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Old 02-21-2011, 09:00 AM   #1
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1972 31' Excella 500
joshua tree , California
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 10
just bought 1972 Excella 500 31', what to do next!

Its my first post here so be gentle.
I bought my very first AS a few weeks ago, definitely caught the fever, now I need the cure, which I assume is actually camping and towing my 39 year old beauty. I think I am a long way from that goal and wanted to ask all of you here your opinion on what to do with this Land Yacht.

We already knew we were needing a new fridge, a/c, water heater, propane tanks, leveling jacks, tongue jack, vents, toilet, and stove top, found a great deal, all that for $1650 and brand new, of course I have to install, but that's the fun part. What I didn't expect was the rotted floor at the toilet, the rear end seperation, needing new axles, leaking windows(all plexiglass) and the $550 DMV fees, oh, and it needs rims and tires and a few lug bolts that have been broken off, needs all the hardware for the awning. I have not been able to plug it into 110v, I have some wires by the furnace that are chewed and the plug has been cut off. Also have not tried the water pipes, all copper and look good, no signs of leaking, last owner said it was fine, but I dont trust her too much.

The good news is most of the interior is still there, just needs to be cleaned (so nasty). I popped the dent out in the front, went in behind the radio and pushed it right out. I wish there were more good news, but thats it. I guess on the bright side, I am in CA and only an hour from Inland RV, at least I can save on shipping costs, but I think it would take a huge package of items to make this thing presentable and usable and for me to get them would require a really great price on all the stuff that is AS specific.
I would not want to do a shell off rebuild, my wife won't allow it, even now just finding the rotted floor she wants it gone, oh yeah, forgot to mention we found out last week she is pregnant!! She did say I could do what I want, I have the whole tax return to put into it, just not sure if that is going to be enough.

I guess the big qustion is:
Is this a good enough trailer to do a remodel but not bad enough to have to rebuild?
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:03 AM   #2
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1972 31' Excella 500
joshua tree , California
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 10
More pics of the inside.
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:05 AM   #3
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1972 31' Excella 500
joshua tree , California
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 10
More inside pics.
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:11 AM   #4
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1972 31' Excella 500
joshua tree , California
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 10
more inside pics

Already planned on a new counter top, sink and faucet. Some of the tambour doors work, some are falling apart. The vista view windows have been replaced with plexi-glass that they squeezed into the frame, then siliconed the channel to make it stay.
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:37 AM   #5
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XXXX , XXXX
Join Date: Jun 2010
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72-500 Welcome to the forums and congrats on your purchase.
I'll try to be gentle but really all you bought is a shell and not a very good one at that.
I own a 73 excella which I am in the middle of a full shell off restoration. I have to say mine was in much better shape with all the working appliances and systems and still needed a full restoration. Yours has been abused and severely neglected over the years. It's a good thing you got all those parts at such a good deal.
Think of the frame as the skeleton of the trailer if it's not in good shape then everything else you do will be wasted. The floor is the main structural component joining the shell to the frame. A good frame and proper floor restoration is important to have a usable and safe trailer. The belly looks in not too bad shape if the only floor rot you find is in the rear then maybe the frame is alright. You will never know for sure until you remove the pan and inspect it.
The good news is that a shell off is not really that hard to do. Having a new frame built will run you $2k+ and a new floor with sealer and bolts etc another $1k. It's your choice but I wouldn't do anything until I knew the frame was good.
Andy and you will become best friends before it's all done. I have bought lots from him and my first big order was over $6k including new axles,belly pan,all gaskets etc and lots of small stuff.
I would hazard a guess that unless you refund is over $10k it won't be enough.
Kepp us in the know about waht you do and if you need help or advice just ask here or PM me and I will do what I can to help.
Chris.
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:47 AM   #6
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72 -500 the VV windows will be plexiglass on the inside pane in that year. the outer pane should be glass. The top windows over the lift up ones are known as vista views and the lower ones below the lift up ones are called stack windows and the front curved ones on either side of the big front window are called wing windows just so you know. They all can be repaired but the wings require removal of the entire frame from the shell and riveted back in once repaired. They are a lot more difficult to do thatn the stacks and vv's.
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:21 AM   #7
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1973 27' Overlander
1972 29' Ambassador
St. Paul , Minnesota
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Quote:
but the wings require removal of the entire frame from the shell
^^

entire window frame


Right now you have the very best $2200 garden or storage shed or pool cabana house money can buy -- really, have you priced little sheds lately?

The day you have Title-in-hand perhaps list it for sale?

Some smart cookie could chop it and make their money back plus selling the vista view windows, step assemblies, door & door lock, compartment door & frames, Windows & frames, rear bumper, water pump, interior plastic catches, side trim pieces & AS badges, taillights, door grab-handle... The copper & brass plumbing & wiring in it is worth at least $250 at todays nearly $4lb prices.

Yes, okay - not the romantic save the whale perspective, I have one in as bad shape that I paid more than twice what you did for... and that was just the beginning.
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wabbiteer View Post
^^

entire window frame

Right now you have the very best $2200 garden or storage shed or pool cabana house money can buy -- really, have you priced little sheds lately?

The day you have Title-in-hand perhaps list it for sale?

Some smart cookie could chop it and make their money back plus selling the vista view windows, step assemblies, door & door lock, compartment door & frames, Windows & frames, rear bumper, water pump, interior plastic catches, side trim pieces & AS badges, taillights, door grab-handle... The copper & brass plumbing & wiring in it is worth at least $250 at todays nearly $4lb prices.

Yes, okay - not the romantic save the whale perspective, I have one in as bad shape that I paid more than twice what you did for... and that was just the beginning.
Yeah Len I should have said window frame. At least I didn't typo and call it a widow frame like I did in my own thread. I said I was polishing a widow. She's very shiney now. The OP never did say the purcahse price just what he paid for the parts he got. I would be curious to know what he paid for the aluminium garden shed as you put it.
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:41 PM   #9
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1972 31' Excella 500
joshua tree , California
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 10
Here are some pics of where I am at today, toilet out, all the plywood under it came out by hand. These pics show the termites near the tub and some rot by the door and fridge. Also the front and rear dents and the belly. I'm in the mojave desert, so the termites dont concern me as much as some of you will think it should, seems to be that the little guys dont do so well at 110 degrees.

I dont want to say how much I gave for it, but it was less than $2200, near 1/4 of that, anything more and I would have walked away. I dont like to mess with stuff unless I can make a couple $$ or at least get some use out of it other than a storage shed. Original plan was to fix it and use it for the next 20 years or so towing it around the country showing the family what an awesome country we live in. I am NOT retired, and with a baby due this fall, I cant afford to dump 10k into it unless it means that this AS will be worth $18k like some I have seen.

I've been reading quite a bit here and I now know it is true, "the more you look, the more you find". I do wish I were retired or at least had all the funds and time to do the whole rebuild, but reality is, I dont have either one.

What if it were made to use as a permanent parked live in? I wouldn't have to worry about axles, tires, registration, rear end seperation, floor rot or what the frame is like, sounds like mega $$ saved already. Maybe the outside will look better if I were to wash it?
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:51 PM   #10
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1972 31' Excella 500
joshua tree , California
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 10
More pics.

All of these windows are single pane, looks like they were double pane, but now have a single pane of plexi on all windows, not a single one is glass.

Here is the rear end seperation pics. This AS has been parked at the Pomona Raceway for most of its life, I dont expect to have too much rusting of the frame.

Maybe I am giving up too fast, but any offers on this AS? So far the wife is not too pleased with todays answers to my post. Does somebody have something positive to say?

I also must say THANK YOU to this forum and all its members, just reading all these threads on rebuilding really got my blood pumping and is what gave me the AS fever, just wish I could have started with a better specimen.
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:57 PM   #11
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1972 31' Excella 500
joshua tree , California
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 10
Dont know if it helps anyone reading this, but the VIN # is: E31T2Jxxxx

excella
31'
rear bath, twin bed
1972
Jackson Center
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:57 PM   #12
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72-500 Well you got what you paid for. I feel better that you didn't over pay for it.
Yes definately you can save on axles ,tires and frame repairs if parked. You would have to fix the floor and rear end seperation to stop the leaks that caused the floor to rot in the first place. The good news is that the rear piece of floor can be easily replaced with the shell on and if the other spots are relatively small they can be patched and you don't need to worry about structural integrity because you're not towing it anywhere.
With the parts you already have bought and a few other things like window, door and vent seals and by fixing the VV's etc it would do just fine as a parked unit. It looks like that is what the PO was doing judging by the residential toilet and the electric water heater that was installed.
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Old 02-21-2011, 01:11 PM   #13
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72-500 you know that most of the 70's units and even older one usually require floor replacement and frame repairs or replacements. Sometimes you get lucky and find really good ones that have spent their life in dry climates and are without these problems. The only real deterrent I can see to your unit is the shell damage. To make it perfect there would be several sections on the end caps to replace and they are very pricey.
Are all the windows plexi including the lift up ones? The reason I'm asking is that I am looking for a lift up window that is double pane with the inner pane in plexi and removable. If you decide to part it out please let me know if you would be willing to sell that window. The size is like in the living room/kitchen or bedroom. That being said I would hate to see another excella die this way.
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Old 02-21-2011, 01:20 PM   #14
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1972 31' Sovereign
Des Moines , Washington
Join Date: Dec 2009
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72-500,

I was there where you are a year and a half ago, minus the window and front end floor problem. It can be done! If you want a perfect trailer,sell it and buy one! If you want a useable functional trailer read on...... you can do the rear end seperation problem for under $200 it's just a sheet of plywood with some fastners and sealant. Craigslist and Inland RV sale parts will allow you to keep cost down. I feel if you use your after work and weekend time you can have this done within 6 months, but I see time is not on your side with a pregnant wife! The point I am trying to make is if you want a perfect trailer or want it now, I suggest you pass. If you can handle a DIY project that the family can contribute to and in the end know what you have, then dig in! Your choice? Just don't be too quick to write it off.

Curt
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