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Old 08-28-2003, 01:51 PM   #1
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Question What can I expect?

Hello folks,

I need some help here. I am currently looking at Sovereigns and Excellas from the 70's. I came across a 1973 Excella 31' for what seems to be a good price. Or is it? The owners want (actually children of the owner as he passed away a few years ago) $3600 for it. What doesn't work first; the AC, and Hot water heater, and the awning is rotten. While I haven't seen it in person (about 400 miles away) The owners have sent me pictures. It looks very clean in and out. But (you knew there had to be one) it hasn't been moved in 14 years. What else can I expect to have to fix on it? is it likely that I'll be replacing axles and brakes before I could even hitch it up for the ride home? Is it worth it when I add up all of the repairs (dollar wise)? Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Dennis Hill
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Old 08-28-2003, 04:34 PM   #2
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Bigfork , Montana
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Well, I'll give it a shot, even though I my Bambi is still fairly new. I would definitely expect the tires to be shot, having sat in the same spot for 14 years. If you do a search on "axle", you should find a lot of information on how to determine if the axles are ok. Also, check out where Andy has an article regarding the axles.

As for brakes, I would think chancy at best, but you could get lucky. Check out all of the electrical (no doubt needs new batteries, possibly univolt). Hard to say what else. someone with more experience than me will chime in, I'm sure. My reply will keep the question at the top of the threads a little longer
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Old 08-28-2003, 05:48 PM   #3
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1978 31' Sovereign
Texas Airstream Harbor , Zavalla, in the Deep East Texas Piney Woods on Lake Sam Rayburn
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What can I expect?

You can expect to invest a huge amount of both time and money.

I have kept track of both since purchasing my 345, and continually amaze myself when I add up the weekly totals.

I'm not saying it hasn't been worth it, it's just incredible how 20 dollars here, 50 bucks there adds up. Not to mention the time.

Then again, it keeps me out of dark bars and the opportunity to be exposed to the demon gin or to consort with .......


That having been said, it is a relatively safe, albeit expensive, mistress.

"Suck it up, spend the bucks, do it right the first time."

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Old 08-28-2003, 07:12 PM   #4
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Axles and tires are probably shot, might as well do the brakes while you're into it. Probably close to 3 grand there. Figure about a grand for a new awning. I would try to fix the a/c before replacing it, if non-repairable figure close to a grand for a properly installed new one. Sitting outside for 14 years it probably has leaks, maybe freeze damage. Has it been winterized? Propane tanks will need OPD valves. I would try to get it for a couple of grand, figure on spending five or six thousand on it and wind up with a decent unit with close to 10 in it when all is said and done.

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Old 08-28-2003, 09:38 PM   #5
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1958 22' Flying Cloud
1974 29' Ambassador
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I agree with Chas. Figure you'll have $10K in it by the time you're done with the important stuff. But you will have a killer trailer, for relatively little money.
A new one would cost you a minimum of $ 50k, and the quality might just be better in the vintage unit.
The price you quoted in your post seems very reasonable to me, even if it needs an awnign and axles, and a new A/C. Maybe the A/C can be repaired, and teh new axles will have new brakes and bearings etc. So, a new set of tires, and basically you can get on the road with it.
Electric brakes age well, they don't have hydraulics to worry about. If the wiring and magents work, and if you have some lining left, then they are likely to work for a little while. If you don't know how to check things out, you should get professional help before taking the coach on the road.
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Old 08-28-2003, 10:17 PM   #6
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1984 29' Sovereign
Savannah , Missouri
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Exclamation Another thought...

Be sure you check the frame, starting from the tongue of the A frame section. What you can't see behind the 'skin' can be an eye opener.Depending on where it has been sitting for the last 14 yrs..Let's hope not within 50 to 60 miles of the ocean~!~!~

Like others have said, Tires, bearings, brakes, shocks and...just maybe the wheels. Check all the running lights as well...make sure everything works before going on the road with it. Which means the tow vehicle will have to be setup to tow this unit with the proper electrical hookup and, the proper towing equip as well. Don't forget to grab a new deep cycle battery or, 2 batteries. (depends on your setup)
This is what's needed to get the thing home.
Then the fun begins~!

Then you have A/C, water heater, refrig (?), univolter, waste water holding tanks, curtains..wooden floors rot (?)
Not to say a thing about all the window/door/vent seals that will "have to be" replaced.. (at some point)

Count on it..I speak from experiences.
Bought my unit 4 years ago from the nicest person you'd ever wanta meet. We still write often to each other~!!
My unit was parked for almost 15 yrs in his front yard in TX..It was like (and still is~!) brand new inside..
In my case, everything was working and, continues.. still to this day..The 4 burner stove & it's oven is without a scratch or burned mark..I have never seen anything quite like it..
The A/C is original...have not even recharged it as of yet. I did replace the A/C shroud. The awnings, all four of them, are like brand new still~! sigh, I wished I had the Blue color'd awnings..
GAWD..I've spend almost as much as I paid for it and, mine was in Fantastic shape...Fact of the matter, I'm still spending money...lmao
Just this week, spend over 400$ for the polisher kits from perfectpolish and, close to 50$ for new seals for the door and, roof vent over the bathroom.
Is it for sales>>?? Not on your life..
So, if you buy least you know what you're getting into...
You're not just buying a A/S but, a way of life~!
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