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whr2nxt 01-11-2017 10:00 AM

Restoring the 71 Tradewind
My son brought me his new '71 Tradewind over Christmas because I had "more time and tools" than he did. So I started my first AS restoration project. So far I have about 24 contact hours gutting and exposing, which doesn't count the innumerable hours reading forum listings. Everything was essentially vintage and in decent shape. Lots of broken curtain clips and a few other brittle plastic parts. But the furnace and refrig and range worked. The A/C worked after I cleaned out the grills and got the fan spinning. Don't know if it actually cools, but its slated for replacement anyway. The copper pipes were cracked throughout, so I don't know if the water heater worked, but it too is slated for replacement. I knew we had a broken front window and a leaking curb-side wing window, so I suspected from front end damage. Back end was a little soft, and I saw some corrosion of the frame there.

Now everything is out in front and from the side beds back. Rear belly pan is out. The kitchen cabinet has been pulled away from the wall, exposing a bad spot below the fresh water fill port. Also have a bad spot under the windows next to the door, but that seem to be a leak at a n awning attachment hole. Next step is to get the bathroom floor removed so I can see how much needs to be done to the frame.

photos to come shortly.

whr2nxt 01-11-2017 10:15 AM

3 Attachment(s)
Attachment 277989
new project

Attachment 277990
front end gutted, exposing floor below leak under window

Attachment 277991
Back end gutted down to black water tank, water heater and some plumbing

moparjohn 01-11-2017 10:20 AM

looks good, great project. Welcome to the forums!

millertimeUS 01-11-2017 11:45 AM

So you are restoring your SON'S trailer? Wow! I sure hope he is helping out lol. My dad has a lot more 'time and tools' than I do with 3 kids but.... you know what they say about teaching a man to fish…

Lumatic 01-11-2017 12:03 PM

If the furnace is the original Suburban NT22 there was a serious recall on it. The rubber crossover tube leaks letting CO into the trailer. If yours is original the crossover tube has turned to dust years ago.

kdickinson 01-12-2017 03:00 PM

agree with the above post - advise to not mess with the furnace - spend the money for new, they are more efficient and run quieter now anyway. Water heaters are the same - not worth trying to rebuild or repair, the new ones have auto-light on them (I just flip a switch inside to turn the water heater on now instead of standing in the rain and wind trying to get the pilot to stay lit) and they heat up so fast. Looks like a fun project! Enjoy

Lumatic 01-12-2017 04:43 PM

I have done a lot of restoration on my 71. If you have any questions get in touch with me.

BTW/ If you have the original Armstrong AC and it works I would keep it.

whr2nxt 01-13-2017 05:58 AM

3 Attachment(s)
millertimeusa, yes this is my son's AS. I have my eyes on another AS in the wood near me, so I am practicing on my son's. Actually, I like this kind of project. Can't do engines or cars, but old houses and now AS are great. My son was kind enough to suggest that I could buy him a Cycle polisher, but that I could keep it as long as I needed it.:cool:

Lunatic and others, The furnace is a Suburban NT30, looks like 1969 vintage by the serial number. Found a wasp nest in the exhaust pipe and mud dauber nest in the intake pipe. That probably didn't help its operation or lifespan.

Attachment 278102

Got the battery compartment and associated banana wraps removed yesterday. Now I have the whole rear damaged floor area exposed and ready for replacement. The rear 3 feet of frame will need some work.

Attachment 278103
battery compartment out (photo rotated)

Attachment 278101
Floor rot along rear

Its amazing how one fastener always causes problems, and lots more time. Had one bolt on the black water dump valve, one screw on the battery compartment, and one on the water heater that needed lots of persuasion. Its also interesting that the banana wrap form the water heater and batter compartment back are outside the upper skin, while the ones between them and the wheels are under the upper skins. And they are riveted behind the skins, so you have to drill out a couple buck rivets and very carefully bend the skin to get to those rivets to remove the banana wraps.

Next is getting the bumper and tray off so I can get the bath floor out.

air_boy 01-13-2017 07:58 AM

Looks like your making good progress. I'm at roughly the same stage with my 72 SOTR. I've mostly been working on refurbishing the windows, but decided to start on removing the belly pan to start pulling the bath floor out. Did you get the pan off in one piece? I'm fighting with it to slide it backwards over the axles. I was considering dropping the rear axle to give me a little more wiggle room. Just curious about your experience. Keep up the good work. It's making me feel a little extra motivated today.

Lumatic 01-13-2017 08:08 AM


Originally Posted by whr2nxt (Post 1898457)
The furnace is a Suburban NT30

NT30 is a common replacement for the original NT22 so I suspect this is a replacement That's what I put in mine about 10 years ago. Good running furnace with a little more heat output than the original. Suburban still makes them so you should be able to get parts and service. A 1969 furnace, I don't think so. Maybe a 1969 design.

skippetsch 01-13-2017 03:58 PM

I have the following for a 1975 tradewind, hot water heater,furnace complete with ducting, refrig, 12V water pumpall were in good working order wwhen I removed them 3 mos ago. PM me at if interested

whr2nxt 01-14-2017 08:00 AM

Air Boy, I was able to remove the rear section of the belly pan in one piece. I haven't attempted the front piece yet. The rear piece would have come out much easier with two people. Once it came loose, it warped enough to bind. I kind had to use both feet and arms to get it back flat, then it slid out pretty easy.

Lumatic, the serial number on my NT30 ended in "69", so I assumed it was that vintage. It does not look near that old, so I will do some more research and testing before I decide whether to replace it.

Skippetsch, thanks for the offer of the parts. We'll see how things pan out. My water pump looks like a piston pump with a belt drive. Not like the new ones.

This weekend, I will try to get the rear plywood disconnected and out. Then I can get someone to look at repairing the frame. The two bad spots in the floor at the front end are small, but still require removal of banana wraps. And I will get the front belly pan out to see what issues with the frame are up there.

Does anyone know why most bolts through the perimeter of the floor and c-channel are bent? The bolts look like they were pushed up from below, with the nuts on top of the c-channel. Are the bolts bent to help keep the nuts from loosening? Can't use lock washers because they would dig into the aluminum not the steel nut. Bending the bolt would help lock the nut in place. Probably replace them with stainless bolts and nylon-insert nuts.

Air Boy, don't get discouraged. It will be a journey, with a very fun end result. (Well, for my son anyway.)

Lumatic 01-14-2017 08:18 AM


Originally Posted by whr2nxt (Post 1898959)

Lumatic, the serial number on my NT30 ended in "69", so I assumed it was that vintage. It does not look near that old, so I will do some more research and testing before I decide whether to replace it.

A few details. I am sure the oem furnace in my 71 was a NT22. This furnace lit with a push button spark lighter and did not have a circuit board. It also had a bottle cap size screw off mica covered cap to view the pilot light and also light the pilot if the spark lighter did not. It would surprise the hell out of me if your NT30 is original. My NT30 has been flawless and so much easier. I did have to make a few modifications to the furnace height, furnace cabinet and plenum to get it to fit. My NT 30 cabinet has 2 holes for flexible ductwork in the sides that I sealed off and was raised about an inch on a wood frame on top of the plenum, This modification has been covered in the forums if you can find the thread,

Minno 01-14-2017 08:25 AM

Yes, the bolts are bent to keep the nuts from loosening. It worked so well, we re-bent ours when we replaced the floor.
Welcome, and good luck!


whr2nxt 01-15-2017 06:21 AM

3 Attachment(s)
Spent about 4 hours yesterday and finally go the rear flooring out. Same combination of bolts, screw and rivets with lots of grinder and drill work. Actually looks like the rear roadside corner was repaired at some time in the past.

Others have mentioned putting in three pieces of flooring when you don't remove the shell: one piece along the sides into the corners, and one rectangular piece in the middle. That way they can all slide in. I took a different approach. I cut out an 18-inch wide strip from wall to wall at the battery compartment across to the water heater. Then I was able to remove the whole rear piece as a single unit by sliding it toward the front into that 18-inch wide gap. Replacement will be the opposite, and I have minimal additional bracing to do. Here's a couple photos.

Attachment 278156
Strip from battery compartment to water heater removed.

Attachment 278157
Whole rear floor removed. I have some frame work to do, as the rear cross brace is about gone. A foot or so of the main frame is also pretty rusty.

I don't understand how Airstream thought the bumper details would make a water-tight joint. I don't see a good way to do it, so I will have to ponder this a bit. The corner skins are about 3/4 inch above the bumper, but the center rear skin is in contact with the bumper. Is this normal, or part of the prior repairs? Can I cut some off the bottom to help make a water-proof junction? Photo below.

Attachment 278158

My son is stopping by today to talk about adding a gray water tank, and how to rebuild the interior. Maybe he's also checking on the quality of my work.:lol:

Lumatic, a closer look at my furnace shows an NT32C.

whr2nxt 08-29-2017 06:25 PM

Took a long break to go west in our new non-AS toy hauler. Did a big loop from NC to NM, up to Idaho and back stopping at several national parks. Had so much fun, we'll do it again next summer.

Now its back to working on my son's AS. Had a welding shop fix the back end of frame. Put POR paint on all exposed framing. Put new gaskets on the windows, then upon re-installation I found out that some rivets in the hinge strip at the top of the windows were loose. So I have to pull off the new gaskets and fix the rivets. I have also added some sealant around roof vents and other openings trying to get leaks stopped. All new LED marker lights to address potential leaks and damaged lights.

Got the new bathroom floor in today. It looks like the rear, road-side corner of this AS has been extensively repaired at some time. The tail light didn't fit right and took some reworking. I think the rear hold down angle iron was not even in the right place. It was at an angle, so I think the corner was repaired with existing floor damage, and the hold down metal was just stuffed in.

I wrapped the rear, curved edge of the new flooring with foil-faced window flashing, and coated the entire top and bottom of the floor from front to back with two coats of Bora-Care. Now I need to work on flashing and waterproofing the rear-wall/frame intersection.

I went to buy a roll of A/C duct wrap insulation today to use in the walls and floor, but it was $212 for a 4 ft by 75 ft roll. So I skipped it to think about alternatives. Then we stopped by a Habitat Restore on the way home and lucked into two pieces of flex duct with R-8 insulation for $30. The insulation is higher density and thinner that that used in house walls, and should fit nicely in the AS walls and under the floor. The insulation in piece of duct is about 36 inches by 25 feet, so I should have enough to do what I need.

Eddieb 03-08-2019 01:45 PM

thanks for offering to answer questions, in the process of restoring 72 Trade Winds Twin, not going back to original, got everything out but interior skins, electrical was working when I got it, questions I have
1. what suppliers for possible interior skin replacement, I can paint whats there now and probably will but wanted to know what other options, have spent lots of time on line looking for options but not seeing it, I've seen some pictures of aluminum skins but not sure where to get pricing and what would work best.
2. I tore out bathroom and have drawn up new layout in rear, I hear people mention moving bath to middle of trailer but haven't really seen designs, there are windows and the wheel wells to contend with, I'm going to go with Composting toilet, and not sure if I should figure out placement for gray water tank or just use portable tank, don't plan on making lots of grey water but if I could figure out how to do a tank may concider. VTS has the 4" tank that could fit in frame below floor but not sure if it is worth doing. I got it now so that all the water drains down drivers side to rear thats with kitchen sink shower and bath sink, also the fresh water tank had some holes and I removed it and am debating putting it back as well. I am also trying to not get trailer too heavy because Im not going back with the cabinetry that was in there, ie. 1/4" panelling with Aluminum trim.
3. How can I tell if the axles are ok, I have pulled the trailer a few times short distances.

4. I hear people talk about rear sag, not sure how to tell if this is a problem for me or not, yes the floor was rotten on the very back a few inches back from back wall, I ve cut out and was planing on re installing subflooring under wall, it seems the only solution Ive seen for preventing the water infillation is caulk the heck out of it, I got some ideas for this but looking for any ideas from others,
I have other questions but don't want to overload you, thanks for your time if you can advise me, sincerely,Ed

Chatthayer 03-12-2019 03:28 PM

Good, hard, long, and expensive work, but I really enjoyed doing mine a few years ago. Check out my story in this area. Chatthayer in Chattanooga Tennessee

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