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Old 10-22-2007, 06:57 PM   #1
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1975 31' Excella 500
Prairieville , Louisiana
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 8
New to me 31' excella 500 1975

I have always admired the airstream line and have never owned a rv before. Structurally the unit has a few flaws. The small area of skin wrapping around the bottom has been peeled back and need of repair.

The rear bumper/frame under the bathroom is not soundly attatched/ seems I have read about this issue in a prior forum.

If there is any suggestions/clarifications/warnings about DO's DONT's
please advise. I had the owner demonstrate the appliances and all seemed functional.

I have a lot of cleaning/refurbishing work to do and will value the forums wisdom and guidance in the future.

Thanks in advance,
Gunny
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Old 10-22-2007, 07:05 PM   #2
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1974 31' Sovereign
1956 26' Cruiser Overlander
1970 23' Safari
Lambertville , Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 684
Hey Gunny,

Congrats on your purchase, I hope that it will provide may years of enjoyment. OK enough sunshine....the rear end issues are fixable but require a good dose of effort and the right tools of course. I have repaired the sag issues in my 31'r as well as building and replacing new brackets for the tanks. I can forward some pictures to you with soem explanations if you will forward me your e-mail address. The "banana wrap" is also fixable and is one of the more accessible things to fix/replace. You will find lots of help here, enjoy.

Dave.
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Old 10-22-2007, 08:02 PM   #3
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1974 31' Sovereign
1970 23' Safari
1956 26' Cruiser Overlander
Lambertville , Michigan
Join Date: Aug 2006
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oops



I was posing as my wife , Wrong sign in.


Dave
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Old 10-22-2007, 08:09 PM   #4
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1973 31' Sovereign
Danielsville , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Gunny,

Dave's right about the rear floor sag/separation issue. You can stay up late reading all the threads and posts on the subject.

Bottom line, it's a pretty big issue on the 70s units, especially the big ones.

Here's a link to my 72 Overlander bathroom repair thread. If you do a search, you can find a lot more like it.

Fix it right and you'll never have anymore issues. But it's a job! Having done it twice on two different units, I won't sugarcoat it.

(Axles are important as well, but that's another subject!)

I've posted quite a pics of the repairs in my photos section as well.

Congratulations and good luck!
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Old 10-22-2007, 08:27 PM   #5
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1975 31' Excella 500
Prairieville , Louisiana
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 8
Thanks to all for the quick responses. The interior is pretty funky and needs a good cleaning. Basic household cleaners? or better option for mold/mildew.

How do I evaluate the intergity of the axles? They looked pretty rusted and the bottom skin has 2 areas that require patching due to corrosion. Bearings should be replaced as well I assume.

G
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Old 10-22-2007, 10:08 PM   #6
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1974 31' Sovereign
1970 23' Safari
1956 26' Cruiser Overlander
Lambertville , Michigan
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,174
Gunny,

I can try to explain the axle situation to you but you should check out Inalndrv.com for pictures and explanations. If the axles are original than they most likely need to be replaced. If you want to do them yourself with OEM than you will need to budget around 2K, but it is a pretty easy job. I would not worry about the belly pan just yet because it sounds to me like you will be taking it down at some point to have a look at the rear end anyways. You will want to take a look at the frame just above the axles to see if it "bent" downwards toward the rear, this will also cause the interior bulkheads to rub and even breakthrough the ceiling panels. Before you flip out at all of this, the trailer is still useable and very fixable just take it one step at a time.
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Old 10-22-2007, 10:27 PM   #7
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1973 31' Sovereign
Danielsville , Georgia
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Quote:
The interior is pretty funky and needs a good cleaning. Basic household cleaners? or better option for mold/mildew.
I like Greased Lightning to remove most of it. My wife did find just this evening that Magic Eraser worked really well also on the inside vinyl. Another product that I've used is OdoBan (1 gal jug diluted in spray bottle) for disinfecting and "freshening".

Unfortunately, some of the smell is trapped behind cabinets and under the floor and won't be completely eradicated unless/until you remove some partitions (especially above fridge where a void creates an excellent rodent nest) and old insulation under the floor. Not what you wanted to hear, I'm sure.


Quote:
How do I evaluate the intergity of the axles?
It's pretty easy. 32 years? Toast!

The rubber gets hard, takes a set, and no longer provides the suspension they originally did. I can tell a difference just watching in the rearview mirror as I tow. (I gained over an inch of clearance with new axles.)

You can upgrade to Dexters with minimal modification for around $1000, assuming you do the work yourself. (You can even order them with the shock mounts straight from the factory. I've got the drawing and option number.)

Quote:
Bearings should be replaced as well I assume.
The great thing about new axles is that you get new drums, brakes, and bearings as well. (I opted for the NeverLube hub option with my Sovereign.)

Dave's right about InlandRVs info. Andy has posted quite a bit of helpful information. It seems excessive, but I believe you can destroy a trailer if the suspension isn't working. (Of course, if it's being renovated up on blocks, you don't need to worry about axles yet.)

I've got some pics of the axle changeout I did last April with my Sovereign.
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Old 10-24-2007, 07:38 AM   #8
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1975 31' Excella 500
Prairieville , Louisiana
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Thanks Guys,

Started the cleaning last night, my wife is not happy about the AS in the driveway-- something about neighborhood regs. I slept on the sofa and had a smile on my face.

I will heed all the advice and 1 step at a time. Thanks again.
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