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Old 07-12-2022, 07:34 PM   #1
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1975 25' Tradewind
Buffalo , New York
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1975 Tradewind - Project "Jody"

I will try to keep the initial thread post short (fat chance, I know I'm a bit verbose). I've had the rig for a few weeks, and have peeled back some layers and started some planning and small fixes. I will make other comments on this post over the next couple weeks to show some progress, and ask some questions!

I say Project "Jody", because I am not committed to the name quite yet. In any event, I am a proud new owner of a 1975 Tradewind, with curbside full bed and rear bath. Given the "current market", I think I paid a fair-ish price. As I poke and prod and explore, I feel a little less so. BUT-- zero regrets. I've wanted this forever, and it's time, and I have no delusions that a ~50-year-old trailer *doesn't* need a lot of work... I relish the opportunity to learn electrical, plumbing, mechanical (axles, brakes), etc. skills throughout this renovation.

I have a friend with a 1975 Sovereign that has been my "mentor" on this endeavor; he's also restored a mid-70's 26 ft Argosy. Between his experiences there, and the similarities between our 1975 models, I count myself lucky to have is help and interest in my project. I also have a lot of skill in my family; carpenter father, industrial welder brother-in-law, and a brother that's a little of both. All of them are wizards in the (car) garage, too. But, they will all be a great support system throughout this project, along with my partner. They have all been so helpful this far already!

Anyway, I luckily have a covered barn to work in, as well as a heated garage, should I need more protection from the elements in the winter to keep trudging along. My goal is to have the thing "livable" to move to my seasonal camper site at a campground 25 miles from my family property where the AS is now. There, I can pick away at less critical projects on weekend getaways to one of my favorite places.

I will post some pics in some comments!

Hoping I can both learn from this community, as well as contribute some useful knowledge! I will try to create child threads in relevant subthreads, but will post those here for cross-reference.
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Old 07-12-2022, 07:46 PM   #2
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1966 22' Safari
1955 22' Flying Cloud
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Glad you started a renovation thread so we can follow along. Sounds like you have plenty of available help and they’re craftsmen to boot. Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 07-12-2022, 08:37 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubba L View Post
Glad you started a renovation thread so we can follow along. Sounds like you have plenty of available help and they’re craftsmen to boot. Good luck and keep us posted.
I do intend to keep it mostly stock, so I like to think of it a "restoration", but I don't mean to be pedantic. I am fine with replacing infrastructure with modern equivalents. But I want to have it appear as 1975 stock when you walk in. Behind closed doors, I don't mind a modern AC/DC electrical panel, new furnace, etc. The only visible exception will be the ceiling "runway" (center panel). I am replacing the old lights and passive vents with MaxxAir fans. The old AC had a nest from something in it, and was removed the first weekend.

PS- This is the project's namesake...
Jody - Tatsuro Yamashita (Cover) https://youtu.be/OIgQn0wgZH0
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Old 07-12-2022, 09:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mousouchop View Post
I do intend to keep it mostly stock, so I like to think of it a "restoration", but I don't mean to be pedantic. I am fine with replacing infrastructure with modern equivalents. But I want to have it appear as 1975 stock when you walk in. Behind closed doors, I don't mind a modern AC/DC electrical panel, new furnace, etc. The only visible exception will be the ceiling "runway" (center panel). I am replacing the old lights and passive vents with MaxxAir fans. The old AC had a nest from something in it, and was removed the first weekend.

PS- This is the project's namesake...
Jody - Tatsuro Yamashita (Cover) https://youtu.be/OIgQn0wgZH0
That’s what we did on the 55. For the most part, the interior is close to identical to the original. But we converted the old fridge to a compressor cooling system, all LEDs (even the Humphrey gas light was converted to 12vdc). So, I think it’s a great thing to retain the originality.
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Old 07-13-2022, 08:36 AM   #5
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Old 07-13-2022, 07:17 PM   #6
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Cool project!
Looking forward to seeing some pictures
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Old 07-13-2022, 07:38 PM   #7
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Pick-Up Day

When I let said AS friend know that I took the deal, he didn't hesitate to offer to help tow it for me (generous enough as is, let alone with current gas prices!). This was great, as I've never towed (and own an SUV...), nor moved a nearly 50-year-old trailer before. He knew all the stuff to check before we hit the road.

Well, I have very few pictures of pick-up day, mostly due to the drama... that being, that halfway through the 50 mile haul, we actually lost a tire!! This ended up being due to the "wrong" type of replacement rims being used by the PO; they are flat backed, without the mechanisms to lock onto the axle/brake surface properly (talking a bit out of turn here, but this is the gist).

After an initial search, I could not find the tire, nor could my partner. We were about 40 min from the campground where my friend's Sovereign was; so the plan was for me to stay with the truck/trailer, and for the other two to grab the spare off the Sovereign. They also stopped to get lugs, but Plan B was to remove a lug or two off each wheel on the Sovereign... luckily they found the bolts we needed at a hardware store.

Before the two left there to make for the spare-- I happened upon the tire! A muddy patch in the rut of a ditch was the only "hint" I had... the tire? Well, it ramped off the opposite side of the ditch, and flew 50+ yards into the woods. It miraculously landed atop a log in the woods, which made it easy to spot from the edge of the brush... If it had been bedded in the thicket itself, I never would have seen it, and probably would've given up search. In total I think I spent 2 hours looking.

We got the tire back on and tightened, along with checking and rechecking all others. We had just 25 miles of the trip left, all country roads. We took it very slow and steady, and made it back safely. By the time we had gotten Jody "home", all the bolts had backed off, yet again. Suffice to say, I need to buy proper rims before I haul this thing next spring... PO owned the rig for 5 years and never towed, so he wouldn't have experienced his own error...

I count myself and everyone involved lucky. This could have easily ended in damage to personal property, or harm to individuals and bystanders. I am grateful that no one was hurt. Save for Jody... the tire did make a dent in the wheel well upon exit; added about a foot long 3" flare, reminiscent of bell bottoms, to the upper wheel well, and popped the outer wheel well trim off, gnarling the end.

I have before and after pictures of the dent that I have to rustle up. My partner and I spent a lot of time that afternoon, and were able to get it ~90% resolved. I think some paintless dent repair kit will do the rest of the job, when I get there. As I have time and forgiveness enough, I hammer away at the piece of trim too... Might be able to save it, but probably not. Either way, for $350 (150$ part, plus 200$ freight shipping), I will give it my darnedest to try and salvage.

Suffice to say, the distractions listed above, caused me to fail to snap any pics. But I do have one from the sale listing, and one that we took after hitching up.
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Old 07-13-2022, 09:09 PM   #8
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Congratulations on your “new” TradeWind project .

Plan on the next two years of fun at least unless you work on it 40 hours a week .
Then it will only take xxx depending on budget $$$ .

My TradeWind took 2 1/2 years and it was in reasonable shape for a ‘69 .

Take a look at my build thread for an idea of what you’re in for . Just click the link in my signature .

Have fun with the process and enjoy the build .
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Old 07-15-2022, 06:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenritas View Post
Congratulations on your “new” TradeWind project .

Plan on the next two years of fun at least unless you work on it 40 hours a week .
Then it will only take xxx depending on budget $$$ .

My TradeWind took 2 1/2 years and it was in reasonable shape for a ‘69 .

Take a look at my build thread for an idea of what you’re in for . Just click the link in my signature .

Have fun with the process and enjoy the build .
Thanks for the timeline. I will definitely look at your build.

I do have an idea of what I'm in for... I've watched full resto videos and read several blogs years ago... I am replacing most infrastructure, etc. So, I do expect a lot of work-- though I hope to get it done in around a year... I know so many fall prey to unreasonable goals, and I expect this will get pushed back a bit... but I can dream. I have enjoyed every moment so far, despite being in the "two steps forwards, FIVE steps backwards" phase.

Budget won't slow me... Not that money is no object, but I am drawing from what should have been home downpayment savings. I've been sitting on it for the last couple of years, watching the housing market go NUTS, and that shows no sign of stopping. So, this project is well funded from that, and I should be able to recoup the savings before the market calms down (will it ever? )
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Old 07-15-2022, 06:38 AM   #10
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Peeling Back the Layers...

So, first thing is first. Though my dad has let me stash this in the barn for the duration of my project (though I've been told I only get ONE winter in there... sooo-- guess she better be weather worthy by at least October 2023), I don't want to leave gapping holes open for too long. In fact, every panel and trim piece I pull off to investigate, immediately gets cleco'd back on for safe keeping.

My brother and brother-in-law helped me rip off the OEM AC unit on the weekend I brought her home. Emptied a 5-gallon bucket of insulation from inside the unit; some former furry friend's home. PS- offering that unit for PARTS if anyone is restoring an original Armstrong AC; shroud was shattered and is no more.

In addition, I went through and removed all the silly stickers and crap tint on all the windows. The only ones left are a couple of vista windows, which have them between the panes of glass (and what appears to be a replaced inner pane of plexi-- I don't expect that was stock).

The blue rubber rails were tacked up with self-drilling screws here and there... Someone too lazy to re-rivet after they popped? The blue rubber was dry-rotted anyway (luckily there is replacement stock in a drawer inside). So, out came the rubber and screws to investigate. Everywhere I removed a piece, I cleaned up old rivet heads and shafts from both mating pieces to ensure when I go back through, I can simply run and gun it all in smoothly.

Additionally removing the awnings (not done yet), as they are NOT Zip Dee, and most are non-viable, anyway (dried, crusty, cracked and stained). So, off they come. Zip Dees (when I eventually splurge on them, probably years down the road) would mount to different holes anyway, so better to seal up the old while I go through the outer shell with a fine-toothed comb. One awning IS Zip Dee, and will remain (bedroom curbside window).

Here's some shots of this progress!
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Old 07-16-2022, 07:11 AM   #11
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1975 25' Tradewind
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Roof "Renovation"

Okay-- the one part of this trailer that I am allowing myself to visibly update is the roof vents. This necessitates an update to the lighting fixtures on the center ceiling panel, as the old units were integrated (and quite restrictive of actual air flow). Oh yeah, that antenna had to go, too. Smooth lines only on this AS roof!

When I was going through the initial cleaning up of the rig, I found bees nest encircling the inside of *every* vent... the one in the living room didn't fully close, either, and I think that might be part of the reason for the (assumed) water damage and resulting (bad) patch job to the subfloor. So again, they must go.

De-riveting the roof vents is "easy" in that it is a simple concept, but a b**** in that they are riveted with about 137 rivets each. By the time I got halfway through the second one, I was able to zip through without a pilot hole/dimple. Zip. Zip. Zip. I bought a "trim removal" set at HD, two thin crow bars and a center-punch-type-thing. The thin "crow bars", particularly small 6" one, were pivotal in the removal.

I went back through with an angle grinder, and then sandpaper (320, 800, 1500 and 2000 grit; I used 320 sparingly), and finally Simple green to prep for the fan install. I got sick the weekend I was on this project, so the fans remain only dry fit. Will be sealing them in with butyl and parrbond next week. Tested out the features by running a lead from a 12V outlet I popped open on the bedroom wall.

I got some low profile lights that resemble the "scare light" on the front of the AS, planning on a few in the kitchen and a couple in the bedroom. I also will use "neon rope light" to add ambient/accent lighting above the overheads on both sides. This is a "mock up" using a spare outdoor set I had. The last picture is the new stock I bought for the permanent install-- stuff that is meant for cut-to-size (requires soldering on the pigtail after and filling ends in with silicon). Friends warned me "rope lights don't last"... but these are in an easy install location, and I will use WAGO lever nuts for the last connection and leave it tucked inside the top cabinet corners to allow for easy future repairs. I will add two lights switches in both the bedroom and living room-- one to control the puck lights, and one for the accent lights. The bathroom will get the accent lights, and a switch cleverly hidden in the cavity above the pocket door, which should wash the cream curved ceiling with a pretty glow.
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Old 07-21-2022, 05:29 PM   #12
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1975 25' Tradewind
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Well geez. I thought 70’s era AS had 5/8” floors? I went to double check with calipers, and it was reading closer to .75 than not…. Referencing the service manual, shows 3/4”… I know Fig 2 has “23 & 31 Ft” listed, but 23 appears on both figures, and 25 on neither (typo?). I presume 25 is Fig 2 due to tandem axel. Anyway…. I guess I’m buying 3/4”….
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Old 07-22-2022, 03:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mousouchop View Post
Well geez. I thought 70’s era AS had 5/8” floors? I went to double check with calipers, and it was reading closer to .75 than not…. Referencing the service manual, shows 3/4”… I know Fig 2 has “23 & 31 Ft” listed, but 23 appears on both figures, and 25 on neither (typo?). I presume 25 is Fig 2 due to tandem axel. Anyway…. I guess I’m buying 3/4”….
Out of curiosity…

3/4” Nominal or Actual?

I can get 3/4” Marine AB for $$$, which is actually 3/4” in thickness. All other types (BC Pine, BC Syp, CDX) are like 23/32” or so, but are only $$.

I’m all for going Marine, despite the price. But, does one benefit from being slightly undersized with the other options? (Easier to get back into C channel) Or is it a negative, and lead to more problems than good (general misalignment of everything above subfloor; hold down plate, etc).

Does one epoxy paint the edge and outer 6” of any plywood used?
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Old 07-22-2022, 04:43 PM   #14
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1970 23' Safari
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I'm in the process of replacing my subfloor using 3/4" Marine plywood. The plywood I took out was actual 3/4" but I don't think it was Marine grade. I bought my plywood two years ago and thought it was pricey then. I'm sure it's even worse today.

My Airstream doesn't have a 'C' channel to fit the plywood into. Instead, Airstream used a 'U' channel that sits on top of the plywood all the way around. I don't know how hard it would be to fit Marine grade into the channel. I'm sure others will help with that question.

I used 3 coats of Spar Urethane on all the plywood edges, full top, and 15" in on the bottom.
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Old 07-22-2022, 05:29 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DremStremer View Post
I'm in the process of replacing my subfloor using 3/4" Marine plywood. The plywood I took out was actual 3/4" but I don't think it was Marine grade. I bought my plywood two years ago and thought it was pricey then. I'm sure it's even worse today.

My Airstream doesn't have a 'C' channel to fit the plywood into. Instead, Airstream used a 'U' channel that sits on top of the plywood all the way around. I don't know how hard it would be to fit Marine grade into the channel. I'm sure others will help with that question.

I used 3 coats of Spar Urethane on all the plywood edges, full top, and 15" in on the bottom.
Not sure when Airstream went to 3/4” plywood. In our 55 we had 5/8”. I went back with 3/4” since the true thickness is 23/32”. So not that big of a difference. We purchased exterior plywood and treated it with penetrating epoxy from TotalBoat.
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Old 07-23-2022, 05:24 AM   #16
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Flushing , Michigan
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The original plywood subfloor on my ‘76 Trade Wind was 5/8” thick. For replacement of the entire subfloor I used 3/4” Plytanium DryPly tongue and groove plywood. Once installed and fastened, I then routed the outer perimeter edge all the way around down to “about 5/8” thickness and fitted the C channel into the new plywood edge. Once I had the fit proper, then I painted/coated that freshly routed edge before the final install of the C channel. That resulted in a very slight loss of interior “headroom”, but also gives a much stronger subfloor. That is was worked for me. Good luck with this aspect!
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Old 07-23-2022, 07:52 PM   #17
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1975 25' Tradewind
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It’s Electrifying!!!

Thanks for the comments! Of course I’ve read much about this already… but it helps having a chat in context to my rig here, so I appreciate the repeat advice. heh

I am leaning CDX plywood (as in exterior rated, but not pressure treated). I guess the adhesives are more water resistant type? Then seal the outer foot and edge with TotalBoat epoxy paint or similar. This would be nominal, at 23/32… but might give more wiggle room getting into channel. Plus, didn’t they likely use nominal on 1975? CDX will cost me $200. Marine AB (3/4” actual, no wiggle room) is $600… I’m told this batch is “closer to BC”. I can tell you know, the stock floor ain’t no Marine AB. haha

Anyway— I had success on the electrical front. Going to port over existing circuits, save for original brown 12V. None of the fixtures work in that run at present, coincidence? I will fish a new feed to each and restore brown anew. Will also run 5 new 12V circuits. One 20A each to bedroom, kitchen and living room. This will feed the MaxxAir fan in each area, and the new puck and rope lights. This way, if any one circuit (fuse) blows, then you don’t lose all fans (think animals all alone).

I will run the top two red wired 30A feeds, one to each side of the kitchen. Think new/restored appliances and utilities tying into newly run feeds

Converter is only 45A service at 12V, so obviously not every circuit can be fully loaded simultaneously. But this is a massive improvement.

I’m looking forward to gaining a whole cupboard back in the kitchen, as I abandon the old Control Panel. It’s sensors and features can’t work on this new setup without more work and $$. As it stands, I want a new black tank— modern sensors can be installed in this same closet, a short 2ft run in an open closet.

And yes, I know I need new subfloor (punched out rot and now have gapping hole in back of closet). This electrical can all come out pretty easy. Especially with the lever nuts which are used specifically for this temporary install…

Not done installing the 120V breakers… I did do a battery only, and converter only test, and both predictably powered the 12V system. Also, the negative bus bar is not properly installed. My eyelet terminals got delayed in shipping. So a temporary bar type bus bar is used for very short term; you will note the beret two post bust bar waiting in the wings.
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1975 Tradewind - Project "Jody" (Restoration Thread)
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Old 07-31-2022, 10:01 AM   #18
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1975 25' Tradewind
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Over the hump...

Soo— this is an exciting weekend! I have finally gotten over the “hump” of removal/demo, and am on the brink of adding things back to the camper. That is so encouraging!

My rig had a couple of patches in the kitchen and living room. The “patch” in the kitchen was odd, unlevel and just not right… It was actually the original plywood, cut up and slapped back down. Turns out, the angle bracket running over the fresh water tank (right across the middle of the kitchen) was bowed, which someone probably removed the floor and came to realize (and promptly said “Nope!” to fixing…). I presume this thing went into a winter with a full fresh tank, the tank froze, expanded and bent the bar, among other things. My brother-in-law cut the angle, and I removed the tank from the top to get it out of the way. We have new angle ready to install, but time got away from us this weekend, that will be for next time! I suppose this is the literal "hump" to overcome, in additional to the metaphorical one.

Also, the crossmember to the front of the tank was rusted out… due to the tank failure, again. The plywood box that enclosed the tank was SOAKED. When I finally dropped the access panel (meant for usual removal of the tank), the bottom board was all that was left, and weighed a ton! Into the bonfire it went! This crossmember will be replaced with a piece of 4” C channel.

With the removal of the subfloor, and finally the dropping of the fresh tank access panel, I now have access to all of frame in the front half of a camper! WOW! In the next couple of days, I will wire brush (with angle grinder), sand, prep (degreaser and etcher) and POR15 all sides. The Z channel that makes up the fresh tank access panel mount will need to be rebuilt; my brother-in-law will come to the rescue there, again (both with free materials and free labor, so blessed to have his generosity and resources).

New subfloor will be installed as a full width piece in the front curved section, as this area has a simple U channel, and not the compound channel found in the straight sections. The straight sections will get half-width panels installed. We will weld in a steel center brace so the two half pieces have a sturdy place meet and affix to. I surmise this may feel stiffer/studier than the single piece install would have. I managed to get what was left of the front subfloor around the curved area out in one piece (well, two well sectioned pieces), so I should have a perfect template for that trickier part. I am sure the straight sections are harder to “get right” than I expect, but I have time and patience enough to figure it out.

Another side effect of the bowed floor was that the sidewall of the pantry was pushed up and punched through the bottom of the pantry overhead cabinet. Furthermore, the vent fan over the oven leaked at some point, and rotted out that cabinet bottom over the sink; additionally, with the new electrical system, the Control Center is more or less inoperable, so I wanted to remove this, anyway. I have new 1/4” material, which I will use to rebuild the bottom of both cupboards. The sink overhead will get a solid bottom, to remove the old fan up vent cutout. I will use parts of the old fan vent for color-matched aluminum to patch the hole at the back of the cupboard. I will center the stock kitchen light over the whole counter. This will give me a whole extra cupboard of storage in the kitchen, with new monitoring systems installed either under the sink, or in the bathroom closet.

I am doing about as extensive of a shell-on restoration as I can/is necessary. That being said, looking under the subfloor behind the fresh tank bay shows, BEAUTIFUL, perfect crossmembers. They are gleaming black, looking factory fresh. So, I feel that much more vindicated in my partial approach to subfloor replacement. I will drop the full belly pan throughout the fall to at least review the frame/outriggers, and apply POR15 wherever I can reach. The bathroom requires new subfloor, and will likely get the same treatment as the kitchen area… That’s for next month?
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1975 Tradewind - Project "Jody" (Restoration Thread)
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Old 08-09-2022, 07:43 PM   #19
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1975 25' Tradewind
Buffalo , New York
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 72
The Lipstick is on the Pig

The Lipstick is on the Pig

Well, I had last week off as vacation. It is also a “Vacation Week” at my seasonal campground, so there were plenty of distractions to keep me from the Airstream. My original intention was to get the subfloor installed, but the scope of the required framework means it is easier to leave the frame exposed until my brother-in-law has time to weld. Additionally, without the center braces welded in, I’d have a hard time templating and dry fitting the bulk of it. In the meantime, I did get a few projects done on the rig!

My brother and brother-in-law very kindly went through and cut the old elevator bolts for me, however, in the frenzy, I failed to do anything to re-index the holes, that is, retain the alignment of frame and shell bolting locations. So, Monday’s working time was mostly spent getting this back in alignment and slipping a bolt through the shell and fame to keep it there. I was able to get all but one outrigger fitted to the shell in this manner. The last I will struggle with when I install the new subfloor.

Tuesday I was able to create a template for the front curve from the old plywood. Working with a friend, I think we got a pretty close fit, with some wiggle room… some subfloor progress… I spent some additional time picking out every last screw and bolt that still remained in the C and U channels. I now have a completely unhindered reinstallation of plywood, when I get there.

The last things I could really do to progress where: apply penetrating epoxy to the subflooring that I am leaving, or treat the exposed frame. My father thought it best that I do the POR-15 work, as my brother-in-law could simply grind away areas that require the welding work (and I'd have to touch-up and paint the new metal anyhow). With that, I went ahead and got to work. My partner and I used wire brush discs on angle grinders to do the bulk of the work. Took two hours one evening, and another hour the following morning reviewing tight spots and missed areas. For parts that an angle grinder simply wouldn’t get into, I used a couple of hand wire brushes. Less effective, but they got the super loose stuff off. I did two passes of this over a couple days to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

For the POR application, I did all three steps. Degreaser, rinse, Metal Prep (etcher), rinse, and finally painting. I’d wanted to do three coats, but fell asleep after the second waiting for it to partially cure (we did all the POR-15 work in a single day, so it was late!). I think we got pretty good results nonetheless. The frame *looks* a whole lot better— though I reserve the thought that its likely more cosmetic than not… I am thinking I need to go back with some spray can Rustoleum to get into some of the inner parts of the tube steel that I just couldn’t reach with a paint brush.

Outriggers— I am curious as to when to replace… luckily, the outriggers around the steps are in perfect shape, as are the ones flanking the wheel wells (these are part of the reason I determined the frame to be “good” when I viewed the rig before purchase. Some others towards the front have some holes in the bottom portion, but all have perfect tops (where the subfloor sits), and perfect sides where they are welded to the frame. The ones where the whole bottom “tab” that the belly pans attach to obviously pose problem and must be replaced or remediated in some way. But for those that retain the tab, I wonder when to replace, and when to leave well enough alone… I’ll post pics of some of the worst offenders. Perhaps someone has an opinion on which way to go.

Looking at doing the epoxy work this weekend! With any luck, my brother-in-law will have some free time to weld, but I think that is more likely at the end of the month.
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1975 Tradewind - Project "Jody" (Restoration Thread)
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Old 08-09-2022, 08:21 PM   #20
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 7,833
Images: 1
Well, I stumbled on to your 75 Tradewind project thread. I'm glad I did. I renovated a 75 Overlander 27', which is only 2' longer than your trailer. Otherwise they are very similar in construction and floor layout.

You have made a lot of progress already since your "recovery mission" to bring the trailer to your place. There is a small chance I might be able to help out with this or that as you progress.

Here is a photo of my 75 Overlander. It is now a comfortable and reliable Airstream. I really enjoy traveling with it.

David
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