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Old 01-31-2011, 08:46 PM   #1
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22' 1975 Argosy rear door

I found a 1975 22' rear door layout Argosy today and really liked it. I have a question about it, though. How does the dinette convert into a bed? Or does it not convert? It had a twin bed in the front (is it supposed to have a back cushion? It is just a bed right now.) I could not figure out how the dinette converted to the bed, though. Traveling would be me, my wife and kids (young boy and girl) so we really need 3 sleeping areas. I assume this layout has two areas (with dinette) but we wondered if anyone has retrofitted a bunk over the front bed in this design?

Most importantly, though, is how do you make the dinette area a sleeping area?

Thanks
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:11 PM   #2
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We've never had that exact floor plan, but every dinette we've had, the table goes down between the benches, and the coushions go over the table forming the bed.

I've never seen an Airstream trailer that had three sleeping areas, but some of the center twin/rear bath models had some added bunk beds above the twins.
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:29 PM   #3
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22' 1975 Argosy rear door

Greetings CMSmith!

Welcome to the Forums!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CMSmith View Post
I found a 1975 22' rear door layout Argosy today and really liked it. I have a question about it, though. How does the dinette convert into a bed? Or does it not convert?
The dinette does convert into a bed, and the process varied slightly from one year to the next. The one version that I have seen of this coach didn't utilize the table-top in the bed conversion - - there was a plywood patform with drop-down legs that pulled out from the dinette base to make the bed platform. The dinette cushions were then distributed to make the mattress. The table top rested on top of the bed platform under the cushions.

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It had a twin bed in the front (is it supposed to have a back cushion? It is just a bed right now.) I could not figure out how the dinette converted to the bed, though.
The front lounge should convert into an RV double-size bed. There is a sliding mechanism below the seat cushion that pulls out to form the base for the bed. There will be either wall-mounted support brackets or drop-down legs to support the pull-out mechanism. Once the platform is ready to convert to sleeping, you will find a crescent shaped cushion that hides behind the back cushions that will slide into position against the front wall and conform to the curvature of the front wall. The back and seat cushions are then distributed to form the balance of the bed cushion.



Quote:
Originally Posted by CMSmith View Post
Traveling would be me, my wife and kids (young boy and girl) so we really need 3 sleeping areas. I assume this layout has two areas (with dinette) but we wondered if anyone has retrofitted a bunk over the front bed in this design?
Hammock bunks were an available option on Argosy coaches of this era. Depending upon year, they were mounted over either the front lounge or dinette. I haven't encountered one with hammock bunks in both locations, but I suppose that it would be possible.

The scan below is of the page from the 1976 sales catalog featuring the rear door Argosy 22. The second scan is of a typical 1960s/1970s Airstram "hammock" bunk. As an aside, there was one minor issue with the rear door Argosy coaches. The floorplan resulted in a reduction in the weight bias toward the front which made it a near necessity to travel with the fresh water tank full to insure the proper loading of the hitch.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin




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1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:02 PM   #4
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extremely helpful, thanks! Are there certain things that I should look for or ask about? This will be our first and we really do not know what we need to be looking out to find. They are asking $5900 with new tires put on it. It did not have a water heater in it (not sure if one would be included or not). We know that we would want to at least reface the storage cabinets. What are the options for this? Overall it was pretty solid but needed clips to hold the cabinet doors closed, the shower was a bit stained, want to take the carpet out, new upholstry/apparently making the cushions for the front couch/bed. Exterior would need a good cleaning and I have seen some awesome paint jobs here on the forum that would be down the road. Our priority would be making it camp ready and then pretty.
Does this trailer have a brake system installed on it? Is it electric or pneumatic.
Would a GMC Envoy v8 be able to handle this pretty well?
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:14 PM   #5
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22' 1975 Argosy rear door

Greetings CMSmith!

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extremely helpful, thanks! Are there certain things that I should look for or ask about? This will be our first and we really do not know what we need to be looking out to find.
There are a number of things that should be investigated whenever a Vintage coach is being considered:
  • Floor Rot. While the '75 Argosy Rear Door 22 is no more prone to floor rot than any othe coach it is still a prevalent threat. As much of the perimeter of the floor along the interior wall should be probed with an awl to determine if rot or softness is present. Every exterior compartment should also be inspected for evidence of floor rot and leaks.
  • Galvenized Exterior Endcaps. While not usually a problem, there can be problems with electroloysis at the joints between the aluminum and galvenized endcaps - - if the "rust" has progressed too far a difficult to repair leak can result (this happens very rarely, but is a possibility).
  • DuraTorque Axles. Airstream and Argosy trailers both utilized Henschen DuraTorque Axles, and they suffer maladies related to age, use, and/or lack of use. Inspection procedures can be found in this document.
  • Major Appliances. Vintage coaches often have their original major appliances, and at this point, they are at or beyond their deisned life expectancy. Ideally. you want to be certain that the major appliances are operational as replacement can be expensive:
    • Air Conditioner. The Armstrong air conditioners typically installed in Vintage Airstream and Argosys are quite durable and much more easily repaired than their modern counterpart - - but if the unit is defective and a replacement is necessary be prepared for an expense between $500 and $1,000 for a new replacement.
    • Dometic RV Refrigerator. Another durable major appliance that may be fully functional (check both LP Gas and 120 Volt AC) they do eventually fail. Rebuilding the cooling unit can run from $500 to $1,000 while a new replacement typically runs between $700 and $1,200.
    • Water Heater. My experience with Vintage coaches indicates that this is usually the first major appliance to fail if it hasn't already been replaced at purchase. A new RV water heater typically runs between $500 and $1,000.
    • Furnace. The furnace is another item that typically goes on my automatic replacement list after having the water heater in my Overlander fail at my first rally back in 1998. A new furnace typically runs between $500 and $1,000.
    • Water Pump. The PAR water pumps that were original equipment on our coaches have indefinite life expectancy if they are properly winterized each year. Unlike pumps from other manufacturers, these pumps are designed to be rebuilt and through rebuilding they seem to last forever. My '78 Argosy still has its original PAR water pump and I can't say how many times that it has actually been rebuilt, but I am certain of at least three rebuilds.
  • Rearend Separation. Separation can be caused by any number of factors, but it is a malady that must be corrected to preserve the coach. This condition can be identified by having someone sit on the rear bumper while observing the gap between the bumper supports and the body. There should be no movement in this joint. Any movement points toward separation which is usually accompanied by floor rot along the rear walls along with the potential for hidden frame rot as well.
  • Outrigger Issues. Outriggers are stell support that run from the main frame rails to the edge of the floor and the banana wrap covers them up on the exterior of the coach. If there is evidence of these outriggers perforating/puncturing the banana wrap it raises the concern of floor rot and/or frame rot. This condition isn't a prevalent, but should be on your inspection list.
  • LP Gas Cylinders. Many Argosy coaches were equipped with optional Worthington Aluminum LP Gas Cylinders. If this is the case on the coach that you are inspecting, they will quite likely require new OPD valves and recertification (between $35 and $75 per tank). Should the coach have out-of-date steel LP Gas Cylinders, it will likely be a wash between the cost of new OPD valves and recertification and new replacement steel LP Gas Cylinders.
  • Trailer Tires. It is almost a given that a Vintage coach will need new tires at purchase. There is a danger of being mislead by appearances -- ST trailer tires often don't show obvious signs of wear but are a failure waiting to happen due to age. Also, be very suspicious if the current owner has taken the dangerous shortcut of installing p-metric or other automobile tires rather than ST or LT tires designed for use on load carrying vehicles. A blown tire can easily do several thousand dollars in damage to your coach's aluminum skin.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CMSmith View Post
They are asking $5900 with new tires put on it. It did not have a water heater in it (not sure if one would be included or not). We know that we would want to at least reface the storage cabinets. What are the options for this?
Given the current economic conditions, I would consider $5,900 to be something of a premium price which would reflect a coach needing virtually nothing to be camp ready -- some restoration would be necessary but it could be utilized immediately for camping. I will admit that a missing water heater would be a major red flag to me as that would be a huge hinderance to the usefulness of the coach -- no hot showers and the inconvenience of heating water for dishes and hand washing using the stove. If the water heater is actually missing tht also raises the question as to just how much of the fresh water plumbing system has been compromised.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CMSmith View Post
Overall it was pretty solid but needed clips to hold the cabinet doors closed, the shower was a bit stained, want to take the carpet out, new upholstry/apparently making the cushions for the front couch/bed.
Clips or retainers for the cabinet doors can be sourced from a number of RV parts outlets. The shower can be refinished by the same professionals who refinish househol bathroom fixtures. Be prepared for some unexpectedly high costs for quality foam for new cushions, and if you haven't purchased upholstery fabric recently be prepared for costs higher than you might be prepared to anticipate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CMSmith View Post
Exterior would need a good cleaning and I have seen some awesome paint jobs here on the forum that would be down the road. Our priority would be making it camp ready and then pretty.
The original paint often cleans up better than one might be prepared to expect. When it comes to repainting, the combination of galvanized steel and aluminum results in some special considerations when repainting. A quality professional repaint can be unexpectedly expensive. The galvanized endcaps have often been repainted many times over the 30 plus years since our coaches were new.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CMSmith View Post
Does this trailer have a brake system installed on it? Is it electric or pneumatic.
The Argosy 22 Rear Door has either Dexter or Kelsey Hayes electric drum brakes on all four wheels. These brakes are common to the industry so parts are readily available. In fact, it is often more economical to purchase full loaded backing plates than to purchase the individual parts at the fully loaded backing plates come with all new wear parts present and ready for installation. There should be a breakaway switch on the a-frame hitch that connects to the tow vehicle via a steel cable that is pulled to activate the trailer brakes if the trailer becomes separated from tow vehicle while underway (a trailer coach battery is required for the proper operation of the breakaway system). A brake controller will be required for the tow vehicle, and this is an area of great debate and very strongly held opinions -- just search the forums for controllers or brake controllers and you will find a number of discussions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CMSmith View Post
Would a GMC Envoy v8 be able to handle this pretty well?
A difficult question to answer as quite a bit of additional information is needed:
  • Does your Envoy have the factory trailer towing package, and if so, what is the factory trailer tow rating for the package?
  • Whether you Envoy has factory installed trailer towing package or not, does it have the following features that will be needed for trailer towing?
    • External, auxilliary transmission fluid cooler.
    • Trailer Brake Controller.
    • Bargman 7-pole trailer connector (electrical).
    • Receiver-style trailer hitch with 2" or 2.5" receiver opening.
  • Given the size of the tow vehicle, my suggestion would be to give strong consideration to either a 600 lb. Reese Strait Line Hitch with Dual Cam Sway Control, or an Equal-I-Zer hitch with a similar weight rating. The Reese would have been the most common hitch system when the Argosy was new - - in fact, I utilize the Reese Strait Line Hitch with Dual Cam Sway Control with both my Overlander and Minuet.
Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 02-06-2011, 09:36 PM   #6
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Sagging Belly Pan

Banana wrap showing signs of rubbing on outriggers could be caused by the belly pan sagging and pulling the banana wrap in toward the center of the trailer. Not always a floor rot problem.
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