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Old 04-03-2016, 06:58 AM   #1
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2005 30' Safari
Taylors , South Carolina
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Purchasing Advice 1989 Excella 32ft.

Good morning everyone. Wanted to get your opinion on this listing that my wife and I are very interested in. The layout is perfect for our young family and the interior modifications that we have in mind could be done without too much difficulty on this beauty.

http://www.rvtrader.com/listing/1989...ella-117775570

I am in communication with the seller right now. What kinds of questions should I ask?
Anyone had issues with this year and model that I should know about? I'm new to this forum and I remember reading that there are members here that will come with you and inspect your potential purchase? If so, how do I find someone near Chesterfield, VA.

Thanks in advance! We are getting more and more excited by the day at the prospect living full-time while I travel for my job.
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Old 04-03-2016, 11:15 AM   #2
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Using a browser (not one of the mobile apps) look at the main, "portal" page for AIRForums. You'll see on the right column about halfway down a section marked Airstream Inspectors that will let you search by state.

I recommend looking at the profiles of users who are reasonably close and willing to do inspections, you'll probably have the best luck with users who have recent forums activity (someone who hasn't logged in for a year may not be available, for example.) I also recommend using the private message feature to contact them, since most people configure that to sent a notifying email to them when they get a message.
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Old 04-03-2016, 03:50 PM   #3
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Thanks so much, DKB!
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Old 04-03-2016, 05:20 PM   #4
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1988 25' Excella
1987 32' Excella
Knoxville , Tennessee
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That is one fine looking trailer.

And it does have a nice amount of living and storage space. We have one about that age (88) in not near as nice condition. If this is your first Airstream it would be good to hire an inspector, both to evaluate the trailer for purchase and to clue you in as to what you may have to spend on it down the road.
You best resource wil probably be the sellers themselves. Ask polite questions and pay attention to the answers. They know the trailer well.
Leaks and resulting damage are the main thing to watch for. That model does have the OSB floors so poke the floors carefully and look for leakage. Our model had the Vista windows which leaked and caused a lot of damage. The one you are looking at does not have them and I rate that as an advantage.

That is a pretty heavy trailer. Gross weight is 8300 lbs on ours and it will have some hitch weight so think about what you are pulling it with. I have never weighed mine so I do not know the actual weight and now it resides pretty much in one spot. It has a higher tongue weight than the 25' that I pull now. My 25 weighs 6300 lightly loaded for the road and I know the 32 is heavier. It pulled about the same and about the same fuel milage but put more weight on the hitch. I pulled with a 2500 so I did worry much about the details.

Things that have been replaced on our trailer by either us or the PO are the refrigerator, the air conditioner, the water heater, the water pump, the toilet, and the dump valves. Hardwood fooring has been added. The stripe on the outside flaked and I took it all off. The front awning is showing holes all over. Ours has resided in a campground in Florida and been lived in for 3 months of the year by somebody since it left the dealer lot in 88 so it has seen some use. We pulled it a about 4000 miles in 2 years so I did not have a lot of experience. Also 3 tree limbs have fallen on it.
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Old 04-03-2016, 06:50 PM   #5
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Thanks Bill! We decided with our growing family and having not yet settled on a particular size or style Airstream that the prudent thing to do would be to wait and get the tow vehicle last. I have a few trucks in mind that I have been drooling over

Have you ever had any issues getting into sites with a trailer that size?

Sorry to hear about those tree limbs!
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Old 04-03-2016, 07:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mortland View Post
Thanks Bill! We decided with our growing family and having not yet settled on a particular size or style Airstream that the prudent thing to do would be to wait and get the tow vehicle last. I have a few trucks in mind that I have been drooling over

Have you ever had any issues getting into sites with a trailer that size?

Sorry to hear about those tree limbs!
One of the most expensive things that in time must be replaced, is the axles.

25 years of use, is about the average life of torsion axles, unless the trailer was not moved for 2 to 3 years, and simply was parked. Then the rubber rods can go bad even sooner.

The rubber rods must be exercised in order to stay alive.

Always test the torsion axles on any used Airstream that you might be interested in purchasing.

Andy
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Old 04-03-2016, 07:10 PM   #7
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1988 25' Excella
1987 32' Excella
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I did not use that trailer much for traveling since we also have a 25'. But we have traveled extensively with Airstream caravans that include trailers of all sizes. There was little problem fitting them all in. The only problem with that size trailer is the long overhang at the back and the low ground clearance. You need a relatively flat spot. The longer trailer is actually easier to back than the shorter ones. Yes, there are forest service and older national park campgrounds and hilly campgrounds where the length will be a problem. But that will be the exception rather than the rule.

I do prefer traveling with the 25 because we have covered a lot of miles with it. I know I can turn it around if I make a big mistake direction wise (which I sometimes do)and I know about where it will fit. And I do not have to worry quite as much about dragging the rear going into fuel stations and other areas. I know lots of folks who travel with the 30' and longer trailers and like doing that just fine. The max gross weight of the 32 we have is 8300 and for the 25 it is 6800. These older trailers are 6" narrower and somewhat lighter than the newer trailers of the same length.
The seller might actually know the hitch weights and other weights if they pulled it for a while.

I like trees. But...I just ordered a new AC shroud for the 25' because a branch was sticking through it when we got home yesterday. A very small branch. Must have had ice on it when it fell.
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Old 04-03-2016, 07:38 PM   #8
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A good friend had an '88 virtually identical to the one you are looking at. A very nice trailer.

Do be careful to check the floors, his were the OSB ones and any water causes fairly rapid damage.

I personally found the bathroom toilet area a bit small and hard to use. There is no place to dress easily when getting out of the shower either.

He had the usual replacement issues of the furnace, and water heater, the refrigerator had already been replaced when he purchased it. He replaced the converter/charger with a PD three stage one.

His was used in NM, very rural area. He had quite a time sealing it up from mice, which at the beginning were a constant problem. He finally got all the entry points sealed up.
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Old 04-04-2016, 11:33 AM   #9
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1996 25' Excella
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We had an '89; great trailer! This one is in very good shape from the look of it. P&S trailer service always said the '89 model year was very desirable. The rubber mount torsion axles may or may not be a big deal. Lots of older trailers out there that have not baked in the southern sun, with perfectly serviceable running gear and the clear coat on this one looks good so maybe it hasn't been baked.
Price is about right.
JCW
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Old 04-04-2016, 11:41 AM   #10
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1998 31' Excella 1000
Clear Lake , Minnesota
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Advice on the 89-32

I have an 87/32 (my 2nd AS) and aside from general maintenance items the only real issue was the leaks at the rear which caused me to have to replace the bed room floor which was quite a project. The leaks were traced to the rear bumper storage tray and the exterior side access door hinge which needed to be removed and the space beneath it properly sealed. A spongy or compromised floor can be scoped out with an ice pick very firmly pressed through the carpet. Do this every six inches or so around the periffery (sp).
It is a great trailer with lots of storage and neat features. Good luck. And do not skimp on tow vehicle spec's.
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Old 04-04-2016, 11:58 AM   #11
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1988 32' Excella
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Looks like a nice trailer with some new components in it. The axles look like they need replacing, so if you can get them to come down say 1500-2000 on the price this is a winner.
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Old 04-04-2016, 12:08 PM   #12
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1984 31' Excella
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Olsburg , Kansas
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I am with the post earlier, check the flooring. AS eventually went back to a plywood flooring. My 84 has plywood but still had small rotten areas that I did fix. As been said any trailer leaks, just depends when and where. Sounds as though you have received good replies.
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Old 04-04-2016, 11:04 PM   #13
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2005 30' Safari
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Wow, great responses! Very thankful for this helpful community.

I have a fellow forum member that will be inspecting it for me sometime in the near future. About how much would it cost to replace the axles?

What would y'all suggest for a tow vehicle? The seller is willing to hold on to the trailer for a bit until I can purchase a tow vehicle or have a friend tow it.

Thanks again! I've learned so much just in this last week of being a forum member.
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Old 04-05-2016, 03:03 PM   #14
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I just had (like I picked it up yesterday from the shop) the axels replaced on my '84 32' Excella and it was just under $2000 including parts and labor from a pretty reputable shop in the greater Los Angeles area. That seemed comparable to the prices I was seeing elsewhere listed on the forum.
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Old 04-05-2016, 09:18 PM   #15
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Thanks for the info, Philip. I'll keep that figure in mind should I buy this rig and end up having to change out the axles.
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Old 04-05-2016, 11:02 PM   #16
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One advantage of an 89 is you don't have to worry about the padded vinyl ceiling falling down like on the 94-96 Airstreams.

Dan
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Old 04-10-2016, 06:33 PM   #17
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1988 25' Excella
1987 32' Excella
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so, did you buy it?
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Old 04-10-2016, 11:55 PM   #18
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2005 30' Safari
Taylors , South Carolina
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Update

So I must have found a good one because another buyer swooped in offering full price before I could even get it inspected. We'll keep searching! Thanks everyone for all the advice, I'll keep you updated.
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Old 05-01-2016, 10:19 AM   #19
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1989 32' Excella
Sharon Springs , New York
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Smile Keep the Faith

Wanted to reply ASAP as we bought a 1989 32' Excella last Fall. We would say "keep the faith" as you are on the right track with that vintage. We've had many type/brands of RVs but this was our first AS and we are very happy so far. We were looking for a Texas "snowbird" type unit for when my wife retires. We had wanted to stay in the 27'-30' range but are glad we found the 32'. We were coming from a 11'5" slide-on camper so anything larger was a plus!!!! What is nice about the longer AS's is that they seem to be plentiful and reasonably priced. Many folks speak highly of the 1986-93 vintage AS units (except for the OSB sub-floor). OSB flooring is what it is, and you just have to be extra careful with floor damage/leaks. Ours checked out well during the pre-purchase inspection (rear 4' of floor had been replaced). The only "discovery" we had was under the refrigerator where the floor was rotted because the refrigerator's condensation tube had not been routed correctly when it was replaced in 2007(note- check the condensation tube because ours crumbled apart when we tried to reposition it). Anyway, we fixed the floor, replaced the carpet w/hard flooring (easier to clean), plastic toilet to a china toilet (love it!!), 45amp OEM converter to 3-stage 60amp, 13.5k BTU OEM AC to 15k BTU AC w/heat-pump, changed the twin bed set-up to queen bed with lifting struts to access underneath storage, removed the gaucho couch/bed and built a carpet covered bench w/a tambour front storage access system(old roll-top deskn parts) and a piano-hinged top. We gained 14" of length to our living area and bought AS recliners for leisure use. The bench provides a bed for our dogs, easy access to the power converter and can be used as a set when the curbside table is extended. In addition, a person can sleep on it if needed. While any AS can be configured to your personal wants/needs, we find the "tweener" vintage is old enough to be user friendly (no circuit boards, ducted A/C, plumbing/water pump easily accessible, etc.) and while not "retro", still has a decent interior (except for the carpet). Your tanks/plumbing/electrical are still safe(from normal use). We replaced what we wanted (everything still worked) at our leisure. We had an RV tech look at the undercarriage as we were planning on replacing the axles ASAP and he told us to "use it" for a season or so to make sure its what we want/like before putting a lot of money into it. We'll replace the axles in a year or so as the unit seems to handle well now (did upgrade to 16" rims and LT tires). We also replaced the safety chains, breakaway switch, LP regulator/rubber hoses and the LP gas/smoke/carbon monoxide detectors for safety sake. We think as a full-timer, you could make many repairs on the road (except axles/AC/structural) if you are capable (you will be!!!) and have a few basic tools. AS parts can be a hit/miss thing (sewer coupling) but there is a good network of AS support nationwide. Finally, insofar as tow vehicles, trucks are a solid TV (what we use) but consider a Dodge Caravan, have read that they are very TV capable, family friendly and cost effective (in the $20k range) maybe not macho/sexy but something to think about as a FT'ing family. Good luck and "keep the faith" ...
Regards,
James and Rebecca
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Old 05-02-2016, 04:06 PM   #20
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2005 30' Safari
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Hey James & Rebecca,

Thanks so much for the detailed advice and for sharing your experience with your AS I'm keeping my eye out as I continue to save $ for the purchase. We're waiting until our 2nd child arrives in August before jumping in to buying anything in case of complications, etc.

We've determined that 27 - 32 is our prime range. As far as a TV goes we're looking into getting a Suburban 2500, Ford Excursion, or Ford E350 van. We plan on having more children anyways so they should be useful to us even after our wanderlust full-time days are done! What do you use for a TV?

Thanks again for the information, I keep learning more and more everyday on this forum and elsewhere. Happy and safe travels to you!
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