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Old 08-18-2009, 05:51 PM   #1
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1975 22 ft Argosy many questions.....

Hello! I am new to travel trailer and to camping in general. I have been looking for many months about getting an Airstream trailer. After some unsuccessful biding, I have a good chance for an Argosy 1975 22 ft. The man sent me pictures and it really looks clean. It shows its 70ís lineage. Round color spots on the upholstery and curtains. 2 round mini orange color tables for the dining area, avocado green countertop. You just need a mirror ball attached to the ceiling and a black light and you are back in the good old days.

I kind of like it, but the girlfriend is not too trill about the colors. Of course before I make an offer I will go and have a closer look at it. My questions are:

1-Air conditioning unit: There is none and my girlfriend can not stand the heat, so the trailer needs to have an air conditioning unit. I was wondering if an air conditioning unit can be install on this trailer? Is there already an opening made at the factory and reserved for such a unit? Or will I have to cut a hole in the roof?

2- Awning: There is none and we would like to have some shade when we stop. Can it be install? Is a modern Airstream awning would fit on an old Argosy?

3- Water heater, furnace, fridge, stove, water pump. I do not know yet if those are properly working, but I would not be surprised if after so many years, some of them need to be replaced. Are these appliances, the same goes for the air conditioning unit, can these be generic brands? Are they standard in size as any other travel trailer appliances? Is a modern unit would still fit? Or nothing else than an Argosy original appliance would be able to fit?

Thank you,
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Old 08-18-2009, 06:41 PM   #2
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The Argosy 22 is a great layout. I'd rather have one than our Argosy 24. The colors are easy and fun to change and can be done at your leisure. The rest of the stuff is all readily available but it's not going to be cheap. All the appliances are common with other trailers so if a number of them need to be replaced an inexpensive way to go might be to find a cheap trailer with working units which you can swap out. Look hard at how much has to be done because none is cheap. Depending on what you're doing they may not be that important either. For example if you plan to either be camping where you've got power and water the electric pump, fresh water tank and furnace aren't required. The fridge on the other hand it pretty important and expensive. Likewise if you've got to have AC and an awning those two together could double your purchase price. You'll really have to test everything and if you can't test it (i.e. the propane tanks can't be filled because they're not updated to the new style pressure relief valves) then consider it non-working. Same thing goes for the DC power. If they won't put a working battery in it consider all units requiring DC (including most refrigerators) to be non-functional. You'll want to check both city water and the onboard fresh water system for the same reason. If the battery charger (a.k.a. Univolt isn't working that's fairly expensive too). Tires? Brakes (you'll need an electronic brake controller on the tow vehicle)? It all starts to add up really fast; especially if you find you're replacing axle assemblies and wheels when you thought it was a just a brake job and new tires.
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Old 08-18-2009, 07:06 PM   #3
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Welcome and Good luck in your search. I love love love our Argy 22. You will love the layout. An Ac can be added. If I were to keep mine I might add one, but I have to say that in 2 years I've only wanted it once. Click the links in my signature to compare colors. I can't wait to see the one you describe. Sounds way cool.

Check Dometic for a nice curved bar awning. They bought A&E who was the old old mfg of the nice curved bar awnings like on my trailer. My Airstream Dealer almost had me convinced to get a new one ($1200), but mine just needs some fabric.

I replaced my fridge myself. the fridge cost $1000. New tires, brakes, grease rock guards, and propane tubing done at the Airstream dealer - $5000. ( I coulld have done most of that myself. I was a newbie though.)

So be aware of costs. I cheap trailer will cost much more than a competed trailer in the end. Even a really good one will cost some in upkeep.

Most important - Have fun!!
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Old 08-18-2009, 07:08 PM   #4
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1975 22 ft Argosy many questions.....

Greetings Sherlock!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Argosy ownership!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sherlock View Post
Hello! I am new to travel trailer and to camping in general. I have been looking for many months about getting an Airstream trailer. After some unsuccessful biding, I have a good chance for an Argosy 1975 22 ft. The man sent me pictures and it really looks clean. It shows its 70’s lineage. Round color spots on the upholstery and curtains. 2 round mini orange color tables for the dining area, avocado green countertop. You just need a mirror ball attached to the ceiling and a black light and you are back in the good old days.

I kind of like it, but the girlfriend is not too trill about the colors. Of course before I make an offer I will go and have a closer look at it. My questions are:

1-Air conditioning unit: There is none and my girlfriend can not stand the heat, so the trailer needs to have an air conditioning unit. I was wondering if an air conditioning unit can be install on this trailer? Is there already an opening made at the factory and reserved for such a unit? Or will I have to cut a hole in the roof?
Air conditioning is a relatively easy to add option, but it is a little different with Airstream products than similar vintage brand X trailers. Airstream products of the period weren't designed to have the air conditioner installed in an existing vent opening -- rather a 14" square hole is cut in the roof and ceiling and then reinforcing framing is added. The electrical supply cable is found at the specified cut point as will the condesate drain tube. An Airstream dealer or customer support with Airstream.com should be able to provide the measurement from the main front bow for the air conditioner cut out. There will also be the decision of whether to go with an air conditioning unit that has a drain pan or one that does not -- again an Airstream dealer or authorized service center can provide you with the makes and models of air conditioners for which drain pans are available. If a model with a condesate drain pan is selected, the condesate will run down the sides of the coach -- this can cause "rust" stains on the sides of the coach (I learned this the hard way on my Minuet).

Quote:
Originally Posted by sherlock View Post
2- Awning: There is none and we would like to have some shade when we stop. Can it be install? Is a modern Airstream awning would fit on an old Argosy?
An awning is also a fairly easy to add accessory. The speical curved side arms are (or at least until very recently) only available on awnings produced by ZipDee. ZipDee is a premium awning that has had Airstream specific products for more than 40 years. This is one of the companies that supports its products well into the future. I have had other brands, but for simplicity of operation and durability it is hard to beat a ZipDee. The coach should already have an awning rail installed on the curbside as standard equipment. I know that A & E didn't produce arms with the proper curvature for Airstream and Arogsys of this period five years ago when I ordered new awnings for my Overlander.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sherlock View Post
3- Water heater, furnace, fridge, stove, water pump. I do not know yet if those are properly working, but I would not be surprised if after so many years, some of them need to be replaced. Are these appliances, the same goes for the air conditioning unit, can these be generic brands? Are they standard in size as any other travel trailer appliances? Is a modern unit would still fit? Or nothing else than an Argosy original appliance would be able to fit?

Realistically, you are correct in that some of the appliances are likely near the end of their designed useful life.
  • The original water heater was a six-gallon Bowen, but the current six-gallon Atwood is a near exact fit.
  • The original furnace is/was a Suburban and was likely a 20,000 btu in a 22-foot coach. Again, a new Suburban is a close fit needing mostly modification to the mating between the new unit and the existing ductwork.
  • The original equipment refrigerator was a Dometic, but about any of the absorbtion-type RV/Marine refrigerators can work -- there will almost certainly be some needed modification to the existing cabinetry as the new refrigerators tend to be a little smaller or larger than the 1970s models. I went with a Dometic 3-way RV refrigerator when I replaced the Dometic in my Overlander and plan to do the same thing with my Minuet when the time comes.
  • The original equipment water pump was a PAR (Peters and Russell), and if it hasn't been allowed to freeze, should be rebuildable at minimal cost.
  • The original equipment power converter was a UNIVOLT. The Univolts have a reputation for ruining batteries in rather short order. If it hasn't already been replaced, a replacement will almost certainly be needed. Most seem to favor Intelli-Power with Charge Wizard.
  • The kitchen range is likely Magic Chef, Suburban or another major brand. Both of my coaches still have their original ranges. Typically, they don't see heavy usage so unless the range has been exposed to rough usage or weather, it should still be servicable with just a thorough cleaning.
Basically, all of the appliances utilized by Airstream products were of major brand-name manufacture and can be replaced with very similarly sized modern products. Sometimes, it will take a little searching and a special order or two to get the model of an appliance that will most nearly be an exact replacement for the original.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 08-18-2009, 07:25 PM   #5
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I've been racking my brain and searching my links and I cannot for the life of me find the link to the "A&E" part of Dometic that allowed me to "build" my awning. This was about a year and a half ago that I was doing my choosing.
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Old 08-18-2009, 09:04 PM   #6
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I think A & E has stopped making the curved arms recently .
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Old 08-18-2009, 09:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander64 View Post
Greetings Sherlock!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Argosy ownership! [ed. vintage=break out your checkbook , although your investment will hold it's value better than anything else!]

Air conditioning is a relatively easy to add option,

An awning is also a fairly easy to add accessory. The speical curved side arms are (or at least until very recently) only available on awnings produced by ZipDee. ZipDee is a premium awning [ed. premium=pricey, but they are very nice!]

Basically, all of the appliances utilized by Airstream products were of major brand-name manufacture and can be replaced with very similarly sized modern products.

Kevin
Just don't equate "easy" with "inexpensive". I've found there are few problems that aren't easy to solve with the mere application of money

As skip so wisely said, "A cheap trailer will cost much more than a completed trailer in the end."
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Old 08-19-2009, 10:41 AM   #8
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I think A & E has stopped making the curved arms recently .
That would explain it. Thanks for ending my confusion. At least on this matter.
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