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Old 06-07-2020, 01:46 AM   #1
Jochen & Christina
 
1965 24' Tradewind
Longmont , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 22
towing my new to me 1965 Tradewind home with unknown brake status - any tips?

Hi, I just got my first trailer after many years looking. Last time it was driven the brakes and axle were supposedly in working order, and it has new wheels and tires on it with good tread.



The trailer is a 1965 Tradewind 24 footer. The tow vehicle is a 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, I'm picking it up next Friday or Saturday.



It just occurred to me that I really don't know what shape the brakes are in and - the plot thickens - I live in Colorado and am picking it up in the mountains, a solid 1500 ft above my own elevation of 5280 ft. I can think of many ways this could go wrong and not many ways to mitigate it.



I'd love any pointers or suggestions on how to determine if the brakes are ok, or tow it safely. Thanks so much!
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Old 06-07-2020, 04:36 AM   #2
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1968 24' Tradewind
1968 26' Overlander
Kansas City , Kansas
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 399
Is your tow vehicle equipped with an electric brake controller? If not, I’d install one for sure if your are descending a lot of elevation. I’m uncertain how far you have to travel.

Before plugging the 7 conductor wire into your tow vehicle, clean it up and apply some dielectric grease to ensure you have a good connection.

At this point, I’d jack up one side of the trailer and spin the tire listening for issues with the bearings. At that time have another person apply the brakes and you may hear a clunk when the electro magnet is energized and adheres to hub like it should. You should not be able to rotate the wheel at this point. Have them let off the brakes and free the wheel, and then brake again. Repeat this process on the other side of the trailer. If this checks out, I’d also suggest manually energizing the brakes while coasting at 20 mph or so a few times using the brake controller as you are driving off. You should feel the trailer slow you down.

In addition, here are some items I brought along on my last two recovery missions and the check list I used. One of these involved a multi state trip so some of this may be overkill for your situation.

Pack list

- Floor jack or 20 ton bottle jack
- Penetrating oil and 24” breaker bar for stubborn lug nuts
- Cordless impact driver with sockets
- Stabilizers are typically 3/4”
- Lug nuts are typically 13/16”
- Spare tire (15” steel rim, six bolts on 5.5” center, tire 225/75/15)
- Road flares (LED) or triangles
- Flashlight
- Gloves
- Tarp
- Card board to lay/kneel on
- Rope
- Air compressor
- Tire pressure gauge
- Short ladder for roof inspection
- Pliers
- Digital multimeter
- Wire cutter, crimper, butt connectors, extra 12 AWG wire
- Electrical contact cleaner and dielectric grease for 7 way plug
- Adjustable wrenches
- Ice pick or small screwdriver
- Knife
- 2” ball and receiver (anti sway/weight distribution hitch if needed)
- Extra safety chains
- Pad lock to secure coupler
- Temporary tow lights
- Aluminum and blue tape (tape window and accessory doors to exterior skin to prevent loosing them enroute)
- Small 12v batter for trailer brakes
- Trailer brake controller
- Tools and supplies to inspect, repack or replace hub bearings
- Tire chalks
- Jack stand if trailer is single axle
- Hubcap removal tool
- Flat blade screwdriver
- Needle nose pliers
- Paper towel roll
- Large adjustable wrench (2.5” capacity) or adjustable pliers
- Small metal pan
- Large brake cleaning spray can
- Hammer with nail pulling claws to remove real seal
- Replacement inner and outer bearings, races, real seal
- Red RTV high temp sealant if seal has outer metal surface
- #2 red synthetic grease tub
- Rubber gloves (one box)
- Trash bag
- 5” long wood 2x4 block
- Rubber mallet
- Torque wrench
- Cash
- Pen
- Broom, dust pan
- Rags and trash bags

Exterior inspection

- Where possible inspect frame (intact, does rear frame separate from shell when weighted? Does front lower skin oil can/buckle when attached to hitch?)
- Coupler (may need to lubricate to use lock)
- Exterior skin damage?
- Belly pan intact and secured?
- Propane lines and tanks (aluminum LP tanks available?), turn off tanks
- Windows (cracked?, glass or lexan?, at risk for falling out? regardless tape all windows to skin until they’ve been removed and remounted)
- Exterior hatch doors (tape all doors to prevent them from falling off)
- Entry door handle functional? Keys work? Dead bolt installed? (prevents door opening in route)
- Use ladder to inspect roof and ensure vents are secured
- Inspect axles, hubs/bearings, tire tread and sidewalls, tire pressure, and brakes
- Connect 7 conductor wire and check exterior lights

Interior inspection

- Window latches and screens
- Use ice pick to probe floor around perimeter for floor rot (open cabinets, if possible pull back carpet or laminate flooring, rear bathrooms and floor perimeter under windows or vents are most common rot areas)
- Test interior electrical (lights, test battery and replace with small trailer battery if necessary for break away switch power)
- Cabinetry (all in working order, original plastic tubs included?, consider taping doors if concerned they’ll open en route
- Test interior appliances (heater, AC, water heater, cook top, oven)
- Test plumbing (turn on water pump, run faucets and shower, flush toilet, inspect water lines for leaks) - may consider skipping if below freezing, drain tanks and lines if full of water
- All bathroom components intact?
- Soft goods (cushions, mattresses, blinds, etc)
- Ask about accessories (awnings, extra parts, etc)

Wrap up

- Tie door knob to handle to prevent it flying open en route
- Attach temporary license plate
- Obtain keys for main door and access hatchets
- Obtain and sign title
- Hitch up (inspect coupler, safety chains, and break away cable)
- Exchange payment
- After driving 50 or so miles pull over and check hubs for excessive heat, inspect things that could fall off, check lights
- Continue to periodically pull over and inspect hubs, etc
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Old 06-07-2020, 06:00 AM   #3
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1966 22' Safari
1955 22' Flying Cloud
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Where are you going to pick it up? How far away? Even Estes has several options from Longmont. Boy was I nervous the first time to Estes from Longmont. Brian has a good list. I would rather have something and not need it than, you know. Good luck
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Old 06-07-2020, 09:18 AM   #4
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1968 24' Tradewind
1968 26' Overlander
Kansas City , Kansas
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I've been up and down the roads between Estes and Longmont many times with a truck and also with bicycle, but not with an airstream in tow... Definitely a climb/descent. It would be a really tough climb with a bicycle plus an airstream.

Note that I omitted an important check point in my prior post (it was evidently too early to write). When you have the tires off the ground. You are not only listening for clunking and grinding but also feeling for excessive play. You'll likely hear some minor brake pad noise but you'll want to see if the axle bearings are excessively worn. Do so by placing your hands at the 9 and 3 o'clock positions on the tire and rock the wheel back and forth. You should feels a bit of play but not too much. Do the same at the 12 and 6 o'clock positions. I suggest watching YouTube to get a feel for what's normal and what's excessive.

Lastly, I wrote "real" bearing/seal (twice, no less) and assume you understand that I meant rear, not real. I would strongly suggest using "real" not fake bearings.
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Old 06-07-2020, 10:04 AM   #5
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Great advice. Best to be safe than of course.......sorry.
Best of Luck!!
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Old 06-07-2020, 11:41 AM   #6
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
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Great advice so far.

Because you and the trailer are both in Colorado, have you considered hiring a vehicle hauler, who could use a low-boy trailer, or put wheels under yours?

The up-front cost may be higher, but the safety and ease factors are definitely worth factoring in IMO.

Good luck.
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Old 06-11-2020, 02:00 PM   #7
Jochen & Christina
 
1965 24' Tradewind
Longmont , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 22
So... we didn't rent a hauler but the consensus is that my tow vehicle is inadequate. So now we are in the market for a truck! (Suggestions, anyone?). I'll tow it home with a rented 3/4 ton truck and all the preparations and safety gear suggested above. I'll let you know how it went - assuming I am alive to tell the tale!
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Old 06-11-2020, 04:16 PM   #8
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Thanks for the update . . . happy trails!

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Old 06-12-2020, 11:27 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JochenML View Post
So... we didn't rent a hauler but the consensus is that my tow vehicle is inadequate. So now we are in the market for a truck! (Suggestions, anyone?). I'll tow it home with a rented 3/4 ton truck and all the preparations and safety gear suggested above. I'll let you know how it went - assuming I am alive to tell the tale!
I Think you need to pay Atomic13 to bring his truck and assist. The guy must HAVE all the stuff he lists that you need.
Seriously go slow.and be safe.
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Old 06-12-2020, 02:16 PM   #10
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1968 24' Tradewind
1968 26' Overlander
Kansas City , Kansas
Join Date: May 2015
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If I lived nearby I would have been delighted to assist. As mentioned above, the items listed may be overkill for this specific rescue. That call is reserved for the individual towing the trailer. Since my trailer was parked in a field for decades, I regrettably used most of these tools on my trip across 1/3 of the US.

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Some go easier than others. I was fortunate to be prepared for the worst. Looking forward to hearing about a less eventful rescue from the OP.
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Old 06-12-2020, 02:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomic_13 View Post
If I lived nearby I would have been delighted to assist. As mentioned above, the items listed may be overkill for this specific rescue. That call is reserved for the individual towing the trailer. Since my trailer was parked in a field for decades, I regrettably used most of these tools on my trip across 1/3 of the US.

Some go easier than others. I was fortunate to be prepared for the worst. Looking forward to hearing about a less eventful rescue from the OP.
You must have been one heck of a great Boy Scout. You make NASA look sloppy.

Cheers,
John
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Old 06-13-2020, 11:17 PM   #12
Jochen & Christina
 
1965 24' Tradewind
Longmont , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 22
We made it! The trailer hooked up fine, lights, brakes, axle all performed beautifully. Tires got a little warm at higher speeds (65-70 mph) but after adding pressure evenly across all four we had no more issues.



I'll post more and add pictures later. And yes, I brought all the tools and blessedly didn't need any except for the contact spray, some WD40, and the brake cleaner spray.



Thanks for everybody's support and input!
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Old 06-14-2020, 01:45 AM   #13
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
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Great . . . well done!

Thanks for the update . . . looking forward to photos and reports on your progress.

Happy Trails!

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Old 06-14-2020, 03:57 AM   #14
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1968 24' Tradewind
1968 26' Overlander
Kansas City , Kansas
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towing my new to me 1965 Tradewind home with unknown brake status - any tips?

That’s great news! That part is stressful. I’m really glad your recovery wasn’t exceedingly complicated. As you certainly know, descending with a 50+ year old trailer in the Colorado Rockies can be quite dangerous, particularly if something goes wrong with the trailer chassis.

I learned a lot about the importance of truck/trailer inspection and safety while earning my CDL license. Therefore, I fully support the “go slow and be safe” suggestion. In my mind the latter requires being prepared and a willingness to get the trailer road worthy. This was particularly important in your recovery location.

Now you can relax and enjoy working on your renovation or restoration. If you haven’t already, start a new thread in the forum section for your model year. There are several of us with similar trailers that are at various stages. It really helps to get feedback, consider suggestions, and receive encouragement on occasion. Mine pretty much needed a complete overhaul. While that delayed my time until use, I also learned and refined several skills, including welding a new frame, replacing exterior skin panels, installing solar and lithium batteries, etc. I’ve enjoyed it immensely.

My first suggestion is take some time getting to know your “new to you” trailer. If you can, camp in it before making any changes. This will allow you to really explore how it’s currently designed. Make note of where light and heavy items are located in the trailer. This impacts trailer tongue weight and towing stability.

I’m assuming that the interior is still intact. If so, take lots of pictures of it, especially if you need to dismantle and reassemble anything. Label all parts using masking tape and a sharpie. Also, save as much as you can, even the seemingly trivial stuff. Later, you’ll be glad you did. For example, I tossed every screw I removed in a can. Before I began my renovation I sorted them roughly into six bins by diameter and length. There have been countless times I saved money, time, and a trip to the hardware store when I needed a particular screw. Another example is the various trim pieces, wall brackets (F channel), etc. Many of these are quite helpful and are no longer made.

Lastly, save anything that can be used as a template. For example, the curved walls (called bulkheads). It’s helpful to have these to transfer to new plywood of the walls need replacement. Alternatively, a lucky few can simply refinish this “old growth” lumber which makes the new stuff look boring. Of course, this can all be done by scratch, it’s just more difficult.

Depending on what needs done, this can be a long and at times arduous process. Maintaining the mindset that working on the trailer is as much fun as camping in it helps. It sure did for me.

Keep up the good work.

Brian
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Old 06-14-2020, 05:59 AM   #15
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Glad to see all went well. Now the fun begins. Take care
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