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Old 02-21-2021, 01:25 PM   #1
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1961 24' Tradewind
NOVI , MI
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 11
1961 Trade Wind Adventure

Hello All - I am starting this thread to share this wonderful addition to our family, a 1961 Trade Wind. I loved vintage Airstreams all of my life and now I have a deep love for Trade Winds and specifically this one. I spent the last 6 months reading about Airstream and RVs in general which I kicked into high gear this past month since we are planning to perform some major projects as soon as the snow melts. In normal life I work in cybersecurity risk management so due to my risk mindset I tend to analyze every single option for any project before making a decision. Therefore, it has been a bit hard until this week to decide which route we want to go with some major aspects (plumbing, electrical, gas, and appliances). I know so much more now than I did when we randomly bought this Airstream. We happened to have a mishap in our pop-up while camping and were looking at Facebook Marketplace for fun and found one less than 31 feet that was decently priced in almost original condition on the way home in early September 2020. With no prior Airstream knowledge we bought it. I knew if we left that day without it I would likely never fulfill my Airstream dream.

I made sure to read through the Forum rules (again) to be thoughtful of everyone's privacy and topics as I am more used to the Facebook groups and that way of documentation. I am now starting to finally tap into the full potential of the forum and the knowledge others documented to help the rest of us. I constantly take screenshots and notes from posts on tons of topics.

I want to thank all of the wonderful people that reached out after our initial Facebook post asking about connecting with other Trade Wind owners and local to us vintage Airstream owners. We were lucky enough to have one Trade Wind owner bestow a great deal of knowledge between our purchase and pick up date who even talked us through the initial drive home which unfortunately was through a thunderstorm. Another wonderful person who restored/rebuilt numerous trailers visited after we brought it home to share Airstream specific knowledge and provide us an inspection purely for the joy of seeing another Airstream and sharing his love for the trailers. We are lucky enough to have also connected to one of the most knowledgeable Airstreamers who has hours on the phone answering questions that I could not find solutions to online. Other wonderful people also spent time on the phone sharing tips or sending thoughtful private messages each of which have gotten us closer to figuring out our next steps. We feel blessed for all of the kindness. Even though I am excited to start the major work to make this trailer last another 60 years and meet our needs I also feel a deep sense of guilt to make any changes at the same time. Some changes are necessary do our need to sleep 5 – 6 people (we have creative ideas), the fact that we do not winter camp presently, and due my family's personal aversion to using propane for anything other than to grill or smoke meat, when possible.

I return to work in exactly two months after an almost 13 month extended maternity leave so I hope we can get a lot done very soon while I can devote more dedicated time. My Dad, Mom, Aunt and Uncle are an amazing team with a ton of construction knowledge to help make this happen. We are excited to eventually go on our first camping trip in the Trade Wind as a multi-generational camping family (trying to get husband to like camping still) and potentially expand our camping adventures past our home state. In the future I hope to use as a winter vacation home traveling south to escape the polar vortex after the kids head off to college.

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Old 02-21-2021, 01:34 PM   #2
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1961 24' Tradewind
NOVI , MI
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 11
Projects

We have quite a few projects coming up.

PO changes from original:
- Addition of a power jack
- Installation of a water heater
- Cut out of the back section of the belly pan
- Updated toilet
- Moved battery to the back

What we completely thus far:
- Changed the glass (as needed) and gaskets on all the windows
- Resealed all seams
- removed and updated the door gasket/seal
- Removed 70% of the asbestos tiles
- Switched out majority of the window handles/arms
- Replaced broken window and door screen locks
- Fixed ripped window screens (need to make screen frames for the front and back large windows)
- Replaced missing tail Airstream sign
- Update dump plug and dump configuration

Immediate 2021 projects that may extend to 2022:
- Remove remaining tiles
- Test for electrical shorts and determine whether we need to partially remove the walls to update wiring
- Add additional wiring to support refrigerator, microwave, AC, stovetop, water pump, USB ports, tank sensors (for the non-fiberglass tanks)
- Update wiring
• Add a 12V fuse panel since there is not one currently 9Add DC for water pump, refrigerator, USB ports)
• Update to a new AC breaker panel (add separate breakers/lines for Microwave, AC/DC refrigerator, AC, stove, maybe fantastic fan)
• Add a converter since the really old ones did not have one (already had a conversation with Progressive Dynamics on what we need to look for when selecting a converter and waiting on our electrician friend to come back north as he is retired and providing us services at a deep discount)
• Determine whether to replace it and go 50 amp
- Drop the belly pan and assess whether any crossbars/outriggers require replacement (we know there are some pieces rusted through in the back)
- Sand down frame rust, perform required welding, and paint with POR 15
- Epoxy the floor and close holes
- Vent the battery externally (open to any ideas – saw a battery box with a vent at Camping world)
- Determine next steps for the refrigerator (propane only and told it does not work)
- Replace the propane stove with an induction cooktop
- Add grommets for PO additional wiring holes
- Determine whether to paint a white/crème tone (original zolatone is yellow-ish and in decent condition)
- Create gaucho cushion covers (replaceable and fit over original fabric)
- Replace gaucho foam with a lightly used or new short foam king mattress (This will cost 250 or less vs. 1000 at a foam company but I will need to use the electric knife to cut it which will not be easy)
- Add belly pan insulation
- Replace axle, shocks, and tires
- Fix belly pan holes from outrigger slices
- Create replacement belly pan section for back of trailer since it is missing
- Update with PEX plumbing (my dad was a plumber working only with copper 30+ years ago in buildings so he is not a fan of replacing it for the sake of replacing it)
- Add 12V water pump and new fresh tank
- Determine new flooring and install
- Determine whether to add a gray tank and have it fabricated (VTS is out of stock and theirs will eliminate my furnace vent) and installed
- Replace two damaged wood pieces
- Sand and paint light fixtures
- Sew curtains
- Add a shower curtain
- Create/Add bunk bed and make foam mattress
- Replace the dump valve plumbing with a more accessible dump valve set up (ideas as welcome)
- Replace faucets
- Add spare tire to the front or back (I would love a vintage aluminum tire cover if someone has one they do not want)
- Add distributed hitch system
- Replace rusted roof vent caps
- Likely remove propane lines and furnace (I will keep the vents in case I want to reinstall propane lines and a new furnace in the future)
- Add AC unit (determine if there is a good alternative to a rooftop unit)
- Fix/replace the refrigerator (I spoke to Glenn at National RV Refrigeration and it will cost about 1000 to have the propane refrigerator which we were told does not work switched to AC/DC compressor or the other option is to keep the door and super impose it on a cabinet door to keep the vintage look and hide a new two door refrigerator inside which will not need an external roof vent)
- Learn about RV septic systems and how to dump them since we never had that type of set up with the pop-up camper

Potential in the future projects:
- Upgrade to add solar
- Install awning
- Switch to Lithium batteries
- Install combination converter/inverter (when my converter dies)?
- Replace fan?
- Create skylight?
- Composting toilet?
- Potentially switch the gaucho out for a table or couch set up?

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Old 02-21-2021, 01:43 PM   #3
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1966 24' Tradewind
Kansas City , Missouri
Join Date: Mar 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oceana24 View Post
..........it has been a bit hard until this week to decide which route we want to go with some major aspects....
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The first order of business is deciding on what kind and size of bicycle you are going to use to tow your trailer. I love that emblem.
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Old 02-21-2021, 02:06 PM   #4
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1962 28' Ambassador
1961 19' Globetrotter
1962 26' Overlander
Mesa , Arizona
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You've got a favored model in a Twin Vintage Tradewind. It looks pretty good along with your list which will grow 4 times as long.

Enjoy the journey.
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Old 02-21-2021, 07:52 PM   #5
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
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Hi again Oceana24: I'm glad you have a project thread, or blog as it were, here on Airstream Forums. Many of us don't use Faceboo. Ok boomer.

Thanks for the photos of your 61 Trade Wind. It does look to be in pretty good condition, but judging from your project list, there is a lot to do. Don't rush, just try to make a little progress now and then. I believe 1961 was the first year of the Dura Torque axle. Do you know what type of axle is under your Trade Wind; leaf spring or Dura Torque? There were three trim levels in 61: base, Land Yacht, and International. Maybe yours is the Land Yacht. The difference was in the level of self containment features and other amenities.

I don't think you need 50 amp shore power. That much power is for trailer with two air conditioners or those big motorhomes that have washers and dryers on board, and maybe a hot tub too.

So I bet a lot of folks will follow along on your Trade Wind adventures and try our best to confuse the heck out of you.

David
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Old 02-21-2021, 11:40 PM   #6
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1966 24' Tradewind
1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Well it looks like you found a wonderful 61 Tradewind for your forever Airstream.

That is an interesting seat you have in the shower. Sometimes you really need for an item to provide more than one function. I have never seen this before. Wally said make only improvements, not changes. My initial thought would be to leave the stock shower and toilet. I see no reason to change this. There are certainly lots of other areas that will require change and for you to improve on. Since it is your trailer, just do whatever works for you.

If you are going to not use propane and make your Tradewind all electric I see lots of solar, lithium batteries, a 2,000 watt inverter and a minisplit heat pump in your future unless you are always going to camp at a campground with electrical hookups.

So glad that you are planning on going with a compressor fridge as I have found the performance of regular RV refrigerators to be inadequate in hot weather.

Always ask all the questions you have. More than likely another reader will learn from the answer that is provided.

Dan
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Old 02-23-2021, 01:15 PM   #7
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1966 24' Tradewind
1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
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1961 Trade Wind Adventure

I agree with David. You definitely won’t need 50 amp service. 30 amp will be plenty, even going all electric if your appliances are efficient.

Since this will be your forever Airstream for the next 60 years I recommend the following upgrades:

-2 lithium batteries with room for 2 more plus a 60 amp Progressive Dynamics converter.

-A compressor fridge

-A 2000 watt inverter

- Solar on the roof plus solar on your TV if possible plus 400 watts of portable solar. It is hard to have too much solar.

-New axles and new shock absorbers plus disc brakes.

-A 12,000 btu/hr minisplit heat pump.

If you make these improvements you will have the most modern 60 year old Airstream in the country and certainly the only one with jalousie windows.

Enjoy the ride.

Dan
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Old 02-23-2021, 01:58 PM   #8
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1960 22' Safari
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Your trailer has exactly the same interior as my 1960 20 foot Safari/land yacht/overlander.

Even the same sink and shower colors. Only difference is where the burners are on the stove.
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Old 03-01-2021, 09:37 PM   #9
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1961 24' Tradewind
NOVI , MI
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 11
Spring is coming!

We had some great weather this past weekend and were able to get some work done! I do recognize there are pieces of asbestos tiles in these photos that are broken. We are aware of the risks and plan to remove them this week. I purchased two screen frame kits from Home Depot based on a suggestion from a friend to replace the missing screens/frames on the front and back large emergency windows.

Slats - In regards to the Tow Vehicle we are planning to drive it with a Dodge Durango. We leased the V6 with the Tow package for this year but we will primarily use that for camping in our pop-up this year. Next year we will likely turn it in for the V8 with the tow package and possibly purchase that one.

Dan and David – I agree on the 50 amp service. I like to keep it really simple and later down the line I also see stronger batteries.

Ben – Thank you for the on-going moral support, especially as we were both removing our fridges this week. I agree on the recent post commending you on your stellar fathering skills.

We pulled out the Gaucho cushions to prep them for reupholstering them and update the foam. We originally planned to wash and keep the fabric since we thought it was original but we found remnants under them of what looks like the actual original fabric. If anyone has their original fabric from 1961 and it matches the piece under the pink/yellow/blue fabric please let us know since we are curious what it looked like. It makes more sense now that the fabric may not have been original since it reminds me more of one of my favorite shows growing up ‘The Golden Girls’ versus ‘Bewitched’. It could be though that during assembly they started with one fabric and switched; however, we found remnants in two different places. The foam was deteriorating into a powder in some areas. I found a site with cheap foam that someone posted on the Facebook Airstream Restoration site and I have a 6 inch gently used queen memory foam mattress could leverage with some hand cutting. I refuse to pay 1000 -2000 for cushions/foam especially since I know how to sew. I measured the original gaucho and the specifications are similar to a California King at its widest point of 84 inches but the first cushion quickly falls to 80 in length similar to a standard king/queen. We are debating whether we are going to create separate cushions or create more of a daybed. In the long term we might change the configuration based on our needs. We removed the matching fabric bumpers along side the twin beds because there was a musty smell coming from them and they were wet. We had a huge snow storm recently and we believe there is a leak coming from the vents. We resealed the exterior with Trempro and updated the window gaskets prior to the winter; however, I did not tackle the rusted vents since I planned to replace them. I already purchased gaskets and new aluminum vent caps. We noticed that the Hehr square roove vents also seem to not be closing as well as we thought so they might also be a source of the leak. We are going to try to fix them in the upcoming weeks or determine whether to replace with new fans.

We removed the original fridge, a Dometic M50a. I had every intention to get it fixed and put it back in. I spoke to National RV Refrigeration about switching it from propane to an AC/DC compressor. The cost would have been about 1200 give or take and taken a year since there are a few fridges ahead of mine. As my Uncle and Dad were taking it out we decided it was best for us to replace it. We did keep the face and door to potentially turn into a cabinet door OR donate to someone else. We were able to donate the klixon valve, dial, and shelves to another family with a 1961 Trade Wind. I will be sending them to them this week. We pulled the stove top but kept the oven for now. I kept the stove grates and knobs (three burner stove) that I will post on Facebook for free in case anyone needs backups for their original stove (this is a three burner from an Ohio built trailer). We do not plan to use propane so we are debating on keeping the oven in as a shelf area to hold our microwave. If we remove it then all coral will be gone from the kitchen so it will affect future design. There is a small 3.2 cu (a bit small) Frigidaire retro style AC only fridge that matches the coral stove. I still would like an older looking fridge and since they are in style so there are many to choose from but none of them I have seen are made for RVs. I am still in contact with an individual that works for Norcold and may try to purchase a steeply discounted 39-42 inch fridge that I could try to match to the original door and use some creativity to make it work. The two door taller Norcold compressor fridges are also calling my name so I try to use all of those years of art classes to make one look more retro too.

I am sure many others have experienced this as well but I feel guilt with any item I remove from the camper. I am going to minimize it as much as possible. I believe most of the original appliances and plumbing did not work which is why the owner was selling it with little or no information. I suspect the water heater may need to be replaced too but hoping that is not the case (fingers crossed).

We removed the original water tank and pump. At first I wondered if we should try to keep them for now even though we are planning to drop the belly pan this year and do not want to have to do it again in the future. As my dad cut it out we found that that it was damaged and would have leaked. That thankfully removed any guilt we had on updating the plumbing. There was water damage on that bunk which we needed to remove a section of to remove the tank so we are looking at lowering it a couple inches and placing the bunkbed on that side when we rebuild it. My dad was a plumber from age 15 in the old country to 40 years old (he is in his early 70s now). He has deep experience with copper; however, he has not worked with PEX. We purchased our fresh water tank from Jazz Sales based on a tip from a friend (thank you Slats!). The other tanks we looked at had reviews that the connectors were 3/8s vs. the standard ½ inch. We removed the furnace as well. We now have a gaping hole in our AS. We are not sure if we want to polish the trailer yet so we are in need of a piece of galvanized 2024 alclad aluminum to close it (~16 in. by 16 in.). Thank you Touring Dan for your great advice in regards to AC units and expanding our camping spots to think outside of State Parks only. We have had a lot of great discussions due to that advice in the family regarding installing a mini split or a window unit.
I finally understand now why people own more than on Airstream. I saw one locally on Facebook Marketplace. There was a 1972 Tradewind in the area for 7,000 with an almost perfect shell. The owner unfortunately had an accident so he could not finish working on it and needed to sell it. I told the owner I am a reluctant buyer since I am already working on my trailer but I could not help but consider visiting it. I was scared I would leave owning two trailers. I am still trying to help my parents understand my love for these trailers. A couple years ago my parents purchased and flipped three pop-up campers. They pulled a couple items they liked from the campers to create one perfect camper for us to use as a family. My parents jokingly told me to buy this Airstream to keep the Zip Dee awning and resell it. We would not have actually done that with this type of camper. I did not even get a chance to visit it because luckily for the owner it was purchased by someone out of state before our meeting the next day. If the person that bought it is reading this then congratulations on the beautiful camper! AND if anyone has a lead on a decent priced 14ish foot awning let me know or even good suggestions on which route to go for an awning. This is also a more in the future project even though my family LOVES awnings. 😉

This week we have another warm day and luckily our electrician is back from wintering Florida. We are hoping he can come out and start reviewing the electrical to determine next steps. We know we need to add some AC and DC wiring. Overall I do want to keep things simple in the trailer with some upgrades. I commend everyone that buys a new Airstream for learning all there is to know. From reading posts on the Facebook Airstream groups I feel like I would be overwhelmed with everything they build into the new campers. I normally do not even keep a TV in ours and only use shore electrical for basics.

I have 6 weeks left now before I return to work and even less time left before my dad starts his golf season (I hate to take a person away from their passion to focus on mine). I hope the snow/rain stops soon so we can drop the pan and fix the frame.

This is likely a really dumb question that I think I know the answer to: Is it possible to weld in new pieces of steel to the back area of the frame without replacing the subfloor above it. I will epoxy the entire floor and have not found soft areas but there is the massive hole in the pan under the bathroom. I know there is a chance our above floor fiberglass tank could have a hole or leak or we could have a broken toilet so the bathroom might be coming apart soon anyway making it easier to replace that one section of floor.



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Old 03-01-2021, 09:39 PM   #10
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1961 24' Tradewind
NOVI , MI
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goin camping View Post
Your trailer has exactly the same interior as my 1960 20 foot Safari/land yacht/overlander.

Even the same sink and shower colors. Only difference is where the burners are on the stove.
I really do love the original colors and look of this trailer. From the sound of it yours is beautiful!
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Old 03-02-2021, 07:42 PM   #11
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
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Yes, you can make frame repairs from under the trailer without removing the subfloor. I repaired my rusty Overlander rear cross member that way, and we did major repairs on my friends 76 Sovereign 31' under the trailer. It isn't fun, but a good mobile welder with leathers on can do it. We had a fire extinguisher close by and we were watching for smoke. Burning the trailer up is a real possibility. We purchased angle iron, some channels, and some flat stock.

We leveled the trailer frame rails to a level concrete surface in my shop, analized and got steel to do the repairs and strengthening we wanted to do, and then called the welder.

David
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Old 03-02-2021, 08:16 PM   #12
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1960 22' Safari
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oceana24 View Post
I really do love the original colors and look of this trailer. From the sound of it yours is beautiful!
Both our trailers are but I must confess. I could not warm up to the original orange curtains.
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Old 03-03-2021, 06:35 AM   #13
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1966 24' Tradewind
1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
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Ann

Looks like you had a productive weekend working on your Airstream.

I suspect some vintage Airstream owner in your area has a piece of exterior shell aluminum available to replace the piece where the furnace was located. I had to do this when I installed a new furnace in our Tradewind. As an alternative you can order some from AirParts Inc. (Chris Whitney 913-831-1780). It will show up at your front door in a few days.

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Old 03-03-2021, 07:37 PM   #14
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
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Vintage Airstreams have aluminum patches here and there as we upgrade appliances that actually work and much more convenient. Who wants to light the fridge, the water heater and the furnace pilot lights on a cold, rainy night. Patches on vintage Airstreams are rather like surgery scars on old grandpas.

60s Airstream bodies were builts with aircraft aluminum 2024-T3 at .032 thick. I've use AirParts in Kansas City several times with good success. Warning, aircraft aluminum is expensive.

Use tri-fold "Olympic" style 5/32 dia rivets to attach the patch. This style rivet looks better and patches are usually more cosmetic than load bearing.

David
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