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Old 07-14-2015, 11:09 PM   #1
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1976 28' Argosy 28
Chambly , Quebec
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Posts: 12
Is my Argosy too low?

Bonjour, I just bought a 1976 Argosy 28 and I love it. It's not what I was shopping for but I could not pass on it with it's amazing looks, great craftsmanship and low original mileage of 18 600 miles. It was owned by an old couple that had forgotten to plate it so they had to pass inspection 2 years ago. Also the exhaust system has been changed from front to back, all 4 shocks are new and springs in the front. 2 valves were added on the dash (one for the back shocks and one for the front shocks). The MH drives nicely except for the fact that the front wheels are rubbing if I brake too hard or any other situation putting load on the front end.

I did not notice that when I test drove it nor when I left from the seller's. But after a few miles I started hearing like a deflating noise. I got off the highway, stopped, looked around, drove it home slowly and started hearing rubbing noises. When I got home I called the seller. He reminded me he was not mechanical inclined and always had everything repaired by a mechanic. But he did suggest that I check if any of the retrofitted hoses for shocks had disconnected. Sure enough one of the front ones had. I put it back, put 40 PSI as he had suggested but it did not solve the problem. Adding air does not lift the MH since the hoses are connected to the shocks, it just stiffens the ride. I added more air (60 PSI), it does not feel much stiffer and it is still rubbing.

I am not a mechanic but I am mechanicaly inclined. I have raced motorcycles when I was younger so I am comfortable with engines, carbs, brakes but not with transmissions and the only thing I ever did to a suspension was to add spacers in motorcycle forks to stiffen them so I am limited in this department.

There is less than 3 inches between the top of the tire and whatever is above it that it rubs on. Should the front end be higher or just way stiffer?

Thanks for any input
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Old 07-14-2015, 11:16 PM   #2
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Are the tires over-sized? That's the first thing I'd check. Were the correct springs installed? Either of those things could cause that problem.
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Old 07-14-2015, 11:56 PM   #3
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1975 20' Argosy 20
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Welcome to the forum Dan

The 24/26/28ft Argosy and also the Classic Airstream motorhomes have air bags to assist the springs and carry the load. If the air bags are under inflated or not in place it will sit low.

There are lots threads on both the Argosy and Classic forums on how to change them, but my experience, from just during moving the 28ft Argosy we bought as a donor around (which came without the compressor installed) is that they are pretty much undriveable and keep bottoming out without them.
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Old 07-15-2015, 10:16 AM   #4
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1976 28' Argosy 28
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Thanks for the quick replies.I managed to call home from work to get the tire size: 8R /19.5 but I can't find the specs for my MH.As I mentionned I don't know much about suspensions and I can't find specs for that either. I keep seeing posts about people going toward stiffer after market springs to get rid of the air bags. Is that what was intended on mine? I don't know.The old man that sold it to me is very nice but of little help. He told me the MH has a C30 chassis. Isn't it a P30?
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Old 07-15-2015, 10:31 AM   #5
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1974 20' Argosy 20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanKlein View Post
Thanks for the quick replies.I managed to call home from work to get the tire size: 8R /19.5 but I can't find the specs for my MH.As I mentionned I don't know much about suspensions and I can't find specs for that either. I keep seeing posts about people going toward stiffer after market springs to get rid of the air bags. Is that what was intended on mine? I don't know.The old man that sold it to me is very nice but of little help. He told me the MH has a C30 chassis. Isn't it a P30?
Dan, welcome to Airforums!

The Argosy and Classic motorhomes are on the P30 series chassis (specifically the P32 from what I understand).

There are definitely lots of opinions on the use or non-use of front airbags. I'm in the camp that doesn't like using the front airbags but there are a lot of people that feel just the opposite. So you'll have to weigh what you read about front airbags and do what you think is best.

I believe the 19.5 wheels started on the later Argosy motorhomes and I'm pretty sure all of the Classic series have the 19.5 wheels. The earlier Argosy rigs had 16.5" wheels and a lot of us have been switching them over to later 16" wheels as tires are cheaper and easier to get in the 16" size.

Are your rear wheels 8 lug or 10 lug (fronts would be 8 or 5)? I'm kinda surprised your 76 has the 19.5" wheels. I had thought that didn't happen until 77 or 78.

It's also possible that whoever replaced the front springs didn't use springs with the right load rating.

Brad
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Old 07-15-2015, 10:47 AM   #6
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1975 20' Argosy 20
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Just to build on Brad's reply.....when I say my donor is undriveable and bottoms out without air bags - that's because the springs haven't been uprated/are stock, so it needs the bags to help carry load. Running no air bags is definitely an option (for some folks a preference) but (as Brad says) the springs then have to be rated for purpose.

My little 20ft has no air bags at all, and I believe came like that (docs I have show the '74-75 20ft as being on a P30 because it came with the 350 small block standard, and the 454 big block was an option, but all the others came with 454 standard, which I think means P32 chassis, again as Brad says).
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Old 07-15-2015, 11:38 AM   #7
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Martin,

My 74 20' Argosy originally came with a 454 (even has the 454 badges on the side) but a PO at some point removed the 454 and transmission and used the transmission in a race car. The PO that I bought it from had purchased a Chevy pickup with a 350 & Turbo 400 transmission, rebuilt the 350 and transmission and installed the engine in the Argosy. Other than physically placing the engine in the coach he didn't do anything else before he sold it to me. I then turned around and pulled the 350 and had a 454 rebuilt out of an 81 Chevy dually and am close to putting the 454 back in the Argosy. Full circle you might say

I wanted the power of the 454 for pulling a trailer without worrying about over working the engine.

I wonder if Alcoa made the 19.5" wheels with the Chevy 8-lug pattern. I had always assumed the 10-lug pattern was unique to the Classic series.


Brad
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Old 07-15-2015, 06:33 PM   #8
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1976 28' Argosy 28
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I'm still trying to find the original specs for this MH. There is very little on the Airstream site. There is a bit more about the 1977. For instance, 1977 Argosy 28 ground clearance: 14 1/2" to underbelly, 9" to differential low point.

I have 19.5 wheels with 10 lugs in the back and 5 lugs in front. I measured 9" at differential and underbelly is 14 1/2" in the back and 11" in the front ( that's with the 19.5s). So my front end is sagging?
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Old 07-15-2015, 07:06 PM   #9
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1974 20' Argosy 20
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Dan,

Check out Fred's site ViewRvs for more information on the Airstream and Argosy motorhomes. With luck you'll find more of what you're looking for there.

Sure sounds like your's came with the 19.5" wheels. I know of other owners that have the 16.5" wheels on their 77 Argosies. Kinda makes you wonder what criteria Airstream used to determine what types of wheels (and other things) for each motorhome chassis.

Brad
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Old 07-15-2015, 07:34 PM   #10
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This straight from the 1976 owners manual (I have an electronic copy if you PM me your email address Dan)



Seems to suggest 19.5 was standard on 26/28, and according to the diagram on the left there were various stud configurations across the range although the 10 rear/5 front is probably the 19.5 as the 8 stud was on the 16.5 on the 20/24. My '78 (donor) they are 19.5 but all 8 stud.

As for the 454.... in '75 it was a $288.15 option/exchange for the standard 350 in the 20ft model (standard on all other models), but by '76 was standard across the range.
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Old 07-15-2015, 08:20 PM   #11
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1976 28' Argosy 28
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I'm still trying to find the original specs for this MH. There is very little on the Airstream site. There is a bit more about the 1977. For instance, 1977 Argosy 28 ground clearance: 14 1/2" to underbelly, 9" to differential low point.

I have 19.5 wheels with 10 lugs in the back and 5 lugs in front. I measured 9" at differential and underbelly is 14 1/2" in the back and 11" in the front ( that's with the 19.5s). So my front end is sagging?
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Old 07-15-2015, 08:25 PM   #12
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1976 28' Argosy 28
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Oups, sent same message twice.
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Old 07-16-2015, 05:55 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by martin300662 View Post
This straight from the 1976 owners manual (I have an electronic copy if you PM me your email address Dan)



Seems to suggest 19.5 was standard on 26/28, and according to the diagram on the left there were various stud configurations across the range although the 10 rear/5 front is probably the 19.5 as the 8 stud was on the 16.5 on the 20/24. My '78 (donor) they are 19.5 but all 8 stud.

As for the 454.... in '75 it was a $288.15 option/exchange for the standard 350 in the 20ft model (standard on all other models), but by '76 was standard across the range.
My 74 owners manual doesn't have any info on the wheel lug pattern in it. In 74 they only offered the 20' and 24' coaches. I'm betting the 26' and larger used the 10 lug wheels.

So the original owner of my Argosy splurged and spent an extra $300, that's cool

Brad
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Old 07-22-2015, 11:42 AM   #14
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1976 28' Argosy 28
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I'm still doing lots of research and visited 3 shops, 2 suspension shops and 1 RV shop. First suspension shop didn't even want to look at it, RV shop (which was recommended) was honest enough to refer to a specialized suspension shop (which is closed during construction hollidays) and second suspension shop was also honest enough to ask if I could wait until their only (older) mechanic that is experienced enough to handle this job was back from his vacation. I really hope I can find a mechanic. I have done my share of mechanical work in the past with improvised tools, in the dirt outside, learning how to do a job as I went along. Doing the job is well within my limits but not my set up. Furthermore, I don't have enough knowledge to order the right parts.Speaking of knowledge: I took a quick picture of the chassis VIN this morning before leaving to work and I don't understand...VIN starts with: CPY37...It is the ''Y'' that boggles me. From what I read Y=350. My Argosy is a: M28T6... ???
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