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Old 03-06-2004, 08:50 AM   #1
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1959 26' Overlander
Putnam , Connecticut
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Argosy vs AS

Are there any real differences in how these were put together other than the skins. Do they use the same frame and axel systems, ie rubberband suspensions available form Inland. Are the interior walls both aluminum. It seems that the Argosy has more load available.
Are there special issue to watch for in buying a vintage Argosy other than those for an AS. If they are the same they would seem to be good buys all else being equal.


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Old 03-06-2004, 09:35 AM   #2
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Having had both I would say that the basic construction is the same. Frame, shell, skin inner and outer are the same with the exception of the end caps. One of the things they did in the Argosy line was to not offer dual pane windows anywhere. In Hindsight I think that is good. My Vista Views are clear, are yours? The interiors are a bit more basic, and the Argosy trailers seem to have a few less windows and vents.

Suspension is the same dura torque, the way that the Argosy's seem to be able to carry more is that the frame is the same but the interior is simpler so it weighs less. That allows for more CCC.

Brett G
WBCCI #5501 AIR # 49
1978 Argosy 28 foot Motorhome

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. -- Plato

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Old 03-06-2004, 10:07 AM   #3
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I understand that Argosy was used as a trial platform for many items used on the "Silver Airstream".
With this in mind there are a few unique things to look for in a used Agosy.
Argosy trailers were made in two styles the Argosy (full width) and the Minuet (8" narrower).
In the Minuet which is what we have, there was the standard plywood floor. However, they offered a 'Composit Aluminum' floor.
I understand that the Aluminum Floor can sag so watch for that.
Ours is a 77 Minuet with the Aluminum Floor and we do not have problems. Helps to make the trailer very light.
The end caps are made of Galvanized steel, due to the nature of the galvanize coating it is hard to get paint to stick, watch for that.
Other than those two items, it is just like any other Airstream so the standard things to watch out for apply
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Old 03-06-2004, 12:56 PM   #4
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Argosy vs Airstream

Greetings psychpw!

Are there any real differences in how these were put together other than the skins.
In general, the chasis and body structure are very similar when comparing similar vintage Airstreams and Argosies (at least through 1979). As Gary said in his post, the galvanized steel end caps are an Argosy exclusive that can pose a paint problem - - but can be nice for WBCCI member who then have the option of utilizing magnetized sign material for their membership numbers. The second item that would be a noticeable difference between same Vintage Airstream and Argosy trailers - - the wing windows on the Argosy have a much wider or deeper wrap (these windows would see use on Airstreams beginning in the 1980s). Another feature that is found on some Argosys that wasn't evidently shared with similar Vintage Airstreams is an above floor mounted gray water tank - - it only serves the bathroom and kitchen sinks - - shower/tub still has a strait drain meaning that a blue portable tank will still be needed with these coaches (my '78 Minuet 6.0 Metre has this arrangement).

Do they use the same frame and axel systems, ie rubberband suspensions available form Inland.
Yes, the Henschen Axle is a feature shared between Argosy and Airstream lines. I recently had Ace Fogdall RV in Cedar Falls, Iowa replace the DuraTorque Axle in my Minuet - - made a tremendous difference in smoothness of ride and raise ride height just short of 2".

Are the interior walls both aluminum.
The sidewalls and ceilings are typically vinyl-clad aluminum while both endcaps are typically ABS plastic. A rather typical situation will be that the endcaps will be quite yellowed (sometimes referred to as nicotine yellow), but sponge painting techniques can be utilized to return the appearance to some semblance of uniformity.

It seems that the Argosy has more load available.
This can be a function of several factors. There were tyically differences in standard equipment between similar sized Airstreams and Argosys of the same Vintage. Since the weights utilized for advertising purposes were generally the unladen empty weight, the Argosy at least appears to have a weight carrying advantage - - once both coaches are similarly optioned the actual allowable additional weight is quite similar between Airstream and Argosy. Since the Argosy was marketed as a mid-market trailer to families, the Argosys were often less heavily optioned than similar size/model Airstreams; thus the Argosy was generally lighter in a given length/year comparison.

Another issue that could result in a weight difference was in the cabinetry. I am not certain how wide-spread its usage, but some Argosys did have vinyl-clad aluminum used to construct the cabinets (the vinyl-cladding was a wood-tone/wood-look product). My '78 Minuet 6.0 Metre has the vinyl-clad aluminum cabinets as well as the composite aluminum floor both of which contribute to weight savings in the coach.

Placing my '64 Overlander side-by-side with my '78 Minuet demonstrate the similarity of the coaches construction. There were few differences in any of the appliances and accessories other than the fact that the Argosy might occassionally have a 3-burner range oven where a similar Vintage/size Airstream might have a 4-burner; the Argosy might have 6.0 cubic foot refrigerator/freezer while a similar Vintage/size Airstream might have a larger 8.0 -to- 9.0 cubic foot refrigerator; the Argosy might have a 6.0 gallon water heater while a similar Vintage/size Airstream might have a 10 gallon water heater. Another area where the Argosy might have a slight weight advantage when compared to a similar Vintage/Size Airstream was the likelihood that it would be equipped with one size smaller LP tanks - - 20 pound rather than 30 pound; or 30 pound rather than 40 pound - - this was less uniform as it was a rather inexpensive optional upgrade that was seemingly quite popular. Since the appliances and accessories are of similar manufacturer, the size differences between Airstream and Argosy coaches isn't immediately identifiable unless you are looking closely for such differences - - for the most part the differences have minimal impact on livability issues.

One thing that I do like about my Argosy is that I don't have the polishing decision to make. The consensus seems to be that a well-done repaint should be capable of lasting 15 or more years. I am hoping for 10 years on the polish/Plasticoat on my Overlander. Both processes, when professionally done, are similar in cost. Due to a failed polish attemept by a previous owner, the cost of the polish/Plasticoat on my Overlander was almost $175.00 per linear foot. The estimate for complete preparation and repaint on my Argosy works out to just under $150 per linear foot (very near the estimate for polishing/recoating an Airstream that doesn't require remedying failed polishing attempts).

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)
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