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Old 10-23-2006, 06:56 PM   #1
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Excella?

Where can I find information about Excellas? 500, 1000 etc? What was the last year for the Excella? What year did it go wide body? I think I read that the Excella was a package, not a model?

Thanks! Just bought a TV and am ready to get serious about an A/S!

Pat
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Old 10-23-2006, 08:07 PM   #2
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Pat, The wide body came along in 1996.
The Excella 500 was available in the 1980's. It was originally the top of the line. Later, the Limited came along to be the best. The Excella Classic was the trailer that was left when they dropped the Land Yacht, around 1990. The Sovereign lasted until 1996 or so. In 1998, Airstream once again started making different models. Legnths and models are not to be confused. The Excella, for example, came in several sizes. The Excella 1000 came about sometime in 1990's, I do not remember exactly when.
1994 was the last year for the 'old' rivet construction, where there was a great number of more rivets than from 1995 on. Airstream began using doublestick 3M tape along with the rivets for construction. Around 2000, Airstream began to use aluminum that was pretreated with clear coat by Alcoa Aluminum Company, and the finish was markedly better.
The first widebodies, as well as trailers from the mid 80's until the wide bodies, suffered from poor clear coat adhesion that resulted from the Fed mandated change of solvents used in the process.
As you can see, there are many factors to look at when buying an Airstream. Depending on who you speak with, you will find there are many preferences as to which one is best. No doubt, you will have an opinion as to the best some day further along........
Enjoy!
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Old 10-23-2006, 10:32 PM   #3
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The Excella 500 of the 1970's was a trim line for the Sovereign (32') which included many standard features: Electric TV antenna (up, down & rotate), Nutone food center, Dishwasher (hand held spray wand with brush), retractable water/electric service, swag chandelier, 40# LP tanks, ZipDee awnings all around, central vac, safe and a wide blue stripe down the belly band to name a few.
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Old 10-24-2006, 06:58 AM   #4
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I always wondered; is there a book, website, etc that lists the definitive timeline of different models and trim lines?

Everything I have read has general definitions of such, but have never found a real summary?

Thanx, Bill
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Old 10-24-2006, 09:17 AM   #5
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Thanks! I will print these replies and put them in my A/S file.

I see that two of you have a 1989 Excella. There is one available that my husband is interested in. I know that is has been used and towed a late as a month ago. Do you think that the flooring and frame would (should) be in pretty good condition, or is it more than likely to need major overhaul?

My husband and I are past the age where we want a major repair, but could handle drapes and upholstery. It has the floor plan we want and I love the Excella exterior!

It is 500 miles from us. The owner just bought it from someone at a rally and has never towed it nor stayed in it. He has his own A/S.

It is not available to see until Wednesday.

I think they are asking $12,600. It is advertised on this forum.

My husband is a motorhome person, so I want something that will be no big hassle to keep in very good condition.

Thanks again for all the great information! You really answered my questions!

Pat
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Old 10-24-2006, 11:20 AM   #6
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Pat, This is the second 29' I have owned. I love the floor plan, especially the storage capacity.
As for the '89 model. IF, if it has been taken care of, if it has no roof leaks, if it hasn't had skin damage or a major accident, it still should be in pretty good condition. As for the floor, take a very sharp toothpick with you, and push it into the floor along the edges, anywhere you can reach. The water pump is in the closet, under the false floor. Check the floor in there as well. Look all around in the shower. It is imperitive for the caulking in there to be good, as the shower walls are nothing more than paneling covered with a vinyl wallcovering. The caulking keeps damage from the wood. Especially, check the floor around the front door.
There are so many things that can be wrong with an Airstream, that it is hard to educate you on them at one time, however, I've found first impressions can be of great value. If it looks like a rag when you first see it, do not spend time trying to convince yourself otherwise. If it looks good, then continue, and check the things mentioned.
Check the dates on the tires. On the sidewall, after the DOT mark, there will be 3 or so ovals, with codes in them. The last oval is the birthdate of the tire. If it is a 3 number code, do not pull it home on those tires. If it is a 4 code number, that will be 2 digits for the week of the year, and the last 2 digits will be the year of the 21st century. For example, 0205 means the second week of the uear 2005. 4904 would be the 49th week of 2004.
You should not use trailer tires more than 5 years old as they have a very great chance of coming apart and ruining the side of your traile or worse.
If the tires are too old, make that part of the deal.
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Old 10-24-2006, 11:22 AM   #7
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We acquired our Excella this spring, camped quite a bit this season. Towed over 3k miles. The only work we have done so far is clean it up, fooled with the water heater a little, and some cosmetic stuff. The floor, frame, etc on ours appears to be fine. No leaks in the roof (or any where yet!). We will personalize it some more over the winter, but all the major systems seem to be fine-and they were well tested this summer.

Bring your ice pick to check the floor, especially around the door, fridge, under the vents, and bathroom.

Jump up and down on the bumper-to check the frame.

Look underneath at axles, break lines, and for frame rust, look at the tires.

Ask them to have all the systems ready to fire up when you get there (not before).

That looks really nice in the pix. The price seems fair ($10k would be even better!).

Good luck, keep us posted
Bill
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Old 10-24-2006, 05:37 PM   #8
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ANother happy Excella owner..

Pat-

Excella is more a marketing concept than specific model.. They range from 25' to 34' over the years, with plain Excella's, 500's and 1000's... I know they were around as early as late 1970's , since boss at the time bought one for winters in Palm Springs...

We bought our '88 25' model from sellers in Ft. Worth TX sight unseen 3 years ago, though I rarely recommend that as ideal strategy.. Price was in same ballpark, and we've done $4K in upgrades and improvements, including Fantastic Fans, complete reupholstery, curtains, new microwave, flat-screen TV, mini-blinds and carpeting. The 1980's were a time of mauves and pinks and teals... We've replaced refrigerator control board and gasket seal, water heater thermostat, brake magnets and lining, propane tank valves and a few other gadgets. Replaced bath and kitchen faucets, , shower head and shower mix valve. You'd do the same with a motorhome, or more...

Price really depends on condition, and condition depends on care and exposure to salt and water and critters. Look through threads here on "inspecting" and buying used to see in detail the things you should check that might not be obvious. Long term water leaks can do a lot of damage over time, whether from plumbing or rain, and the water can move a long way between the walls and floor.

John
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Old 10-24-2006, 10:15 PM   #9
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The Excella was the top of the Llne 31' Sovereign as early as 1969 or 1970 thru at least 1979, I think. The Excella 500 was the top of the line 31' Excella during this time period. I don't think they offered the Excella or Excella 500 on shorter lengths until later.

In 1980 and 1981 there was an Excella II trim level that was available pretty much on all trailer lengths from 20' to 31'. I suspect that they are rarer on the shorter lengths and more common on the longer lengths.

In 1983, they reverted to just plain Excella as a trim level, again on all trailer lengths.

In 1984 to 1987, the Excella trim level seems to have been confined to the 31', 32', and 34' lengths, with the the shorter units being Sovereign's.

In from 1988 thru 1996, all "traditionally shaped (non-Squarestream) trailers were Excella's, except for the 21' Sovereign that was available in the early to mid-90's. Somewhere in this range, they added the "Classic" badging to the Excella's.

In 1997, the Safari line began in addition to the Excella's.

In 2001, they made the last Excella's, with the name changing to "Classic" for 2002.

Somewhere starting in the mid-to late 1980's and thru at least the mid 1990's, the Excella 1000 was the top of the line Excella model, and it was available on all Excella trailer lengths, but you see it most often on the longer models.

I should also point out that from 1981 onward, the "Limited" was either a separate model, or was an even higher trim level than the Excella 1000. Limited's continue to be the top of the line trim level Classic to this day.

- - - - -

As for trailer shape and rivet count, the change was made between the 1993 and 1994 years, so the 1994's were the first to get the squarer shape and lower rivet count. Then in 1996 (1995 for some 34's) all lengths 25' and longer became "wide bodies".

- - - - -

There are many threads about how to check out a trailer. Do a search to find them for far more detail than I will provide here. Beyond checking all appliances and systems to make sure they work, I would check the floor with an ice pick around the entire perimeter (including inside storage compartments and such) for soft spots caused by leaks that the owners may or may not have already repaired, and may or may not even be aware of. I would also look closely for signs of significant frame rust. The most visible points to check are the rear frame ends going to the rear bumper (especially inside the rear bumper storage compartment), the frame out riggers in front of and behind the wheel wells, and the tougue. You would be surprised, but I have seen late 80's to early 90's trailers with rust thru holes in each of these locations, yet others have nothing more than maybe some light surface rust at most. It depends where the trailer spent it's life and how well it was maintained. A little light rust is almost inevitable, but if significant rust issues exist, I would walk away. Floor rot, if minimal can be more easily repaired, but if extensive, waiting for a better trailer might be advised.
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Old 10-25-2006, 05:21 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the information! It has helped greatly to narrow down choices.

Is the Excella just the blue stripe on the side? Or is the blue stripe what they call a "graphic"?

Pat
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Old 10-25-2006, 06:31 PM   #11
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The blue stripe is just a blue stripe. They have been offfering in varying widths (<1" to > 6"), lengths (full trailer length, rear half only, etc.), and hues (lighter, darker, etc.) and have been used on Airstreams of varying trim levels over the years: Internationals, Sovereigns, and Excella's. Limiteds, on the other hand, often used a different color, like burgundy.

In the 1970's, 80's, and early 90's the Excella, Excella II, Excella 500, and Excella 1000 name was made up of cast metal letters or words that were attached to the trailer, often on top of or just ahead of the blue stripes. In later years (mid-90's onward?) the Excella and Excella 1000 labels were decals that were applied to the front sides of the trailer, usually near the blue stripes (above or below).
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Old 10-25-2006, 07:48 PM   #12
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Joe,

Thanks for the information!

Pat
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Old 10-27-2006, 12:47 PM   #13
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Excella

Hi Pat,

I bought my 86 32' Excella last year off Ebay, sight unseen! I picked mine because it had a more unique floor plan with the rear double bed to the side in the rear with a long, low dresser opposite and a high dresser to the side. Feels like a real bedroom and along with the triple door cedar lined closet, has plenty of space for clothes!

I had it towed to the A/S plant where it had a LOT of work done over the winter so I didn't even see it until 6 months after I bought it!! I am VERY happy with the trailer and it's size. I also have a 21' 1954 Flying Cloud so all that extra space and footage in the Excella is pure luxury when on long trips!

I paid less than what you are looking at but have put a lot of money in it since so look very closely at what shape the trailer is in. New fridges and A/C can get costly along with other repairs. My trailer had a lot of small things that were broken and it added up fast. (like shower vent, grey tank valve, fresh water tank relief valve, facets, etc. The kind of stuff that would drive you crazy if not fixed!)

Good Luck in finding your dream!

Patti
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