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Old 01-11-2010, 09:12 AM   #1
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Frankford , Ontario
Join Date: Dec 2009
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1981 excella ll electric heater

Hi Everyone,

I just bought my first airstream, 1981 31' excella ll, and I can't get the heater attached to the air conditioner to work for me. I don't have a manual, but it just says "heat" or "fan only". When I turn to "heat", the fan comes on but no heat is produced and I can't find a thermostat that isn't associated with the propane furnace. Are the coils broken? Is the heater just one temperature?

Cold in Ontario,


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Old 01-11-2010, 09:28 AM   #2
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1986 31' Sovereign
Miami , Florida
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,779
Blog Entries: 13
On my 86, the heat strip is very weak, it is useful for breaking a slight chill or to supplement the furnace but won't really warm the trailer on its own. It is very hard to detect any difference from ambient airflow when it is on.

If it is working, you should have noticed a slight odor the first time it was turned on as accumulated dust was burned off the coils.

We use a little 1500 watt quartz heater and that does help a lot.

So, bottom line, even if your heat strip is working, don't expect much. I think you would be better off with something like I have rather than put a lot of effort into troubleshooting and fixing your unit.


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Old 01-11-2010, 11:51 AM   #3
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1980 31' Excella II
Drummond Island , Michigan
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 140
We have an '80 31' Excella center twin rear bath with a heat strip in the a/c unit. There are two thermostats. One is for the propane forced air furnace and the other is for the a/c/heater. They are located right next to each other on the wall at the foot of the street side bed. The owners manual says to move the a/c thermostat to heat and select a temprature then turn the fan control on the a/c unit to either low or medium setting. The manual also states that the heat produced by the a/c/heat unit should not be used exclusively to heat the trailer in freeezing weather because it will not heat the tanks and plumbing sufficiently to keep them from freezing. We have just experienced some very cold freezing temps over the last week with a low of 11 degrees one morning. We heat the trailer with the furnace but use the heat strip to cut back on the use of propane. (Our electric is "free") The heat strip will make the trailer very comfortable, it puts out quite a bit of heat and circulates warm air along the ceiling and then down to the floor. I hope this helps you out. Our A/C unit is original to the trailer and and as far as I know is 30 years old. It could be yours was replaced at sometime or was a unit that did not have the heat strip installed or might be an aftermarket installation. Unless A/S changed in one year though you should have two thermostats.
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Old 01-12-2010, 06:58 AM   #4
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Frankford , Ontario
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Thanks for the input. My unit only has one thermostat for the furnace, as far as I can tell. I don't have a good history on the trailer so it could very well be a replacement unit but, if it is, as Mike says, nothing's really happening. I see some coils inside which look like they should heat up but no joy.

Really appreciate the feedback. Barc
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