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Old 02-24-2013, 10:25 AM   #1
Rivet Master
 
1973 25' Tradewind
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Re-Introduction 1973 Tradewind What has happened

1973 Tradewind Owner. Hi to you all, I have been kicking around for a bit but hope I can re-introduce myself as I start a new phase of ownership.

My wife and I purchased a 1973 Airstream 2 years ago, here in the Northwest. A few reflections with a little warning for those who just getting around to buying vintage. Kind a long.

This quote was in my first intro ďthere is an old saying when a person with money meets a person with experience the person with experience is going to get some money and the person with money is going to get some experience.Ē Well, I did do OK but I did get some experience too.

After buying the TW. I ended up building a Trailer Port for it so it would have a nice home out of the weather. The project expanded in scope much like a few soft spots turn into a shell off restoration. Not quite, but there was some similar mission creep.

My tow vehicle at time of purchase was Chevy Express Van. It has 5.3 L V8 with a 3.73 locking differential and a tow package. It has a wheelbase of about 130. Well it appeared to tow the Tradewind ok but my total combined weight came in a couple hundred pounds heavier. So I bought a 1996 F250 7.3 turbo diesel, with less than 90,000 miles in very sweet shape. Much better towing rig, I love it, but I am still a van person.

My evaluation going into buying an Airstream was ďI absolutely do not want to have to do a full frame-up restoration. I donít want to deal with frame problems, aluminum wire and I am not inclined to doing things like axle replacement myself. I would like to have a grey water tank. I am more inclined to change things out as needed and get on the road in a relatively short time. I lean toward 25' or less. I have a concern about getting into the state and national parks out here in the West. I guess to use an expression from real estate I am looking for a trailer with good bones. Let me do the deep cosmetics.Ē

So now, as I reflect back on purchase with above said. How did I do? I paid top dollar, asking price, $8000 after looking 9 months. While we were looking the sellers were getting calls, as we looked at it not good for negotiating position to have a line of people behind you. Could have been a set up, but that is how the market was at the time around here for a nice trailer. Anyway, the good thing, although it had some issue it was ready to camp and we used it for two summers without any must do work. The body was in very good shape. The tires were a few months old. The axels along with the shocks had been replaced. It was clean. The people who owned it were clean. It was a comfortable driving distance from home, about 500 miles round trip and within our normal stomping grounds. It was the first TW in the area I had seen and was one of two floor plans I wanted at the time. I had never towed before and the owner towed it home for me as part of the deal. We are friends still. Along the way I sold them a couple of custom-made nightstands. I gave them a better deal then I got but we all are happy just the same.

Well I took advice of sages around the forum poked with ice pick and screw driver, tested system to some degree, and all the rest, well most of the rest I had learned.

Today I now have the bathroom tore out and the galley area tore out across to the door and side windows.

I didnít know then to lift up shelf above univolt yup bad floor I poked places that were bad patches but solid feeling yup bad floor and so it goes. By the way it is a little hard to poke a strangers trailer with sharp objects.

It is ironic to have a nice interior but have to tear it out so it, no, almost looks like a half gut job. What I didnít get by paying top dollar was cavities of dead rodents and their droppings, soaking wet insulation, and worst of all a rotted out frame.

By the way, the market I was in did not lend itself to getting an inspector to come by unless he was in your pocket. I was searching the Northwest for months and checking Craigís List every few hours, day in and day out. Many times calling in to a seller to be second in line. I also had notes and personal instructions, and a big bottle of pills for aluminitis.

So, in the end I didnít get my awning or a grey tank, but I bought in to owning a nice trailer that is only going to get better over time with my work. By the way, it was the vintage and size, right or wrong, that I choose. That is another subject.

So in a nutshell, if it is a vintage airstream, it will probable be a restoration project of some sort unless someone else has already done it. It has begun for me. I will begin a post on the renovation soon.

Best of luck

Tony Scolaro
Rogue River, Oregon
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:38 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony S View Post
So in a nutshell, if it is a vintage airstream, it will probable be a restoration project of some sort unless someone else has already done it. It has begun for me. I will begin a post on the renovation soon.

Best of luck

Tony Scolaro
Rogue River, Oregon
Tony.One of your photo's suggest's that the rubber rods in the axles, may be history.

The following article will help you to easily check that out.

The Dura-Torque Axle

Andy
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:54 AM   #3
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1978 29' Ambassador
1974 25' Tradewind
1974 27' Overlander
Indiana , Pennsylvania
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Tony I can tell things aren't any different on the East Coast and we face the same decisions and issues with these vintage trailers. I have had experience with 3 different vintage trailers and am looking at an Argosy. It is interesting how they all seem to have similar but different challenges. We have gutted and we have just cleaned them...not all need the shell lifted and the frame welded.

There are some very talented individuals on the Airforums and I enjoy seeing the before and after work performed. I think the reality is that many here are limited by time and money to dive into a major project. For those that have, and we have...there is certainly some satisfaction from our sweat equity. Sadly some really want to enjoy the camping experience only to have their trailer sit in their driveway with the inside torn out. I'm not being critical...that's just what happens. We have been camping for 30 years with our kids...to us that is the real enjoyment.

We have kept interiors original and we have rebuilt from scratch. I don't think anyone would argue this point as it is all a matter of personal preference. It's amazing what new drapes and bedding will do in an Airstream. But everyone I know has done something to make it "their own".

Glad you are back online and look forward to your updates. Without this forum, I probably would never had purchased our first Airstream.

Bob
Indiana, PA
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:47 PM   #4
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1973 25' Tradewind
Beautiful , Oregon
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Andy

The axels were bought in 2003 from you folks. They have been used several times every year since. I hope they last longer than 10 years. You can still see the Yellow freight bar code stickers on them and one is marked Inland 455 or 445 I forgot. The are 3000 lbs capacity

I will read the article.

Thanks

Tony
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:45 AM   #5
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Cool story Tony. Sounds REALLY familiar From your photos, I see you are having fun! Keep it up. Looking forward to the repairs and your documenting them.
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:02 AM   #6
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1973 25' Tradewind
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Thanks Top (or do you go by Lance) I have followed your work and have it book marked, Abby is it not. Along with Minno and so many others who provide clear useful information and inspiration. If I remember correctly you are inspirational at the grill too.

I will admit I have spent a great deal of time looking at your holding tank set.

Tony
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:28 AM   #7
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1973 25' Tradewind
Beautiful , Oregon
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Andy axle pics

Andy

I reread the Dura-Torque article and I got a chance to scoot under trailer and take a few pic.

I think it might of been the angle of pic and shadows. I hope I am ok on the axles. Seem to be pointing in a positive direction

Thanks

Tony
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Tony S View Post
Andy

I reread the Dura-Torque article and I got a chance to scoot under trailer and take a few pic.

I think it might of been the angle of pic and shadows. I hope I am ok on the axles. Seem to be pointing in a positive direction

Thanks

Tony
Tony.

They are OK, big time.

Andy
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Old 02-27-2013, 07:57 AM   #9
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1973 25' Tradewind
Beautiful , Oregon
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Andy, good to get that confirmed from the pro. That is one bullet I thought I had dodged.

Roadrunner, Interesting you brought up keeping original and building from scratch. I made the decision; with my wife to keep original anywhere we could that made sense. I am going to trade out and build a dinette but I will, as of now, integrate the tambours from the gaucho into it. I will style it like the 70's option. If I knew for sure I was going to keep this trailer "forever" I would, as I have said before, redo it in wood. I could get weak and do it, anyway. Pride and wood working is where my skills are.


Tony
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:23 PM   #10
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the tambour under the sink is a challange. I made the top work but covered a couple of doors for the bottom.
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