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Our experiences with a 1971 TradeWind
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Progress, month one

Posted 02-01-2010 at 01:08 AM by barts

Well, we've been busy working on the Tin Pickle... since we picked it earlier this month up my wife and I managed to do the following:

  • Removed the ghastly bumper mounted taillights the PO had added, along with all the wiring he added along the belly pan. I did some troubleshooting and drilled out the rivets holding the non-working taillight assembly in place. I managed to free the corrosion so that the socket worked properly again; the principle problem was that it had been rotated a bit too far during original assembly so that the wires were pinched slightly at the back; this prevented proper contact w/ the bottom of the bulb. Drilled new rivet holes, and lined both taillights w/ aluminum tape... lights work fine, aside from some corroded clearance lights. New LED clearance lights ordered; taillights will wait for a bit.
  • Ordered new 7 pin cable & Airstream socket from Vintage Trailer Supply; wired new cable and all the lights work. Trailer brakes appear to work, but we'll likely replace them completely w/ axles before driving the rig again.
  • Removed the aromatic (well, reeking actually) carpeting & tackless strip. The floor looks to be in pretty good shape; there's a small amounts of water damage near the front door, and the battery compartment door. Nothing that some epoxy thinned w/ xylene won't handle...
  • Scrubbed the interior trailer walls w/ grease eater stuff - much less smell.
  • Deep cleaning of kitchen stove - some rust, but the unit is still serviceable, unlike the refrigerator, water heater or original Suburban furnace.
  • Got the univolt charging the batteries again by replacing the main fuse w/ a 50A DC circuit breaker.
  • Welded & ground the track for the leaning front step; they work properly now. This is a pretty simple repair w/ a MIG welder, but access is a bit tight. I used a die grinder to reshape the dimple in which the step registers after welding.
  • Ground off the miscellaneous surplus stuff welded on the tongue of the trailer; used the metal lathe to make a new rod to hold the gas cylinders. Removed the broken remnants of the electric jack we'd by using w/ the emergency crank - new manual jack on order.
  • Cut out a vented battery box from .125" 6061 T6; I'll rivet this together w/ polyurethane sealant and fit a sealing lid. A circular saw w/ a carbide blade cuts aluminum like this easily, but wear eye and hearing protection! Having dual group 27 batteries just vibrating around loose under the gaucho can't have been the original design!
  • Designed & cut-out a new battery compartment door; the existing one leaked badly and looked like it had been run over more than once. New (non-Airstream) stainless steel locking latches are ordered; the stock stuff seems pretty poor to me.
  • New curtains (a PO had removed them and used blinds) designed and fabric ordered.
  • Center gaucho removed; we'll put bunks there instead for the kids as they're going to want to sleep in the trailer at Burning Man....
Well, lots more to do... but things are happening!

- Bart (& Barbie)
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