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Old 10-06-2008, 06:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by COArgosy78 View Post
Loudruff, one thing that caught my eye in your Lowrider post was the fact that you have all the original manuals. Is there any chance that if I paid the cost for reprint, I could get copies? I sent off for a manual thru AS, but could only get a copy of an Argosy manual, which refers more to the regular Argosy, not to the Minuet. Some things - like Vista view windows - just don't relate and some things just seem to be missing in the copy I have.
You probably have the exact same manual that we have. Ours is NOT Minuet specific either. Ours also refers more to the regular Argosy and some major points that deal with the differences in the Minuet are missing. My dad saved EVERYTHING so we know these are the only manuals that he got. Sorry that we seem to have the same ones. You might contact Kevin as he may have some others. He has done an excellent job of collecting all things related to the Minuet line. Overlander64. He has collected many other manuals and details for other Airstream TTs as well. Maybe he might have something.
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Old 10-06-2008, 07:35 PM   #16
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Calling on all Argosy Minuet Owners

There is precious little Minuet specific material available. Even in the owner's manual it is just a footnote for 1977 and 1978 -- for 1979 I believe the owner's manual had possibly five total pages that were Minuet specific. I don't believe that Airstream ever published a repair manual that was specific to the Argosy -- at least at the time of my inquiry, I was advised that the '78 Airstream Repair Manual would be the closest available.

Kevin

P.S.: My speculation is that management was aware that the days for the Argosy division were numbered by the time the Minuet series came along, its popularity was too little too late which meant that no special efforts were made to recognize these coaches in the manuals.
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Old 10-06-2008, 08:11 PM   #17
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We just took our 1978 6.0 Minuet on a 3200 mile journey from Madison, WI to St. George, UT and back. Before leaving a new axle was installed by our neighbor John HD, with my assistance and his tools and knowledge. We tow with a 2003 Dodge Caravan CV, and went over two 9500' and one 11,000' mountain pass without a problem. The axle was a replacement from Inland RV, and I cannot reccomend them highly enough. Throughout the west we saw many old Airstreams "in drydock" in back yards, but not a single Argosy, and none on the road either. One fellow in a nice Excella camped next to us at a campground in Torrey, UT commented that our trailer looked a lot like an Airstream. I said, "well, it is an Airstream" and showed him the manufacturers plaque by the door. He had never seen an Argosy before, apparently.
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Old 10-06-2008, 09:34 PM   #18
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Hi Leigh:
I live in the province of Québec. I bought my 1977 6-metre Argosy Minuet in November of 1999 from Mr. Andrew Bubb from a place near Fort Wayne, Indiana. From a little plate on it, I can see that it originally came from Berning Trailer Sales Inc., located in Fort Wayne. Searching the Internet, I found that this place still exists and still sells Airstreams. I can’t say how many owners the trailer has had though.
I have had the two end caps painted last year. I have installed new lights inside and put aluminium blinds in 3 of the windows. I have also replaced the top of the stove for a cleaner and more modern look. I installed a "floating" floor when I bought it and it is still in place after 9 years. The plate assembly was replaced as well as the spotlight (?) near the door. I replaced the axle this summer (complete assembly). The furnace was not working when I bought it and I decided to uninstall it which gives me additional storage space. The rest is more or less in its original state and is in an excellent shape.
This is my third Airstream. The first one was a Classic 23-foot Safari 1979. The second one was a 33-foot Argosy (1989). I really enjoy this trailer. It tows like a charm: I don’t even use the anti-sway bar anymore. I tow it with a V-6 Explorer. I have the original owner’s manual.
The rockguards for the two front side windows were already there when I bought the trailer. I now would like to put an awning on it. I am also looking for two ARGOSY steel wheel centre caps. I will also consider adding a small catalytic heater.


You may want to look at it by clicking on the number of images (6) in my profile on the left.

P.S. I have a daughter who was (also...) born in 1977... She told me that when I die, she wants the trailer...!!! (hehehe)
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Old 10-06-2008, 09:42 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by COArgosy78 View Post
One thing I'm confused about is whether As is using Henschen or Dexter axels now? I've read posts that mentioned both.

I would be interested in hearing from anyone w/a Minuet using a Dexter axle for replacement as that is what they are recommending here locally.
I think that Airstream is back to what used to be Henschen, I believe they are owned by GKN Axles and they build "Henschen Dura-torque Axles (tm)". Still built in Jackson Center Ohio as always.

I would not recommend Dexter Axles as a do it yourself axle. You would have to take precise measurement and provide them for the order and if you make a mistake "you bought it". Dexter makes a good product and would work well in this application but I would suggest that you have a shop who will provide a guaranty for their work and let them take the risk of a mistake in the order.

If you order a Henschen you provide the Serial Number of the trailer and you're done.
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Old 10-07-2008, 06:41 AM   #20
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Ya know I have never really had any need to know much about Argosy's. Although I have on two occasions inquired (in person) into availability of Argosy's I have stumbled across.
In all my years and hours of perusing these forums I have intentionally skipped over most threads that appear Argosy specific. Lord with hundreds or is it thousands of posts being dumped into the forums monthly, one has to cull many in order to possibly keep up and still have a life away from the computer screen.
However I do often read certain members stuff each time I can and Kevin Allen is one that I follow for his excellent style and clarity and IMHO accuracy of reporting. Therefore I have absorbed a bit of Argosy info albeit small and seldom brought to mind.
One advantage to Argosy's limited life span as an active and ongoing product line is that it's history could perhaps be more neatly catalouged.
I think it would be interesting to read at least an overview of it's span covering when,where,why, and who concieved it and killed it.
Why the metric nomenclature (nonsense)?
What's this about aluminum floors? an experiment? what was the conclusion?
Versailles Ohio..? was that an Airstream plant? What became of that facility ? and why?
And the "myth"s (or are they facts ?), that the painted skins were due to rejected or damaged aluminum not fit for Airstreams.??? And any other Argosy myths etc. out there.
I have "heard" the Argosy's were catch-alls for left-over parts and trial balloons for new things. Hence a lack of uniformity within a model year. Any truth there?
Why the steel exterior dome caps? Were they on every Argosy?
Was the Minuet just another model or was it significanly different from other Argosy's?
Production numbers for the different models etc.
What about values of Argosy's ? Are they priced similar to like year and size Airstreams?
Is there anyone who has interviewed former Argosy personnel? Is there an "official" Argosy archivist?
How are (in general) Argonauts recieved at rallys and nationals by the Blue Bloods?
Anyway you get the drift.
Oh and if by chance someone has already done that, bravo and where is it?
BTW what caught my attention about this thread was that it was attempt to group/gather owners by specific and smaller unit, and I think that is an excellent idea for info sharing and knowledge exchange. Or as in my situation (70's era long-boys..Ambassadors, Sovs, Excellas) misery loves company.
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Old 10-07-2008, 07:23 AM   #21
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Argosy Minuet 6.7 metre~ in NC

I have owned my 1978 Minuet since October '03. I purchased it from the original owner in Charleston, SC off of an eBay auction. I talked with the owner at length before making a bid. I entered a bid on the auction and then did not return to the auction until the day after it ended to learn that I had won it. It has an average paint job from 30 years ago, useable upholstery, working appliances. Updated Worthington propane tanks, new Atwood water heater, new convertor, new furnace, new water pump round out the other amenities. It is in need of a new air conditioner, axle, and tires. I keep it under a carport shelter.
(Has anyone replaced the "hazy" acrylic windows?)
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Old 10-07-2008, 10:19 AM   #22
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Argosy History/Trivia

Greetings Distantdrummer!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Distantdrummer View Post
However I do often read certain members stuff each time I can and Kevin Allen is one that I follow for his excellent style and clarity and IMHO accuracy of reporting. Therefore I have absorbed a bit of Argosy info albeit small and seldom brought to mind.
Thank your for the compliment -- it is really all part of the Forums -- a friendly place to share information and knowledge that you have acquired.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Distantdrummer View Post
One advantage to Argosy's limited life span as an active and ongoing product line is that it's history could perhaps be more neatly catalouged.
Unfortunately, like so many things with Airstream, there is very little historical data from the Argosy years that has been unearthed. Part of this may relate to the fact that the first generation of Argosy spanned the period of time where Beatrice Foods was ending its relationship with Airstream and Thor was just beginning its "stewardship" of Airstream. Thus far, most of the information that I have has been acquired through reading owner's manuals, sales literature, and period publications as well as speaking with those who were either involved in Argosy dealerships or someone who actually worked at the Versailles plant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Distantdrummer View Post
I think it would be interesting to read at least an overview of it's span covering when,where,why, and who concieved it and killed it.
I have been working on writing an article about the first generation Argosy trailers; and have created a PowerPoint presentation from my current outline. I have presented my Argosy--The First Generation at the WBCCI International Rallys in Salem, OR and Bozeman, MT.

Based upon the Trailer Life article that chronicled the introduction of the first generation Argosy line, the primary motivation for its introduction was "to create a mid-priced line of Airstream quality RVs that would appeal to families and individuals who were either new to RVing or wished to move-up to a higher quality coach." (quote is paraphrased) I have found nothing regarding why the lined was discontinued, but suspect it had something to do with the economy of the times.

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Originally Posted by Distantdrummer View Post
Why the metric nomenclature (nonsense)?
So far as I have been able to determine from my research to this point, is that there wasn't anything published regarding why the Minuets were marketed in metric designations. Speculation, includes the following theories:
  • There may have been plans to market the series outside of the US when the designations were chosen.
  • It was an attempt to prepare for the US conversion to the metric system that was being pushed at that time. Avion marketed all of their coaches of the period with metric designations for size.
  • It was a marketing effort to differentiate between the standard line that was 7' 8" wide and the Minuets which were 7' wide.
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What's this about aluminum floors? an experiment? what was the conclusion?
The aluminum floors were evidently an experiment and were used in most (but not all) 6.0 Metre Minuets, and some (but far from most) 6.7 Minuets. So far, I am not aware of any 7.3 Metre Minuets that were produced with the aluminum composite floors.

Based upon reports from original owner's, there were issues with the floors initially. Looking at the survivor coaches, the biggest problem in the longer-term (on coaches that received reasonable maintenance) is the potential of acquiring a sway or "rut" in the high-traffic areas of the floor. Some owners also report a tendency for greater "movement" or "give" to the floor under foot -- it varies rather greatly from coach to coach. I suspect that this inconsistency of wear may have been the factor that doomed the idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Distantdrummer View Post
Versailles Ohio..? was that an Airstream plant? What became of that facility ? and why?
The Versailles plant was (at least initially) strictly Argosy production. When first generation Argosy production ended, the plant was closed. While I have visited the Airstream plant in Jackson Center, my time has been limited both times and I haven't had a chance to drive through Versailles. It is my understanding that the plant building(s) are still in existence, but I haven't heard any more regarding their current use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Distantdrummer View Post
And the "myth"s (or are they facts ?), that the painted skins were due to rejected or damaged aluminum not fit for Airstreams.???
Based upon conversations with an Argosy production line employee, Argosy used strictly new, first-quality aluminum. According to that conversation, Argosy did not use Airstream factory rejects or seconds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Distantdrummer View Post
I have "heard" the Argosy's were catch-alls for left-over parts and trial balloons for new things. Hence a lack of uniformity within a model year. Any truth there?
Argosy wasn't necessarily a "catch-all" for left-over parts, but unlike Airstream; the "experimental" nature of the Argosy division resulted in more frequent "running-changes". The final year's production did seem to use some left-over earlier model interior parts that speculation says was an effort to reduce the carry-over inventory when manufacturing ended.

There is increasing evidence to suggest that there were at least a few Argosy coaches produced in the California. The first evidence was contained in sales literature that listed Versailles, OH and Cerritos, CA as production plants. So far, I am aware of two Argosy coaches that have an "S" in the VIN where the plant identification appears. If there were, in fact, coaches produced in California, this could also account for differences in same model year coaches.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Distantdrummer View Post
Why the steel exterior dome caps? Were they on every Argosy?
All factory literature suggest that the top domes on all first generation Argosy coaches were galvanized steel. The speculation has been:
  • It was a cost saving move. One piece versus several (fewer rivets/less labor), and a less costly material was utilized.
  • It was an experiment in preparation for motorhome production. Literature also suggests that all Argosy motorhomes also carried this feature.
  • It was a technique to increase the rigidity of the structure to compensate for the deep wrap of the front wing windows.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Distantdrummer View Post
Was the Minuet just another model or was it significanly different from other Argosy's?
The Minuet was distinguished from the standard Argosy line in a number of ways:
  • The most notable difference was the coach width. The standard Argosy was 7' 8" wide, while the Minuet was 7' wide.
  • The side windows on Argosy coaches were Acrylic rather than tempered glass. (Plexiglass or Acrylic windows were featured on many of the Minuet's competitors from other manufacturers of the time.)
  • Some, but not all 6.0 Metre Minuets has the aluminum composite floors, and some but far from all of the 6.7 Metre Minuets also had the composite floors.
  • Most, but not all 6.0 and 6.7 Metre Minuet had gray/washwater tanks that were mounted above the floor (in the bottom of the rear corner wardrobe) that did not collect the water from the shower drain.
  • The 6.7 Metre (22') Minuet was a single axle coach while the similar sized Airstream was a tandem axle coach.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Distantdrummer View Post
Production numbers for the different models etc.
This one area where Argosy is identical to Airstream. Beyond the knowledge that the last four digits represent sequential production numbers, little is known about actual production numbers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Distantdrummer View Post
What about values of Argosy's ? Are they priced similar to like year and size Airstreams?
Prices for Argosy coaches vary rather considerably by region of the country, but as a general rule standard Argosy coaches often command about 80 to 95% of what a similar model/side Airstream coach. The Minuets on the other hand, may command very nearly as much as the similar sized Airstream due to their light weight and towability -- the 6.0 Metre tends to be a little more likely to equal the price of its Airstream sibling due to the demand for a coach that can be pulled by a tow vehicle with a 5,000 pound trailer tow rating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Distantdrummer View Post
Is there anyone who has interviewed former Argosy personnel? Is there an "official" Argosy archivist?
I have had the priveledge of speaking to two former employees of the Versailles plant. This was so early in my research that I didn't really know what questions to ask, but did find out that the aluminum utilized was not factory rejects from Airstream.

The Vintage Airstream Club has an official archivist who is responsible for all club-owned historical data; and there are volunteers who have researched various eras of Airstream and Argosy.
  • Fred Coldwell (48WeeWind) has researched Airstream history from the beginning through either 1966 or 1968.
  • I have been working on the first generation of Argosy trailers.
There are also members who have either begun or have been approached about sharing their knowledge of:
  • Airstream trailers 1969-1985(?).
  • Airstream motorhomes
  • Argosy motorhomes
  • Second generation Argosy trailers (Square Argosys)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Distantdrummer View Post
How are (in general) Argonauts recieved at rallys and nationals by the Blue Bloods?
As with so many things in the WBCCI, the reception of Argosy owners varies from one rally to another. Since I became a acquainted with so many people in the WBCCI while traveling in my '64 Overlander, I am not a good example of how Argosy owners feel about their reception. The one thing that disturbs me is that I see so few Argosy owners returning to another rally -- I have noted very few Argosy owners who have attended more than one International Rally as an example (at least among those who park with the Vintage club).

I know that as far as the Vintage Airstream Club and its parking area at the International Rally; there is an effort made to make Argosy owner's feel welcome. Among the membership at large, there are still those who don't think that Argosys should be welcomed into the club. When in one of the Vintage parades into an International Rally; I was stopped in front of a group of "traditional members" where I overheard the following comment: "I still don't know why we allowed the "painted" trailers into the club." -- and Argosys have been accepted for membership since the early 1990s.

Kevin
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Old 10-07-2008, 10:31 AM   #23
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Acrylic Windows

Greetings Silverhobby!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverhobby View Post
(Has anyone replaced the "hazy" acrylic windows?)
I am sure that there have been several who have replace the Acrylic side windows with tempered glass, but I am only aware of one owner who has reported their experience here on the Forums. I believe that there were several more threads about this, but the one below is the only one that I found through search:

CHAS and '78 Minuet

Before taking the big step of replacing the Acrylic, you might want to try the following:I use the NOVUS products on my Minuet and the results have been very good. The clarity may not be that of tempered glass, but I am very satisfied with the results. The NOVUS products are also great for maintaining the front window rock guards.

Kevin
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Old 10-07-2008, 04:00 PM   #24
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Hello again to all - D.Drummer, thanks for the comment on why I posted. I often end up w/a headache trying to find some post I saw 3 months ago w/good info, but I forgot to archive & NOW I NEED IT. So creating a place for info related to my selfish needs was a must!! Glad you enjoyed it.

J.Husband - thanks for the clarification on Henschen vs. Dexter for AS 1 more thing - aren't Henschen quite a bit more expensive than Dexter, or has that changed?

Adore - we bought our "Mini" from someone outside of Quebec!! He sold it in a reverse auction online & I put a bid in about 2 seconds before midnight of the day before he got over 20 bids. My husband & youngest son had a blast driving up there from Colorado to get it-and like many others, my hub was amazed at the towing ease.

Silverhobby - are you going to add your Minuet to your User CP? I know what u mean about the hazed windows. I think I might try Kevins product.

D&P - we've been to St. George too! We rented a ATV there for our boys when we visited Zion in Utah & one day went to the Pink Sand Dunes. There is actually a picture of us playing in the sand there (in my picture section here) That was our 1st BIG trip w/Mini.

and Kevin - thanks so very much for all your info and keeping it updated. There was a guy here who worked a very long time for the AS dealership in Denver. He gave us some info when we 1st got our trailer, but can't find him now, he retired.

Hope some more of us will post - this is fun. Have I gotten 3 other 6.7metres to post so far? But no 7.3metre...
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Old 10-07-2008, 07:33 PM   #25
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Quote:
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J.Husband - thanks for the clarification on Henschen vs. Dexter for AS 1 more thing - aren't Henschen quite a bit more expensive than Dexter, or has that changed?
Bare Henschen is $475 + shipping and fully loaded $750 + shipping
You can probably get a Dexter cheaper but not by much when you figure in all of the other work that will have to be accomplished in the mounting of a Dexter. There are many posts on what must be done to mount a Dexter take a look at axle threads. A Henschen bolts right in no chassis modifications and is made to factory specs.
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Old 10-09-2008, 08:12 AM   #26
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'77' 6.0 Metre Minuet

Kevin, Thanks for all of the Argosy details. Are the side windows acrylic or polycarbonate? I thought polycarbonate given their good condition on my Minuet.

We bought our 6.0 Minuet January 2007. Have straightened many dents and still have some to go. Straightened one window and repaired a badly abused door. Rewired the 7 way connector, changed out one interior light fixture with my own design LCD fixture, will replace all lights with LCD over time. Removed and replaced the belly pan, after working out the dents in the banana wraps and patching one hole. Repainted parts of the interior where a previous owner had viciously attached walls with a paint brush. Replaced the dinette and gaucho ends and table. Replaced the original converter with a Parallax Tempasure. Two new tires and rims, Prodigy brake controller, Equil-i-zer WD hitch. Still to go are more LCD's, curtians, upholstory, counter top, axle, sunglasses for the front, paint exterior. So far we have enjoyed 'IBDY' two summers, 30+ nights, 6K+ miles in Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota. Tows like a dream behind my Jeep Wrangler.
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Old 10-09-2008, 09:56 AM   #27
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Minuet Side Windows

Greetings Royce!

Quote:
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Kevin, Thanks for all of the Argosy details. Are the side windows acrylic or polycarbonate? I thought polycarbonate given their good condition on my Minuet.
I am not absolutely certain as I am using the term that was used in the sales literature. My theory is that Argosy used the term Acrylic to distinguish the material from Plexiglass that was being used in light-weight trailer lines by competing manufacturers like Nomad/Skyline.

The one thing that I have learned is that window cleaners containing amonia can cause clouding of the material. I avoided the problem as the original owner of my coach advised using only white vinegar and water to clean the windows.

Kevin
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Old 10-09-2008, 03:11 PM   #28
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1978 6 metre minuet located in Ferndale, WA

Love it, but feeling a little cramped with 2 children the wife and dog.

Tossing the notion around to sell and get a slightly larger Airstream.

Only problem is I doubt I can recover what I have into it and would rather keep it.

Maybe a trade.

Anyway, count me on the list.

Craig
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