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windytd 01-01-2012 08:44 PM

Restoration of a 1983 limited 34'

I just purchased a 1983 limited 34' trailer. It is need of some restoration. Has anyone tried to restore on of these? Are there things I should look for as I start? First thing I know is that the door handle is broke and I do not believe it is made any longer. The previous owner did a number on the door trying to get into it. Do you think I can I get a new door somewhere? I am looking for some advice before I tear into this baby. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks Dave

Aage 01-01-2012 09:47 PM

Howdee & welcome to, Dave! You have found THE place to get all your questions answered. :D

As far as getting that '83 fixed up and you happy with its condition, here's my biggest recommendation: read, read, read! Become intimately familiar with the search function here, and start looking through it for answers to the questions you have now for your TT (travel trailer).

If you "tear" into anything on your new-to-you acquisition, you may pay too much for parts you may or may not need, and secondly, might become frustrated by doing the work with less than optimum knowledge on how to do it. This assumes you are not an RV mechanic already. if you are, ignore this post and go on without me. :)

Anyways, it's winter. You are in Minnesota. You are not going to be going anywhere in a hurry right away are you? Take your time, and figure it all out in advance. You'll be happy you did!

By the way, another recommendation: invest in an Airstream Service Manual for that year. While they aren't perfect, they do contain a barrel of great info to help you out.

Good luck, and post lots of pictures, especially when you expect help from the readers here.

ps: I think your '83 is the lightest of all the 34-footers around. Oh, and if it has that light bleached oak interior, don't be in a hurry to throw it away; there's a lot of folks (me included) that love that look... :flowers:

vswingfield 01-01-2012 10:23 PM

Welcome! Nice choice in an Airstream!

If it is just the handle that is broken, a member has reproduced them in Stainless Steel. His name is John Burkey, and here is a link to one of his posts. The next post has a photo of the handle I got from him for my 1983 34' Excella. Very nice replacement part.

As far as the rest of the door goes, if the frame is still in good shape, you could re-skin it rather than replacing the entire door.

Aage is right about you needing a Service Manual. They're not available for 1983, but are for 1982 and 1984. I got a 1984 because my brother has a '84 Excella. There is practically no difference between the years. Service Manuals are available from Airstream on their website.

He's also right, we want to see photos. Lots of them. There are photos of my interior in my Gallery Uploads. Mine has the terrible faux walnut laminate and vinyl rather than bleached oak, or any real wood for that matter. Still, it is nice inside. Somday a refacing of the counters and closets would help, but plenty in the works for me before I get to that.

Jammer 01-02-2012 01:15 AM

Hi Dave,

It's unusual for a newer trailer like yours to require extensive restoration but you should find plenty of information and advice here. I'm just down Highway 3 from you and there are several other Airstreamers in the area -- Wabbiteer being another who posts fairly often. I see from your profile you also have a 2005 Safari -- is that correct?


sandlapper 01-02-2012 04:46 AM

Hi Dave, welcome to the world of the Alumaliner, 34 feet of Airstream fun! They are special, a club within the club. Enjoy!
Safe & happy travels, John

c_lewis77 01-02-2012 08:15 AM

Hey Dave,
Welcome to the forums! I am in the process of restoring an 1982 34' ltd. I would imagine it would be very close to yours.
My door handle had some issies as well and the PO replaced the handle only. I will post some pics of the retrofit. If the door is intact, this may be an easier option.
In regards to other issues, check the subfloor at the perimeter. I had issues in the rear streetside corner and under the refrigerator.
I have all the manuals for my 82, I would be happy to look anything up or take some reference pics.

Good luck!
Post some pics!

windytd 01-02-2012 10:35 AM

Hey everyone! I am excited about this project. I will get some pictures posted soon. The door is not in too bad of shape but the previous owned used a claw hammer to try and open the door when the lock broke so it is sprung a little and there are marks around the handle itself. The lock is still broke but I am going to take it apart and see what is exactly broke.

I plan to take time on this and make it right. I would like to make the interior a little more modern. I am thinking about a bambo floor and light coverings for the couch and dinette.

I need to get my profile changed as well. I had an 05 safari 25' when I originally signed up here. I sold that when I found this one. I love the look of the 34'. And this has a great floor plan. I am pretty handy so I am really looking forward to this.

flyfishrra 08-20-2012 04:12 PM

Hey Dave,

I just bought my 34' limited a few weeks ago! Still working on things and quite a bit to update for a while. Hasn't been used much over the years so we have lots to work on. Keep finding little things. We will be fulltimers and the majority of things work just working on the small stuff! Can't wait to share stories!

c_lewis77 08-20-2012 04:46 PM

Flyfishrra, welcome to the forums! I am sure you will love your 34! I have had a great time with mine! Post some pics when you get a chance.we love pics!

3campers 08-20-2012 04:49 PM

Hey Dave, I just just purchased a 31 ltd and although I'm not restoring mine since it's in fine shape I'd be happy to snap pics or shoot photo's your way for reference. Good luck can't wait to see pics of your progress!

BajaBill 05-04-2017 05:11 PM

I also just bought an 83 limited and am having trouble finding a service manual I think you will need one as I do for sure , so if any one can help where to find one we need to know. Good luck mine has the haze blue interior everywhere.

Jenniflow 05-04-2017 05:27 PM

1982 34' Limited

We have a 1982 34' Limited. Ours is the very dark interior that I am already starting to remove at least some of. It just feels way to dim inside for us.

I haven't started looking for a service manual, that is, I haven't even started looking for it here on Airforums, I know they have some documentation here, but I will let you know if I find one, Baja Bill.

passenger56 06-04-2019 11:49 PM

Did anyone find locations other than eBay to get service manuals?

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