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Old 09-20-2006, 06:24 AM   #1
Rivet Master
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1973 Argosy 26
Norristown , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 644
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1973 Argosy 26' bittersweet deal

From Boatdoc;
Being new to Airstream, my wife Kay and I have purchased 1973 Argosy 26' out of Ohio thru E-bay advertised as stored inside for 15 years. While the outer skin is in very good shape the underbelly pan bearly stayed attached during the 438 mile trip home. Not wasting any time I have drilled out the last of attaching rivets and removed all of the pan parts. We have found mice graveyard, long vacated wasp nests, plenty of water in fiberglass insulation along with a rotted frame and floor. The add called it "pristine condition" What does the average look like? Being over forty years in a boat business I woved to be undefeated by it. Belonging to the "over the hill gang" I have experienced it all. Despite it all we will be camping in it next year in our 26' argosy. It was our dream and I will not let my lovely wife down because she deserves the best. Here is my plan. While I have never done it but attempt will be made shortly to remove the shell. Frame will be sandblasted first and thorough inspection will be done on the frame prior to any paint being applied. Decision will be made weather to repair it or to build a new one, since the outriggers are available. [Thank all for the existing forums thru which I'm learning whole bunch]. The one thing which bothers me is the flooring material issue. Why hasn't anyone tried using a Sign Board. It is a five ply plywood with no voids in it. Other than the number of ply's it is much like a marine grade plywood with added superb feature. It has a 0.015" aluminum skin bonded to both sides. It is much stiffer than exterior 3/4" plywood and cannot absorb water. We use it to replace floors and decks in aluminum boats with a everlasting success. Some of the replacements are over ten years old and were subjected to worst elements with no adverse effects on it. As far as the rigidity goes tou can suspen a 4x8 sheet on saw horses at each end and safely walk on it without much give. The aluminum skin is the key behind it's rigid quality. At 9/16" it is much stronger than 3/4" exterior ply. The only issue which I can forsee is the contact area of aluminum coating to steel frame which can be remedied by cutting 1/8" PVC sheeting to strips and placing them between ply.and frame, thus eliminating wear of the skin and electrolisys between dissimilar metal. Along with the use of stainless fasteners it should last forever. Necessary moisture drain holes along the outer and inner skin of the shell, can be made by cutting a aluminum tubing to match the thickness of the ply and pressing them into well matched drilled holes in ply. thus sealing the moisture out of the ply. Outer edges of ply can be sealed with "B" type sealing tape. Same can be used to seal the floor to the outer skin, which would prevent any moisture from entering exposed edge of ply. I am not new to engineering and always strive to come up with new ideas based on my past experience, however I would like to hear comments from all experienced and seasoned rivet masters. Thanks in advance for the input. "boatdoc"

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Old 09-20-2006, 06:28 AM   #2
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1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 7,141
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Never heard of "signboard", and how does it compare pricewise to ACX and marine plywood? It sounds like you have a handle on where to go next. But it always hurts to have something that was misrepresented

Good Luck and take lots of pictures...


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Old 09-20-2006, 06:32 AM   #3
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1976 31' Sovereign
Currently Looking...
Chandler , Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Good luck with your Argosy. I too purchased an Argosy, sight unseen, but it was a great trailer. We have done lots to it, but nothing really structual. If you get all your plans done, you will love this trailer. I don't envy you, but it will be worth it.
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Old 09-20-2006, 07:03 AM   #4
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1973 Argosy 26
Norristown , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 644
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Dear Aaron;
Sign board is available thru commercial lumber suppliers. I have been buying it from Reading Plywood in Reading PA. They stock 4x8 sheets but larger sizes can be orderd. Price? huh! is not cheap at about $90.00 per sheet but you should consider the alternative for having done something something to last indefinetely. I also have a source for a alum. H channel to join the ply using "B" type tape iside the H channel to seal edges of ply. Marine ply has no voids this is why it is of much better quality and strenght but you will pay a $150.00 or more for a sheet, however the water will still destroy it.
The key here is that you block the moisture forever and have a moisture barrier on the underside to the belly pan as well. Consider the outcome, and you will spend the extra buck to do it just once. Sorry about couple of typo's in my original post. "boatdoc"
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