69 Tradewind Full Monte Renovation in MN
Hello Airstream Community,
I posted some background information in the Member Introductions section here so I'll keep this intro short.
My girlfriend and I picked up a 1969 Airstream and brought it home to MN about 2 months ago. Since then we have pulled out the interior, removed the inner skins and the inner end caps, built gantries, pulled the shell off and removed everything from the frame. It's been a ton of work and a ton of fun.
The next few post's I'll try and put up a bunch of pictures with a little description to show the work that has been done. I've also compiled a massive list of items that I either need to do more research on or have questions about, hoping the community here can help me out with some of those.
The following pics are showing the beginning of the renovation AKA the demolition. The AS sat abandoned for over 20 years so most of what you see in these pics are covered in every bad thing you can think of and therefore are pretty much non-salvageable.
Here's a pic of the trailer all hooked up and ready to make it's 1200 mile journey from NC to MN. This pic gives a good quick idea of what the issues with the trailer are. The window with the blue tape around it is smashed out and both compartment doors on the curb side are missing.
Here's the kitchen/dining room are coming apart.
This is the front front section of the trailer after everything was removed, this almost makes it look good compared to how disgusting it really was.
This is one of the only pics I have of the back ?half? of the trailer I really should have taken more pics of it all together but was too anxious to get the project started.
Some late night demolition of the rest of the airstream up to the rear bath.
I had to move the trailer at this point to a new location so I snapped a pic of my very very professional looking trailer light set up.
Hot water heater...what a major pain to remove. This thing is heavy and took an incredible amount of work to remove. Dremel, screwdrivers, drill, crowbar, and muscle power that could only be brought about thanks to extreme anger and frustration.
I started working on taking this rear end cap and bathroom area out which was also a pain. Many hidden rivets holding it all together.
I'll have to call it a night but I have plenty more pics to post while I try and catch up to the current state of the project.
The 69 bathroom was a beast. I remember how many hidden pop rivets there were! Those bath light lenses aren't reproduced are rarer than rare, so be careful with them! 1969 is an odd year, we seem to be attracted to transition year trailers but loved that one. Look forward to following your project!
goransons bring a transition year does make source some parts a little tricky. I'll have to look through my pile of parts and make sure I scavenge those bathroom lights.
Sorry for some of the photos being rotated, it seems like the forums forces all images to landscape....Anyone have a work around for this?
Quick shot of the front.
This is a nice little nest that I found under my bathtub, you can also see some of the rotted floor here. There were a 4 or 5 small sections of rot throughout the trailer but the rear bath was by far the worst.
I also brought a ton of these little guys back to MN with me, not sure what they are though.
Here I started taking the interior panels off. I numbered them all and took pictures so I could get them back in their correct location.
This does bring me to my first big question though!
I am debating what to do with the interior skins as I am planning to change a lot about the interior I'm not sure that all the lightswitches, outlets, etc. will line up anymore.
Any recommendations on if I should just re-cut all new interior skins or try and re use what I can?
Also, does anyone have a good way of taking the old "wallpaper" type material off the inner skins.
All the interior skins out and the rear bathroom endcap in a rather awkard postion.
And the rear endcap out wooo!
This was a MAJOR milestone. Everything from the interior out including most of the wiring and the insulation. I was pleasantly surprised at this point with how the interior ribs looked and how well the shell had held up. Up next a little clean up.
Belly Pan and Shell Removal Part 1
Again, sorry for the rotated pics on a couple of these.
Here's the interior with everything out including the insulation. I later used a pressure washer to clean up the inside of the shell.
Here's a view of the rear street side of the trailer with the respective banana wrap removed
Got the rear half of the belly pan off first. Hey look, i found the previous owners garbage pile.....
....and more garbage. Word of warning to anyone else doing this, wear a mask and goggles there's a lot of nasty stuff that falls out.
And here is the back half(1/3?) of the belly pan out! This was kind of annoying to remove but if I would have known a few things ahead of time it could have made this a lot easier.
1. remove banana wrap first
2. undo all the rivets you can find. Then look for the ones you missed cause you definitely missed one.
3. Find the rest of the rivets that you missed...
4. There might be an easier way to do this part but I ended up cutting the belly pan around the axles as it seemed really pinched in there.
I didn't post the pic but I pulled out the rest of the belly pan at this point as well.
By chance my parents came to town to visit at this point. So I took the opportunity to convince my dad to help with a small construction project. Here's the results! My dad is standing by the gantry and that's me "testing" their strength.
I hadn't originally planned on doing a shell off but after seeing all the floor rot I figured I wanted to do this right so decided to go through with it.
Here's a long 2x10 that we attached up through the vents. We put an eye bolt through each vent and then attached pulleys to each of those. We then had another pulley up near the top of the gantry and then a couple ropes running through the set of pulley's. Figured we had it all sorted out...we didn't!
The ropes were a terrible idea, they ended up being too dynamic and didn't make lifting the trailer easy at all. Chains would have been a much better choice.
After the ropes didn't work so well we ended up using a bottle jack and a 4x4 to help us prop the shell up this was working great! we were only lifting near the front and the back was lifting up amazingly!
Unfortunately the front wasn't moving at all. So we pulled out the multi tool and started poking around under the C channel assuming we missed a bolt, which we did. Then we found a bunch of adhesive and then some more bolts. At this point we were sure we had everything taken care of. We didnt!
Ends up this piece of metal right here is crucial to removing the shell. It's riveted to the shell with about 25 rivets and then welding to the frame below.
Pulled out the drills got the rivets out of the way and the shell lifted with only a minor amount of additional cursing.
Here's a view from the rear window of my dad inside working the bottle jack. At this point I was running around outside trying to make sure nothing was catching and continuously tightening and tying off our ropes.
Eventually this occurred! Hooked the frame up to the truck and pulled her out.
Shell OFF! Floor OUT! Welding talk
WOW! The attached pics came out very wrong in that last post. Anyway I'll try again with the rest.
After successfully pulling the frame out I built up some support structures for the shell and set it down. Here is what the shell looks like today. Gantries are still sitting above the shell but they aren't really doing anything.
Pulling off the subfloor even caused me a little trouble with the shell off, I would have hated the amount of effort it would have taken if I tried to do a shell on. I ended up using a hole saw off center from the elevator bolts to loosen off all the boards. Then just used some :bb: force to pry the boards off of the plywood ?joists?. These things I am callling joists were pieces of plywood about 6" wide located on top of every other cross member that were used to tie the two pieces of subfloor together.
Here's half the subfloor off.
And here is pretty much the current state of things.
At this point I've ordered some new outriggers for the curb side and am doing some planning on what I want welded both for repairs and upgrades.
My current list of welding is:
Lot's more research and work ahead. I'll be posting around the forums for specific questions I have but if anyone has any input at this point feel free to let me know.
gotoastergo: What ever made you want to get into the vintage Airstream hobby? Glutton for punishment I presume. You are making very good progress on your 69 Trade Wind. You are experiencing all the mess the rest of us have experienced.
We lived in Minnesota for 27 years before moving to Colorado recently. I found a 66 Trade Wind in Litchfield that looked like fun. I didn't lift the body off as I didn't think it needed a total floor replacement or any frame repairs. I've worked on the trailer about 1200 hours and about that many dollars. It is "done" and fully functional traveler. I think it will be perfect for the many Colorado state parks we can visit. It has the older style "twinkie" body.
My son has a 69 Globetrotter 21 foot. It is two sizes smaller than your Trade Wind. Being a 69 it has some of the rare features yours has, like those square cornered "wing" windows in front. I've done quite a bit of work on his trailer too.
You have some pretty experienced Airstream renovators signed up to your thread. Keep making progress reports as you go. As you have probably read, the demolition of an old Airstream is about 10% of the total project. Rebuilding takes soooo much longer. Just be prepared and patient.
Tie that body down better than you ever imagine it needing to be. off the frame it's a big aluminum kite. I just finished a 62 tradewind that the body blew off and did a number on it. Doesn't take much to get lift under the body, once it's up in the air it can go a long way. Ours (while owned by someone else) traveled almost 50 feet down the road before a rock wall slowed it down rather abruptly.
dbj216: What got me into this new project is kind of an interesting story. I'll try and give you the short version.
I moved to MN from Winnipeg, Canada a few years ago always with the intention to leave once I paid off the debt I had accrued since starting school. My plan was to hike the PCT from Mexico to Vancouver then hop on a sail boat and island hop for a while. Then as happens to most of us, I met an amazing girl here in Minneapolis who is adventurous but not quite the pack up your life in backpack with no plans kind of adventurous. So we compromised and decided to travel the continent in an RV instead. While doing some googling we came across some pics of airstreams and that was it, there were no other options anymore.
So the plan now is to take this gem of a 69 Tradewind and turn it into our house on wheels as well as our office on wheels so that we can continue working while travelling.
Sounds like you also have some cool projects either completed or on the go! I'm glad to hear there are some experienced people following this. I've had good luck on previous (non airstream) projects with teaching my self along the way but this is by far the biggest project I have ever taken on. The last was rebuilding everything under the hood of a 2002 Subaru WRX.
PS is there any way to see who is subscribed to this thread?
Glad to have you with us. Glad to have you saving another Airstream Tradewind, possibly the best designed Airstream ever, but I am a bit biased.
After looking at your demolition project and what will be involved in the rebuild, I am thankful of the relatively minor tasks that I have ahead of me consisting of banana wrap removal, rear floor repair,frame scraping and painting, insulate and replace belly pan, new axle install and disk brake install. You have the appropriate experience with your WRX rebuilding and most importantly the correct attitude and motivation to complete your Tradewind rebuild.
Those little critters may be ticks. We have tons of them in the south. I can't tell much about the size. Ticks are about 1/8" diameter.
Give a lot of thought before changing the interior floor plan. The original one will be tough to beat.
It looks like your skin is in very good condition. You are fortunate there.
One advantage of a complete rebuild the way you are doing it is that it will be better than new.
I need to throw a plug in here for www.airpartsinc.com. They are great to do business with. I ordered new belly pan material, twice now, and it is on my front porch in 3 days!
Touring Dan, thanks for the word of encouragement in your first post!
I'll have to check out airparts inc for the belly pan material. Actually could you send me the link to the belly pan material you had used, if you recommend it?
gotoastergo: I've done three belly pans and I'm willing to do a fourth. I did mine laying on my back under the trailer. I vowed never again, but I'm over that now.
Since you have the shell off and the gantries made, you can rig a "flip the frame" rotisserie and install tanks and a belly pan, and then axles much easier than I did. Work on the belly pan "belly pan up" so to speak.
Here is a link to Airparts for the 5052 aluminum 48" wide coil .025 thick. I purchased about 30 feet of it for my Trade Wind if memory serves me. I went side to side instead of front to back for various reasons, mainly because the body wasn't off.
As you work on your 69 Trade Wind, be sure to get a very detailed design of what your "mobile office / home" will be like. Designing in a small space is a challenge. Airstream is very good at it. So are our Japanese friends.
Keep the pics coming as you progress. Brings back lots of memories from when I did mine (shell on). Got to love Trade Winds!!!!
By the way, I want to mention the folks at Airparts treated me very well with the aluminum orders I wanted. I recommend them as a good source for Airstream aluminum.
And I have an error in my thread above. I have over $12000 in parts doing my "half monte" (which is about half the work you are doing). Not $1200.
The vintage Airstream hobby gets expensive. I spent three years spending that dough.
You are right, a good body, or shell, is the most important consideration in a vintage Airstream. The rest of it is standard stuff. Goransons' story about "gone with the wind" is amazing. He had a good body, it got all beat up in the storm, so he "re-skinned" a whole bunch of the exterior of that trailer. I figure that's a "double full monte" renovation.
Nice work; thanks for sharing your progress.
Thought I'd add a few "FWIW's":
-For all you entomologically curious types, that little critter pictured is a shield bug, commonly called a stink bug for its particular mode of defense. They like to overwinter indoors...
-As you probably already know, those "joists" you referred to are cleats that are glued and fastened to the plywood joints to make the subfloor solid. The frame crossmembers are lower in those spots to accept the thickness of the cleats. I only mention it since they are a point of some discussion on other redo threads.
-You mentioned the degree of rot in the rear bath area. This is due to the design of the bumper plate that runs under the subfloor across the back (you can see it still attached with the rear hold-down plate on top of it in one of your frame pics). This causes water to funnel into the plywood subfloor. You will want to rework this design as you get to that part of your rebuild. Several forum members have posted their methods, a few of which can be seen here: https://www.airforums.com/forums/f4/s...-a-119687.html
-I also used 0.025 for my belly pan and had trouble with wavy, gapped edges and some rivet pull-out. I thought 0.032 might be better, but I would like to know if others had this problem. David's cross-wise pattern might minimize the wavy edge issue.
Looking forward to seeing your progress; just remember to have fun...
I used the same 0.025 belly pan material that David used and plan to install it side to side as he did also. I get to install it on my back- not the easiest way to work but at least I will be protected from the hot sun since I am working outside.
The back 10" of my floor rotted out from the poorly designed bumper plate. I am getting ready to replace it now.
I'm realizing very quickly how much planning I need to do on the home/office as many decisions in the frame will have consequences on the interior. Mostly in regards to plumbing.
|All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:33 AM.|
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.