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Old 03-13-2019, 10:57 PM   #1
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The Walkers' Arctic Renovation: 1967 Tradewind

Hello Forums!

I've been lurking in the shadows for about a year now, and have been learning so much about this amazing obsession, er, I mean, hobby. So first and foremost, thank you for your unknowing help.

Last May, my wife and I discovered, and then acquired a 1967, 24ft Tradewind in Cantwell, Alaska. After finding a friend to help us tow it back, we brought it, now named Otis, back to North Pole, Alaska. And yes, there is a Santa Clause house and the light poles are shaped like candy canes.

I started our full-monte shell-off reno last year, and and now that Spring is finally here I've decided to share my progress with you all! I plan to use the next couple of weeks to catch up on documenting the last year of work.

A couple key lessons I have learned so far, to share with others in my situation who may stumble upon this thread:

1. Interior Alaska is not the best place to do a full-monte reno of a vintage Airstream. Summer is too short, winter is too long, Amazon Prime isn't two days, and many places won't ship (and if they do its not cheap!).

2. Spend a ton of time reading up on other peoples experiences, especially as you approach major events in your renovation process. Why do I say this? So you don't make mistakes that are a pain to fix later. I may have made a few that I'm kicking myself for now (I'll share these in my next post).

3. Having a vehicle that can tow your project around before your start it is advisable. We don't, and we are both trying to figure out what vehicle to get and at the mercy of others until we get a different vehicle.

Ok, I think thats more than enough for now. Looking forward to sharing this journey with you all!

Dan and Octavia
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Old 03-14-2019, 01:09 AM   #2
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That is Impressive! What did you install for insulation in the walls and floor?
Also, surely you don't use this in the Alaskan winter - or do you have a truly mondo heating system with all water lines, including drains, heated?
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Old 03-14-2019, 01:32 AM   #3
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1967 24' Tradewind
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DryFly, wish I could take credit, but that is Otis as we drove it away. It currently has no insulation, plumbing, walls, heat, etc... This is what it looks like at the moment:

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Old 03-14-2019, 06:05 PM   #4
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Shell Removal

When we first acquired Otis, we really didn't know the adventure we were about to embark upon. We knew right away the hot water heater and refrigerator needed to be replaced. The electrical was also not... safe. Finally, we discovered some rear end floor rot and all the fun that comes with. At first I was only going to replace the rear floor under the bath. So that meant taking everything out.

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Then I started taking off the belly pan and removing all that 60 year-old insulation.

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That exposed the state of the frame, which wasn't too bad except for in the rear. I still didn't think I needed to take the shell off, and only planned on replacing the rear floor.

I think we had some rainy days which gave me the chance to do some more research or something, because at some point I decided to go for it. Build Gantries, shell off, replace the whole floor, go crazy. This is a learning experience, right?

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A couple things I wish I had done better during this phase:
1. Build the gantries wider. I cheated out and tried to make them as narrow as I could, and that was a mistake. It made for pulling the frame out from under the shell, and then putting it back, much harder.
2. I used several ratchet-straps to lift the frame from the shell. This worked alright, but I definitely wish I had used something a little less make-shift to make it easier.

Next Up, frame and floor upgrade!
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Old 03-14-2019, 08:06 PM   #5
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Dan -


Well, now you've gone and done it. Welcome to the aluminum asylum, where the inmates landed after thinking that emotion can successfully mate, without consequences, with reason. But it is not a bad place to be. The other inmates are genuinely friendly and helpful. There is a surprisingly comforting lack of the usual internet snark here, although there are some strongly held and voiced opinions about such world-shattering choices as batteries, tow vehicles, tires, polishing, not polishing, staying true to period (or not), disc or drum brakes, toilets (to compost or not, that is the question), etc. But then you already know all of that, if you have been lurking for a while.


It will be fun following along with you and your project. I'll try to gently chime in if I see a train coming down the tracks that you might not, but other than that, my comments will be as positive and encouraging as possible. As a prolific asker of dumb questions, I can assure you there are none.
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:32 PM   #6
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The Walkers' Arctic Renovation: 1967 Tradewind

Welcome Dan and Octavia. Glad to have you with us. I love the photo of your Tradewind with the evergreens and the snow capped mountains in the background. Is that the location where you are living? If so, good for you.

You sure have done a lot of work in the past year while you have been lurking. Nice looking gantry setup.

Ask any questions you may have. We are all here to learn and will help you any way we can.

We sure are glad to see another Tradewind being renovated to give it another 50 years for the owners to travel with it and enjoy it.
Tradewinds are the best, especially 66-68!

Dan
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Old 03-14-2019, 10:06 PM   #7
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You described it so well, the asylum is a friendly place.
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Old 03-15-2019, 12:57 AM   #8
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Dan, Unfortunately that is not my yard, but the previous owners property when we first picked it up, about a 3 hours drive away. We really love the rear bath, and plan on keeping that part largely the same, just with a little face lift! I

Slats, I first realized I had fully committed to the asylum a couple weeks ago when I found myself thinking of things Iíd do differently on the next Airstream. And I donít even have a towable aluminum tent yet!

I have no doubt we will lean on the community through this project often. Neither of us have used a travel trailer for camping before, let alone own one, so our knowledge of the systems and best camping practices is limited.
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Old 03-15-2019, 01:15 AM   #9
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welcome to the silver nut house! jokes aside, welcome to airstream lover's forum.many great minds here that share thie wisdom with those of us still learning. looking forward to you re-build progress. kurt
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Old 03-15-2019, 07:49 AM   #10
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This is an awesome thread and kudos to you for taking on this project! I look forward to more posts and pictures of your progress. Will you be re-wiring the Airstream? Yours has the aluminum wiring used back in that era.
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Old 03-15-2019, 10:16 AM   #11
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Excellent thread. Thanks for sharing. Please post more.

73/gus
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Old 03-15-2019, 01:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by centennialman View Post
This is an awesome thread and kudos to you for taking on this project! I look forward to more posts and pictures of your progress. Will you be re-wiring the Airstream? Yours has the aluminum wiring used back in that era.


I will definitely be re-wiring. Once I started digging around I wasnít very comfortable with the wiring and plumbing. Iím not an expert on either by any means, but the way the batteries and shore power were wired into the trailer was concerning. I also plan on re-wiring to replace the aluminum with copper, and add additional circuits so itís easier to isolate and trouble-shoot any problems that might arise.

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Unfortunately the plumbing wasnít any better, and was a beautiful arrangement of copper, PEX, and garden hose. That has all been removed and I will replace with PEX. I failed to take any pictures of that work of art, unfortunately.
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Old 03-15-2019, 02:21 PM   #13
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1967 24' Tradewind
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Frame and Floor Repair and Upgrade

After removing the shell and subfloor, I was able to assess the frame. Aside from the cross-members under the rotted rear subfloor, it was in much better shape than I expected. I hired a welder to come out to the house to replace the cross members, and add a small hold-down plate, similar to in the front, to help strengthen the rear end.

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After using an angle grinder and brush cup way more than I ever wanted to, and having a few close calls with it, the frame was ready to be treated and painted with POR-15. Wow that stuff is intense! Went right through the clothes I was wearing and I couldn't manage to get it off my skin for about two weeks after! But, the frame looks great!

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While the frame was being worked on, I was able to use the old subfloor as a template to make the new one. I decided on using 3/4 OSB. I treated the bottom with some leftover deck stain and seal I had laying around. I used Mini-Wax Wood harder around the edges to help seal them. Ideally, I would have used penetrating epoxy, but this being Alaska I wasn't able to find any that wouldn't cost a fortune to ship. I figure the original plywood floor lasted for 50 years, so this should too.

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I did my best to patch up the original wheel wells, which are usable but far from great. Looking back, I wish I spent the extra money and time, and tried to find a fabricator to make new ones. I rushed because I was running out of time before winter, and needed to get the shell back on before the first snow.

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Things I've learned or would do differently during this phase:
1. I wish I had a way to flip the frame over. Working on my back with the angle grinder was hazardous. Painting on my back was just annoying.
2. I wish I paid more attention to the door. The PO had replaced that section of subfloor, and I didn't realize the small cut out for the door frame. Thats one of the things I need to go back and fix.
3. I put no sealant between the frame, wheel wells, and subfloor. Something else I need to go back and fix once the snow melts.
4. I didn't address the rear-end "seal" before I put the shell back on. Right now, the subfloor is exposed. Thankfully I haven't re-riveted anything yet, So I should be able to lift the shell enough to slide a piece of aluminum (see below for a snapshot I took from another thread) to help make the seal.

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Old 03-15-2019, 02:30 PM   #14
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Just writing this so I get future updates on this inspiring project.
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Old 03-15-2019, 05:46 PM   #15
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1967 24' Tradewind
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Winter Projects: Bathroom Facelift

While we love the layout of the '67 rear bath, we weren't enthralled with the color.

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We want to go with a lighter, more open feel as we rebuild, and decided to repaint the bath white. For the Tub and rear end cap, I used the brush-on Rustoleum Tub and Tile 2-part epoxy. While not perfect, I am pretty happy with the results on the tub. I am not sure it was the best choice for the end cap, but we shall see when everything comes back together.

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I used Homax Tough as Tile on the sink because I ran out of the Rustoleum and couldn't source it locally. It did not turn out well. Looks like reptile skin now, but is usable. I am not sure if I am going to try to sand it down and try again, leave it as is, or make a new counter and sink.

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For the other plastic components, I used BIN Primer. So far, I am pleased with how that covered and looks. We may end up adding some color, which is why I went with a primer to start.

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I also used the BIN primer on the interior skins when I took them off. After scrubbing and cleaning them, I just painted right over the vinyl. So far I've had no issues. It doesn't crack or peel when the skins flex, and both plastic components and skins have faired well through the -50 degree lows we've had this winter.
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Old 03-15-2019, 07:12 PM   #16
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Looking good, it just takes time and perseverance.
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Old 03-16-2019, 05:51 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dwwalker18 View Post
1. I wish I had a way to flip the frame over. Working on my back with the angle grinder was hazardous. Painting on my back was just annoying.
2. I wish I paid more attention to the door. The PO had replaced that section of subfloor, and I didn't realize the small cut out for the door frame. Thats one of the things I need to go back and fix.
I understand both issues completely. We had our frame sandblasted because I thought the sand would get into the nooks and crannies better, but the cost... The POR is surely difficult from underneath! I was fortunate to be on a concrete floor with a creeper, but the paint gets everywhere. Gloves helped--some.

Why can't our previous owners have figured out what the rotted floor looked like? What a pain to try to cut the plywood with a chisel and other devices once the shell was back on!

You've started a great thread.
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Old 03-17-2019, 11:45 AM   #18
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Looking forward to following your progress. Good job on all of the pics so far.
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Old 03-17-2019, 01:37 PM   #19
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Winter Project: Window Screens and Screen Door

All, thank you for your encouragement!

Another one of the projects for this winter was refinishing the window screens and screen door. This was a very easy project that provided great results. The hardest part was the prep, but after some scraping, brushing, and sanding they were ready to go!

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I primed them with self-etching primer, then painted with Rustoleum Enamel. The finish is softer than I would have hoped, but does look much better than before.

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Finally, I used aluminum screen to finish the job.

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Old 03-24-2019, 01:28 PM   #20
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Over the winter I also gave the old range hood some love. It had some rust damage from water seeping in, the fan motor didnít work, and it just needed a little face lift.

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Got nearly all the rust off, and decided to prime with Rustoleum Rust Reformer. I also found a new fan motor and blade. I had to make some modifications to the mount to accommodate the new motor, and then increase the shaft diameter for the fan blade. I wasnít able to find the right combination of motor and fan with the right blade and shaft diameter.

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I decided I wanted to add some lights directly to the Range hood. I had two extra LED lights that I wasnít using for the recessed lighting throughout the trailer, so in they went! Add a new switch after repainting, and another small project out of the way before summer!

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