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Old 07-21-2006, 09:14 PM   #1
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1981 25' Excella II
Dillon , Colorado
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buying a 1981 excella - frame issues?

I'm new to the forum, and have been searching for the right used airstream for several months now. I think I may have found the one I want and will be driving a good distance tommorrow to check out a 1981 excella 2 with the rear bath. A tech is checking it out today, and will report as to the condition.
I've read a few things about the rear bath causing sag in the late 70 models partially due to the lighter 3" frame being used. Does anyone know if may be a concern in the 81 unit I'm looking at, or if they may have used the larger frame again by then? Any other advise would be appreciated.
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Old 07-21-2006, 09:47 PM   #2
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Rear bath

I just bought my first AS recently and like you checked things out for some time. I have been fortunate with good advice here and meeting some experience people at a rally. I was advised to stay away from the rear bath models. They have caused problems so I checked it off my list. There are years that are better than others, like stay away from the Beatrice years. Keep asking people with good experience before making a decision.
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Old 07-21-2006, 09:55 PM   #3
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1986 25' Sovereign
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacerized
I'm new to the forum, and have been searching for the right used airstream for several months now. I think I may have found the one I want and will be driving a good distance tommorrow to check out a 1981 excella 2 with the rear bath. A tech is checking it out today, and will report as to the condition.
I've read a few things about the rear bath causing sag in the late 70 models partially due to the lighter 3" frame being used. Does anyone know if may be a concern in the 81 unit I'm looking at, or if they may have used the larger frame again by then? Any other advise would be appreciated.
Take a close look at the side of the trailer to see that there is no wave or ripple in the skin near the wheelwells. This is a good indication of rear end seperation or the frame near the axles has started to bend. Get under the trailer and look at the frame rails where they bolt to the axle mounting plate. If you see a twisting or bending of the frame rails then you have a problem that may either be easy to repair by a frame support kit or $$$$ for a severely bent frame. Also check the battery boxes up front for cracks and the aluminum plate between the twin battery boxes for any cracks or rivets which have popped out, especially around the door openings themselves.
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Old 07-21-2006, 09:55 PM   #4
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1979 23' Safari
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacerized
I'm new to the forum, and have been searching for the right used airstream for several months now. I think I may have found the one I want and will be driving a good distance tommorrow to check out a 1981 excella 2 with the rear bath. A tech is checking it out today, and will report as to the condition.
I've read a few things about the rear bath causing sag in the late 70 models partially due to the lighter 3" frame being used. Does anyone know if may be a concern in the 81 unit I'm looking at, or if they may have used the larger frame again by then? Any other advise would be appreciated.
Pacerized,

On TheVAP recently, they discussed the 3" frame and althought I don't remember exactly, if used at all it was only on the smaller trailers. We have a Beatrice years Safari (1979) and are very happy with it. Don't forget, if it wasn't for the deep pockets of Beatrice there would probably be no Airstream today.

Bill
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Old 07-21-2006, 10:02 PM   #5
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According to the Airstream corporate site, the 1981 Excellas range from 20 feet to 31 feet. What length are you looking at?

Bill
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Old 07-21-2006, 10:04 PM   #6
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Just a newbe giving his opinion... We purchased an 1983 31' Sovereign about 6 months ago with a center bath. After gutting it I wound up replacing 4 feet of rear frame and interior floor. I have a friend that bought a 1970 Overlander (I think) with a rear bath two months later and his trailer is solid stem to stern. I don't know that the rear bath is so much a problem but poor maintainance certainly is. As for the Beatrice Food years, I won't do it again. We love our trailer but we have spent 6 months replacing the walls, drawer fronts and rebuilding. I think the older models had better quality materials and better craftmanship.
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Old 07-21-2006, 10:10 PM   #7
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I got my first glimpse at a mid '80's 25' Sovereign a couple of years before I bought my '86 25' last year and you could sure tell the difference in the frame size between them and my '77 Excella 500 31'. It sold me on the mid 80's models.
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Old 07-21-2006, 10:19 PM   #8
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1981 25' Excella II
Dillon , Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkerfoot
According to the Airstream corporate site, the 1981 Excellas range from 20 feet to 31 feet. What length are you looking at?

Bill
Thanks everyone for having so many replys, so quickly.

The unit is 25' long. I searched the forum for "rear bath", and "rear sag", and found a lot on the subject, but it was mostly on late 70 models that were longer then this. I guess I was wondering if anyone has heard of this problem on this year, or size trailer. I'll plan on getting under the unit to check out the frame.
The trailer hasn't been taken out for a couple of years. I'm told there is no pealing of the clear coat, and the pictures look to confirm this. I'm also told that all the appliances, and tanks are in working order, but I'll check this out even after the tech has. It has a deep scratch about 1 foot long on the front. Does $7,500 sound like a fair price???
I've had a difficult time in finding the smaller trailers. Those that I have so far have been almost new, and over 20k, or not really ready for the road with repairs needed. This is the 2cd. unit I've found under 10k that was road ready. The first one sold in 2 days before I could see it.
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Old 07-22-2006, 08:28 AM   #9
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1986 25' Sovereign
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Would I purchase an '81 Excella II 25' with no clearcoat peeling, good frame and all appliances working for $7500? You bet I would. If everything is in working order then you may have a jem. I tried to buy a '79 25' Sovereign with no peeling of clearcoat and in immaculate shape but the owners decided to trade it in on a longer unit before listening to my pitch.
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3.73 rear end
Mag-Hytec rear diff cover
Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
Amsoil synthetics all around
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Old 07-22-2006, 08:54 AM   #10
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Pacerized,
Something is bugging me. I went to airstream.com to look up the faq weight chart where they list lengths and configurations. I could not save it to my computer and my hard copy is out in the trailer (raining like crazy right now). Why is it that I remember the '81 or '82 Excella II as being listed as a 24' rather than a 25'. Maybe I'm just imagining things.
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AIR #0078
'01 2500hd ext. cab, 8.1 litre gas, 5 sp. Allison auto
3.73 rear end
Mag-Hytec rear diff cover
Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
Amsoil synthetics all around
265 watt AM Solar, Inc. system
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Old 07-22-2006, 11:21 AM   #11
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1981 27' Excella II
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I have owned a 1982 27' execella II for 18 years. It is a rear bath model. Myseld I have had no problems with any bending of the frame. Thru the years everything has be maintained, which is the sure way to keep your "AS" up and running. If something needs repairing, fix it, you'll be happer knowing it's ready to go.
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Old 07-22-2006, 01:17 PM   #12
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27 foot rear bath

We have a 1976 Overlander with a rear bath. We love the extra room we have with the rear bath. No problems with our frame to date.

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Old 07-22-2006, 04:05 PM   #13
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1981 25' Excella II
Dillon , Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidz71
Pacerized,
Something is bugging me. I went to airstream.com to look up the faq weight chart where they list lengths and configurations. I could not save it to my computer and my hard copy is out in the trailer (raining like crazy right now). Why is it that I remember the '81 or '82 Excella II as being listed as a 24' rather than a 25'. Maybe I'm just imagining things.
What I found online shows a 25' with a trailer weight of only 3600 lbs. 5100gvr. This is somewhat less then most 25' trailers, but I don't know why.
I've been reading what I can find, and see nothing to turn me away from it. I heading out shortly for the 9 hour drive to go check it out. If all is up to snuff I hope to bring it back with me. Thanks to everyone for you input.
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Old 07-22-2006, 05:47 PM   #14
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Enjoy Your Airstream!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacerized
The trailer hasn't been taken out for a couple of years. I'm told there is no pealing of the clear coat, and the pictures look to confirm this. I'm also told that all the appliances, and tanks are in working order, but I'll check this out even after the tech has. It has a deep scratch about 1 foot long on the front. Does $7,500 sound like a fair price???
In the condition you describe, you have found a great Airstream at a very fair price. My wife and I prefer the rear bath models. Disregard the Beatrice Food myths, they are largely just that. Besides, I think Beatrice sold Airstream to Thor in 1979, but I need to check my dates.
Better snag it before I can get there!
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