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Old 07-31-2011, 04:21 PM   #1
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Saginaw , USA
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 3
Refrigerator Fire & Advice

1995 Airstream Excella 1000

I'm considering the purchase of 1995 Airstream Excella 1000. Its a great looking unit for the most part; however, it had a refrigerator fire.

Obviously the refrigerator will have to be replaced approximately $1800???
Will they be able to repair the roof opening where the vent was pulled out etc? There is some damage to accordion door from kitchen to hallway and the wall between closet and refrigerator. Sub floor looks good from what we can see.

What would you guys GUESS/ESTIMATE on repair cost? Would you steer clear of it?

I'm assuming the fire sucked in the aluminum on the outside below the vent and above the outside refrigerator access. Sub floor looks good, cabinets need a little work refinishing.

What are your expert opinions? Anyone with more knowledge in the DFW area willing to go evaluate the unit with me for a fee?

VIN# 1STHEYU35SJ510477 (I think, I took a pic of plate and that's what I make out.

Please help!
Best regards,
Jonathan W. Hardman
Aspiring Airstreamer
100 Wood Drive
Saginaw, Tx 76179
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Old 07-31-2011, 06:27 PM   #2
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2000 30' Limited
battle ground, , Washington
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Aiyiyi cheewawa

Sorry, I hate to see a post like this asking for help with no replies. If both you and the seller agree the frig is ruined, ask if it can be removed so you can get a better idea of damage. There would be nothing lost by either party-I assume you'd help (to learn, if no other reason). compare the aluminum outside on this trailer to others to see if there is bulging (aluminum expansion) that would require panel replacement which is big $$. Inside, compare wear and tear of area not affected versus the area that has been damaged. See how big a difference there is-ie: you may wish to refinish the whole sheebang for matching purposes. Finally, price. I'd take it for $1.98-you know what I mean. Compare asking price versus other similar trailers. Finally, is it really the model you want? Is your time a problem? Have you got the $ to purchase and refurb? Perhaps this is more questions than answers, but the bottom line is you-you are the one that has to make the decision. All I am saying is ask yourself these hard questions, perhaps with your sig other and see if this is the beauty you think it is... good luck ol' bill
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Old 07-31-2011, 06:35 PM   #3
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Hyde Park Place , Ohio
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If you have to replace aluminum, the sheet metal is a few hundred dollars, and installing it just means finding someone on the forums who would do it for or with you for a couple of hundred dollars.

I have seen new fridges for around $1200.

You'd probably never use the door, do you could remove it, or replace it with a curtain?

If the price is one you're willing to pay, given the damage, enjoy your new trailer and new project.
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:32 PM   #4
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Got any pictures we can look at? As Spok might say, it would greatly assist in our analysis.

Oh yes, JW. You might want to remove your street address and phone number from your signature line. We're all a big, happy bunch here. But you never know who is reading from afar. Just an observation.

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Old 07-31-2011, 07:43 PM   #5
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You may want to call factory in Jackson Center...

I'd disagree with post above about exterior or interior skin panels. They are not "Do-it-yourself" repairs unless you happen to be an aircraft mechanic with lots of tools and riveting expertise..

There may also be electrical wiring issues in the wall behind the ex-fridge, and structural problems around the upper vent and vent door on the side of the trailer...Since all of the sheet metal is heat treated aluminum, fire might have compromised the strength of shell even if panels look like they are intact.... It should be priced first as if it were in great shape, and then start making deductions for all the possibly needed repairs at retail cost to you....

With digital photos, service managers at factory in Jackson Center, OH might give you estimate of even firm quote on repair, which you can use to help make buy/don't buy decision even if you elect not to have them do the work. They are excellent at structural, metal panels and wiring/plumbing things. You could do your own wood refinishing and door replacements and save some $$...

In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
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Old 07-31-2011, 09:49 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Condoluminum View Post
I'd disagree with post above about exterior or interior skin panels. They are not "Do-it-yourself" repairs unless you happen to be an aircraft mechanic with lots of tools and riveting expertise..
I think I quite clearly said: maybe you could contact someone off Airforums who has the tools and experience, and could show you.

There are many here who could do a professional and safe repair at a fraction of the cost of taking it into a shop that will demand a huge mark-up and profit margin. Better still, they could assess the insulation, and wiring, with you.

It would be highly educational and help you with the future care and maintenance of your Airstream.
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:00 AM   #7
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Walkerton , Virginia
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Is there any danger that there was an insurance claim and that the rig was totaled? That would bring a host of other problems into play.

Good luck - hope it works out.

Somebody, please, point me to the road.

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Old 08-01-2011, 12:49 PM   #8
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Saginaw , USA
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Been Doing My Homework

I've been doing some homework. I spoke with the previous owner and the insurance company did "total" the unit. So I'm sure it would be a salvage title or reconditioned title.

Looking at the damage its just hard to believe that its NOT repairable. I guess the problem is that it would be cost prohibitive . I have a hard time thinking this overall very nice unit would be either destoyed, parted out, or sit and deteriorate when there are people like me who would LOVE having one.

Our budget is not huge in comparison to a new Airstream, but my wife doesn't care for older units and we can't afford a new unit, but.....buying this one cheap and repairing some damage could be the best of all worlds.

Chris Birch was some help at the Jackson Center Service Center, but I'd have to have time to haul it up there. I'm gonna' call North Dallas RV in a few min and see what they can tell me about diagnosing the unit.

He said this was the first refrigerator fire he had ever heard of....that's pretty hard for me to believe.

I wish I could find someone local who knew more than I know or could diagnose and access the situation. I hate to see such a nice unit go to waste. The originial owner was VERY nice and very helpful and said other than the fire and skin repair from a collision he loved this trailer more than his '97 Excella Limited he replaced this one with. He didn't even pursue having it repaired because of the process and his age.

Maybe this is a sign that its not the right unit if it requires this much work and research.....but I know that being willing to do the work and research could be what make it one of the best AS on the road!
Best regards,
Jonathan W. Hardman
Aspiring Airstreamer
100 Wood Drive
Saginaw, Tx 76179
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:10 AM   #9
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1995 34' Excella
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Posts: 12
well i bought this trailer... and while yes it is alot of work i have started on it and there are electrical issues as well as the damage... it did warp across piece that i have straightened pretty well and the is more damage from them ripping the roof panel than what the fire is a project for sure but the good news is the awnings all work so at least i have a shady place to sit and consider how overwhelmed i am...

right now i am going to concentrate on getting it weather tight... so i will be patching the vent hole for now... also looking into 12/120 volt fridges instead of the LPG... dont want to go through this in the future... although i think i have located what may have started it... and extension cord run under the wall to under the dinette... i know it couldnt have helped it any...
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