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Old 09-16-2015, 11:35 AM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1987 32' Excella
1987 32.5' Airstream 325
sarasota , Florida
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 13
1987 Excella

Hello...I'm looking at a 1987 Excella Trailer tomorrow and wondering what issues to look for? More concerned with frame structural issues..not cosmetic.
Trailer appears to be in good condition.? Any input would be appreciated.
Thanks Carolyn
Sarasota, Fl

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Old 09-16-2015, 12:35 PM   #2
The SilverSleeper
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1992 21' Sovereign
Daphne , Alabama
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 62
Look for soft spots in the floor. Check out the 4 corners, if it has carpet, an ice pick can be used to check for floor rot. Other items to check out is the A/C, frig, hot water tank, and look for leaks .

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Old 09-16-2015, 12:59 PM   #3
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1999 34' Excella
Currently Looking...
Round Rock , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 5,472
Images: 2
Welcome aboard!
I have a 1999 34' Excella.

I had leaks around the front and rear end cap seams and a lot around the front Curb side windows... the end cap, clearance lights, etc were leaking pretty bad. Floor started to soften. I repaired with Git Rot, a low viscosity epoxy... no further issues inside... altho, from time to time there is water on the floor, the epoxy doesn[t allow penetration of water.

Lots of 'maintenance' items... replacing 'skylights' with Maxim's... replacing all white plastic on roof, etc... which was becoming brittle.

poor seal on roof plumbing vent allowing water inside the curb side closet where vent line runs...

replaced all window 'seals'.... big improvement...

replaced converter when original smoked...

Upgraded to 50 amp during install of AC #2 (this is Texas!)...

Replaced 'marathon' tires... replaced chinese 'bearings and races'...

repaired a couple of broken/oxidized/corroded/broken brake electrical wiring... (some brakes worked... some did not after tow home...)

Repaired 'black tank' flush system and 'waste valves' on both tanks...

tightened all 'p traps' on plumbing (came loose and dripped inside after rough road trip)

replaced all drawer 'slides' as they no longer 'latched' in the closed position for travel

installed Centramatic balancers on all 6 (yes, 6) wheels... minimized 'opening' of drawers and plumbing in travel

Rebuilt the 'tv antenna' innards...bad crank gear, seals, etc.

replaced rear hatch handles and locks

replaced all 'hatch latches' with stainless steel versions as old were rusty and coming apart...

replaced LP regulator..and rubber hoses.

repaired the 'umbilical' which had corroded contacts

Check that LP comes on and remains on for water heater and fridge....

Check condition of batteries.... is there adequate water in each cell ? Age? corrosion?

Age of LP tanks? rectified? OPD valves installed?

condition of 'hitch'?
Peace and Blessings..
WBCCI# 30676
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Old 09-16-2015, 01:16 PM   #4
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1988 25' Excella
1987 32' Excella
Knoxville , Tennessee
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 1,826
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We have a 87 Excella. Does the one you are looking at have the Vista windows? They often leak. That trailer has the OSB floors. Not something to keep from buying it but if there is a long term leak the floor pretty much goes away in that spot and needs patching. So take the ice pick and look in all the compartments and under the gaucho for soft spits or wet spots. Check the front A frame where it enters the trailer shell for rust. Ours had to have a new A frame. Check the floor under and around the water heater. Check the furnace to see if it works and ignites well. If not the whole furnace will probably need replacing since there do not seem to be parts for that model avaliable. We just replaced the AC because the fan and shaft in the outside unit at the top rusted out (actually we have changed the AC in both trailers). Trailer was in Florida for a long time (Dade City). So check the AC. On any Airstream check the waste tank and valves carefully. Be very careful with a smell test and dampness test to try to see if there are any leaks involved with the tanks and the valves operate and indeed close off the waste line. About $1000 to change the valves and a lot more if there is a problem with the tanks. If it is a long trailer (32 or 34) check for separation at the front and rear between the frame and the body. check how it sits in the wheel wells in relation to the tires for an indication of whether the axles are sagging or not. Both our 87 and 88 still have the original axles and they seem to be okay. Of course check the appliances but those are easy to replace compared to working on the tanks and valves.
Body dents: Do not assume they can be repaired or bumped out easily. If you can not live with the dent do not buy the trailer. we are living with a few.
Bottom line for us is we bought a trailer with a big defect I did not catch and dropped a bit of extra money getting it fixed. But we love it and are happy after it was all done. Fortunately I could afford the extra but sure hated to spend it at the time.

For me, tanks, valves, floor rot and leaks, shell separation at the ends, and badly rusted frame are the things to watch for.
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Old 09-18-2015, 10:13 PM   #5
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1987 32' Excella
Nepean , Ontario
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,009
I have a 1987 Excella 32 ft. I got it in good condition, although I initially dropped $6,000 at JC to fix a leaking seam, add segment protectors & fix window leaks.

The furnace parts ARE available, and I did change the igniter when it was badly worn. The axles needed changing about 2 years ago so I had them done at JC. At the same time I upgraded from 4,000-lb axles to 4,500-lb axles (at no extra charge), changed to 16" Sendel wheels and Michelin LTX225/75R16(E) tires.

BTW, the frame separation issue mentioned by Bill M. does not apply to the post 1983 Excellas, as by that time AS moved to the heavier framing. It only applied to the 31-ft pre-1983 AS.

Some of the 12-volt upgrades mentioned should be done, particularly the OEM converter/charger. My current setup, FWIW, is 365-watts solar, Blue Sky 30amp MPPT controller, Xantrex Freedom 3012 inverter/charger (pure sine wave, 3,000 watts) and 2 AGM batteries, size 4D (total of 420 amp-hours).
AIR 12148
1987 Excella 32-foot
1999 Dodge Ram 2500HD Diesel
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Old 09-18-2015, 10:42 PM   #6
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1995 25' Excella
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 677
I dunno who charges $1000 to change tank valves, but I would like to line up some of those jobs on the side. I just changed both of my tank valves. Valves, adapters, and new ABS pipe cost me $167. The job was fairly easy.....The fact is if you own a trailer long enough you will have to service the valves. My AS owners manual tells you this and tells you the Airstream way to do the job is to cut a hole in the belly pan. I cut the hole and made an access panel out of an old street sign. Now with a panel and prior job experience, I could swap both valves in about an hour.

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