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Old 03-14-2006, 09:42 AM   #1
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We're Airstreamers!!! (Now what?)

Hey, all

Brian and Randi of Chesapeake, VA here. We just "inherited" a 1973 Excella 500 from my mother-in-law and brought it back home last night.

We are looking to turn this into our home-away-from-home, so it's going to require quite a bit of work to make it liveable to our standards.

So, what tips do you all have for neophyte airstreamers? Are there any good books written on the subject of Airstreams and Airstream maintenance/repair?

Thanks for the info and we're looking forward to a great time on the road.

Brian

On edit: the pic of our camper is too large. I'll crop it to size for posting a little later.
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Old 03-14-2006, 09:58 AM   #2
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1978 31' Sovereign
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Way To Go!!!

Congrats on your first posting!
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Old 03-14-2006, 09:59 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinoblanco
Hey, all

Brian and Randi of Chesapeake, VA here. We just "inherited" a 1973 Excella 500 from my mother-in-law and brought it back home last night.

We are looking to turn this into our home-away-from-home, so it's going to require quite a bit of work to make it liveable to our standards.

So, what tips do you all have for neophyte airstreamers? Are there any good books written on the subject of Airstreams and Airstream maintenance/repair?

Thanks for the info and we're looking forward to a great time on the road.

Brian

On edit: the pic of our camper is too large. I'll crop it to size for posting a little later.
Brian,

You could attend the Cherry Blossom Rally held by the Washington DC Unit of WBCCI (Wally Byam Caravan Club International) the sign up sheet is here:

http://www.google.com/url?sa=U&start...ObqOiAG9qf3TBw

The Washington DC Unit website is here:
http://www.google.com/url?sa=U&start...M6y2iwGi-eTcBw

Those people will be more than willing to answer your questions and start you on the right foot.

Bill
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Old 03-14-2006, 10:43 AM   #4
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Hi Brian and Randi and welcome. Congratulations on your new to you Airstream. Many fun times ahead for you. My preferfence is camping in our National, State and Local parks. Check the ones in your beautiful part of the coountry for a quick fix. joe
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Old 03-14-2006, 11:06 AM   #5
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You are in the right place...........

Hey Brian,
These forums are a great source of practical and technical info.
My advice would be to do reseach here. I would research weight, towing,
brakes, weight distribution, and all of the safety issues. I would use it a bit before I started ripping stuff out. Then there is the original versus remodeled question.
What a wonderful gift from your Mother in law. Congrats and welcome.

Dave
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Old 03-14-2006, 12:47 PM   #6
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Congratulations!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinoblanco
Are there any good books written on the subject of Airstreams and Airstream maintenance/repair?
As far as "good books" this is the best Airstream specific resource you can find! Use the search button and post questions...undoubtedly, you'll find the anwswers you are looing for. And the best thing is, if you can't find an answer or you don't understand, you can open up a dialog with the "authors" ~ enjoy!

Shari
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Old 03-14-2006, 03:58 PM   #7
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Run over to the Cherry Blossom for the day or.... Join the club via WDCU and attend the rally. You will get more help than you could remember, take notes... See other's units. Ask for input. The VAC folks will be there and they love trailer fixin talk...





Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinoblanco
Hey, all



Brian and Randi of Chesapeake, VA here. We just "inherited" a 1973 Excella 500 from my mother-in-law and brought it back home last night.

We are looking to turn this into our home-away-from-home, so it's going to require quite a bit of work to make it liveable to our standards.

So, what tips do you all have for neophyte airstreamers? Are there any good books written on the subject of Airstreams and Airstream maintenance/repair?

Thanks for the info and we're looking forward to a great time on the road.

Brian

On edit: the pic of our camper is too large. I'll crop it to size for posting a little later.
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Old 03-14-2006, 04:03 PM   #8
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Congrats and WOW, what a great gift from your Mother-in-law! I'm with Joe. Take her out to a great state park for a shake down cruise assuming everything works. Live with her for a while and take time to redo her making her your special home away from home. What fun times you're in for.
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Old 03-14-2006, 04:18 PM   #9
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Welcome to the forums, tune her up to your likeings and have fun...
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Old 03-14-2006, 05:21 PM   #10
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Hi Bryan and Randi. Your reading the best book on Airstreams now. Theres much more info here than you can pick up anywhere else.
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Old 03-14-2006, 09:04 PM   #11
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Welcome!

I'm in Virginia Beach at Indian Cove, and my friend Vernon Townsend has one that he keeps at Holiday Trav-l Park in Virginia Beach. He's planning on coming to town next month.

Read these forums; there are lots of renovaters here. I admire them SOOOOO much... their experiences talked me into buying a new unit!

Now I'm thinking of moving up to a 28 CCD or 25 FB SE. <--- this is a symptom of an incurable disease called "aluminitis". Several members have, two, three or even more coaches.

You must name your A/S. My current one is Tin Lizzie, but if I get a 28, I'll probably call her "The Silver Suppository II" I aways laughed when my Aunt Jean called hers that.

Take your time and think and plan before you start. Don't throw anything out without checking with forum members first. You'll be surprised how many people will just kill for something you think is junk.

I'm very seriously thinking of going to the Cherry Blossom Rally. Want to caravan? I think we could consider it a caravan even with just two Airstreams?

Tin Lizzie
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Old 03-15-2006, 04:37 AM   #12
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Thanks for the info, everybody and thanks for the invite to the rally.

We will not be able to attend, however. I just rejoined the active duty military (VA NG) for the first time in 4 years, and will be starting my new job that week. But, part of the reason why we accepted the camper is the amont of leave this new job will afford, which will allow us to attend more rallies in the future.

I can tell you that I, personally, am itching to put my mechanical/electrical skills to the test with this trailer, but only after we shake it down on a few close-to-home trips like Oregon Inlet in the OBX.

Once again, thanks for the kind welcome and see you on the road!

Brian
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Old 03-15-2006, 05:39 AM   #13
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Welcome and give that mother-in-law a hug. The books written on the subject of Airstream restoration are in the form of the books seen at the end of the movie/book Fahrenheit 751. They are in the heads and minds of the many people who have already done it. In other words you will find walking books in form of people at the rallies and get together. Read these forums. Learn how to use the search function; roam around on different threads; PM those people who have a special skill or interest to get a special answer. Be free with your information when others ask you for help and we will all get our projects done. We old guys learn as much from the new guys as the new guys learn from the old guys.
Once again welcome to the forums and post those pictures.
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Old 03-15-2006, 08:46 AM   #14
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Here she is:

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Old 03-15-2006, 09:09 AM   #15
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Welcome

Looks like a center bath, rear bed. Neat. As others have said this forum and attending rallies are probably the best source of information and ideas you could possibly get on refurbishing Airstreams.Should be a lot of fun fixing it up and even more fun enjoying it.
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Old 03-15-2006, 10:43 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinoblanco
.....it's going to require quite a bit of work to make it liveable to our standards....
Brian:

Nice looking rig -

I wrote an epistle for your inspection process during the interior restoration as an edit to the second entry in this thread, but it was soooo long it resulted in me losing it and the posting the following thread:

Frustration Due To Time Out Just Makes Me Want To.....



http://www.airforums.com/forum...ant-21325.html


Therefore, your initial post resulted in a really good thing happening here within the forums!

Now, about your inspection,

Best advice I can give is to do a THOROUGH floor inspection....

At the minimum, remove the front gaucho and the beds. Get an ice pick and start poking, looking for soft or rotted wood (a bad thing). Possible rotted areas are around the sink, the fridge, of course the bath, the entrance door, and under the windows. Old leaks could have come from just about anywhere.

I see you have a mid bath - just as is in my '78 Sovereign, which is currently going back together after a fairly through inspection and repair - also, I am not a purist as far as the rebuild goes - I will install a wood tile floor, and will probably take out the living room shelves and counters - the dining table is already out, and I do not plan to replace it.

Since I have already redone the '87 Motor Home I pretty much know what I need as far as interior "stuff", and a dining table is not high on the priorty list.

Congrats to you for lurking and soaking up knowledge in order to get a handle on what you are in for.

Working on the Airstreams is not at all difficult - you just need time and a convenient place to do it.

If you have any specific questions let me know - I have an electronic copy of a '78 excella service manual, if you need any pages I could e-mail them to you - just about the only difference between the Excella and Sovereign is the trim level. The same is applicable to the minor changes amongst the year builds - they are all extremely similar. The trailer design and construction has really not changed much, so common problems and techniques bridge multiple moldels and cover quite a few years of manufacture.

Make good use of the "search" button at the top of the page (pull down) - it's not a 'smart' search, so you may have to ask the same question several different ways to obtain all of the hits (ex. search "toilet", "commode" "crapper", "bowl", "flush", "potty", etc. for a specific bathroom (head) related item).

Good luck - estimate at least twice as many bucks for a rebuild as you would first think, and it will take at least 3 times as long as you think when you first look at it.

Looks as if you are starting with a great trailer.
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