Retractable electrical power cord replacement
REPLACING THE CORD ON THE CORD REEL
NOTE: To avoid making this job any more unpleasant than it inherently is, DISCONNECT the shore power before you begin. If the unit is out of the trailer or you have good access to the reel side opposite the junction box, proceed to paragraph 3.
1) '70's Airstreams offered a self-retracting cable reel for shore power connection. These were AERO-MOTIVE (now owned by Woodhead) "POW-R-MITE" Model: RVA25 600V; 30AMP units. The reels seem built to last the millennia, but the cords which succumb to various modes of attrition, will need to be replaced occasionally. The reels hold 25-30 feet of 30 amp power cable.
2) Here is what I did to replace my power cord: First off, I purchased a 25 (you can use 30' too) foot extension cord with molded ends and cut-off the female connector to make a pig-tail(you can also buy pigtail cords ready to go, but they cost a little more, or you can buy just the cable and use a standard plug). Replacing the cord requires pretty much complete disassembly of the cord reel. So, cut off the old plug and gently (slowly) relax the spring tension on the cord reel by letting it unwind. Remove the pinch bolt on the cord guide and remove the cord guide after pulling the cable end through it. Remove the four screws holding the cover on the right hand side (you can leave the cord guide attached to this and remove both together also if you wish). Remove the four remaining screws on the terminal box body and remove it, too. Undo the three terminals coming out of the cord reel axle (note the numbered positions: 1 is black (hot), 2 is white (neutral), and 3 is green (ground). Remove lock nut and set screw from the stop collar for the reel axle. Pull the reel toward the front of the trailer (away from the wiring) and work the reel,axle, and 3 wires out of the frame. Now would be a good time to examine the ratchet mechanism on the frame to see how to retract it when offering up the reel to the frame upon reassembly. Having fun yet?
3) Remove the nuts and cover from the side of the reel opposite the axle stub; the spring motor on the other side can be left unmolested. You will see the cable end with a hose clamp, moisture seal, and the three "floating" brush holders. Remove the 7 screws that hold the cable reel halves together and split the cable drum. Unscrew the water tight fitting where the cable enters the reel hub, disconnect the three wire ends at brushes 1,2, and 3 and loosen the cable clamp. Then pull the old wire out of the reel.
4) Reassembly is just the reverse, as the manuals always say, but with some caveats. First: DON'T FORGET to reeve the new cable through the cable guide before you connect it to the brushes if you use a cable with a molded-on end!: Second: Make sure to re-attach the green grouind jumper from the brush holder to the reel half screw. Third: when fitting the reel axle back into the frame, the catch for the ratchet must be moved out of the way to allow the reel to fit fully into the frame. Access is through a cutout in the frame under the terminal box. I didn't worry about new gaskets to maintain water-proof integrity since the unit resides inside the trailer. The clearance to get the reel out of the frame is just barely adequate in my installation but the reel can be forced against the water hose reel. It never ceases to amaze me how little regard is paid to the plight of the repairman down the line when it comes to placing the two reel assemblies. It would be a simple matter to allow extra room between the reel units, but do they?
5) Replacement of the cord is quite a bit simpler if your installation allows good access to the side of the reel opposite the spring motor; if that is the case, then changing the cord is much easier because the axle does not need to be removed from the reel frame.
A curious discovery while doing this repair was that the molded plastic box that covers both my reels in the Excella is too shallow in the vertical dimension so that it was necessary for Airstream to add a crude frame onto the floor to lift it up an inch! Such a mixed bag these Airstreams.
"Not all who are laundering are washed" say Bill & Heidi
'78 Excella 500,"The Silver Pullit". vacuum over hydraulic disc brakes, center bath, rear twin. '67 Travelall 1200 B 4X4 WBCCI 3737