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Old 02-25-2004, 01:42 PM   #1
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Question Calling all 70's decade(70-79) EXCELLA 500 owners

I have a 1974 Excella 500 and have found very few other owners of my model. (There are 2 on this list that I have seen).

It is very frustrating!

The 1974 Airstream Service Manual (blue soft cover, 296 pages) that I have (original) shows all the models of that year...but no mention of the word Excella. Of those 296 pages probably less than 100 apply to any particular model. It is an all inclusive style minus the Excella. The manual was actually printed in 1973 which of course is when the 74model is actually started in production.

I first thought that maybe the 74 was the first year for the Excella 500 and that perhaps it was not concieved til after the printing deadline....but obviously 74 is not the 1st as otheres have posted here about prior Excella 500's notably a 71 I recall.

I have used the manual often since much of the data is the same for certain parts and accessories. The diagrams for the 31ft rear bath Sovereign model are what I must use and most are identical in most respects, but not All.

There is an 1974 Excella 500 Owners Manual (brown hardback, 72 pages, copyright 1974).It's not very repair useful , mostly vague use instructions.Still glad to have it.

I have also found and downloaded a copy of a 1974 Airstream Sales Brochure
http://www.batmo.com/tclife/original/brochure/home/
Amazingly there is no mention of Excella in the brochure. All other models are there.

There are numerous remarks scattered thru forums that a big change took place sometime in early 70's. Best I can tell either in 73 or 74 or maybe spread across several years. (Changes involve axle rubbers, floor channel shape, grey water tank, frame weakness, & perhaps more). Accuracy of most of these claims is unverified and some could be just rumors.

Do any of you have the 1970,71,72,73,75,76,77,78 or 79 service manuals?

Does it cover all models like my 74 manual? How many pages?
Is an Excella model in it?

There of course is an answer to the Excella Mystery, but I haven't been able to solve it. I suspect that percentage wise there are fewer of them (us) around, due to lower production numbers, but this is just a guess. Any 70 era Excella info would fill a void in this and all the forums that I have explored.

Any help or thoughts or ideas or complaints welcomed.
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Old 02-25-2004, 05:33 PM   #2
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I have not only a '77 Excella Service Manual but I also have a large dealer '77 Service Manual that has each page coated in some type of protected material. Both have 13 chapters covering areas of the trailer but the dealer manual is twice the size of the other manual and has more material.

The dealer Service Manual has a section at the end of some of the chapters that is specific to the Excella such as Brakes, Chassis, Electrical, etc.
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Old 02-25-2004, 08:21 PM   #3
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David I was meaning to PM you. After I posted the above I searched and found a thread about manuals that had almost the same questions that I asked, by another 74 owner, Hex. I see him post at VAC sometimes and plan to try to contact him thru there.
I also saw your reply there mentioning the Dealer book.

I am trying to establish whether my 74 has much or anything in common with your 77. If so I would pay you to copy that manual for me. Would you consider that?

I need details about a telescoping pocket door and the hose reel assembly as well as other items. My Armstrong AC apparently is from another year. At least the shroud does not match the one Inland shows for 74, so I don't know whether the AC is off or whether the wrong shroud has been placed over it.

While searching I found another 74 Excella owner in Mississippi but he quit posting 2 years back also. But in his last few posts he decided his Excella was a 79 instead of a 74 my luck. Seems 74 Excella owners vanish off this list like Whitewater FOBs in Little Rock did.
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Old 02-25-2004, 08:35 PM   #4
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jaco,
Sure, I would consider it. It does show the parts list and pictures of the water and electrical reels just fine. I had to repair a water leak in the line coming from the water reel because there is a 90 degree filling that froze and had to be replaced. I had to go in through the streetside wardrobe closet, remove drawer tub, and interior plastic wheelwell coverings to get to the fitting. After replacement I insulated it with stuff you fit over pipes since there is no insulation in that part of the trailer.

Look at my photos and compare your Armstrong shroud to mine since it is original. Andy's do not appear to have the screens in them and maybe that is what makes it appear to be different, I don't know.

The accordian shower door is shown in the manual also. Let me know what you want to do and I will try to help.
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Old 02-25-2004, 10:16 PM   #5
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1978 Manuals

Send me your snail mail address and I will send you the 78 Excella owners and service manuals on CD. They are in .jpg format so they are viewable on any PC. There is no charge for the manuals or the shipping.

Vic
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Old 02-26-2004, 06:30 PM   #6
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jaco,

I know what the problem is...you need a 1975 Service Manual! I quote from the "Foreward"( I'm not kidding either) "This manual includes illustrated parts lists,.....for Airstream 21, 23 T& D, 25 T & D, Land Yacht, and 27 T & D, 29 T & D, 31 T & D, International Rear Bath and Center Bath models and the 1974 Excella " It has the floor plans, the information on the electric reels, etc. BTW I have a 1975 if you need a couple of scans, email or PM me. Eventually I plan to put the whole thing into PDF.

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Old 02-27-2004, 11:56 AM   #7
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Well Jaco,
You can't ask for more help than that can you? The forum comes through again.
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3.73 rear end
Mag-Hytec rear diff cover
Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
Amsoil synthetics all around
265 watt AM Solar, Inc. system
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Old 02-27-2004, 02:20 PM   #8
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Wahoo that is great news. I will be in touch, but first will attempt to score a complete Manual to at least look at.

That is really strange that it was done that way. You did not mention the 1975 Excella 500 (which is not my problem yet) but I just wonder if it is described only in the following years 1976 manual etc.

But my 74 manual says nothing about any Excella not the 73 or the 74. We need someone with a 73 Service Manual to check and post in.

My Excella has a build date of April 74. I now wonder if the Excellas were not produced til later in each model year. Model year being approx Sept - August.

I remember that Chevy and GMC trucks used to come out with a special "limited" model only about halfway into the model year. The GMC was called the Royal Sierra and I cant recall the name of the Chevy clone maybe Royal Cheyanne or some such. Now of course the truck makers have more "signature" special models than I can keep up with.

Don't know if the Excellas were considered "limited" (available only within a short window of time each season) models or not.

I'll stay on this mystery and hopefully someday these type of factoids will help others.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
DavidZ71
you bet this discussion group comes thru more times than any other I think. However the guy Hex, that originally asked a very similar question way back never seems to have gotten this answer. I hope he sees this if he still cares.
One problem here is that the posts that are pushed off the forefront too soon might get missed by a fellow with the answers.
Don't know the alternative to that yet, but I am soooooo happy that Wahoo found this thread.

Thanks
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Old 02-27-2004, 02:36 PM   #9
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jaco,

Forgot to mention my Service Manual has 361 pages in it

Best I can tell the Excella shares most of the systems with the International with the exception of the obvious up grades like the power reel, water hose rel and the second sliding door. Does yours have the "Dishmaster" and the Vacumn?

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Old 02-27-2004, 02:42 PM   #10
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73 service man checking in ~

My 73 service manuals "forward" is just like
Wahooncs' except it has no mention of a
Excella at all. Not any were in the manual
does it even mention the word.
My 31 international is also an early model,
it did not come with a grey water tank, I believe
that was added latter in the year.
hope this helps.
~mark~
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Old 02-27-2004, 02:53 PM   #11
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Wahoo
Mine has the vac, which is just unnecessary fluff IMO but if it had the Dishmaster (which I would love) it has been removed.
The front sliding pocket door is a nightmare. It actually telescopes into itself as it is pushed back into the pocket. The female section is jammed and I cannot re insert the male which gives me about a 14 inch hallway entry. I have spent hours trying to figure it out. Of course could yank it out in a heartbeat, but am determined to not damage it.

You did not say whether the 75 Excella is also shown in your 75 manual. Is it?
What color is the cover on your manual? (is it original or a copy)
Is it Spiral Bound with a plastic comb?


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Thanks for the post. Now I wonder if there was a 73 Excella 500?
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Old 02-27-2004, 04:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by jaco
Wahoo

You did not say whether the 75 Excella is also shown in your 75 manual. Is it?
What color is the cover on your manual? (is it original or a copy)
Is it Spiral Bound with a plastic comb?
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jaco,

My manual does not mention a 1975 Excella, just the 1974. It has a blue cover, and is plastic comb bound. It orginally had a blue comb, but it was in such poor shape I had to redo it. I re did the owner's manual at the same time. It was a glue binding.

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Old 02-27-2004, 04:34 PM   #13
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1974 Excella

I have an Excella from 1974 and will help with this subject when I can!

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Old 02-27-2004, 05:31 PM   #14
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jaco,
Not long ago I posted a question on electrical disconnects so that I could disconnect my portable 20 watt solar panel from the battery system before getting underway. Several forum members gave me some suggestions, which I checked out but they weren't quite what I imagined.

I had hunted the internet before posting then tried again. I finally ran across exactly what I needed. I posted my findings so that it might help someone in the future if they were thinking the same thing and did a forum search.
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Mag-Hytec rear diff cover
Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
Amsoil synthetics all around
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Old 05-18-2004, 04:19 PM   #15
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Hi, Just caught onto this thread. We have a 74 Excella as well. It wasn't until recently that I caught on to the fact that the 75 service manual was the one required for a 74 Excella, interesting way of doing things!

Anyway, I'd sure be interested in getting a copy (in pdf, jpg, paper or whatever) of the 75 service manual.

Thanks!

Brad
1974 Excella
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Old 05-18-2004, 10:57 PM   #16
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We need all we can find.

Hey Brad nice to have you along.
I too am trying to find an original 75 manual to copy. Got two leads but have not heard back from the most promising one yet. I will let you know soon and can have 2 or 3 copies made probably for a small savings. I am figuring about 8 cents a page at a copy club or kinkos.

What is your floorplan? Rear bath or center bath?
Do you have the onboard Onan genset? (I don't). How bout the Manville Dish Master for a kitchen faucet? (I don't)
If you get a chance look on the front streetside data plate and find the build date of your trailer. And was it a California or Ohio made?

I have only come across very few owners of our model.

Rickstream is member here and lives in Wisconsin.

Wannabefulltimin (Ray) a member from West Virginia.

Sue & Von ( Asheville NC maybe) not heard from since being beaten and belittled awhile back. Have not answered my e-mails or PMs.

a Mr. Bomar (non member AFAIK) California.Rear Bath.

Hex a member from Texas no longer posts and I understand no longer owns our model. Did you happen to buy from him?

Charles ___??? a member from Mississippi no longer posts here, is not sure of his model year but thinks it might be a 74.

One just sold on ebay Ctr Bath in San Diego new owner unknown.

Your 74.

Mine. Rear bath.
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Old 05-30-2004, 07:26 AM   #17
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I have a manual for a 71 excella 500 on its way to me as I write this. Will advise upon it's arrival.
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Old 05-30-2004, 08:09 AM   #18
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I think Helen Davis at 937-492-8885 still sells owner & service manuals. Has anyone bought one from her lately?
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Old 05-30-2004, 07:11 PM   #19
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Hi Jaco,

Sorry about the long delay in replying. Life is just too hectic sometimes! Here is the story of our Airstream.

Our trailer came from Rison Arkansas. The original owner was a doctor in Little Rock. He had it for a year or two and on one trip pulled off the side of the road and the trailer rolled over onto its side damaging the skin and assorted other odds and ends. The father of a guy I work with bought it from the doctor shortly after that for something like $5000. He then proceded to order and replace the exterior skin and repaired the interior as well. They used it for many years when my friend was growing up and then about 15 years ago his parents lived in it while they built a house in Rison. After the house was complete they parked the trailer at the Deer Camp where it sat (in the woods) for about 12 years. It had brand new Michlen tires on it when parked, what a waste. When we got the trailer it had actually been vacant for several years, not even the hunters would sleep in it. The windows from the repairs leaked and the floor was totally ruined around most of the edge of the trailer. Also, when they were living in it he rain piping and wiring in which left holes for rodents. The interior of the trailer when we got it was horrible inside. Mold, mildew, rotten wood, rusted stainless, etc. Needless to say the interior of the trailer was a total and compete loss. There were very few salvagable items.

We originally bought it with the thought of doing some work on it and reselling it. But once I pulled it out of the woods and took a good look at inside we realized just how bad it was.

We have since decided to make some major modifications to the trailer. My wife and I both Vintage race Triumph sports cars, sooooo.....we are going to convert the trailer from a live-in trailer to a two car transporter. That is probably blasphemy to most people on this forum but its about all this trailer is really good for. It would cost a small fortune to restore it or make it into a habitable trailer and rather than scrap it we felt a car transporter would be a nice modification.

I've been doing lots of research and have talked to a couple of Airstream dealers and they feel my plans are sound. Lots of work ahead but it should be an enjoyable project.

I'm really hoping to get a copy of the manual on CD so I can have some reference for repairs, etc.

Brad
1974 Excella 500 (down but not out!)



It had been used in a Dear Camp for the last 10 years or so.
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Old 05-30-2004, 08:02 PM   #20
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I can't, offhand, think of a worse choice for the raw materials for a car hauler. I say nothing of the decision not to restore, sometimes that's the way it is. But an Airstream has very limited cargo capacity anyway, and that is when it is at full strength. Cutting into the structure to create a garage door will destroy the monocoque structure, leaving it greatly weakened.

But, maybe someone knows something here that I don't.

Mark
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