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Old 10-27-2015, 09:12 AM   #1
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1976 25' Tradewind
Tallahasee, Fl , Florida
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1978 Argosy 26' - Your 2 cents welcome

Time for some last-minute thoughts on this Argosy!


I'm planning on bidding on this Argosy tonight. (DESPITE the fact that the seller is apparently too busy to respond to my request for my cousin to go out and look at it for me - unless he responds today and my cousin can go look at it tonight just before I bid.) and of course that makes me nervous, if there's some issue or damage that he didn't disclose, Ebay doesn't cover that under their purchase policy because the trailer is more than 10 years old.

But it does have a nice policy for getting my deposit/payments back if I a) never get the trailer or b) never get the title. And I'm hoping to get it for a bargain, so I have some wiggle room in my savings.

The pros of this trailer are:
A wood floor, a new stove, a pretty nice exterior, a clean-looking interior, a composting toilet, intact windows, my preferred layout and length, recently towed and ready to roll, intact frame, he says the plumbing works.
AND
Another great pro is that the trailer is located in a city where I have family that is experienced in buying/selling vehicles because he's a motorcycle enthusiast, and he has a truck and a property where he can put my trailer until I can drive up to get it.

The cons are:
That bowed door that he says closes/latches but needs adjustment, possible title weirdness, the fridge is electric only, the annoying lack of communication (he answered my first question about plumbing and the refrigerator!), missing propane tanks, that ugly couch in the front.

~~~

I'm just tired of shopping, and this is the closest I've gotten to what I want in quite a few months. The first overlander I looked at was near-original condition, but I didn't have $7k saved up. A ready-to-roll 30 ft Argosy caught my eye a couple months ago, but again, I didn't have the $6k they wanted and it sold to someone else. I may end up getting this one for less than $3k, but I'm thinking I'm willing to go a little higher as a max bid just in case.

This one is in my budget, it seems like most of the repairs needed are doable... it's a little younger than I was first going for, but I realized there are basically no trailers from before 1972 that don't need some sort of work on the frame and subfloor.

I want an Airstream in my yard, I want to start putting time and money into it and start planning on when I can start hitting Fan Conventions again! I've been living at home for a year, for the purpose of saving up for this very goal. It feels like the right time, this feels like the right trailer. I can see myself in it. I'm trying to hold back my fear and excitement. It's not a guaranteed thing. I'm trying not to get my hopes up.

I just haven't spent this much money on anything since college tuition, but it makes me feel better than I'm not going to be spending ALL of my savings on it. (I'm also in the process of shopping for a tow vehicle, I have a buyer in the wings for my smaller SUV!)
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Old 10-27-2015, 11:22 AM   #2
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I couldn't suggest that you buy it.

It doesn't sound like you will have funds to get it camp worthy. Elbow grease and sweat will get a lot repaired if you are handy and have the time, but there are many things that you just can't fix or make. The fridge would be one thing. They are about $1000, and a 1978 fridge will be on it's last legs, as will be the other appliances ( furnace, water heater, pump, charger etc ) The shower nozzle is an especially time consuming repair.
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Old 10-27-2015, 01:36 PM   #3
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1973 21' Globetrotter
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Avoid it.

My experience with ebay trailer purchases is that they always end up selling for more than I think the trailer is worth, but maybe that is just me being tight.

Anyway, as far as the trailer goes, it is OK at best. It looks like is has had some superficial fix-ups, but this is not to say that that new wooden floor isn't hiding some nasty rot. I would never buy a 40 year old trailer sight unseen. The PO pulling it 650 miles does not mean that it is safe and sound.

The fact that the seller does not hold the title to the trailer means that technically/legally, he is not even the owner. A bill of sale will not make you the owner of that trailer when you go to register it in many states. You will not be able to register it as "home made" just because you have a bill of sale don't have the title in hand, which is a common misunderstanding.

My advice: shop for trailers that are within driving distance so you can inspect them thoroughly. If you can't find one in your price range, then you just need to save up more money. Buying, repairing, maintaining these trailers is not a cheap hobby. Think along the lines of $10-12K to purchase and make one liveable/safe/road worthy.

good luck!
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Old 10-27-2015, 02:27 PM   #4
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I'd avoid it too unless they get back to you soon and you can get your cousin over there to inspect it. I also wouldn't want to buy one sight unseen. I looked at a few on Craigslist that were supposed to be in "good" shape that turned out to be pretty ratty in person. Patience is key here. It's a good chunk of change so you want to make sure you get as close to what you actually want in the shape you want. We passed on a few older airstreams, kept saving, and then finally found our argosy just a few hours up the road.
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Old 10-27-2015, 02:28 PM   #5
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I agree with both of the above comments.
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Old 10-27-2015, 04:42 PM   #6
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Ha! I just blew up the picture showing the front door. That sucker is is a sprung sonofagun! The door only latches because the center of the door is the only part of it making contact with the door frame! I bet when it rains you have to bail the water out of the trailer with that much of a gap at the bottom and top. "Some adjustment" (as the seller recommends the door needs) is what you do to a door that has an extra 1/4" gap. This door probably has a broken frame from flying open while going down the road at 60 mph.

When I see that this seller has a bunch of vintage trailers lined up for sale, I immediately conclude he is at best a flipper, and more likely just a reseller who is running around the country buying up cheap field-finds off of Craigslist and then making a few thousand on each one on Ebay. His promises of a solid floor, frame and axles are speculative at best, as he has no real knowledge of the history of his inventory. If you want a challenge, have a look at the the '72 tradewind he is selling. It only has 3 hrs left in the auction and is only at $1700, of course there is about $17000 worth of repairs to be done...

Don't get desperate! There are many half finished, gutted trailers out there for sale that are the result someone buying a major project when they thought they were getting something that was "ready to camp."

Now that I'm on a rant, I can't stop.... I just looked at that '72 Tradewind again, and yes, it IS THAT PROJECT that I was just refering to. It looks to me like the trailer's front end cap got crushed by a tree or run into a low bridge. Somebody pulled out the interior skin and tried to beat the dents out of the aluminum. After realizing that this trailer was more suited for parts, they probably sold it to Mr. Ebay for $500, and now he has it listed as a "project" trailer that he was supposedly going to rennovate. When I look at the people bidding on it, I see that several of them have zero purchases on Ebay. Wow, what a double kick in gut! Their first purchase on Ebay is a total rip-off, and their first Airstream is a basket case hardly worth scrap value.

Please, Please, PLEEEEEASe don't bid on anything this guy is selling!
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Old 10-27-2015, 06:13 PM   #7
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1990 34' Excella
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This trailer is definitely not ready to roll. Trust me. My husband rehabbed ours & we didn't have a warped door leaking water. NEVER buy without an inspection. Also parts & materials are very expensive.
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:42 PM   #8
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Keep looking! Sprung door is only part of the problem: it means the floor is likely rotten at the door (and elsewhere). Repairing and renovating is expensive and time consuming. You would be better off saving money and buying the more expensive trailer that is in verifiable better shape. Think of it this way:
2 axles - $1000 +
Fridge - $800
Water heater - $500
Heater - $700
AND you have to put these in the trailer!
Plumbing repairs - ???
Floor repairs - ???
Having been down this road, it is always more expensive and takes more time than you expect.

Oh, yeah. Don't think you won't spend anything for cushions, curtains, and other odds and ends.
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Old 10-28-2015, 12:12 AM   #9
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1976 25' Tradewind
Tallahasee, Fl , Florida
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Posts: 68
I was outbid, but based on the comments, that may have been a good thing. I learned a lot about ebay auctions through this, and I'll be a bit more comfortable next time. (I just about had an anxiety attack in the last minute of the countdown, just from the possibility of spending $4750 on something that would end up being a mistake...)

I put this post up in two sections, but I want to include the rest of the comments from the other post just so that it's all in one place. I thought about asking for both to be deleted, but there's some great info on this thread for other folks looking at Argosy's. Embarrassment of getting excited over something silly aside.

I'm not even disappointed, really. I learned so much and the relief of the auction being over felt so good. If I had won the stress probably would have continued for a while until I knew what I was walking into. My cousin also tried to contact the seller directly, acting like an interested buyer, and was also completely ignored. Red flag!

~~~~~~

If you don't check it out first keep an open mind and maybe check book.
I bought mine going in blind but knew I was going to spend some major money.
1. I have never dealt with a sprung door but my understanding is it's not easy. Odds are it flew open on the highway. Which means it could be the door frame is bent.
2. Was there any sub-floor rot covered up by the new floor.
3. Most trailers from the 70's have some minor frame rot. Some have major.
4. Unless the axles have been replaced in the past, you will need new ones.
5. Why did the seller not title it when they bought it?
~Geocamper AS

In addition to what GeocamperAS said. Three K sounds high for one with a questionable refrigerator, sprung door, possible floor rot, and what looks like oil canning in the front. Not sure why that would be have never seen it there before, frame damage? I would not buy it without a close inspection all round. Just me. But then I have one to use and don't need a project.

If you wind up with it there are instructions on this site to deal with the door, and the other work that will need to be done.
~Royce

If you have a realistic view of the work effort and time it will take and you can take a few surprises then go for it. The Argosy is a great trailer and the owners pretty much seem to be highly devoted to the model. And pretty much anything can be fixed, straightened, or replaced.
~kdickinson

Having a clear title will save you a lot of tears. Call your DMV before you jump. If this one gets away, there WILL be another one. Good deal included!
~NavyCorpsman

Studying the photo,, the axles seem to be sitting higher than most that are over due for a axle set.. If there is space between the top of the rim and wheel well there is life left in the axles.

The door looks like it blew open going down the road at 67mph,, if not more.. I myself have never worked on one but I think with careful tension in all the right spots it might be talked back into shape again with a little thicker door gasket..

The dent in the front looks more like a miss hap than any body or frame issue. For anything under $5000,,, if the floor is solid I would sure spend the money if its what you want. Sodbust
~Sodbust
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Old 10-28-2015, 12:21 AM   #10
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1976 25' Tradewind
Tallahasee, Fl , Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
Ha! I just blew up the picture showing the front door. That sucker is is a sprung sonofagun! The door only latches because the center of the door is the only part of it making contact with the door frame! I bet when it rains you have to bail the water out of the trailer with that much of a gap at the bottom and top. "Some adjustment" (as the seller recommends the door needs) is what you do to a door that has an extra 1/4" gap. This door probably has a broken frame from flying open while going down the road at 60 mph.

When I see that this seller has a bunch of vintage trailers lined up for sale, I immediately conclude he is at best a flipper, and more likely just a reseller who is running around the country buying up cheap field-finds off of Craigslist and then making a few thousand on each one on Ebay. His promises of a solid floor, frame and axles are speculative at best, as he has no real knowledge of the history of his inventory. If you want a challenge, have a look at the the '72 tradewind he is selling. It only has 3 hrs left in the auction and is only at $1700, of course there is about $17000 worth of repairs to be done...

Don't get desperate! There are many half finished, gutted trailers out there for sale that are the result someone buying a major project when they thought they were getting something that was "ready to camp."

Now that I'm on a rant, I can't stop.... I just looked at that '72 Tradewind again, and yes, it IS THAT PROJECT that I was just refering to. It looks to me like the trailer's front end cap got crushed by a tree or run into a low bridge. Somebody pulled out the interior skin and tried to beat the dents out of the aluminum. After realizing that this trailer was more suited for parts, they probably sold it to Mr. Ebay for $500, and now he has it listed as a "project" trailer that he was supposedly going to rennovate. When I look at the people bidding on it, I see that several of them have zero purchases on Ebay. Wow, what a double kick in gut! Their first purchase on Ebay is a total rip-off, and their first Airstream is a basket case hardly worth scrap value.

Please, Please, PLEEEEEASe don't bid on anything this guy is selling!
I did bid *ashamed* BUT I didn't win it. And I think after reading these comments, I wouldn't even consider it again unless he got desperate and sold it to me for 2k. For me the biggest red flag was definitely the lack of communication and willingness to show the trailer. He didn't even say no, he just ignored us. It's totally reasonable to ask to see a trailer before I bid, and there's no way he's not checking his email regularly while doing this auction.

I am smart enough to know that Tradewind was a wreck and not even remotely something I wanted to mess with. :P

I was mostly tired of shopping, so the one thing this bidding thing did was it got me EXCITED again. And it did teach me how to bid and how ebay works, and also made me a little better at seeing problems and estimating costs. I also looked up insurance for the first time, and registration costs. I am trying to be patient, but after a year under my parents' roof at the age of 24/25, I'm eager to get on the road, which is understandable.
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Old 10-28-2015, 10:13 AM   #11
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You lucked out by not winning the bid. The seller calling that door a minor adjustment proves that he knows nothing. John Snow knows more than he does.
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Old 10-28-2015, 11:16 AM   #12
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I personally would not buy a vintage trailer that has had the floor redone. To me its a red flag. I'd rather be able to inspect the floor.
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Old 10-28-2015, 11:43 AM   #13
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We tend to buy things based on emotion, in spite of our best efforts to be level-headed. And photos are deceiving, even those attempting to be accurate. I have a car I'm advertising for sale right now and the car looks way better in photos than it really is. I keep having to explain that it's not that great.

A friend bought an Airstream off Ebay based only on photos. He drove hundreds of miles to pick it up and it was so bad he just walked away.

Trust me, there's always another killer opportunity ahead or great deal. Glad you didn't give in to auction fever. Keep in touch with folks on this forum--lots of very sharp eyes and wise advice.
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Old 10-28-2015, 11:46 AM   #14
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1974 Argosy 26
Charlotte , North Carolina
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Don't give up

I can totally relate, and was in the exact same spot a few weeks ago, ready to just pull the trigger so I could stop looking

Have you set alerts on craigslist? I have a craigslist pro app and can set up specific alerts for any areas that I want, so I could be notified instantly when one popped up within my criteria over dozens of states on the east coast. Plus, it helped me not waste so much time checking it incessantly.

I was feeling frustrated after a few I wanted in the $5-8K+ range kept selling before I got there, and then a 26' 1974 Argosy popped up in WV for $800! (and I must say, though it's a fixer, I think it's much better shape than the ebay one). The guy inherited it with a property and I don't think he much idea of value. He even agreed to hold it until my husband could get there the next week to check it out. So don't give up! I'm so glad the other ones fell through now, because I have so much more in my budget for the restoration now. I went into it assuming everything would need to be fixed/replaced, so at this points all my "surprises" end up being good ones when I found something that actually works

I think it makes the most sense to either snag something for a really amazing deal that you know you'll need to restore (assuming you have the budget to restore), or else spend more for one that's already there or mostly there. In between can be a dangerous gamble (granted, based on my very limited experience!).


Quote:
Originally Posted by starstruck08 View Post
I did bid *ashamed* BUT I didn't win it. And I think after reading these comments, I wouldn't even consider it again unless he got desperate and sold it to me for 2k. For me the biggest red flag was definitely the lack of communication and willingness to show the trailer. He didn't even say no, he just ignored us. It's totally reasonable to ask to see a trailer before I bid, and there's no way he's not checking his email regularly while doing this auction.

I am smart enough to know that Tradewind was a wreck and not even remotely something I wanted to mess with. :P

I was mostly tired of shopping, so the one thing this bidding thing did was it got me EXCITED again. And it did teach me how to bid and how ebay works, and also made me a little better at seeing problems and estimating costs. I also looked up insurance for the first time, and registration costs. I am trying to be patient, but after a year under my parents' roof at the age of 24/25, I'm eager to get on the road, which is understandable.
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