Video # 33

Airstream Wheels

This episode of Classic Rides brings us to the final corner in the restoration of the 1970 Airstream travel trailer. The show's host Kevin Tetz wants to give the Airstream new wings and the electrical power to keep those riding it happy and comfortable.

Kevin reminds us how dirty and dated the Airstream was when he first started. Now, it is ultra-modern and very comfortable. The trailer has certainly come a long way from its original state.

Kevin starts off the segment by working on the wheels of the Airstream. The original trailer had a wheel and tire combination composed of a steel wheel and a bias ply tire. The new wheels will be made of forged aluminum and radial tires. The forged aluminum is a lighter assembly so it is going to rotate easier, which means it is going to pull easier, Kevin explains.

The radial tires have a softer side wall, which translates into a smoother ride. Kevin also adds chrome lug nuts, which look better than the original steel ones. The chrome lug nuts are available at any auto supply store. Kevin demonstrates how he removed the original tires and how he replaces them.

He reminds us to position the new center cap in the middle of the wheel, before putting the wheel on the trailer. He partially deflated the tire, to allow the wheel to slide in easily. Using an impact wrench, he snugs the lug nuts into a star pattern to maintain even pressure on the hub.

He reminds us to make sure that the tires are at the correct pressure. In this case, he says, it is fifty PSI. He checks the pressure on each tire.

Before working on the new steel wheels, he reminds us to make sure we follow the proper torque specs. For this case, it is 100. The torch wrench he used emits a click when it reaches the pre-set one hundred-foot pounds of torque. Using a staggered pattern, Kevin puts even pressure on the hub.

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