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richard5933 03-23-2021 12:03 PM

1994 Excella 25 Adventure Begins...
Kind of excited...kind of nervous...

Just completed a deal for a 1994 Excella 25 and put a deposit check in the mail today. If everything goes to plan I'll drive out to the east coast to pick up our new Airstream in April.

Tomorrow I'm going to look at a Ford Excursion 7.3l as a potential tow vehicle.

The initial plans are to just bring the electronics (battery, inverter, etc.) up to date, replace the fridge, and do some upholstery & carpet work. Otherwise things seem to be in good condition. New tires and hub service will be done when I pick up before hitting the road.

rideair 03-23-2021 01:18 PM

You will enjoy to tow/trailer combo.

Have put over 1,000,000 miles on the 7.3 platform, between Excursions and F-250 SD 4x4's. Currently have 426,000 on a 2002 EB Excursion that has towed an Airstream all over creation.

Many will say it was the best towing platform Ford ever created.


richard5933 03-25-2021 08:19 PM

Locked in my tow vehicle today. In the end, I found it about an hour away from where I'll be picking up the Excella in NC.

I drove an Excursion with the 7.3l diesel and could see where it would be a great tow vehicle, but to be honest just didn't like the way it handled. It wasn't the truck itself, just the way the solid axle of the Ford behaves on the road. It's also really big and really heavy and probably overkill for a 25-ft trailer.

During my search for the Excursion I found a 1999 Suburban K2500 with only 48,000 miles on it. That was my choice. I've always like the Suburban, and while this isn't quite as capable as the Excursion it's got more than enough guts for the job at hand with the 7.4l Vortex engine. Guess we'll see.

The plan right now is to fly out to pick up the truck in a few weeks and then head over to pick up the trailer. Hopefully it all works out - we'll see.

Overall I'm hoping to use the Excella rehab as my winter project and to have The whole thing ready to go next spring.

richard5933 04-15-2021 06:11 PM

The excitement is starting to build - scheduled to fly out the North Carolina on Monday to pick up the Suburban and then the Airstream. Appointments made for new tires and to have the bearings packed, then it's a three day drive home.

skucera 04-16-2021 09:43 PM

When you pick them up, please post some pictures and keep us updated on your trip back home. I'm eager to see what you've bought. :)


richard5933 04-19-2021 04:54 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Day started at 3am getting up to catch a red eye flight to Charlotte.

Suburban was as described - might need tires balanced and brakes soon, but other in remarkable condition for a 1999.

The Excella is very nice. Other than some peeling clear coat and a few minor dings the body is straight and undamaged. A little rust on the frame, but not as much as I would expect for a 1994. Definitely needs tires and batteries right now. Bearings will be repacked tomorrow, and then on to the other items before heading back to Wisconsin. Attachment 393576

richard5933 04-20-2021 01:57 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Day spent at Out-Of-Doors Mart here in NC was really productive. Good thing I did this before heading back to Wisconsin, as the batteries were split at the top and the brakes were toast. Should be much safer going home now. Attachment 393637Attachment 393638

skucera 04-20-2021 06:44 PM

Wise move, dealing with those brakes first. Have a safe trip home.


coloradoup 04-20-2021 09:03 PM

I would like to hear more about how your TV performed. I have an E 350 four wheel drive solid axel 7.3 van and was thinking about getting exactly what you purchased. Nice looking tailer too. More pics?

richard5933 04-21-2021 09:40 PM


Originally Posted by coloradoup (Post 2485592)
I would like to hear more about how your TV performed. I have an E 350 four wheel drive solid axel 7.3 van and was thinking about getting exactly what you purchased. Nice looking tailer too. More pics?

So far the Suburban is doing well, but I think that it needs a tune up. Something caused the 'service engine soon' light to come on and it's idling rough. Hopefully something minor. Still running well and quite comfortable. The only time I've been reminded that I'm towing anything is when a large truck passes, but only the ones that insist on doing so with only a few inches to spare.

Biggest problem so far is running into the rain/snow/sleet as I drove towards Wisconsin from North Carolina. Weather down south was actually colder than home in Wisconsin today. Was planning to make a long day of the drive today, but ended up cutting it short and hiding at a Hampton Inn (no heat in the Airstream yet).

richard5933 04-22-2021 07:29 PM

Good news! New Excella and TV are home safe. Of course it meant driving through sleet, snow, and dark of night, but I made it back.

Really impressed with both the Excella and the Suburban. Both have some minor issues, but they are solid and great starting points.

The Excella has a smell inside, but not a typical mildew smell I'd expect. It's more like some rancid bathroom freshener than mildew. The carpet under all the outer cabinets is unstained and the plywood under looks good, but there is some staining around one of the bedroom side windows. The staining actually starts above the top of the window, so I'm guessing that the Fantasic Fan there has cracked on the outside and let water in. The inside is cracked and I figure the outside looks worse.

All in all, the Airstream Excella will be a really nice rig for us. My plans are really minimal at this point - new upholstery on the sofa, new flooring, possibly new draperies, and a thorough check of the mechanical systems with repairs/replacement where needed. Cabinets are all solid and staying for now. Exterior is really straight with only a couple of minor dings. Clear coat has started to fail on one side, and other than that it's okay. I think that I'll just replace the vents, skylight, and reseal all the body seams for now and call it done.

The Suburban did great other than idling really rough at times. I'm guessing an ignition problem like a cracked coil or bad plug wire(s). There is also a vibration at 55mph, but nothing bad enough to cause me to stop driving. Tires are new and have been rebalanced to be sure, but that wasn't it. More investigation to follow.

skucera 04-23-2021 02:33 PM

That does sound like a great start. Thanks for letting us know how your trip home turned out.


richard5933 04-27-2021 04:11 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Today was a gorgeous day and I was able to give the Excella (Gertie) a scrub down with lots of time to dry before bringing her into the barn where I'll get busy on updating some things. Amazing how nice she looks cleaned up, and other than some missing clear coat towards the upper portions you'd never know this is a 27-year-old trailer.

One thing I noticed after pulling the trailer into the barn is that she sits lower on one side than the other. There is not much upward slant to the ends of the axles, so I'm figuring that what I'm seeing is a failure on one side more than the other, causing the lean. About 1" lower on the curb side than the street side.

skucera 04-27-2021 07:06 PM

Gertie looks sharp after a clean. I'm still surprised how similar Gertie looks to my 1982 Excella (still unnamed), at least if you don't count my trailer's dents. ;) Looks good.

It is odd that your trailer is listing to port. There's less equipment on the curb side, so if anything I would imagine that naturally these trailers should sit slightly lower on the street side. (I have no actual data to back up that feeling. My own trailer sits fairly level, according to the little level sitting in my fridge.) Still, 1 inch is quite a percentage of the available wheel travel, so you might want to get that looked into.

[Edit: how are your tanks arranged under your trailer? My fresh water tank spans almost the whole width of the trailer between the axles, but the black water tank is on the street side and the gray water tank is on the street side. Depending on whether there's more contents in one than another, it may affect how the trailer sits, I suppose.]

Also, mostly out of curiosity, I wonder what your interior looks like. Is yours a twin bed model, or a queen model? I assume the bathroom is at the rear of your trailer. I'd love to see some pictures.


richard5933 04-27-2021 08:16 PM

3 Attachment(s)
The tanks on mine seem to be the same as yours Scott - they run across the middle from side to side. We have a center bath with rear twin beds. Here are a couple of photos taken before I started any projects.

CRH 04-27-2021 08:36 PM

Looks good. The interior appears identical to my 1995

skucera 04-28-2021 03:29 PM

Ah, so yours is different than mine inside. I have a rear bath with twin beds over the wheel arches. Your interior looks clean and original, though. Very nice. You also appear to have the newer style cabinetry, where I have the flimsier airliner-inspired interior cabinets and overhead bins from the Seventies and Eighties.

Thanks for the pictures. I was really curious. :)


richard5933 04-28-2021 05:21 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Bit of a hiccup in the recent brake work that was done. Seems like someone left off the lock nuts and/or thread lock compound when they mounted the backing plates to the axles. This would certainly explain why the brakes got weaker part way through the trip. The mounting plates are rotating freely on three wheels with the wires torn off. Only have one wheel of four with the wires to the brakes still attached, and there are only 2 bolts still holding on there with one of those about to fall off.

Contacted the shop and am waiting for word how they plan to remedy this. To the service department's credit it was taken to the owner for immediate attention. Hopefully they'll have something acceptable to say in the morning.

Not sure what I'm more upset about - the danger this knowingly put me in on the drive home, or the PITA it's going to be to get this repaired.

GCinSC2 04-28-2021 05:34 PM

Self rotating brakes. Thatís new.

richard5933 04-28-2021 06:11 PM

When I first noticed something was wrong it was after I got Gertie into the barn and took a look underneath. That's when I saw a wire hanging from the brakes. My first thought was that I must have snagged it on something coming home. Then I saw the scuffing all around the perimeter of the backing plate. Strange.

I jacked up the side of the trailer to see if I had a stuck brake which caused the problem, and when I spun the tire I heard what sounded like gravel in their. Only I don't think it's gravel - I think it's the remnants of the mounting studs rolling around. I can only imagine what the brakes inside look like right now after rolling around like that with the bolts in there.

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