Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 09-01-2011, 05:08 PM   #1
Rivet Master
 
1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 5,648
Argosy how does it differ from a standard silver Airstream?

I am in the process of looking at trailers. I have never seen a conventionally constructed RV that does not leak and rot within a few years of being new. This is assuming that is stays outside and is never maintained.

I have been looking at airstreams and have come across a good deal on a 79 Argosy. I am also going to look at an Airstream of about the same size and age. Other than the white paint how does an Argosy differ from an Airstream? From reading literature on the Airstream sight I get the feeling that is was a lower cost option. So what are the real differences.

How do I spot trouble areas? Both have a rear bath which I hear can be a problem. How do I spot rot other than taking the belly skin off? Interior wise they two models look about the same. The the Argosy I am looking at is a 27ft 79 model Minuet. I have heard that the Minuets had aluminum floors. Is this true?

Perry
__________________

__________________
perryg114 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2011, 06:09 PM   #2
Moderator Emeritus
 
overlander64's Avatar
 
1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5,396
Images: 183
Send a message via Yahoo to overlander64
Argosy how does it differ from a standard silver Airstream?

Greetings Perry!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstreams and Argosys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
I am in the process of looking at trailers. I have never seen a conventionally constructed RV that does not leak and rot within a few years of being new. This is assuming that is stays outside and is never maintained.
Airstreams and Argosys are among the most long-lived of the travel trailers produced. This long life does require reqular maintenance and attention to repairs; but with a moderate amount of effort an Airstream or Argosy can last for generations. I am familiar with a 1960 Airstream Overlander that is in the hands of the third generation of the original owner's family and the fourth generation is now camping in that coach as well.

For the coach with the fewest potential points for rot to set in, you would probably want to look for an Argosy Minuet (1977-1979) in either the 6.0 Metre or 6.7 Metre version where many of the coaches had composite aluminum floors. All Minuets had vinyl-clad aluminum interiors (including all cabinetry) and these two shorter versions of the Minuet often had the composite aluminum floors. Most, but not all, 6.0 Metre Minuets had the composite aluminum floors while some, but far from all, of the 6.7 Metre Minuets had the composite aluminum floors. The only draw-back to the composite aluminum floors is that your floor-covering options are limited to carpeting or floating floors as the rivet rows prevent the utilization of other types of floor coverings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
I have been looking at airstreams and have come across a good deal on a 79 Argosy. I am also going to look at an Airstream of about the same size and age. Other than the white paint how does an Argosy differ from an Airstream? From reading literature on the Airstream sight I get the feeling that is was a lower cost option. So what are the real differences.
There are a number of differences between similar age/size Airstreams and Argosys, but there is one unifying charactristic . . . the basic chassis and structural design parameters are shared resulting in similar build qualities. Some of the differences you will encounter are:
  • All Argosy coaches will have the Panoramic front windows with the deep-wrap wing windows in clear glass. Airstream wouldn't start utilizing these Panoramic windows until the 1980s, and then they would be solar-gray tinted rather than clear.
  • All Argosy coaches will have galvanized steel exterior end caps front and rear. These end caps require more frequent painting than the rest of the coach, but the lack of rivet seams eliminates several potential points of water infiltration.
  • Vista-View windows (small windows above side windows) were not generally standard on Argosy coaches, but were an available option to the original purchaser.
  • Rooftop Air Conditioners were optional on all Argosys, but the air conditioner preparation package was standard on all but the Minuet, and it seems that all Minuets that I have encountered had the air conditioner preparation package. The thing to remember is that Airstream and Argosy did not locate air conditioners in existing vents; rather the opening was cut in the roof a measured distance from the number one roof bow in the front of the coach -- it is at this point that the wiring and condesate drain tube will be found awaiting the air conditioner's installation.
  • The windows utilized in the Airstream were from the same manufacturer and were of comparable quality. The one difference was that the side windows on Minuets had acrylic material installed in the window frames rather than glass as was the case with other Airstreams and Argosys.
  • The cabinetry tended to be of comparable materials and design. The senior coaches of the Airstream line had much higher grade cabinetry, but the basic Land Yachts had very similar cabinetry to what was included in the Argosy.
  • Appliances utilized in the Argosy were from the same manufacturers as those utilized in the Airstream, but were often from a more mid-priced line than those installed in the Airstream.
  • Water filters were commonly installed in Airstreams, but were quite uncommon in Argosys (but were an available option).
The semi-monocoque construction was utilized by both Argosy and Airstream so the floor is an integral part of the structure and is a big part of the reason that so much time is spent chasing leaks to prevent floor rot. The riveted aluminum body and interior panels are also characteristics of both lines. Both lines also utilize Henschen Dura-Torque axles which provide a smooth ride for the coaches, but at 30-plus years of age they are also one of the usual mechanical devices requiring replacement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
How do I spot trouble areas? Both have a rear bath which I hear can be a problem. How do I spot rot other than taking the belly skin off? Interior wise they two models look about the same. The the Argosy I am looking at is a 27ft 79 model Minuet. I have heard that the Minuets had aluminum floors. Is this true?
First of all, to clarify, if the coach you are looking at is 27 feet long it cannot be a Minuet. Minuets were produced from 1977 through 1979, and they were produced in three sizes . . . . 6.0 Metre (20-feet) . . . . 6.7 Metre (22-feet) . . . . . 7.3 Metre (24-feet). Another feature that was unique to the Minuets was the width . . . standard Argosy Coaches were 7-feet 8-inches wide while the Minuets were 7-feet wide. The composite aluminum floors were not found in all of any size of the Minuet . . . . most but not all 6.0 Metre Minuets had aluminum composite floors. . . . some but far from all 6.7 Metre Minuets had aluminum composite floors . . . it seems that all 7.3 Metre Minuets had plywood floors.

Should the coach that you are looking at be 27-feet, it woul be a standard series coach. In either event, the same caveats and precautions apply to checking-out both Argosy and Airstream coaches. The basic construction is so similar that any problems are typically problem places in each line. Elsewhere on this site (see home page) you will find an inspection checkslist that will point out areas that need close inspection.

Generally, Argosy coaches do not suffer from frame droop (often accompanied by visible cracks in frame near axles); but may suffer from rear end separation where the combination of water damage to the subfloor in the rear and any tendency of prior owners to carry full holding tanks can cause separation between body/floor/frame which can be a comparatively expensive problem to correct (it was nearly $3,000 on my '64 Overlander in 1996).

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
__________________

__________________
Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
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)
overlander64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2011, 09:49 PM   #3
Rivet Master
 
1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 5,648
Thanks for the welcome and the long answer to my question.

It is a 24 ft Minuet. It has a rear bath and a bed on the left in front of that and a wardrobe opposite the bed. The kitchen is on the right facing the bathroom. It matches the floor plan on the AS sight. See bottom of first page.

http://service.airstream.com/files/l...2cbaa5d5ea.pdf

So is there a way to determine if the torsion springs are shot in an axel? I would think they should be servicable. The old VW front ends could be adjusted to compensate for sag. I am not going to dump $2k into one.

Perry
__________________
perryg114 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2011, 11:22 PM   #4
Moderator
 
DKB_SATX's Avatar

 
2017 26' Flying Cloud
1976 Argosy 28
Alamo Heights , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,401
Images: 1
Blog Entries: 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
Thanks for the welcome and the long answer to my question.

It is a 24 ft Minuet. It has a rear bath and a bed on the left in front of that and a wardrobe opposite the bed. The kitchen is on the right facing the bathroom. It matches the floor plan on the AS sight. See bottom of first page.

http://service.airstream.com/files/l...2cbaa5d5ea.pdf

So is there a way to determine if the torsion springs are shot in an axel? I would think they should be servicable. The old VW front ends could be adjusted to compensate for sag. I am not going to dump $2k into one.

Perry
Greetings, and welcome to the forums!

There are 2 ways to tell the condition of the torsion axles, one by observation and one that's a bit more involved but more definitive.

An easy way to tell when the axles are shot is if the wheel well trim is getting close to (or even below) the height of the topmost part of the metal of the wheel. When the axles are in new condition, only a small area of the sidewall is occluded by the wheel well.

Is sometimes happens that the axles lose their flex without losing their height... which would lead to a very rough ride, which pops rivets, etc. The definitive test involves checking how much flex is left in the axles either by lifting the trailer on a jack or driving one wheel up onto a leveling block or ramp and observing how far the unsupported axle will flex downward. The details of that test are here.

I'd urge you not to immediately write off a trailer that needs axles, just include the costs of axles in your decision about what the trailer is worth. One of the first trailers I looked at seriously was very nice, but among other things it needed axles. I added up what it needed and subtracted it from a fair price for the trailer if it didn't need all that work... and the seller wasn't willing to sell it for that. So, I later found my Argosy which was in MUCH better condition overall, and has a those lovely pano windows!
__________________
David

Zero Gravitas 2017 Flying Cloud 26U | Il Progetto 1976 Argosy 28 Center Bath | WBCCI# 15566

He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. Sir Winston Churchill
DKB_SATX is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2011, 11:28 PM   #5
Moderator Emeritus
 
overlander64's Avatar
 
1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5,396
Images: 183
Send a message via Yahoo to overlander64
Argosy how does it differ from a standard silver Airstream?

Greetings Perry!

Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
Thanks for the welcome and the long answer to my question.

It is a 24 ft Minuet. It has a rear bath and a bed on the left in front of that and a wardrobe opposite the bed. The kitchen is on the right facing the bathroom. It matches the floor plan on the AS sight. See bottom of first page.

http://service.airstream.com/files/l...2cbaa5d5ea.pdf

So is there a way to determine if the torsion springs are shot in an axel? I would think they should be servicable. The old VW front ends could be adjusted to compensate for sag. I am not going to dump $2k into one.

Perry
Yes, there are a number of discussions about determining the condition of a Henschen Dura-Torque Axle. In all likelihood, the rubber torsion rods inside of the axle will either be worn out or taken a set such that there is no or little spring action left. I know that both of my coaches required new axles when purchased. It is very unusual to find a Vintage coach from the Henschen Dura-Torque Axle years that won't need new axle(s) if it hasn't already been rather fully restored. You can learn about Henschen Dura-Torque Axles from this link.

The image below is from the 1979 Argosy Catalog that displays the Minuets:



Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
__________________
Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
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)
overlander64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2011, 06:48 AM   #6
Rivet Master
 
1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 5,648
So what years have these bad axels? Maybe I should just avoid them all together.

Thanks for the article Kevin and DBK. This is just the sort of thing I need. So the torsion arms need to be pointing down when a trailer is empty and never more than parellel to the ground when fully loaded. It sounds like they improved the axels a little in 74.

I will also use the jumping on the bumper trick to determine frame separation.

Perry
__________________
perryg114 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2011, 07:19 AM   #7
Rivet Master
 
1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 5,648
Can anyone tell me what years the Minuets were made. It seems that the Minuet is a subset of a subset. It also looks like the 24 ft Minuet is a rare bird.

Perry
__________________
perryg114 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2011, 08:51 AM   #8
Bex
4 Rivet Member
 
1976 Argosy 28
Eckville, Lacombe County , Alberta
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 447
Send a message via Skype™ to Bex
Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
So what years have these bad axels? Maybe I should just avoid them all together.


Perry
I don't think its that they are "bad" axles, just that they deteriorate over time (I read about 15 years) and, as such, need to be factored into a maintenance program or purchase offer, as already been stated. Its what I did with our, the sellers did their own research and agreed that I had a point and we negotiated a fair price. I have had several quotes for replacements ranging from around $450US each plus shipping from the East coast to $1800.00CAD shipped (from Edmonton, about 2hrs drive from me) a pair plus about $700.00CAD each for installation! I guess there is just too much oil and gas business to be concerned about an Argosy.
Anyway, welcome to the forums and please keep us posted on your progress.

Bex
__________________
TAC AB-1

A wise man once told me he wanted to stay fit enough to run a marathon on his hundredth birthday. Another said he wanted to be shot by a jealous husband on his, I'm with the latter. God bless you Richard.

Carpet Cleaning is what I do, it's not who I am.
Bex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2011, 10:29 AM   #9
Moderator Emeritus
 
overlander64's Avatar
 
1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5,396
Images: 183
Send a message via Yahoo to overlander64
Argosy how does it differ from a standard silver Airstream?

Greetings Perry!

Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
Can anyone tell me what years the Minuets were made. It seems that the Minuet is a subset of a subset. It also looks like the 24 ft Minuet is a rare bird.

Perry
The Minuet series was introduced in 1977 and ran through 1979. It has been speculated that it continued as the Airstream Caravelle for one additional year in 1980. It is not absolutely clear from what facts have surfaced over the years, but it appears that the Minuet 6.0 Metre (20') was introduced first . . . . then, some period of time later the Minuet 6.7 Metre (22') was introduced . . . then, some period of time beyond that the 7.3 Metre (24') Minuet was introduced. Based upon the Minuets that I have run across, the 7.3 Metre is a bit rarer than the two smaller sizes with the 6.0 Metre Minuet being out there in comparatively larger numbers.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
__________________
Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
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)
overlander64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2011, 10:36 AM   #10
Moderator Emeritus
 
overlander64's Avatar
 
1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5,396
Images: 183
Send a message via Yahoo to overlander64
Argosy how does it differ from a standard silver Airstream?

Greetings Perry!

Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
So what years have these bad axels? Maybe I should just avoid them all together.

Thanks for the article Kevin and DBK. This is just the sort of thing I need. So the torsion arms need to be pointing down when a trailer is empty and never more than parellel to the ground when fully loaded. It sounds like they improved the axels a little in 74.

I will also use the jumping on the bumper trick to determine frame separation.

Perry
The Henschen Dura-Torque Axles were adopte across the Airstream line beginning in 1961. (see this link)

Searching out a coach that pre-dates 1961 isn't an absolute guarantee that it won't need new axle(s) or rebuilding attention. At the bare minimum, most of the pre-Henschen spring-type axles will require rebuilding of the springs at the minimum, while some may require replacement due to spindle damage (comparatively rare with it being a greater potential on a single axle coach).

Good luck with your research!

Kevin
__________________
Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
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)
overlander64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2011, 03:00 PM   #11
Rivet Master
 
1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 5,648
Well it is a moot point the Argosy got bought when I was on the way to see it. 150 mile drive for nothing, YIPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Perry
__________________

__________________
perryg114 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
1993 30' (late 92 model) Excella :: 1993 Airstream Excella1000 arcamedies Airstream Registry Discussions 2 07-28-2012 10:10 AM
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre :: 1978 Argosy by Airstream Minuet 6.0 Metre overlander64 Airstream Registry Discussions 0 08-19-2011 09:30 AM
Honest price for 1972 20' Argosy (Airstream) victor412 Trailer Values 15 04-28-2011 04:47 PM
Insurance of an Airstream Argosy hettyp Member Introductions 4 04-13-2011 02:29 AM
1973 Argosy / Airstream Camper - $4100 (Newark) 61Ambassador Airstreams on eBay 4 02-13-2011 12:11 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:22 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.