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Old 11-24-2015, 09:07 PM   #1
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1988 34' Excella
Yulee , Florida
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 11
What's gonna need replaced on a 20 yr old Airstream

Help, I'm looking at my first airstream it's a 1996 34 ft classic limited. Now if it's anything like home ownership everything starts to go around this age. Do I need to plan on a lot of repairs for this age or maybe get it inspected and roll the dice?

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Old 11-24-2015, 09:12 PM   #2
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1995 25' Excella
xxxxx , xxxxxx
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 1,400
The first anyone is gonna sat is axles. The second is probably the floor. If both of those checkout sound, it's a roll of the dice for the amount of life left in all the appliances and AC unit.

My trailer us about the same age. At the 20 year mark, all the threads in the awning were rotten. I had to have it restitched. Within a few uses, I found the dump valve adapters at both holding tanks had crumbled and we're leaking. I had to cut a hole in the belly pan to replace them.

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Old 11-24-2015, 09:14 PM   #3
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1974 31' Sovereign
Ottawa , ON
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 11,216
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I would give a real hard look at the appliances:
  • the refer can corrode though and allow the ammonia to leak,
  • the stove has valves that can begin to leak and
  • the furnace rusts from the inside out. The baffles can develop holes.

Also, as a matter of course replace the gas detectors.
“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”
...John Wayne...........................
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Old 11-25-2015, 02:17 PM   #4
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2,265
Download the "buyer's Inspection checklist" from the Portal page, and this will walk you through everything that could go wrong. Ultimately, it boils down to how and where it was stored, how well it was maintained, and whether leaks were allowed to develop and get out of control. I've seen posts about rotting floors in trailers that are only ~5 years old, and posts from 40 year old vintage owners that swear their floors were solid at purchase.

Just as a maintenance item, though, you should expect to need to replace all of the door, hatch, and window seals, as well as any rubber seals associated with plumbing vents (if equipped).

good luck!
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Old 11-25-2015, 04:39 PM   #5
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1994 28' Excella
Burkburnett , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 35
I have a 94 and get to deal with the headliner now.
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Old 11-25-2015, 06:12 PM   #6
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1995 25' Excella
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My headliner was sagging. The previous owner used padded buttons to tack it up. It looks like it was intended to be that way.
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Old 11-27-2015, 09:01 AM   #7
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2000 30' Excella
2014 30' Classic
Princeton , Iowa
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 302
If it were mine, I would take it to Jackson Center and have them check it out. I do not think they would do things that were not necessary and will spot the things that are. They do a lot of work on old trailers bringing them up to date. I saw what they did to a 45 year old trailer.
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Old 11-27-2015, 09:24 AM   #8
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1988 25' Excella
1987 32' Excella
Knoxville , Tennessee
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Maybe nothing much. I think you should just try to use it for a week or two and make a list as you go along. Things that I have had fixed or replaced on my 2 older ones make a long list. But some parts are still good too. Jackson Center with and older trailer can add up to a big bill pretty quick. Both of mine have been though JC and are better off for it but writing the check was hard.
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Old 11-30-2015, 09:51 AM   #9
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1996 25' Excella
Tillsonburg , Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 859
We bought a '96 Classic last year and the only thing I have to deal with is the headliner in one or two places...padded buttons are the accepted fix if you don't want to strip the headliner completely. My axles still have positive angles and after just returning from 5000 mile trip I see nothing that needs serious looking after except for adjusting the brakes and repacking wheel bearings as scheduled. The furnace is blowing cold air so I suspect the sail switch needs replacing and the water heater board needs to be re-grounded to fix the intermittent issues, but I had all those same issues on an '89 that was only 14 years old when we bought it!
This trailer is a Northern Ontario Unit so the rubber in the axles would not have taken a set from high storage temps. Not sure if that is actually an issue with mid-west type temperatures in the summer. I used the AC to keep the dog cool while day tripping in New Orleans for 6 hours. Worked just fine.
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Old 11-30-2015, 10:45 AM   #10
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1998 30' Excella 1000
Livingston , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 546
Started to wonder if a sagging headliner is in my future. I have the factory white roof. Could it be that most of those with the sagging headliner have the aluminum roof, which gets hotter, which helps to breaks down the adhesive? I'm not sure what year they shifted to the painted roof.
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Old 12-01-2015, 07:55 AM   #11
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1996 25' Excella
Tillsonburg , Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 859
All newer As from early 90's have white painted roof. Headliner sags over time especially where there is interior activity. My 96 rear liners are mostly intact. The front living areas are all sagging possibly due to moisture and interior heat from just living in it ( plus we have a catalytic heater in the font doorway.) As Andy R has pointed out, the problem is the original factory adhesive which is water based for "green" reasons imposed by regulators. While the headliner is a pain, it is not really a difficult fix. I lived with mine for three weeks recently, south in Fla La and Tx. Once tucked under the divider strip it stayed in place the whole time. If it were seasonally warm I expect it would have dropped every day, but it was mostly cool weather this trip.

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