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Old 04-30-2006, 05:28 PM   #1
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1996 28' Excella
Portland , Oregon
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 313
Blog Entries: 7
Maiden Voyage - Mechanical Shakedown.

The wife, her brother, and I took the MoHo for her Maiden Voyage this weekend up to Seattle for the AMA Supercross MC race. Great time. We stopped at Rife Lake (a little off the path) Fri. night, and it was a great first night.

Two things that I'd like to fix first, that I need help with:

1. I need to replace the heater core. I went to a couple parts shops, but they didn't have the right one. I might have the original core repaired, but if it's 2x as much, it makes sense to just replace it. They were all about $20, but I couldn't find the right one. I didn't really need the heat, but I did need the defrost in the morning.

2. My front left air-bag leaks, and the rear air system is totally by-passed. The compressor is missing, and the leveling system is disconnected. Right now you have to go around the coach with an air source and fill the individual bags.
the by-passed leveling system
I'm pretty sure the OEM compressor goes here.
There are air fillers at each wheel well.
2. a. How does the original air system work? I can see how it can shift air to either side to balance the load, but did it allow for lowering or raising the rear end? Could you level the coach L and R?

2. b. I'm thinking of installing a small 12V compressor, tank, and some switches so that I can manually control the airbags from the cockpit, and use it as a leveling system. (and install air horns and an aux. air source) I'm thinking of using a system that off-roader's use for airing down tires, and airing up overload bags.

Are the front air-bags special? where do I get them? If I wanted to replace the rear airbags, where do I get those?

Thanks in advance!


1996 Airstream Excella 28'
2007 GMC Duramax 4x4 CCSB
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Old 05-01-2006, 01:06 AM   #2
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1996 28' Excella
Portland , Oregon
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 313
Blog Entries: 7
Well, I don't know why I came up short searching for air bag topics the first time I looked, because I just found about 30 threads about the subject.

I really love this motorhome already.


1996 Airstream Excella 28'
2007 GMC Duramax 4x4 CCSB
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Old 05-01-2006, 09:03 AM   #3
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Louisville , Kentucky
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Looks like you had a great first trip. Heater cores are pretty hard to find as they are not GM and they are not Airstream. Most coach use aftermakets heater cores and plenums. A rebuilt or "close" replacement is possible. You might try these guys (

I have a schematic on the air leveling. It's for a later model, but it should help you with the bits and pieces. PM me a fax number and I'll send it.

The front bags (as you may have figured out from the other posts) are easily replaced with kits from Camping Wolrd or your local RV dealer. They are typically not plumbed into the coach air systems (not sure why) but Air Lift sell hose extension kits and compressor kits for the front as well. Mine is pretty simple, the host extensions run into an air pressure gauge in the cab and I keep one of those small 12V compressors up front to "top off" the front bags when needed. The rear on mine is automatic.

The leveling valves are designed to keep the coach at the proper ride height (dumps air when too high) and to move air from one side to the other when in a turn (kind of an early active suspension concept). They were not used for coach leveling when camping (hydraulic jacks were used for this purpose)
Steven Webster
1986 Airstream 345 Classic Motorhome
AIR 1760
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Old 05-01-2006, 04:38 PM   #4
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1966 26' Overlander
Woodstock , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 8,090
seems like we discussed the heater cores before and you pretty much had o recore the one you have unless these guys have a suitable replacement

its about $100 to recore one around here.
Its great that you are already enjoying the rig, they are something special (sniff, sniff...)
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Old 05-01-2006, 06:27 PM   #5
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1975 Argosy 26
1963 24' Tradewind
Seattle , Washington
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Off topic but...

Alan - why are you selling your MH??
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Old 05-02-2006, 11:47 AM   #6
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1996 28' Excella
Portland , Oregon
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 313
Blog Entries: 7
Yup, no replacements for the core. I talked to ACME, and they'd have to build one to replace it. Costs about the same to have my local Rad shop rebuild it. $100-140. It will be done in 2 days.

Last night I bought the Load Controller I and a set of front airbags. I of course want to re-activate the auto leveling valves (if they work) and also have the capability to manually adjust the bags from the cab. When I was playing with the rear airbags, I realized that you can raise the rear of the coach more than 12" with 0-90 psi. That seems really handy if you got off-road or in a driveway cut.

I noticed a couple of solenoids near the original set-up. Iím wondering if those shut off the leveling valves with the key. Iíll figure it out somehow.

Swebster, thanks for the fax. Iíve attached the pdf if any of you need a copy.

Attached Files
File Type: pdf Air Ride Schematic.pdf (202.8 KB, 94 views)

1996 Airstream Excella 28'
2007 GMC Duramax 4x4 CCSB
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