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Old 07-01-2002, 09:05 AM   #1
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Sharon Lee's Avatar
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Smile Questions-31' 1981 Excella

Well, we just bought our 31 foot 1981 Excella Limited Airstream, and camped in it for the first time this past weekend. What fun!! After going over everything with the guy we bought it from in 2 hours we were left with spinning heads and alot of QUESTIONS!
#1- It looks low in the back. What is the clearance from level ground to the bottom of the camper? I looked up trailer droop and I don't see any bulges over the wheel wells. It has a rear bath.
#2- We live on top of a steep hill, our driveway goes straight up. We are wondering how to get it up the hill without dragging. We have it on the street now but can't leave it there too long. We could drive it up the grass at an angle but I don't think it would be safe to drive it over the well or septic tank any ideas on a ramp to help it hop a curb? Help!
#3- The baby hated the freezing cold bath. How do you fill the water tank in order to heat the hot water. We have a manual for an 1980 (not the 81) but the water heater is totally different. Maybe someone could explain the whole process from start to finish. (Im not sure what kind of water heater it is).
#4- The propane tanks are not up to standard how do you fix that?
#5- After we bought it we noticed it had a leak under the sink. All the joints are glued. Is there a exceptable replacment for the black pipe.
Is there an easier way to get in there that you know of??
That's all I can think of now. We sure do like it alot. I keep looking out the window and freaking out because it's so big and beautiful.
Thanks alot- Sharon Lee
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Old 07-01-2002, 09:40 AM   #2
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1972 31' Sovereign
High Springs , Florida
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Hello, and welcome to the wonderful world of Airstreams!

1. Droop: Make sure the trailer is setting level. Sometimes it LOOKS level, but is not. Have you measured, after it was level, or does it just "feel" like it is lower in the back?

2. Driveway hill: Couldn't help you there without seeing it.

3. Cold water heater: Before firing up the water heater, make sure it is full of water. If you are using a city water hookup, simply open up the hot water faucet until all the air is bled out. BUT FIRST make sure the bypass valves on the water heater are in the proper position to allow water to pass through the tank and not bypass it. Again without seeing your particular tank, I do not know if it is an electric/propane, or if it is pizo electric ignition or straight pilot.

4. Take your propane tanks to a welding supply, or propane supplier to have the valves changed, and tanks recertified.

5. Black drain pipe is available at Lowes and Home Depot, if you need replacement pipe and fittings.

Others will chime in here and will be able to give you more specific information on your particular trailer, as well as their thoughts and ideas, on your questions and problems. I have a 31 footer also, but it is a 1972 model.
2003 GMC 2500HD 4X4 D/A Ext. Cab
Propane Powered Honda EU2000i
Lots of Hot Sauce!
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Old 07-01-2002, 10:21 AM   #3
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1983 27' Excella
Airstreamville , Kansas
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Posts: 410
81 Excella new

And I recommend you get an owners & service manual from Secraterial Services listed in the Dealer/Vendor forum.

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Old 07-01-2002, 04:20 PM   #4
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1984 29' Sovereign
Savannah , Missouri
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Welcome to the Airstream family~~
I share your anxieties about the steep driveway..I have one as well and, it's not easy..period. But, you could start by investing in some "FMS". which is the family radios..comes in a pack of twos'.
Short of redoing your driveway..
Hotwater heaters are usually an easy fix, make sure you have the ciry water or your fresh water tank goingor filled. Turn on the hot water fauct and, the press the pump switch to pump it/ if your looking for water from your tank. Make sure you have 6 gallons or more in your fresh water tank..wait till all the bubbles are out of running water. then, shut it off and, then go lite it up. ALWAYS lite it after filling, never lite it dry.
water dripping under sink..? that's a judgement need to look it over to see if anything needs tighten. as usual, if you tighten it gently but, firmly.(it must be from your cold water?)
It's neat, is't it? go ahead and, make exucses to get in..enjoy~!!
I hope I've help'd in some small way..
WBCCI 5292 AIR 807
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Old 07-01-2002, 08:18 PM   #5
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Well, We got it up the driveway! It took a couple of trys and a neighbor who is a UPS driver to help. It was all in the angle. It's a big relief to have it parked where we want it.
Vern- Thanks for your reply. The photo was one that the previous owner took before we bought it. It dosen't look that low in the back. I measured it level and it is 15 and 1 quarter from the ground, beside he wheel well back. The lowest spot on the underbelly was 11 and 1/2. From the bottom of the bumper to the ground is 14 inches. I don't know if it's drooped or not. What should it be?
Also thanks for the photo reply!
Does anyone know what the teletector does? It goes straight across from the shocks. (They look like a long shock absorber). I called Inland RV and they said that it was an add on part.
Anyway the boots are shot on them and I wanted to know what they are, if e need them and where to find a replacement if we do need them.
Thanks for the help.
Sharon Lee
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Old 07-01-2002, 08:57 PM   #6
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1983 27' Excella
Airstreamville , Kansas
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 410

I think they fixed the droop problem in the late 70's but you may still get it if the previous owner(s) pulled it with full tanks with and or rough roads. Its a rear bath right? Will it get out of the driveway as easy as it went up? if your like me it's alot of fun just to watch it sitting there, sure is pretty. I think the teletector was a tire pressure warning system with lights on both sides of the trailer to warn you of a flat.

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Old 01-07-2006, 07:43 PM   #7
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1982 31' Excella
williamsburg , Virginia
Join Date: Jan 2006
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hello, i have an 82 excella, just one year off from yours, but mine has a side bath and rear beds. my camper came with the original books on it and they dont help too much, best bet is the service manual. as for the tires etc - any tire shop can take care of all that. i had to get the right size tires, mine had mobile home tires. on your hot water heater - look at the outside of it for any information on what type it is and any rv dealer should have what you need for it. i had to replace mine with a new one of similar kind. we converted ours to run on electric or propane. all you need for the electric conversion is to take the make/model numbers etc to an rv parts place and ask for the complete electric probe kit. this goes into your outside drain where the drain plug is and just put the thermostat on the tank and plug it in, it will save on the gas! most parks have the electric included anyway. anything i can help with let me know, if i do not know it, i can ask some of my fellow campers where i live about it. being around other campers even though they have different campers one can learn a lot! since i been managing this campground i have learned so much and with all the repairs i've done to mine, learned the hard way. good luck.
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Old 09-03-2011, 07:54 PM   #8
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1981 31' Excella Limited
louisville , Kentucky
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 5
I have a 81 31' them long shocks are antysway control. You do not need them I was going replace mine but no one had them. also they do have a flat senser on it but you have to have all the parts for it.
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Old 09-03-2011, 07:56 PM   #9
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1981 31' Excella Limited
louisville , Kentucky
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 5
I ment to tell you they did not make A book for 81 get you one for 82
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