I have decided to start this thread about the improvements and repairs I am making in my 66 Tradewind. The reason I am starting this thread is so I have all the documentation in one location about the work I am doing on my trailer. The improvements and repairs I have made thus far are scattered about in different threads and I can not easily locate the information about what I have documented.
I am quite fond of my 66 TW and want to provide the history about it since I purchased it in July, 2009. I already had an 84 31' Excella 500 that I bought about 12 years ago, but it was really too large to haul to a lot of the places that I like to camp- bluegrass festivals and some of the Forest Service campgrounds where a trailer less than 25 ft works a lot better. Anyhow I had decided that I would like to have a smaller trailer in addition to the 31' Excella. My wife wanted me to sell the Excella, but I just could not since it was a really different trailer from the Tradewind (you all understand that). I was driving back from Roanoke to Lynchburg, and I glanced over at an RV dealership to see if they had anything interesting. I spotted a cool looking vintage airstream in the back row behind all the other SOB trailers. It was really in great shape and I figured that nobody would be selling it and that it was probably just being stored there. To my surprise when I asked if it was for sale, the salesperson said yes, and that it was owned by one of their employees. I looked over the outside of the trailer and it was really love at first sight. I liked the size of the Tradewind (24'), the dual axles, the way it was polished and the tinted windows, even the sob wheels and tail lights. It just really had style. When the owner showed me the inside, I was hooked- just look at all that real wood. The owner told me that he had some medical issues and had just too many trailers and he wanted to sell off two of them. He told me the price and it was more than reasonable, so I committed to buying it right then and there. Notice that I did not wait and discuss it with my wife- that story will have to wait.
Anyhow I was thrilled to get this trailer. I did not even know what a Tradewind was at the time, but I quickly researched it and could see that this trailer had a great floor plan. The trailer had obviously had pretty good care over its first 43 years, and the PO made some great improvements- new water heater (propane and electric), new wheels and tires, new tail lights, new carpeting, new curtains and soft goods, new awning, new water pump, new electric jack and tinted windows and then he polished it. I felt so lucky that I had stumbled across this gem of an Airstream trailer. I was thrilled to take ownership of it.
After I bought it I felt like the trailer really needed nothing. However after I started camping in it, I realized that it did need some improvements and some repairs, so I went about completing these items and documenting them in various threads on this forum, but as I said in the beginning they are scattered all over the place.
Here are the repairs and improvements, I have made so far:
1. Replaced the univolt with a Progressive Dynamics 9245 converter and also installed a Voltminder (accurately displays the battery voltage and highly recommended, so that you have some idea of the charge level of your batteries).
2. Replaced one 12v
marine battery with two deep cycle 6v golf cart batteries.
3. Replaced the original fridge, that I could not get to run on propane, with about an 85 vintage fridge that actually had been used very little. It was essentially the same size, so installation was mostly straight forward. It still does not cool real well in 90 degree weather, so some more improvements are planned some time so that it will always be below 40 degrees in the fridge.
4. Replaced the leaking 40 gal water tank with a new 40 gal tank. The biggest problem here was finding the right kind of hose to connect the exterior tank filler nozzle to the tank. I patched the old tank and carry it empty in the back of my truck. I use it to fill my trailer tank when boondocking.
5. Repaired the oven so it would light and wrote a primer on how to light the oven.
6. Replaced all my ceiling lighting (20 1157? bulbs) with 10 LED bulbs for about $40. Works great. With this improvement and my two golf cart batteries, I can easily go 4 days without charging my batteries. In fact I may be able to go up to 7 days, I just have not boondocked more than 4 days yet.
7. Replaced all my copper plumbing lines with Pex.
8. Replaced all my 120v receptacles and 12v
ceiling light rotary switches.
9. Installed a 22" Vizio 12v
tv with a 12v power supply to the tv.
10. Removed the original Armstrong roof top unit and installed a 5k unit in a side window (only install in the side window on an as needed basis).
I have lots more improvements planned. I like the idea of improvements the same way Wally referred to them. Don't make changes for the sake of change, but do make improvements to make the trailer better.
Here is my list of planned improvements:
1. Paint the roof white.
2. Install 4 Fantastic fans. Insulate the fan openings to reduce the load on the air conditioning.
3. Replace the 120v panel box.
4. Replace the 12v panel box and fuses.
5. Install new axles with disc brakes.
6. Replace interior curtains.
7. Install an Airhead composting toilet.
8. Replace 4 reading lights with LED reading lights.
9. Replace bathroom sink and shower faucets.
10. Refinish bathroom sink.
11. Refinish kitchen sink, fridge panel and oven door.
12. Install two more batteries.
13. Install a 1,500 watt inverter.
14. Install solar panels.
15. Install Direct Link brake controller.
16. Install new recessed water supply connection.
17. Install new recessed 30 amp power cord connection.
18. Install new cork floor.
19. Design/install a 12v pump to transfer gray water from the trailer tank to a tank in the bed of the truck.