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goransons 06-02-2016 10:52 AM

Tradewind And The Wind
8 Attachment(s)
Recently a friend and I rescued a 62 tradewind that had a promising restoration going until Mother Nature took over.

We found the trailer on Craigslist being parted out but was able to buy the whole thing complete.

So what happened? The folks, which are exceptionally nice people had started on a shell off restoration. They had systematically removed the interior, labeled, catalogued and carefully stored every piece of the trailer, removed the interior skins, stripped the paint, removed the floor after some extensive temporary braces were done and removed the belly pan.

Everything was saved for templates etc and the body was above the frame a few inches and screwed to the crossmembers with self tapping screws.

Then the perfect storm. 70 mph gusts ripped the screws out of the frame, lifted the shell up and dumped it upside down in the street and into their rock retaining wall. 8 year dream of restoration down the drain. Neighbors helped them get it upright and in the driveway and tied down where it rested until we arrived.

We put down a temporary floor, removed the tires to get the frame as low as we could and using ladders, cribbing, comealongs, floor jacks and all the muscle we and the former owner had wrestled the shell back on the frame.

Front and rear plates were screwed in with self tapping screws and the c channel was temporarily replaced with 2x4s and lots and lots of screws through rivet holes then into the deck.

Interior carefully stacked inside it made a 2 1/2 hour uneventful journey home.

Tomorrow the interior will go into storage then I need to finish a Shasta I'm rebuilding (long story) then I'm going to install new bows (I have some from a 63 donor trailer that gave us the parts to repair our Around the World trailer) and 4 sheets of aluminum and hope to be back to reinstalling the interior before summer is over. Lots of riveting in my future but the door was unharmed, all the windows except one piece of flat glass are fine and even the roof vents survived.

Here are some from the event then the salvage process. I'll update once we get her started. This is going to be a big project but couldn't stand to see a Tradewind cut up.

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goransons 06-06-2016 07:37 PM

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I have it unloaded. Last week of school and temps in the 100's have made it unworkable. I need to drop the ceiling to figure out the extent of hidden bow damage.

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I can see this, by the tub location. This corner of the shell is low and pulled apart. The bow was short from the factory based on rivet locations. This full bow I'm replacing

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These bows broke I believe, although one may be a split bow from the factory. The rivets pulled out. More will tell once the ceiling is off

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I need to find someone to roll the dents out of this tire cover but excited to finally have one! I want to make sure it doesn't walk away once it's cleaned up. Does anyone have good ideas on keeping it from walking off?

dbj216 06-07-2016 06:50 PM

Man, what a project. I have read several times about the importance of anchoring the shell from the wind once it is removed. Finding the shell in the street upside down does not make a good day.

It is hard to imagine your tire cover "walking off". If you are worried about thieves, install a "car alarm", or camera, or electrify the exterior skins of your trailer like some folks have happen because of poor wiring.

I'll bet you can make pretty good progress on your tire cover using a bag of sand and a small hammer (like body shops use). Put the dented area on the sand bag and tap lightly with the hammer. Go slow with lots of taps. I was successful smoothing out my front banana wraps using this method. Small dent rollers are available on the internet of course, but I have never tried one. Other Airstreamers have.


TouringDan 06-07-2016 09:22 PM

My hat is off to you for saving this Tradewind. Like David says "what a project". I will be watching your progress and rooting for you.


goransons 08-04-2016 08:50 PM

Tradewind and the wind
1 Attachment(s)
Thanks Dan! I had several other big projects to wrap up and am now starting to get ready to do now replacement and get the floor back in.

I have my replacement donor bows ready and was going through pictures from the previous owner and realized this international is unlike any 62 layout I can find. It's somewhat like a flying cloud layout but has an extra cabinet up front for the heater and an extra wardrobe. Can't find any reference to it on any of the photo archives sites or Airstream's own archives. Here's one of his photos from before he took it apart.
Attachment 268324

You'll notice no curb side windows behind the door. Had the couches L shaped layout up front

goransons 10-11-2016 06:40 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Well "Windy" as she's become known here, is making good progress.

The sub floor is cut, bolted in and the body squared back up to the frame (boy was that a few day project just getting it to sit on the c channel again).

Once that was accomplished it became clear that the roof metal where it hit the retaining wall was too stretched to allow me to line new bows up and get things ready for sheet metal so today sheet #1 (14' long) came off and I was able with help from a friend to get string lines up and get the new bows lined up and cleco'd in place.

upper side will go on, then lower side, then will replace the top roof section.

Overall I'm happy with how things are lining up. By this weekend I hope it will have walls again.

dbj216 10-11-2016 07:23 PM

Wow, just like I saw at the Airstream factory in Jackson Center. You are darn near building Windy from scratch.


goransons 10-11-2016 07:37 PM

In some respects yes, but others not so bad. Amazingly clean frame, will have a lot less polishing to do with all the new metal. The interior is in great shape, some minor water damage around the refrigerator but other than that some sanding, and no doubt rescribing end panels to the shell, but my hope is it looks clean and nearly original inside. New wiring, insulation and plumbing of course too. No wonder it had some leaks though, none of the horizontal seams were sealed. The sunset was fun inside the trailer tonight :)

goransons 10-12-2016 09:18 PM

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Some slow progress. Figured out the solar dome took a hit and though it didn't break the roof around it had some stretching that didn't let it lay correctly and the dome was slightly pushed down which would have let it collect water at the seam. The result a few hundred more rivets out and new metal for the front half of the roof. Have to get the side panel cleco'd in after work rain or shine before the high winds forecast for Friday. Attachment 273473Attachment 273474Attachment 273475

Aerowood 10-13-2016 11:02 AM

You are doing an excellent job saving the Tradewind. On another note, I flew right over Yakama last month at a 1000 ft on our way to a refueling stop at Moses Lake. I would have called you but I didn't know your number. I did look down but saw no Airstreams.

dbj216 10-13-2016 07:40 PM

That is some serious aluminum sheet work. It does go slow, especially working alone. You're going to have to have a rivet buddy when it's time to "shoot" it as Aerowood says. Make sure they have hearing protection or they will end up like me: "whud you say?", "come again", "speak up sonny", "what siren".

More high winds in your area? That's how this thread got started. I don't like wind much. I can't think of any good use for it.


goransons 10-13-2016 07:57 PM

What? Can't hear you! I'm a seasoned veteran on the rivet gun and a good friend and forums member (flyrc) is Mr. Bucking bar himself. I'm a music teacher during the day, and symphony player so I do use ear protection.

Left over tropical storm is hitting the Washington coast over the next few days. Did get the old sheet in temporarily to complete the shell and to minimize any wind getting in and lifting. I know the body wouldn't come off but I was worried about bending or stretching the roof panel I just replaced. Sustained 35 mph are forecast with gusts to 55-60 tomorrow for our area, significantly higher on the coast.

Yes the trailer's "first flight" was a perfect storm, the trailer was lifted, only attached in 3 places with a screw at each location, belly pan and floor was out, so the wind just came in below and lifted it up.

C Channel is all bolted down and the body is attached to the C channel with quite a few cleco's and several dozen sheet metal screws for good measure, and the trailer is about 2 feet off the front garage wall out of the prevailing wind, so here's hoping!

I figure I have 2 full days of bucking rivets, because after the panel pictured, and the two 14'ers down the street side, I still have the curb side rear corner and below the rear window to replace, not from the blow over, but just because they are a big enough mess I don't want to try to polish out all the deep scratches and pitting.

It's pouring, and other than the water pouring in through the open windows and the line of empty roof rivets, the rest of the shell is remarkably dry inside. Of course it will all get resealed before insulation and interior skins, but I'm happy to see no streaks of water running down the walls in the end caps etc.

So far we have .6" today and it's supposed to go solid for the next 72 hours.

During the storm, I've decided to go ahead and repair a stress crack in the bathtub and get the epoxy paint sprayed on.

goransons 10-14-2016 03:19 PM

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As the storm is hitting wasn't anything I could do out on the shell today so I did some repairs and epoxy costed the tub since that will be difficult to do in my less than perfectly heated garage this winter.

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dbj216 10-14-2016 05:55 PM

That vicious storm made national news. Batten down the hatches. A bathtub is a good place to ride out the storm.

It's dry and boring weather in Colorado. Send a little of that rain our way.


goransons 10-19-2016 09:19 PM

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Well the high wind warning has gone and we had a sunny day after work yesterday so the roof panel is bucked in on 3 sides waiting now for the next panel.

New upper street side panel is laid out and cut (face down) and will go up Friday. No holes drilled in this 14 foot panel. Bow 1 and 7 are the only bows with original holes and those will get drilled in place with the handy hole finding tool since the original panel is too damaged to be certain things would line up perfectly (this is the panel that hit the previous owner's retaining wall during the descent back to earth.

Its lower neighbor panel will be next then two smaller panels (rear corner curb and below back window) due to pitting and scratches.

By Sunday it should start to look like a trailer again weather permitting!

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dbj216 10-20-2016 07:45 PM

Most excellent. That' s serious Airstream building. Glad you got through the storm with no "windy" issues.


HiJoeSilver 10-20-2016 09:28 PM

First time seeing this, excellent work. You've taken on a very noble project!

goransons 10-21-2016 07:08 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Well first major panel is cleco'd in place for the night. Still need to finish drilling the roof seam but then will drop out the lower panel in and fit it before riveting the entire street side. Doesn't photo incredibly well but it's looking good. Things are laying flat and lining up well all things considered. Around the windows will flatten once we add the last partial bow between the big windows and install all the horizontal braces when the windows go back in. Took myself, our friend Wally, and my wife to finesse all 14' into place. Attachment 273941Attachment 273942

goransons 10-22-2016 05:36 PM

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9 hours later most of the top panel is riveted, the lower panel is installed and we are ready for Windows and cross braces tomorrow after they get polished. Attachment 273995Attachment 273992Attachment 273993Attachment 273994Attachment 273996Attachment 273997Attachment 273998

dbj216 10-22-2016 07:08 PM

I can't imagine the amount of work required to reskin an Airstream. My roof was damaged in a hail storm some time ago. Insurance required a quote. The local dealer quoted 50k to reskin the roof and end caps. The trailer is worth maybe 20k. We left the dents alone. Patina.

May I ask what spec aluminum sheet you are using. Is it 2024 T3 at .032 thick? It sure has a nice finish on the outside. It is expensive material.


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