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Old 01-30-2011, 06:39 PM   #1
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peoria , Illinois
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 6
Just bought a 1977 28ft Argosy- Need Your Expert Advice

I'm so glad I found this forum! I recently bought a 1977 28ft Argosy that has not been used and has been in indoor storage since 1994! The interior and exterior are in great shape for the trailer's age. I am planning on using this trailer for years and bought for an great price. Since it has been so long since the trailer has been used let alone moved some of your expert advice. I would like to get this trailer thoroughly checked out. Does anyone have recommendations on a Airstream dealer or RV shop to check out the Argy's systems and do some mainitenance before we hit the road? There are no Airstream dealers in our immediate area. We live in Central Illinois and have no problem going to Chicago or St.Louis area to get her checked out. Thanks for the advice! Here are some pics of our Argosy.
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Old 01-30-2011, 11:20 PM   #2
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1975 Argosy 24
West Linn , Oregon
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Wow, what a find - congratulations!!! It looks to be in great shape!

I would definitely suggest finding an Airstream dealer to check it out, if you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself. There are a lot of things to check, and you want it done right! Have them check all the systems (propane, water, sewer, electric) and make sure the appliances all work.

It will need a battery. Get the biggest RV battery that will fit. If the battery charger still works, you can get by without a new one for a while, but you'll want to upgrade to new tech eventually, they are a lot quieter and extend the life of the battery substantially.

Since the tires are at least 16 years old, tires are a must replace ASAP item. I would recommend doing it before you put the trailer on the freeway. They may look fine, but the rubber is old & could and will lead to a blowout. Others will suggest replacing the axles too, but that can probably wait for a little while.

Some other things you might want to check out:

Even though it's been stored indoors, there may be wasp nests in the vents, and critters can always find a way in. Look for any obvious signs of rodent infestations (droppings, a bad odor, etc.) especially in out of the way areas such as inside cabinets, underneath the stove & sink, and any other hidden areas you can think of.

Make sure the smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector and propane detector are in working order, and replace them if needed.

Since it's been sitting awhile, the seals in the dump lines from the black & gray tanks may be dried out. The dealer may also check for that. (Let's also hope that both tanks were emptied before it went into storage!) If the seals are cracked, they'll have to be replaced, which takes some effort. Our friends recently bought a 1979 Ambassador, and unfortunately discovered that the first time they went to use the dump station. It wasn't exactly like the scene in the movie "RV", but it was unpleasant, to say the least! The seal in the toilet bowl is most likely cracked as well. You can replace those, but we opted just to buy a new toilet.

The propane tanks will need to be updated. If it has the original aluminum tanks, they are quite valuable. Any large propane dealer should be able to update the valves for under $50 each. Inspect the rubber lines that connect the tanks for cracks, the propane dealer can make new ones for a very reasonable cost as well, using the old ones as patterns.

The wheel bearings should be regreased and the brakes inspected. Even if they pass the inspection, be extra vigilant the first few trips out with them. I would stop several times every hour and use your hand to feel the temperature of the rims. If one of the bearings is starting to go, that rim will feel noticeably warmer (or downright hot!) than the rest. If they are still good after a few trips, you're probably OK until you get around to replacing them. If you want to put on new axles, the new axles will usually come with new bearings and brakes, so that's one reason to wait.

The sink faucets may leak a little as well from dried out seals or freeze damage. They aren't that hard to replace, and if they only leak a little might be usable for the short term. If there is extensive water line freeze damage, it's probably better to have the entire system plumbed with PEX tubing, but with any luck the original copper is good to go. If there are any minor leaks, Lowes sells some excellent universal copper to PEX adapters that make repair work a 15 minute job. Sharkbite brand fittings work nicely as well. They are a little pricey per fitting, but much cheaper than a plumber or RV techs time.

Some Argosies have a furnace recall, so check on that too. Those furnaces had a rubber collar on the exhaust that could crack, letting exhaust gas directly into the cabin (The fix was a metal collar). Another good reason to make sure the gas detectors are working.

Everything will need a little TLC. Don't worry, once you get caught up on the deferred maintenance, it's much easier to deal with!

You have lots of fun camping trips waiting for you - hope to see you on the road sometime!

Sean & Sharon
AIR #: 27389
TAC #: OR-3
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Old 02-02-2011, 04:51 PM   #3
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peoria , Illinois
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Thanks for the great reply Sharbours!
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:45 PM   #4
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1989 35' Argosy 5th Wheel
1979 rgosy 27
Danville , Vermont
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Might be worth a drive to Jackson Center, Ohio, the birthplace of your argosy and airstream. The factor tour is great, and the service is too. Beware the list might get long, but do a little at a time. Safety first.
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Old 04-05-2011, 09:29 PM   #5
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Just bought a 1977 28ft Argosy- Need Your Expert Advice

Greetings GarrettRing!

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

I am sure that you will enjoy your Argosy 28. When I lived in the Quad Cities, I always traveled to Cedar Falls, Iowa to have Ace Fogdall RV perform any maintenance, repair, or upgrades that I needed. In those days, Fogdall was an Airstream dealer, but today, they are an authorized service center. I continue to call upon them for service when I am near their shop as they have always offered excellent service at a competitive price.

Good luck with your Argosy!

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 05-07-2011, 08:11 PM   #6
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1979 Argosy 27
Fort Fairfield , Maine
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I'm fairly new to the forum. I have just brought home, last week, a 79- 27' Argo, that is not too bad but does need a lot of various work details.
However, all the curtains, shades, etc are not there at all. My wife can sew up new ones but we are not sure how they are supposed to look. I've also noticed half of a snap, 3 to a window, attached to the wall that we are not sure what these are for.
I only know of one other AS within a hundred miles of here and those curtains are totally different.
If you would not mind sending close up pics of the curtains, top and bottom and what the snaps hold it would be greatly appreciated. Maybe some pics of the curtains, shades, open and closed?
Thanks in advance.
Stumpjumper @
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Old 05-08-2011, 07:34 AM   #7
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1976 Argosy 28
Eckville, Lacombe County , Alberta
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Are the runners for the curtains still in place?
The snaps are likely for the fabric "bumper" at the head of the bed.
Do you have pics of your acquisition, lets see them if you do!
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A wise man once told me he wanted to stay fit enough to run a marathon on his hundredth birthday. Another said he wanted to be shot by a jealous husband on his, I'm with the latter. God bless you Richard.

Carpet Cleaning is what I do, it's not who I am.
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Old 05-08-2011, 09:08 AM   #8
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1989 35' Argosy 5th Wheel
1979 rgosy 27
Danville , Vermont
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the snaps are used to hold Groups of curtains in place once they are all fed onto the rails. each corner of a window had a snap instead of a "T" slide and fastened to the half snap you are seeing. the groups of curtains were held with velcro in the centers of each group. Are your slides still in good shape? The "T" elastic pieces can be purchased new to complete your project.
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Old 05-08-2011, 09:16 AM   #9
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After replacing the tires. Id pull it to a Local RV dealer for a systems check. GET a quote first. NOT all RV dealers can service some things on airstream or Argosy. So if someone can show ya the ropes,kinda,to get ya started. A trip to JC would be fun and an adventure. The service dept is great and the factory tour is worth the trip.
Roger & MaryLou
7.3 liter Power Stroke Diesel
1977 27ft OVERLANDER
AIR # 22336 TAC- OH-7
May your roads be straight and smooth and may you always have a tailwind!
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Old 05-08-2011, 10:00 AM   #10
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1978 Argosy 27
Lacey , Washington
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Welcome to the Forums and a big congrats to you in your find. What you have is a rare find due to the proper storage of the Argosy (AS). What sharbours gave you as advice is right on. My wife and I purchased a '78 - 27ft Argosy about two years ago but it has sat out in the owner’s back yard. He kept an electric heater inside (that was good) but did not keep the little critters out of it so most everything inside the Argosy we replaced (curtains, upholstery, rug you name it tires, wheels, updated the LP tanks with new rubber and valves, replaced the converted to a new, high tech model that does not burn batteries up and replaced all the outside light bulbs. sigh. Ours had sat out in the Pacific NW rainy winters so I prepped if for a new paint job and had it painted by an auto paint shop that was used to painting fire trucks and heavy equipment rigs. He did a great job and it allowed us to personalize the trailer (you can see a pic by going to the registry and searching jjustice) We had to replace the A/C, the toilet, and I do not trust the 30 + yr old Suburban furnace so when we can we will be replacing it. What is amazing is this. That of all the AS trailers made over 60% are still on the road. Show me any other brand that can boast that statistic! Happy Argosy trailering and good luck.
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Old 05-08-2011, 10:31 PM   #11
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1975 Argosy 24
West Linn , Oregon
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Hi, Stumpjumper; welcome to the Forums!

Here are a few pictures of our curtains, which we made ourselves. They are not pleated like the professional ones. We were on a deadline to camp when we made them, and were not experts with the sewing machine, but they work and we like them.

Our trailer is older than yours, and shorter, so I'm not sure if our setup is anything like yours. We don't have the fabric bumpers that Bex mentioned. Our snaps were like fordfarmer's - they hold the curtain to the wall to keep light from coming in around the edges. We made two for the front windows - not three or four like there are supposed to be. It was ignorance on our part, but we like how we can have an unobstructed view out of the windows with the curtains pulled back, so it worked out well!
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In our bedroom area, the snaps were at the corner of the walls above the double bed - at least a foot or more away from the window. We were short on time and material, so we made the curtains wide enough to cover the window with a few inches to spare on either side. We decided not to use the snaps on that one. As you can see from the pictures, we installed some extra snaps to hang a couple of magazine holders on the walls. (They're actually made to hang on the back of the front seat of a car to hold items for the back seat passengers.)
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On the other side of the bedroom, above the vanity, we used the snaps since the window takes up pretty much all of that wall.
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I have no idea how the bathroom curtain is supposed to be hung; all those fixtures were gone when we got our trailer. Our temporary solution (which has lasted us through 5 camping seasons!) was to sew up a flat panel curtain that would fit the window frame. We sewed a strip of 'soft' velcro to the top inside edge, and used self adhesive 'coarse' velcro on the wall above the bathroom window frame. We used self adhesive velcro dots, maybe 3 to an edge, along the sides to hold it closed. I forgot they weren't sewed on when I washed the curtains this spring - much to my surprise, they made it through the washer & dryer and stayed put!

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Anyway, good luck with your trailer - please post some pictures when you have the chance!
Sean & Sharon
AIR #: 27389
TAC #: OR-3
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Old 05-09-2011, 06:27 PM   #12
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1979 Argosy 27
Fort Fairfield , Maine
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Thanks for posting the pictures. It helps. Yes, my curtain tracks are still there, but no curtains whatsoever to guide us. I've taken very few pics so far, just got this unit home and finished cleaning out the junk and trash left in. I have a pic of the unit on my profile.
I will be taking a good photo log of my "redoings". When purchased I knew it needed tires (done), new water heater, not yet, and finish floor, plywood looks to be very good as PO had ripped out carpeting. AC works, all lights, I know of some plumbing fittings that need to be replaced. I have not yet tried any of the LP appliances. A few dents on the back, it will need a paint job, I can do, but did not pay too much (I don't think).
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Old 05-12-2011, 04:24 AM   #13
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1977 Argosy 24
Underalog , Illinois
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Welcome, Garrettring and Stumpjumper

I highly recommend that that you take it to Jackson Centre, Ohio and have them take a peek at it. For $50 they will check it all out and give you a itemized list of things that might need doing. You can camp in their Terraport for free while you are there with full hook-ups! Just be prepared to get up early as they pull them inside at 7 am when the 'ghostlight' comes for you! LOL! Then stumble inside for free wakeup coffee from the vending machine and lots of advice from seasoned streamers.
We live near Chicago too and its only a 8-9 hr trip to the Mothership Factory. Just dont make our mistake and take the Kennedy Expressway...oops!

They found that our Waterheater, Furnace, Waterpump, etc... all worked fine. They even said our axles were good, wow! I did however plonk down the cash for new dump valves and inlet for fresh water, and new brake magnets and pex water lines for the trailer on the most recent trip. I plan to replace things as they need to be with the exception of the cosmetic stuff that makes the trailer our own.
When we got our Argosy, it had recently been painted and had new upholstery but no curtains at all, so that first trip picking it up, we velcroed some beach towels over the windows for privacy. For bathroom and kitchen windows we went to Lowes and bought rollerblinds for 15-20$ each. Didnt want curtains in places where water might splash...
When we got home, I bought 4 blackout insulated back-tab curtains from JCPenneys for 20$ a panel (50X120 each) and took them to a tailor in town with the dimensions between the rails and the tabs bought from Vintage Trailer Supply Online (you will need at least 250 of em), and had her sew the tabs every 4 inches and about 3 inches inside the fabric but using the rail measurements for them, if that makes sense. So I dont have tabs sticking out of the top and bottoms of the curtains as the tabs are inset. Total was less than 350$, for 7 curtains, and I have 3 across the front. I plan to go back and have her make me some Pillow Shams with the leftover material cuz I like things all matchy matchy. Otherwise, the quote I got from Ambrusco's was 800$ and they didnt offer blackout or insulation that I wanted.

Pergo flooring is lightweight enough and scads easier to clean than carpet if you want to go that route. I am very happy with ours so far, and just put down shaggy scatter rugs for that cozy toe feeling and they can be thrown in the machine when we get home. A swiffer or even a babywipe makes the pergo flooring kid-proof.

Your baby looks to be in terrific shape! If you cant make all the way to Jackson Center, there is a Camping World in Waukonda, IL that would be able to sell you some tires and check out your systems. We havent had much luck with their techs, but that was in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Also, heard bad things about the big RV repair place in Joliet. Dont remember the name.
Air# 48404
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Old 05-12-2011, 06:03 AM   #14
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1979 30' Argosy
Havelock , where we park it
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Welcome to the Wonderful world of Argosys

Welcome to Argosys... Wonderful trailers, both trailers look really good. If wondering about some redo.. Check out our thread Costalotta start to finish... Enjoy your camping...

Marvin & Annie
Niki (fur baby)
1979 Argosy 30 (Costalotta)
WBCCI 10103
"Happiness is a warm Puppy" Charles Schulz
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