing. We used long screws to start with and cut the extra length off with a Dremel cutting wheel.
-We lined the edge of the interior of the dome with the firm solid foam stripping included
-We sealed the top of the roof around the framing and rivet area that we had previously cleaned (TremPro/Vulcuem)
-We angled the dome up through the roof opening, set it down into place and attached the mechanisms.
-The dome fit, the lifters snapped into the existing arms and it is centered. The original screen fit back on, however because the space between the bottom of the new lifters and the handles is longer than the old lifters the screen isn't pulled up snug to the frame. You can see (in photo) that we are using our handles in the sideways position to keep the screen up tight. (better solution still being worked on).

It feels good to have this project completed as all our travels were being done with a large hole on the roof open to the elements while sucking in air, leaves and more dust than usual.

dbj216 02-08-2014 05:57 PM

Well done. David

Hittenstiehl 02-08-2014 07:16 PM

Thx David and speedy recovery to you.

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