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Old 11-25-2012, 08:45 AM   #1
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1978 Argosy 30
Muncie , Indiana
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1978 30' Argosy Remodel - Here we go!

Hello Argosy People!

My name is Mark and I'm in that early stage of starting a full out Argosy remodel. I have really, really enjoyed reading through different parts of this forum and as I'm about to embark on a big journey and project, I thought I'd throw a few questions out there for some feedback.

So, here's our situation:
I found what I understand to be a 1978 (manuf. 9/77) 30' Argosy TT with rear bathroom setup and what I think was a twin bed setup. The exterior appears to be in good condition, no big dents, or even very many smallish ones. The inside is already partially gutted, but does have what is a nasty original stove, fridge, furnace, and AC. (See the pics at end of post). I'm getting what I feel is a really good price on the unit and should allow us to make some of the bigger initial improvements that it surely needs.

So I have several questions which I guess I'll just launch into.

First set revolves around getting this unit back to my house which is about 2 hours from where it is currently sitting.
1. So obviously I'm nervous about the tires/axels on the unit. The tires look decent and the current owner says that they were on the road 4 months ago. I know nothing about the condition of the axels but imagine that it all needs a refresh. Does it make sense for me to get a hold of 2 new tires to bring along with me, and drive this trailer back very carefully ready to change out a tire or two if need be? Due to the distance I can't really drive out, and haul it to a local trailer place to leave to get checked out, but need to do the trip in one day. Thoughts along these lines?

2. The front 3 windows are all currently intact which is awesome, but I'm really nervous about having one of those expensive wrap arounds destroyed on the way back. Would it make sense for me to just come up with a temporary rock guard for the trip home and go from there?

3. Any other initial issues that I should worry about related to transport back that anyone could weigh in on?

Second set of questions are general remodel type questions. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I'd say that I'm quite handy having rewired and re-plumbed my existing home in addition to lots of experience with wood and metal work. I've read through most of Sergei's posts about his remodel, but haven't had time to venture into all of the side posts into plumbing, electrical, etc. So I apologize for any redundency, but it's hard to find good consensus opinions on many of these topics without spending hours searching and reading…. okay, here goes….

1. Basic plan is to get the unit back here, finish gutting the inside, down to the ribs, check the floor and redo what's necessary, re-plumb with PEX, make electrical adjustments/improvements, address any rust issues with frame and paint and reseal, new axles and tires once ready to camp, address hitch and get wt distribution hitch with anti-sway, clean up and reseal windows and doors, and (big general category) completely redo interior in modern minimalist style.

2. Insulation feedback. I've searched and read and read and can't understand any consensus opinions on how to insulate these suckers. I live in Indiana and would like a decently well insulated unit, but at this point don't have any grand plans of full timing or doing lots of cold weather camping. I've read on ceramic paint, the foil faced bubble wrap, 1/2" blue insulation board, fiberglass, etc. Any direction to some posts which are most helpful would be appreciated.

3. I'd also like some thoughts on relocating our bathroom. Currently a rear model, but would like to put a bunkbed combo in the back and move the bath to rear/middlish region on one side. Any feedback on the difficulty of doing this as it relates to backwater and gray water tanks would be greatly appreciated. Clearly we're not locked into this idea, but strongly leaning this way. Also we would be redoing the bathroom/shower/toilet/vanity fully. Not interested in keeping the old stuff, just our personal preference.

So those are most of my initial big questions, although I have tons of smaller more specific ones.

Excited to embark on this journey, and have been so impressed with the people in this forum, helpful, kind, and honest.

Thanks in advance, appreciate the help,
Mark
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:21 AM   #2
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1971 25' Tradewind
1965 26' Overlander
Ferndale , Washington
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Hi Mark: Congratulations on your new project. Everyone will have they're own opinions on what you should do and this forum is awesome for seeing what others do so you can formulate your own vision.
My 2c:
When I bought mine I hired a professional towing co. to bring it the 2-3 hrs home.
I had them do it on a Sunday AM to avoid the Seattle traffic. So no drama/worry on my part. Would'ent hurt to take a spare tire along with those drive on "lego blocks" for raising one tire off the ground.....tire iron too. You can bubble wrap your windows with "100 mile on hour tape" (Duct)
Only other thing I have to say about your remodel is that I wish I had the "split bath room" where the shower is on one side and the toilet/ sink on the other. Then two doors that close off the center isle so you have a full width bath-room when needed......a shower vent right over the shower and another in the toilet. Venting and plumbing will be "involved". Bath rooms seem best located over the wheel well's.
Have you looked at the latest link on the "Portal" for the latest interior design coming out of Airstream for '14.....minimalist Italian design by Riva boat co.??
Good luck
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:53 PM   #3
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1978 Argosy 30
Muncie , Indiana
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Del Gurney,

Thanks for the info. I appreciate the feedback. Great idea about having a tow truck company to do the initial haul. I'll be checking into that option. Also like the idea about the front windows coverage.

I also checked out those pics of the Riva Boat Co, Airstream collaboration. Very nice clean look, very much in the style / feel that we're going for.

Could you elaborate on the split bathroom you were talking about? Just so I understand, Shower "midship" on one side of the "aisle", then the toilet and sink on the opposite side of the "aisle"? Sliding doors to connect these 2 areas to make into one bath which cuts off access to the back area. so then would you also have individual doors for each side?? Sorry if i'm not understanding, but I'm eager for options. Also I'm assuming this would necessitate moving my tanks closer to the axles...

Thanks again!
mark
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:58 PM   #4
"Tinbad ... the Trailer"
 
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1971 25' Tradewind
1965 26' Overlander
Ferndale , Washington
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 346
Mark:
The split bath room does have a shower door on one side and toilet door on the other.
It's standard on some Airstream models so you can just look at the floor plans on the AS site
Not sliding doors, but the accordion fabric type for the center isle for weight and simplicity.
cheers
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:00 PM   #5
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1978 30' Argosy Remodel - Here we go!

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

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markeyro View Post

1. So obviously I'm nervous about the tires/axels on the unit. The tires look decent and the current owner says that they were on the road 4 months ago. I know nothing about the condition of the axels but imagine that it all needs a refresh. Does it make sense for me to get a hold of 2 new tires to bring along with me, and drive this trailer back very carefully ready to change out a tire or two if need be? Due to the distance I can't really drive out, and haul it to a local trailer place to leave to get checked out, but need to do the trip in one day. Thoughts along these lines?


Unknown tires and unknown bearings are two critical factors in a successful first tow of an "as found" Argosy or Airstream. A blown tire or seized bearing can cause many hundreds if not thousands of dollars in damage. At the bare minimum, I would suggest servicing the bearings and closely examining the tires for evidence of age related damage. My suggestion would be to replace any suspicious tires before proceeding. Also, on a coach the size of the Argosy 30, working brakes would be a high priority as well for an initial tow of the duration that you anticipate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markeyro View Post

2. The front 3 windows are all currently intact which is awesome, but I'm really nervous about having one of those expensive wrap arounds destroyed on the way back. Would it make sense for me to just come up with a temporary rock guard for the trip home and go from there?


What you propose is a good idea given the fact that the clear deep-wrap panoramic windows are no longer available in the regular replacement market . . . the only option being units from a salvage yard. Even the replacement solar gray tinted deep-wrap wing windows are expensive at approximately $750 each.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markeyro View Post

3. Any other initial issues that I should worry about related to transport back that anyone could weigh in on?


There are several issues that should be of concern prior to the first tow of an "as found" Vintage Argosy:
  • Trailer Umbilical Connector: Our coaches were built prior to the standardization upon the 7-blade RV connector with its standard wire color coding and wiring pattern. You may find that the coach has a 7-pin connector wired to the original Argosy standard or one dreamed up by a prior owner. I have attached a pdf file containing the wiring schematic that was originally utilized by Airstream and Argosy during this time period. My suggestion would be to carry a trailer end that matches your tow vehicle's connector in preparation for the need to rewire the coach's umbilical cord connector.
  • Brakes, Tires, and Bearings: Any travel trailer that has been idle for an indeterminant time or that has an unknown period of time elapsed since the last bearing re-pack and brake inspection needs to have these critical safety related inspections completed prior to a road trip. Tires of an unknown age are an invitation to potential disaster as a blow-out can easily cause several hundred dollars in damage if not two or three thousand dollars in damage. Also with a coach of this size, you will want to be certain that your tow vehicle has a working electronic trailer brake controller so that you will have trailer brakes on your tow home.
  • Securing Exterior for Towing: Since it appears that the trailer may not have been used for quite some time, it would be wise to carry some duct tape to secure any exterior compartment doors, trim or attached items that may not be well secured. It isn't uncommon to hear reports of compartment doors, water heater access doors, etc. falling off while in-transit on the first trip. It is also advisable to rig some sort of mechanism to secure the entry door on the coach. Somewhere here on the Forums is the outline of how to create a door stop from a scrap of wood that wedges between the entry door on the assist handle to insure that the door doesn't pop open while in-transit. In one of the photos, I noticed that the lock for the fresh wather fill has apparently been drilled to remove the cylinder . . . that shouldn't be a problem for that particular "access hatch" but any other access hatches with a "drilled-out" lock cylinder must be secured for travel to prevent the loss of that hatch cove
Quote:
Originally Posted by Markeyro View Post

1. Basic plan is to get the unit back here, finish gutting the inside, down to the ribs, check the floor and redo what's necessary, re-plumb with PEX, make electrical adjustments/improvements, address any rust issues with frame and paint and reseal, new axles and tires once ready to camp, address hitch and get wt distribution hitch with anti-sway, clean up and reseal windows and doors, and (big general category) completely redo interior in modern minimalist style.


I would suggest considering getting a weight distributing hitch setup prior to the first tow. The Argosy 30 is a long and comparatively heavy coach that needs weight distribution at the very least, and I would suggest that something like the Reese Strait-Line hitch with dual cam sway control is a budget-minded option for both weight distribution and sway control.

Unless you find that large-scale floor replacement is necessary, I would suggest reconsidering pulling the interior skins. Unless terribly damaged, the interior skins can be effectively cleaned with a number of products, and Future Floor (Acrylic) Wax can effectively prevent the return of the sticky surface for a number of seasons.

Generally, my experience has been that the interior skins on both of my coaches have needed little more than cleaning to make them servicable. The only electrical problems that I have encountered have been with exposed wires that have been damaged by rough handling by previous owners or by field mice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markeyro View Post

2. Insulation feedback. I've searched and read and read and can't understand any consensus opinions on how to insulate these suckers. I live in Indiana and would like a decently well insulated unit, but at this point don't have any grand plans of full timing or doing lots of cold weather camping. I've read on ceramic paint, the foil faced bubble wrap, 1/2" blue insulation board, fiberglass, etc. Any direction to some posts which are most helpful would be appreciated.


My suggestion, would be to leave well enough alone unless you have evidence of pervasive leaks and/or excessive rodent infestation. The original fiberglass insulation isn't terribly effective, but the available space is definitely a limiting factor. My thought was that for the modest improvement in R-Value available even with the best of the modern materials don't provide a huge benefit untless the walls must be opened up for some other reason. Both of my coaches are as originally equipped, and I have comfortably camped in either one through the first part of December without great problem . . . it really helps to have a properly functioning furnace to prevent freeze issues with the holding tanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markeyro View Post

3. I'd also like some thoughts on relocating our bathroom. Currently a rear model, but would like to put a bunkbed combo in the back and move the bath to rear/middlish region on one side. Any feedback on the difficulty of doing this as it relates to backwater and gray water tanks would be greatly appreciated. Clearly we're not locked into this idea, but strongly leaning this way. Also we would be redoing the bathroom/shower/toilet/vanity fully. Not interested in keeping the old stuff, just our personal preference.
So those are most of my initial big questions, although I have tons of smaller more specific ones.


So long as you are planning a complete re-make of the interior, what you propose is certainly possible. One of the problems that is often encountered is that you have difficulty positioning the bathroom such that it doesn't conflict with a window. You may also find difficulty running waste vents and placing waste tanks due to window and furniture placement . . . not that it can't be done . . . there are challenges involved. A second challenge may be finding a shower base that will work with the curved walls . . . one from a newer Airstream may work but the curvatures may be somewhat different.

Good luck with your project!

Kevin
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:18 PM   #6
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1978 Argosy 30
Muncie , Indiana
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Thanks so much for all of that information. Super helpful and is definitely helping to form my plans to hopefully get this baby home.

Quick side question regarding "VIN plates" that I've seen around the forum.

The current owner is trying to find the VIN for this argosy, but can't find anything other than the plate on the front (see attached). Is that bottom number an old style VIN? I thought that it was just the serial number for the trailer. not the official vin?

Where would I locate the real VIN number? Any help would be great appreciated as I must have that in order to get a court ordered title for this guy, otherwise, my argosy dreams may go up in smoke....

Thanks in advance!
mark
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Old 11-28-2012, 05:34 AM   #7
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The bottom number is the vin number.That were they where in that era ( called the trailer type)
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Old 11-28-2012, 03:35 PM   #8
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1978 Argosy 30
Muncie , Indiana
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Next in the saga...

So I've been talking with the BMV and the County Courts about obtaining a Court Ordered Title. Anyone have any experience with these? Both places make it sound like no big deal and simple formalities to get a cleared title issued to me once I go through the hoops, and yes there are quite a few, but this deal seems too good to be true and I think I'm willing to go there! We'll see what happens...

mark
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markeyro View Post
Thanks so much for all of that information. Super helpful and is definitely helping to form my plans to hopefully get this baby home.

Quick side question regarding "VIN plates" that I've seen around the forum.

The current owner is trying to find the VIN for this argosy, but can't find anything other than the plate on the front (see attached). Is that bottom number an old style VIN? I thought that it was just the serial number for the trailer. not the official vin?

Where would I locate the real VIN number? Any help would be great appreciated as I must have that in order to get a court ordered title for this guy, otherwise, my argosy dreams may go up in smoke....

Thanks in advance!
mark
You should also find the trailer# stamped on the tongue, this is where I had to verify the serial# of my trailer to register and get an ownership cert. issued here in California. Your state may also require it.
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:28 PM   #10
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1978 Argosy 30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerdodger View Post
You should also find the trailer# stamped on the tongue, this is where I had to verify the serial# of my trailer to register and get an ownership cert. issued here in California. Your state may also require it.
Good to know! I'll try and track that down when I have the trooper come out for my vin inspection and when submitting my paperwork.
Thx, mark
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:57 AM   #11
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Well looks positive to go pick this baby up on Saturday! Here's to hoping for a smooth transport! Wish me luck!
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:30 AM   #12
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1978 Argosy 30
Muncie , Indiana
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Gonna hit the road to pick her up this am.

Nervous and excited. I have a beefy tow vehicle and an experienced hauler who has generously offered to help me. Here's to protecting those beautiful windows, no flats, keeping the doors and panels on, and a generally problem free trip. I've got my duct tape, cardboard and some padding for those windows, bungee cords, some clamps, tow strap, tie downs, an air compressor, some chain, and a coffee. Also located the trailer and tire places along the way. Should about cover it. I'll let you know how it goes!
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:39 AM   #13
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Good luck! Let us know how the tow goes!
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:51 AM   #14
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Rolling down the road now, towing well so far!

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