Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Argosy ownership!
Originally Posted by sfixx
I just thought that I would introduce myself. I live in Northern Ohio. I just fell into what appeared to be a good deal on something that looks like a painted Airstreamer. It will be perfect for my two young sons (6 + 8yrs) and me to get away on weekends. My wife is even hinting that it's nice enough for her to consider joining us once in a while.
A couple of weeks ago I called a number in the paper for a '57 Airstream for $3,200 but it was sold. As I was hanging up the phone I hear... "wait, wait, wait, I have another camper but it's an Argosy." I told him I'd be out that weekend to see it and well, the rest is history. $1,500 later and it's sitting in my driveway. It's in good cosmetic shape outside and excellent shape inside. None of the mechanical systems have been checked out yet but since the trailer has been sitting for 6 years I'm not too hopeful. Also I brought it home the one hour trip without the electric brakes.
I did plug the camper in to a 110 circuit. The 12 volt
system seems to work fine. Since I've never had such a fancy camper I'm not too desparate to have heat and hot water. Anything like this is a huge step up from our '61 Serro Scotty that I had for a year but just sold on Ebay due to a lack of dry storage for the poor leaky thing. With the Argosy, I don't have a lot of money to sink into getting the fridge, furnace, or hot water heater working, but if I can get running water and the stove functioning I'll be real happy. I don't know anything abut getting the potty working. With respect to the interior all I need to do is fix or replace the curtains. BTW, where do I post pictures? I think their is a members gallery somewhere but I don't see how to get to it to post.
Where do you order basic parts from? I don't have a comprehensive list yet but there will be a bunch of misc. things like gaskets or those plastic things that hold the windows open. I already bought owners and service manuals (which was by the way highway robbery!!!). I've got all winter to pick away at things but maybe we'll tow it down the road to our local state park before the snow flies.
Last question: Can anybody recommend a good RVing for beginners book? Something with advice on travel mostly. I was looking on Amazon and saw tons of books like the usual idiots and dummies guides but what's really good? I hope to see you around...
There are a number of Argosy 20 owners here on the Forums as well as several Minuet 6.0 Metre owners. The two coaches are near twins except in their widths - - the Argosy 20 is the same width as the standard line coaches while the Minuet is 8" narrower than the standard line with a number of other weight-saving features. The Argosy 20 was produced from 1972 through 1977 with the Minuet 6.0 Metre being introduced in 1977 and produced through 1979. The Argosy 20 page from the 1975 sales brochure can be found in the scan below:
The '75 brochure is the earliest Argosy brochure that I have that shows floorplans - - the earlier '73 brochure only shows the exteriors of the coaches with written descriptions. The '75 will be very close to what you are likely to see in your '73 as the floorplans for the Argosy 20 didn't change significantly over time.
By 1973, Airstream was becoming much more proficient in the production of its Owners' Manual as 1964
was the first year for an Owners' Manual and there is quite some difference between the quantity and quality of information supplied in my Minuet's manual compared to the '64 Overlander's. Another book that is often recommended in regard to systems maintenance and repair is RV Repair and Maintenance Manual by Bob Livingston
I wouldn't be too anxious to condemn the appliances just due to the length of time since they were last used. I would, however, suggest that you consider having a qualified RV Technician check-out the LP Gas system and appliances - - I have had this done prior to using any of the LP appliances on both of my coaches - - on my Minuet it uncovered a defective water heater and on the Overlander it uncovered a faulty furnace; and on both coaches it uncovered defective LP Gas Regulators. Part of the service included cleaning the burners, and preparing the appliances for safe operation. A side benefit is that the Technician will also likely assist you in learning how to ligth the appliances if asked to do so.
The one item that would be more likely to have suffered due to long-term storage is the Henschen DuraTorque axle. The axle is one item that is often showing its age on our Vintage coaches in fact I had the axle replaced on my Minuet at the end of last season and need to have the same procedure performed on my Overlander. You can learn more about the DuraTorque axles at: DuraTorque Axles - - Description and Diagnosis of Problems
The draperies can be obtained from a number of sources. There are three sources that have been mentioned here on the Forums:
1.) From the Airstream factory. An Airstream dealer may be able to order new draperies direct from the Airstream factory in any of the currently available fabrics. I know that this is true for Vintage Airstream coaches from the 1970s, but less sure whether the same service is available for Argosy. In some ways, the Argosy can still be something of an Airstream step-child.
2.) James P. Ambruso, Inc. James P. Ambruso offers draperies made to order for both Argosy and Airstream coaches of all models - - they will require the model name and VIN to identify the coach's layout. You can learn more about James P. Ambruso, Inc. on the web at: James P. Ambruso, Inc.
3.) Fowler Interiors. Arlene and Henry Fowler specialize in the restoration and refurbishment of Airstream and Argosy Interiors. They have a wide selection of fabrics from which to choose and the draperies are made to the measurements from your coach. They usually ask that the coach be brought to their location in Symsonia, Kentucky for such work. You can get in toch with the Fowlers as follows:
596 State Route 1949
Symsonia, KY 42082-9231
The glides for the draperies and shower curtains can be found in a Kirsch drapery hardware catalog. My local Ethan Allen Decorating Center was able to source all of the glides that I needed from Kirsch at a reasonable price. You may also find the guides in a blister pack on the shelf at your Airstream dealer as well.
To find the photos section, look to the top of this page just below the Banner ("The Airstream Knowledge Sharing Forums"), and click on the tab labeled "Photos" - - this will take you to the photos site where you will likely be asked to establish a user just like you did on the Forums (you can use the same user id for both sites if the user isn't automatically created - - there have been several changes in this method since I joined the Forums so am not precisely sure just how much of the process has been automated). Once your user identification is registered the photo posting process is available in the FAQ section.
In regard to obtaining basic parts the answer is that it depends upon the type of part involved. Many of the normal wear parts are similar or identical to those used throughout the RV Industry and can be obtained from any source offering RV Parts. Those parts that are unique to Airstream or Argosy have several vendors offering at least some of the more commonly needed items. You may be surprised to find the number of parts that can still be obtained from your Airstream Dealer - - the window mechanism part that you need is still readily available from Airstream (many of the parts interchange between Argosy and Airstream). There are two on-line sources that offer a number of the difficult to find parts unique to Airstream and Argosy, and you can find them through the links below:
Inland-RV, Corona, California
AirstreamDreams.com, Montpelier, Vermont
If you happen to have a Vintage Friendly Airstream dealer near you, many of your parts needs can be met by the parts manager. I am not aware of the Vintage Friendly Airstream dealers in Ohio, but I am sure that there must be one or more based on the number of Vintage owners in Ohio.
One of the repairs that you will need to be prepared for is replacing the valves on your LP tanks as most LP service centers are going to require the new OPD valves. Even though they may be painted, you are quite likely to find that the LP tanks on your Argosy are Worthington Aluminum tanks that are well worth the cost of the upgrade; the critical question to ask the shop installing the new valves is whether they are aware of the particular length of dip-tube that is required for the Aluminum tanks (it is a different length than the one required for steel tanks). The valve upgrade on the two 20-pound Worthington tanks on my Minuet along with a fresh refill was $75.00.
If you are interested in joining a WBCCI Unit with a number of Vintage owners who also have children, I know that the Cleveland unit has a number of familys with children who are also Vintage owners. You can learn more about the WBCCI (Wally Byam Caravan Club) at:
Wally Byam Caravan Club International
You will also find a warm welcome with the Vintage Airstream Club (an Intra-Club of the WBCCI - - for full membership you must also belong to WBCCI) at:
Vintage Airstream Club
You can disregard the notice in the Argosy Owners' Manual that states that Argosys are not eligible for membership in the WBCCI. The WBCCI bylaws were changed in the early 1990s to welcome all Airstream Products into the club. There aren't as many Argosy owners at most functions, but I have been warmly welcomed at each of the events that I have attended with my Minuet - - I was the only Argosy parked in the VAC parking area at the 2004 International Rally in Lansing.
Good luck with your Argosy!