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Old 11-09-2014, 11:43 AM   #1
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1979 31' Excella 500
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Rivet '79 Excella 500 Rebuild!

Hello Everyone!

Got my 1979 Excella 500 31ft (center bath) little over month ago now for 2900. the haul home is a long story in it self but long story short IT WAS CRAZY and a miracle that i made it home with no issues.

Here's what it looked like when i got it home. 1979 Excella 500 - YouTube

Intended use will be as a vacation TT/Off grid tiny home. So a Full Solar PV system will be a eventuality. Planning to use 12V wherever possible, Will try to use original gas stove and oven. planning to use high efficiency electric fridge.

Have been deconstructing on Saturdays and some Sundays. i work full time so that prevents me working on it more.
Plan right now is to take it to the frame as the back floor was completely rotted out. The large main parts of the frame seem to be intact and when Jumping on the back bumper it does not give at all. What was rotted out was 2 smaller beams running vertically along the back supporting the bedroom sub floor.

everything on the street side has been removed. the curb side still has kitchen and cabinets and the stove, oven ect. the bathroom only has its counter remaining.

Most recently i remove about 3ft of the rear sub floor. first 1-2 feet totally rotted.
I have a question! is this how the sub floor was original done? there are two pieces of plywood that make up the sub floor. they are screwed together. the entire floor is like this.

Its a start!
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Old 11-15-2014, 01:47 PM   #2
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Looks like 2 sheets of 3/8 screwed together? What's factory for this model.
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Old 11-15-2014, 01:52 PM   #3
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The section in the bathroom looks like 1/2 in
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Old 11-20-2014, 09:17 AM   #4
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Got a bunch of 2x4s and 2x6s for bracing but I will be working Saturday so I doubt I'll get much done.
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Old 11-20-2014, 09:38 AM   #5
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1981 31' Excella II
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You really need to do some homework. The floor needs to go under the rear of the trailer and the shell and floor and frame all need to be bolted together. The floor is part of the structure of the trailer. Piece parting it is probably not the wise thing to do, especially at the back. There is a floor and frame forum on here that I would spend some time at.

Perry
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Old 11-20-2014, 10:55 AM   #6
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The section in the bathroom looks like 1/2 in
Splicing the floor, as your photo's show, is weakening the shell.

The construction method of an Airstream is called semi-monocoque, meaning the shell is load bearing.

The shell holds up the frame.

Also the floor is part of the shell. When you spice boards into the floor, where the seams go front to back, the overall strength of the shell has bee compromised.

That's why a proper floor replacement requires that the shell be removed or lifted off of the floor and frame.

Andy
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Old 11-20-2014, 12:38 PM   #7
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You can get by with some sectioning but it needs to be done so there is no way for the floor to separate. Some use lap joints between sections and some like myself has added structure to the frame to support both edges of the floor. The rear edge is really important and usually there is an L-shapped hold down plate at the rear that attaches the shell to the frame. The hold down plate usually rusts out and sometimes the frame below it rusts out as well. The frame needs to be repaired and coated with something like POR15. The hold down plate needs to be replaced or verified to be intact and painted with POR15.

Perry
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Old 11-24-2014, 09:18 PM   #8
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Im going to do a shell off, the pieces that were removed came out by hand. The next steps i'll be doing is removing interior skins and bracing the frame for lifting. The frame will need a good amount of work and i'll definitely be coating it with por-15.
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Old 11-26-2014, 09:53 AM   #9
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thanks Perry and Andy this forum is an amazing resource, and im using it every day.

Anyone got pictures of how they attached the wood frame to the Ribs? i have a pretty good idea from other threads but did they just screw through the rib into the wood?

,JB
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Old 12-01-2014, 09:46 AM   #10
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thanks Perry and Andy this forum is an amazing resource, and im using it every day.

Anyone got pictures of how they attached the wood frame to the Ribs? i have a pretty good idea from other threads but did they just screw through the rib into the wood?

,JB
I got it figured out, look what I find in between the walls
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Old 12-26-2014, 02:28 PM   #11
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Moving along
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Old 02-10-2015, 09:36 AM   #12
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So after much consideration and research I'm going to do a shell on after all.

I've now got the black and Gray tanks dropped, which wasn't too much fun. The black tank has 2 baseball sized holes in it but I'm going with a composing toilet anyway. :-) Gray tank is intact.

I may add another tank in place of the black for extra water storage.

I've also been prepping the frame for repairs, wire brush, grinding ect.

Received some supplies from vintage trailer supply too getting ready to restore Windows!
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Old 02-22-2015, 09:15 AM   #13
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Anyone know what this is for, this is the rear of the trailer. Identical one on opposite side.
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Old 03-03-2015, 06:11 PM   #14
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In the process of gathering all the measurements for all the steel i need, 9 outriggers, a crossmember, rectangular tubing, new A frame coupler and support bracket.

And with the help of SO and my mom started on 2 windows. Because of the condition of the windows i need to do a full restore and not just the weather strip seals. The Metal spacers have been dislodged and one is directly in the middle of one of my fixed windows. :/

No way i could live with that after all this work. Getting the non-fixed windows off is easy, drill out a few rivets and your done. Getting the window frame apart shouldn't be too hard right? HA not when the PO "JB welded" the seams and rivets together.... on all 3 windows we attempted to open the frame after removing the rivets but every single bottom seam was totally frozen. We tried a few solvents and PB blaster as it was also rusted but to no avail.

After hours and a few trips to the local hardware store i finally just cut it using a thin hack saw. It worked better than expected with no damage to the aluminum frame just the steel guide.
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Old 03-04-2015, 06:10 AM   #15
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How you going to get the steel bar out to put the frame back together?

Perry
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Old 03-05-2015, 03:33 PM   #16
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We'll see going to try some more PB blaster now that its exposed, I've read i can use a L bracket too
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Old 03-31-2015, 09:28 AM   #17
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Things have been moving along here, I've got everything I need for the Windows except tint. But I think Im tinting the interior window to avoid having to open them up again if the tint bubbles down the road.

I also received the steel I need to repair the rear on the 25th. Over the weekend I was able to weld in the two new rectangular tubes that run through the middle of the floor. Two eight foot sections of it, now I'm wondering if I should just replace the entire rail front to back. I guess I'll see as I move forward but I'm 75% sure it's solid add I can see paint instead of rust.

Planning on replacing the main C channel this weekend hoping for cool weather.
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Old 04-12-2015, 11:57 AM   #18
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Got the two tubes and the C channel welded in Next up will be U/C/J channel replacement and outriggers. Then painting the painting/treating the frame.

Can someone help me confirm the correct Channel i need? The straight U channel for the Rear will be easy enough to find. What i need is this #100968 is straight #104463 is curved but marked Narrow body? E31 A 9 J is the beginning of my vin and does not indicate Wide Body. mine should be 8ft wide or just under.

the straight one im fairly sure will work but will the curved?

Channel Floor Molding 16ft Piece100986 [100986] - $69.92 : Out-of-Doors Mart!, More Airstream Parts on-line than anyone!

Floor Channel Bow - Narrow Body104463 [104463] - $58.95 : Out-of-Doors Mart!, More Airstream Parts on-line than anyone!
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Old 07-13-2015, 05:10 PM   #19
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TIME FLIES!

Whew! 3 months since my last post. Got Married in June so i was pretty busy for a while.

Received the replacement floor channels and rear banana wrap from odmrv.com

Got the rear out riggers replaced

Wire Brushed & Acetone frame

Treated rear frame with rust converting solution,

Painted rear frame with first coat of Por-15 last night, took 2.5 hours for 1 coat!

Doing all of this in Florida Summer is not fun, tried to wear shorts on Saturday and within 15 min i scratched up my calf pretty good.

Currently mulling over my choices of plywood (Marine or CDX) and sealants. Thompson's water seal/Expoxy/Timber oil and or oil based paint for the edges.

I know this is personal preference but any tips/comments are welcome.
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Old 07-13-2015, 05:49 PM   #20
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