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Old 05-30-2023, 07:51 PM   #1
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1967 26' Overlander
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Considering 87 Excella 32ft-- pics, please advise

I am considering buying a 1987 Excella 32ft local to me. Please see photos link below. They are asking $24k-- I know enough to say it's not worth that, and I'm certain they would take less. However, beyond putting a number on it, I need your perspective to see what I'm *not* seeing.
I know nothing about it except that the guy selling it picked it up at an auction a year ago and it has been sitting in the side lot of his used car dealership for a year.

The good:
It is relatively complete and intact
Not smoked in
Pretty new-looking heat pump on the roof
Rained for 2 days straight this past weekend and didn't see/feel any moisture or smell any mildew or air fresheners.
Both original propane tanks still there
Not abused-- wear and tear makes sense for outdoor storage for 36 years

The not so good:
Hitch, spring bars, and swaybar missing
Dometic fridge gone, cheap 110V fridge in place.
The entire front half has been floored with - no kidding - tongue in groove oak.
Door latch completely broken - retrofitted with household deadbolt drilled through the wall.
Various dings and peeling trim paint on exterior.
Lower half of front has been coated with what looks like black vehicle undercoating or possibly truck bedliner.
Floors: severe but highly localized rot in back corners under bunks, suspect previous leaks at marker lights but not leaking now bc it rained heavily all weekend here and it was bone dry in there today. Pulled up all carpet in the bedroom and found zero rot in walking area. Tongue in groove oak is buckled up just forward of fridge area. No idea what is underneath it, but appears to be in pretty good condition.

Has a Suburban furnace and Atwood water heater, both have some age on them.
Upholstered surfaces are in excellent condition.
Status of appliances, plumbing, electrical, brakes, axles, etc unknown. I will have an opportunity to test if I want.

Please view detailed photos here:

I know there are a lot of gaps in the information-- I've only had time for aquick look. I'm just looking for initial impressions.
I have been involved with and/or using a 67 Overlander since 1986 (when I was 7 and my dad bought it from his uncle, who had had it since '69.) I know much of what the responsibilities are in taking care of one of these. However, I am 44 years old, at the peak of my career, and working a lot of hours.

What do you think?

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Old 05-30-2023, 09:35 PM   #2
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1994 25' Excella
Waukesha , Wisconsin
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It's generally a question of price and how much time/effort/money you're willing to invest.

In my limited experience sometimes things are what they seem to be, but oftentimes things go much deeper and require more extensive work to address.

How long since the axles have been replaced?
What's the condition of the wiring? Is the converter still the original?
Plumbing? Does it still have the original plumbing and is it leak free?
Etc. Etc.

Overall nice looking trailer and certainly one I would have considered at the right price, but I don't mind projects.
1994 Excella 25 Follow the build on Gertie!
1999 Suburban LS 2500 w/7.4L V8
1974 GMC 4108a - Custom Coach Land Cruiser (Sold)
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Old 05-31-2023, 11:54 AM   #3
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1967 26' Overlander
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Thanks Richard.
I guess what I was trying to say was-- 10-15 years ago, the work wouldn't have scared me. 10-15 years in the future, the idea of the work probably wouldn't worry me. But I am burning the candle at both ends career-wise right now, so time is at a premium even though the money is less of an issue. Could I spec and install a new Dometic fridge? Yes, but I probably won't. Could I strip/polish the shell and repaint the trim? Yes, but I definitely won't-- gladly pay someone to do that. The question is, based on the fact that I would have to hire out any repairs because of lack of free time, at what price point (if such a point exists) would this be worth the risks?

Axle history unknown so safe to assume the answer there is "never".
Ditto with the converter. Wiring appears largely original, though.
Plumbing is original, though the main connection at the back bumper appears to have been modified as it has what looks like a household hose spigot and valve for an inlet.
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Old 05-31-2023, 12:27 PM   #4
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1986 25' Sovereign
Allegan , Michigan
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 140

I have a mid 80's unit and had to replace the axles a few years back, caulk the roof andtrack down a few leaks - par for the course. Only 1 big surprize: Polybutalyen (PD) plumbing. It is grey plastic and sort of like PEX but not as relieable. I had to make some repairs early on and needed a PEX to PB adapter which is a specialty part available from "Manufactered Home" repair suppliers. A few years later I had to redo the remaining plumbing in PEX - a real pain becasue the factory does some of the plumbing first and then builds the rest of the trailer.

If it has grey tubing plan on replacing it - a fitting failure during a trip is not fun. There was a recall on PB plumbing - whic is why they don't use it anymore.

Good Luck,

Whit Nash
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Old 05-31-2023, 01:19 PM   #5
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1988 25' Excella
1987 32' Excella
Knoxville , Tennessee
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I have a 32', 1987 Excela (with an oak floor). They are a pretty nice trailer. The plumbing has been a continuous issue with ours. The PO let it freeze. We have had a lot of plumbing breaks. The 90 degree elbows break in half. The dump valves will need attention. The fridge is a $2000 maybe plus job. The floors are OSB. If it leaks they get soft and go away. But usually in only a small spot. Our trailer has leaks we cannot find or fix. We have our trailer fixed on a lot in FL and have not pulled it for 8 years or so. The 32' has a lot of overhang and low ground clearance. Our door lock looks like that. A common replacement for a bad lock. If I was looking for a trailer to use in a fixed location I might consider that one. If the interior modifications work for you. The trailer has a nice layout and a fair amount of space. If I actually wanted to go camping and did not want a lot of project I would pass. What that trailer has going for it is that the skin is relatively undamaged. And it might not leak. That is the expensive part. To effectively work on an Airstream you need time, money, and space. And it might help if you are 5'6" and 130 lbs or smaller and strong for your size. Where we have the trailer we have a good mobile service shop available. We have called them several times for things that needed doing right away. New AC. Repair furnace. Fix a major leak while I was in hospital. I put in a converter and 2 fans and tried to fixe leaks multiple times. The door need recurving. We have a 2' square hole covered with a piece of plywood under the WH. And tree limbs have fallen on it twice. I did not notice whether the trailer you listed has awnings or not? 35 years is a long time even for a Sunbrella material awning. And new awnings run $5000 or so.
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Old 05-31-2023, 02:04 PM   #6
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Whit-- thanks, yes it does have PB plumbing. I remember that stuff well. My uncle had '83 model double wide mobile home that was plumbed with that stuff. Every time he had to tap into it for whatever reason, he had to get the fittings from the mobile home supply store. I would definitely upgrade to PEX, probably in conjunction with a tankless water heater.

Bill-- thank you for the feedback. It does have the Zip Dee awnings on the curb side and over the road-side and rear windows. The smaller ones are in excellent shape. I don't know yet about the big one. "To effectively work on an Airstream you need time, money, and space." -- truer words never spoken. I grew up working with my dad on his '67 Overlander, which is now mine. I'm now at a point with that one where I'm either going to have to renovate it or get a bigger one, hence why we were looking at this one. I'm starting to feel like this one needs too much, though.
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