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Old 01-23-2004, 12:39 AM   #1
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Pickin up 1980 31' Excella on Saturday

Long time forum reader (no posts) has purchased off ebay and am filled with excited anticipation. Seller has had several Airstreams since 1970 and seems reliable - a WBCCI guy. I've only camped in tents til now!!!

He says to install a 7 pin (round not flat connector) on my truck before heading accross the state. Says the wiring is a little screwy so maybe airstream should install. I referenced the Airstream site for vehicle-trailer wiring connection. The wiring diagram shown for '66-'81 looks like it is mirrored relative to what it ought to be. Some postings indicate it is for the trailer side, but it really looks like it is for the vehicle side. The guy at U-haul and I are scratching our heads.

Any specific help for a new guy would be much appreciated!

PS - Based on my reading, I'm having him install the Prodigy in lieu of the less costly Voyager. Thanks to all the experienced and helpful contributors - you're helping a lot more folks like me than you likely know.
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Old 01-23-2004, 05:17 AM   #2
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Welcome to the Forum!

To mirror your comment, the Forum is certainly unique in it's demographics and participation.

Remember, we all get more out of it than what we put in it, so be sure to let the rest of us know of your success - and - more importantly - your failures.

Not much progress comes from reinventing the wheel.

How about some pictures, descriptions, and future plans?
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Old 01-23-2004, 06:33 AM   #3
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Re: Pickin up 1980 31 Excella on Saturday

Quote:
Originally posted by jrcozatt
Any specific help for a new guy would be much appreciated!

My advice is to use a standard 7 way connector for the truck, wire it to the standard on the cover of the connector and take a voltmeter with you to rewire the umbilical between the trailer and your truck. This makes it so that in the future you can change tow vehicles and still use the industry standard or factory wired setup.

It may take a bit of trial and error, some scribbles on some note paper and a bit of finger numbing work but it will be worth it!
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Old 01-23-2004, 07:38 AM   #4
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Pickin up 1980 31 Excella on Saturday

Greetings jrcozatt!

Welcome to the world of "Near-Vintage" Airstream ownership!

I agree with Brett. Using the current industry standard for your tow vehicle and rewiring the trailer connects will greatly simplify your life in the future. This will allow you to tow other trailers, if and when necessary, without worrying about the connector wiring. It will also allow for an easier solution to having your rig towed in by another should your tow vehicle develop problems that would prevent it from getting the trailer to a destination of safety.

I have followed this route with both my '64 Overlander and '78 Minuet. Both had to have their trailer connectors converted and wired to the current standard. I totally dislike working with wiring, but was able to accomplish the task, most recently, with the Minuet in a little less than two hours using a 12-volt tractor battery to check my connections - - fortunately the wires in the trailer cable matched the coding shown on the Airstream site. I purchased a trailer connector to match the one on my tow vehicle before departing to pickup the Minuet, and had a selection of wire, and wiring tools to aid in the process - - it wasn't much fun, but by following the color codes and using a 12-volt source to check out the function of the wires it was a bearable task.

Something else that you might want to mention to the technician wiring your tow vehicle. Many Airstream trailers have backup lights installed. Non-Airstream shops (and even some Airstream dealers) often do not, as a practice, connect the backup lights on the tow vehicle side. It is a nice feature to have (IMHO), and shouldn't cost much (if anything) additional when done at the time of the tow vehicle's Bargman connector installation.

Good luck with your new acquisition!

Kevin
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Old 01-23-2004, 09:08 AM   #5
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Welcome,
Good luck with your new Airstream
I just went through the same drill with my new (1973) A/S.
WIRE YOUR TRUCK TO STANDARD.!!!

Now if you are looking at the trailer receptacle, (not your umbilical plug), and starting at the top dog ear (12 O'Clock) going clockwise:

1, ground (12 oclock)
2, back-up
3, brakes
4, Left turn & stop (6 oclock)
5, tail lights & clearance lights
6, right turn & stop
7, 12V charging line (this is in the middle)

Make sure that the breakaway switch on the trailer tongue works, because over time, it dont.
Hope this helps,
Dick
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Old 01-23-2004, 10:00 AM   #6
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Please let us know how your E-Bay trailer purchasing experience went. ie: Was trailer as described? Any unmentioned major problems? Any title problems not disclosed? Etc. Thanks.
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Old 01-23-2004, 11:34 AM   #7
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DM,
If you are going to buy an Airstream on ebay, DONT put a deposit down sight unseen! then you are partially committed.
There are lies, damn lies, and "see my feedback and bid with confidence lies!
If I were going to do it all over again I would:
See touch and feel a marketable DMV title with the correct serial #, AND MAKE SURE THE SELLERS SIGNATURE IS NOTARIZED.
Have the owner demonstrate that the brakes and the breakaway switch work.
Get down on the floor under the windows, doors, toilet with a ICE PICK, and check for rot.
If there is a rehab new covering, be sure to see whats behind the covering.
Have the owner run the refrigerator for a couple of hours before you get there, so its nice and cold.
Does it include an umbelical cord? thet will also fir your tow vehicle?
Better yet, get an Airstream expert buddy to go with you.
Dick
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Old 01-23-2004, 07:09 PM   #8
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Welcome aboard JR --

I did the plug thing in a steady downpour a month ago. Certainly bring your trailer into the 21st century. Look at my last two posts for the color code for hookup plug thread.

You will need to remove the spade connectors from the trailer end and be prepared to reapply new spade connectors once you thread the main cord into the back end of your new* trailer side plug (*you do have one of these? -- pic attached at end of post).

You're right -- the wiring diagrams may seem backward once you get there -- just think through the functions of each wire. The trailer side Airstream wire color codes should be very accurate for your year/model.
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Old 01-24-2004, 09:59 AM   #9
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7 round pin plug installed

Thanks for all the good advice. Did as suggested and had the tech install it to industry standard. Also, got a 2 5/16" ball at 20" height.

Got my toolbox, test leads, small 12V batt, VOM, crimping tool and connectors. Going now to take care of tire and airbag pressures.

The Prodigy doesn't seem to have an off switch. Guess I have to unplug to turn off. When would one use the spring loaded manual lever on the bottom? What keeps it from springing back? Guess something needs to be hooked up to it. I think I've got a handle on the initial setting and boost feature.
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Old 01-24-2004, 10:15 AM   #10
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The spring loaded lever is to manually activate the brakes on the trailer only. This is a useful function if you are trying to pivot the trailer or want to verify the brakes are working once hooked up.

The brake controller sees the current path thru the brakes when hooked to the trailer. While plugged in the unit is on. Once you disconnect it should be off.
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Old 01-24-2004, 10:21 AM   #11
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OK, now I get it.
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Old 12-28-2009, 09:35 PM   #12
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I just bought a 83 excella. You will love it nice trailers. I would follow a real close look at the trailer. Ask many questions. Do take a ice pick and poke everywhere with it on the floor of course. Look out for smells that are not right on the furnace and soot on the outside burner. Could be a furnace job for you. Also some of these trailers air conditioners want run or kick on. If the cord is to long or not rated to handle the unit. Or if the cabin air is not warm enough some want come on. This makes checking the air out difficult for you. Look for discolored walls and ceilings ,a sign of leaks. There is a check list you can download on this site. I cannot remember just now were I got it. However it is helpful to remind you of things you might not be focused on. See if you can get it before you leave. Good luck and remember even if he says it is in excellent shape. More than likely it will be average. But that is why we buy these things. Something to work on. Have fun and congratulation.
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Old 12-29-2009, 04:38 AM   #13
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Hello... This thread is nearly 6 years old..
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