How-To Articles

Backing Plate


Converting the HADCO Backing Plate to Electric This is the Dexter 12×2 AL-KO Loaded Backing Plates that you need for the conversion. All of the guts and holes are in the right place , but the actual backing plate is 1/2″ too small in diameter to mate with the HADCO hub. This is A RH read more »



Hydraulic to Electric Brake Conversion From this: To this: Electric brakes have been on travel trailers since the 1940’s. For some reason in the mid 1950’s to early 1960’s, hydraulically actuated brakes where offered as an option on Airstreams and other trailers of the era as a “safety feature”. We now spend our time and read more »

Panel-Ray Heaters


The tall cylindrical Panel Ray heaters were produced in the late 1940’s to late 1950’s by the Day & Night Corporation and its licensee Marsh Corp, and was used by the manufactures of all trailer types. I picked up 5 of these over the years, and restored them for resale. While I don’t do this read more »



Airstream Bunkbeds A popular option on Airstreams in the late 1960’s and 1970’s were bunkbeds capable of holding light weight humans (children). Prior to this stowaway option, bunkbeds were heavy wooden affairs that stayed in place, or tilted up and hooked to the ceilings. Many of these early trailers also had small over under windows read more »

Axle Alternatives


If electric. leave as is For comparison, here is an example of the electric brake Kelsey-Hayes axles of the 1950’s. Notice how low slung the leaf spring is, necessitating a drop axle. Shows that there is no standard one size fits all axle solution. This brings up a good point, Kelsey-Hayes is still in business read more »

Bowen Hot Water Heater Covers


Hot Water Heater Covers Some 1950’s-1960’s trailers have had their Bowen hot water heater covers removed in past HW heater replacements, and the installer failed to reuse the Bowen cover, installing the modern flimsy painted cover instead. To help restorers fabricate, or have sheet metal shop fabricate one for them, I’ve started collecting a series read more »

Vaillant Water Heaters


In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, Airstream offered as an option an on-demand water heater made in West Germany, the Vaillant. It was also very popular as an aftermarket heater for those trailers that did not initially come with water heaters, such as the small 16-18 foot trailers, and in many cases was hung read more »



Solar Installation Why put 2010 solar on a 1956 Airstream? As this will be our primary trailer, the functionality the solar charging provides to the 12v electrical system allows uninterrupted travel, boondocking, and peace of mind of never running out of power for lights, the water pump, cooling fan and other conveniences. Up on top read more »

Cabinets – Bed


Interior Cabinets – Twin Bed Having camped for many years, you learn what is practical and what is folly. There is a reason why the majority of Airstreams sold from the 1940’s to the 1970’s, and even today, were of the twin bed configuration. It is not because Airstreamer’s don’t like their spouses, it is read more »

Cabinets – Curbside


Interior Cabinets – Curbside Unit Across from the galley is the large full height cabinet containing the refrigerator, heater and wardrobe. Old Cabinets A reminder of what the old cabinet layout was: Installation – Curbside Cabinets, Wardrobe & Refrigerator The other side (curbside) of the trailer gets attention now. You can see the condition of read more »