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Old 09-18-2007, 03:17 AM   #1
New Member
Rockmart , Georgia
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1
New Owner of 1989, 28' Excella - MAYBE

This is a copy of the Ad for the Excella:

Airstream Travel Trailer, 28 FT roof AC, with rear twin bedroom,large cedar closet, with front sofa that makes into Full bed. The kitchen has double bowl sink and microwave, 4 burner stove. The unit has new tires and is in good overall condition. $6,200 OBO

The price seems funny to me. What do you think ?

I have never owned a trailer before but the Airstrem really appeals to me. Please tell me anything, anything at all I should watch out for and how to check it.

I will be viewing the trailer Wednesday and would like any heads-up I can get.

Also, just in case it is a real deal. Will my 2001, 4.6L F-150 SuperCrew be enough to tow it with ?

Any help would greatly be appreciated.

If you want to email me any scam info or info about what iIshould look for in the trailer my email address is


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Old 09-18-2007, 06:55 AM   #2
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1989 25' Excella
By The Bay , Rhode Island
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Welcome mj, I am sure others will chime in, but I don’t believe there was a 28’ in that year..27’ I think? Do a search and you will find detailed threads on what to look out for; mostly leaks (rotted floors), check all the appliances (I have the same vintage and just replaced my fridge) and have done a few other minor repairs. But the 80’s are good years, and usually a good bargain. We paid a little bit more for what I would call really good condition (great condition being stored inside with all clear coat intact). Ours is balding, but other wise in pretty good shape. With some maintenance, a good cleaning, etc, we have had some very good times with ours. Very glad we bought it.
The F-150 will be OK to get it home, but is marginal as a long distance TV. If you plan on traveling a lot, you will probably want to upgrade, but you should be OK for now (worry about that later). Do run the numbers and be sure you are safe with the weights, most likely you are close but not over.

Start here;

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Old 09-18-2007, 06:57 AM   #3
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The price isn't unusual. I'm used to 70s models that I pick up for around $3,000, but they usually need a lot of work. I think this is a very good deal if the fridge ($1200) and A/C ($600) are OK.

1. It sometimes takes a hour for the fridge to start cooling, so turn it on right away when you start your inspection. Make sure it will light on propane and keep burning. If it's dirty, it will not light but can be fixed with a blast of air. Take one of those cans with you of compressed gas that are used to clean computers and photo gear. If it works on gas, make sure you also test it on electric. The total test time for a fridge can be a couple of hours.

2. Fill up all the holding tanks. Run the pump to see that the water system is intact and hasn't been broken by freezing. Make sure you look around the water heater for leaks, as well as all the plumbing you can get to. If the pipes are broken, it's a lot of work to fix but you can do it yourself for not too much money.

3. Testing the A/C and stove is obvious, nothing special to watch for.

4. Test the heater and water heater. If either burner is dirty, same thing applies as for the fridge.

5. Plug into shore power and make sure the converter works. Flip all the light switches to make sure that some wire connection inside the shell hasn't come loose. Also, plug in a tow vehicle and check the running lights, stop and turn signals. It's not so much the lights themselves, but you're checking the wiring to them, since fixing an inside the shell wire problem is a big deal.

6. Now, for the big test. If you are allowed to move it, make sure that the gray and black tanks are nearly full and tow it around in left and right circles and check for leaks. If the tanks are cracked they may not leak until the water sloshes around and presses against the top. I have that problem in my Sovereign--works great sitting still, black tank leaks when moving. I'm hoping it's just the toilet ring that's lost it's seal and not a cracked tank.

7. With a tow vehicle plugged in, make sure the brakes "sing" when you push on the brake pedal.

8. I don't know if that year and model has a frame separation problem--someone else should comment on that. A simple check is to look for bowing in the shell over the rear axle or for trim band separation from the top of the bumper locker.

Have fun and good luck.

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Old 09-18-2007, 07:35 AM   #4
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1991 34' Excella
1963 26' Overlander
1961 26' Overlander
Central , Mississippi
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That unit is new enough it shouldn't be on axle life support but do a search on axle replacement so you will be familar with what a worn out suspension looks like. It's a rather passionate subject on the forum
Hi Ho Silver RV! Vernon, Sarah, Mac the Border Collie(RIP) -
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Old 09-19-2007, 06:34 PM   #5
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1978 31' Excella 500
Genoa , Nevada
Join Date: Jul 2007
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Ditto, check the torsion arm axles. (Sort of like the old torsion bars in cars) Apparently a lot of travel trailers use them, so its not an unknown issue, but a new surprise to us newbies. $800 each.
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