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Old 05-16-2015, 11:03 PM   #1
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1972 Argosy 26
Alamogordo , New Mexico
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 117
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Can an outrigger split aluminum?

This is regarding my 1972 26' Argosy:
I'll post a photo of it tomorrow, but I thought I'd ask people on the forum if they've ever seen this. There is a small, vertical 1.5 inch tear in the aluminum on the rear street side of my trailer. I ran my fingers over it when I discovered it and I could feel something on the inside flush with the skin. I looked close, and I think I'm seeing an outrigger. I know the rear ends can separate on these trailers, but the floor of my trailer is completely dry and free from rot. I took out rug and have checked the floor thoroughly.

I'm not trying to get by without doing floor work because I DID find rot in the front where there had been leaks. I replaced the floor by the door, in the front end, and under the refrigerator. I also painted the frame with rust proof paint in any area where I exposed the frame. There was no significant rust.

This trailer has lived most of its life in El Paso, TX, so it's been very, very dry. The PO said they never used the bathroom, and it is in good shape. I haven't used the toilet at all because I'm just getting the water system back online after gutting the front end.

So... am I getting rear end separation here? What do ya'll think? Picture will be up tomorrow afternoon.

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Old 05-16-2015, 11:39 PM   #2
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1974 31' Sovereign
1979 23' Safari
Wayland , New York
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From the description that the outrigger has caused a hole in the skin, I'm going to go make an assumption that the hole is in the belly where the skin wraps from the side of the trailer to the underbelly. Is this possible, I don't see why not. If the wrap was installed so it was very tight to the curve of the edge of the outrigger then there is no reason that over time the steel outrigger edge couldn't wear and corrode it's way through the aluminum wrap.
It could be a sign of rear sag, if the shell holds up the belly pan while the frame sags below it, then the outrigger could wear through the wrap. Just because it could be though doesn't mean that it is. If you pull off the section of wrap to inspect it, you should be able to tell if the c channel is no longer tight to the floor and being held down securely to the outrigger by the bolts. Good news is that replacing belly wraps is 'relatively' simple, especially if you have the old piece to use as a template for making a new piece.

I'll take your 1.5 inch tear in the belly wrap to my 1.5 inch tear in the skin around the wheel well.

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Old 05-16-2015, 11:56 PM   #3
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1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
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It is not at all uncommon for an outrigger to wear through the banana wrap. I have had it happen on several Airstreams and Argosy's I have owned. I am not sure of the exact cause though.
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Old 05-17-2015, 03:47 AM   #4
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1977 31' Sovereign
1963 26' Overlander
1989 34' Excella
Johnsburg , Illinois
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Outriggers wearing through the skin is very common on trailers with high mileage.
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Old 05-17-2015, 04:48 AM   #5
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1978 29' Ambassador
1974 25' Tradewind
1974 27' Overlander
Indiana , Pennsylvania
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Yep seen it on many vintage trailers...incuding ours. I suspect it could be a result of sagged axles. Have you noticed any popped rivets inside? We replaced the axles on our "78"...interestingly enough, the outrigger wear through was on the same side where the axle was sagged.

Bob "Roadrunner"
Indiana, PA

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Old 05-24-2015, 09:47 PM   #6
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1972 Argosy 26
Alamogordo , New Mexico
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The long shot shows the "slit" just above the jack handle.
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Old 05-31-2015, 08:53 PM   #7
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1972 Argosy 20
Snoqualmie , Washington
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 436
Our 72 had a similar situation. After doing a lot of research, I believe the problem is caused, at least on our Argosy, by the belly pan pulling away from the frame members due to galvanic corrosion of the rivets. This causes stress on the lower skin and it rubs against the outriggers. Basically, you need to remove and perhaps replace the belly pan, clean up the frame and make other repairs you find necessary.
Could be something else though.
Boy, that sounds simple.
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Old 05-31-2015, 09:43 PM   #8
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1969 25' Tradewind
1971 18' Caravel
Berkeley Springs , West Virginia
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Usually a sign of worn out axle and shocks causing movement in the aluminum body. I had it on my 71 and ant ahead and replace the axle.


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