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Old 10-10-2003, 02:18 PM   #1
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1977 Excella 500 31-footer

I just purchased the referenced trailer off of ebay and am picking it up next weekend. I have never owned a camper before and know nothing about it. Anything I should look for with this particular unit as far as repairs or replacement? Any comments would be great.

Thanks,

Rob.
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Old 10-10-2003, 03:49 PM   #2
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Rob,
Before you tow it:
Make sure that the running gear is safe. This includes a tire check, bearing check and brake check.
You will need a brake controller for the trailer brakes. Do a search on brake controllers, youwill find many options right here on the forum.
I use a Tekonsha prodigy, and it works to my satisfaction.
Make sure the truck is in tow ready shape, gas up before you hitch up, it's easier. You will need a 7-round RV end by your hitch, wired appropriately.
Check the lights and just make sure nothing can fall out or off the trailer when you tow it home.
As far as replacements: you will need to check every system, and decide what needs replacing, or repairing. Read the manuals first, sometimes they actually ARE helpful.

Good Luck, and welcome to Airstreaming!
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Old 06-09-2004, 12:09 PM   #3
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updates to my unit

Well, I bought the rig in October of 2003 and am almost ready to go camping in it for the first time. I have learned alot since spontaneously purchasing this thing on Ebay.

First off, I had to replace tires, had bearings replaced. I also had the hydraulic disc brakes converted over electric drum brakes. Had a new brake away switch installed. I also had to have a new electrical converter installed along with new 30# propane tanks and a new water pump. I took the carpet out and had to replace part of the sub floor by the door. Then I had new vinyl commercial grade armstrong tile installed.

I have spent about $5,000 on it since purchasing it for $5,000 and feel like I have a unit that is in good mechanical shape and should provide years more of service. If I had it to do all over again, I would have taken my time and shopped around a lot longer, but I have what I have and am pleased with it.
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Old 06-24-2004, 01:17 PM   #4
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Photos please

Can we see some photos? We have the same year and model purchased in May '04. We probably have $2000 into it so far with new refrigerator, intellipower & wizard, battery and a few other miscellanous repairs.
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Old 06-24-2004, 02:37 PM   #5
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1977 Excella 500 31 footer

Greetings Rob!

Welcome to the world of Vintage Airstream ownership!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diesel Pusher
I just purchased the referenced trailer off of ebay and am picking it up next weekend. I have never owned a camper before and know nothing about it. Anything I should look for with this particular unit as far as repairs or replacement? Any comments would be great.

Thanks,

Rob.
Adding to what uwe wrote regarding prepartions. If the coach has its original Excella Hydra-Vac Disc Brakes, in addition to the correct brake controller (Andy of Inland RV at one time recommended one particular controller for this system if my memory serves) you will also need the vacuum port added to your hitch assembly. Also, my suggestion would be to purchase a trailer end to match the electrical connector on your tow vehicle - - I have had to rewire the trailer end on both my Overlander and Minuet to match the current standard as neither trailer was wired to the current industry standard. You can find the color coding used by Airstream on the trailer end in the following link:

1966-1981 Airstream 7-Way Bargman Plug Wiring Information

The wiring information for the typical can be found at the link below as well as imprinted on the terminals of most new connectors:

Current Industry Standard Bargman Connector Wiring Information

In addition to the comments you have received, I would add that it would be wise to be sure that the hitch on your tow vehicle can be adjusted to the correct height for your coach (and you will need a 2 5/16" ball unless a previous owner has modified the hitch) - - on some tow vehicles, this can be an issue (my Suburban requires one of the deepest drop draw bars in the Reese lineup). You can find the hitch height information on the following page:

Airstream Weights and Measures

The information at the above link will also provide some baseiline information for selecting a hitch with the proper rating as well as weight distribution bars with the proper rating.

Good luck with your endeavor!

Kevin
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Old 06-28-2004, 08:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmarx1
Can we see some photos? We have the same year and model purchased in May '04. We probably have $2000 into it so far with new refrigerator, intellipower & wizard, battery and a few other miscellanous repairs.

Hey, I just got in from vacation last week and got your message. I have pics I have taken and will load them on the computer tonight so I can post them. The last place where I had some work done, took pictures and posted them on the internet. Go to www.rv-restoration.net and look for the 1977 Excella 500 and look at the pictures. You have to scroll down several pages to see them.

PM me your regular email address and I will send the photos to you. To date, I have spent about $5,000 in repairs on new electric brakes, break away switch, propane tanks, electrical convertor, new water pump, new toilet repairs, new shower head etc. Also, small amt. of floor rot by front door replaced and brand new Armstrong commercial linoleum tile floor. I hope this is all for awhile. I still have not camped in it yet since owning it last October, but have trip lined up in two weeks. Stay in touch. I also paid about $5,200 for it off of ebay. Had to drive to Ioway to get it from here in Atlanta, GA. Mixed feelings about it. Would probably not do that again, but pleased with what I have now. I may not get all my money out of it, but It is fixed up like I like it and in good shape.

Rob.
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Old 06-28-2004, 08:33 AM   #7
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Rob,
You told me that your trailer was just like mine and now that I see pictures during your restoration, you are right. The layout is exactly the same. I'm leaving out for Stone Mountain, GA. tomorrow morning and will be staying at the Stone Mountain Campground June 29-July 2, site #399. We plan on going to Six Flags on Thursday because the 17 & 18 yr. olds want to hit the water rides.
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