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Old 09-06-2011, 05:38 PM   #1
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1988 32' Excella
Galesburg , Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 8
Newbie... Please help or offer your .02 worth

My name is Bill Garrison, a young 36yo, and yet, I like things with Nostalgia or a uniqueness all it's own. I am an avid BMW rider, and on my travels all over the U.S. I have always driven passed Airstream trailers and always wanted one..something about them.. was it the polished aluminum.. was it the antique type look, or was it because I love twinkies so much... no clue.. but I have ALWAYS been drawn to them. Well, I came across this 1988 Excella 1000 32 foot trailer. It is in great shape.. it has been sitting for a number of years. I have a trailer sales company looking at it, to go through it, but I pulled the trigger and bought it for 4k. I do not know what model it is as NADA has several acronyms beyond Excella. WTSB..etc..
The couch has been removed and replaced with a futon looking couch, but other than that..I believe it is all original. full or queen bed in back with storage underneath it, bathroom needs some work, contact paper coming off of the shower wall in a spot. Fridge door seems a bit warped, freezer is fine. Stove is in great looking shape. A/C and Heater are one unit. There is so much I have absolutely no clue about..
While there, there was another buyer there with a checkbook out asking how much to write teh check for and to who... so, I had absolutely no bargaining power to negotiate price, nor did I have any time to go over it, front to rear to test everything.. so.. essentially I ended up buying it as is sight and buy...no testing, etc. Awnings I did look at..no holes, all are well. The blue stripe going around is flaking off... and the cap over the LP tanks is missing..

So, I guess what I am doing here... is introducing myself... telling you what I got... hope I didn't make a decision based on emotion and bought it instead of testing and seeing I may have bought a money pit..

What should I be doing now that I own this? Polishing? Or going through all electrical and figuring out what does /does not work and then report back and let you educated folks tell me to jump ship and sell, or enjoy my diamond in the rough..

Also.. I have a 2008 F150 Crew Cab 4x4.. should I be buying different shocks? Overload springs? Behind the futon couch in the front on the floor there appears to be some batteries and some other electrical going on.. is that an inverter or something?

Last thing.. I ride a Big touring bike K1200LT and was wondering if there is anyway to bring the bike with me when connected to this trailer.. aside from putting the bike in the back of the truck..

Thanks in advance!

Bill
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Old 09-06-2011, 06:05 PM   #2
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1994 34' Excella
1978 31' Sovereign
Mansfield , Georgia
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 261
Welcome to Air Forums. You are tapped into a great resource for information on Airstreams. Check out the forums topics for detailed information on specific topics. I would suggest that you check your tires and WD hitch setup first. Old tires can blow out and cause huge problems. Your 1/2 ton truck and hitch may be at it's top end limit if you are towing a loaded 30' TT. Also for water leaks around pumbing, windows, entry door, and exterior storage doors as water can cause structural damage. Then check all appliances. Cosmetic stuff can wait until structural and mechanical items are inspected and functioning properly.

Your bike is not going to fit into the trailer and can not be mounted to a rear rack mount, the trailers frame will not support it.
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Old 09-06-2011, 06:36 PM   #3
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1988 32' Excella
Galesburg , Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2011
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The trailer sales company said they would go through all of it.. so, not sure if they will say things are bad in hopes I buy new from them... but at least hopefully they point out any faults. The tires all looked real good..not dry rotted at all. I would be replacing them soon anyway... like my bikes, I know the extra dime now will save a dollar later.. I was told it has absolutely no leaks.. but I did notice on the underside of the trailer where the valves are for dumping the holding tanks the metal looked as though it was torn away, maybe caught on something..and I saw some wires there. Not sure what they would go to.. but could be the brakes on the trailer. Any idea what the weight is on this trailer? Also what is the tongue weight?
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Old 09-06-2011, 06:53 PM   #4
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1994 34' Excella
1978 31' Sovereign
Mansfield , Georgia
Join Date: Mar 2007
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You can research the forums topics here for the exact nunbers. From memory your gross weight will be around 7,500 to 8,000 lbs., tongue weight will be around 10% of gross. WD hitch is weight distribution hitch.
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Old 09-06-2011, 07:41 PM   #5
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With an F150 I don't think there's a practical way to take both the trailer and the BMW. You'll likely be pushing the payload limit when you're loaded for camping once you figure in the tongue weight of the trailer.
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Old 09-06-2011, 07:51 PM   #6
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1986 32' Excella
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Canton , Georgia
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That is going to be a great trailer! We have a 1989 excella 29, which is very similar. Do you have a dinette in yours? We do not.
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Old 09-06-2011, 07:58 PM   #7
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1963 19' Globetrotter
Old Bridge , New Jersey
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I will offer my .02, because I am a newbie also and that is all it will be worth. I camped in mine a few times and that is pretty much how I became familiar with mine. I will also say that the more I use it the more I like it and am sure I made the right decision. As I find little things wrong with it I fix them, but first I research it here on the forum, the best example I could give of this would be that I never knew one shouldn't use silicone caulk on aluminum. I am really glad I found this out before trying.

Just go slow, and do the research and make sure of your decisions.

Good luck.
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:19 PM   #8
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Welcome Bill,

Glad to have you with us and congratulations on the rig. Start by going through the systems, electrical 12-volt/AC, plumbing interior/dump, and check for leaks. Appliances are big ticket items so having a working AC, refrigerator, water heater, stove/oven will put you ahead of the game.

My current ride is a 2000 K12LTi, and at 800+/- lbs it's a load on my F150. Throw a 30+ foot AS in the equation and you'll likely exceed the TV capacity of most any F150.
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:24 AM   #9
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1988 32' Excella
Galesburg , Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2011
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I ordered a WD hitch with a sway bar attachment. It will be here tomorrow and then I will schedule a time to go pick up the trailer on Thursday...I am getting excited!
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:26 AM   #10
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1988 32' Excella
Galesburg , Illinois
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My trailer does have a Dinette in it. I am really excited to get in there and get the fabric replaced on the cushions. I think I may take it out camping this weekend.. I guess that will be the quickest way to find the problems! haha.
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:35 AM   #11
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1988 32' Excella
Galesburg , Illinois
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njloco why can't you use silicone on aluminum? I would have never known or checked that.. I did watch a youtube video that they put a new automatic thermostatic rain sensing vent fan and they used a specific airstream recommended type of sealant. I dont remember it, but know where I can find it when it gets to that time for me to use it. I am wanting to put the same fan in my AS. I will definitely search many posts before doing anything.. My first projects will be cleaning up the steps putting new grip tape, and getting them to operate smoothly. Next will be the flooring I think...carpet in it is great, I just dont want carpeting in it.
As for appliances.. everything thus far the dealership says is working, the furnace wasn't but he found a broken wire..I am guessing chewed by a mouse or something. Said it has a slight humm when running...thinks maybe a bad bearing??? Says it works fine other than that.. I haven't heard it. The fridge doesn't seem to run on electricity but does on LP.. ? Does this make sense? I am going to buy a nused fridge from a member here I believe. When I talked to them yesterday they hadn't checked plumbing or water heater yet.. so hoping no problems there. I will keep you all posted.. I am soooo excited.. Just want to get in and begin cloroxing and making it mine!
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:40 AM   #12
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1988 32' Excella
Galesburg , Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2011
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Kevin245 - Thank you for your reply.. I am really feeling like I need to get a bigger truck... haha.. I need to figure out how to get my bike on the trip with me...even if I have to go to something smaller...maybe a k75s or something..but Man..I can't imagine going cross country and not having my bike to ride the roads when I get there. I have over 300k documented miles with BMW and THAT is my passion...and who knows... maybe AS'ing will become my new passion...I am sure my OCD will kick in and I will be AS everything! I completely dismantled a generator and painted the entire thing piece by piece and am having custom graphics put on it to make it match the Airstream...it is gorgeous.. I will post pictures soon if I can figure out how..
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Old 09-14-2011, 01:26 AM   #13
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2003 28' Safari S/O
Marietta , Georgia
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Welcome to the forum and airstream ownership. I, too, enjoy the Beemer addiction and have decades of riding their twin line. I haven't figured out how to do both with my rig without buying into the PanAmerica line:
Colonial Airstream - Airstream 2010 PanAmerica 34' Toy Hauler Travel Trailer RV NJ

In the meantime, I rent a motorcycle at really distant camping locations or do without ;-( Closer to home I have friends with cycle haulers who carry my bike and they are invited to stay in the Airstream as our home base for day tours.
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Old 09-14-2011, 07:29 AM   #14
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1970 27' Overlander
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First, welcome to Airforums. It sounds like you picked up a great trailer at a fantastic price.

We tow a 1997 34' with a 2009 F150, so it can be done. I also use a ProPride hitch which makes the towing experience better by eliminating sway. Hitches and tow vehicles spark the greatest discussions on the forums. Everyone has an opinion, and a quick thread search will provide hours of educating reading.

You may want to point your browser over to the Airstream factory website. Airstream, Inc :: Home follow the tabs to "service", then "customer service" there you can find manuals for your trailer and other documentation.

To answer the silicone question, while it is great for many uses, it EATS aluminum. Vulkum was most likely the sealant you saw in the video. Silkaflex is another common one. Most trailer supply shops carry the Silkaflex. Vulkum is harder to find, but can be ordered from Airstream along with other aluminum friendly sealants for different uses.

I am guessing at the wires you saw under your trailer near the belly tear. The holding tanks have sensors on them (which most often don't work). I suspect they are wires for that. The documents on the airstream website include general wiring diagrams.

Addressing your bike, I don't see how you can carry it in a F150 and not exceed the trucks MGVW when counting in the trailer tongue weight. You will most likely need to either rent at your destination, or upgrade the truck/downsize the bike.

Again welcome to the forums!
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