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Old 12-29-2015, 04:27 AM   #1
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Portland , Oregon
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Help assessing value of '73 Argosy 26?

Hello! I'm new to this forum. Living in Portland, Oregon and looking to do some trailer travel this year. I already have the Dodge Cummins diesel, so can pull a good size trailer. I'm a carpenter and am prepared to redo a fixer, but am inexperienced in RV systems.

Am trying to determine the value of this trailer. Looks like it's been sitting for 15 years. Seems high to me. Any thoughts/estimates would be welcome. Thanks!

Argosy 26' vintage trailer 1973

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Old 12-29-2015, 08:19 AM   #2
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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Welcome to the forums!

Well, it is hard to really evaluate the trailer without an in-person inspection. If you go to the "portal" tab and then scroll down, you can find a downloadable "buyer's inspection checklist," which will guide you through a full inspection of the trailer. This will help you know how big the project really is.

Glancing through the ad, I would say that the things that sound like red flags are that the trailer has sat untouched for 15 years in an environment that rains 14" per year. It is extremely improbable that the trailer hasn't developed many leaks during that time period (if only from dried out door and window seals and definitely from the gaskets around the plumbing vent stacks, which only last about 5 years). These leaks will result in rotting sub-floors around the perimeter of the trailer. The owner may not be conscious of them because you have to get underneath the cabinetry and behind the beds/sofas to find them. The "all original interior" just means there is 40 years of neglect to contend with and zero maintenance. The condition of the paint on the exterior is awful. If this trailer is in really bad shape, then the frame will be rusting away and disintegrating where it sits. You won't be able to get a good look at the frame, but rotting subfloors and disintegrating frames go hand-in-hand.

So if you are up for a shell-off rennovation and have a couple years to put into the project, and the trailer really is in as bad of condition as I suspect, then your starting offer could be as low as $1000 (or lower if the frame is shot).

Good luck!

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Old 12-29-2015, 09:03 AM   #3
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It's an outstanding price for the seller. If you're the buyer not so much.
I would assume none of the appliances work unless shown otherwise. It only takes a few minutes to hook up propane and electric to find out.
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Old 12-29-2015, 09:27 AM   #4
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1975 Argosy 26
Tulsa , Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 87
For comparison, we paid $2,400 for this 26' 1975 Argosy just outside of Tulsa, OK a few months ago:

A 'Before' photo album is located here:

Our Argosy had not been updated, but the glass was in perfect condition, the body was in 'good' condition considering it's age (a few minor dents), it had original appliances although the refrigerator and air conditioner did not work. It smelled like mothballs, had 'mice signs' and the floor was soft around the door (later discovered the floor was rotten around the door and water tank). We were able to tow it 45 miles home on its own tires (although they need to be replaced). We had been looking for months, and felt like it was a good deal, and there were many competing buyers interested within 24 hours of the craigslist post. Everything in Tulsa is pretty much cheaper than on the west coast, you may need to take that into consideration.

Hope this helps.
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Old 12-29-2015, 12:27 PM   #5
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1975 Argosy 22
Eugene , Oregon
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I bought a 1974 Argosy 22 that had been sitting for 3 years on a island north of Seattle for $3200. Everything was original Argosy and everything worked except the furnace. The tires were good and I towed it home about 400 miles without incident. I took out the old shag carpet floor covering and installed new vinyl flooring, replaced all of the upholstery, replaced all of the gas valves including the stove and oven valves, put in new curtains, new tongue jack, new toilet innards (keeping the original shell), new water pump, replaced all interior lights with LED, replaced all the faucet washers, new shower head and hose, repaired two waterline leaks, new TV antenna, new air conditioner, new tv and catalytic heater, pulled the wheels and hubs, repacked the bearings, put in new seals and adjusted the brakes and finally repainted the trailer in two tone original colors. We used the Argosy for a year and went on a 6000 mile trip. I sold it for $8000, which left me with a small profit after the cost for reconditioning. (Understand, I did everything myself except for checking out the propane system, didn't want to die)

I think the asking price is too high for a trailer that in all probability will need more work than the one I had. Just thinking
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Old 12-29-2015, 01:01 PM   #6
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Palmer Lake , Colorado
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There's the old saying - something, anything, is worth exactly what someone will actually pay for it. If it were me, and it isn't, I would both get a firm price in my mind that I am willing to pay up to and also get a person that knows what to look for in terms of what will need to be replaced or repaired. I have found out with real $ that rule of thumb is that each major appliance including water heater is ~$1,000 to replace, so refer, water heater, furnace, stove are each about $1,000. A/C is more and also the fresh water & waste tanks are more due to the labor involved in repair or replacement. Structural, mold, or floor issues are a whole other discussion that is well documented in this forum. Safety items like tires, brakes, lights, hitch, gas lines, electrical, are something to check before pulling it anywhere and living in it even one night. Then there is always the water system to check for leaks and also if the pump works. I also found out the hard way that leaks in the water supply don't show up in 5 minutes, they tend to show up at 2:00 am after a slow leak has been doing its drip drip drip for hours and hours. But, in the end, an Airstream product can pretty much always be repaired unless it is simply destroyed - just know what you are getting into and know that there are lot of Airstreams & Argosy's out there in the WWW, this isn't the only one.
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Old 12-29-2015, 01:24 PM   #7
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1976 Argosy 28
Alamo Heights , Texas
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I'm going to chime in with the rest of the choir... if I were considering buying it, I would assume that it's significantly overpriced unless/until I found the subfloor in perfect condition and all systems working well, then it's just "overpriced." No awning, needs a paintjob, no graywater system.

If you're up for a project, check it out and if it's not a disaster maybe offer half the ask... you're not likely to get it for that price if this guy's sure someone's right behind you with $6k in his pocket, but if you buy it you're not likely to be ready for fully-functional camping for a year or more IMHO.

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Old 12-29-2015, 02:21 PM   #8
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1974 Argosy 26
Morrill , Nebraska
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The '73 model did not come with a grey water tank. The above prices for appliances are a little high unless you are paying someone to do the install work:
Axles have not been mentioned. They will run $1,500-$2,000 with new brakes. Add tires to that.
I bought a '74 Argosy 26' six years ago for $2,200. I now have close to $12K in it.
It has:
All new PEX plumbing
New sinks and faucets
New cook top
New microwave
New converter
New axles and tires
New propane tanks
New water heater
33 gallon grey water capacity
A/C works
Furnace works
Refer works
Water pump works
New black water dump valve
New toilet
A complete rebuild of the galley cabinets, all oak, maple and hickory with new countertops.
A new 4 place dinette replacing the old gaucho
Twin beds
It has decent exterior paint but there are some dents.
It has been stored inside or under cover for most of it's life.
I would not sell it for less than $12K
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Old 12-30-2015, 07:58 AM   #9
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Portland , Oregon
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Thanks you all!

This was very helpful. You've given me a good sense of the value of a fixer. And it's considerably less than he's asking for this one.

I understand the importance of looking at the integrity of the subfloor. The lateral/shear and fastening value of the subfloor/plywood is critical. I used to play in a band and we had a tour bus that had this issue. The whole bus swayed going down the road! Aside from that though, is it better to look for a project trailer with interior walls and ceiling in good shape? Or does it behoove the rehab process to remove those anyway in order to run wire and insulation? In housing, it is the difference between a "cosmetic" fixer and a "total" fixer.


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Old 12-30-2015, 09:23 AM   #10
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I think the condition of the interior walls and ceiling is pretty low on the list of things to look at. They will certianly need paint, and you will want to rebuild the furniture and cabinets anyway, being a carpenter. And they are ugly.
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Old 12-30-2015, 03:00 PM   #11
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1966 17' Caravel
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Las Cruces , New Mexico
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The walls and ceiling actually clean up pretty easily with elbow grease, Simple Green, Magic Eraser, etc. If the floor is bad, walls and ceiling are likely to come out unless you plan to piece away at it. If you are used to working on houses, you have the skills necessary to rehab an Airstream and the systems are a bit easier to work on until you get to rewiring and fixing frames. If you can find a unit that is used regularly and is maintained, that is the best bet to purchase. Its kind of like old cars: if they sit for a long time they deteriorate. You find out how much can deteriorate when you restore one.

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2006 Toyota Tacoma
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