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Old 07-13-2009, 04:47 PM   #1
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Greetings! New Argosy Owner with Questions..

My wife and I just bought an Argosy 27 at a fairly low price. It seems solid, but needs a lot of TLC. The interior is musty, but doesn't show any signs of leakage ( the carpet is pulled up so I can see the floorboards and they all look pretty good; it's coming to us with the Pergo flooring to cover the cabin ). There's only one bit I'm concerned about.

A tree limb has fallen on it, and crumpled the back "cap" above the bathroom - the curved part that's steel on the Argosy's. It doesn't look like it's leaked - we've been getting stupid quantities of rain and the cabin is still dry. I want to fix it as much as possible, though, as the dent is sufficient to keep the bathroom's pocket door from closing properly.

I've been thinking about laying a 2x12 on the floor to take the stress, putting a 2 ton bottle jack on that, a 2x4 on that, and an autobody sheetmetal "dolly" on that, and seeing if I could push the entire assembly up the approximately 1" we need to operate the door. Anyone have any suggestions? What's the best way to fix those caps when they're crumpled fairly badly - anyone have any experience with fiberglass? Bondo? Is that sheet metal such that it can be hammered out?

Any suggestions or information would be greatly appreciated. Reading through these forums has already given me a wealth of information!

Thanks!

Steve
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Old 07-13-2009, 05:23 PM   #2
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Heyt Steve,

First and foremost welcome, and congratulations on your new Argy.

Those steel end caps are tough, but I think your approach sounds good. Load distribution (both on the floor and the ceiling) along with slow application would be the key components if I were doing this. In any case, I think trying something like this beats leaving things as is.

The nice benefits of a painted exterior is that you can get away with using some body filler to cover any left over dents remnants.

Welcome again, and psot some pictures when you can,

Kevin
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Old 07-13-2009, 05:47 PM   #3
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I would be concerned about areas where the end cap meets aluminum segments. Where any of the segments bent or involved in any way? I would think that those seams would be opened up (they could be resealed) with the kind of flexing and torque needed to push this out. How about some pics?
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:48 AM   #4
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Thanks for the quick replies! I'm attaching a couple of pix I took the first time we went out to look at her. She's got tree sap all over her, but the places I wiped it off, the paint looks to be in good shape.

I noticed the seam looks like it's pulled at the front of the rear cap, but nothing in there looks wet at all. When I zoom in, it looks like someone applied some sort of sealant to the seam. Once I get our trailers shuffled around so I can bring this beast back to the house (so we can work on her) I'll get the power washer out and check for leaks . I'll shoot a few more pictures too. It's a rear bathroom unit, and that dent is bad enough that it's pushed the guide down so the pocket door won't close.

I'm fairly competent with most aspects of what needs to be done inside, and I've done autobody work in my time, but I thought I'd better talk to the experts here before doing anything rash. Thanks for the feedback!

Has anyone ever replaced the steel cap with the multipart aluminum cap from the Airstreams? (edit: N/M. Looked at the AS and saw that the whole front panel structure is different. ) Just curious if the measurements are close enough, or not. Does anyone know where you can find a replacement cap for the Argosies?

I have to say I was astonished at how well she tows. We've got a couple of other trailers, and there is a huge difference! I think we're going to really enjoy traveling with this!
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:57 AM   #5
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Another question - Where can one find replacement awnings for these rascals? And are they expensive?
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:28 AM   #6
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Steve,

Janet brings up an excellent point, and in looking at your photographs it looks as though the cap to shell seam has been re-sealed at some point. This may be dent related.

The dents appear to be away from the seam and IMHO can likey be reduced using the methods you describe. Be prepared to re-seal any seams in the area, and replace, or at least fit any vents as well.

Many forum members use ZipDee awnings. There was a post yesterday that contained some pricing references for new versus used. You can contact ZipDee at www.zipdeeinc.com, or through one of the vendors on this site.

Best of luck,

Kevin
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Old 07-14-2009, 08:29 AM   #7
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One man's opinion... you might want to consider using standard autobody techniques... for the kind of dent you have, one method would drill holes in the dent and use a slide hammer to restore the roundness to as close to original as possible. Some folks like me would solder the holes closed and file them flat. Use bondo no thicker than 1/8th of an inch. Add some paint. Hammering that kind of dent out would usually require a shaped mall on the other side get form of the curves right.
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin245 View Post
Steve,

Janet brings up an excellent point, and in looking at your photographs it looks as though the cap to shell seam has been re-sealed at some point. This may be dent related.

The dents appear to be away from the seam and IMHO can likey be reduced using the methods you describe. Be prepared to re-seal any seams in the area, and replace, or at least fit any vents as well.

Many forum members use ZipDee awnings. There was a post yesterday that contained some pricing references for new versus used. You can contact ZipDee at www.zipdeeinc.com, or through one of the vendors on this site.

Best of luck,

Kevin
Thanks for the info, Kevin. I thought that seam might have been sealed at some point. What type of sealant do you recommend for the seams?

On the very bottom edge of the galvanized caps, the paint has chipped and there is a very slight bit of rust - no bubbling or rust streaks, just edge rust. What do people usually use to fix that? I was thinking a rotary wire brush followed by sealant, then primer and paint... is there anything I'm missing there?

Thanks again!

-Steve
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:35 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by flitzwhopper View Post
One man's opinion... you might want to consider using standard autobody techniques... for the kind of dent you have, one method would drill holes in the dent and use a slide hammer to restore the roundness to as close to original as possible. Some folks like me would solder the holes closed and file them flat. Use bondo no thicker than 1/8th of an inch. Add some paint. Hammering that kind of dent out would usually require a shaped mall on the other side get form of the curves right.
Thanks for the thoughts. I was just wanting to make sure that such techniques were appropriate for this application, and it sounds like they are. Might take a goodly amount of work to punch that thing out round again! I may just push the curve up until the pocket door works, seal everything up, and leave the final repair until we repaint her next year.

Historically, I've used epoxy to fill the holes from the slide hammer, and I've used it instead of Bondo to smooth contours (combined with layers of fabric - fiberglass, cotton, or nylon, mostly for bulk). Takes a lot more sanding, but it seems to tolerate the ridiculous weather extremes we get here ( Independence Missouri ) better than body putty. Is there any particular reason I couldn't do the same on the Argie's cap?
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Old 07-14-2009, 08:23 PM   #10
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exactly

Quote:
Originally Posted by jstevewhite View Post
Thanks for the thoughts. I was just wanting to make sure that such techniques were appropriate for this application, and it sounds like they are. Might take a goodly amount of work to punch that thing out round again! I may just push the curve up until the pocket door works, seal everything up, and leave the final repair until we repaint her next year.

Historically, I've used epoxy to fill the holes from the slide hammer, and I've used it instead of Bondo to smooth contours (combined with layers of fabric - fiberglass, cotton, or nylon, mostly for bulk). Takes a lot more sanding, but it seems to tolerate the ridiculous weather extremes we get here ( Independence Missouri ) better than body putty. Is there any particular reason I couldn't do the same on the Argie's cap?
sounds like you know what you are doing. the steel end caps can be treated just like formed automotive steel. It is a bit thicker. I was just concerned that a constant pressure solution like a ram could over correct the dent thinning out the material. Hammering might be better than using a ram.
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Old 07-14-2009, 09:03 PM   #11
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Thanks for the info, Kevin. I thought that seam might have been sealed at some point. What type of sealant do you recommend for the seams?

On the very bottom edge of the galvanized caps, the paint has chipped and there is a very slight bit of rust - no bubbling or rust streaks, just edge rust. What do people usually use to fix that? I was thinking a rotary wire brush followed by sealant, then primer and paint... is there anything I'm missing there?

Thanks again!

-Steve

Steve,

I need defer your question to some of the more Argosy knowledgable members here. If they don't post on this thread, I would suggest you PM Overlander64 (Kevin), or Silverhobby (Kevin) for some better information than I am able to provide relative to Argosy corrosion issues.

Glad you're with us,

Kevin
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:39 PM   #12
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Greetings jstevewhite!

Welcome to the Forums and the World of Vintage Argosy ownership!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jstevewhite View Post
Thanks for the quick replies! I'm attaching a couple of pix I took the first time we went out to look at her. She's got tree sap all over her, but the places I wiped it off, the paint looks to be in good shape.

I noticed the seam looks like it's pulled at the front of the rear cap, but nothing in there looks wet at all. When I zoom in, it looks like someone applied some sort of sealant to the seam. Once I get our trailers shuffled around so I can bring this beast back to the house (so we can work on her) I'll get the power washer out and check for leaks . I'll shoot a few more pictures too. It's a rear bathroom unit, and that dent is bad enough that it's pushed the guide down so the pocket door won't close.

I'm fairly competent with most aspects of what needs to be done inside, and I've done autobody work in my time, but I thought I'd better talk to the experts here before doing anything rash. Thanks for the feedback!

Has anyone ever replaced the steel cap with the multipart aluminum cap from the Airstreams? (edit: N/M. Looked at the AS and saw that the whole front panel structure is different. ) Just curious if the measurements are close enough, or not. Does anyone know where you can find a replacement cap for the Argosies?

I have to say I was astonished at how well she tows. We've got a couple of other trailers, and there is a huge difference! I think we're going to really enjoy traveling with this!
Finding a replacement dome/steel cap while not impossible could prove quite time consuming. The best source for a replacement would be one of the major RV salvage yards like Colaw's in Carthage, MO. It may take time to find one as these salvage yards don't often encounter Argosy coaches.

The dent does not appear to be beyond typical bodyshop repair practices. Something to keep in mind with your work from the inside idea is that the ABS plastic interior ceiling/wall covering in the area of the dome/steel cap is no longer available from Airstream and is somewhat fragile. Prior to working from the inside this interior ceiling panel should be removed, but be prepared for the possibility that most of the bathroom will need to come out as well. A less intrusive method might be to use a hammer-action dent puller from the outside (remember that there is less than 2" between the inner and outer panels before damage).

You will want to clean and re-seal all seams around the panel to be repaired as well as the seams on the balance of the coach. Pay particular attention to items that penetrate the skin providing potential pathways for water infiltration. When purchasing products to seal your Argosy, utilize the same products utilized for Airstreams such as those carried by Vintage Trailer Supply.

Good luck with your repair!

Kevin
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Old 07-15-2009, 09:55 AM   #13
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Thanks for all the advice! Some valuable information there. We'll be waiting a while on the awning - zipdee wants $1700 for it; I think I'll wait 'til the coach is painted and the interior finished before I do something like that.

Thanks for the lead on salvage yards. I'll check 'em out and see what's up. If the repair goes well enough, I'll probably not need a replacement cap, but if I can't make it look perfect (gonna be tough as we'll probably go back in with a high-gloss paint when we're done)...

I figured I would have to take down the ceiling bits when I do the cap repair. Thanks for the heads up on their fragility and irreplaceability! I'm considering using a sprayed in low VOC foam on the backside of that cap after I finish the repair. Is there much wiring behind that ceiling?

I've looked at a couple of the tear-out/tear-down blogs/posts/pictures; these coaches are remarkably clean, I think, compared to others I've worked on. I'd MUCH rather repair one of these than, say, the Coachmen 20ft I have. All plywood and vinyl, they are. I certainly understand the obsession with this type of trailer!

Great forum, too - you guys are lifesavers! I'll be swappin' trailers around Saturday if it doesn't storm, so I'll get some more images then.

Thanks!

Steve
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Old 07-15-2009, 10:13 AM   #14
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Greetings! New Argosy Owner with Questions..

Greetings Steve!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jstevewhite View Post
Is there much wiring behind that ceiling?

Steve
Argosy coaches are wired in a manner quite similar to Airstreams. The wiring backbone is installed along the center ceiling area of the coach -- actually a little off-center so that is travels near to the edge of the roof vents and in most cases off-set toward the streetside. The wiring does make a turn toward the street-side corner at the rear to make its way to the circuit breaker box -- whether it does this before or after the final roof bow, I am not certain. The one thing that you can count on is 12-volt wiring in the rear dome for the clearance lights as well as the 120-volt and 12-volt convenience outlets behind the bathroom mirror.

Good luck with your repair!

Kevin
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