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Old 02-28-2011, 11:05 AM   #1
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Excella problem years?

Not sure where to post this, but we are considering a 34 Excella to keep in the south for winter use and travel. We were told by a long time Airstreamer that we should avoid newer than 1993 through ??? He stated there were severe structural problems for a few years - not sure how long. Then it is his belief that they corrected these and made them much stronger. Is this general knowledge? If it is a fact, how do we find out what years are safe?
Thanks for any help, Mary Jane
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Old 02-28-2011, 11:42 AM   #2
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We have a 1998 34' Excella 1000 that has no problems whatsoever. We think it is a wonderful coach. However if you are going to use it in the south, I recommend adding a 2nd 13,000 btu A/C in the bedroom.

Either put a wall-mounted control next to the bed or use one with a wireless remote. Be sure to have a drip tube run down. Don't let it drip onto the aluminum.

Everything else, wonderful coach.
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Old 10-03-2011, 09:01 PM   #3
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I have a 1995 Excella 1000 34 ft. I know of no problems except the upholstry coming loose in the living room area. I just put it back with plastic lattice strips and screws. I is neat.
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Old 10-03-2011, 09:25 PM   #4
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Actually...when did they start installing the padded ceilings that fall out?...about '93?

Gee, none of them are 'show stoppers' and they all leak.

We are thrilled with our '91...leaks did cause problems with the floor...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f205...num-54749.html

'95 started the Wide Bodies?
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:03 PM   #5
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93 Excella

We love our 93 29 footer, only thing is I wished it didnt have OSB for the sub-floor. Padded ceilings? Ive been told Im crazy but I dont think we have the padded ceilings. I might should have them but thats another story........
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiHoAgRV View Post
Actually...when did they start installing the padded ceilings that fall out?...about '93?

Gee, none of them are 'show stoppers' and they all leak.

We are thrilled with our '91...leaks did cause problems with the floor...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f205...num-54749.html

'95 started the Wide Bodies?
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsmith84 View Post
We love our 93 29 footer, only thing is I wished it didnt have OSB for the sub-floor. Padded ceilings? Ive been told Im crazy but I dont think we have the padded ceilings. I might should have them but thats another story........
Padded ceilings began in 1994 along with the shell shape change and other constuction technique changes (e.g. use of adhesive between the outer skins and ribs and therefore less rivets). The foam backing will probably eventually fail on all such units and the padding will then droop. Ours made it 16 years before it drooped last year on our 1994 28' Excella (that we sold earlier this year), but we tacked it back up with buttons screwed to the inner skin and it looked fine. I have seen others that same age that haven't drooped yet and other newer Airstreams that drooped sooner. Re-gluing a drooping padded ceiling back up is apparently not a viable long term option. Airstream told us that to "fix" it they would remove the interior skin panels and replace them with new aluminum and then apply new padded ceiling material to the new skin panels - definitely not an inexpensive proposition. We opted for the buttons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJBear View Post
Not sure where to post this, but we are considering a 34 Excella to keep in the south for winter use and travel. We were told by a long time Airstreamer that we should avoid newer than 1993 through ??? He stated there were severe structural problems for a few years - not sure how long. Then it is his belief that they corrected these and made them much stronger. Is this general knowledge? If it is a fact, how do we find out what years are safe?
Thanks for any help, Mary Jane
Someone once told me that the early 34' front kitchen models (which I think started in about 1994 or 1995), may have had structural issues with droop rearward of the axles, but I never saw proof of that theory. He claimed that later 34' front kitchens (about 1996+) were reinforced and didn't have the issue.

I have never heard of other structural issues on 1994 and newer Airstream other than some frame cracking rearward of the axles on certain early to mid 2000's 22' models. Of course, that does not mean there weren't other issues that I am not aware of.

Not structural, but I have heard of some limited breakage issues with the frameless windows that also began to be used in 1994 (e.g. breaking when open in a strong wind), but this does not seem too common. I think this concern likely affects all units with frameless windows up to brand new Airstreams.

Other than that, I do not know of any specific problems with 1994 and newer units, but I am certain that each age of Airstream has it's own issues. Ask questions. Become educated. Properly inspect any used Airstream you consider buying for the typical problems associated with that age. Then make your best educated decision.
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Old 10-04-2011, 12:24 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Hodum View Post
I have a 1995 Excella 1000 34 ft. I know of no problems except the upholstry coming loose in the living room area. I just put it back with plastic lattice strips and screws. I is neat.
I have the same problem with that drooping ceiling ..What kind of plastic lattice strips are you referring to because I would like to fix it. the spray adhesive did not work...thanks ernesto
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Old 10-04-2011, 12:43 AM   #8
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We love our 1992 Excella Classic 29'. Yes, we had some soft spots in the floor, which we fixed. She's full of hardwood, has a big ole cedar-lined double door mirrored closet, gleaming parquette floors. Wouldn't trade her for anything.

All her systems work. We put on new brakes & shocks, and have pulled her well over 6000 miles in the last 9 months. While we wouldn't trade her, we may add a smaller one to our collection someday. It won't be a new one.

Oh, and we've been in her during a storm which uprooted huge trees and did major damage on the other side of the park, and have weathered two hailstorms. She didn't rock or leak, and the hail dents added to previous ones just added to her character.

I am as comfortable in "Esmerelda" as I am at home. We bought her cheap and spent a little fixing her up. Between $2,000-3,000. There's a lot more that could be done. But for now we're more interested in using her than completely restoring. She's got some dings and cosmetic issues here and there, but then, so have we.

Having said all that, when you look at late 80-early 90s models, look for telltale signs the rub rail has popped loose in the front. These models can have front end separation. It had begun in ours, and we fixed it before it got out of hand. Check the forums for more about what to watch for. We popped some front rivets, which led to discovery.

But...gitcha' one. They are the coolest things ever!
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Old 10-04-2011, 03:34 AM   #9
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2001 exHella

I bought a 2001 25 foot excella (new). At least, I think it was new. I didn't know a thing about shopping AS's or any RV for that matter. I had it home a couple of weeks and walked in to find a flood. Water coming in from the bathroom fan. I looked better at the AS and the carpet was not factory. The radio looked like it had been replaced at some point and a missing piece of glass from one of the top cabnets. The couch had preivious water stains on it from a different flood. I believe it was left on the lot and someone took what they needed from it until they fixed it up enough to sell it to an idiot--me. Last year, more floods. Rear floor rotten. Gutted it and found at least 6 different leaks. Most notably, it was pointed out to me that the curb side top/rear outter skin had rivots that were not factory. I just about have it put back together. There was so much Vulkem put into sealing it up that all my belongings, myself and my dog reeks of chemicals all the time. it has been airing out for several months -- to no avail.
I bought this AS in Brooksville,FL from a dealer.
I say don't buy one unless you can aford to rebuild it.
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Old 10-04-2011, 04:01 AM   #10
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We love our '93 34'. Have had no problems that I am aware of. 93 is arguably the last great year for Airstream. 94+ are widebody, less rivets, 2 piece rib rather than 1 piece, ceilings that fall, more plastic. We wouldn't have anything else. Thay ALL leak at some point in time. Up to the owner to stay ahead of it.
Have a friend who owns a +- 96 model 34. His does have a crack in the outer skin running sort of diagonal from the corner of the door, about 4-5" long. Could be a structural thing, who knows. Mine pops a rivet occasionaly in the same area on the inside. Long trailer, rough roads, especially bridges, more flexing.
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Old 10-04-2011, 04:35 AM   #11
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Two International presidents over the last 5 years had their 34's develop tail drag. They both had the elephant ear fix installed in them. The trailers were late model wide bodies. They were using Equalizer hitches and putting on a lot of miles. Our 1989 model has a lot of miles and pops a rivet now and then. It is a long trailer with big overhangs, so the stress in the frame over the wheels gets high, if you encounter rough roads. We do not have the padded ceiling so do not have that problem. Any vehicle that uses urethane foam as a structural support will encounter problems because urethane's strength declines with age and will fail. Look at all the car ceiling repair places in Florida. I wonder how long it will be before the urethane foam bonding tape that started to be used in the late model trailers to replace many of the rivets will start to fail?
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Old 10-08-2011, 06:46 AM   #12
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We love our 1989 29'. No padded ceiling. It has USB floors, though.
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Old 10-08-2011, 07:49 AM   #13
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Quote:
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We love our 1989 29'. No padded ceiling. It has USB floors, though.
I wonder if that was a typo or auto-correct. I think you mean OSB, unless you plug your iPod into the floor.
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Old 10-10-2011, 09:17 PM   #14
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1986 34' Excello

I'm considering purchasing a nice 1986 34' Excello. Seems to have no problems. No blemishes in the skin, all systems seem to work, new tires. Anyway, I wondering how much I should pay for it and are there any areas I should focus on for possible problems. Their asking 10 thousand. I appreciate all responses and I'm new to the threads so please bear with me. Thanks, Scott
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Old 10-11-2011, 07:21 AM   #15
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Scott,

If everything is in good shape, the equipment works and the floors are solid (rotted floor is a sign of leaks), I would think 10K is reasonable.

Our is a '97 34'. The floor is plywood not OSB. The ceiling did fall due to an OSHA mandated adhesive change. (The OSHA approved adhesive breaks down at 97f. Try keeping the inside temp below that in storage!) We had screws and buttons installed in the entire ceiling (not just the saggy part) and it looks good. I haven't seen any evidence of separation (even though I have drug the tail a couple of times by accident)
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Old 10-11-2011, 07:43 AM   #16
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I have an 86 32' Excella and would not take for it. Yes it did have some problems but mostly due to previous owner neglect. All exterior / structural seems to be in good condition. Replaced all upholstery, repaired floor in two areas, replaced toilet, and now it is like new. Not bad for a 25 year old model. Best of luck in your search for a home away from home.
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Old 10-11-2011, 11:39 AM   #17
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Thanks for the input so far and we will look at the cielings. I have noticed they are very sticky. I was thinking someone may have fried food during their stay but I believe it may be the adhesive you're talking about. It may be bleeding through. Great feedback and again, thank you. I hope to hear more. This site is excellent so far!
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Old 10-11-2011, 09:17 PM   #18
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Quote:
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I have the same problem with that drooping ceiling ..What kind of plastic lattice strips are you referring to because I would like to fix it. the spray adhesive did not work...thanks ernesto
I went to Lowes and got some white plastic strips 8' long and cut them to fit arched across the interior. I fastened them with white screws through the inner aluminum shell. it held the vinyl in place very well and looked neat. Cost was less than $20.00 ant the time was less than an hour. Lowes calls the plastic strips "lattice strips." They can be cut with a razor knife very easily.
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Old 10-17-2011, 04:51 AM   #19
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A 1986 Excella will have the vinyl laminated ceilings and will eventually get sticky due to the "spewing" of the plasticizer. This is covering in a number of other threads and can be cured by properly cleaning the ceiling and then sealing it with "Future" acrylic floor polish.
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Old 10-17-2011, 06:02 AM   #20
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34' have there own set of issues due to the added weight and the third axle, but our 1998 31' Excella, has plywood floors and hasn't had any issues with the ceiling padding falling. I don't know of any other long term issues, except maybe the water that collects in the storage box on the tongue, which causes them to rust out.

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