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Old 10-03-2016, 12:59 PM   #1
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1977 31' Excella 500
NEW HARTFORD , Connecticut
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 45
Here goes nothin.

This is Stevie Songbird, my 73' (I think, it doesn't match the floor plans from the manual but it was manufactured in 73) excella 500. I can't figure out how to add a gallery but you can see the photos here:
https://goo.gl/photos/JfMzWyokuz69DgKx7

My gameplan was to remove all the rear interior skins first to address where the water damage is worst- you can see that the rear corners being dented in are allowing water to run right in.
Then I'd start working in removing the interior parts, then the rest of the skins, then get on the roof with a hose and see where the water is coming in. Is this backwards?

After drilling a billion rivets this weekend, I realized removing the end interior skins before the side panels will be difficult due to where they overlap.

So time to switch gears I think to removing all of the interiors. Or should I start with sealing the exterior? First? Lots of leaks. Lots of missing rivets.

General questions:
1) where do I start lol. Shell off is not an option.
2) should I strip the coating on the top before sealing up? I was thinking I'd save that for the end.
3) should I seal up everything before tackling the inside, then go back to address any leaks I've missed?
4) do I want to keep all three awnings, the curb side seems like the lower bracket has damaged the exterior a bit, twisting it
5) the blue stripe, is that a coating of some sort? Thoughts on removal?
6) how urgent is the axle replacement , it made it 6 hours to my house with no problems. When ready it will have a 12 hour drive to nc, then conceivably not moved again for years.
7) can the holes in interior skins be repaired- I was thinking of stripping them all, patching and bondoing before painting.
8) Winter is coming, I'm trying to be strategic about what I get done before it's very cold, ideally to remove all the interior skins and at least get new insulation up so that I can work in there with a heater.



I'm renovating to make this basically a tiny home for a few years, not to campin though who knows I may want to in the future. I'm doing it myself, with as little help as possible- I don't want to have to take a loan to renovate, but after buying the AS and down payment on the property in cash poor for a bit.

I've asked several questions in various places and you guys have been super helpful so thanks for that. I've got a billion questions, so more to come.

Thanks all!
Stephanie
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Old 10-03-2016, 01:25 PM   #2
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1971 25' Tradewind
1993 34' Excella
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Estancia , New Mexico
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I can answer #6. The reason axles would be changed is to reduce road shock to the trailer. If you are just towing to a permanent site, personnally, I would just take it slow and easy and not change the axles. You would could also flat bed, but I have no idea what that would cost.
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Old 10-03-2016, 01:36 PM   #3
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1971 21' Globetrotter
Arvada , Colorado
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You are taking on a big job here. The best way to find ALL of the leaks is to gut down to the framework and exterior skins. You will be surprised with all of the mouse dropping and such in the insulation. Once its gutted it will be real easy to find all of the leaks. There is no point in repairing your floor until the leaks are stopped and you will have more then you think is possible. Be sure to check out your frame as well, you will most likely have some rusted frame components as well.

If you are leaving the layout the same, which I strongly suggest you do, Take plenty of pictures for reassembly. Get the bones fixed before you start worrying about the interior.

After you have the leaks and floor taken care of you have a good foundation for your new "Tiny House"
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Old 10-03-2016, 02:56 PM   #4
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1977 31' Excella 500
NEW HARTFORD , Connecticut
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 45
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Originally Posted by Aerowood View Post
You are taking on a big job here. The best way to find ALL of the leaks is to gut down to the framework and exterior skins. You will be surprised with all of the mouse dropping and such in the insulation. Once its gutted it will be real easy to find all of the leaks. There is no point in repairing your floor until the leaks are stopped and you will have more then you think is possible. Be sure to check out your frame as well, you will most likely have some rusted frame components as well.

If you are leaving the layout the same, which I strongly suggest you do, Take plenty of pictures for reassembly. Get the bones fixed before you start worrying about the interior.

After you have the leaks and floor taken care of you have a good foundation for your new "Tiny House"

I've already found some acorns lol. Mice droppings I was expecting, acorns not so much. Thanks for input.
Stephanie.
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Old 10-03-2016, 02:59 PM   #5
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1977 31' Excella 500
NEW HARTFORD , Connecticut
Join Date: Sep 2016
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Originally Posted by Lumatic View Post
I can answer #6. The reason axles would be changed is to reduce road shock to the trailer. If you are just towing to a permanent site, personnally, I would just take it slow and easy and not change the axles. You would could also flat bed, but I have no idea what that would cost.
Considering flatbed, that's a while off. I got a quote originally to flatbead it from ME to CT for $1900 I think? But the seller was confident and highly mechanical, she made the trip like a champ (maybe I'll hire him to haul it to NC) While on the one hand I consider it a cost of "moving", on the other hand if it's costing me upwards of 2k I might as well replace the axles and have something to show for it..
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Old 10-03-2016, 03:41 PM   #6
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1973 31' Excella 500
Vicksburg , Mississippi
Join Date: Jul 2016
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Stephanie

That stripe is a piece of vinyl clad aluminum. It tucks under the upper skin along the sides so removal requires drilling out a few hundred rivets.
I just removed the trim and painted mine then reinstalled trim.

I completely gutted mine and vacuumed basement before removing belly pan then cleaned inside with a pressure washer. My frame required very little work so I'm keeping the shell on the frame. A pain working overhead sometimes but I have trailer blocked up pretty high off the ground so it's not that bad. Frame is now painted and ready for floor but I'm making sure all leaks are gone first.
Removing old caulk and resealing 19 windows needed to be done and i figured might as well do it before putting new floor. Same for AC, vents, and other protrusions. Just another one of those beforeyoucans you'll run into.

Gut it, clean it, seal it, then build it.

Good luck and just ask if you have any questions, I have the exact model that you have.
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Old 10-03-2016, 03:50 PM   #7
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1977 31' Excella 500
NEW HARTFORD , Connecticut
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Originally Posted by Al Boondy View Post
Stephanie

That stripe is a piece of vinyl clad aluminum. It tucks under the upper skin along the sides so removal requires drilling out a few hundred rivets.
I just removed the trim and painted mine then reinstalled trim.

I completely gutted mine and vacuumed basement before removing belly pan then cleaned inside with a pressure washer. My frame required very little work so I'm keeping the shell on the frame. A pain working overhead sometimes but I have trailer blocked up pretty high off the ground so it's not that bad. Frame is now painted and ready for floor but I'm making sure all leaks are gone first.
Removing old caulk and resealing 19 windows needed to be done and i figured might as well do it before putting new floor. Same for AC, vents, and other protrusions. Just another one of those beforeyoucans you'll run into.

Gut it, clean it, seal it, then build it.

Good luck and just ask if you have any questions, I have the exact model that you have.
Thank you! You might regret opening that door. 😉
Do you have the mid bath as well?
Did you seal it before or after stripping that coating off the roof? (Concern being whatever stripper material I get will eat away whatever I deal it with.

Will the covers remain if remove the old fans and ac ? Or do I have to buy some before I take them off.
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Old 10-03-2016, 04:49 PM   #8
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1973 31' Excella 500
Vicksburg , Mississippi
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 162
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Happy to help. Mine is a center bath but I'm moving the shower to the street side to make bath larger and add a pantry to the kitchen. Love our floor plan but bath kinda small.
I stripped clearcoat before I started resealing I had no clearcoat left on top. I plan on painting top after all my plumbing vents are back in.

If you plan on replacing vents it's nice to have new one on hand ready to install. I have fantastic fans and love them but there are many choices.
The seal around my AC was fine and didn't leak. The shroud protects it from sun and weather. I was pretty lucky on leaks rear bumper and Vista view windows were the biggest problem.
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Old 10-03-2016, 05:03 PM   #9
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1977 31' Excella 500
NEW HARTFORD , Connecticut
Join Date: Sep 2016
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Originally Posted by Al Boondy View Post
Happy to help. Mine is a center bath but I'm moving the shower to the street side to make bath larger and add a pantry to the kitchen. Love our floor plan but bath kinda small.
I stripped clearcoat before I started resealing I had no clearcoat left on top. I plan on painting top after all my plumbing vents are back in.

If you plan on replacing vents it's nice to have new one on hand ready to install. I have fantastic fans and love them but there are many choices.
The seal around my AC was fine and didn't leak. The shroud protects it from sun and weather. I was pretty lucky on leaks rear bumper and Vista view windows were the biggest problem.
I had thought of doing something similar with bath- or expanding it and moving hall to street side. What's the big tank in that closet? Do I have a great water tank? Could you solve some of my mysteries- is it weird that my model doesn't look like their plans? See my redlines in the photos

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...diNlR5MnF1VVFR

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...diNlR5MnF1VVFR

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...diNlR5MnF1VVFR

Sorry now that I've uploaded them I can't save them to my phone- they started as a pdf.
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Old 10-03-2016, 05:31 PM   #10
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1973 31' Excella 500
Vicksburg , Mississippi
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The tank is actually a plastic cover for the tires. There is a layer of insulation under it then another stronger one.
1973 was the first year for grey water tanks I think, yours is located in the floor just behind rear axle. The black tank is directly behind it and your fresh water tank is just ahead of front axle.
The fill for the tank is behind the door as is the battery box if like mine. I have a rear double yours may be 2 singles.
Your pics show the exterior layout of a rear bath.
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Old 10-04-2016, 03:45 PM   #11
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1977 31' Excella 500
NEW HARTFORD , Connecticut
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Originally Posted by Al Boondy View Post
The tank is actually a plastic cover for the tires. There is a layer of insulation under it then another stronger one.
1973 was the first year for grey water tanks I think, yours is located in the floor just behind rear axle. The black tank is directly behind it and your fresh water tank is just ahead of front axle.
The fill for the tank is behind the door as is the battery box if like mine. I have a rear double yours may be 2 singles.
Your pics show the exterior layout of a rear bath.
Al, Do you have a link to your renovation? Did you do shell off or on? And would you do it the same again.
Shell off is not really in the cards right now, but if it seams neccessary I'll try to work something out..:
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Old 10-04-2016, 05:40 PM   #12
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1973 31' Excella 500
Vicksburg , Mississippi
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Originally Posted by stormbornSG View Post
Al, Do you have a link to your renovation? Did you do shell off or on? And would you do it the same again.
Shell off is not really in the cards right now, but if it seams neccessary I'll try to work something out..:
Haven't posted the traditional full monty thread guess I should.

I'm doing shell on for a few reasons. My frame was in good shape and the little welding required was actually easier with shell on. Previous owner had 3 fantastic fans installed before I bought it and didn't feel like pulling them to lift from the top. With such a long trailer I can bow the sides out to fit plywood into c channel. There was nothing that needed to be done that required the shell coming off and I will have none of the troubles some have putting it back on.
I did block the trailer up pretty high off the ground to make things easier.
If I had extensive frame repair I'd have done shell off but so far no regrets.
Haven't replaced belly pan yet so may have some regrets later.
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