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Old 02-26-2015, 03:36 PM   #1
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2000 25' Excella
Annapolis , Maryland
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getting our Airstream on the road again

Hello Everyone--

I have a 2000 25' Excella that I bought new, and I used it and loved it for about a year, then I had to put it in outside storage for what I thought would be a few months but turned into 14 years. I was at the sametime hopeful and anxious this past October when my wife, Kathy, and I drove to the storage lot to inspect the condition of the airstream - the first time since 2001.

The roof and window edges had thick moss, some surface rust on the a-frame part of the trailer, the 7-way plug was missing (vandalism I assume), but otherwise the outside was surprisingly in good condition. And then I opened the door and a wave of nostalgia wafted over me -- both the smell and appearance was almost as I remembered when I first set foot in it 15 years ago. That new smell is surprisingly persistent. Then we began noticing little things -- rodent droppings and acorn shells in the cabinets, a dinner plate size carpet stain, and and lots of orange-brown sticky residue on the wallpaper down the kitchen side of the trailer. All-in-all I was pleasantly surprised there wasn't more advanced disrepair.

We made arrangements with a local RV service center to transport the trailer to their shop to work on the obvious things: repalce tires, repack bearings, check brakes, repair the 7-way plug, and replace batteries. We also asked them to inspect all the various appliances/systems, and the seals on the roof. Three months and $5k later, we have a "usable" airstream. Kathy and I are very excited about getting it on the road and already have three mini vacations booked, but our work isn't over yet.

We moved the trailer to an indoor storage place that specializes in storing boats and RVs. Very nice and accommodating owners. Kathy and I have been there the past two Saturdays cleaning the interior and exterior, and developing a punch list of additional repairs we plan to do ourselves. Although I'm not a brand new owner, I am essentially still a newbie trying to figure things out. I hope to get some advice from the kind folks on this site. I won't overwhelm with our entire repair list here, but I would like to ask about just a few of them now, as follows:

1) a-frame surface rust. I read somewhere on Airstream Forums that the Airstream Store sells a "Touch Up" product but I can't seem to pull it up. Do they still sell it? What do others do about their surface rust?

2) Window Shades. Some of the chord anchors are broken and some of the other chords seem too short to fasten to the anchors that are still intact. (Truthfully, I think the RV center that did my initial repairs didn't know how to operate the shades and broke the anchors.) Any advice on where I can find matching replacement anchors? My initial web search was unsuccessful.

3) Wallpaper Stains. The orange-brown sticky residue on the wallpaper and carpet I mentioned earlier is a challenge to remove. I believe the seal around the airconditioner had cracked, allowing water to come in and caused this residue somehow. Has anyone experienced this? How did you clean it up short of replacing the wallpaper and carpet?

We have a lot more on our list, but this is enough for now. Thanks for listening!

--Steve

P.S., the repair center chased two mice out of one of the interior compartments, but we cannot figure out how the rascals got into the trailer because all outside access doors to the interior comparments still have new-like seals. And unless mice eat acorns, I assume we had squirls in there as well.
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Old 02-27-2015, 06:25 AM   #2
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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Welcome Outdoorsteve with a time capsule Airstream! The 25' is a very nice sized Airstream, very popular. Many Airstreams deteriate with outside storage, including mine. Moisture is the villain. Your trailer was an early example of the very special coating put on the exterior aluminum. Airstream is still using this coating. Some have noticed "filiform" corrosion along the edges of the exterior aluminum, tail lights, and door handle. Maybe this is another area to check out.

Surface rust on the A-frame is very common. I brushed and sanded off the surface rust, and use Rustoleum "hammer look" dark gray as I felt it matched the Airstream dark gray used on the frame quite well.

Shade anchors are the cheapest, flimiest parts on our Airstreams. They are always breaking! I just asked the big box store "blinds" department fellow what he had that would work, and used those. Take one in with you. I liked the ones I purchased as they are made out of a less brittle, almost rubberized plastic material.

I used "krud kutter" cleaner on my old 1966 Trade Wind". It worked pretty good on some of the grime and stains. It just takes a lot of elbow grease to get things cleaned up. My "wall paper" is a vinyl type material. Maybe yours is too. Strong cleaners won't work on real paper wallpaper.

You do want to check for water damage to your subfloor, a common Airstream problem. Use your awl and poke around. If the floor is soft in spots, especially along the perimeter of the inside walls, then begin making plans for repair.

Your tires are probably toast. They dry rot with age. You will need to replace them before you travel with your trailer.

I hope to see you around these Air Forums.

David
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Old 02-27-2015, 07:45 AM   #3
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums, Steve. We're glad to have you with us.

That's and interesting story about your Airstream. It's sounds like you have taken care of the necessaries. The rest is just cleaning and outfitting for travel. Now it's time to get out there and camp in her. Camping weather is just around the corner.

Get out there and enjoy yourself. Wishing you many great Airstream adventures.
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Old 02-27-2015, 08:30 AM   #4
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The rodents likely entered through the hole created by the missing 7 way plug.
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Old 02-27-2015, 08:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outdoorsteve View Post
this past October when my wife, Kathy, and I drove to the storage lot to inspect the condition of the airstream - the first time since 2001.
I'm sorry but I have to ask why did you abandon your Airstream for 14 years? Even in 2000 they must have been expensive.

I'd hate to see what a conventional trailer of the time would've looked like.

Glad to read you are back.

Kelvin
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Old 02-27-2015, 08:50 AM   #6
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How about some pictures
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Old 02-27-2015, 07:05 PM   #7
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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I forgot to mention the "rodent" squatters in your Airstream. I have those too. The little critters find a way to get in. One major way is the ends of the A-frame. While you are preparing your A frame for some new paint, notice how the frame rails are wide open under your coupler. This is roughly a 1 1/2 by 5" super highway into your trailer for our mouse friends. I made some aluminum plugs that seal this area up from rodents and water.

More free advice for you to ponder!

David
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Old 02-28-2015, 08:07 AM   #8
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2000 25' Excella
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Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
I forgot to mention the "rodent" squatters in your Airstream. I have those too. The little critters find a way to get in. One major way is the ends of the A-frame. While you are preparing your A frame for some new paint, notice how the frame rails are wide open under your coupler. This is roughly a 1 1/2 by 5" super highway into your trailer for our mouse friends. I made some aluminum plugs that seal this area up from rodents and water.

More free advice for you to ponder!

David
David-- thanks for the warm welcome. Your theory on the rodents seems plausible. I will inspect that area later this morning. Good advice on the other areas as well. I plan to clean/wax with the walbernizer product; hopefully that will also help reveal some additional areas on the finish that may need attention. I will also look for some "krud kutter" on my way out. Regarding tires, I did have them replaced as well and have already towed a short distance. Feels different with my new tow vehicle (not as smooth) as compared to what I recall back in 2000 when towing with my SUV. I guess I will try an additional link on the lifters.

--Steve
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Old 02-28-2015, 08:10 AM   #9
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2000 25' Excella
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Originally Posted by 4RXLA View Post
The rodents likely entered through the hole created by the missing 7 way plug.
Fortunately the 7-way was not forcefully pulled out, rather the end removed with a cutter - don't know why :-)
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Old 02-28-2015, 08:19 AM   #10
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2000 25' Excella
Annapolis , Maryland
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Originally Posted by KJRitchie View Post
I'm sorry but I have to ask why did you abandon your Airstream for 14 years? Even in 2000 they must have been expensive.

I'd hate to see what a conventional trailer of the time would've looked like.

Glad to read you are back.

Kelvin
Kelvin-- kind of a long story - one thing led to another. I put it in storage initially because of a divorce, and left it there longer than planned because of some electrical issues with my tow vehicle that rendered the brake controller inoperable. Then I just got involved with different things in life - raising my son, going to graduate school, promoting my career. It was always on my mind, though, and I knew that I wanted to use it again and the thought of selling it never came to mind. But no real good excuse for leaving it for 14 years. Now I feel like we have a gift - a new old airstream just waiting for some adventure.

--Steve
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Old 02-28-2015, 07:11 PM   #11
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Knowing your new Airstream was there waiting for you may have been a pleasant thought now and then while dealing with all of life's challenges. I did not have time for traveling or messing with the Airstream when I was working full time. Now that I'm retired, I'm ready for some new travel adventures. Our Airstream is an 86, so it's been waiting around a long time.

A rough ride may be related to the tow vehicle, or the road itself. I admit that my F350 rides stiffer than my old E350 van, especially on a rough old highway.

David
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