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Old 08-28-2016, 07:49 AM   #1
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1978 Argosy 27
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1978 Argosy Reno - Now What?

HI,

I posted this in the General Repair Forum as well, but thought it is actually better suited here with the other Argosys.

We just purchased a 27' 1978 Argosy with the plan to spruce it up and get it on the road. Needless to say after removing the carpet and some cabinets we noticed a few issues and whole thing is now gutted. (pics below)

We are at a point now where we can replace parts of the floor that are rotted, clean it up, paint and move on or we could replace the whole floor and remove the interior skins and do the whole shebang.

I think we have decided to remove the floor, there were some major issues in the rear bath (this seems to be a common problem) that will require some frame work, so we might as well see whats under there and replace the insulation, etc. (I also think that by removing the old floor it will take care of a lot of the musty smell.
My questions regarding this is: 1) is this a straightforward process? Lift up the panels, cut new ones, seal the edges and screw down? or is there something I am missing? 2) Where do I source the fasteners? Can I get these at Home Depot or are they specific to Airstreams?

Now with the interior skins, they look to be in good shape, some minor corrosion where the kitchen was, but once the new cabinets are in you will never see it, its more what is behind the walls, THERE IS SO MUCH MOUSE POOP!!!! I'm not sure I will ever be comfortable sleeping in the trailer knowing what is behind there. My questions here are: 1) is it worth the effort, and I am sure this will not be an easy undertaking, to remove, clean and re-install the skins? 2) honestly, how hard of a job is this? we are pretty handy, but neither of us has any experience with rivets. 3) what is behind the interior end caps? They seem to be one piece of plastic, are there aluminium panels behind or would we need to fabricate those? YIKES! So many questions.

Thanks in advance for your opinions and suggestions. I am sure I will be posting often.
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Old 08-28-2016, 04:20 PM   #2
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1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
1966 17' Caravel
Las Cruces , New Mexico
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Make a template for the shape of the floor in the front and rear. The floor is held down to the frame by what are called elevator bolts available at Fastenal. Other fasteners are Home Depot or Lowes articles: various screws and pop rivets. There is a strip that lies above the floor that is screwed into the floor and that is riveted to the outside wall with aircraft type rivets. That strip is also the attachment point for the interior walls at floor line. You have to get the old floor out from under that strip and put the new floor under the strip using your handy dandy template to get the shape right. You might look at
http://vintageairstream.com/floor-replacement/
for ideas for a 'shell on' floor replacement.

I would say you really should remove the interior walls and replace the insulation as well as clean the walls well. You will likely find mouse trails and houses behind the walls and you need to get them cleaned out to get the smell taken care of. The stench in my Caravel was unbelievable until the insulation was replaced and the walls washed down with Simple Green. Drill carefully as you remove the pop rivets and you will find the interior walls go in with the rivet holes lining up for you. It is a bit tedious to do all the riveting, but not difficult. Rivets are a Home Depot or Lowes item and you can paint them before you put them in so they match the wall. Get a good pop rivet tool, too. Rivets and such are at Vintage Trailer Supply also.
http://www.vintagetrailersupply.com/

The plastic pieces on the front and rear of the trailer come off after drilling out rivets and there is insulation between them and the outer skin. Don't be surprised if mice have gone there, too. Be careful because those pieces are probably ABS and thin as well as 38 years old. (You can work on the wiring for running lights with those pieces off. I would suggest you put in a dedicated ground wire attached to the trailer ribs while you are at it.) Reinstalling the end caps is, again, a matter of lining up rivet holes. Get what are called Kleco fastners (Vintage Trailer or Eastwood Company) so you can hang the wall or cap up for fitting before riveting.

Last: TAKE NOTES AND PHOTOS AS YOU TAKE IT APART! You want to keep track of how it all fit together. Was the cap under or over the wall panel? Where was that trim piece located? What was the order in which things were removed? You put them back together in reverse order. Don't ask how I learned how important notes and photos are!
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Old 08-28-2016, 04:49 PM   #3
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Big box stores carry white pop rivets can not tell from original. A good pop rivet tool is Marson click fast has nose pieces for dif. size rivets, this is a well made rivet tool not pressed metal as some others ,and many repair shops use plus not expensive.
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Old 08-29-2016, 06:10 AM   #4
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1978 Argosy 27
1000 Islands , ontario
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Thanks so much for this, the quick overview is really helpful. I must admit to being a bit overwhelmed with all the information available here, so some directions is much appreciated.
Looks like my long weekend will be filled with rivets and floor removal
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:25 AM   #5
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1978 Argosy Minuet 6.7 Metre
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Having renovated several airstreams, including a '78 Argosy, I have a few suggestions..
1. You don't have to remove the entire subfloor... Only the bad spots. If you plan to install a thin flooring, consider a 2nd subfloor layer of plywood. Big difference!
2. Number the wall panels as they come off. Then I lay them out on my driveway and scrub them off (with any cleaner that won't hurt aluminum) and hose them off.
They are very tough and the wall covering is vinyl.. Tough too!
3. I remove panels in sections.. I.e. Front right. Curb side.
Clean them, and the area they came from... Re insulate and put them back in... Much less Tramatic.
4. Paint walls before you reinstall flooring or cabinetry. I use outside oil base paint

Good luck! Have fun! Go slow. And enjoy...
Remember, this might last another 40 or 50 years!

Marie
'78 Argosy Minuet 6.7
'79 Argosy 30'
'73 Trade wind
'75 Trade wind
'73 Safari
'71 Caravelle
'71 Over Lander
'73 Overlander
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Old 08-30-2016, 07:22 AM   #6
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Such good info thank you!!! On your advice I took lots of photos. lets hope it goes back as easily as it comes out.
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Old 08-30-2016, 07:24 AM   #7
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2. Number the wall panels as they come off. Then I lay them out on my driveway and scrub them off (with any cleaner that won't hurt aluminum) and hose them off.
4. Paint walls before you reinstall flooring or cabinetry. I use outside oil base paint

Great suggestions. What cleaning product did you use to remove the vinyl covering and what brand/type of paint do you use?

Thanks!!
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Old 08-30-2016, 02:14 PM   #8
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You don't remove the vinyl from the walls. Those who paint just paint the vinyl. I find that scrubbing the walls cleans them enough to make them look like new for the most part. (I am not into painting the walls.) As above, I use Simple Green for most cleaning, something like 409 for some of the tough stuff. Magic Eraser also gets some of the grime off the walls easily. I have heard of folks using power wash to clean the walls when they are out of the trailer.
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Old 08-30-2016, 06:46 PM   #9
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So, this happened today. I guess there is no going back now
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Old 08-30-2016, 07:20 PM   #10
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Time well spent! You won't regret the work when you reassemble and it looks good and smells good.
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Old 09-12-2016, 06:30 PM   #11
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It took a bit, but we have removed everything except the last 2 sections of floor (that should happen this week). As a bit of motivation we found a campsite for next spring, so that gives us a date to work towards. Had a welder out today to look at some of the damage at the front and rear frame. It looks like some serious water infiltration from the hose storage compartment on the rear. We will not be towing the trailer any further than the campsite, then parking it for the foreseeable future so I think we will only fix the most serious frame issues so that it doesn't get any worse, cap off the storage compartment to stop the water getting in, paint with POR-15 and install the new floor. All in all i think I've seen worse on this forum.

We are thinking of removing the belly pan and not putting it back up, can you see any issue with not replacing it?

Here are a few pics of what it looks like right now.
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Old 09-12-2016, 09:10 PM   #12
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Looks good so far. Good progress. Keep it up!

If you're planning on taking all the floor out, you can gently pressure wash the interior before you start putting things back together. I sprayed everything with some Zep orange cleaner degreaser a few times and rinsed a few times. Much nicer to work in later.

The bumper compartment isn't the real problem it's that the edge of the wood floor is exposed along the bottom curve of the rear of the trailer. This can be significantly reduced by putting some flashing between the wood and inside of the rear skin.

"We are thinking of removing the belly pan and not putting it back up, can you see any issue with not replacing it? "
You'll probably want to at least put the side wraps and banana wraps back, otherwise it'll look bad with outriggers sticking out there and belt line won't look good. The middle between frames, you'd have to protect the bottom of the wood from water. You'd also be making an easier path for rodents to get in. Colder floors.
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Old 09-12-2016, 09:32 PM   #13
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Like HiJoe said, easier path for rodents to get in without the belly pan. If you leave it at a camp site, critters will be there. Remember what it smelled like?
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Old 09-13-2016, 06:02 PM   #14
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The hardest pert of the belly is the sides. Those by far took me the longest. The center of the belly I had done in about 3 hours ONCE I started. I had been dreading it. Another one of the oh this is gonna suck before, that wasn't so bad after. I measured in advance planned sheet sizes then when I bought the aluminum I had the supplier sheer to my desired sizes. Big drill, corded has more power, but 18-20v fully charged with new sharp drill bits and it went smoothly.
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