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Old 12-26-2004, 09:53 AM   #1
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Oak Ridge , Tennessee
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Talking Repair Ceiling '94 Excella


My headliner started falling/drooping this summer. I tried 3M spray adhesive with no success. Contacted Airstream and they indicated, if spray doesn't work, then replace the ceiling (very expensive) and there is no financial help from Airstream.
Came up with a fix that pleases me and my significant other. I used 3/4 inch # 8 screws with white screw covers every 1-2 feet. The ceiling looks good (l and the drooping is controlled.

Hope this helps others with the problem. I can send a photo, if PMed.
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Old 12-26-2004, 10:10 AM   #2
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I have one spot that sags slightly. Wondered how to go about getting adhesive behind headliner without doing any damage? How did you try?
I would like to see the photo.
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Old 12-26-2004, 10:30 AM   #3
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Smile

If your liner/ceiling goes like mine, you will go from a small bubble to almost all the ceiling drooping.

I was able to spray adhesive when the liner fell open (at seams). The sagging ceiling was held up by the smke detector, & the ceiling lights. That's why I realized that screws could work. With the screw covers, there is very little sagging and the ceiling looks like leather upholstery.

You could use a syringe to inject a glue, but that won't stop the sagging. That's why I did the screws.

I will post the photos in a few days as we just returned home from a camping trip to Florida and the trailer is in storage...

The design and materials used by Airstream in the mid '90s were just not good for the long run.
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Old 12-26-2004, 11:08 AM   #4
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I just lost my reply as I was writing it so I hope this doesn't post as a repeat. Our '94 has the same ceiling problem. Unable to work out a solution, we decided just to live with it. I give it "love pats," putting it all back in place every once in a while, but we'd like a permanent cure. We had considered using screws or white metal strips to secure it, but we didn't know what we would be screwing into (oops, wiring??) or out of (yikes! the roof??). Please give us very specific information if you are able about how you went about this, what you are screwing into to hold it, how you avoided problems, and any other relevant info. We have the droopies in the LR area and in the rear BR area. Did you repair in both sections of the trailer? Hope to hear from you soon. This might be Gypsy's New Year's Eve gift!
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Old 12-26-2004, 01:42 PM   #5
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I used 3/4" screws and did not worry about hitting vitals. I eyeballed locations to make both sides look even (1-2 feet apart). I believe the screws were anchored into the backing of the insullation. I unscrewed a few of the existing screws (those holding up the smoke detector) to make sure I wasn't going too deep. I did not screw the screws in with much force, just enough to hold up the drooping vinyl. The reason I posted, was to share, because no one had given me advice, other than spraying 3M adhesive (which did not work well). I dreamed up the solution and did the repairs while vacationing in FL. So far the repairs have worked well (that is, the repairs held up in rain cold and heat and my return trip).

As soon as I can get back to the trailer(in storage) I will post a photo or 2.

The replacement of the liner would cost thousands. I couldn't relax seeing the ceiling falling in. So I took a risk.

I did the fix in the living room area, a few screwsin the kitchen near the edges (4 inches from the edge) of the panel, and 6 or 8 in the bedroom area. A 1/2 or 3/4 inch screw should not pierce anything vital, but I did this at my own risk. If drooping bothers you, as it did me, then you might be ready to try the fix too. I found the screw covers at Home Depot and used the medium sized white covers....
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Old 12-26-2004, 08:23 PM   #6
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Interior ceiling repair

Ours is a 2001 Excella. I know this fix may not be for everyone but I just pulled the vinyl liner off and painted the aluminum ceiling with latex paint. It was not drooping but the vinyl smell was making my wife sick so I just removed all I could and rollered on a coat of primer and off-white wall paint. The vinyl smell is gone and we like the clean slightly textured look of the surface. It worked for me
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Old 12-27-2004, 07:08 PM   #7
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Does anyone on the forum have comments or suggestions about screwing the cushioned ceiling as described above? I know we don't have to worry about plumbing up high, but what about wiring runs? Advice, please, before I have a big "oops" mess!
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Old 12-28-2004, 07:41 AM   #8
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The majority of the wires run in the center of the roof. There are drops to the outlets and 12 VDC fixtures, but the chance of hitting one of those is minimal. Figure you have a 3 inch space on either side of the roof vent running the length of the trailer that is a no screw zone and you should be fine. Also use VERY short screws. 1/2 inch or less. Then if you do hit a wire you should just push it out of the way. One other thing to remember is that the coach is wired before they install the insulation. This means most of the wires are nearer the exterior skin, not the interior.
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Old 12-28-2004, 08:14 AM   #9
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To clarify the above, the main wiring bundle runs the length of the coach, close to the street side edge of the roof vents.

I'd use pop rivets. A screw may well push aside a wire or two but there are a few small bundles branching off the main harness that a screw might just bite into. Even if the wiring insulation is not penetrated a screw has sharp edges that may well eat into the insulation over time and miles. You could still use screw caps with the rivets but you will likely need a small washer.

Mark
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Old 12-28-2004, 07:01 PM   #10
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It sure is good to have people who really know the Airstreams like the last 2 people. I attached three photos of the ceiling after the screws. It is hard to get a good shot as everything is white...
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Old 12-28-2004, 09:04 PM   #11
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I to, am in the same boat as the rest of you. I have 1996 25 ft excella. Just my 2 cents, but I would think that if you used pop rivits you would have to pull them so tight that you would get more of a quilted look (might be what one wants). Also you have to drill the holes for the rivets and you can hit something there.

I made a temporary fix by running some battens between the plastic retaining strips, but believe I will try the screws.

Obviously Airstream has created a problem for us consumers and are not doing much to remedy the situation. Advising us to use spray adhesive or replace is not much of a solution. With there expertise and engineers, one would think they could come up with a solution that would not require individuals to take the above steps, which certainly could be detrimental to their trailer and investment.

Anyway, that is just my thoughts.
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Old 12-28-2004, 09:10 PM   #12
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I do remember when they started to do the padded ceilings. I felt that it was a bad design then and now there is proof. The reasoning they used was it allowed them to do a better job attaching the interior skin, and use more rivets, etc. It also was suppose to offer better insulating properties, I would say that at this point they either did not use the proper materials, or they needed to do an original installation that allowed for a lower cost R&R.
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Old 12-28-2004, 09:16 PM   #13
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Use of short screws will probably do no harm; as pointed out above, the wiring is generally above the insulation (except in the main bundle where it pretty much takes up the entire space). However, a drill bit need only just penetrate the skin. Even if it goes farther an 1/8th inch bit is not as likely to bite into wiring insulation as a screw would in the same place.

Has anyone ever taken theirs to an auto trim shop where they do headliners and upholstery? I should think they could do a replacement for considerably less than the factory.

Mark
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Old 12-28-2004, 09:28 PM   #14
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The biggest issue is that the factory lines the ceiling before any of the interior is installed. The liner goes form the top of the windows to the top of the windows. This places it behind and above almost all of the upper and wall cabinets. To replace it completely requires removal of most of the interior.
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