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Old 05-19-2016, 11:02 AM   #1
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Austin , Texas
Join Date: May 2016
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Inspector needed in El Paso TX

Hi there! I'm looking for someone to take a look at a 1975 Excella 31' for me in El Paso! I'm in Austin, which is about 8.5 hours away, so it's not something I can really do. It's listed on Craigslist as a project with floors rebuilt, and some wiring updates, and everything else basically removed. If the work has been done as promised, I'll be buying it! I just need to have someone with the knowledge take a gander at it! Please PM me if you can help!


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Old 05-20-2016, 09:01 AM   #2
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,901
If you click on the "Portal" tab right under the big Air Forums logo at the top of the page, then scroll down the portal page keeping your eyes on the right hand side, you will see a place where you can search for inspectors by state. A glance shows that there are a couple of forums members who have volunteered via their profile to do inspections in El Paso. You can then contact them via private massage and see if they are game.

I might be able to save you and the inspector some trouble, though. As I look through the pictures on the craigslist ad, I see some red flags. There are three ways to do a sub-floor replacement. The first (and best, and probably the easiest) is to disconnect the shell from the frame, lift the shell off the floor, and then repair the frame and replace the floor. The second (also effective, but a lot harder, though it may seem less threatening) is to perform the floor replacement with the shell still sitting on the frame. Note that you have to do practically everything to do a shell-on floor replacement that you do to do a shell-off except for the part where you lift the shell.

In any floor replacement, you should remove everything from the interior, remove the bellypan and banana wraps, remove the lower-most layer of interior skins. This has to be done because the main connection of the body to the frame is via bolts that come up through the frame's outriggers, through the plywood floor, and through the C-channel which is riveted to the body. You can't get at both sides of the bolts without removing the banana wraps and the edges of the belly skin, and the lower interior skins. Usually a complete floor replacement will look like full sheets of plywood that have been laid side-to-side (cross-ways) so that the seams (places where the plywood sheets meet) fall on the frame's cross-members. Sometimes people who do shell-on floor replacements can't get the full width piece of plywood into the C-channels, so they have to split some of the sheets down the middle, and then figure out how to join them again since there won't be a cross-member supporting that seam.

Now, looking at your seller's method of floor replacement, I would say that he cut some corners in order to make it fast, but it turned out only half-fast (if you get my meaning). First, he did not remove the bathroom prior to his floor replacement, so not only is the bathroom sitting on (probably rotten) original floor, but it creates an island of old floor that has to be worked around. If you look at the direction that his floor sheets go in, it is quite helter-skelter, some sheets going length-wise, some going cross-wise, and there are some random little floating patches that don't even look like they are laying flush with the rest of the floor. What this method is likely to result in is a lot of unsupported seams. So when you walk on these seams, you may feel some extra "give" at that spot, and will likely hear a squeak as well. More importantly, your seller makes no mention of accessing the interior skins or the bellypan. If he has done neither, then I would assume that the shell is still held to the frame with the original rusty bolts, and the plywood sheets were slotted so that they could slide into place under the wall.

One of the classic red flags of vintage trailer is the shiny new floor. Interestingly, this seller is abandoning this project, and wants to turn it over to the next owner as a "blank slate," butt has gone the extra mile to lay pergo flooring over his mish-mash of a subfloor. The finished product looks great, but it hides a lot of scary stuff. I can only assume this was the objective. Your inspector is not going to be able to look at that floor and know what the subfloor looks like.

In your search for a trailer, realize that sellers are doing you no favors by selling you an ampty shell. The original interior is going to come in handy as templates even if you don't intend to reuse the parts. Also, you will get an understanding of how the trailer was originally put together.

Good luck!

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Old 05-20-2016, 11:09 AM   #3
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1957 22' Caravanner
1960 26' Overlander
1963 24' Tradewind
El Paso , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2011
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I can look at that trailer for you.
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