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Thalweg 06-13-2012 09:13 PM

1962 Tradewind
 
4 Attachment(s)
A month or so ago I bought a '62 Tradewind and have wanted to regale y'all with the story while I work through the restoration. I figure that by doing that, maybe some of you can keep me from doing something stupid.:brows:

I've wanted an Airstream for many years, but the planets never aligned until now. I'd seen a 70's Overlander on Craigs List about a four hours drive away for $5000. It looked like it had some serious problems, not the least of which, it looked like it had at one time been owned by "some long-haired friends of Jesus who towed it with a chartreuse micro-bus" (thank you C.W. McCall). The day before we were supposed to go look at it, a good-ol boy called the radio trading post program and said he had a Tradewind for $1500, and it was only 30 miles away. I figured for $1500 it must be in really bad condition, but I made arrangements to go see it. I was quite surprised when we got there. It had obviously been sitting for years, but it was remarkably complete with minimal damage. Someone had pulled the bathroom vanity, toilet, and black tank. There was also one panel missing off of the water heater cover. Compared to the tour bus for the Grateful Dead, it was a steal. I happily handed over the $1500.

I initially intended on redesigning everything similar to what Klatawa has done (http://www.airforums.com/forums/f116/65-tw-remodel-our-turn-73655.html). However, the cabinetry and furniture was in really good shape considering itís 50 years old. The wood mostly just needs refinishing. It seemed like it would be a shame to toss all of that and start from scratch. The floor was covered with old carpet, and the tile below that was broken in places and peeling in others. The Zolatone paint is in good condition, just dirty. There is one small (16Ē length) spot of flooring by the toilet spot that is spongy, the rest of the floor is solid. Two of the three roof vents are missing, but the holes are well covered. The refrigerator looks like itís in good condition, but if it doesnít work Iíll get it rebuilt. The range looks like it is also in good condition. The water tank is air pressurized, and I debated what to do with that, but it holds 50 psi, so I think I try to use it.

The exterior is oxidized, and there are a couple of small dents on the banana skins. There is no hail damage, and the glass is in-tact. The propane tanks are missing, and the battery was dead and wouldnít take a charge. The tires are weather checked and the axle sags. All the marker lights and tail light lenses are missing or broken.

So we decided the best course of action would be to clean the walls, refinish the woodwork, and replace the flooring with Marmoleum. I ordered a toilet, lights, and propane tanks from VTS, and Iíll build a vanity. The furnace is old, and I donít want to trust it, so Iíll replace it. Iím not sure whether to try the water heater or just replace it. Iíll replace the axle and tires. Eventually Iíll polish it. Iíve got it mostly gutted now in hopes of getting the flooring replaced soon.

As soon as I bought it, a friend (who has a new fifth wheel SOB that cost nearly as much as my house, and almost requires a Kenworth to pull) dubbed the Tradewind the ďSilver WeenieĒ. So thatís what itís been lovingly called ever since.

My motto is that I may not be fast but I sure am slow. So I expect that itíll take me several years to finish, but I hope to be able to take it to the mountain this summer, maybe even a quick trip to Jellystone.

Iím attaching a couple of pictures, but Iím linking my Photobucket album. Iíve never done that before, so hopefully the link works. Airstream pictures by bsobotka - Photobucket

Iíll try to post progress here as I make it. All advise and critique is appreciated.

bilby05 07-04-2012 04:20 PM

I'll be following you. I just bought a '62 Tradewind too. Not as clean as yours, but it may be when I get rid of some of the dust, dirt and mouse droppings. I have a 1969, 31', Sovereign that I have been working on for about 7 years, but it was in better shape than my Tradewind before I started. I am currently trying to decide whether to go "custom-refurbished" or "close to as original as I can afford." Either way it looks like a few years of work ahead. Will keep in touch.
cheers, bill b.

n2batr 07-04-2012 04:30 PM

Great to see another from Wyoming. I'm in Lander. We have a 64 we use for camping and I'm currently totally rebuilding a 58 double door cruiser. If you have any questions this is the place for advice. Feel free to email or PM me or better yet make a swing by here on your way to Yellowstone. Your trailer looks like a great one to restore. Ed

63Tradewind 07-04-2012 04:40 PM

I'll be following both of you. That's a good looker, Thalwig. We bought a 63 Tradewind in March. It's gutted, and we are replacing the floor now. Plan to have the shell back on later this month. Looking forward to installing rivets instead of removing them. lol. Will start a thread on it soon. Can't beat this forum for finding answers to problems. Will be interested in your experience with Marmoleum. Want it, but not sure we're up to it as DIYers. Good luck to us all!

Thalweg 07-05-2012 09:17 PM

I may not be fast, but I sure am slow
 
2 Attachment(s)
Well, Iíve been making slow progress. Iíve got the trailer mostly gutted. I gave up on trying to get the tub out, as Iíve come to the conclusion that I wonít be able to get it out without seriously damaging it. I guess Iíll have to refinish it in place. I also have not pulled the water heater yet because I didnít want to make a big hole in the side of the trailer until I was ready to do something about it.

Iíve been stripping the old tile off of the floor in preparation of laying the Marmoleum. Wow that is tough work. Iíve been using a vibrating multi tool with a sharpened scraper blade to peel it off. It does a pretty good job without creating dust, but itís slow. I put an old air conditioner in a window to extend the amount of time I can work in there (itís been hot). However, I found that the tile comes off much easier when itís really hot in the trailer. So I had to balance progress against potential heat stroke. I donít think I would have been able to do this in winter. Youíd defiantly have to use a heat gun, but that would be much slower.

I had intended on laying the Marmoleum directly on the existing plywood surface. However Forbo (the maker of Marmoleum) says that if there is asphaltic residue on the surface youíve got to put down their moisture sealer first. I was only able to find the sealer in contractor quantities, and would cost around $450, and that ainít gonna happen. So now Iím planning on putting down a 1/4 inch underlayment on prior to putting down the Marmoluem. Home Depot trip this weekend. I noticed when stripping tile that Airstream didnít put tile under the furnace or water heater. Does anyone know if that would be a bad idea?

Iíve got the cabinetry in the shop and have been doing lots of sanding. I really hate sanding. SWMBO wanted the woodwork to remain the same color as it was originally. It was a pale whitish-yellow. It appears to have been a toned lacquer on red oak. I was unable to find a lacquer compatible dye to make a similar color locally. I was able to get a wood stain at Sherwin Williams that is pretty close. I put it on one closet, but Iím not sure I like it. Iíll be going to Colorado next week, so maybe Iíll be able to find a dye there that will work better. If not Iíll stick with the stain and spray clear lacquer or polyurethane over it

New tires will be in next week, and Iíve started polishing. Itís been suggested around here that my priorities have been too directed to the trailer. So my progress may slow further.

Ed, I get through Lander occasionally. Iíd really like to see your trailers. Itíd be nice to see other ďvintageĒ trailers in person.

bilby05 07-08-2012 10:07 AM

Still stripping Tradewind
 
1 Attachment(s)
Finally! I have gotten all of the crappy carpet, old bed linens and junk out of the Tradewind. Hoping to be able to work on it without a dust mask. Did you know that mouse droppings carry "Hanta Virus?" Well, there ya go. Another thing to worry about? Next step. Fixing a broken window to keep more critters out and then I can start pulling out appliances and determining what can be saved and what must be replaced. I am attaching a photo (I hope) of one of the wheels. How can you tell if they are split wheels or not? They are 700x15 LT tires.

Thalweg 07-08-2012 07:35 PM

Bill,

I'm pretty certain that those are standard steel wheels. Other than color, they look just like mine, and I know they aren't split rims. Honestly though, I'm not sure if I've ever seen split wheels so I might not recognize them if I saw them. Maybe someone who has worked with them can weigh in.

I pulled the tires off mine today. It was a rather unpleasant experience. I was pretty sure my axle was shot, but it was confirmed when I jacked it up and the axle didn't move at all. Therefore I had to jack the trailer up much higher than I planned, and things seemed somewhat unstable. So I stabilized the tongue with the tractor and put lots of jack-stands under the frame in case things slipped. I'm glad I didn't need to change the tire out on the road where I wouldn't have had a floor jack, jack-stands, and blocks. I guess the new axle will have to move up on the priority list. Does anyone know if it's possible to force the axle/wheel down to make it easier to get the new tires back on?

bilby05 07-08-2012 08:38 PM

Axle
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Thalweg (Post 1171788)
Bill,

I'm pretty certain that those are standard steel wheels. Other than color, they look just like mine, and I know they aren't split rims. Honestly though, I'm not sure if I've ever seen split wheels so I might not recognize them if I saw them. Maybe someone who has worked with them can weigh in.

I pulled the tires off mine today. It was a rather unpleasant experience. I was pretty sure my axle was shot, but it was confirmed when I jacked it up and the axle didn't move at all. Therefore I had to jack the trailer up much higher than I planned, and things seemed somewhat unstable. So I stabilized the tongue with the tractor and put lots of jack-stands under the frame in case things slipped. I'm glad I didn't need to change the tire out on the road where I wouldn't have had a floor jack, jack-stands, and blocks. I guess the new axle will have to move up on the priority list. Does anyone know if it's possible to force the axle/wheel down to make it easier to get the new tires back on?

Not sure about that kind of axle problem. On our Sovereign axle troubles were indicated by the inside "big rubber bands" weakening and making the trailer a low rider by about 4 inches. I think if we jacked it up at the axle attaching bracket the body would have stayed the same distance from the tires. But if jacked up at the frame jack point then the wheels should hang down lower. Of course with tandem axles we never used a jack, just driving up on block of wood under the good tire would lift the flat one up. gonna have to think about. A new axle is fairly high on my list too. Will probably go with a Dexter. Since they are about half the price of Henschins.

overlander64 07-08-2012 08:45 PM

1962 Tradewind
 
Greetings Thalweg!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thalweg (Post 1171788)

I pulled the tires off mine today. It was a rather unpleasant experience. I was pretty sure my axle was shot, but it was confirmed when I jacked it up and the axle didn't move at all. Therefore I had to jack the trailer up much higher than I planned, and things seemed somewhat unstable. So I stabilized the tongue with the tractor and put lots of jack-stands under the frame in case things slipped. I'm glad I didn't need to change the tire out on the road where I wouldn't have had a floor jack, jack-stands, and blocks. I guess the new axle will have to move up on the priority list. Does anyone know if it's possible to force the axle/wheel down to make it easier to get the new tires back on?

You may find that it is necessary to deflate the tire(s) to ease them into the wheelwells. When I had new alloy wheels and tires installed on my '64 Overlander, it was necessary to deflate the tires then gently persuade them to find their resting place in the wheelwell. Once the wheels are in place, re-inflate. I always carry a compressor that is capable of filling the tires on the tow vehcile or trailer, and with this tire situation, I must have it if I ever need to install the spare . . . with the tandem axle, under most conditions I can remove the bad tire/wheel and proceed at a reduced rate of speed to the nearest service center.

Good luck with your project!

Kevin

n2batr 07-08-2012 09:10 PM

You are welcome to stop in any time. Let me know when you are coming. Yes, those axles are probably frozen in position. Doubt you could move them. I'd try the suggestion of deflating the tire and see if that works. If you plan on replacing the axle get in touch with me. I may have some ideas for you having already replaced both of mine. Ed

TouringDan 07-08-2012 09:32 PM

Thalweg

Tradewinds Rule!

Looks like you found a keeper.

I also am removing the old flooring so I can install cork flooring. I am using the vibrating tool also. It is slow, but it works pretty well and it is better than doing it by hand (hammer and chisel).

I just finished installing a 5k A/C unit in the side window of my TW. It works great. If you are interested you can look up the thread I started. I will be removing the original Armstrong A/C unit now.

New axles are in my future too. When I install them I plan on also installing new disc brakes.

Dan

rodsterinfl 07-08-2012 10:12 PM

This is a great thread. Love the pics. I started looking at the vintage classifieds!

Thalweg 07-08-2012 10:14 PM

Sometimes it's embarrassing when you don't think of the most obvious solutions. Deflating the tires, duh, why didn't I think of that. Thanks all. I'll do that when I put the new ones back in.

As for replacing the axles, I doubt I'll get to it for a couple of months. When I do, I'll spend several days reading forum posts on the subject. It seems rare that I can't find the answer to my questions on some old post. If not, you folks are great at providing guidance.

Thalweg 08-12-2012 09:20 PM

Floor's Done!
 
4 Attachment(s)
I finally finished the floor. I anticipated making much quicker progress than this. I thought Iíd be able to drag the camper up to the mountains this fall. Aparently that was too optimistic.

I got the old tile stripped off in preparation of laying the Marmoleum. Forboís instructions say the adhesive canít be applied directly over the asphalt residue left on the floor without using some special sealer that they sell. The best deal I could find on the sealer was around $400, and I wasnít going to pay that. Normally Iíd take the belt sander to the floor, but with asbestos concerns, I didnít want to do that either. So I got some ľĒ underlayment at Home Depot, and glued it down with subfloor adhesive and lots of screws. Then I made a paper template of the floor and took that to the garage where I layed that over the Marmoleum and cut it to shape. After that I got the Marmoleum in the trailer and glued it down with Forbo adhesive. There is one seam, all the way down the street side about 5Ē from the wall. It doesnít look too bad, but all but about 3 feet of the seam will be under cabinetry. The Marmoleum is Dove Grey color. I wished we would have used a little darker color. In some light it almost takes a light blue tint. I donít really care for that, but it isnít going to change now.

Other progress: new tires, walls getting scrubbed, a little polishing, cabinets being sanded in preparation for lacquer. I need to get the cabinets done soon, as they are cluttering up the garage. Iíll need the space once winter gets here.

bilby05 09-11-2012 11:24 AM

I spent the morning remove carpet artifacts, staples, nails and tack strips. Getting ready to scrape out the old tile and remove old appliances and obsolete bits. Found an old battery charger under the front gaucho. Must have been a make-do converter to 12volt. I have never seen so many slot type screws holding things together. Must not have used Phillips heads in '62. Any body know when AS started using tandem axles on Tradewinds? My '62 has single, but I notice some others indicate theirs has two. Well, onward to the floor rot fixing.

overlander64 09-11-2012 11:31 AM

1962 Tradewind
 
Greetings bilby!

Quote:

Originally Posted by bilby05 (Post 1201715)
Any body know when AS started using tandem axles on Tradewinds? My '62 has single, but I notice some others indicate theirs has two. Well, onward to the floor rot fixing.

I believe that 1964 was the year the Trade Wind switched to tandem axles. As something of a transition year for that feature, my notes indicate that customers could order a single axle Trade Wind in 1964 if that was the configuration that they wanted.

Kevin

Mary Burris 07-01-2013 07:03 AM

I have just purchased a 62 Tradewind and have not even gotten it home yet but hope to learn a lot from "all who have gone before me" lol! First thing is that she (haven't named her yet, but feel she is a she) needs brakes. Seller said there were NO BRAKES! What kind of brakes did a 1962 TW originally have and what is the best way to fix or add brakes? Anyone please advise. And any advice on what is the most fuel effecient vehicle to trailer her? I will need to get a different vehicle as my 2004 Ford Explorer I don't believe can do it. Thank you, Mary in St. Pete, FL

Thalweg 07-01-2013 11:32 AM

The trailer would have probably had brakes originally. However, being over 50 years old, there is a strong likelyhood that unless the axle has already been changed, you'll find that you need a new axle. If that is the case, when you change it, you'll want to get brakes with the axle. That'll solve most of your problems.

overlander64 07-03-2013 03:32 PM

1962 Tradewind
 
1 Attachment(s)
Greetings Mary Burris!

Welcome to the world of Vintage Airstream ownership!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mary Burris (Post 1320726)
I have just purchased a 62 Tradewind and have not even gotten it home yet but hope to learn a lot from "all who have gone before me" lol! First thing is that she (haven't named her yet, but feel she is a she) needs brakes. Seller said there were NO BRAKES! What kind of brakes did a 1962 TW originally have and what is the best way to fix or add brakes? Anyone please advise. And any advice on what is the most fuel effecient vehicle to trailer her? I will need to get a different vehicle as my 2004 Ford Explorer I don't believe can do it. Thank you, Mary in St. Pete, FL

Your 1962 Tradewind would have had trailer brakes from the factory. Airstream was standardizing on electric drum-type trailer brakes, and the usual supplier in that time period was Kelsey-Hayes (usually 12" X 2" but some were 10" x 2"). Should you find that the brakes need parts, it is usually much more economical to purchase fully loaded backing plates in the correct size as all wear parts will be new. There is a somewhat remote chance that the trailer may have been equipped with hydraulic drum-type trailer brakes, but this was becoming uncommon by 1962 -- if this was the setup on the trailer, the trailer's brakes would have been tapped into the rear brake circuit on the tow vehicle (something that wouldn't be permissible today). It is even possible that your Tradewind could have had one axle with electric drum brakes and its second axle with hydraulic drum brakes (if your Tradewind has the optional tandem axles) . . . my '64 Overlander was delivered with the two types of brakes due to a special order placed by the original owners so that they could tow it using the hydraulic brake setup already on their 1957 Mercury tow vehicle as well as with their 1964 Mercury that was setup for electric trailer brakes.

The basic statistics for your 1962 Tradewind are as follows:
  • Dry Trailer Weight: 3,260 Pounds
  • Dry Hitch Weight: 400 Pounds
  • Factory Hitch Height: 19.5 inches
Your Tradewind will likely weigh more than the dry weights cited above as they reflect a stock 1962 Tradewind with no optional equipment, no fluids, and no personal possessions. My suspicion is that the Tradewind when fully loaded for an extended vacation will weigh close to 4,800 pounds with a hitch weight around 525 pounds. The hitch height is likely to be lower than the measurement cited as the suspension settles over time decreasing the hitch height (particularly true of Henschen Dura-Torque axles).

Some things to consider as you prepare to retrieve your Tradewind:
  • You may need to rewire the trailer's umbilical cord that connects its lights and brakes to the tow vehicle. Airstream didn't adopt the industry-standard wiring pattern until the late 1980s so the Tradewind's connector wiring may not match up to the current industry standard on the typical tow vehicle unless a prior owner rewired the connector to the modern industry-standard. My experience demonstrates about a 50% probability that the trailer's connector will need to be rewired. Also, it is always a good idea to carry a trailer end that matches your tow vehicle as a Vintage Airstream may have a round-pin connector or some other unusual or obsolete connector.
  • You may find that the Tradewind has split-rim wheels that are difficult to have serviced. The split-rims were designed to ease changing flat tires while on-the-road, but the technology is now considered obsolete to the point of being dangerous so that it can be difficult to find a tire center willing to mount new tires/tubes on a split-rim wheel. Modern solid steel wheels as well as aluminum/alloy wheels are readily available from several sources in the size needed on Vintage Airstream products.
  • The hitch ball on a 1962 Airstream would have been 2". Be cautious when you source a 2" hitch ball as the typical 2" balls found in the big chain stores may not have a high enough weight rating to safely tow an Airstream. Ideally, you want a 2" hitch ball with a weight rating of at least 6,000 pounds. Even some RV dealers need to special order a 2" ball to get the 6,000 pound rating . . . they are readily available, but aren't stocked by all RV dealers.
Good luck with your Tradewind!

Kevin

Mary Burris 08-15-2013 08:40 PM

Hi there, Hey, I just bought a 62 TW. Do you have any idea how much fabric I will need to recover the front gaucho (and I assume I need the same amount of fabric for the middle-double bed gaucho). Thank you!!


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