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Old 06-08-2002, 12:14 PM   #1
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Help for new member...

Well, I brought her home, my new toy and my intended home on the road for the next year or so, starting in September. She's a 31' 1978 Excella 500, rear bath, center twins. I bought her for $5500 from Millie, who is a doll, and Norwegian like me. Millie and Steve used her only to live in while their house was being built and don't know much about her history. The tires are good. The refrigerator and heater work. Everything looks in great shape except the skin which needs help and I would love to strip and polish it, but don't know if I have the strength or time. I guess I just really want to do something to shine it up and protect it for right now. It has those little squirrely lines of oxidation or whatever it is in a lot of places. Millie never did anything but hose it down.
The guy who towed it home for me said it towed like a dream. He said I should get a 4wd diesel truck with a 7.3 liter, Ford or GMC. I just kept looking back and exclaiming with delight that it was still following us. Any advice about tow vehicles would be great. I need a truck with a bed long enough to put my motorcycle in and I'd rather have more power than I need so I don't have to worry and I'd rather not spend more than 15,000. (I know, I ask a lot.)
So now everywhere I look as I delve deeper I am of course finding more problems and mysteries. (I think I'll name her the Silver Enigma.) There is some rust where the tongue connects to the body of the trailer and that has me worried. I will try and scrape deeper today and see how far it goes, and then treat it... with something, I don't know what yet. The levelers are really rusted badly, hard to move. I want to grease them up liberally with , like a barrel of pork fat or something. Should I be careful about what I use that might damage the underskin? Are stabilizers just stabilizers, or with power attached can I actually level the thing with them?
I can't get the antenna to go up and I can't find the switch for the built-in vacuum system. Somebody carpeted this thing in plush WHITE carpet and it's lovely but with all the neighbors having to come over and see it...! It has the front visor still, and the casing around the propane tanks, missing its lid though. It still has lots of the original things, like the tubs in the compartments and light fixtures are in good shape. I wish the built-in blender worked, but it is gone and the control seems to be rusted away to nothing. There are no leaks or mildew and it feels sometimes like time froze back in 1978. The plumbing and waste stuff has me worried, not because there seems to be any problems but because if there are I sure don't want to deal with them, and messing around on the floor of the bathroom looking for the vacuum switch it doesn't smell very good sometimes. (I think I'll name her Stinky.) The waste tank is still about a quarter full so I guess I'm going to have to drive it off to a campground somewhere and dump it unless somebody has a great idea. Millie said there's a problem with the streetside awning but we haven't gotten it to come down yet.
You know, writing all this is making me want to go out and play with it some more, so I guess I'll just wait for a reply to this and go out and make a list of the questions I forgot to ask. You guys are sure going to regret the day you found me. (Most guys do.) Thanks so much, I appreciate any and all help I can get. -Cheryl "Loopy Chenille"
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Old 06-08-2002, 12:54 PM   #2
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Welcome!

You may want to take some time to browse through the various forums and perform a few searchs. Many of the questions you have are answered or partially answered in other threads. If you still have a question, please post it in the proper forum to aid in keeping the forums organized!

Congrats on your new find! Sounds like a great trailer. With an owner who really care, I am sure the trailer will be in even more super shape soon!
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Old 06-08-2002, 06:36 PM   #3
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right forum

My impression is that Cheryl DID post to the right forum, her particular model of A/S. I've noticed that not many people take advantage of the model-spcific forums, so it is nice to see someone jumping in.

Cheryl, I tow with a '94 Ford F-350 turbo-diesel. This is probably more truck than you need, even with a motorcycle in the back, but you certainly can't go wrong with extra power. I got it to pull a horsetrailer after being unhappy with a Jeep Cherokee Laredo as a tow vehicle.

Good luck with exploring your new home-to-be. I hope not too much is wrong with it. It seems the area most likely to have problems is the plumbing since a lot of people aren't careful about correct winterizing.

Eugenie
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Old 06-08-2002, 06:45 PM   #4
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Eugenie

The rivets are awarded based upon the number of posts a member has. I believe since you have made at least 5 posts, you received one rivet. The next rivet is after 25 posts (?) and so forth.

-Emily
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Old 06-09-2002, 12:17 AM   #5
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Thanks Eugenie, for your truck advice. The F-350 diesel seems to be the choice I'm advised of the most, so my eyes are open wide for one to fall into my lap... not literally, of course. I also appreciate the advice about posting to more specific forums, but like you said, nobody seems to be using this one much, and I can't imagine why.
I found more problems today, but not with the plumbing. I had that checked out before I bought it and it looks good. I just wish I'd been smarter about the axles. I'm afraid they might have to be replaced. Well, life goes on. I never expected this to be easy.. but I had hoped. I do feel better now that I've hung up my little cheap string of palm tree and pineapple lights in the window and fixed the screen door latch. - Cheryl
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Old 06-09-2002, 10:32 AM   #6
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Cheryl,
Vehicle: Stay away from the older Chevy diesel engines. The new Duramax diesel engine in the Chevy/GMC is awesome but you want to stay under $15,000 so that knocks that out for now. I'm not a Ford fan but you might find a Ford F250 3/4 ton truck with a Power Stroke Diesel engine that might fill your needs. Do not get one without the turbo charger unit because non-turbocharged units are dogs. If you are looking for gas engines, try the Chevy Suburban with a 454 engine and either 3.73 or 4.11 rear end ratio. If you do not travel in the mountains the 3.73 rear will be fine. A 2500 Chevy/GMC 3/4 ton pickup would be preferred over the 1/2 ton 1500 truck. Believe me, I towed my '77 Excella 500 with a '92 1500 4X4 with 350 V8 and 3.42 rear and 5 speed transmission. It was not a pleasurable experience.

BAL stabilizers: I used anti-seize grease on my stabilizers and it has worked great. Stabilizers are used to prevent movement of the coach while walking inside or from windy days. Do not level the coach with them or use them to change a tire. You drive onto 2X6 boards or plastic blocks which look like large lego blocks to level the trailer. They are available through www.campingworld.com.

Antenna: Check the fuse to see if it is blown. Also, these units had a tendency to stick so use a lubricant to spray on the gears before trying again. My Excella had a manual crank up unit.

Vacuum: I think I just answered this question on another thread but the switch should be located in the rear bath, under the counter to the right of the wash basin and left of the 110 circuit breaker box. These are located behind the tambour sliding door.

Nutone Food Service Processing Unit: Find one off www.ebay.com for $150 or so used. Blenders run $40-50.

Waste tanks: You have a grey water tank which collects water from your shower and sink and then you have a black water tank which collects toilet water. Buy some chemicals from Walmart such as Camco TST for the black water tank and lemon smelling grey water control for the grey tank. Follow directions and add a few gallons of water before letting both tanks sit for a few days. Drive around awhile and then head for a campground. Dump the blackwater tank first, the left T-handle in the rear compartment, shut it, then pull the right T-handle. The grey water will wash the sewer hose of excrement still left in the hose. I also bought a trailer with stuff left in both tanks and it is a mess to clean up. Fill the tanks up again and flush in the same order as before. I usually leave a few gallons of treated water in each tank when I am not using my unit.

Awning: Go to the ZipDee web site and they have directions on setting up your awnings as well as maintenance/care.

As you come up with different questions, post them in the other areas of the forum where more people are looking. We would be glad to help. Craig
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'01 2500hd ext. cab, 8.1 litre gas, 5 sp. Allison auto
3.73 rear end
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Old 06-09-2002, 11:51 AM   #7
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Airstreamville , Kansas
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Smile Welcome Cheryl

Hi Cheryl and welcome to our community we thank you for joining us and look forward to your participation. Some of your questions have already been answered and feel free to ask away and we will do our best to share what we know or point you where you can find answers. Feel free to post any pictures you have of your new toy.
FYI I will be moving this thread to the Excella 500 area as soon as the webmaster adds your year 1978.

John
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Old 06-09-2002, 02:51 PM   #8
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polish or walbernize?

Hi Cheryl and good luck with your Airstream experience. I found the below quote from Bobby W very helpful in deciding how to shine the skin on my '60 Overlander. I bought a gallon of Cleaner, Polish and Glaze from http://walbernize.com/, tried it on a few problem areas and am happy with the result. I'm saving the full application as the finishing touch.

Quote:
Are you sure you need to polish it? It takes a couple hundred hours to give it the Aircraft Polish treatment as it is a multistep process. It is a tremendous amount of work and usually the very last thing done during a restoration. Kind of like painting a restored car is the last step. Have you tried Walbernize'ing it. Not trying to discourage you, just giving you my thoughts.
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Old 06-12-2002, 06:17 PM   #9
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Cheryl,
Look up http://www.seattle.net/~nutoneinfo/n...t/foodcnt1.htm for info on NuTone. There is a 1(800)463-2358 or (206)283-5459 for parts through Industrial Electronics Service Co. 1300 West Nickerson St., Seattle, WA. 98119. I emailed them and asked for a price quote for a switch, a new knob kit and a blender. Those prices on 6/2/01 were $63.82, $11.95 and $68 respectively. They take MC and VISA.
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AIR #0078
'01 2500hd ext. cab, 8.1 litre gas, 5 sp. Allison auto
3.73 rear end
Mag-Hytec rear diff cover
Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
Amsoil synthetics all around
265 watt AM Solar, Inc. system
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Old 08-06-2002, 06:41 PM   #10
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New member too

I just bought a 78 Excella 500 too. I'm also completely new to the RV scene. I'd really like to find someone who checks email often that I could send really simple and stupid questions to as they arise.
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Old 08-06-2002, 07:35 PM   #11
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Just post your questions here, someone will jump in and offer advice. Remember the stupid questions are the ones you don't ask!
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Old 08-06-2002, 07:35 PM   #12
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Glad to see you on the forum. There is a wealth of knowledge on this forum so all you have to do is ask. I've asked plenty of questions and most if not all have been answered. My Excella 500 TT is one year older than yours so I would be happy to help if I can.
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AIR #0078
'01 2500hd ext. cab, 8.1 litre gas, 5 sp. Allison auto
3.73 rear end
Mag-Hytec rear diff cover
Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
Amsoil synthetics all around
265 watt AM Solar, Inc. system
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Old 08-07-2002, 06:04 AM   #13
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1962 19' Globetrotter
2001 31' Excella
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First Question:
The owners manual says to be sure only to connect to 120 volt city power. My house has a 220/110(?) volt system. Is there a way I can safely run power to the trailer to charge the battery/test the systems?
Second Question:
The double pane windows are all a mess in between the panes - the vista views, door window, and front corner windows. I've read some postings about cleaning them (ie, breaking the inner pane of the vista views!), but not sure the approach to take, or if it's a lost cause.

Thanks!
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Old 08-07-2002, 06:36 AM   #14
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220/110

As long long as you use a standard 110 volt outlet, you will be ok. There are adapters available at rv stores to convert your trailer cord to a regular plug. Just remember the amp rating of the house circuit you are using is most likely less than what the trailer will use when you start cranking several things up at once and will trip the breaker or blow the fuse. Also get an extension cord rated at or above the rating for that circuit.

John
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