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Old 08-13-2003, 12:16 PM   #1
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Angry vintage brakes

Help me! Would love to get my '59 Tradewind back on the road, but can't get the 6 volt brakes configured. Last time I had it working, I wired a big variable resistor alongside a 12 volt controller, but that truck is long gone. Can anyone recommend a conversion kit or where to go for 12 volt magnets that I can use to replace the 6 volt magnets? And, would I be reducing the value of this all-original, mint-condition unit if I stuck a new axle and running gear under it? I kind of like keeping it in "as purchased" condition.
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Old 08-13-2003, 12:28 PM   #2
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Just my opinion, I would replace the axle and backing plates. I don't think you will reduce the value at all and you'll have the comfort of knowing your running gear is brand new. For a single axle such as yours you can get the whole thing done for not too much money.
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Old 08-13-2003, 01:12 PM   #3
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Re: vintage brakes

Quote:
Originally posted by markdoane
Help me! Would love to get my '59 Tradewind back on the road, but can't get the 6 volt brakes configured. Last time I had it working, I wired a big variable resistor alongside a 12 volt controller, but that truck is long gone. Can anyone recommend a conversion kit or where to go for 12 volt magnets that I can use to replace the 6 volt magnets? And, would I be reducing the value of this all-original, mint-condition unit if I stuck a new axle and running gear under it? I kind of like keeping it in "as purchased" condition.
First off...you don't need to replace the axle and the fact of the matter is I doubt you will find the right axle. your unit uses conventional springs and not the torsion axle of the later models. The axle is offset to the spindle. I doubt you will be able to find anything but a straight axle that will cause the unit to sit 4-6 inches higher then stock.

You just need backing plates with 12v magnets. That's a standard item and about $70 per side. Then make sure to remove any resistors that were installed for the 6v brakes.
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Old 08-13-2003, 01:53 PM   #4
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Hmmm thats interesting, I've known lots of folks who have replaced their pre 62 leaf spring axles. I've also know several who have upgraded their leaf spring axles to the Henschion (sp) axles. I've also known several who have broken old axles.

I think its best to inspect the axle carefully for rust etc. If there is any doubt, I would replace. In fact even those of you with eariler torsion axles should inspect their spindles - there was an article several years ago in Vintage Advantage (the VAC newsletter) about that.

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Old 08-13-2003, 03:03 PM   #5
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I agree with Ken. I don't think replacing the brakes and/or the axle would adversely effect the value of your Airstream. To the contrary, I would think that most folks would prefer a rig with new running gear. New brakes/axles don't show, and they're safer for everyone.

Split rim wheels are original, but the consensus is that they're unsafe and should be replaced. I think the same can be said of 44 year-old brakes. You can always save the old parts. They might make an interesting exhibit at a rally some day.
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Old 08-13-2003, 05:02 PM   #6
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Smile Vintage brakes

Thanks for all you comments. Very helpful. Be on the road soon.
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Old 08-13-2003, 06:15 PM   #7
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If you really, really want...

to keep your six volt brakes, just wire them in series instead of parallel. I'm assuming here that they are not inherently grounded, and have two leads coming out of the coil.

Your mileage may vary.
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Old 08-13-2003, 11:27 PM   #8
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Thumbs up Vintage brakes

drboyd:
dwhs (DO-OH, w/ head slap)
meaning: why didn't I think of that.
thanks.
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Old 08-14-2003, 06:26 AM   #9
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If you run 6 volt brakes on 12 volts will your stopping distance be cut in half?
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Old 08-14-2003, 08:40 AM   #10
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Great looking trailer - in fact looking for one of those myself. The puller looks good - thats what I call towing in style!

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Old 08-14-2003, 10:22 AM   #11
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Wink

Pick: Actually you're correct, as I found out when I first got the trailer and hooked up a standard 12 volt controller. Which is not a good thing, because the smell of fried rubber just catches up to you that much faster.
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Old 08-14-2003, 12:19 PM   #12
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I dint know that older AS units used split rims. Several people i know have been injured and killed working on them. In what years did they use them.

Bruce
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Old 08-14-2003, 12:27 PM   #13
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I'm not sure what years they were used by Airstream, Bruce, but the VAC website indicates that they were "popular until the early 1960s."

My '63 did not have split rims when I got it, but a prior owner may have already replaced them.

Tom
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Old 08-14-2003, 05:48 PM   #14
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Don't think split rims were used. My '59 still has original wheels, unit was bought new by her uncle and I have every invoice and service record. I think the previous post about split rims was trying to make a general point about using outdated/obsolete equipment.
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Old 08-15-2003, 06:03 AM   #15
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Short story, my son worked at a garage changing tires. One day after he and his go worker moved away from truck they were working on the lugs came off and went through the metal building,accross the road, and hit a concrete buiding on the other side. They used cages from then on always.

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Old 08-15-2003, 07:34 AM   #16
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Hi Mark - always glad to hear of another '59 TradeWind owner out there. My TradeWind had the split rims when I bought it. I had new tires and rims with me when we picked it up. I am surprised that your unit has 6 volt brakes. I've not heard of that and I have seen quite a few '59 Airstreams.

I would really enjoy seeing more photos of your A/S. Is it a CA or OH model? PM me if you care to exchange info and photos. Thanks.

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Old 08-15-2003, 08:57 AM   #17
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Split rims. I am not sure now if the rims on our 59 are original or not. They are not split and they loot just like the above picture. THey are 14.5 inch size so they are coming off as a result. THink I'll put a set of OutlawII rims on it to snaz it up.

The 6v and 12 V is also perpelxing. I just figured that our had been converted but now I don't think so. all the fans are 12v and appear orignal to the unit.

Maybe this was close to when they changed over. Our unit is a Ohio built. I recall FF saying his was California. Maybe callifornia was still using split in 59 and Ohio changed over to the 1 peice. From what I can tell there were a lot of varaition in what the two plants were doing in the late 50's.

http://www.vintageairstream.com/arch...aravanner.html
If you look at the top picture you will notice no rear trunk. If you look towards the bottom you will see one with a truck. THe top one is VERY close to mine other then it's missing the water heater on the street side rear behind the storage door.
I bet that is a OHIO. The one towrds the bottom also has upper marker lights that the top doesn't. Wheel openings are different as well. I bet that's a Cali.


The two factories were deffinatly not on the same page durring that time frame.
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Old 08-15-2003, 09:33 AM   #18
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Reply to 59Toaster: Agree with your analysis, my unit looks like the top set of pics, with no trunk and canted wheel wells. Ohio factory. All the interior fittings are 12V, the brakes are 6V. The original Kelsey Hayes controller had a large var. resistor to be mounted on the firewall of the tow vehicle. Interestingly, there was a factory original battery box on the bow, just under the window, that looks like it fitted two- 6V batteries mounted end to end.
I think the OutlawII rims are a great idea.
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Old 08-15-2003, 02:10 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by markdoane
Reply to 59Toaster: Agree with your analysis, my unit looks like the top set of pics, with no trunk and canted wheel wells. Ohio factory. All the interior fittings are 12V, the brakes are 6V. The original Kelsey Hayes controller had a large var. resistor to be mounted on the firewall of the tow vehicle. Interestingly, there was a factory original battery box on the bow, just under the window, that looks like it fitted two- 6V batteries mounted end to end.
I think the OutlawII rims are a great idea.
Yeah ours has/had that same battery box but it's butcherd now. Somebody took it apart and rebent it to fit a modern 12v. Missing the lid as well. I'm relocation the battery down between the frame rails like you have and removing the box completly. I may end up having to replace that whole pannel if it's too coroded to sand smooth.
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Old 08-15-2003, 02:44 PM   #20
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Quote:
Don't think split rims were used.
Our '64, CA made, GlobeTrotter had split rings until we replaced them last year...pretty sure they were original.

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