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Old 07-12-2005, 04:37 PM   #21
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Craig-

Welcome to the thread! I've helped people out with keys before at rallys. It's not suprising that some Airstream keys will work in other's trailers! My Mom and Dad were Airstreamers back in the '70's. There were always stories--possibly with a grain of truth--about a gentleman who would come home late at night and unlock 'his' trailer only to find a woman inside who was not his wife!

Anyway, I took pictures of my keys. Maybe if someone else can take pictures of theirs we can compare and see if these were all the same key combination! I'm afraid, though, just by looking at these keys that they are a lot like safety deposit box keys and I bet they are all pretty different. We lost a key to our safety deposit box in a fire and they had to drill the lock to get it open....

Maybe we'll meet up at a rally someday!

In regards to the windows: I really like having the two panes of glass in order to cut down on sweating on the inside. I also think it helps reduce noise transfer as well. I've try to remind myself of all these benefits as I'm looking through a cloudy window!

I felt like an N-95 mask was adequate for a short term project like this. If I was doing it everyday for a living, then higher requirements would be reasonable. I definitely recommend opening up all the windows you can to get ventilation. It's also better to paint first, then rescreen the windows...don't ask me how I know that!

Some of my thermopanes have peeled so badly that there is just a pile of crumblies in the bottom of the window and the panes are almost completely peeled back to clear! Just another few years, I guess!
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Old 07-13-2005, 04:00 PM   #22
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1979 31' Excella 500
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Hi, guys,

I posted two more shots of the interior of my trailer to my gallery, so that covers the entire interior now.

Next, give it a bath and get some exterior shots.
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Old 07-15-2005, 01:00 AM   #23
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Just discovered the forum today, looks to be a plethora of good info! Here is my floor plan... 79 Excella 500, it is the rear twin/center bath, with the credenza up front and side gaucho. I'll try to post my own photos soon in the gallery, but for now some pics are still on the web at http://www.spradsrv.com/Details.aspx?sn=3117
Yep, new owner. All appliances, upholstery, flooring seems to be 100% original. Even the Nutone appliances are in their boxes. Oh, the lounge chair is still there with original fabric, wearing just a bit thin on the arms. Does have the parquet wood floor in the galley, in good shape.
I also was given a 1980 brochure, it calls the spice rack a new luxury option?
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Old 07-15-2005, 01:31 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kinder
Just discovered the forum today... it calls the spice rack a new luxury option?
Hiya Kinder ó

Welcome. Expect some backflips from Lamar when he sees that you, too, are in the centre bath, rear twins club. Expect a decoder ring and secret handshake, at the very least! *grin*

Only if you actually put spices in it. Something about the way the folks cook there in Jackson Center.

At least the Hobo's Restaurant does have Tabasco ó even if it's only the standard stuff and not the (drum roll, please) habanero variety. *bigger grin*

Enjoy your new Airstream. For goodmess sakes, go camping!
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Old 07-15-2005, 07:54 AM   #25
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Hi, Kinder,

Welcome to the forums. I look forward to seeing your pictures in the gallery.

No bannana on this one being an identical twin, however. You've got the side caucho and I have the front gaucho. Hmm... a front Zip-Dee. I bet it really looks good with all the awnings out.

Where does your parquet flooring start at? Somewhere in line with the range?

On mine it goes to the front, under the credenza, and tucks just under the gaucho. There's a small peice of goldish brown carpet under the two doors under the microwave compartment. I don't know if my parquet is original, but it does look like it was installed all the same time, and they would have had to do some disassembly to get it UNDER the credenza.

It looks like you got a really nice trailer. Like the sixer says, time to top off and go camping!
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Old 07-15-2005, 08:06 AM   #26
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Hi guys, we own a 78 Excella 500 31'. Although we've owned it only a few months, the forums here have been a fantastic resource to help with a few of the restoration jobs we needed to do (like restoring our vista windows). Fortunately ours is in great shape. I found this 78 Airstream Sales brochure on the web, see link http://www.dwmorrison.com/78brochure1.pdf

The complete link for the site is http://www.dwmorrison.com/airstream.htm

Although the brochure doesnt mention Excella models, it seems to include photos of our unit (including the "5th Avenue Lounge" and "Hollywood Bathroom".) It has some good pics of layouts - perhaps it will help.

Regards Rob
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Old 07-15-2005, 08:59 AM   #27
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Thanks for the welcomes.
SafeHarbor, the parquet floors start a couple feet under the side gaucho/in line with the door. Must have been installed before the gaucho. A little wear as that is the first steps you take into the trailer, I'll have to do just a bit of work to restore that section. As to the awnings, I have one on each side!

I won't get a chance to work on pictures until next week, headed out of town this weekend, unfortunately not with the Excella... then again my vehicle is a 98 Subaru, so it's for the best! I will be full-timing though starting in four weeks, just cleaning out the house now.
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Old 07-15-2005, 09:19 AM   #28
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Kinder-

Welcome to the Forum!!! It must be a great feeling getting your new Airstream! I looked at the pictures and it looks really wonderful. I think the ad from the RV place was right "This one won't last." Well, that doesn't sound right taken out of context, but you know what I mean!

From what I see there are many original features still there. It's great you got an original chair. Definitely would hang onto that! It looks like you might have an original table lamp on the credenza, too. The curtains look very original and appear to be in good shape, too. I can see the Dishmaster is still there! The blind in the bathroom appears original, too. Does your table pull out from the front of the trailer, or from the curbside?

Your gas bottle covers are authentic to the trailer, too. I bet you there's an eight-track lurking in there somewhere! Definitely hang on to those Nutone appliances! What a great find. See if the original built-in vacuum is in there, too. A lot of those were removed--may not have worked well from the get go.

I want to point out one other thing I noticed. Your unit appears to have the vacuum disc brake setup as evidenced by the box behind the gas bottles. I hope you're prepared for that setup because it is different from the norm and what you AND the RV place may be used to. Maybe they've been converted over to electric and they just kept the box in place.

Good luck and stay in touch!
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Old 07-15-2005, 02:43 PM   #29
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Hi, Rob,

Thanks for delurking in our little section of this vast website. Welcome!

Your's may have a luxurious bath, but mine has it as either as an afterthought or else a lot of thinking about compactness. "Luxurious" is not a term I would apply to mine, but "functional" fits okay.

Lamar
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Old 07-15-2005, 02:46 PM   #30
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Hi, Kinder,

My trailer has Zip-Dees on curbsite, streetside, and backside. I haven't seen another Excella with a front Zip-Dee. Most of them have rock guards.

Lamar
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Old 07-18-2005, 11:28 PM   #31
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Just wanted to say I posted some pics in the gallery--everything I've seen online points to it being 100% original. I know they're not the best shots but I took them in the midst of brand new owner excitement!


DPeakMD--Thanks for the heads up on the vacuum disc brakes. I found the wiring diagram in the owner's manual. What type of brake control is needed for the TV? I'll definitely mention that to the dealer. Any other tips I should know for the move to a permanent space (15 miles in city traffic, only)? Maybe it doesn't need trailer brakes hooked up for such a short drive?
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Old 07-19-2005, 01:08 AM   #32
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Kinder-

Congratulations again on your purchase! I can't give you a knowledgeable recommendation on the brake controller for the Vac-disc brakes, but you can probably find one on this forum by doing a search.

No one should recommend towing for even a limited distance without functioning trailer brakes. It's just too risky and illegal to boot! I won't say it hasn't been done, but it is risky. If you are considering a move to a permanent space, maybe you could negotiate with your RV dealer to move it for you and have them shoulder that liability.

The hard part about vac-disc brakes is not just the controller, it's the fact that the brakes must be supplied with a vacuum. This was designed to come from the tow vehicle's vacuum system. Unless a prior owner added a different controller. If you see a large rubber hose dangling from the front of the trailer, then you would have to have a vacuum source on the vehicle in order for these to work.

Other option: convert the brakes to electric. The Airstream factory service center charge is $1250 to do this conversion. You might be able to use this fact to negotiate with your dealer as well. Let me know if you need proof, I've got a picture of their posted price.

Good luck!
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Old 07-19-2005, 06:55 AM   #33
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Hi, Kinder,

I went through your photo gallery. That's a good looking trailer and the body looks great. That was a good find!

Just curious, do you have a compartment hatch on the streetside beneath the front window?

Dallas has me thinking that my trailer started out to be like yours and somebody wanted the (huge) front gaucho, and they changed the floorplan after production had begun. So maybe that's why I have an extra, non-functional hatch on mine.

About your brakes, if the hardware at the wheels is in good order, it might be easier and better in the long run to convert to an "Actibrake" electric over hydraulic actuator, which I think will get rid of the vacuum component and be longer lasting and require less maintenance, too. Inland Andy here at the forums would be a good source (I'm not) for information on this option.

Lamar
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Old 07-19-2005, 12:36 PM   #34
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Lamar, there is a hatch on the front. I didn't check it out when I purchased, and can't take delivery until August 11th as I cannot make the move from MN to NV until then. I'll try to remember to let you know what I find out in a few weeks. As to the brakes, I called the RV place and they said not to worry about the system and why did I care if I was living in a permanent space? I'm not even sure if it still the vac brakes based on my conversation, but I already negotiated price and delivery/set-up, so I guess that was a comforting yet somewhat aggressive answer. I was mainly calling to confirm the delivery date anyway.

I'm sure glad I found these forums, I'll likely have lots more questions in 3 weeks! For now, I'm trying to do a bit of research so when I get to the park I will have more informed questions for the guys who deliver and hook-up the Excella. Somewhat of an impulse buy--I'm going from a 2400 sq. foot house with 3 garages to a 31' trailer!--but as I will be back in school and with only a third of my current salary, and in a much more expensive part of the country, my hand was somewhat forced and this way I still have a home I'm excited to be in. Must say I am looking forward to having no mortgage and owning my home! Cheers-
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Old 07-19-2005, 12:57 PM   #35
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I accidentally found you guys when I did a search on the word "brakes". I bought a 1978 31ft Sovereign last winter and have been working on it this summer. Have taken it out a couple of times. We have had trailers for 30 years and this is the best pulling rig we have ever had. I seemed to have lost most of my trailer braking and was looking for some information. I will explore it some more tonight. I replaced all of the blue vinyl inserts in in the moldings. I just bought some vinyl striping and am going to try to cover over the old striping tonight. I don't think I can get the old stuff off, will just have to go over it. My windows have some of the same problems you have. The side windows have bubbles and the vista windows have disintegrated in the middle part. My awning is old and I will need to replace it. Andy at Inland has a CPR replacement. Have been trying to decide about replacing with a ZipDee. I bought a factor replacement air conditioner shroud from Andy and put it on last week. The cost wasn't too bad but was bummed about the shipping charge. However, it is well made and bolted right up after I put on the old screens, etc.
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Old 07-19-2005, 01:08 PM   #36
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Wheel

The previous owner of our 1978 31ft must have lost a wheel or had a blow out. One of the original aluminum mag wheels has been replaced with a newer chrome steel wheel. It is just a little wider than the originals. Do any of you guys know where I can pick up one of the original mags? I have been looking for months and have just about resolved that I will buy two new chrome wheels and put them on one side and just keep the other mag for a spare. Any thoughts?
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Old 07-20-2005, 11:35 AM   #37
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Hi, Ron and Christie,

Welcome to the forums!

You could try Colaw RV salvage in Carthage, MO, for your wheel. They have a revolving inventory and a salvage yard, and they sometimes have AS parts.

http://www.colawrvsalvage.com

I can't say about the CPR awning, but I can say that Zip-Dee are wonderful folks to work with in the event you have problems, even for an OLD awning that needs parts. I have seen SOB ("some other brand") owners fight with their non-Zip Dee awnings, and I like the way mine rolls up with just a push. (Whoosh, clump, snap!)

A 21 foot awning can be a booger in the rain and the wind, so if you decide to go with Zip Dee, be sure to get the optional center strut.
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Old 08-24-2005, 12:22 PM   #38
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Here's the update...

I moved into my 79 about two weeks ago. It's been great, only complaint is there's just a bit more dust out here in the desert than I've been used to back in MN!
To answer some old questions, there is a streetside hatch under the front window. It is functional but small, a nice bonus is that there were anti-sway bars in there from the PO. The dish-quik and nu-tone center work flawlessly. The original vacuum disk brakes were replaced in the late-80s with an electric system, which hooked up easily to the pickup used for delivery. The box is still on the hitch but it is empty. The driver couldn't believe how easily it pulled for the size of the trailer.

I've made some effort to go with the late 70s theme and picked up a vintage television from 1978 (red plastic case, 9" b&w) and my dad's radio alarm clock from around 1969. I do have a CD player though, the 8-track would have been a bit too much of a sacrifice! And I have a nice laptop computer I can watch DVDs on, so I'm not truly that dedicated to kitsch.

The zip-dees on all 4 sides are functional and in very nice shape overall, though need a little attention (slightly torn handles, corroded arms). The big one curbside is cool! It says "500" in the center, must be original as well. I also have little "wings" that snap on the sides of the front and rear awnings and to the aluminum skin to give a bit more protection and privacy.
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Old 08-30-2005, 10:49 AM   #39
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78 31ft updates

Well, here is an update on mine. The a/c shroud was the original and was so brittle that you couldn't hardly touch it. Bought a new replacement from Andy at Inland RV. The unit price wasn't bad but he shipping was. Not much you could do about that. However, it bolted right on after I installed the little screens and painted it. My blue mouldings and side stiping were in bad shape. I bought new blue moulding inserts from a local dealer and replacement stiping off a commercial striping company on the internew. What a difference. I was confused about the original vacuum brakes and it took a little educating by Andy at Inland RV to figure out how they worked. We have had electric brakes for 30 years on other units. I finally bought the Actibrake controller and installed it so that I could keep the disc brakes. What a system. With four wheel brakes on my pick up, it stops on a dime. If you want to see an interesting project on a 77, check out this guy. http://overlander.archnevada.com/index.php?home
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Old 09-06-2005, 07:31 AM   #40
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Hi, Ron,

Although I'm pretty sure I'll stick with the electric brakes, I'm still curious about the hydraulics. Did you put the Actibrake actuator outside behind the fuel tanks or inside under the gaucho or credenza?

Lamar
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