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Old 08-04-2011, 08:17 PM   #15
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Looks really good! Did the owner send you any additional pics? Definitely much better that it's seen regular use and it does look clean. Maybe it's just the light or fading of different sections, but the lower front exterior section seems to be a different color than the rest of that whole side. Might ask about recent painting or repairs to the front.
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:17 PM   #16
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How hard and expensive is it to replace the axles?
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:20 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by mutcth View Post
That Argosy 26' is right around 3950 pounds dry (I looked up numbers for a 1975 trailer.) A 89 Excella 25' is 5100 pounds dry.

Interesting...my VIN plate indicates a GVWR of 6200 lbs. I don't think I could imagine loading it up with another 2200 lbs.
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:26 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by billy1davis View Post
Current owners are collectors and sellers of vintage trailers for 15 years and state they never have replace an axle and have never found it necessary.

What think ye?
I think they are collectors of trailers with bad axles.
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:26 PM   #19
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Threads and many responses on a recent post regarding the same for mine would indicate it's not a big deal. I got a quote from the Jackson Center Service Center for $1400 per axle. The axles actually are about $750 with a 4 week lead time from Inland. There are cheaper routes and other alternatives than the original manufacturer, but you can do some reading and decide for yourself. Again, a common forum thread that you won't have any trouble finding info on.

If you haven't guessed, I find TOP's threads thorough, practical and easy to follow....a good place to start on axles.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f437...ead-74177.html
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:29 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by my3sonsdad View Post
I got a quote from the Jackson Center Service Center for $1400 per axle.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f437...ead-74177.html
I might know a shop that would do two axles for that same price. I really need to raise my rates....
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:41 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by 62overlander View Post
I might know a shop that would do two axles for that same price. I really need to raise my rates....
In my line of work, when you really don't want the work, you have rates like that. I'm sure that shop you know wants the work.
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Old 08-05-2011, 08:03 AM   #22
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I wrote to one of the forums commercial members with questions when I was considering the purchase of our trailer (I did buy it by the way) Here are the questions and his answers (in red)
Its lengthy but might be useful to you.
His last sentence is key and echos what has already been said

I am looking for a trailer right now and went to look at one today (Sunday). I noticed a couple of things (amongst several) that, if you have time, and you don't mind, I would like an opinion on please.

The axles have the rubber pieces pointing up/back the axles are bad, they should be pointing down at about 15 degrees. and additionally, the previous owner, unaware it was an axle problem (apparently, he is now deceased) did a "fix" for the back end and that was to fabricate a couple of brackets and bolt large caster wheels to them, so that when the trailer hits bottom on the back, the wheels take the force. really bad idea

Looking inside the trailer, all four corners are cracked, that is, the plastic cover at the front and rear roof, in several places in each corner.

The questions:

Are the cracks likely, in your opinion, to have been caused by the suspension not functioning as it should? the suspension problem didn't help, but they all crack because the plastic breaks down due to UV's. These parts aren't available new anymore but you might find some good used ones but they are rare in good shape. I typically repair them then repaint. You could also make new ones out of aluminum like the 50's era 13 panel models.
Is it likely there is damage to the structure of the trailer, even though none was apparent looking at the outside skin.Potentially, but most damage would be evident. There is however likely floor rot damage around the perimeter of the floor which can cause chassis problems. Try jumping up & down on the bumper. The body & bumper should move as one unit with no separation.
Are the axles Airstream proprietary design or can a person buy them "off the shelf" I have axles custom built to suit the trailer & its intended use. They are identical to the original, however are much cheaper than what is offered by (DELETED BY BEX). I have them drop shipped allover.
Can replacement shocks help reduce the suspension problem as an interim fix before replacing the axles. no

Given that the interior panels only are damaged, are they easily replaced, can they be accessed from suppliers? no, see above.

This trailer is in pretty good shape and I would like to buy it, but without knowing these answers, I feel that I should not.

I have a friend that can replace the axles, if that is the main issue, but if you believe it might be structurally damaged then I am not sure I could handle that job. Replacing axles is not difficult, however floor replacement is much more involved. Virtually all vintage Airstreams (& Argosy's) have some degree of structural floor rot. Unless you inspect a trailer completely, assume that it has issues. Trailers of this era are typically only worth a couple of thousand dollars unless they have been well rebuilt/restored. It is very rare to find one that has been done well. I typically put in about 1,000 hours to rebuild one. If you're handy, you'll be able to restore it well without spending too much money but keep in mind this is a big project. hopefully i haven't discouraged you as it is a wonderful lifestyle.


I have not logged my hours but I will far exceed the estimate (I am also new to DIY so that also needs to be factored in) But its been lots of fun and no small amount of frustration.

Anyway, for what its worth

Bex
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Old 08-05-2011, 06:20 PM   #23
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Differences between AS & Argosy

Greetings billy1davis!

The first generation Argosy travel trailers were manufactured primarily in Versailles, Ohio from late 1971 (introduced as 1972 models) through 1979. Some of the the features peculiar to the Argosy line included:
  • Panoramic windows with deep-wrap wing windows were installed in the front of every first generation Argosy travel trailer. These same panoramic windows were also installed in the rear of any first generation Argosy travel trailer that was equipped with a rear bedroom (available only in later model 28' or 30' coaches).
  • The Minuet was the only "named" model in the Argosy line and it was produced during the 1977, 1978, and 1979 model years.
    • These coaches were only 7' wide rather than the standard model's 7' 8".
    • These coaches were offered in only three sizes -- 6.0 Metre (20'), 6.7 Metre (22'), and 7.3 Metre (24') The two shorter Minuets were single axle coaches while the longest Minuet was a tandem coach.
    • Most, but not all, 6.0 Metre Minuets had composite Aluminum floors as did a very few of the 6.7 Metre Minuets.
  • All of the first generation Argosy travel trailers had galvanized steel front and rear domes that were a single piece rather than the multi-segment aluminum domes found in similar era Airstreams.
  • To keep the list prices lower, many features that were standard on Airstreams of the same time period were optional or sometimes not available on the first generation Argosy coaches.
    • All regular series frist generation Argosy coaches were pre-wired and pre-plumbed for air conditioning, but its installation was an option.
    • Air Conditioning preparation was technically an option on all Minuet coaches, but I have yet to encounter a Minuet that didn't receive the modestly priced air conditioning prep package . . . . my '78 Minuet was ordered by a very frugal teacher, but it was ordered with the prep package even though it didn't ever see an air conditioner until after I purchased the coach in 2003.
    • Monitor panels were optional, and were most often installed in the roof locker over the range when this feature was specified in the order.
    • Awnings were optional on all of the first generation Argosy coaches.
    • Steel LP tanks were standard on Argosy coaches, but Worthington Aluminum LP tanks were an available option that was specified on many coaches. The standard LP tank size was typically one size smaller than the standard LP tank size on a similar size Airstream of the same era.
    • Front window rock guards were not offered on the first generation Argosy coaches, but the rock guards for Airstreams that were later equipped with the Panoramic windows fit the standard first generation Argosy coaches without modification -- the center section must be narrowed for the rock guards when installed on a Minuet.
    • Water filters that were a near standard on Airstreams of the period were only available as an option on the Argosy coaches.
    • The standard Dometic refrigerator on the first generation Argosy coaches was typically one size smaller than the standard refrigerator on a similarly-sized Airstream of the same period.
    • Fresh water tanks on the Argosy coaches were mounted on top of the floor and generally were found immediately below the front Panoramic window -- while similar vintage Airstreams often had fresh water tanks mounted below the floor.
    • The black water tank was typically mounted on top fo the floor immediately below the toilet while the gray (wash) water tank was typically mounted below the floor. The Minuets were exceptions to this rule in that both gray and black water tanks were mounted on top of the floor as was the fresh water tank. The downsied of the Minuet arrangement was that the gray water from the shower was not collected by the gray water tank.
    • Interior materials were of quality manufacturer, but were often very slightly lower in quality than what one would find in a similar vintage Airstream. Minuets have the distinction of having interior cabinety that was constructed of vinyl-clad aluminum to save weight.
    • Windows utilized in first generation Argosy coaches were similar to those used in the Airstreams with the exception being the Minuets where acrylic window panes were utilized in all side windows to save weight.
    • Radios and entertainment packages were available as options in all first generation Argosy coaches, but the option wasn't not as prevalent as in similar vintage Airstreams.
    • Scare lights were options on first generation Argosy coaches but were standard issue on similar vintage Airstreams.
    • Water heaters in first generation Argosy coaches were more likely to be the standard 6-gallon units rather than the 10-gallon units that were optional. During this time period most Airstream coaches had 10-gallon water heaters as standard equipment.
    • Argosy coaches typically used a four-burner range with oven that was very nearly identical, if not identical, to the ranges utilized in similar vintage Airstreams. The Argosy was less likely to have the range-top cover as that was an option on the Argosy.
  • Similarities with similar vintage Airstreams were many:
    • Chassis construction was very nearly identical
      • Frames were ladder type with outriggers supporting the outer edges of the floor.
      • Henschen supplied the same Dura-Torque axles to Argosy that were utilized on Airstreams.
      • Argosy coaches were only available with drum brakes while some Airstreams of this era had either standard or optional hydraulic disc brakes.
      • Most devices utilized in Argosy coaches were the same or similar to those utilized in Airstream coaches including:
        • PAR (Peters and Russell) water pumps.
        • Dometic 2-way RV Refrigerators
        • Bowen water heaters
        • Suburban furnaces
        • Magic Chef or Suburban ranges with ovens
        • Univolt power converters
        • Thetford toilets and waste management valves
        • Armstrong Bay Breeze Air Conditioners . . . possibly Dometic for the final two years of production
        • Henschen Axles
        • Kelsey Hayes or Dexter drum brakes
        • Moen faucet sets
Airstream didn't take many shortcuts when it came to quality on the first generation Argosy coaches. Construction and vendors for most accessories were identical to what was utilized in Airstreams of the same vintage. The grade or line of accessory utilized may have been of a lesser grade/price-point in the Argosy but durability was typically similar. Money was saved by making many standard features on Airstreams optional on first generation Argosy coaches . . . . this also allowed for lower advertised list prices and slightly lower weights for Argosy coaches as well. There were also a number of ways in which Argosy provided an experimental outlet for Airstream where they could try features with consumers who might not have the same expectation as Airstream buyers . . . . among the items run as "experiements" on the Argosy:
  • Panoramic front and rear windows were first utilized on the first generation Argosy coaches and wouldn't be seen on Airstream until the 1980s.
  • Rear entry floorplans were first tried in the Argosy coaches in the mid-1970s, and wouldn't see widespread use in Airstreams until the last decade.
  • Composite Aluminum Floor . . . . utilized in some of the Argosy Minuets, but never seen in an Airstream.
  • Vinyl-clad Aluminum Cabinet . . . utilized in Minuets, but never seen in Airstream coaches.
  • The "classic" motorhomes were pioneered by Argosy until the determination was made that Airstream buyers were ready to accept the Airstream "classic" shaped motorhomes.
  • Acrylic side windows utilized in Minuets, but a feature that hasn't been seen in modern Airstreams (the late 1940s Airstream Liners had plexiglass front and rear windows).
  • One-piece galvanized steel front and rear domes were utilized on all first generation Argosy travel trailers, but it was another feature that would not be seen on Airstream coaches.
When comparing the first generation Argosy coaches to similar vintage Airstreams many will often mention the following:
  • First generation Argosy coaches are often said to "feel" larger and more open due to the Panoramic windows.
  • First generation Argosy coaches are often cited for the reduced maintenance necessary for the painted aluminum body rather than the polished/plasticoated bodies of the Airstream.
Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 08-05-2011, 09:00 PM   #24
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Differences between AS & Argosy

Greetings billy1davis!

Quote:
Originally Posted by billy1davis View Post
So now I am wondering what the weight difference might be between this 26 argosy and a 89 25foot AS. Any ideas?
The attached pdf file contains all of the empty/dry weights and empty/dry hitch weights that I have been able to amass for first generation Argosy travel trailers. There are few instances of GVWR in my notes as these figures are quite obscure in the Argosy literature that I have found. Bear in mind that these are the empty weights prior to the addition of options, fluids, fuels, personal possession, etc. With first generation Argosy coaches it is imperative to remember that a significant amount of weight is added above the factory frigures because so many of the accessories were optional rather than standard as they were in similar vintage Airstreams. Particularly with some of the earlier single axle first generation Argosy coaches, it can be a challenge to keep the fully loaded weight below the GVWR of the coach. The base empty/dry weight of a first generation Argosy coach was less than a similar vintage Airstream coach of the same size, but in reality, the actual scale weight of an empty first generation Argosy and an Airstream of the same vintage and size is very close as it seems most Argosy dealers tended to add quite a few of the available options. The greatest weight savings when comparing similar vintage first generation Argosy travel trailers and Airstreams of the same size and year is when you look at Minuets, but they are actually 8" narrower than the similar vintage Airstream of comparable lenght so there is a good reason for the Argosy's lighter weight in this instance.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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