Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 11-17-2005, 09:33 PM   #1
Rivet Master
 
JimGolden's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
1977 31' Excella 500
Berkeley Springs , West Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,619
Images: 7
Jim's Excella

I have a '77 Excella 500. It's the model I've always wanted. I'm in the process of fixing it up. I'm looking to get:

New Axles
New disk brakes
New Electric over Hydraulic brake control unit
New floor
New Flooring
Probably a new Fridge
New Water heater

Basically i bought a shell with an OK interior. My wife is allergic to everything though and so I will need to swap out the foam and fabrics. It'll be some work, but it's a labor of love. I put some pictures on here...wasn't able to figure out how to get them into my own section though.

Anyway, i bought it right so it won't hurt so bad to put a little $$$$ into it.

Jim
__________________

__________________
JimGolden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2005, 10:32 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
davidz71's Avatar
 
1986 25' Sovereign
Southern Middle , Tennessee
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 3,148
Images: 23
Jim,
Since our trailers are pretty much the same unit, you will enjoy fixing her up. I learned some things on my own, learned a few by reading the Service manual and learned even more from the folks on this forum. I can't tell you how many people I called upon to help me with a problem here or there. They were great!
__________________

__________________
Craig

AIR #0078
'01 2500hd ext. cab, 8.1 litre gas, 5 sp. Allison auto
3.73 rear end
Mag-Hytec rear diff cover
Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
Amsoil synthetics all around
265 watt AM Solar, Inc. system
davidz71 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2005, 06:52 AM   #3
4 Rivet Member
 
markjoandall's Avatar
 
2001 30' Excella
Bedford , New Hampshire
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 347
Images: 4
Project

Everyone needs a good project once in a while. Good luck on yours.

Mark
__________________
-Life is a journey, not a destination.
Aerosmith
markjoandall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2005, 09:28 AM   #4
Rivet Master
 
balrgn's Avatar
 
1974 27' Overlander
1954 26' Romany Cruiser
1960 26' Overlander
Rockingham County , New Hampshire
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 4,410
Images: 74
Send a message via AIM to balrgn Send a message via Yahoo to balrgn
Congrats to your new unit! Love the 70's units! Currently working on 4

Keep an eey on my website, I've done a few things your looking to do. Maybe you can find a hint or so there.

Welcome aboard!
__________________
'74 Overlander (T-O-Bee)
'46 Spartan Manor (Rosie)
'54 Cruiser (Bogart)
'60 Overlander (Hoagy)
2007 GMC Sierra 2500 HD Duramax
WBCCI 1754 - AIR # 6281
www.balrgn.com
balrgn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2006, 11:43 AM   #5
77Excella500 31'
 
rvman's Avatar
 
1977 31' Excella 500
Perris , California
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1
Hey Jim,
Congratulations on your purchase.
It sounds a lot like mine.
77 Excella 500, 31ft., rear bath, center twins, front sofa/bed on curb side.
I'm sure a lot of us would appreciate a notice of any original parts you may be removing that you may want to part with. Likewise, let the group know if you need anything. Someone may just have it laying around.
Good luck on the resurrection.
Lou in Perris, CA
__________________
Lou in Sunny Southern California
rvman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-22-2006, 03:20 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
JimGolden's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
1977 31' Excella 500
Berkeley Springs , West Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,619
Images: 7
Sure thing Lou. I'm going to try to reuse as much as I can, but anything I change out I'll definitely put on here.

Does your Excella have a bed on each side of the aisle? Mine's got the fold out couch that turns into a 2-person bed. I like the layout a lot, except for kids having to run past you in the middle of the night to get to the bathroom. Haven't actually taken it camping yet so don't know how much of a problem that will really be. My daughter generally sleeps through the night without having to run to the potty so it may not be a big deal. Guess we'll see

Take care,

Jim
__________________
JimGolden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2007, 08:11 PM   #7
3 Rivet Member
 
1977 31' Excella 500
portland , Tennessee
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 110
To the above 77 excella 500 owners, I need help. I just bought one with all cushions, mattress's removed. He has left the frames. It has two center twins. I can figure this one out. It has a couch to the door side. I need to see pictures of the cushion or cushions so I can make some. The seat measures 22" to the center hinge and 22" up the back at a angle. It is 71" long. Can anyone help with dimensions and pictures. I have looked everywhere.
__________________
netlace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2007, 08:45 PM   #8
3 Rivet Member
 
Lee Pace's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 201
Images: 4
Jim,

Have you checked the Airstream Archives? You might find a picture there.

Good Luck,

Gloria Pace
WBCCI 7287
72 Sovereign
Greenville, Tx
__________________
Lee Pace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2007, 10:07 PM   #9
Rivet Master
 
CaddyGrn's Avatar
 
1963 16' Bambi
Yreka , California
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,879
Congrats on your Airstream! Have fun with your retrofit!

By the way, the "old" stuff you don't want... don't throw it away, post it for free or for sale here on the forum in the classifieds! You would be surprised what folks may want. Many times even the old cushions are icky, but can be used for a pattern by someone who needs one!

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)
__________________
CaddyGrn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2007, 08:31 PM   #10
3 Rivet Member
 
1977 31' Excella 500
portland , Tennessee
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 110
I received the camper with no cushions, curtains ect. Any thing that held odors was removed before I received it. I wonder the dimensions of the Gaucho and if it was two or more pieces and also if it was attached. It baffles me. It has a futon like frame on a slide. 22" x 22". when it is laid flat there is about 4" space to the wall. I have purchased the fabric and welt to make one. I have not yet purchased the foam. I would like to keep the frame if I can figure it out. If I do get rid of anything I will post it here. I found a couple of pics, but cant tell anything by them. I wish they were still there so I could get the pattern from them. Thanks to all who posted.
__________________
netlace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2007, 09:23 AM   #11
3 Rivet Member
 
1977 31' Excella 500
portland , Tennessee
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 110
Jim, I think yours is it. Please help with my sofa. Maybe your living room sofa or the bed in the hall. If I send or post a picture of the frame, can you help.?
azalia56@bellsouth.net
__________________
netlace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-2010, 05:03 PM   #12
3 Rivet Member
 
1978 31' Excella 500
Currently Looking...
SOUTH ANHERST , Ohio
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 103
Blog Entries: 1
Question about a 1977 31ft Excella with a rear bathroom , do all these Excellas have the sagging of the rear and frame issues??? I am new to the market and still looking , I have a potential buy in the Ohio area that I will be looking at . But I have been reading about axel issues , rear sagging issues and frame issues .Do all these of this year have all these issues . Being new I do not want to fall in to a money pit.
I realy like the Excella of that year or so , any help on the subject would be most helpful. Thanks
__________________
Gosman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-2010, 08:59 PM   #13
Rivet Master
 
JimGolden's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
1977 31' Excella 500
Berkeley Springs , West Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,619
Images: 7
Question about a 1977 31ft Excella with a rear bathroom , do all these Excellas have the sagging of the rear and frame issues??? I am new to the market and still looking , I have a potential buy in the Ohio area that I will be looking at . But I have been reading about axel issues , rear sagging issues and frame issues .Do all these of this year have all these issues . Being new I do not want to fall in to a money pit.
I realy like the Excella of that year or so , any help on the subject would be most helpful. Thanks

Hi GOSMAN2,

I think I may have just posted to one of your other postings...

Certainly not all Excella's of this vintage would have these sag and separation problems. But, many will. Here is how you check for them:

For Separation, get your 200lb buddy to stand on the back bumper. Have him bounce up and down as hard as he can without falling off. While he does this, you want to be down so that your eyes are level with where the shell meets the frame, just about level with the top of the bumper. If you see that crack (where the shell meets the frame) change in size, you have separation at the rear end. You can also get separation at the front, but it's less likely than at the rear on these old units.

For sag, you basically need to get an accurate measurement in a straight line along the side of the trailer to see if it is indeed straight. Look for a buckle aft of the wheel wells in the skin. If you see that, it means the tail is sagging, which puts the top of the coach in tension (pulling) and the bottom in compression (squeezing) and thus the skin will buckle. Imagine bending a Coke can in half. Same thing.

On my coach, I could see the buckle. I then used a carpenter's laser to shine a beam down the side of it (at dusk) and pull some measurements with a tape measure. Sure enough, she was sagging a good 1.5" or so.

The problem, as I understand it, is that Airstream used the same frame for these 31 footers that they used on their 19 footers. When you got that long, you wound up with something akin to a fishing pole. They were very flexible. Guys would typically not balance their tires (ALWAYS dynamically balance your tires regardless of what the tire boy says!) and hang 300lbs of stuff on the back bumper. That would then impart a lot of stress on the flexible assembly and cause the skin to pull away from the shell.

You can get the same problem on the front end too. The reason I've heard espoused is by using too heavy/rigid a connection; as in using an F-350 dually with 1000 lb load bars hitched to your 'stream. Now some guys will dispute this. I'm not sure myself, and you'll have to make up your own mind. But the bottom line is that 1977 Airstream's used a very light frame for that length of trailer and you better be gentle on them or you'll break them.

I pulled the belly pan off my trailer and measured it. Mine had a 4" deep channel frame; with two channels running the length of the coach. Again, this is fine for 22 footer, OK for a 25 footer, maybe marginal for a 28 footer, but it's certainly not adequate for a 31 footer. My Avion has three rails that are 8" deep, along with a 6" deep suspension frame that attaches to the coach frame to give it 14" of frame for about 1/3 the length of the coach. In 1985, Airstream deepened the frame to 5". This made quite a bit of difference in the frame strength, and most of the problems went away.

But to answer your question, not all 1977 Excella's will have this problem. But many to most will.

Other than the frame with it's sag/separation issues, the tambour doors being worn out, the vista vue's needing cleaning out, and the axles being shot (ANY '77 you buy with original axles will need new ones...let there be no mistake about that!), my trailer wasn't in too bad a shape. The appliances were all '77 vintage and probably needed replaced (maybe the stove was salvagable but that was it). I sold it for $3K. But, it was immaculately clean otherwise. That might be a good metric for you.

Do NOT be in a hurry! Take your time, read up on here, then go buy the coach of your dreams. If a '77 Excella 500 is your dream ride, then by all means get one. I really liked mine and think they are sharp as all get out! Just look for the stuff they're prone too. If the frame is good, and the frame to shell attachment is good, then it's not that hard to save it. You will definitely need new axles. You will definitely need new appliances. But if you get a good deal on one that has a great shell and a good frame, go for it!

Best of luck.
__________________
- Jim
JimGolden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2010, 08:35 AM   #14
Rivet Master
 
funkill's Avatar

 
1973 27' Overlander
reno , NV
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,447
Images: 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimGolden View Post
I have a '77 Excella 500. It's the model I've always wanted. I'm in the process of fixing it up. I'm looking to get:

New Axles
New disk brakes
New Electric over Hydraulic brake control unit
New floor
New Flooring
Probably a new Fridge
New Water heater

Basically i bought a shell with an OK interior. My wife is allergic to everything though and so I will need to swap out the foam and fabrics. It'll be some work, but it's a labor of love. I put some pictures on here...wasn't able to figure out how to get them into my own section though.

Anyway, i bought it right so it won't hurt so bad to put a little $$$$ into it.

Jim
Hi Jim,
Congrats on your purchase. And glad you got her for a good price. I probably paid a bit too much for mine - but doesn't matter now ... I luv her

One other thing you might want to consider is weatherproofing. Sealing the seams and windows and replacing the gaskets at windows, door, exterior compartments and vents!!!

Laura
__________________

__________________
funkill is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
1974 Excella front window docu post john hd 1973-1974 Excella 500 22 08-06-2004 02:53 PM
Weight 1987 34' Excella 83Excella 1987 - 1989 Excella 6 03-26-2003 07:43 PM
78 Excella 500 davidz71 Our Community 2 10-17-2002 02:11 PM
1981 Airstream Excella Univolt dienst1 Airstream Motorhome Forums 1 08-20-2002 10:05 AM
Help find the weight of a 1981 31foot Excella Sharon Lee Our Community 8 06-18-2002 09:55 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:59 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.