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Old 01-01-2012, 08:44 PM   #1
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1976 31' Sovereign
Owatonna , Minnesota
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 3
Restoration of a 1983 limited 34'


I just purchased a 1983 limited 34' trailer. It is need of some restoration. Has anyone tried to restore on of these? Are there things I should look for as I start? First thing I know is that the door handle is broke and I do not believe it is made any longer. The previous owner did a number on the door trying to get into it. Do you think I can I get a new door somewhere? I am looking for some advice before I tear into this baby. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks Dave

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Old 01-01-2012, 09:47 PM   #2
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Aage's Avatar
1974 31' Sovereign
Ottawa , ON
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 11,220
Images: 25
Howdee & welcome to, Dave! You have found THE place to get all your questions answered.

As far as getting that '83 fixed up and you happy with its condition, here's my biggest recommendation: read, read, read! Become intimately familiar with the search function here, and start looking through it for answers to the questions you have now for your TT (travel trailer).

If you "tear" into anything on your new-to-you acquisition, you may pay too much for parts you may or may not need, and secondly, might become frustrated by doing the work with less than optimum knowledge on how to do it. This assumes you are not an RV mechanic already. if you are, ignore this post and go on without me.

Anyways, it's winter. You are in Minnesota. You are not going to be going anywhere in a hurry right away are you? Take your time, and figure it all out in advance. You'll be happy you did!

By the way, another recommendation: invest in an Airstream Service Manual for that year. While they aren't perfect, they do contain a barrel of great info to help you out.

Good luck, and post lots of pictures, especially when you expect help from the readers here.

ps: I think your '83 is the lightest of all the 34-footers around. Oh, and if it has that light bleached oak interior, don't be in a hurry to throw it away; there's a lot of folks (me included) that love that look...

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Old 01-01-2012, 10:23 PM   #3
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1983 34' Excella
1967 24' Tradewind
Little Rock , Arkansas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,821
Images: 32
Welcome! Nice choice in an Airstream!

If it is just the handle that is broken, a member has reproduced them in Stainless Steel. His name is John Burkey, and here is a link to one of his posts. The next post has a photo of the handle I got from him for my 1983 34' Excella. Very nice replacement part.

As far as the rest of the door goes, if the frame is still in good shape, you could re-skin it rather than replacing the entire door.

Aage is right about you needing a Service Manual. They're not available for 1983, but are for 1982 and 1984. I got a 1984 because my brother has a '84 Excella. There is practically no difference between the years. Service Manuals are available from Airstream on their website.

He's also right, we want to see photos. Lots of them. There are photos of my interior in my Gallery Uploads. Mine has the terrible faux walnut laminate and vinyl rather than bleached oak, or any real wood for that matter. Still, it is nice inside. Somday a refacing of the counters and closets would help, but plenty in the works for me before I get to that.
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Old 01-02-2012, 01:15 AM   #4
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2010 30' Classic
Vintage Kin Owner
South of the river , Minnesota
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 4,165
Hi Dave,

It's unusual for a newer trailer like yours to require extensive restoration but you should find plenty of information and advice here. I'm just down Highway 3 from you and there are several other Airstreamers in the area -- Wabbiteer being another who posts fairly often. I see from your profile you also have a 2005 Safari -- is that correct?

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Old 01-02-2012, 04:46 AM   #5
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1993 34' Excella
York , South Carolina
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2,759
Images: 7
Hi Dave, welcome to the world of the Alumaliner, 34 feet of Airstream fun! They are special, a club within the club. Enjoy!
Safe & happy travels, John
WBCCI #268 Palmetto State Airstream Club 22
Region 3 President....come with us, you will like it.

Go often to the house of a friend, for weeds choke the unused path........Emerson

Are you kind?
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:15 AM   #6
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1982 34' Limited
Brunswick , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,084
Images: 22
Hey Dave,
Welcome to the forums! I am in the process of restoring an 1982 34' ltd. I would imagine it would be very close to yours.
My door handle had some issies as well and the PO replaced the handle only. I will post some pics of the retrofit. If the door is intact, this may be an easier option.
In regards to other issues, check the subfloor at the perimeter. I had issues in the rear streetside corner and under the refrigerator.
I have all the manuals for my 82, I would be happy to look anything up or take some reference pics.

Good luck!
Post some pics!
1982 34' Limited
2000 Excursion V10 4x4
WBCCI #3321
TAC #GA-24
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Old 01-02-2012, 10:35 AM   #7
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1976 31' Sovereign
Owatonna , Minnesota
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 3
Hey everyone! I am excited about this project. I will get some pictures posted soon. The door is not in too bad of shape but the previous owned used a claw hammer to try and open the door when the lock broke so it is sprung a little and there are marks around the handle itself. The lock is still broke but I am going to take it apart and see what is exactly broke.

I plan to take time on this and make it right. I would like to make the interior a little more modern. I am thinking about a bambo floor and light coverings for the couch and dinette.

I need to get my profile changed as well. I had an 05 safari 25' when I originally signed up here. I sold that when I found this one. I love the look of the 34'. And this has a great floor plan. I am pretty handy so I am really looking forward to this.
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:12 PM   #8
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1983 34' Limited
Wheat Ridge , Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 71
Images: 3
Hey Dave,

I just bought my 34' limited a few weeks ago! Still working on things and quite a bit to update for a while. Hasn't been used much over the years so we have lots to work on. Keep finding little things. We will be fulltimers and the majority of things work just working on the small stuff! Can't wait to share stories!
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:46 PM   #9
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1982 34' Limited
Brunswick , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,084
Images: 22
Flyfishrra, welcome to the forums! I am sure you will love your 34! I have had a great time with mine! Post some pics when you get a chance.we love pics!
1982 34' Limited
2000 Excursion V10 4x4
WBCCI #3321
TAC #GA-24
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:49 PM   #10
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1985 31' Limited
Glenville , New York
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 156
Images: 18
Hey Dave, I just just purchased a 31 ltd and although I'm not restoring mine since it's in fine shape I'd be happy to snap pics or shoot photo's your way for reference. Good luck can't wait to see pics of your progress!
1985 31' Limited
2003 GMC Sierra HD SLT 4x4
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Old 05-04-2017, 05:11 PM   #11
New Member
1978 31' Excella 500
Eden , Utah
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 4
I also just bought an 83 limited and am having trouble finding a service manual I think you will need one as I do for sure , so if any one can help where to find one we need to know. Good luck mine has the haze blue interior everywhere.
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Old 05-04-2017, 05:27 PM   #12
4 Rivet Member
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1982 34' Limited
1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Sioux Falls , South Dakota
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 489
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Smile 1982 34' Limited


We have a 1982 34' Limited. Ours is the very dark interior that I am already starting to remove at least some of. It just feels way to dim inside for us.

I haven't started looking for a service manual, that is, I haven't even started looking for it here on Airforums, I know they have some documentation here, but I will let you know if I find one, Baja Bill.
sent from my hipflask
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Old 06-04-2019, 11:49 PM   #13
1 Rivet Member
1983 34' Limited
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 9
Did anyone find locations other than eBay to get service manuals?

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