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Old 02-14-2012, 05:27 PM   #1
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1977 31' Excella 500
Red Rock , Texas
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Another sagging '77

Hi all.

I've been reading so many good threads here and learning much. Thanks for the great resource.

So, I have this '77 excella 500. I got it to use as an apartment when I'm working in town. I knew nothing about airstreams when I got it. It needed much work... Anyway, I got a lot done in a short time and used it for a few months. Lately I've been back at it and this is the big ugly problem I'm trying to address. At this point I really just want to put a band aid over it and dig into it deeper at a later time. ( I Know...)

Anyway, the floor sags or separates. Its all torn up and gets wet... the edge of the plywood is mushy... Take a look, whaddaya think?

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Old 02-14-2012, 07:15 PM   #2
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oops here are the relevant pics...



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Old 02-14-2012, 07:27 PM   #3
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Pretty ugly! How is that for an oxymoron

If you aren't planning on moving it any time soon, I would cover the rear of the trailer with a tarp to keep the damage from getting any worse. Then deal with it when you have time.

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Old 02-14-2012, 07:56 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by junkyardawg View Post
oops here are the relevant pics...



Yeah, that looks pretty rotten, but it's much more common than most people want to believe. If you're planning on using it as a "Park Model" for a while, shore it up well with leveling jacks. The water typically enters along the exposed rear edge, through leaky hatch gaskets & from above ie leaking vents, plumbing stacks, seams etc. In order to fix this correctly, you'll need to remove all of the interior components in that area & gain access from below. If you're planning on using it as a travel trailer, this work will need to be done to avoid further damage.
Good luck,
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:43 PM   #5
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1977 31' Excella 500
Red Rock , Texas
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Thanks for the replies!

The rear sag/seperation has been addressed before. But its time to face it again. I don't know anything about the history of this trailer, but its so cool... I can't stop trying to make it better.

I'm thinking of cutting some pieces of angle iron (oops, angle aluminum) to slide under the rotted flooring to rivet to the outer skin. This will provide at least a little stuctural stability. maybe a little epoxy here and there... Lots of caulking...At least until the floor can be replaced.

It's clear what needs to be done to make it tight again.

If ya had to make it work for 6 months, what would ya'll do?

thanks again. This is a great forum...
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Old 02-14-2012, 10:42 PM   #6
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To keep in dry in the park, slide some aluminum gutter flashing from underneath behind the skin & fasten/gaffer tape in place. This will let the water sheet down the side of the trailer and down onto the ground.

Towing in this condition will not help matters any, particularly w/ any weight in the tanks.

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Old 02-14-2012, 11:26 PM   #7
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For 6 months I would cover it as best as possible like previous posters have said and move the trailer as little as possible. You appear to have the original vacuum brake actuator inside the plastic container just behind the propane tanks unless the p.o. converted to electric hydraulic or electric drum brakes. If still vacuum hydraulic, the trailer brakes won't work unless you install the vacuum line on your tow vehicle and good luck getting any reputable outfit to install it. I have the exact same trailer and nobody would install the vacuum brake system on my truck. Inland RV has some parts but everyone will advise to either replace the actuator or convert to drums with new axles. Your axles are shot too but brakes and axles are not a concern if you plan to use it as a park model. The trailer is cool and you can spend unlimited $$ restoring it. How much money? About as much as will fit in your safe deposit box hidden under the pantry. Use your Nutone blender to whip up a cool drink and ponder your next move. When the checkbook goes empty, then replace the blender with the knife sharpener attachment
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Old 02-15-2012, 09:03 AM   #8
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I've been looking into how to get the brakes up to speed. I'd love to use the brakes that are on it. Thats a whole new can of worms. Is there even a vacuum line on a diesel truck? Dodge 3500?

You are right about the money... I've put in new ac, water heater, laminate floors, toilet... spent plenty of money already and its still not close to road worthy.
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:17 PM   #9
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I'm told that you have to install an electric vacuum pump and run vacuum hose to the rear bumper. How the electric vacuum pump interfaces with the brake controller I don't know. All I do know is I had all those parts from my fathers truck and the vacuum brakes worked, but nobody wanted to install it on my new truck. Unlike your situation, my trailer had only 1 owner and my dad kept it well maintained for 30 years so I knew the disc brake system worked well and was salvageable with just a new electric actuator.

To get it road worthy you need to fix the rear end and that will require pulling up your laminate flooring in the rear, removing your new toilet, etc. You need new axles and if cost is a concern, the cheapest thing to do would be to buy the new axles with electric drum assemblies and make the conversion to electric. If your original discs are salvageable you will have to pay about $600 for a new actuator. Replacing the discs with all new discs may be another $2000. You might also want to address what looks like a surface frame rust issue on the tongue with some rustoleum. You likely will have significant rust damage to the rear frame as well.

On the bright side, the exterior skin looks relatively undented for its age and will polish up nicely for about $2500-$3500. Belt line trim is available and is cheap compared to the other items mentioned. I'm curous to know if yours has the original curb side zip dee awning?If so, does it have a solid blue panel with a big white 500 on it?

All it takes is money....lots and lots of money!
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Old 02-16-2012, 09:11 AM   #10
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1977 31' Excella 500
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It does have the awning, but its blue and white stripes. No big 500 on it that I've noticed.

From appearances, the disks and pads are in good shape. I hope to be able to remove them and reuse them on new axles. I'll probably pass on the whole vacuum pump and just get an electric over hyd. actuator. All this depends on closer inspection of the systems when It comes time to order the axles...

The rear floor is whats really bugging me. Its just started raining again... Its been well sealed and is rain tight at all the windows and roof penetrations. Its just that dang floor. Is gutting the bathroom required. I am not clear on how to do this without taking it apart down to the inner skin.
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Old 02-16-2012, 09:49 AM   #11
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The rear floor is whats really bugging me. Its just started raining again... Its been well sealed and is rain tight at all the windows and roof penetrations. Its just that dang floor. Is gutting the bathroom required. I am not clear on how to do this without taking it apart down to the inner skin.
To replace the floor it will require gutting the bathroom and removal of the inner skins. There are bolts inside the walls holding the floor to the frame and it's outriggers.
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:46 AM   #12
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1977 31' Excella 500
Red Rock , Texas
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I'm going to begin then...

Those cabinets need some work anyway!

Thanks everyone for the responses. Ya'll have built one heckuva resource here.

I'm sure I'll be back with more questions...
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Old 02-17-2012, 02:50 PM   #13
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1977 31' Excella 500
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How far forward do the walls need to be stripped to accomplish the needed repairs? I removed all of the bathroom components this morning. It looks like the closets or at least part of them need to come out too. The floor is sound in the center, but you can almost poke a finger through it around the edges. I took out the plumbing and moved the wiring out of the way. I'm going back out to start on the inner skin. Hope to get the skins off and the floor up today. Do the valves for the tank drains have to come out or can this floor piece be fitted with them in place? and how do you manage to cut the plywood to the proper contour? fun stuff...

So far so good. It comes apart really easily. I am glad to do this, there are many things that need fixing...
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:39 PM   #14
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1977 31' Excella 500
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Here are a couple of pics. Its raining here and the rain poured into the c channel... Found a couple of 12 volt wires rubbed bare and sparking... (scary) That other pic is a piece that came sliding out from between the layers of inner skins.



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