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Old 08-27-2006, 01:25 PM   #1
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Question '71 Excella 500 31ft

Hi to all,
This is a general shout out to all other 71 Excella owners out there,(if you exist) and a question to all as to why in the Forum listings(and other listings I've seen) there isn't a category for the Excella in the year 71. Am I missing something?? I would love to hear from anyone, as we embark on our new A/S adventure, and to give a general thanks to all the posters that we have already gotten SOOOOO much information from.

Seeing that we have absolutetly NO experience w/trailers so we're thinking that an inspection of all the systems is the smartest thing to start w/. That being said, is it imperative to go to an actual A/S dealer or can any RV place give it a good once over and let us know what needs to be addressed in terms of systems and frame/etc? Hate be going down the road and have something major league wrong happen.
I am attaching some picts of our new baby, and look forward to hearing from you, getting on the road(after general cleaning, inspection, repairs and restoration, so, say, in approx. 25 yrs) and seeing some of you.
Cheers
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Old 08-27-2006, 01:40 PM   #2
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Axles

Congrats on your new purchase.

UGH! I hate to even suggest this, but from the photo, it looks like your AXELS have bottomed out. That's NOT a good thing! It would be a good idea to check them. Lots of info on this site on how to do that. Good luck, Bill
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Old 08-27-2006, 01:53 PM   #3
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I checked it out and you are right, no Forum under Excella 500 for the 1971 and 1972. I added one, so you can post there. Seems that 71 was the first year for this model.
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Old 08-27-2006, 02:22 PM   #4
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Axels

Oh great, I knew MY axel bottomed out years ago but never suspected the Airstream had the same problem. Thanks for the info, now I have to ask how you can tell(again only because I have no knowledge of what a bottomed axel looks like) and how involved is it to get fixed. Is it ok to pull?? At least to a dealer to or mechanic to have looked at??
Oy! the fun begins.
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Old 08-27-2006, 02:24 PM   #5
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Oh, and any other Hudson Valley NY area Airstreamers out there that can reccommend a good place to have the beast looked at??
Cheers
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Old 08-27-2006, 03:05 PM   #6
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Hi Ishmael,

I actually have a 1971 Excella 500 sales brochure at home...I'm in Arizona right now for school, but I'd be happy to scan it and send you the pics. I really don't see what's wrong with your axles. Mine sits the same as yours, and the axles are fine. Crawl under there and look at the axle. If the axle arm is sitting level or less with the frame, then you need new axles. If they don't, and you have everything in the trailer that you would be carrying with you on a trip, then you're okay. Talk to Henry (axleman), our resident axle guru on the forum. He is the expert!

Frederic
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Old 08-27-2006, 03:36 PM   #7
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Hi, Ishmael,

Welcome, and what an interesting Airstream!

Here's some good info on the axles:

http://inlandrv.com/articles/dura-torque-axle-92001.htm

My 79 has a couple of inches showing above the rims (pix in my gallery) and the arms have a slight downward angle. If you look in my gallery, you'll see one picture of the trailer up on a ramp with the other wheel in the air. That shows how much the wheel can come down.

And if you raise it and the wheel DOESN'T come down, that's a sure sign of a stuck axle.

Do a search of the forum on the word "axles." Then get an adequate supply of your favorite beverage and something to snack on, and then dig in. You will be here *for a while.*

Lamar
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Old 08-27-2006, 09:13 PM   #8
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Hey thanks again to you guys for all the info. I'll take a closer look and see what the deal might be with the axels. Like I said before we are REALLY green at all this maintenance stuff and were thinking we might have gotten in over our heads. But, after perusing the original service manual that came with it(and it shows only 9 "easy" steps to replace an axel) I'm back to thinking it's all good. We knew we were in for some surprises as it looked too good to be true so when we found a little spot of rot on the floor under the front passenger side window after tearing up the "lovely"orange shag we weren't too surprised. Checked around and didn't seem to be any other bad spots. We'll see....
It's an adventure and we're looking forward to it, even my 3 yr was diggin pullin the carpet tacks out of the floor so we have a good crew.
Aagin, thanks and off to get my "beverages" and start Airstream 101.
Cheers,
Michelle
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Old 08-27-2006, 11:01 PM   #9
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Hi, Michelle,

101 can last a while. It's great that you have the service manual.

You'll soon be thinking about the expenses involved for repairs and updates, but you need to apply a filter. You have a classic Airstream. Nobody really knows how long these trailers can last. The ones that have been killed so far were in accidents or ones that experienced total neglect.

You're unlikely to experience a problem that somebody HERE hasn't already dealt with, and that should be comforting to you.

We all welcome you and want to enjoy and benefit from your new trailer (FIRST Excella - WOW!), and folks here will help as best they can.

Even if it gets tough, keep your eyes on the prize. There are not many other RVs designed to INHERIT. Once you fix it the way you like and make it your's, you'll have many years of ownership and use to enjoy what labor you put into it in the near future.

That may sound like hyperbole now, but you'll see.

And congratulations for involving the next generation. You may get to leave him this trailer way down the road.

Lamar
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Old 08-28-2006, 07:32 AM   #10
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We are definitely looking at it as a long term project/investment. And have to say that for it age it really seems to be in good condition and everything interior is still original(the pictures are as we bought it and have since cleaned out the mishmatch of accessory pillows and curtains and the layer of ick on the walls ).
We are only the third owners and are very inspried by what we have seen others do with there A/S. We like that as it gives us the option of keeping it as close to that with "needed" updates. Or really go for it - which I doubt we'll do - (but never say never right? )
Will post pictures as we move along in our process and hopefully we will be able to help other with theirs in the future as we become better aquainted with the A/S workings.
Oh and seriously, I still have not heard from any other 71 Excellas out there. It's kind of like being the redhead step child, are they that rare. (Gee if we're the lat one maybe that will help it's value) Let me know if anyone knows of any others.
Cheers,
Michelle
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Old 08-28-2006, 07:57 AM   #11
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Hi, Michelle,

We have a forum member named 71excella500, and member strongmac posted about window replacement on a 71 Excella earlier this year.

http://www.airforums.com/forum...ent-23027.html

So there's at least two others out there.

Have fun.

Lamar
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Old 08-28-2006, 07:58 AM   #12
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Welcome aboard

Michelle congrads on your new baby. I would look and see if you have an Airstream dealer in your area for us ours is 4 hours away. We live in a fairly small town and it was hard for me to find someone to work on the brakes, grease the bearing's etc but we did luck out and found a great shop that did all that for us. We also found a reg. rv place about 1 hour from the house and they did some work on the A/C but be very careful with other rv places some of them just don't understand our silver bullets. I'm very very picky with mine just ask my husband he thinks I go a little overboard sometimes.
The main thing is to be sure you have no leaks and as I tell all new Mama's re-seal everything outside the top, vents, windows etc do a search and you will find all the needed info on what to use and not to use.
They are a labor of love and the fun has just started for you.
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Old 08-28-2006, 10:33 AM   #13
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Yeah we found the closest dealer is in CT about a 3 hr drive, looked into a local place that said they could check the systems out and guess we'll go there as it's less than an hr drive.
Also, am sending new picts of the tires at our property, for any of you axel pros out there. It's on a bit of a hill, and not level front to back or side to side, passenger side being the biggest weight bearing side. If anyone can tell I'd love to hear some other opinions. We'll probably still have it all cheked out to be sure but maybe I won't worry as much driving it to be serviced that something drastic might happen.
Any first is of passenger side and there is some space from rim to frame and more so on driver side that is not bearing as much weight.
Also, sent a pict of my best helper. Hey, he's going to inherit it so he might as well do some work on it, besides he LOVES tools, and did a great job pullingout those nails.
Cheers,
Michelle
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Old 08-28-2006, 10:56 AM   #14
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Axels

Michelle, the last photos look much better. The more distance you have from the top of the rim to the outer edge of the wheel well, the better....within reason, of course. 2 inches or more is what you are looking for. Looks like your axels may be OK. That's good! When you have your trailer parked on a level hard surface, a quick look under there to check the angle of the torsion bars will confirm their condition. Axels are an expensive thing to replace and few owners have the necessary tools, jacks, expertise..... and a capable helper, to do the job. I would NEVER tackle that chore alone, if at all! And, of course, when you pay a competent place to do it, they charge BIG $$$. Bad Axels are definately not good news. Bill
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