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Old 05-16-2012, 02:55 PM   #1
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1978 31' Excella 500
keller , Washington
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Electro-Hydraulic replacement

Hi Folks,

I'm replacing the vacuum unit on my 78 Excella, keeping the disc brakes which are in very good condition. It looks like my choices are Dexter, Titan/BrakeRite and Carlisle. Anything else out there that I've missed? Prices are about the same from a variety of vendors so it comes down to quality. Any recommendations or warnings? The controller issue is not material as I have an 85 F350 diesel with no feedback electronics or ABS/Traction control. Your comments would be appreciated.

best regards

pat hayes
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:04 PM   #2
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1977 31' Excella 500
West Sacramento , California
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I've been happy with the Carlisle 1600 for the past 2 years.
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Old 05-18-2012, 01:01 AM   #3
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1972 31' Excella 500
1978 31' Excella 500
Trinidad , Colorado
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Just brought home an Excella on Tuesday. Is there any way to check the vacuum unit before buying a new replacement? Also, what type of electric controller would be needed if I were to run a vacuum line to the back bumper for the original unit?
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Old 05-18-2012, 02:08 AM   #4
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1977 31' Excella 500
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You are in the same boat as I was. The problem is that the vacuum actuator is so obsolete that nobody can service it, which can be a problem when on the road. Nobody will want to touch your tow vehicle to install the vacuum line and tap into the electronics. This is why you will have to replace it with a modern model.
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Old 05-18-2012, 06:27 AM   #5
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1993 21' Sovereign
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Originally Posted by kleemartin1 View Post
Just brought home an Excella on Tuesday. Is there any way to check the vacuum unit before buying a new replacement? Also, what type of electric controller would be needed if I were to run a vacuum line to the back bumper for the original unit?
If it works, almost any brake controller will work. On that unit, the amount of braking is controlled by the unit on the trailer, varied by the brake controller in the truck.
If it turns out the vacuum parts don't work, I have had a lot of success installing the Dexter unit where the old vacuum assembly was, and use either a P3 or K-H Genesys in the truck.
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Old 05-18-2012, 09:59 AM   #6
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1978 31' Excella 500
keller , Washington
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Klee...I'm a profession ASE certified [almost 40 years] Volvo/Audi/VW and truck technician. I looked real hard at salvaging the vacuum/hydraulic unit going so far as to test adding a remote pump and reservoir. Other commenters are right...it's obsolete technology and practice. Do, however, keep the disc brakes IF THEY ARE IN GOOD CONDITION. Measure the rotors, pads can be replaced or relined, but rotors are difficult to find and expensive. The calipers are marvels of simplicity. My brakes are in excellent shape so I'm just going with and electric/hydraulic actuator. Safety is my #1 concern.
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Old 05-18-2012, 10:26 AM   #7
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1978 31' Excella 500
Venice , California
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IMHO it depends upon your energy and skill levels. The Midland-Ross ( they made railroad equipment) vacuum over hydraulic unit is practically bullet-proof and has been 100% reliable for me even with long periods of idleness. The hydraulic master cylinder can be rebuilt if necessary-specialist jobbers still have the seals. I don't believe that using the original unit is out of the question, but you need to be willing to tackle problems yourself. A Kelsey-Hayes controller (Andy has them) will work it just fine.
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'78 Excella 500,"The Silver Pullit". vacuum over hydraulic disc brakes, center bath, rear twin. '67 Travelall 1200 B 4X4 WBCCI 3737
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:36 AM   #8
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1980 31' Excella II
Springtown , Texas
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Originally Posted by wharfrat8995 View Post
Hi Folks,

I'm replacing the vacuum unit on my 78 Excella, keeping the disc brakes which are in very good condition. It looks like my choices are Dexter, Titan/BrakeRite and Carlisle. Anything else out there that I've missed? Prices are about the same from a variety of vendors so it comes down to quality. Any recommendations or warnings? The controller issue is not material as I have an 85 F350 diesel with no feedback electronics or ABS/Traction control. Your comments would be appreciated.

best regards

pat hayes
Pat, what brand did you finally go with and did you have any issues?

Thanks

Ritchie Tice
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:43 AM   #9
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1977 31' Sovereign
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1989 34' Excella
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Be aware that the old disc brake calipers were under designed and have a problem with a weld breaking on them without warning resulting with parts all over the road and no brakes. I had two of the caliper mounting brackets break before I decided to scrap the whole thing and go with a more modern system that could be maintained by average RV dealers when I was on the road.
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