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Old 08-04-2016, 02:02 PM   #1
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1979 31' Excella 500
Stilwell , Kansas
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vacuum over hydraulic brakes

Hi everyone, I just purchased a 1979 Excella 500 from my neighbor. He bought it brand new in 1980. His tow vehicle was a 3/4 ton Chevy with a 454. It had plenty of vacuum so he said that he never had any brake problems. His last trip with this was in 2000, so it has set for 16+ years.
My wife and I are in the process of updating everything and the first thing on my list is the brakes. I am not sure which direction to go.
My tow vehicle is a 2016 F150 with the tow package, which means it has the OEM brake setup.
1. If the disc brakes on the AS are in good shape should I put a vacuum hookup on my truck or?
2. Should I remove the vacuum actuator and add an electric actuator?

Not sure which way to go or maybe someone has a better idea.

thanks
Randy in Kansas
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Old 08-04-2016, 02:46 PM   #2
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1979 23' Safari
1954 29' Liner
Orange , California
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Install and electric over hydraulic pump. I used Dexter on my two trailers with disc brakes.

Bill

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Originally Posted by rveatch56 View Post
Hi everyone, I just purchased a 1979 Excella 500 from my neighbor. He bought it brand new in 1980. His tow vehicle was a 3/4 ton Chevy with a 454. It had plenty of vacuum so he said that he never had any brake problems. His last trip with this was in 2000, so it has set for 16+ years.
My wife and I are in the process of updating everything and the first thing on my list is the brakes. I am not sure which direction to go.
My tow vehicle is a 2016 F150 with the tow package, which means it has the OEM brake setup.
1. If the disc brakes on the AS are in good shape should I put a vacuum hookup on my truck or?
2. Should I remove the vacuum actuator and add an electric actuator?

Not sure which way to go or maybe someone has a better idea.

thanks
Randy in Kansas
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http://billbethsblog.blogspot.com/
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Old 08-04-2016, 04:20 PM   #3
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1991 25' Excella
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The brakes on the trailer are probably electric drum brakes unless they converted it. In which case they should just need cleaned and adjusted. But if the trailer has been sitting for 16 years those axles need changed and the new axles should come with new brakes.
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Old 08-04-2016, 04:52 PM   #4
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1954 29' Liner
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The Excellas had hydraulic disc brakes with a vacuum actuated master cylinder.

Bill

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The brakes on the trailer are probably electric drum brakes unless they converted it. In which case they should just need cleaned and adjusted. But if the trailer has been sitting for 16 years those axles need changed and the new axles should come with new brakes.
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http://billbethsblog.blogspot.com/
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Old 08-04-2016, 06:02 PM   #5
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I really liked the vac/hyd setups, but buying replacement components has become about impossible.

Additionally, the control unit for the tow vehicle requires tapping into the brake lines, the claim is that this is a no-no with antilock brakes.

I could write more, but the short answer is that at this point it is best to go elec/hyd as mentioned above.


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Old 08-05-2016, 07:14 AM   #6
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1979 31' Excella 500
Stilwell , Kansas
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Thanks for the advise, I think I will go with the electric over hydraulic. I will also take a good look at the axles/bearings etc. It has been setting but it was on a nice concrete floor.

Randy
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Old 08-05-2016, 08:49 AM   #7
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Hi Randy, I had a '77 Excella 500 with the disk brakes. It was a neat system. But, like others have said, it's about impossible to get parts for them now. The electric over hydraulic unit is a decent route to go. On your axles, they use rubber rods inside the tubes for the springing medium. What happens with age is the rubber gets hard. Jack your trailer up so that you lift one wheel off the ground, and see how much suspension movement you see. As in, does the axle's swingarm on the wheel that is being raised flex downward as you lift the trailer up. Or, is it pretty well frozen in one place. With the age of your trailer, I would guess your rubber rods are probably done for and you should replace the axles. So the next complication then is do you want to try to reuse the OEM disk brakes? Do you want to change it over to electric drum brakes? Or do you want to get a new disk brake system on the new axles? I think these guys are one of the major players: http://www.kodiaktrailer.com/products/ The disk brake setup really is nice if you can get it working properly. Best of luck,
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Old 08-05-2016, 10:40 AM   #8
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1954 29' Liner
Orange , California
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If you replace the existing disc brakes with Kodiak, please be aware the the Kodiak brakes are larger in diameter and the existing aluminum wheels won't fit. You will need new wheels, if you have steel wheels, no problem.

Bill

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Originally Posted by JimGolden View Post
Hi Randy, I had a '77 Excella 500 with the disk brakes. It was a neat system. But, like others have said, it's about impossible to get parts for them now. The electric over hydraulic unit is a decent route to go. On your axles, they use rubber rods inside the tubes for the springing medium. What happens with age is the rubber gets hard. Jack your trailer up so that you lift one wheel off the ground, and see how much suspension movement you see. As in, does the axle's swingarm on the wheel that is being raised flex downward as you lift the trailer up. Or, is it pretty well frozen in one place. With the age of your trailer, I would guess your rubber rods are probably done for and you should replace the axles. So the next complication then is do you want to try to reuse the OEM disk brakes? Do you want to change it over to electric drum brakes? Or do you want to get a new disk brake system on the new axles? I think these guys are one of the major players: http://www.kodiaktrailer.com/products/ The disk brake setup really is nice if you can get it working properly. Best of luck,
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1973 Dodge W200 PowerWagon, 1977 Lincoln Continental, 2014 Dodge Durango
1979 23' Safari, and 1954 29' Double Door Liner Orange, CA

http://billbethsblog.blogspot.com/
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Old 08-05-2016, 03:11 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by rveatch56 View Post
Thanks for the advise, I think I will go with the electric over hydraulic. I will also take a good look at the axles/bearings etc. It has been setting but it was on a nice concrete floor.

Randy
If you will replace the stock set up, as mentioned above those parts are hard to come by. Some one will be interested I the old parts.

Don't pitch them without posting that you have the old parts available.

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