1990 REXHALL AIREX
This is a 31 footer with a Ford 460 engine built on a Ford chassis. This thing is a hoss. It has two air conditioners, generator, TV with VCR/DVD player, swivel chairs and three types of beds. It has an awning on each side. The main awning is super-long. It is 21 feet, requiring a center support rod. We also have the snap-on room accessory which can convert the whole awning area into an enclosed screen porch. It has never been used though. This RV is used for dog showing, so the floors have been converted to tile for easier sweeping with a broom. It has a rear cargo tray that plugs into the hitch receiver making this vehicle about 34 feet long total. It takes a lot of maintenance to keep this motorhome livable. Still, the work is enjoyable. We think it is funny to call it "the contraption".
New Photo Page
with 21 photos
What I like about it:
We can go anyplace, anyplace at all - and hang out until someone makes us leave. :)
repairs that have been made so far:
* Gave it a bath in "black streak remover" cleaner. This took four days. To remove 17 years of stuck-on baked-on dirt, everything had to be hand-scrubbed. Link to this great cleaner on ebay.
* Removed a bunch of stickers from the back with a heat gun, including much dried-up petrified duct tape. Link to Goo Gone sticker cleaner.
* Labeled most of the electrical switches inside.
* Replaced cracked or missing cabinet handles. Lowe's sells some handles that match the Rexhall ceramic pull handles very closely. They have the proper screw hole spacing of 3 inches.
* Repainted the flaky windshield wiper arms with SEM "trim black" spray paint from Eastwood. Their paint is very good...
Duplicate or restore the OEM finish on exterior black-trim surfaces. This semi-gloss paint adheres to steel,stainless,aluminum, and even chrome surfac... more
Duplicate or restore the OEM finish on exterior black-trim surfaces. This semi-gloss paint adheres to steel, stainless, aluminum and even chrome surfa... more
* The dull peeling front grille was repainted black. Then I
added new chrome strips. They stick on. Shiny!
Before -> During -> After (rain) ->
Mechanical repairs that have been
* Replaced the rusty metal circuit breakers under the hood. Removed some extra random clamp-on jumper wires.
* New rear battery. Fixed the wheels on the battery tray so it slides out. Repainted it "trim black".
* Re-sealed the cracks in the roof so it would quit "raining" on the dashboard and indoor roof panels.
* The broken awning knobs and pins have been replaced. Thanks to A&S parts from Camco. Link to these parts at Camco website.
* Replaced all 6 tires. Three tires had sidewalls that were cracked from the sun. First we replaced only those. Then we learned to replace the rest after two blowouts of tires that looked fine.
* Re-grounded the fuel gauge wire near the 75 gallon fuel tank so the gauge would stop reading "full" all the time. The ground wire bolts to the chassis near the spare tire. Lower the spare to get to it.
* Fixed the broken chassis ground wire on the Norcold refrigerator. Now it works. Link to Norcold parts on ebay.
* Replaced the tattered windshield wiper blades.
* Re-glued the rearview mirror with special rearview mirror adhesive.
* Fixed all the flappy window screens. They needed re-seated into their frames with a screen repair tool / wheel.
* Re-connected some water pipes that were busted apart under the wardrobe cabinet. We noticed pools of water going across the hallway. So the stock band clamps on the pipe fittings were replaced with little stainless steel hose clamps.
* Replaced all 5 of the yellow lights/housings above the windshield. They were all cracked. Most were leaking water. Re-seal these with almond-colored silicone caulking. They have everything you need at your local camper store.
* Most of the external screws are rusted where they are screwed into the body. While removing any screw, the middle of each is eaten away by rust. I guess the California factory used plain old screws or poorly galvanized screws. I'm in the process of replacing every external screw with stainless screws from my local hardware store's "stainless" fastener section. I'm also sealing each one with a dab of almond-colored silicone caulking. They sell it at RV stores.
* Replaced the horns. The old ones worked once. They went "bwaaa-uuugh-click". There is a horn in the front fender on each side.
What we have purchased for it so far:
* Huge shop manual for the Ford chassis. It is several volumes, big thick books with pictures.
* A mattress, heated of course. Link to RV mattresses on ebay.
* A stove topper to stop it from rattling. It is an oak board with rubber "stoppers" that fit over the rattling stove burners to keep them quiet. Wow, what an improvement that stops the constant "jangling" sounds while driving! Link to Stove Toppers on ebay.
* Added a rear window curtain. A cloth shower curtain and rod have worked nicely.
* Replaced the missing bedroom door. We used a press-to-fit curtain rod and a lightweight drapery.
* Awning de-flappers. Camco has them. Link to De-Flapper Max on Camco website.
What we still need for it:
* Who has a Rexhall Airex operating manual that covers the "room" part of it?
* Who has a vintage Rexhall sales brochure for it? That might be interesting to see.
* Who knows what the switches are for in the bedroom? I have two three-position wall switches, no labels. What the...?
Manuals I do have for it:
* Refrigerator, stove, air conditioners (online), awning (online), Quikee step (online), radio, Winegard rooftop antenna, etc.
* A schematic diagram. I have a large multi-page foldout schematic wiring diagram that covers the (several models) of Ford chassis.
* The little Ford owner's manual. It covers the chassis and shows engine fluid capacities, etc.
Tech Tips section:
* WHAT DO ALL THE SWITCHES CONTROL?: There should be a law against installing a switch without putting a clear label on it or next to it!
ON THE DASHBOARD...
Switch with a green "Open Book" icon: is a reading
light. Look up above the rearview mirror. There should be
a single reading light. At night, it can light up the top of
the dash area.
Switch with a red "Battery" icon: If your engine battery becomes discharged, you can use the rear battery to start the engine. You hold down this momentary switch while cranking the engine with the key. It is supposed to start the engine from the rear battery. I have tried mine several times and it does not function.
Switch with an "Electric Bolt" icon: Starts the generator. Hold it down till she starts. Then let go. You can use it to stop the generator if you rock it down. Hold it in till it completely stops running.
Also on the dash is a little round green light. It is in the middle of the dash with no markings on it. It indicates when the generator is "on". There's also a counter next to it. It will indicate how many hours are on the generator. These counters are frequently broken. You can get a new counter at a Grainger store.
ON THE CHASSIS...
Inside the passenger side rear compartment (battery compartment), there is a toggle switch. It controls the winch which can raise/lower the spare tire to the ground. The spare tire mounts onto a winch cable. A winch raises/lowers the tire. A crossbar on the end of the winch cable goes under the tire. When you flip the winch switch to "raise", the bar and the winch cable go "up" and hide the tire somewhere behind the back wheel and the rear bumper.
INSIDE THE SIDE DOOR ENTRANCE ON THE LEFT CABINETRY...
There are usually 3 switches, all unmarked. One is for the
electric step, one is for the porch light, and one is for the other
(white) driver's side sidelight. Believe me, you want to disconnect
the white sidelight, or take out the bulb. Someone in your camping
party will accidentally turn on the driver's sidelight in the
daytime. No one will notice, and you will run your coach battery
down to ZERO.
* NASTY CUP HOLDER: If your cup holder wood looks bad
with stains and peeling clearcoat, you can refinish it. Remove
it from the engine cover. It's just held on there with 4
phillips screws. Then sand it with a flexible sanding block (1
hour). Then rub it down with stain and a paper towel (1 hour).
I used Minwax Wood Finish in Golden Oak #210B. Let that dry
overnight. Then spray it with some clearcoat that is resistant
to water (1 hour). Reinstall with the 4 screws. Looks
like new again.
* WHAT TO OIL: A can of WD40 is your best friend. Oil the spare tire holder nuts under the rear chassis. Oil the spare tire winch pulley and cable. Oil the rear battery tray rails so it will slide in and out.
* JACKING IT UP: Most auto repair places on the road have no way to jack up your RV. Believe it or not, even the bigger tire stores have NO WAY to jack up even one wheel of your RV. Their large roll-under jacks cannot lift it off the ground because of their capacity and the distance from the ground. You should carry your own jack. Get an 8-ton bottle jack. they are small and mighty. On occasion, the bottle jack will need refilled with oil. Make sure you have an extra quart of motor oil handy for this purpose. Pop off the little rubber plug and refill with oil. We stow our bottle jack in the outside compartment nearest the spare tire and the winch switch. Link to bottle jacks right here on ebay.
* WHY COVER THE TIRES: Keep the tires covered to protect the sidewalls. Chances are you'll not do enough driving to wear out the treads. But the sidewalls on RV's take all the wear - from the sun. The sun dries out the sides of the tires when the RV is stored. Spray them with some UV protectant spray. Cover them when storing the RV. Link to RV covers right here on ebay.
* WHAT SIZE TIRES: Mine are all LT23580R16 120/116QM+S LOAD RANGE MAX LOAD 3,042 LBS and cost about $132 each. I spoke to another Rexhall owner who said his tires were 19.5 inch, but I don't know how he got that odd figure.
* BATTERY DRAIN: The refrigerator will drain the rear
battery - even when it is switched "off" on the upper front
panel. You need to find the semi-hidden "STORAGE"
switch and put it on "STORAGE". This hidden switch is
in between the two fridge doors. Open the main (lower) door and
see it under the top edge.
* LEAKY WINEGARD ANTENNA: Go up on the roof and look for the leaks. Re-seal the coax wire with white sealant two places. Make a little metal "roof" over the top of the gear that leads down to the crank handle. (photo coming soon) If your antenna shaft leaks (most do leak), the water will ruin some interior parts. It will drip down the passenger-side wooden cabinet. Water will drip across the wooden "bow" on the ceiling nearest the antenna crank. Water will stain the indoor roof panels. If you've got staining on your wood, it can be fixed with some sanding and re-staining. See the "Cup Holder" tip above for easy refinishing instructions. There are a variety of Winegard RV antennas and parts right here on ebay.
* THE DASHBOARD FLIPS UP: Yeah! The whole dash will flip up for easy servicing. Flip it up when you need to look for a fuse or fix something on the back of the radio, etc. The dash will swing up because it is hung on a wide piano hinge. First, remove a single screw on each end of the lower dash brackets. Those screws hold it down so it doesn't shake and rattle.
* PUT A DVD/VCR in the compartment to the right of the overhead TV set. Then make a rod that will prop up that cabinet door. The door needs to be open so the remote controls can change channels on the VCR. Use a short piece of small diameter PVC pipe. Don't use anything heavy for a prop rod because it might fall on the passenger's head if you forget to un-prop the door before driving. Like, don't use a hammer for a prop rod like I did at first!
* LOOK AT YOUR EXHAUST MANIFOLD BOLTS: A guy in an exhaust shop was looking at my RV. He said they put the Ford 460 engine in a lot of commercial vehicles. It was a workhorse. But one weakness is the exhaust manifold bolts. They shear off under normal use. Seems the heat associated with the expansion and contraction of the exhaust manifold causes it to shift around where it is bolted to the engine's heads. The manifold movement will shear off an exhaust manifold bolt or two. They can be laborious to repair the broken-off bolt. Sure enough, one bolt at the rearmost hole was broken off. There's no exhaust leak, but it will be replaced over the winter.
* CAN'T GET ANY AC POWER FROM THE GENERATOR: If it is running, the long power cord must be plugged into the power compartment's "wall"outlet. If it is plugged in and you still don't have power, there is another place to look. There are 2 little circuit breakers on the side of the generator itself. You cannot easily see them because they are around the rightside of the generator unit. You can feel for them - two toggle breaker handles. I think you pull them toward you for "on" and away from you for "off".
* ONE AC POWER CIRCUIT IS DEAD: There is a panel in the hallway under the refrigerator. The top of this vented metal panel hinges down to reveal several circuit breakers, and a device that recharges the coach battery when 110V is present.
What we plan to do to it in the
* Add some electric "trucker" fans near the windshield somehow. How / where?
* Add a backup camera. Maybe one with night vision. Need recommendations from you. Email me? I found these on ebay.
* A pipe for the generator. Need to direct the exhaust upwards to the rooftop.
* A power failure alarm. Need one that will page me when I'm away from the motorhome. Email me?
* Fix the furnace. We haven't researched it yet, so don't know where to start.
* Re-seal the top of the windshield. The rubber leaks at the top.
Researching these beasts, I've found
that Rexhall Industries made several models in 1990:
Some have Chevy engines. Most have Ford 460 gasoline engines on a Ford chassis. The chassis was built in Mexico while the coach portion was built in California. Let me know if you have one of these so we can compare notes. I'd be interested in seeing a floorplan of each model. Some had two rear axles. Because of the time it takes to manufacture an RV from several different parts suppliers, a 1990 model is usually built on a frame that was made in 1988 (rare) or 1989 (usually) or 1990. But the model will still be called a 1990. See the data labels on the wall near the driver's feet.
1990 AIREX 725 - 25' Gasoline engine. One rear axle. Bedroom has no privacy wall or door. Bathroom on driver's side.
1990 AIREX 726 - 26' Gasoline engine. One rear axle. Bedroom has no privacy wall or door.
1990 AIREX 827 - 27' Ford 460 gasoline engine. One rear axle.
1990 AIREX 828 - 28'
1990 AIREX 829 - 29'
1990 AIREX 829-I - 30' Ford 460 engine.
1990 AIREX 928 - 28'
1990 AIREX 929 - 29'
1990 AIREX 931 - 32'
1990 AIREX 932 - 32' Ford gasoline engine. Two rear axles. In the bedroom, see a big wardrobe. There is no window in the bathroom which is on the passenger side.
Talk to me:
You can bet I want to hear from more owners of the 1990 REXHALL AIREX class "A" motorhome.
Shoot me an email today at this address: Sean@UltimateGTO.com
Things we bought that make camping
* I don't like the drama of lighting a grill, or carrying flammable propane cylinders. So we have a George Foreman Grill.
Links to try:
* My buddy Randy has a 1990 Airex too. His website is http://home.surewest.net/frcn/MotorHome/
* Rexhall Tips at http://www.rexhalltips.com
* RV forums of all types at http://www.rv.net/forum/
* Some guy with a 1991 Airex narrated this VIDEO TOUR on youtube.com
New Photo Page with 21 photos
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I'm not responsible for any of the repair advice, tips, or products mentioned on this website. It is for entertainment only. Consult the motorhome manufacturer or an expert mechanic.