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Old 12-18-2014, 08:29 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
Vintage Kin Owner
Franktown , Colorado
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 12
Fair Price for a redone Excella?

Hi All!
I'm just getting into rv camping, and I'm in LOVE with the Airstream! I recently found a 1980 Excella that has been completely redone on the inside, some new appliances, etc. They are asking 25K for it. Given the age, I have no idea if this is a fair price? The pictures appear to be very well done. I'm planning to go take a look and check things out from top to bottom week after next. From what I'm reading on here, check floors in the back and around the door will be a priority, what else should I look for? Thanks for your input!

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Old 12-18-2014, 08:35 PM   #2
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1986 31' Sovereign
Miami , Florida
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Pretty pricey for a 1980. At that price you should have new axles, brakes and tires. Recent if not new water heater, reefer and furnace. Body should be near flawless with decent plasticoat.

Have you looked through the Forum classified and RV Trader to get an idea about the prices on comparative units?

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Old 12-18-2014, 08:44 PM   #3
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Vintage Kin Owner
Franktown , Colorado
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 12
The biggest draw for me on this one is the bunk beds that were added in the middle... but will definitely be checking for the technical detail stuff. The newer units that have bunks tend to be priced even higher. I'm looking for something for my family of 4 that does not require us to kick sleepy kids off the table bed or couch every morning.
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Old 12-18-2014, 09:45 PM   #4
Chip and Jeff
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1991 25' Excella
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 14
I agree. For that price on an 80 it needs to have at the very least new axles/wheels/tires. All exterior segments need to be dent free. New appliances, furnace, converter, and water heater. Also verify that there are no leaks in the holding tanks or outside valves. The bottom line is... These are the things that cost a lot to fix or replace. Adding bunks in the right AS would be much less expensive than buying an AS that needs basic upkeep work.
Chip & Jeff
Fur-Children: Porter and Spencer
Atlanta, GA
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Old 12-19-2014, 06:37 AM   #5
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1973 25' Tradewind
Beautiful , Oregon
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Posts: 548
I don't know about the price but One mans remodel is another mans cover up or both.

I think most people who do a good, correct job will have plenty of pictures of the work in progress. I know I can show you pictures of every step of how I did mine, (doing mine) .

One thing I have said before but is important I brought an Ice pick/ awl flashlight etc. but it is sure hard to run around poking another person trailer floor with a pick. I did it but when I hit solid under a window I couldn't see it was a bad patch with thinset etc. You can see pictures in my previous post. Don't over estimate your abilities. Listen to the little voice in your head that you may not want to hear. It is a pretty good chunk of change.

The reason I mention the floor is if it is rotten a lot of the other nice aspect of the trailer is for not. I agree with what other posters have said above. Good luck you WILL find the right trailer.

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Old 12-19-2014, 07:38 AM   #6
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2014 27' FB Eddie Bauer
Chelsea , Michigan
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Seems pricey to me but if the restoration was done properly it could be a fair price. I would either hire a professional RV inspector with Airstream experience in your geographic area to do an inspection or take advantage of a Forum member in your area who is volunteering to do these inspections. There is a "tab" on the right hand side if the Forum's main page along with some drop boxes for your geographic location to help you find a Forum member for this. There are quite a few in Colorado.

Judging an Airstream restoration is not an easy task and does benefit from experience which (no offense) you probably do not currently possess and it's too involved to expect a complete written explanation of this process on this Forum.

If it were my $25k, I'd get an experienced person involved in person!
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Old 12-19-2014, 08:10 AM   #7
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Woodstock , Georgia
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you can certainly find one for less, but again it all depends on the condition and what is needed. That could be a rear bath or rear bedroom model. If its rear bath - look up rear end separation here and see what that is all about.
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Old 12-19-2014, 09:07 AM   #8
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2000 25' Safari
1999 34' Excella
Davidson County, NC , Highlands County, FL
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You did not state the length of the trailer. I know that model could be from 25' to 31'. Was there a 34' that year?
If I was going to spend that kind of money on a used trailer, I would be looking for a newer trailer. (that's just my opinion)
If you find a trailer you like with twin beds you could add custom bunks above them. Or, back in the 70's and 80's Airstream used to offer a canvas bunk kit that was good for kids. The set I had was made from awning fabric. You might get lucky find a set of them for sale somewhere or see a photo to get an idea of how to make some. I've seen a few photos of them on this website in the past.
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Old 12-19-2014, 10:44 AM   #9
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1998 31' Excella 1000
Ocean Park , Washington
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 2

WE have a 1998 Excella, here is where some problems may show up.

1. Around the toilet, has leaked some.
2. The heat pumps/AC are slow to cool. May need to have a professional look at them.
3. Check for the satins under the coating on the roof panels. Ours was out in the heat when a sudden rain storm came back, seem to only rain on our trailer. It left black spots that we are having a hard time getting off.
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Old 12-19-2014, 11:18 AM   #10
The Sign Lady
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
To me that seems really high for a 1980 unless it has had a full shell off restoration recently.

Airstream trailers are very easy to alter to fit bunkbeds, the cabinetry is modular in most of them and can be moved around. Even if you felt you didn't personally have the ability to put beds into it, if you found a sound but more affordable unit you could likely find a local cabinet maker to put them in for you. That said have a good thorough look at her, go into the trailer maybe she is worth what they are asking just do your research and take your time at $25,000 it is very unlikely to sell on you before you have time to do your research.

Here is a somewhat dated price guide and what to look at/for.., its a couple year old but the info is still valid and the prices they shown for possible replacement items is still pretty close to what you would pay in todays dollars. For that asking price everything should work though

Price vs. Condition - Vintage Airstream
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Old 12-19-2014, 12:59 PM   #11
4 Rivet Member
2000 30' Excella
Toledo , Ohio
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Posts: 446
Take along a moisture meter , Make sure your insurance co. will insure it , take someone with you that knows Airstreams and doesn't want to buy it
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Old 12-19-2014, 02:53 PM   #12
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1988 25' Excella
1987 32' Excella
Knoxville , Tennessee
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Some thoughts. I camp in a 1988 Excella. I camp with people who have a 80 model. Airstream made really good trailers then but they are really old for a trailer now.
Work on Airstreams is expensive. At 1980 you are probably going to see some sag in the axles. It costs about 4500 to replace 2 axles and the brakes, etc. A commercial strip, polish, and re coat on the outside is about $10,000. Replacing or rebuilding the dump valves (a very important part) is around $1000. An AC replacement is around $1500 and the same for a nice fridge. The furnace is an important part and probably should have been replaced for safety sake. General work on a Airstream runs around $100 an hour at many shops and things take longer than you think.

Things that can go wrong and need to be checked. Leaks can rot the floor or areas of the floor and can cause rusting of the frame between the underbelly and the floor. The front A frame can rust where it goes into the trailer. The best way to check this would be if the seller has pictures taken during the restoration process that shows the before and what he did. I probably would not buy it from an individual who I thought is trying to make money flipping trailers. I might buy it from a user who had the work done and could document it or I might buy it from one of a few companies that I know that do restoration work on Airstreams. I probably would not buy it if I was not in a position to more or less pay cash for it. I would want a newer trailer that was closer to NADA to have to worry about financing and depreciation.

The 1980 models are not really collectable and in my opinion will not be. They do not look as good as the ones with a lot of segments and the Al-clad polish do. So the value is in the restoration work starting with a base price of the trailer as about $5000 and in the usefulness of the trailer to you. The NADA value will be about $1500. As someone mentioned you will have a hard time with a loan and insurance. The potential for depreciation is pretty high if a limb falls on it or it gets some road rash of some kind.

But the alternatives are not cheap either. I paid about $12000 for my trailer and then spent another $6000 on fixups and repairs and I still have the axles to go, it has major dents, no polish, and is balding on top. Right now it looks like a bad deal but in reality we have spent 40 months or so in it in the last 7 years and love it. My resale problem would come from the fact that limbs keep falling on it. (3 times now). And you can look at the price of the newer Airstreams and guess what it would cost to customize it for your bunk beds.

So the answer is that 25000 could be a decent deal on a trailer that you will love and use or it could really not be. Hard to decide on the internet and probably hard to decide in person. You know your own position better than we do.
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Old 12-19-2014, 03:05 PM   #13
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1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 5,706
That is a real pricey trailer. Unless everything was well documented and done by someone who knows what they are doing, I would say they are dreaming at that price. For that price it better be a new trailer for the most part. That would mean they removed the shell, repaired the frame, painted the frame, replaced the axles and all the appliances with original spec electric/gas units. The AC should be new as well as the furnace. Obsolete systems should be upgraded to modern stuff. Personally, if I did all that to a trailer, I am keeping it.

Also for that price, all the cheesy rotten plastic junk that came with the trailer better be replaced with hard wood cabinets.

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Old 12-19-2014, 08:03 PM   #14
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2013 31' Classic
billings , Montana
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Posts: 2,056
Too much for an old trailer,find yourself a newer one,a lot newer.....

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