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Old 02-11-2024, 10:53 AM   #1
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1982 31' Excella
springfield , Illinois
Join Date: Feb 2024
Posts: 47
Burned 1982 Excella Restoration

restore 1982 excella

Attached are the photos

I have already stripped the entire inside down to the metal/wood

I have pressure washed it twice, and regular hose washed it twice on the inside, pressure washed the outside once

I have spent many hours already with a grinder taking out all the protruding metal/wires/etc

My main questions to yall:

What is the plan to seal the metal back up?

My plan so far, cut the aluminum body into squares, then later on get similar aluminum that the airstream uses, then rivet those pieces to emulate the factory setup, then seal it up using some kind of epoxy/metal sealer/etc


Plan around the exposed wheel well: build a substructure out of metal that is similar to the intact side, then cut metal and fasten it to the created structure around the wheel wells

let me know which products to get, also let me know if I need to do welding

Now: I still have to remove more stuff off the roof, and more grinding on the inside

The point of this post: To see what yall recommend for me to do, not ordering anything yet until I have a better plan

responses appreciated
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Old 02-11-2024, 04:46 PM   #2
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1963 26' Overlander
Waynesville , Georgia
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Love your project! We welded on replacement outriggers on the frame, repaired and steps. We sandblasted and painted the frame. Used 3/4” marine plywood for subfloor and West epoxy to coat. Ordered new grey and black tanks. New aluminum for belly pan. New C-channel for perimeter.

When the shell was clean and refastened to frame all rivets and seams were sealed with Trempro 635 followed by a few coats of Lizard Skin ceramic coating.
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Old 02-11-2024, 04:48 PM   #3
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Will need elevator bolts and screws for subfloor.
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Old 02-11-2024, 04:50 PM   #4
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Will use mainly Buck rivets, bucking bar for exterior skin (need a partner to help with buck riveting).
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Old 02-11-2024, 04:53 PM   #5
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Vintage Trailer Supply was a wonderful source.
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Old 02-11-2024, 05:55 PM   #6
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1982 31' Excella
springfield , Illinois
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristyB56 View Post
Love your project! We welded on replacement outriggers on the frame, repaired and steps

When the shell was clean and refastened to frame all rivets and seams were sealed with Trempro 635 followed by a few coats of Lizard Skin ceramic coating.
Yes I will have to do these tasks

I have never riveted before, I will watch youtube videos

Where can I get a similar material that the shell of the airstream is made out of? so that I can cut them and bend them to the shape of the airstream, then rivet them and seal them like you are suggesting
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Old 02-11-2024, 05:57 PM   #7
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1982 31' Excella
springfield , Illinois
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristyB56 View Post
Vintage Trailer Supply was a wonderful source.
Yes Ok I will look into them


Will use mainly Buck rivets, bucking bar for exterior skin (need a partner to help with buck riveting).

Yes I will watch videos and see how it works
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Old 02-11-2024, 06:02 PM   #8
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1982 31' Excella
springfield , Illinois
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What is the exact name of the material used to make the shell of the airstream?

Meaning, If I wanted to go to a metal supply, what is the exact item I would ask for?

I am assuming it is aluminum sheeting, but what thickness?

My grinder was down I had to repair it, and thats when I noticed these replies

Now, I am still grinding all random screws/wires/metal for whatever, on the roof cutting all the antennas/ventilation ports

Another issue I havent figured out: some of the windows are missing

My plan, get a standard window that fits that hole, and fabricate a base around it, then seal outside with the aluminum sheeting and riveting

I am still grinding away, just seeing what yall suggest

Also, I have been hammering on the body, molding it back into shape, I will use a 2x4, and hit that with a sledge on the areas I want to push
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Old 02-11-2024, 09:16 PM   #9
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Wow! What a big project. I applaud your enthusiasm. And welcome to the forum. Please keep us posted on your progress.
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Old 02-11-2024, 09:26 PM   #10
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Waukesha , Wisconsin
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Can you get a donor trailer for the body panels you'll need?
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Old 02-12-2024, 06:27 AM   #11
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1963 26' Overlander
Waynesville , Georgia
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Restoration Info

There is a separate forum on this site which covers repairs, restoration, blogs, sources for parts etc. it is a great resource! I am not computer savvy enough to add a link for you…….perhaps help on this from another member?
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Old 02-12-2024, 06:33 AM   #12
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We bought aluminum sheets from aircraftspruce.com
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Old 02-12-2024, 06:44 AM   #13
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Oak Park , Illinois
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WOW....about all I can come up with is WOW. One heck of a project! Makes me feel shameful I'm complaining about swapping out my connections at the battery...

Fridge fire?
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Old 02-12-2024, 07:42 AM   #14
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1982 31' Excella
springfield , Illinois
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
Can you get a donor trailer for the body panels you'll need?
I have thought about that, you are saying maybe get a tiny beat up airsteam, cut out the pieces I need from that one, and then rivet/seal them onto the excella

Yes I will look into this
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Old 02-12-2024, 07:45 AM   #15
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1982 31' Excella
springfield , Illinois
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristyB56 View Post
There is a separate forum on this site which covers repairs, restoration, blogs, sources for parts etc. it is a great resource! I am not computer savvy enough to add a link for you…….perhaps help on this from another member?
hmm, I started this post under the "interior restore" thinking,

I am technically sealing the interior

You are telling me: there is another forum which covers the repair of the airstream aluminum body?
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Old 02-12-2024, 07:48 AM   #16
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1982 31' Excella
springfield , Illinois
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristyB56 View Post
We bought aluminum sheets from aircraftspruce.com

do you happen to know the thickness of the aluminum sheeting? I will look through scrap/facebook marketplace to see if I can find something compatible
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Old 02-12-2024, 07:53 AM   #17
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1982 31' Excella
springfield , Illinois
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfranklin View Post
WOW....about all I can come up with is WOW. One heck of a project! Makes me feel shameful I'm complaining about swapping out my connections at the battery...

Fridge fire?
I have already extracted 2 dumpster full of burned up interior, bed/lights/toilet/stove/microwave/couch

I am not sure what exactly caused the fire, but it seems it was most intense in that area where there is a hole in the body of the airstream

When I was extracting all the burned materials, I did not come across a fridge

Maybe the fridge is located in that area with the big hole in the airstream body?

The fire was so intense, it warped the aluminum body, I was hammering on it last night for couple hours trying to get it back to normal
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Old 02-12-2024, 08:07 AM   #18
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1982 31' Excella
springfield , Illinois
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At this moment, the 3 big things I am trying to figure out (feel free to critique/give advice):

1. I want to build a metal frame around the exposed wheel well. My plan: Build a metal structure out of square tubing (1/2'' size), then use either metal or aluminum sheeting and fasten it to the metal structure, then spray rustproofing above the tires onto the new metal to seal it up from the weather

2. Locate the proper aluminum that will be used to cover the burned aluminum to seal the body of the airstream

The right way to go with this one is maybe to go with whole other airstream that is donor unit, like someone mentioned

The cost of aluminum nowadays, it might be cheaper just to get a whole other airstream

3. Windows: The cost of one airstream window is more than I paid for the entire airstream
My plan: Get similar sized windows from facebook marketplace/craigslist and fit them into the holes
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Old 02-12-2024, 08:18 AM   #19
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1982 31' Excella
springfield , Illinois
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https://www.airforums.com/forums/att...1&d=1707750993

Also, yesterday I was using a drill with a wire wheel on it to grind down the tape, didnt work

What do yall recommend to remove the tape from the body?

I sprayed diesel to maybe help it break it down, didnt work

Maybe a paint thinner would help it come off?
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Old 02-12-2024, 08:23 AM   #20
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1994 34' Excella
Warren , Manitoba
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The fire started in the fridge area, probably from a gas leak, as the main burn is below the fridge vent that is located on the roof above the big hole in the wall. I would be very suspect that some of the main ribs are compromised from the heat. My father and a very good friend worked on a 1964 Airstream that had a burn that was much smaller than yours. There was no exterior damage, but the burn smell remained in the unit despite everything that they did. You are doing a very major undertaking, and the repairs will be very costly to bring this trailer back to anything close to original. If you plan on keeping it, it might be a project that will give you some satisfaction, however it will look like a patchwork repair unless the complete side is replaced. By the pictures the roof is also compromised and should be replaced. I have done quite a bit of repair of Airstreams, and I would run from this one!! Any repair is possible, but many become a "money pit" with no return on cash or time investment. JMHO
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