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Old 10-12-2003, 08:20 PM   #1
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1977 Excella 500 31', does it have trailer brakes?

Hello all, i am new to this forum as I just purchased a 1977 A/S Land Yacht Excella 500 31'. I am supposed to pick it up in Iowa next weekend and bring back to Atlanta, GA. About 750 miles. I bought this trailer off of ebay site unseen this past week. I have been told there is a 4 flat plug along with a seven pin plug on the trailer. The ball is 2 & 5/16th's. The seller told me that there are no brakes on this trailer? Does that sound right? He said that there was some type of hydraulic brake that would work if the unit came loose from the tow vehicle. If there are no brakes, then, I plan to put some on there.really soon. Any comments or suggestions for a newbie would be great. Also, the wheels are 6 lug slot looking wheels that are 15". I plan to put new tires on it before coming home. Any recommendations there?

Thanks for the help. This is a great site and I feel like I am learning alot.

1977 A/S Excella 500, 31 foot
2001 2500 HD D/A 4X4, Ext. cab, Victory Red.
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Old 10-12-2003, 08:42 PM   #2
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1992 29' Excella
madison , Wisconsin
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it should

have brakes, they could be vaccum assisted disk brakes.

perhaps the po did not understand how they work.

try shooting davidz71 a p.m. he has a trailer with them.


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Old 10-12-2003, 08:51 PM   #3
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thanks, i will pm him.
1977 A/S Excella 500, 31 foot
2001 2500 HD D/A 4X4, Ext. cab, Victory Red.
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Old 10-12-2003, 10:05 PM   #4
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I believe the coach should have electric brakes. Subject to correction, I think the hydraulic brake option was no longer available by the mid 70's. However, somebody on these forums will know for sure.

If that is correct, the "hydraulic brake" that applies if "if the unit came loose" sounds like a confused reference to the breakaway switch for the brakes.

You absolutely have to have brakes on a coach this size. It will not be safe otherwise.

The bias ply tires for this unit (7.00 X 15) are getting scarce and most people are going with a metric equivalent. Do a search for "Goodyear Marathon" and you will learn more than you want to know.

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Old 10-13-2003, 03:12 PM   #5
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Disc brakes

Airstream came out with "disc brakes" for the 1977 models, as an option.

However, it was installed on most all of the Excellas.

The disc brake system continued as an option until 1984, and was then discontinued.

By far, it provided better trailer brakes than any electric brake system could ever do.

Parts are available.

You should call Helen Davis at 937-4928885, and order a "service manual."

That manual provides considerable help for those that want to do their own repairs. It also has some 9 pages of information dedicated to the "disc brake system."

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Old 10-13-2003, 06:08 PM   #6
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i had an 1978 excella that came with disc brakes, but the po replaced them with electric brakes. dont know why must have been a pain in the 2054 to keep fixed. that is a heavy trailer i would not try to pull it to atlanta with out brakes. all you would need is some old coger out driving and not looking where he is going and you would not be able to stop. i almost wipen out a senior citizen in scottsboro alabama sunday. the young kids arent any better with the driving.
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Old 10-13-2003, 08:02 PM   #7
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excella w/ no brakes

you are looking at having to install new electric/magnetic brakes then wiring the trailer to connect the brakes to your tow vehicle.

no very expensive, about $40 a wheel, but time consuming. you will have to pull each of the wheels, pull the hub, take off the drum, remove current brake set-up then do the new brake system install and connect wires. if you are doing it yourself, better plan on a full days (8-10 hours).

while you're in there, you'll want to change out the bearings, especially for a 750 mile trip. all of this can be done with a moderate amount of mechanic skills.

the complete brakes can be had from only thing i'm not positive of is the brake size - i think they are 10 inches for the excella 500.

i just bought a '78 excella 500 and am going through all of this now. changed out the shocks last weekend and found all the brake wiring is brittle. i will tackle brake rewiring this coming weekend.

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Old 10-14-2003, 09:21 AM   #8
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The Excella model uses 12 inch brakes.

The cost however, for just parts, is about $700.00.

If you wish to change to electric brakes, you must replace the backing plates, AND, the hub and drum assemblies.

Electric brakes are not compatible with disc brake rotors.

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Old 10-15-2003, 06:47 PM   #9
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1977 31' Sovereign
Chase , British Columbia
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Hi all...

I bought a '77 31' Sovereign last fall, and it had vac/hydraulic disc brakes. The seller was in Alberta (8hr drive), and said that the system worked fine, but that the main vac rod had been re-machined and parts no longer available. So, we both thought that electro/hyd. was the way to go.

Before leaving for Alberta, I bought a Carlisle Hydrastar electro/hyd. actuator (#394-11) with break-away kit included for $999Cdn ($750US). I bought the trailer, and the seller (who was an oil/gas field instrument tech) did the change-over in about 3 hours at his farm--while I pretended to be useful as I shivered in the icy wind! I hooked up a Jordan Ultima controller as well.

The system works GREAT! Very smooth and powerful--the trailer discs alone can stop the whole rig (13,000lbs combined loaded)easily at highway speeds. I'm glad that I kept the discs.

Gary Heebner
Prince George, BC
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Old 12-23-2003, 07:27 PM   #10
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'77 Excella disc brakes

Hi guys,
Sorry I've been off the forum for awhile. Things have been busy at work and it seems the kids have tied the home computer up. As luck would have it, my 23 yr. old (the computer whiz) has moved back in with us to save money and go back to school next year. He is rebuilding our home computer and brought his 3 computers with him. That should help. I sent a pm to Rob to see how his trip went and to apologize to him for not being available. Have a Merry Christmas all.


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