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Old 07-09-2005, 09:02 AM   #1
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1979 31' Excella 500
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What's your floor plan?

Hi, folks,

I was wondering how many different floor plans were offered in the 1979 Excella 500. Mine is a front gaucho, side bath, rear twin model with a curbside stove and sink.

I have the owner's manual and 1979 service manual, and neither one of them shows this floor plan or an interior shot that looks like this trailer.

I've been told that some Excella 500s were built with the following year's floor plan. The data plate on the the front of this trailer says it was manufactured on "1 24 79." Maybe I need to be looking at 1978 floor plans instead?

Guys, what floor plan does YOUR '79 Excella have?

Thanks,

Lamar
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Old 07-09-2005, 10:59 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SafeHarbor
Hi, folks,

I was wondering how many different floor plans were offered in the 1979 Excella 500. Mine is a front gaucho, side bath, rear twin model with a curbside stove and sink.

I have the owner's manual and 1979 service manual, and neither one of them shows this floor plan or an interior shot that looks like this trailer.

I've been told that some Excella 500s were built with the following year's floor plan. The data plate on the the front of this trailer says it was manufactured on "1 24 79." Maybe I need to be looking at 1978 floor plans instead?

Guys, what floor plan does YOUR '79 Excella have?

Thanks,

Lamar

Lamar,
There was a thread a while back about the Excellas and manuals...IIRC it was under the 74-75 Excella headings. For some unknown reason the Excella's use the next year manual...ie; 1974 Excella's are covered in the 1975 manual the 1975 Excella is covered in the 1976 manual and so forth. So I suspect you may need to look for a 1980 manual to find your floor plan....

Aaron
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Old 07-09-2005, 11:26 AM   #3
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1979 31' Excella 500
1975 28' Argosy 28
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Hi, Aaron,

It figures... the PO gave me the 1979 owner's guide AND the 1979 service guide. I thought I was very lucky. Still, they're useful.

I'll go find that thread. Thanks!
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Old 07-09-2005, 11:40 AM   #4
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Interesting question, Lamar. I'm certainly not an expert, but we've got a '78 Excella 500 and I'm always seeking out more information on others. Ours is also a front gaucho but with a rear bath and our stove and sink are curbside. I think there are the following major variants which might be considered (but I have no idea which specifically might or might not have been offered at any given model year):

1. Bath (rear or mid)

2. Twins or Double (rear or mid)

3. Front guacho, side gaucho (street or curb side), L-arrangement

Davidz71's '77 Excella from here on the forum shows a streetside gally with couch on the curbside.

I believe the '78 and '79 Excella's were pretty closely related except for external features such as the solid window next to the door and the tail lights which were a flatter square type used through the 80's and 90's. The layout of the '31 foot trailers really varied little during most of the 70's, the main distinction being the center or rear bath configuration, and then the arrangement of the front gauchos as well as the twin or double beds.

From my observations, the Excellas were almost identical to their Sovereign bretheren of the same year in terms of interior layout. They were distinguished by certain appliances such as the Dishmaster and Nutone appliance center, pull out hose and electric reels, built-in vacuum, doorchime, different interior color selections and furniture (e.g., the "china cabinet" built into the galley of our '78, solid partition doors, addded special lighting, and "secret" lockbox) and, of course, the all-important blue stripe! The sideplate of ours mentions "Excella-Vac" brakes, but I don't believe these were exclusive to the Excella, at least vacuum brakes are often found on non-Excella Airstreams. I wonder if the Excella was the original test bed???

I have the 1978 Excella 500 Owners Manual and it does not show the floorplan for my trailer. It shows only the streetside gaucho arrangement. Startrekker2001 has the L-arrangement in his and you can see pictures at RJ Dial's website under 1978 Excella (be careful there are actually two different coaches shown under the same page--the other one's a rear bath). I have the 1978 Service Manual and I believe it only shows the front gaucho arrangment.

From RJ's website it would appear that the serial numbers only decode the center/rear bath and twin/double bed arrangements. The gaucho configuration is not decoded! RJ must need pictures of a '79 Excella. You should send him pix of yours! There are pix of a '79 Sovereign there that show the streetside gaucho/curbside kitchen/stove.

I'd be interested in seeing pix of your '79 Excella. Up to this point, I've not come across many. There are pictures of a '79 Excella 500 up for sale at American Way RV's website right now. Overall, the color of the woodwork is similar to our '78 and the other '78's I've seen. This is called Koa wood (which is patterned off of the koa wood that grows in Hawaii and is used to make guitars). You can see the solid window next to the door. There is a window inset in the door which may have been unique to the Excella. I have found other '79's did not have this! There is a china cabinet above the refridgerator and microwave in the galley. These doors appear to open out. On our '78 the are all glass and slide past each other like the doors of a jewelry store display. There are small lights flanking the gaucho that stick out of the wall. Our '78 does not have these. They may have been added by the owner of this coach, or taken off of ours. I'd like to know if anyone else has them!

I could go on and on! I'll try and insert pictures of the '79 Excella 500 from the American Way RV Website before they disappear...
-Dallas
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Old 07-09-2005, 12:36 PM   #5
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1979 31' Excella 500
1975 28' Argosy 28
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Hi, Dallas,

Mine looks very much like the pictures you posted, except that there's a digital clock in the center of the front, flourescent lights over the gaucho as well as the two magnetically retained spotlights, but without the two side lights.

My trailer has a spice rack with tambour over the stovetop that I haven't seen in other pictures yet. The streetside part of your imported pictures looks otherwise like mine, including the parquet floor, which is noticeably lighter than the exposed portions, but still in remarkably good condition.

Where those side lights are, mine has the "Auto-Skyliner" control panel on streetside. (The antenna was removed at some time. The Winegard foldup that is has now is not as sensitive or directional as the old style Skyliner that my Argosy has. I'm not very happy with this antenna and may replace it.)

The trailer apparently came with the disk brakes, but it has electrics now.

Mysteries to me are are the cargo compartment under the streetside front window that goes nowhere.. and a boxy hump hanging down behind the spare tire. I've been wondering what lives down there.
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Old 07-09-2005, 03:09 PM   #6
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Is there a difference between the Excella 500 and Excella 1000? Were they just offered in different years or were they different trim levels offered at the same time?
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Old 07-09-2005, 05:09 PM   #7
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Lamar, ours also has a digital clock in the center of the console, the Autoskyliner antenna controls and the magnetic spotlights. Our Skyliner is in fully manual mode, though. The controls do not work.

I've included a picture below from when we painted the endcap. You can see the features we discussed behind the plastic sheeting. The front gaucho has been removed in this picture as we were having it reupholstered and I was re-inforcing the frame for the gaucho and doing some work on the fuse panel wiring, too.

We have the spice rack over the stove as well. I've sent a picture of it. Unfortunately ours is broken in a couple of places as you can see. I believe this spice rack was used over several years through the late 70's and early 80's. It makes it nice because they are interchangeable. I've been on the prowl for a nicer one.

I like the little outside storage compartment you have! If there were space inside that would be very handy. I have no idea why it would go nowhere! I've never seen one like it before. I only have one which has an identical appearing door and it's located under bed on the curbside. My 1972 Sovereign has one on the opposite side, but in the Excella this area is taken up by the cord and hose reels. Outside storage space is at a real premium! With my front gaucho all of the space underneath the very back is eaten up by the battery compartments and the univolt, and there's storage accessible from the inside under the front part of the sofa. I would imagine there would be a space in there about 1 foot in depth and several feet in length under the gaucho...

As far as I can tell ours had carpeting throughout--a lovely 70's rust color originally. We've replaced it with brown that blends in with the koa wood. I'm interested in finding out was the parquet floor came that way from the factory or was it added by a later owner?

We had to remove the disc brakes and replace with electric, too. I believe that the box you mention under the trailer may have held some sort of vacuum reservoir. There was an actuator mounted on the A-frame of ours which contained the master cylinder for the vacuum over hydraulic setup. We have same box still under ours behind the spare tire. I've been itching to take it apart and see what's inside.

Minnie's Mate, I don't know when the Excella 1000 came on the scene but I believe it was sometime in the 80's. I'm not sure when the Excella 500 came on the scene, but it was probably early 70's. It would be nice to know, too.
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Old 07-09-2005, 06:23 PM   #8
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1979 31' Excella 500
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Hi, Dallas,

The front end of your trailer looks just mine to the room divider, but I don't have the good-looking model in mine to frame shots around. (That must have been an expensive option.)

I'm thinking about mounting a small LP-fired generator like a Campmate behind the compartment door, which would make the dinette stay extended in the folded position, but it could still be opened out to a full table. I would then get rid of the gaucho and go with a real couch, custom version.

My trailer has a compartment at the rear that opens into the cabinet between the beds. There's also one beneath the rear window that accesses the space under the curbside bed. There's a matching space under the streetside bed that is basically wasted. There is a sheet-metal storage bin under each bed. The beds tilt up to get to them, and they have very sharp edges. I think they probably must have, or least, should have had, molding trim around them originally.

The rearward inside bins under each bed are basically useless. It's occured to me that if I opened up the sides of the rear cabinet (the vacuum is missing), I would have access to the full width of the rear from the back compartment cover.

I removed an fifty-pound bike rack from the back of the Excella after reading about tail sag here.

I haven't found any trace of rust-colored carpet in here so far. The parquet is under the fixtures, too. I found this in the Owner's Guide: "Treat your parquet wood galley floor just as you would any fine hardwood floor in your home."

I think it's original.

Lamar

PS - It's good to see discussion in this section of the forum.
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Old 07-11-2005, 12:35 PM   #9
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Dallas, I know only two folks with Excellas, one has a late '70's Excella 500 (I think it is 1977) and one that has a 1995 Excella 1000. The '77 has a silver-blue themed interior with dark flat wood cabinets and Nu-tone built-in blender and the '95 has a taupe-beige themed interior with light oak paneled cabinets. Of course there is nearly 20 years of difference in the other details, too.
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Old 07-11-2005, 01:27 PM   #10
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Yep, there were many changes between the 70's models into the 90's. I'm starting to study the 80's models and look for the transition points such as from tambor to solid doors and eventually to heavier constructed wood cabinets. They also learned lessons from the 70's trailers and started to add the Frame Rail Reinforcements from the factory and at some point started to make the frame rails 6" instead of 4". Of course, the trailers got a lot heavier in these years, too, as using a family car to tow became less practical.

Lamar, thanks for the comments on my wife (Pam). She's also a great cook!

Good luck with utilizing that space! I hope the generator works out. I know someone else with a 70's model and they created an extra compartment in the rear streetside closet next to the water heater for thier generator.

It sounds like you were blessed with much more outside storage than we have on our '78 Excella rear bath. I have one in the very back that is mostly taken up with plumbing and used to hold the central vac which would have really made things crowded!

I use those metal bins under the bed to hold my flag poles! It's a little bit of a pain to get them in and out, though. Ours do not have molding trim around them either and do have a sharp edge.

A lot of people would agree about taking off the 50# bike rack from the back bumper. Why take a chance on damaging the coach?

Ours is going to be going to the factory soon to have the frame rail reinforcement kit added. Since we've used the trailer more I'm starting to notice that the back end seems to be drooping and there are flexural areas starting to form around the wheel wells.

I sure sounds like the parquet floor was factory! That's a neat fact I didn't know about. I wish ours had it!

-Dallas
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Old 07-11-2005, 07:15 PM   #11
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1979 31' Excella 500
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Hi, Dallas,

I've started posting some interior shots of my trailer in my gallery section.

Do you have two lower, two-way reflectors above the bumper on each side? I saw an Excella 500 in a rest area in Tennesee that did not have these at all, and I'm wondering if they might indicate some repair.

Thanks,

Lamar
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Old 07-11-2005, 07:57 PM   #12
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Hi again Dallas, and anybody else,

I thought of a couple more...

My trailer has the dual pane windows with some of the little bradlike retaining tabs fallen down into the bottom. I don't imagine there's an easy fix for this, but does your trailer have dual pane windows, too?

My front end cap is patterned to match the the vinyl-clad alumunimun sheet metal that runs back to the back end cap (except for in the side bath). I'm surprised that you would want to paint it.

Hi, Aaron,

I have the service manual in front of me. It has a blue cover with blue plastic retaining circular tabs. It's clearly labeled "1979 Excella Service Manual." I found that other post and read it. The service manual definitely does not show my trailer's floorplan.

Again, this trailer was built in January, so I would like to see a 1978 floor plan to see if they were still building it by then. I don't think that a front gaucho, center bath, thriple hall closet, rear dual beds model is anything unusual or odd, but I'm impressed that they put a HUGE living area in a trailer this size.

Compared to my Argosy 28, the extra room is in the distance from the gaucho to the fridge. That "credenza" goes a long way, and there's a lot of distance from the fridge to the stove.

I imagine that the L-shaped couch sofa and dinette may not emphasize this as much, but this is one SPACIOUS travel trailer.

Thanks, folks,

Lamar
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Old 07-11-2005, 10:00 PM   #13
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We also have the dual pane windows throughout the trailer. Ours also have the little white tabs stuck into the gooey grey gasket. They must act as spacers for the two panes of glass. A few have slipped out of place and fallen down. You're right, I don't know of an easy fix for this. I suppose we could replace the windows with salvaged single pane windows. All of the new replacements are tinted. The windows were originally tinted with silver reflective tint which is peeling on some of our windows.

The end cap was terminally yellowed and looked bad. It had to be painted! I was originally going to repaint it white and sponge paint on a color to match the aluminum panels. I didn't like it pure white once I painted the base layer. It was just too glaring. Then I painted it an off-white and really liked it. In fact, I decided not to sponge paint the contrasting color. I liked the solid color look. I think it's called Canvas White.

Lamar, I have some other pictures from a 1979 Excella that I found at Jackson Center last year. I was wondering if your windows looked like these. There is an extra aluminum trim channel around the outside of both the opening window and the portal window below it. So far I've only seen this pattern on 1979 models. I've also included a picture of the coupler from this trailer. It's unusual to see this style on an Airstream. I was wondering if yours had one like it.

I checked out your pictures, Lamar! Great looking screen room! I'm jealous! Your trailer looks great.
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Old 07-11-2005, 10:55 PM   #14
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Lamar-

On your question about the reflectors. There are two reflectors off to the side on the lower curved section of aluminum facing the rear. If your two reflectors are directly over the bumper then they are likely covering patches made to repair a frame/shell separation problem. Other trailers may or may not have them. You may also see the "elephant ears" repair to fix this problem, too.
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