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Old 06-07-2020, 12:44 AM   #1
Jochen & Christina
1965 24' Tradewind
Longmont , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 35
just bought a 1965 Tradewind - how do I determine if I need new plumbing?

Hi guys, forgive the obvious green-ness in my question. We finally just bought our first Airstream, a 1965 Tradewind. The owner did not have water hooked up. We didn't see any signs of leaking or water damage near or under the potential wet areas tanks, sinks, toilet, shower, etc. In addition, the seller pressurized the system with air to see if we'd find a leak anywhere and it seemed ok (which may or may not be a reliable way to test this). The connections and pipes in the back all seemed tight and intact... so my questions is, how do I test this more accurately? And assuming it checks out okay, can I just leave it as is or is a replacement mandatory/advisable?

Thanks for the help! Jochen
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Old 06-11-2020, 04:29 PM   #2
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1956 22' Safari
2015 27' Flying Cloud
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Conifer/Evergreen , Colorado
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Originally Posted by JochenML View Post
how do I test this more accurately? And assuming it checks out okay, can I just leave it as is or is a replacement mandatory/advisable?

Thanks for the help! Jochen
Twenty years ago, when we got our first trailer, we were afraid to try anything without supervision and there was no AirForums then! So, we towed our trailer "as-is" to our first rally and asked "the old-timers" the very same question. They said:

"Hook it up to a'll find out real quick if you have leaks!" (we did!). So we turned the hose off. No big deal...then we had a great time in our "hard tent" for the weekend with fellow Airstreamers. When we got home, we set about fixing the leaks.

Guess we're one of "the old-timers" now...if it's not broke, don't fix it.

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Old 06-11-2020, 04:48 PM   #3
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1966 22' Safari
Hilltop Lakes , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,767
Pressurizing the water lines with air should be a good way to find leaks, if you take your time and listen for any hissing sound. Next step is water, with the shutoff valve really close or someone at the shutoff ready to turn it off if you yell.

My "ready to camp" purchase turned out to have badly split water lines in several places and stretched copper pipe everywhere. The PO had obviously let it freeze. Replacing all the water lines with PEX was an interesting project, but fairly easy to do. Airstream put all the water lines above the floor in out vintage trailers, so it's easy to get to.

If you do have to replace water lines, draw a plan of the old system before you take it out. Planning was the worst part of the project.
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Old 06-11-2020, 07:08 PM   #4
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
1969 21' Globetrotter
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Hi and welcome to the vintage Airstream hobby. I particularly like the mid sixties Trade Winds as I had a 66 for a number of years. It was my first vintage trailer. It was a big project for me. Here is a photo of my old friend.

Airstream plumbed in copper back then as everyone else did. Copper is safe and reliable, except if you don't clear all the water out before the first hard freeze. Then copper will swell with ice and split. Many Airstreamers repair this with a hose and two clamps. I've seen it many times.

Plumbing is bigger than pipes. It is really delivering fresh water to the fixtures and then routing "used" water to the storage tanks.

My 66 had a broken toilet, faucets that were clogged with lime, no grey water tank, a bad fresh water pump, and a cracked fiberglass bathtub. Plumbing involves a lot of components.

I like to recommend you "detail" the inside of your trailer cleaning every surface. As you clean, tryout every component including lights, fans, pump, faucets, water heater, furnace, et all. Make a list of what you find that doesn't work or may be suspect. You will learn alot about the trailer and have fun doing it. Then you can start developing a plan commensurate with your intended use of this 65 Trade Wind.

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