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Old 07-03-2010, 04:41 PM   #1
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1981 28' Airstream 280
emeryville , California
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'81 Excella Turbo Diesel air bag pressures?

Hello folks,
I'm new to the forums so please bear with me if this has been asked and answered already - I did search and din't see anything though.

I was just gifted a 28' 81 Excella Turbo Diesel from my father. The rear airbags are pretty empty - probably from sitting for 2 years. Anyway, what is the pressure range that is normal for this particular MH?

Thanks for any tips or suggestions....

-don cain
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Old 07-03-2010, 06:34 PM   #2
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Hi Don, Welcome to the Airstream world. My '82 28' Excella runs about 100 psi in the tank and at proper height the bags are at about 72 psi.

It's a pretty simple system once you figure it out and I have been throught it end to end so don't hesitate to ask f you run into a problem.

Cheers, Dan
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Old 07-03-2010, 07:45 PM   #3
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Thanks Dan. One question for now - how can you tell when it's at proper ride height? Is there an indicator (other than eyeballs) or something?
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Old 07-03-2010, 10:29 PM   #4
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Thanks Dan. One question for now - how can you tell when it's at proper ride height? Is there an indicator (other than eyeballs) or something?
This is the fun part. Crawl underneath and with the bags inflated they should measure 8 3/4" measured between the upper and lower cross members. Adjustments are made with the valve on the front side of the upper cross member. Be patient as there is a delay of a few minutes after the arm is moved before it will allow air in or out.

Cheers, Dan
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Old 08-04-2012, 11:15 AM   #5
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Just so I'm clear, when you say upper and lower cross member are you talking about the bottom of the chassis fame to the top of the lower airbag support? or is it the overall measurement to the top and bottom of the airbag minus the mount on the fame.

My airbag has a mount on the frame that keeps it about two inches from the frame.
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Old 08-04-2012, 11:57 AM   #6
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Just so I'm clear, when you say upper and lower cross member are you talking about the bottom of the chassis fame to the top of the lower airbag support? or is it the overall measurement to the top and bottom of the airbag minus the mount on the fame.

My airbag has a mount on the frame that keeps it about two inches from the frame.
Matt I'm not sure what coach or system you have but the one I have is built by American Carrier Equipment. It mounts a cross member from brackets/hangers attached to the rear of the leaf springs which have been shortened. There is another cross member between the frame rails and the air bags are mounted between these cross members and the height measurement is between the cross members or basically the height of the air bags.

The earlier coaches had air bags that mounted between the rear of the leaf spring and the frame rail. I checked the manual I have but found no height measurement.

There is another set up that uses the original leaf spring set up but adds a helper or over load air bag between the axle and frame rail. These bags are manually inflated and do not use a leveling valve.

If you PM your email to me I can send you some stuff but I don't know how to post a page from the manual here.

I hope this helps, Dan
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Old 08-04-2012, 02:28 PM   #7
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Hmm, this may be apples and apples, depending on where the measurements were taken from. My 1992 service manual says, "The ideal height for all around ride and clearance is 10" measured from the top of the air bag support beam to the bottom of the main frame chassis rail. It is normal for this measuremet to vary as much as 1/4" from side to side." I just measured mine, and since the coach has been sitting for a while, I get 9 1/2".
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Old 08-05-2012, 09:22 AM   #8
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[img=http://img20.imageshack.us/img20/9045/20120805070019503.th.jpg]
[img=http://img254.imageshack.us/img254/1439/20120805070005572.th.jpg]


I have posted two pictures of the system. I have a 1980 Excella 28' motorhome. It has to go for a wheel alignment and currently is not sitting level due to one air bag being higher then the other.
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Old 08-05-2012, 10:25 AM   #9
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[img=http://img20.imageshack.us/img20/9045/20120805070019503.th.jpg]
[img=http://img254.imageshack.us/img254/1439/20120805070005572.th.jpg]


I have posted two pictures of the system. I have a 1980 Excella 28' motorhome. It has to go for a wheel alignment and currently is not sitting level due to one air bag being higher then the other.
I have read through the 79 to 81 service manual that I have and can find no spec for ride height. My suggestion would be to adjust one of the valves to match the other side. Your goal is that the coach sits level fore and aft and side to side. If you loosen the nut on the valve, you can adjust the sensing arm up and down as needed. On the later units the valve has a delay so it takes 10 to 15 seconds for the valve to react after adjustment. I believe you have to have the ignition switch on to to activate the solenoids to allow the bags to add or release air.

On the ACE system used from 82 on there are two dimensions given by ACE and Airstream, 8-3/4" on my coach and 10" as mentioned by Mike above. The change took place somewhere between 82 and 83 depending on who you talk to. I tried the 10" adjustment on my coach and the rear was so high that it was obviously wrong. At 8-3/4" the coach sets level.

Bottom line is adjust your valves so that the coach sets level.

Good luck, Dan
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Old 08-05-2012, 12:34 PM   #10
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I think the reason I need so much stern lift is my lovely wife has a rock collection.
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