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Old 09-05-2020, 06:47 PM   #1
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1986 34' Limited
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1966 Trade Wind Renovation Documentation

Hello all: My first vintage Airstream was a 1966 Trade Wind. I did not run a "project thread" at the time because I didn't know about them. I thought it would be beneficial to others if I did a belated summary of my activities. Someone might be going down the same road and find this useful.

I purchased the trailer in September 2013 shortly after I retired. I needed something to do. The previous owner was using the trailer some, but not much. I towed it home and began figuring out what I bought. Surprises abound.

Here are photos of the exterior of the trailer "as found". It had a good body on her. No significant dents.

David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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Old 09-05-2020, 07:03 PM   #2
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Interior Photos As Found

Here are some shots of the interior as found. This trailer did not have the new bath design. It was the old "sink over the tub" and "window seat hidden toilet" configuration. The trailer had a wardrobe and medicine cabinet in the bathroom. There was also a wardrobe in the galley, but I suppose for coats and hats and the like. My trailer is not the upmarket "International" trim, it is the base "Land Yacht" model. Nonetheless, the cabinetry was in pretty good shape. So was the tile flooring. It is a twin bed floor layout which was fine with me. The gaucho made into a sleeping surface as usual. Sleeps 4 the literature says. It doesn't say "comfortably".

The previous owner had removed the fridge, water heater and furnace. He told me he didn't trust gas appliances due to CO positioning and fire potential. Okay, I knew I had some major expenses to get the Trade Wind "self contained" again.

David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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Link to our 1976 Renovation Project:
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Old 09-05-2020, 10:51 PM   #3
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David- I am glad you are doing this. The photos show that your Tradewind was in original condition, except for removal of the fridge, water heater and furnace.
Your interior looks identical to mine except that yours had twin beds and mine has the gaucho and cabinets in the bedroom area.

Dan
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Old 09-06-2020, 07:37 PM   #4
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More As Found

Corning curved glass frameless windows are the trademarks of 66 through 68 Airstream trailers, all models. They created a smooth exterior look, they reduced weight, and they often leak. My window frames had silicone slobbered all over them to try to stop the leaking. There are no drip caps over these windows which I think is a major reason they leaked.

They had these silly crank out openers where you had to crank both sides to get the window to open somewhat level. And be careful if the glass was sticking to the seal. People have been known to break these widows as the glass is pretty thin.

Another feature of 60s Airstreams is the "one stop utilities location" in the rear bumper compartment. The fuse panel, the univolt, the battery, the low point drains, the black tank dump valve, the city water connection, the shore power cord were all jammed in there. I guess the idea was to be efficient, one stop shopping so to speak. My renovation will change the location of many of these utilities to a more conventional layout.

David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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Link to our 1976 Renovation Project:
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Old 09-07-2020, 06:37 AM   #5
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Thanks Dan: Maybe it's fun to see photos of these old Trade Winds as they were. The cabinetry in my trailer held up pretty well. It is just laminated plywood, but thicker than the 75 Overlander. And it was real wood, not a core with plastic veneers laminated to it. But my 75 cabinets seemed better than the 76 Sovereign I worked on, which seemed better than the 79 Ambassador I considered buying.

I just want to document the work I did to this 66 Trade Wind here on AirForums. Someone someday may find it useful or interesting.

David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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Old 09-07-2020, 07:49 AM   #6
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Where can I find 66 tradewind photos??
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Old 09-07-2020, 09:53 AM   #7
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Hi X-tine: Welcome to these Airstream Forums and welcome to the vintage Airstream hobby. I see you have a 66 Trade Wind. I thoroughly enjoyed mine, but sold it so I could start another project. It's a disease these old vintage trailers.

Here is a good resource for browsing photos of 66 Trade Winds and other vintage trailers. And I will be posting photos of mine as I go through all the major steps of my Trade Wind project. Maybe we can learn from each other.

Post a photo of your trailer when you get a chance.

David

http://vintageairstream.com/photo-archives/
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Old 09-08-2020, 06:44 AM   #8
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David, I have the same trailer with original interior. Almost identical to yours. I am very interested to see what you done and learn some tips.
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Old 09-08-2020, 02:13 PM   #9
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Hi X-tine: Your interest is why I'm doing this documentation thread. I figure what little I learned may be useful to others. I learned a lot from TouringDan's Trade Wind thread, same with Slats and Atomic 13. Find their threads and learn even more.

I like Racine and have been there several times visiting the Case tractor factory. I wonder if it is still going. I bet it is. I lived in Minnesota for almost 30 years, used to snowmobile in Eagle River, I worked in Eau Claire a bit and have family in the Milwaukee area. Minnesota is similar to Wisconsin except you folks magnificent white pines, have a much stronger manufacturing economic base and have Road America at Elkhart Lake.

I was able to rent heated shop space when doing my Trade Wind those two Minnesota winters. I have heated shop space here in Conifer too. It's a dead time of the year for Airstream work outdoors. Needed something to do in retirement.

Here is a couple of photos of my Trade Wind completion just for fun. Maybe like telling the ending of a movie in advance. Hope I didn't spoil anything for anyone.

David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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Old 09-08-2020, 02:42 PM   #10
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The Analysis: What Needs Fixed

I've always been an advocate of doing a through cleaning of a new to you vintage trailer you just towed home. Even though you inspected pretty good before you bought it, there is still a lot to learn before you can develop a project plan. I don't think getting the saws all out and gutting the interior is the best approach.

I got this Trade Wind home and then spent several afternoons cleaning every surface from ceiling to floor, from front to back. I tried every light, fan, appliance, faucet and valve. Here are some of the things I learned from this exercise.

Some window openers are stuck, won't crank out
Window gaskets are toast and windows leak rain water
Front roof vent won't open all the way and fan doesn't run
Spare tire carrier is rusty
Tires are too old and cracked
Toilet valve is stuck
120v breaker box has screw in fuses, not circuit breakers
Bulkhead walls are loose and missing rivets.
Old copper plumbing has leaks, has been patched
The water pump was low on pressure and flow.
Black tank pan is falling out of the rear of the trailer
Black tank dump valve leaks
Axles have low starting angle, seem hard
Rear subfloor is rotted
Bath tub had crack in it
Foam mattresses stink of mildew
Bargman entry door lockset is sticky
Old tile floor covering is cracked and coming up in places
The reading light over the bed was hanging by the wires


I was impressed with the vinyl laminate to the interior aluminum and overhead lockers. It cleaned up well and looks good. Can't say that about a mid 70s trailer. The old Univolt converter was still working ok, and so was the 120v electrical system.

Knowing and thinking about all these needs lead me to believe I had to get the trailer on jack stands, drop the axles, and figure out that toilet and black tank. I did not like the bath layout in the trailer. I understood bathtubs and room for dressing sold Airstreams, but the toilet wasn't working and that plastic sink over the bathtub wasn't my favorite.

Tearing down a trailer is easy. Putting it back together takes much longer.

David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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Old 09-09-2020, 10:37 AM   #11
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Project Starts - Black Tank

I wonder if the 66 model year was the first with the vinyl laminate over the interior skins and overhead cabinets. There was no zolatone paint in my trailer.

I knew I could put my fist through the holes in the subfloor just inside the rear cargo door. I don't know where the leak might have been coming from, but there are lots of possibilities. Marker lights, rear window, tail lights, cargo door, bumper compartment aluminum sheet under the body, or a plumbing leak inside.

I rented some heated shop space for the winter. Expensive at $400 a month, but worth it to me. I put the trailer up on jack stands about 20" off the floor and started looking around.

I saw where someone bolted a pipe under the black tank pan to hold it up. I saw where the galvanized pan was rusted away. And I saw where I could drop the belly aluminum pretty easily. So why not get started.

I did so, and also removed a few rusty fasteners and dropped the rusty pan. But the black tank would not budge. Turns out the toilet flange holds up the black tank also. I'm going to have to remove the toilet to get the tank out. I did see a lot of floor rot around the toilet flange.

The toilet is hidden in a fiberglass console between the tub and medicine cabinet. It had a padded seat over the toilet so you had a place to sit to put your socks on. Airstream had a seat in their bathrooms for years.

I had to remove the console to gain access to the toilet. I found the flange rusted tight to the tank and would not budge. The downpipe from the toilet was a metal pipe screwed into a metal flange. All of it rusted tight.

Saws All time.

I finally got the toilet out and the tank down, although I ruined it. I was shocked at how small the black tank was. 15 gallons I read, but the tank was only about 3" high due to the upward slope of the rear of the trailer. There was barely enough room for a 3" dump valve connection.

I found a bad toilet, a bad toilet flange, a bad subfloor, a bad black tank, a bad dump valve, and a leaky copper pipe to the toilet. This is called the "slippery slope" of Airstream renovations. One things leads to many more.

David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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Old 09-10-2020, 06:47 PM   #12
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Axles Down

I need to drop the two axles to take the rest of the belly pan down so I can rake out the old smelly fiberglass insulation and examine the frame and rest of the subfloor.

Supporting these unbalanced axles is hard working alone. I removed the brake drums, bearings and shoe assemblies to reduce the weight of the axles. That helped me quite a bit.

You can see from the photos that these axles are shot. The starting angle is almost zero reducing ride height. I need new axles for my Trade Wind.

Then I unbolted the shock absorbers. They are vertical shocks on the 66 Airstream. I;ll fit new ones.

I unbolted the axles holding them up with two floor jacks. Down they came.

I measured them up and recorded the results so I would know what to order when I was ready to. Colin Hyde got my order and delivered new axles about 6 weeks later.

David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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Link to our 1976 Renovation Project:
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Old 09-12-2020, 07:19 PM   #13
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The Belly of the Beast

With the axles out of the way, I could drill out the rest of the belly rivets and drop the old, corroded belly pan, and old stinky insulation, right in my face. Such fun.

I was then able to thoroughly inspect the frame from front to rear. I was lucky as this old frame had plenty of surface rust, but was still sound. I figured I did not need any frame repairs.

I did spend plenty of time on my back wire brushing the frame members in preparation for painting.

I often wonder if the steel, or the paint used in the 60s was somehow better than what was used in the 70s. The trailers built in the 70s are notorious for frame rust problems.

David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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Link to our 1976 Renovation Project:
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Old 09-13-2020, 07:35 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post

I often wonder if the steel, or the paint used in the 60s was somehow better than what was used in the 70s. The trailers built in the 70s are notorious for frame rust problems.

David
Hey David 👋

It has been my experience that 60s trailers have better lasting frames too. There are those that will tell you it was Beatrice Foods' fault

Great thread! I look forward to the rest of the story.
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Old 09-13-2020, 06:47 PM   #15
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Hi Lance: Well, my story isn't much different than many, many before me.

Beatrice gets blamed for a lot of 70s Airstream woes, and I do think they were out of their expertise with Airstream ownership. But the markets were changing drastically in the 70s due to the war winding down, the oil embargos, and emission standards for cars and trucks that just sucked power out of them. The economy wasn't in the greatest of shape either with high inflation. I remember how much I admired the 1967 Corvette 427 and how I wasn't with the 1975 Corvette 350 with its 185 hp. I think Airstream was responding with lightweight and low cost trailers the best they could. The results weren't the greatest in all cases.

My 66 Trade Wind had exterior skins that wrapped around the outriggers clear to the frame rails, except in the front and rear end caps. My 75 exterior skins stop at the subfloor c channel and a separate wrap covers the bottom. This creates another joint. We all have complained how Airstream did the exterior side skins first, and then laid the wrap on top of them. It's like putting siding on upside down. Just doesn't seem the best.

Anyway, things got better in the 80s for Airstream.

David

David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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Old 09-18-2020, 07:13 PM   #16
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Frame Inspect Clean & Paint

With the axles off, the belly pan down and the old stinky insulation all raked out I was down to metal and plywood.

The first thing I did was carefully inspect the frame for rust weakened members, cracks and bends. My old Trade Wind frame was in pretty good shape. I found nothing I needed repaired or replaced.

The second thing was to thoroughly wire brush off all possible surface rust on each frame member. A tedious job at best. But I cleaned it up the best I could working on my back.

Finally I purchased POR 15, or "paint over rust" material that has an excellent reputation. It should, it is spendy. Applying this paint is tricky at best. There are several important considerations including a three step process with degreaser, and a reactant agent, and then the actual paint. The temp and humidity are important. Time between steps is important. I found the paint to be a thin as water, and very messy to apply with a brush. I should have used a garden sprayer as some had suggested. Anyway, I got the job done and my overalls and face shield will never be the same again.

I also painted the A frame and rear bumper. But this takes a different type of POR paint, designed for UV exposure.

The Trade Wind frame will be rust protected for a long time.

David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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Link to our 1976 Renovation Project:
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Old 09-19-2020, 01:00 AM   #17
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Hi David, you are doing a great job archiving your experience of when you renovated your ‘66 Tradewind. Over the past 5 years on airforums we’ve all been guided and encouraged by you. Thank you for that and this new contribution to our digital (and occasionally in-person) community. I’m enjoying reading this thread very much.
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Old 09-19-2020, 06:42 PM   #18
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Thank you Atomic 13: I wasn't doing renovation project threads back in 2013 thus I didn't do it for my Trade Wind. I do find them interesting and fun, both to follow along and to read when you need to know about the trailer. There are several on these mid sixties Trade Wind project threads that are very good, including yours. I'm not at your knowledge or skill level, but I figure some other folks might take a look at this tread and say "geez, that looks quite doable."

Here in my neighborhood we have many neighbors who use old downhill skis as house number holders, driveway markers and the like. My beagle and I see one that says Atomic 6 on the skis. Hummm

David
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Old 09-21-2020, 07:22 PM   #19
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Bath Out

Removing the belly pan and tank pan revealed significant rot in the rear subfloor, especially around the toilet. Maybe it was leaking. Anyway, no good and the subfloor has to be repaired.

To gain access to the subfloor, I decided to remove the fiberglass and plastic bath parts as well as the medicine and wardrobe cabinets. I also had to remove the rear battery tray and fuse panel.

I spent considerable time removing the bath as not to break parts. It was fun to see how Airstream put the thing together, which I think they did outside the trailer and then carried major pieces into the trailer and attach them.

I didn't like the little black tank and thought it inadequate. I knew I needed a grey tank for wash water. The old copper plumbing had seen better days, there were a couple of repairs made to it. And that old toilet was quite a contraption. I bet it weighed 40 pounds. It had a ceramic bowl, and the oddest flush mechanism I had ever seen. My flush mechanism was stuck tight.

With the bath out and black tank out, I could now better understand how to repair the subfloor.

David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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https://www.airforums.com/forums/f221...ct-202081.html
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Old 09-21-2020, 07:52 PM   #20
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Reading this brings back some memories of a '66 Tradewind I worked on back in '12-'13.
I kinda like the old hidden toilet design.
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