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Old 01-10-2021, 09:44 AM   #1
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1964 17' Bambi II
1961 24' Tradewind
Strasburg , Pennsylvania
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Ben & Lynn's '61 TradeWind Reno: Adventure Awaits!

Greetings,


Lynn and I had been silently and separately contemplating a bigger Airstream for some time. Our current '64 Bambi II, at 17', is a sweet little trailer, no doubt. It is almost finished after a ten year renovation and has taken us on some epic trips. Our little girls are not so little anymore (Emma is nearly into double-digits) and seeking their own space and some privacy.


So, the search was kind of on, though it was not really all that secret. I always look at Airstreams. Nothing wrong with that, right?


I made an offer on a '64 TW in Virginia. For what it was, it was way-overpriced. The seller never responded. Oh well. They made thousands of these things. Soon I found a '61 TW on FB Marketplace, and the dealing began. The price was right (starting at $2K less than I had offered for the '64 with a better interior and fairly complete in terms of interior hardware, etc.), I just needed to convince the owner I was the right one to take it on.


Long story short (and I will have several follow-up posts...we brought the trailer home before Thanksgiving...it's now January 10), we bought the trailer, enjoyed quite an adventure on the rescue trip home from above Syracuse, NY to Lancaster, PA, got the paperwork in order for the PA DOT after a month of effort (we actually waited to start our thread on this trailer until the registration and title came through...as we actually wanted to own it and not just think we did before sharing anything), and have been taking the interior apart to expose the real projects ever since.


More to come...but here is a glimpse of the 1961 TradeWind project as it appeared in the seller's ad, as we brought it home, and as the girls were helping to clean it out on day 2.



Our theme for this trailer renovation: "Adventure Awaits."
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Old 01-10-2021, 09:57 AM   #2
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61 TradeWind Reno

Very nice! Looking forward to following this thread.
Looks like you have some great helpers.
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Old 01-10-2021, 10:09 AM   #3
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1966 22' Safari
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Congratulations. Looks to be in really good shape. Having patience in searching for a vintage trailer is key. That should be a perfect size for your growing family. Not saying your family is growing in number, but size. For the tweens, I often thought about designing/fabricating a small tent that looked like an Airstream that could be set up next to the trailer for the tweens to have a little privacy. Id probably get into trouble for design infringement. Keep us updated on your progress. Take care and stay safe.
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Old 01-10-2021, 10:28 AM   #4
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Looking forward to following your progress.
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Old 01-10-2021, 11:08 AM   #5
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1964 17' Bambi II
1961 24' Tradewind
Strasburg , Pennsylvania
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Bathroom valves, tanks, etc.

One of my first orders of business was to get the bathroom dismantled so I could get the black tank and tub out. These early fixtures (tanks had only been offered for a few years by 1961) are very archaic. I wanted to get them removed so I could assess their condition and possibly take them to my fiberglass guy over Winter.


Looking back on the last month, I should have started removing the interior from the front back, but I really wanted to get at the fiberglass.


I finally got the tank loose and was able to study its venting system up through the bedroom closet. I have read that in '60, the toilet was vented...not the tank...so this vent tube must have been an improvement/modification from the year before.


I knew the about the infamous brass Thetford black tank valve from working on my '64. I was able to adapt to a modern Valterra valve and use my original black tank in the Bambi.


A few interesting things about the '61 valve. Every attachment screw was rusted solid and most of the heads gone. I ended up grinding the screw heads off (or what was left of them) and removing the valve assembly. Next, with the help of liberal applications of PB Blaster and vice grips, I was able to remove what was left of three of the screws. The fourth was a no-go. I ended up trying a screw extractor, and the reverse action of the drill actually drilled a hole where the screw resided, but did not remove the threads. Saving the day and the project, I was able to drill and tap for a 5/16" screw in place of the original 1/4".


AND...the outlet hole for this tank/valve only measures about 2" across. On the '64, this hole is 3" across. I am wondering if the 2" hole will work out OK, or if I will have clogging issues? I am betting by '64 they made it a 3" hole for a reason. Note the pic of the aluminum adapter plate I had made but did not use for the '64 on top of the '61 valve.



Any ideas on this? I have already figured out how to adapt to the Valterra gear, and my plan is actually to adapt to 3" ABS pipe (with a vertical 45 right off the tank) to move the valve to the street side of the trailer where most dump stations and waste hookups at campsites are anyway. Adding the pipe across the trailer and ahead of the valve will also give me a bit more capacity in the "tank."
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Old 01-10-2021, 01:55 PM   #6
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Congrats Tradewinds are one of the favorite models. That's where we stared also and may end back up. And helpers in all sizes. Lots more memories to make. Will you do bunks, or twins.
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Old 01-10-2021, 04:29 PM   #7
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1964 17' Bambi II
1961 24' Tradewind
Strasburg , Pennsylvania
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hittenstiehl View Post
Congrats Tradewinds are one of the favorite models. That's where we stared also and may end back up. And helpers in all sizes. Lots more memories to make. Will you do bunks, or twins.

Thank you! We feel blessed to own it. The real work lies ahead, but we've been through it before and we have the little Bambi to use until (and after) it is ready.


What drew me to this trailer in the first place were the pictures of the wall of closets and the dresser on the curbside. Such great storage and they were all in good shape. My original idea was to keep the layout the same, refresh the closets/cabinets, and add a single bunk above the double bed...thereby making room for a guest if needed.


But...we did bunks in the Bambi and the girls want more headroom. So, I think the new plan is to create twins on either side of of the (wider-than-double) aisle, but make them taller than normal. This would allow more room for storage underneath. I may delete the overhead lockers, or make them shorter to allow more headroom. I am thinking of making these beds so that the mattresses are at the bottom of the windows.


The picture is of the girls in the Bambi with their bunks.
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Old 01-10-2021, 04:50 PM   #8
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One side bunks sound fun. Give them each their cubby to have. And keeping the great storage wall. We started with a double also but dislike making up a bed each day.

If we would just get a 70's it's wider and thereby allowing enough room for a full-time bed and some skinny storage.

But alas we seem to have a thing for the 60's models.
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Old 01-10-2021, 05:22 PM   #9
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1964 17' Bambi II
1961 24' Tradewind
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hittenstiehl View Post
One side bunks sound fun. Give them each their cubby to have. And keeping the great storage wall. We started with a double also but dislike making up a bed each day.

If we would just get a 70's it's wider and thereby allowing enough room for a full-time bed and some skinny storage.

But alas we seem to have a thing for the 60's models.

No, we are putting a twin bed on each side of the aisle, not bunks. And I am putting the storage wall in literal storage until the girls are grown and Lynn and I might want to change it back to a dedicated double. We certainly dislike making the gaucho bed up front every night!


As for '70s models, I grew up in a 31' 1972 Sovereign Twin. It was a great trailer (less the rear end separation) and we wore out several tow vehicles before it wore out. I did a lot of repairs to that trailer and dad's later '85 in the driveway, thereby cutting my teeth for future Airstream ownership myself. Alas, we, too, are stuck in the '60s. I even went older with this one.
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Old 01-10-2021, 05:27 PM   #10
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1964 17' Bambi II
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A fair "trade?"

When I dragged the TradeWind home, we already had three campers on the property: a 1961 13' Serro Scotty, a 1962 Corvair camper van, and the 1964 Airstream Bambi II. Something had to go...


I told Lynn I was going to put the Scotty up for sale for the same price we paid for the TradeWind. I figured if we could get it (the trailer was done, pretty, solid, camp-ready, but very basic in its accoutrements), it would make buying the TradeWind kind of a wash...and in the TradeWind we'd end up with A LOT more trailer.


Well, the Serro Scotty sold within a month...for what we paid for the TradeWind.


A fair "trade," I would say.
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Old 01-10-2021, 06:49 PM   #11
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I would suggest adding a tank sprayer and a macerator pump.

I added a sprayer, along with a hand hole and a tank vent. If you're going to be doing fiberglass repair you may as well go all-in.
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Old 01-10-2021, 06:59 PM   #12
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I kept the 2" outlet pipe, directly from the tank outlet to a tee. From the tee to a macerator pump, and the other end to an emergency drain in case the macerator pump gets jammed up.
This arrangement has worked great for the last 12 years.

First picture is dry fit, second picture is as installed.
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Old 01-10-2021, 07:10 PM   #13
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1966 17' Caravel
Pine Plains , NY
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Congratulations on your new purchase!!! It looks like a real beauty. I will look forward to following along and watching the girls learn to wield a power tool or two!
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Old 01-10-2021, 07:50 PM   #14
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Hello from Colorado. I'm a Trade Wind fan also having a 66 model year that I renovated. It was a twin bed layout. It had the Corning curved glass windows which were cool, but rather fragile. After finishing it I needed another project and found a 75 Overlander 27'. It is also a twin bed model and I've made it into a comfortable, travel ready Airstream.

Sounds like you know what you are getting into. I'll follow along and cheer you as you make progress. One bit at a time. And it certainly takes time.

Here are photos of my old 66 Trade Wind. I thought you might be interested.
I'm always interested in vintage Trade Winds.

David
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Old 01-11-2021, 10:49 AM   #15
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Nice collection! and congratulations on your new aquisition. Love seeing your family all involved and committed to your new adventure. We have so many good memories of rving with our kids. I look forward to following your reno.
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Old 01-11-2021, 11:41 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
Hello from Colorado. I'm a Trade Wind fan also having a 66 model year that I renovated. It was a twin bed layout.
Sounds like you know what you are getting into. I'll follow along and cheer you as you make progress. One bit at a time. And it certainly takes time.
David
Hi David! I guess I am going back to my roots. My personal Airstream adventures started in a '66 TradeWind Double: the first of three Airstreams for mom and dad. It was replaced by a '72 Sovereign, and finally an '85 Excella.

I see your twin beds have different width bulkhead walls separating them from the bathroom. I would have thought (and plan to build mine out) that the two walls would be symmetrical/the same width with a wider center aisle.

Regardless, thank you for sharing these pictures. It is always nice to know we are not alone in these adventures. TradeWinds are cool!
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Old 01-11-2021, 11:44 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Camper Crazy View Post
Nice collection! and congratulations on your new aquisition. Love seeing your family all involved and committed to your new adventure. We have so many good memories of rving with our kids. I look forward to following your reno.
CC
We are thrilled at the girls' interest in this trailer! I built the Bambi pretty much single-handedly as we got it just before our older girl was born...

During that complete rebuild of a vintage Airstream, we also had our two children and I completed a doctorate degree! I told my wife there were two things I would never do again: 1) restore an Airstream; and 2) complete another doctorate.

Well, I lied. Airstream #2 is in the driveway; but I am not doing another degree!

Happy to have the extra help and encouragement this time from my little campers!
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Old 01-11-2021, 02:34 PM   #18
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This thread is one of the most fun, uplifting I have read in quite some time. To me this is one of the great things about these Forums. I know that I don't have the patience, skill or tools for a renovation but...it sure is fun for me to be able to watch others do it. I'm continuously amazed at the quality, ingenuity and creativeness that goes into these projects. And the memories you are creating for your family will be passed down by your girls as they were to you by your parents. So much fun!!


Thank you so much for sharing this with us!


Mike
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Old 01-11-2021, 06:05 PM   #19
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Great find. I look forward to following along with your adventures.
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Old 01-11-2021, 07:07 PM   #20
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1964 17' Bambi II
1961 24' Tradewind
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpbiagi View Post
This thread is one of the most fun, uplifting I have read in quite some time. To me this is one of the great things about these Forums. I know that I don't have the patience, skill or tools for a renovation but...it sure is fun for me to be able to watch others do it. I'm continuously amazed at the quality, ingenuity and creativeness that goes into these projects. And the memories you are creating for your family will be passed down by your girls as they were to you by your parents. So much fun!!


Thank you so much for sharing this with us!


Mike

Thanks! I am glad you think this will be a fun adventure. We sure think so!


Found these memories of the girls helping with the Bambi...inspecting the overall job site, thinking about vacuuming, cleaning the interior skins, making sure the bunks were coming together just so, seeing the view from the door. I guess they were involved in that renovation after all!
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