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Old 04-23-2004, 11:59 PM   #1
5 rivets, 1 loose screw
 
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Vintage trailers: What can we agree on?

Many of the same basic questions are being asked repeatedly and that's very understandable considering the rapid growth and popularity of this forum. The redunancy is however making it ever more difficult to find specific info or advice on a given topic. There are many variables depending on year and model but some things are applicable to all vintage AS TT's. I think it would be beneficial to find some common ground to express opinions upon.
I'm thinking we might be able to slim down the bulging archives if we all hypothetically take an average trailer and refurbish only the basic items from the ground up.
Since AS has been building trailers for 60+ years in lengths mainly from 16' to 34' let's split it somewhere near the middle and say we all magicaly acquire a 1970 25' tandem axle Tradewind.......WAIT, don't start disagreeing yet.....it's my thread and I get to pick the trailer.
It's in average condition as described on vintageairstream's.]PRICE vs CONDITION The floor is solid and there are no leaks.
Lets also assume that the average AS owner is not a millionaire and we're not going to be hiring out any of the refurb so we need to keep it cost effective.

This is what I would do, based on hands on experience and knowledge I have gained from this forum:

TIRES : Goodyear Marathon ST225/75R15 load range D
Wheels: If split-rim, rust pitted or damaged, replace with new 2600# rated trailer wheels.
Axles: Check the info on Inland RV's DURA TORQUE AXLES and replace if necessary.
Brakes: Absolutely neccessary IMHO that they work properly. This I might hire out to a pro since I am not a skilled mechanic.
Floor covering : A matter of personal choice but I'll shoot for the Pergo, lightweight, attractive and durable.
Skin - wash, shine and wax: My trailer is for function more than show but I want it look nice so I'm going to wash it with Armor All car wash, shine it with Walbernize and wax it with LIQUID GLASS . I'll save the expensive and labor intensive polishing for later when I'm better acquainted with my new trailer..
Gaskets-door, window and vent covers: Replace all. Small investment for long term gain.
Interior cleaning: Clean walls and ceiling with Simple Green and protect with Future Floor Acrylic.
Interior hardware: Relace any broken items with whatever does the job but shop for original replacements.

These are just my personal preferences for getting the trailer in safe and presentable condition and are not intended as a beginner's guide to all things Airstream. I'd like to keep this thread simple. I'm not even gonna venture into proper tow vehicles since that topic has been very well covered but still open to debate.
What are you going to do differently or additionaly with your hypothetical '70 Tradewind to get started in the wonderful world of Airstreaming and why?
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Old 04-24-2004, 12:48 AM   #2
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Red face Sorry Roger...I just have to!

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What are you going to do differently or additionaly with your hypothetical '70 Tradewind to get started in the wonderful world of Airstreaming and why?
Trade it in on a '64 GlobeTrotter!

Why? I prefer the Zolotone & wood interior.

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Old 04-24-2004, 12:48 AM   #3
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Vintage trailers: What can we agree on?

Greeting Rog!

I would add to your list of suggestions:

LP Gas System Inspection: This I would farm out to a professional to include:
Regulator - - inspect and test for proper pressure.
Refrigerator - - inspect/clean/adjust as necessary.
Furnace - - inspect/clean/adjust if replacement isn't indicated.
Water Heater - - inspect/clean/adjust if replacement isn't indicated.
Range/Oven - - inspect and adjust as necessary.
LP Tanks (if aluminum) - - update to OPD valves and recertify.
I will admit to having serious distrust of any kind of gas appliance whether home or RV so this is an added precaution that I take with my coaches on a regular basis. This process is on my list of musts when acquiring an unfamiliar coach.

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Old 04-24-2004, 01:02 AM   #4
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come on now Shari, play nice. I think those who are newbies or wannabes might well benefit from a thread where common questions are addressed. Have you done a search on "tires" recently? Gadzooks!

Good point Kevin, safety first.
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Old 04-24-2004, 01:08 AM   #5
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Thumbs up Spring fever is just getting to me...

Roger, it's a great thread & a nice summation...I agree with most of your thoughts, just not your choice of the example for me, no offense intended to 70's owners.

BTW...I have to play nice, I'm a moderator!

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Old 04-24-2004, 01:46 AM   #6
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Shari, you know I was kidding about "play nice". You always do.
My concern is that basic info is getting buried due to the volume of threads and posts. I doubt that there are many topics not already touched upon but the problem is in finding them. It would help if folks included the title of the topic in their thread rather than just "help" or such.
I've gotta think that the only way to cure the prob is to add more specific forums, such as "Tire Forum' or "Toilet Forum" but then we run the risk of losing members who get confused by too many choices of where to look or post.
Too much info can be a bad thing.
I'm just tinkering with the notion that someone with a "new" vintage AS could be pointed to a thread where most basic q's are addressed, but maybe more specific forums isn't such a bad idea.
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Old 04-24-2004, 03:09 AM   #7
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I think you copped out by picking a 70 Tradewind with NO LEAKS and a SOLID FLOOR. Where would you find one of those anyway? Lots of questions regarding leaks, sealing, and fixing soft spots or holes in the floor. I spent most of an evening trying to find a diagram I'd seen here recently of how the floor was assembled to the walls and frame. I saved it to disk for fear I would never find it again!

Good idea though. I guess what you really want is a FAQ. Do we even have one. It's nice to have all the regular questions together so folks can be pointed to it first. But then again, I love it when someone new posts about their trailer, even if they are asking something we've heard before. It's always fun to hear about someone elses problems and welcome them to the group.
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Old 04-24-2004, 03:45 AM   #8
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By coincidence, a friend recently bought a 70's vintage 25 foot tandem axle trailer, and I worked five days with him, last October, on doing the basic safety work listed above. In addition, we overhauled the fresh water supply system, installing a new pump, curing a leaking joint, and chlorinating the system. A further job, not listed, is to scrape off and replace all the decayed Vulkem above the windows and door and other fittings. The last job was to deal with the leaking dump valves on the black and gray tanks. This was a rear bath layout, so we removed the rear fender by drilling off the heads of the set-screws that secure it. We then pulled out the plastic liner, and revealed the valves. More to the point, we revealed the frame. Or what should have been the frame. The black and gray tanks are supported by the steel bally pan. To carry the weight of full tanks, there is a cross member above the back of the tanks, and from this drops a steel bulkhead, which is secured to the belly pan, right across its width. This crucial steel bulkhead had gone. Disappeared. Gone to the great bulkhead graveyard in the sky. An un-bulkhead. A was-bulkhead. A bucketful of rust flakes on the belly pan sat looking at us. The belly pan was also severely corroded. Full tanks while on the road would soon have dropped right through.This was a trailer with no apparent leaks and a firm floor. So, at the risk of becoming the "forum frame corrosion bore", I suggest we add to the list, for rear and side bath models,: "Remove rear fender, and inspect frame for corrosion." Nick.
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Old 04-24-2004, 06:37 AM   #9
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I second Nick's emotion... Sure, it is the greatest thing to find a vintage trailer "that appears solid and ready to roll." But, get your hands dirty and drop those belly pans for your safety and others on the road. Both supports on my bw tanks were gone also. Had I moved the trailer with any "liquids" in it, the tank surely would have dropped through the belly skin, taking the toilet with it, and making a big mess on the highway.

After discovering this possible disaster, I am now methodically working my way from the back of the trailer forward inspecting and repairing as I go... before I go!
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Old 04-24-2004, 08:21 AM   #10
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Could be considered off topic, but I'll slip it in here as a compliment to the newbie FAQ concept.

I think we should compile a "family tree" of sorts that starts with early Airstream models and moves down to the present; it would give a basic list of comonly-agreed on features that were added throughout the years.

For example, the first one would list things like number of crown pieces, dimensions, and basic features. Further down the line we'd see "pipe frame switched to ladder-style," "toilet added as regular feature," "stoves switched to Princess brand," "crown drops to 7 pieces," "width changes from 7'6" to 8'," "windows become curved Corning," etc.

It would help visualize the major additions over time, and give owners a sense of how frequent a problem they're having is likely to be with others. Example: I could check the chart to see how long my window cranks were used. Only for my year? Then I'm less likely to take time to scour the Earth looking for them.

What do you guys think? The vintageairstream.com photo gallery already has lots of good info, but the improvements are mentioned in a less structured fashion - you can't view them in one place and it doesn't seem to be the same info criteria each time necessarily.
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Old 04-24-2004, 08:28 AM   #11
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Bearings. Shouldn't we inspect the bearings before moving it for adequate grease. Repack or add grease to get it home, and for sure repack with new seals when home. I would think this would be on the top of the list.

For lack of grease the bearing was lost... ect........ the people were lost.
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Old 04-24-2004, 10:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
I think we should compile a "family tree" of sorts that starts with early Airstream models and moves down to the present; it would give a basic list of comonly-agreed on features that were added throughout the years.
Have you seen this?

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Old 04-24-2004, 10:32 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by InsideOut
Have you seen this?


LOVE IT!!! That's exactly what I had in mind, with the added breakdown between exterior and interior lists. Nice job with the color differences variations, Shari. Consider it bookmarked.
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Old 04-24-2004, 10:34 AM   #14
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Great site for those "when" questions. Should be a primary link on the forum link forum.
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Old 04-24-2004, 07:20 PM   #15
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As said many times this is a fabulous site with so many experienced forum members of have "been there done that" - that are just a wealth of knowledge to us newbies!

I think the FAQ idea is a great one - but it will take alot of time to prepare.

As rog pointed out how do you wade through it all - many of us get really excited about our A/S's and add lots of colour to many simple questions - that is just human nature...

But as a Newbie tackling our first A/S one system/step at a time can be a bit overwhelming. Expecially if we can not find the answer in the Owners manual - or the Service manual that came out 4 years after our A/S was built (however does have a lot of relevant information)

I spend hours reading threads where one person asks a question and there are 5 other posts not related to the question - or additional questions then interjected - sending the thread in several different directions - such as what we have done here in this thread.

Rog's start is a fine one - but hypothetical - but due to the start of this thread it brings up a very real and valid issue - trying to get answers to many simple technical and procedural questions in operating and restoring Vintage A/S's from a multitude of forum members. And again it is human nature to when reading to go with what you understand....So like Shari my answer to the first post is sit in my new 70 Tradewind - 25' and imagine what it would be like to be sitting in a 69 Globetrotter

FAQ is the way to go - and If I can be of any help in supplying questions please count us in!

Rog - I think you have a fine 1970 - 25' and logical approach - I would ad more emphasis on stop the bleeding so that you can work on all the other parts - so sealing and window issues would be first for me.
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Old 12-11-2004, 01:15 AM   #16
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If you understand construction or building and can use tools and have done some house remodeling you can work on an older Airstream. The forums are very helpful in fulfilling some tough problems. Most Airstream repairs are common sense. Appliances can be a challenge. I have learned a lot from these forums and I thank the people for their support and being so helpful.
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Old 12-11-2004, 06:47 AM   #17
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It would be great to see the "family tree" idea carried through to a poster,(24"X36"?)with a picture of the model year and a listing of the changes. Something that you could frame, hang on the wall and refer to.
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Old 12-11-2004, 09:16 AM   #18
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Funny thing, we had considered doing something very much like Craftsman described, as a special insert to Airstream Life magazine. I was envisioning a pictorial family tree, but realized that with all the different models produced, we would have to break it down separate posters for each major era, or print a huge poster.

It's still on the "wish list." If anyone wants to volunteer to provide resources to such a project (graphic design, photography, research, etc), let me know. Perhaps we can work something up as an Airstream Forums community project?
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Old 12-11-2004, 07:22 PM   #19
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Lightbulb Idea for family tree

I don't see any possible way to make a thorough poster depicting all of the years and models, but how about if we add photo links to Shari's matrix like in the attached illustration?
The camera icon would be a hyperlink which opens a photo page of that particular model.
I believe that a chronological chart with comments and photos like I'm suggesting would be the most thorough database of it's kind anywhere.
I've owned eleven different vintage models and years and I have photos galore which I'd gladly contribute.
Sounds like a very interesting and worthwhile community project to me. Your thoughts?
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Old 12-11-2004, 08:34 PM   #20
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Just a point of view from a new Argosy owner. I would like some "simple" answers to questions if possible. All I wanted to know was what battery to buy for my "new" older 1978 24ft Argosy. I couldn't understand most of the battery information on the forum. Talk about technical. I'm more confused than ever. I know these people knew what they were talking about and what each other was talking about, but I surely was lost. It would be nice if some simple suggestions could be given for the novice owner who will not be living in their AS, but wants to do the right thing to keep a week-end toy in good shape and safe. I love this sight, but sometimes the information leaves me out of the loop completely.
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