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Old 07-15-2005, 03:43 PM   #29
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1979 31' Excella 500
1975 28' Argosy 28
Rutledge , Georgia
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Hi, Rob,

Thanks for delurking in our little section of this vast website. Welcome!

Your's may have a luxurious bath, but mine has it as either as an afterthought or else a lot of thinking about compactness. "Luxurious" is not a term I would apply to mine, but "functional" fits okay.

Lamar
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Old 07-15-2005, 03:46 PM   #30
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1979 31' Excella 500
1975 28' Argosy 28
Rutledge , Georgia
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 783
Images: 39
Hi, Kinder,

My trailer has Zip-Dees on curbsite, streetside, and backside. I haven't seen another Excella with a front Zip-Dee. Most of them have rock guards.

Lamar
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Old 07-19-2005, 12:28 AM   #31
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Just wanted to say I posted some pics in the gallery--everything I've seen online points to it being 100% original. I know they're not the best shots but I took them in the midst of brand new owner excitement!


DPeakMD--Thanks for the heads up on the vacuum disc brakes. I found the wiring diagram in the owner's manual. What type of brake control is needed for the TV? I'll definitely mention that to the dealer. Any other tips I should know for the move to a permanent space (15 miles in city traffic, only)? Maybe it doesn't need trailer brakes hooked up for such a short drive?
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Old 07-19-2005, 02:08 AM   #32
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1978 31' Excella 500
Franklin , Indiana
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Kinder-

Congratulations again on your purchase! I can't give you a knowledgeable recommendation on the brake controller for the Vac-disc brakes, but you can probably find one on this forum by doing a search.

No one should recommend towing for even a limited distance without functioning trailer brakes. It's just too risky and illegal to boot! I won't say it hasn't been done, but it is risky. If you are considering a move to a permanent space, maybe you could negotiate with your RV dealer to move it for you and have them shoulder that liability.

The hard part about vac-disc brakes is not just the controller, it's the fact that the brakes must be supplied with a vacuum. This was designed to come from the tow vehicle's vacuum system. Unless a prior owner added a different controller. If you see a large rubber hose dangling from the front of the trailer, then you would have to have a vacuum source on the vehicle in order for these to work.

Other option: convert the brakes to electric. The Airstream factory service center charge is $1250 to do this conversion. You might be able to use this fact to negotiate with your dealer as well. Let me know if you need proof, I've got a picture of their posted price.

Good luck!
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Old 07-19-2005, 07:55 AM   #33
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1979 31' Excella 500
1975 28' Argosy 28
Rutledge , Georgia
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 783
Images: 39
Hi, Kinder,

I went through your photo gallery. That's a good looking trailer and the body looks great. That was a good find!

Just curious, do you have a compartment hatch on the streetside beneath the front window?

Dallas has me thinking that my trailer started out to be like yours and somebody wanted the (huge) front gaucho, and they changed the floorplan after production had begun. So maybe that's why I have an extra, non-functional hatch on mine.

About your brakes, if the hardware at the wheels is in good order, it might be easier and better in the long run to convert to an "Actibrake" electric over hydraulic actuator, which I think will get rid of the vacuum component and be longer lasting and require less maintenance, too. Inland Andy here at the forums would be a good source (I'm not) for information on this option.

Lamar
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Old 07-19-2005, 01:36 PM   #34
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Lamar, there is a hatch on the front. I didn't check it out when I purchased, and can't take delivery until August 11th as I cannot make the move from MN to NV until then. I'll try to remember to let you know what I find out in a few weeks. As to the brakes, I called the RV place and they said not to worry about the system and why did I care if I was living in a permanent space? I'm not even sure if it still the vac brakes based on my conversation, but I already negotiated price and delivery/set-up, so I guess that was a comforting yet somewhat aggressive answer. I was mainly calling to confirm the delivery date anyway.

I'm sure glad I found these forums, I'll likely have lots more questions in 3 weeks! For now, I'm trying to do a bit of research so when I get to the park I will have more informed questions for the guys who deliver and hook-up the Excella. Somewhat of an impulse buy--I'm going from a 2400 sq. foot house with 3 garages to a 31' trailer!--but as I will be back in school and with only a third of my current salary, and in a much more expensive part of the country, my hand was somewhat forced and this way I still have a home I'm excited to be in. Must say I am looking forward to having no mortgage and owning my home! Cheers-
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Old 07-19-2005, 01:57 PM   #35
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1978 31' Sovereign
Battle Ground , Washington
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I accidentally found you guys when I did a search on the word "brakes". I bought a 1978 31ft Sovereign last winter and have been working on it this summer. Have taken it out a couple of times. We have had trailers for 30 years and this is the best pulling rig we have ever had. I seemed to have lost most of my trailer braking and was looking for some information. I will explore it some more tonight. I replaced all of the blue vinyl inserts in in the moldings. I just bought some vinyl striping and am going to try to cover over the old striping tonight. I don't think I can get the old stuff off, will just have to go over it. My windows have some of the same problems you have. The side windows have bubbles and the vista windows have disintegrated in the middle part. My awning is old and I will need to replace it. Andy at Inland has a CPR replacement. Have been trying to decide about replacing with a ZipDee. I bought a factor replacement air conditioner shroud from Andy and put it on last week. The cost wasn't too bad but was bummed about the shipping charge. However, it is well made and bolted right up after I put on the old screens, etc.
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Old 07-19-2005, 02:08 PM   #36
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1978 31' Sovereign
Battle Ground , Washington
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Wheel

The previous owner of our 1978 31ft must have lost a wheel or had a blow out. One of the original aluminum mag wheels has been replaced with a newer chrome steel wheel. It is just a little wider than the originals. Do any of you guys know where I can pick up one of the original mags? I have been looking for months and have just about resolved that I will buy two new chrome wheels and put them on one side and just keep the other mag for a spare. Any thoughts?
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Old 07-20-2005, 12:35 PM   #37
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1979 31' Excella 500
1975 28' Argosy 28
Rutledge , Georgia
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Images: 39
Hi, Ron and Christie,

Welcome to the forums!

You could try Colaw RV salvage in Carthage, MO, for your wheel. They have a revolving inventory and a salvage yard, and they sometimes have AS parts.

http://www.colawrvsalvage.com

I can't say about the CPR awning, but I can say that Zip-Dee are wonderful folks to work with in the event you have problems, even for an OLD awning that needs parts. I have seen SOB ("some other brand") owners fight with their non-Zip Dee awnings, and I like the way mine rolls up with just a push. (Whoosh, clump, snap!)

A 21 foot awning can be a booger in the rain and the wind, so if you decide to go with Zip Dee, be sure to get the optional center strut.
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Old 08-24-2005, 01:22 PM   #38
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Here's the update...

I moved into my 79 about two weeks ago. It's been great, only complaint is there's just a bit more dust out here in the desert than I've been used to back in MN!
To answer some old questions, there is a streetside hatch under the front window. It is functional but small, a nice bonus is that there were anti-sway bars in there from the PO. The dish-quik and nu-tone center work flawlessly. The original vacuum disk brakes were replaced in the late-80s with an electric system, which hooked up easily to the pickup used for delivery. The box is still on the hitch but it is empty. The driver couldn't believe how easily it pulled for the size of the trailer.

I've made some effort to go with the late 70s theme and picked up a vintage television from 1978 (red plastic case, 9" b&w) and my dad's radio alarm clock from around 1969. I do have a CD player though, the 8-track would have been a bit too much of a sacrifice! And I have a nice laptop computer I can watch DVDs on, so I'm not truly that dedicated to kitsch.

The zip-dees on all 4 sides are functional and in very nice shape overall, though need a little attention (slightly torn handles, corroded arms). The big one curbside is cool! It says "500" in the center, must be original as well. I also have little "wings" that snap on the sides of the front and rear awnings and to the aluminum skin to give a bit more protection and privacy.
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Old 08-30-2005, 11:49 AM   #39
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78 31ft updates

Well, here is an update on mine. The a/c shroud was the original and was so brittle that you couldn't hardly touch it. Bought a new replacement from Andy at Inland RV. The unit price wasn't bad but he shipping was. Not much you could do about that. However, it bolted right on after I installed the little screens and painted it. My blue mouldings and side stiping were in bad shape. I bought new blue moulding inserts from a local dealer and replacement stiping off a commercial striping company on the internew. What a difference. I was confused about the original vacuum brakes and it took a little educating by Andy at Inland RV to figure out how they worked. We have had electric brakes for 30 years on other units. I finally bought the Actibrake controller and installed it so that I could keep the disc brakes. What a system. With four wheel brakes on my pick up, it stops on a dime. If you want to see an interesting project on a 77, check out this guy. http://overlander.archnevada.com/index.php?home
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Old 09-06-2005, 08:31 AM   #40
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1979 31' Excella 500
1975 28' Argosy 28
Rutledge , Georgia
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Images: 39
Hi, Ron,

Although I'm pretty sure I'll stick with the electric brakes, I'm still curious about the hydraulics. Did you put the Actibrake actuator outside behind the fuel tanks or inside under the gaucho or credenza?

Lamar
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Old 09-13-2005, 10:29 AM   #41
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I put it in the built in credenza to the right side at the front of the trailer. I reinforced the shelf. I didn't want to put it outside. I still have the old unit if you want to buy it. It probably works fine, I just didn't want to have to mess around with a vacuum line on every tow vehicle as I have two.
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Old 10-31-2005, 08:53 PM   #42
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Kingwood , Texas
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Excella 500

We had a 79 Excella 500 until last year. We bought it new in 79. It had a roadside couch, roadside stove and sink. The carpet was dark chocolate brown and it had dark oak parkay wood floor in the galley. The curtains across the front were off white wide weave and on the side they were dark brown velvet. The side living room windows had multi-colored woven blinds. The bedroom had light orange wide weave curtains. All 79 500s came with thermopane windows, they leaked and many were replaced, ours were under wrranty. They all came with the vacuum, electric TV antenna and security boxes hidden. About the only options were the awnings, vacuum hydraulic disc brakes, microwave and chair. The glass doors above the refrigerator were standard on the 500s. They also came with 2 folding chairs that were chrome and had cane seats and back. We still have the chairs but they need cane on the seat. Nice chairs. The chairs were about $65 each back then. they had 2 stripes on the blue vinyl , a thin one with a thicker one that ran about an inch from the top and bottom. I think the stripe is what set the 79 apart from other years. Ours had a storage door on the roadside just under the second window, the storage ran under the couch the whole length. It also had one on both sides that was under the twin beds. Also, under the beds, if you lifted the mattress tray there was another storage pan running the length of the bed. I worked for an Airstream dealer when we bought ours and we got ours right from the factory when the 1980 models just came out. The 79s had a 2 year warranty and the 80s had a one year warranty. The bump under the trailer behind the spare tire was a space for the vacuum tank for the brakes. They had a recall on the tanks and all had to be replaced. Airstream claimed that parts for the brakes couldn't be found so they did away with them. We found them, they were the same brakes that were on some road graders. You could also get stemmed glasses that had a blue stripe around them that said "500". I believe he glasses were actually given to the owners of the 1978 Excella 500s. It was a great trailer... Jan
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