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Old 08-07-2018, 01:38 PM   #1
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1980 31' Excella II
Long Beach , California
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 2
1980 Excella 31 Renovation Start

First time posting, the wife and I just picked up this beauty a couple weeks ago from a great couple in Arkansas. Her father had passed away earlier this year and left this behind, they very kindly sold it to us and we will do our best to make it beautiful again!

As you can see from my username, I am a newbie to the whole world of rv's, trailers, towing, you name it. I learned a lot and made "a couple" of mistakes here and there. Once we agreed on the final price, the wife and I rented a truck from enterprise and off we went. The 3 day drive out there was uneventful, had some great Texas BBQ, and eventually meandered my way to Hot Springs, AR.

We had gotten the trailer inspected by a mobile RV repairman before finalizing the sale, and he recommended tire changes and there were some lights out at the back for brakes, blinker lights, that would need replacing. Other than that, everything was good to make the long tow back. Only mistake I made was one time, stuck in a Walmart parking lot, and jack knifed the truck trying to back out. Put a big dent in my left bumper. Oh well, that's why we have the rental insurance. Other than that, I was really happy at how easy it is to tow. All I had heard were horror stories of trailer sway and fishtailing. The Airstream was empty except the for original interior cabinets and appliances.

My parents have generously let us park this beast in their driveway, which thankfully is long enough for us to fit, plus allowing their cars to get in and out. So far we've had it for a week now, and have started the gutting/unscrewing process.

I'm not sure if there's a better/faster way to do this, but we've just been unscrewing and drilling out rivets and taking things apart. The TV shows depict mayhem and destruction, but we've just been carefully deconstructing the doors, walls, and framing. Its definitely tough work, as some/most of the screws have rust welded to the metal. As of now, we've the bed frame taken out, closet, kitchen cabinets around the fridge, and the side table and couch. Definitely much more room for activities.

That ends my rambling. If you have any suggestions, please throw them my way. As we are completely new to this, any information and words of wisdom are greatly appreciated. I will keep this updated as best I can and show the results of our seemingly never ending labor.
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Old 08-07-2018, 02:05 PM   #2
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2007 22' International CCD
Corona , California
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Take a LOT of careful pictures as you take things apart, they will be vital to reconstructing things later.

Are you planning to reuse the interior bits, or make it new? In either case, the old, carefully labeled and stored parts are needed for templates when you start putting it back together..

If you do finally dispose of interior parts, put out the word on the forums classified ad section--those parts are in demand.

There are a bunch of threads on the restoration process, possibly for the exact same model you are doing. Search the forums for more data.

Welcome to the forums, it looks like you have already caught a case of Aluminiumitis--an incurable love of all things Airstream. Don't worry, you are among many friends with the same affliction...
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Old 08-07-2018, 02:36 PM   #3
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1980 31' Excella II
Long Beach , California
Join Date: Jul 2018
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The interior was heavily smoked in, so I don't think we can reuse the interior bits without bringing in the smell. Definitely going to keep the walls as a template for the future build. Didn't think people would want the leftovers, but I will document and put on the classifieds when I have the time(and energy!). Thanks for the warm welcome!
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Old 08-07-2018, 02:58 PM   #4
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2007 22' International CCD
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Had a car that the dude smoked cigars in...took disassembling and steam cleaning every bit of the interior, including inside the door panels, four times, just to get most of the smell out. Great car, but it would make your eyes water when we first got it...

It's possible to disassemble, thoroughly scrub, and then seal the stench out with some strong methods, but yeah, understand the issue...

You would be surprised what Airstreamers are looking for to restore something vintage. One perfectly restored a 1955 Airstream that Wally Byam, the guy that invented/started Airstream, took on a long caravan...identical exterior paint job, including the list of places it went, down to period-authentic magazines in the magazine rack!

Have a look at this thread in the forum:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f492...er-162191.html

Fascinating stuff, and it turned out really nice looking...
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2012 shortbed CrewMax 4x4 Toyota Tacoma TV with more antennae on it.
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Old 08-08-2018, 06:27 AM   #5
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1988 34' Excella
Stanardsville , Virginia
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Welcome to the forum and a great fun project!Spend the extra money on Nylo board when replacing your floor sections, it will never rot and will last forever.
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Old 08-08-2018, 08:21 AM   #6
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1983 31' Airstream310
Hillsburgh , Ontario
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madpiper View Post
Welcome to the forum and a great fun project!Spend the extra money on Nylo board when replacing your floor sections, it will never rot and will last forever.
The problem with Nylon board, is that it's plastic, and therefore has a very high expansion rate and contraction rate; (broken screws).
I prefer Coosa board; very light, (lighter than plywood by 40-45% strong, very tiny expansion, will not rot or promote fungus or mildew.

Cheers
Sidekick Tony
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Old 08-08-2018, 09:47 AM   #7
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1985 32' Excella
Valley Village , California
Join Date: Dec 2012
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Good for you, and welcome to the Airstream world! We completely renovated ours as well, so if you have any questions, please feel free to send me a message. If you are in Long Beach, we are not too far away.
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:03 AM   #8
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1981 31' Excella II
Florence , Alabama
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 39
Lots of good parts in that camper, and she looks great! We have an '81, same size. Like a previous poster mentioned, keep the parts, even if smoky. Several items, like that stove/oven, might be in high demand. And yes, they pull great down the road - just don't load down the rear end and it will pull nice and straight. Welcome to the club!
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:50 AM   #9
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2005 31' Classic
Venice , Florida
Join Date: Dec 2013
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Floors

Do not use wood for the flooring repairs & or replacement ! The are other products that will not rot...ever. 1 product mentioned above & there is also Coosa Board, which is forever.
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Old 08-08-2018, 12:40 PM   #10
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1974 Argosy 24
Hollywood , California
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Ditto on the photos, a lifesaver latter on.
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:22 PM   #11
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1992 29' Excella
Virginia Beach , Virginia
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Welcome and good luck with your renovation. Your on the right place for answers and hand holding. Nothing to add to the good advice already given, but to say that sometimes you'll get seemingly contradictory opinions, weigh them out and see what feels right for you.
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Old 08-09-2018, 06:42 AM   #12
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1990 34' Limited
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Conroe , Arkansas
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Welcome to our wonderful world.
Your doing everything correctly and sounds like you have a plan. What’s the exterior condition and the frame like?
Thomas
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