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Old 05-23-2012, 08:11 PM   #1
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Exterior end cap: steel or fiberglas?

Until today, I thought all Argosy exterior end caps were steel. I know my 20' 1974 is. But today I was working on the rear door 22' putting radio speakers in, and found the exterior end cap is fiberglas! I had no idea.

Now, was this another of Argosy variations, or did they change from steel to fiberglas at some point? Or, like so many Argosy items, mix and match.

Maybe Kevin Allen knows?
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Old 05-23-2012, 08:15 PM   #2
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My '75 Argosy 24 has steel endcaps. I didn't put a magnet to them, but I was just up there putting numbers on 6 weeks or so ago and they feel and sound like metal.
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Old 05-23-2012, 08:57 PM   #3
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Are you referring to the end cap on the inside or outside of the trailer? The outside is steel, the inside is ABS plastic.
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Old 05-23-2012, 09:28 PM   #4
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"under the paint" photos in posts #69 and #73 here:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f227...e-18448-5.html


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Old 05-23-2012, 10:10 PM   #5
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Well, I guess I have a more unique Argosy than I thought. I am talking about the exterior end caps, not the interior ones.

My 22' rear door, 1975 has fiberglas end caps, front and rear. I found this when I was putting the speakers in this afternoon, I looked at the interior of the front cap and it looks like the interior of a fiberglas boat. Then I took a magnet to it, front and rear. No attraction. But my '74, 20' Argosy has steel end caps, and they are magnetic.

Anyone else have non magnetic Argosy one piece end caps?
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:26 PM   #6
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I took a magnet to mine, the front is steel, the rear is not steel. Do I have a hybrid??
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Old 05-23-2012, 11:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by rogerdodger View Post
I took a magnet to mine, the front is steel, the rear is not steel. Do I have a hybrid??
Now that is even stranger! I wonder if they did a run of end caps and had some left over.

The other thing I have noticed, when I look at the '75 Argosy manual, the weight listing for the 22' front door is 3360# and for the 22' rear door it is 3720#. Other than the door placement, the interiors are the same in equipment and features. They are both double axle units. Why the heck should the rear door model weigh 380# more than the standard front door model? Could it be because of fiberglas end caps? They would be heavy, I am sure. Did they try them out only on a few units, like the rear door ones?

The mystery grows deeper.
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Old 05-23-2012, 11:26 PM   #8
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Damn it, now I'm going to have to be sure I check this weekend when I'm putting in the new converter. You've made me doubt! I wonder if they had issues with the forming press in '75 or something and just laid up some fiberglass instead?
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Old 05-23-2012, 11:42 PM   #9
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Nothing surprises me when it comes to A$. I've owned this Argosy for about 2 1/2 years now. I just recently replaced the axles. Come to find out, A$ had installed 4 year old axles on my '74 model. The manufacture date on the original axles is 1970.
So whoever bought this trailer new, bought a unit with 4 year old axles. Oh I'm sure it was NOS.
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Old 05-24-2012, 04:40 AM   #10
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Wouldn't surprise me a bit. Argosy was their test bed for a lot of things, aluminum composite floors was one. As repair floor rot I sometimes wish that was one of the things that had crossed over to the AS side...

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Old 05-24-2012, 05:27 AM   #11
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Wouldn't surprise me a bit. Argosy was their test bed for a lot of things, aluminum composite floors was one. As repair floor rot I sometimes wish that was one of the things that had crossed over to the AS side...

Aaron
Mine has wood floors, and a little rot in front of the sprung main door.
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Old 05-24-2012, 08:22 AM   #12
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Well, our '79 7.3 Minuet has rust on both endcaps ... always thought that meant steel! ...
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Old 06-10-2012, 06:35 PM   #13
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I am reviving this thread with some new information and questions for all Argosy Owners.

In corresponding with Kevin Allen about this, I got a thoughtful reply, part of which follows:

"There are no absolutes when dealing with the first generation Argosy line. While I haven't heard about fiberglass endcaps before, their existence as an experiment would not surprise me in any way. There are a number of things that have been learned/discovered about the first generation Argosy trailers that Airstream won't confirm or deny. The most perplexing being that despite the corporate stance that all first generation Argosy travel trailers were produced in Versailles, OH; while VIN numbers have been confirmed that have the "S" for Cerritos, CA rather than the "V" for Versailles, OH.

I have long suspected that Airstream may have experimented with some use of fiberglass at some point in the first generation Argosy production. I can still remember when Mann Trailer Sales in Normal, IL was selling Argosy trailers in the late 1970s, the continuing story about town was that these coaches were fiberglass replicas of Airstreams. I didn't start digging into the history of these coaches until shortly before my purchase of the Minuet in 2005. I suspect that the 1975 experiment with fiberglass endcaps may have been in preparation for motorhome changes, but this is pure speculation. The use of fiberglass for the endcaps may have been an attempt to prevent that galvanic reaction that can be present with the galvanized steel/aluminum juncture. I also wonder if the fiberglass endcaps may have been an alternative to the galvanized panels in field repairs of damaged units.

There have been constant reports of first generation Argosy trailers with fiberglass exteriors. I have yet to discover reliable evidence of their existence . . . but it certainly would not surprise me to learn that a short run of fiberglass first generation Argosy trailers may have been completed as an experiment."

So, I went to look at my '75, 22' rear door Argosy and the VIN # has an S in it, not a V which indicates it was made in the California Plant in Cerritos, not in Versailles Ohio as Airstream says all Argosy's were.

I then contacted Rogerdoger who said his '75 had one steel end cap, and the other was fiberglass. I mentioned the VIN # to him also. This is his reply:

"Interesting info, because my serial# is 28T5Sxxxx which indicates California.
Also, the tag by the door says "Valley Travel Center, Salinas, California" which indicates it was first sold in Cali. Does not necessarily mean made in Cali, but I think the "S" in the serial# does."

Therefore both Rogerdoger's and my Argosy have fiberglass end cap(s) and were '75's made in California.

For now, my question to everyone who has an Argosy, especially a '75, but any other year too, is this:

Take a magnet and see if your front and/or rear outer end caps are magnetic. If they are NOT, please post that information for us. If you can, also look at your VIN # to see if it has an S in it rather than a V, indicating it was made in California (S).

We (Kevin and I both) really appreciate your help on this project of historical discovery. We suspect there could be more.

Thanks very much.
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:44 PM   #14
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Over the years I have seen a few Argosy's with fibreglas end caps. I could have been a parts shortage. Or it may have been an attempt to solve the paint problems that were common on the galvanized end caps when the units were new.

I remember we repianted a lot of galvanized caps under warranty, the paint would flake off quite eaily with a putty knife and then we would prime and repaint them.

Andrew T
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