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Old 06-20-2021, 11:51 PM   #1
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1979 31' Excella 500
Mojave , California
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 27
Hello from the Mojave Desert!

I just wanted to say hi to everybody!
I got my hands on and started completely rebuilding a 79 Excella 500 31ft that had been completely neglected by the previous owner. When I say neglected, it was trashed... Floor roted through on several location and traces of an important electrical fire.
My plan is to rebuild it completely into a tiny full-time home.



What would be the best sub-forum to start a new thread to post the details and progess of my project?
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Old 06-21-2021, 06:48 AM   #2
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1966 22' Safari
1955 22' Flying Cloud
Fredericksburg , Texas
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Congratulations. Boy, that’s a roomy trailer. We helped a friend awhile back get an old Excella back on the road after sitting unattended for for 17 years. Floor rot, failing PB piping, etc. wasn’t that bad, just took a little time. Posting a reno thread seems to be the best way to allow people to follow and make suggestions. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and find “Sitemap”. Click on that and go to the Excella section. Pick your year spread and you have your category. Good luck
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Old 06-21-2021, 02:54 PM   #3
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1979 31' Excella 500
Mojave , California
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 27
Thanks for the feedback! I'll start that thread there.
It definitively takes time but it is gratifying! This one had not been touch for at least 5 years, probably 10... The outside is in relatively good condition but the inside was horrifying when I got it, see the pictures...
I took it because it was something I could afford and only 30 miles from where I live
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Old 06-21-2021, 05:18 PM   #4
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1966 22' Safari
1955 22' Flying Cloud
Fredericksburg , Texas
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I think the outside looks to be in really good shape. The inside needs work. But they all do. If you still have the polybutylene pipe, plan in the future to remove all that and go to PEX. PB started making that pipe around 1978 and stopped in 95. A lot of failures due to the plastics used had a negative reaction to water oxidants like chlorine. Anyway, no big deal over time to replace. Looking forward to your thread. Good luck
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Old 06-21-2021, 06:02 PM   #5
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1979 31' Excella 500
Mojave , California
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 27
I am not sure which pipe you are talking about. Could you clarify?
I'll probably start the thread tonight as I already gutted it and am almost done cleaning the chassis.
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Old 06-21-2021, 06:23 PM   #6
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2007 30' Classic S/O
Somewhere , South Carolina
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Water pipe. Can you post a pic of some of the water pipe.
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Old 06-21-2021, 06:37 PM   #7
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1979 31' Excella 500
Mojave , California
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When I got it the only thing that was left of the water system were the three tanks, and that is it. Everything else was either gone or so damaged that was not recognizable.
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Old 06-21-2021, 06:40 PM   #8
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Clean plumbing! You get to start over. No worries.
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Old 06-21-2021, 06:50 PM   #9
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1979 31' Excella 500
Mojave , California
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Yes, having nothing left inside because of the damages makes kind of easier to work with. Everything to rebuild!
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Old 06-21-2021, 06:50 PM   #10
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
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Welcome from Colorado: Mojave desert ! Home of many innovations and test flights in aviation. Chuck Yeager lived there for years.

Well, you took on a big project. The southwest trailers are usually in better shape than say, northwest trailers as moisture is the bain of Airstreams due to leaks. I will say your Excella can be renovated into a very comfortable travel trailer. Bubba L is right, find the Knowledgebase here and start reading some other's adventures with these late 70s Airstreams.

Two winters ago my friend and I renovated his 76 Sovereign. Like your Excella, but with less standard features. It had bad axles, floor rot, frame rust, failed tambour doors, delamination, lousy wall paper, cracked plastics, poor design of the utility "closet", and on and on. My friend bought it anyway just like you did. We fixed all that and feel we made the trailer very nice. By the way, I would budget about $12k and 1200 hours to complete the renovation. But your Excella would likely be worth much more when completed. See photos.

And see the photo of the grey PB plumbing in my wife's Airstream. That stuff is low cost, but nothing else. PEX is much better.

David
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Old 06-21-2021, 07:05 PM   #11
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1979 31' Excella 500
Mojave , California
Join Date: Apr 2021
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I don't really know from which area this one was from. Given the rust on the chassis I would say it definitively spent quite some time somewhere more humid than the southwest.
The subfloor was garbage (holes, rot, oil stains etc...), the inner skin will be changed too as it is completely wrapped with the heat of the fire.
I actually bought it in November 2019 but did not touch it until summer 2020 so I had time to do a lot of researches and warmer weather. The gutting process took me 4 or 5 complete weekends. Then I had busy schedule at work, but finally got the time and budget to restart in February to clean the chassis. During that period I did a lot of researches too, this website is really useful. Recently ordered two new axles.

I have calculated a budget of about $15k


Nice trailer that you have!
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Old 06-21-2021, 07:33 PM   #12
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1979 31' Excella 500
Mojave , California
Join Date: Apr 2021
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For those interested I just started the thread of the full rebuild


https://www.airforums.com/forums/f20...ld-224367.html
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Old 06-22-2021, 05:44 PM   #13
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Glad you started a project thread. I'm going to follow along. It will bring back many bad memories. : )

David
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