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Old 05-08-2013, 04:28 PM   #15
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I doubt the fridge will be an easy fix, but maybe

I have a 73 Argosy. The fridges are powered by propane and electricity. That part is fixable. But the guts of the fridge uses poisonous ammonia gas. It's hard to find people to work on them. Most RV places will want to sell you a new one for about $1000 plus installation. I wouldn't suggest that you try to work on that section of the fridge. Although I have read where the Amish sell a kit, but you still have to deal with filling it with lethal ammonia gas.
I bought my 73 trailer in working condition. One by one every system failed. Depending on how nice, safe, and high tech you want the trailer to be, and how much work you can do yourself, count on spending between 5 and 15 thousand. I spent about 20K on mine, but did very little work myself, and basically replaced everything. My trailer isn't a hobby, it is a tool I needed fast. I still need axles. paint and curtains.
Go online and get prices for fridge, water heater, furnace, charger, batteries, pump, tires, brakes. Add miscellaneous repairs, structural repairs and cosmetics. It's a forty year old trailer, and none of those appliances are made by Airstream. They are the same units that are in every other less than Airstream brand.
Don't get me wrong, you will LOVE it when you are done in a few years, and probably enjoy the work, but know what you are getting yourself into, and how much it will cost. I spent a whole day replacing my girlfriends ( Some other brand RV) water heater, the better part of a day remanufacturing her steps, and two days removing and replacing her kitchen, just to get at one leak. Then two trips to Home Depot, then fixing the leak.
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Old 05-08-2013, 06:50 PM   #16
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Looking at a 1973 Argosy and need advice.

Greetings Crmpacer!

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Overlander, Thank you so much for your thorough response. I want to reread your reply several times and address your questions when I have a little more time.
It is always a pleasure to be of assistance to a fellow enthusiast! These Vintage Argosy and Airstream products quickly grow on you and become like members of the family.

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One of the last things you mentioned was rear end separation and that is something I need to check. The reason being is that this camper has a ball hitch on the back. When the lady shared that the camper was from Finland I was convinced that it must have been a hitch installed with the intent of towing a Sauna along behind (Those Fins are crazy about their Sauna). Regardless of the intent I am now fearful that an extra load in the back may have stressed the rear end like previously laid out. Does anyone know if these rear hitches are part of the Argosy package or was this Jerry Rigged and causing damage to the structure.
While things seem to be changing slightly with the more recent Airstreams, it wasn't until very recently that the factory recommended against attaching anything of significance to the rear bumper of an Airstream or Argosy . . . . this included spare tire mounts as well as bicycle racks. A spare tire rack on the rear bumper added by the second owner of my Overlander around 1980 was credited as being a large contributor to the rear end separation on my Overlander that was repaired around 1998 (needless to say the spare now rides in the tow vehicle). A hitch mounted on rear bumper poses reason for concern and would indicate a good reason to carefully examine for evidence of rear end separation . . . you may find that the smaller lever arm produced by the shorter Argosy prevented it from suffering significant rear end separation, but there is no predicting what testing might reveal.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 05-11-2013, 04:12 PM   #17
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I had the opportunity to visit the trailer again today but the owners were not home. I checked the Vin and the trailer is a 22', manufactured in 1972. I also checked the back for signs of separation or sagging and am relieved to share that I did not find any. I am a decent size guy at 325lbs and when I stepped on the bumper there was no separation and every thing moved together (and then breathed a sigh of relief when I got off). The Vin was very hard to read and the only thing I could make out with any certainty was the first two numbers which were 22.

After inspecting the rear end I suspect that the axles, or at least the shocks, are shot. The trailer had very little give or spring when I was getting on and off of it. I am not sure if this is the normal reaction of this axle system but it did not feel right.

The owners are away for a week to attend a wedding so I am hoping we will be able to make some progress, or decide if our deal will work out, when they return. I just hope he followed up on his word to submit the title search before he left.
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Old 05-11-2013, 05:05 PM   #18
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Looking at a 1973 Argosy and need advice.

Greetings Crmpacer!

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I had the opportunity to visit the trailer again today but the owners were not home. I checked the Vin and the trailer is a 22', manufactured in 1972.
The production date could be either a 1972 or 1973 model. Airstream and Argosy changed their model years sometime in June. If the trailer was produced in July or later in 1972 it would be considered a 1973 model. It is not unusual, however, to find a Vintage Argosy or Airstream titled for the year when sold rather than the actual model year as assigned by Argosy/Airstream. The VIN's fourth digit will reveal the model year as assigned by Argosy. Two things that might be done to read the VIN plaque: 1) Try utilizing a piece of "onion skin" typing paper on top of the plate with a Number 2 pencil . . . rub the pencil lightly across the onion skin to see if the VIN becomes clearer, or 2) use a little chrome polish on a rag to thoroughly clean the surface where the VIN is located (this may remove enough dirt/corossion to clear up the numbers).

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I also checked the back for signs of separation or sagging and am relieved to share that I did not find any. I am a decent size guy at 325lbs and when I stepped on the bumper there was no separation and every thing moved together (and then breathed a sigh of relief when I got off). The Vin was very hard to read and the only thing I could make out with any certainty was the first two numbers which were 22.
That is good news. I was cautiously hopeful that you would find no evidence of separation as it is somewhat unusual in the trailers under 26-feet. As the shortest of the Argosy tandem axle trailers, the rear overhang is very small when compared to the 26 through 30 foot coaches where rear end separation tends to be more common.

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After inspecting the rear end I suspect that the axles, or at least the shocks, are shot. The trailer had very little give or spring when I was getting on and off of it. I am not sure if this is the normal reaction of this axle system but it did not feel right.
What you report would be highly indicative of axles that are either "frozen" or worn out. The shocks dampen movent and provide minimal "spring" function. Even with a new torsion axle, the "spring" motion will be somewhat stiffer than what you would expect in an automotive application so the "bounce" test for shock absorbers yields mixed results.

Good luck with your potential purchase!

Kevin
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Old 05-11-2013, 05:18 PM   #19
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Hope you go for it

Hello Crmpacer and welcome. Overlander64 did a remarkable job of explaining things for you and summed up in one post what hours and hours of finding and reading old posts would have taught you. There is still lots and lots of info on every subject still out there for you to find.
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Old 05-11-2013, 05:23 PM   #20
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You can use Staab Agency to register an old trailer, with just a bill of sale, in Maine. Then transfer it to any state you choose. I just did a 1969 and a 1956 with only a bill of sale.
Staab Agency
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Old 05-11-2013, 11:05 PM   #21
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Thank you for all the help.

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Hello Crmpacer and welcome. Overlander64 did a remarkable job of explaining things for you and summed up in one post what hours and hours of finding and reading old posts would have taught you. There is still lots and lots of info on every subject still out there for you to find.
Overlander is amazing. The responses are well thought out and full of helpful information. I am so thankful Kevin has taken the time out of a busy schedule to help a perspective tin can camper and his family make a well educated and informed decision.

This whole forum has been amazing. I hope I can secure our trailer so I can get to know you all better and help others as you have helped me.
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Old 05-12-2013, 12:20 AM   #22
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You can use Staab Agency to register an old trailer, with just a bill of sale, in Maine. Then transfer it to any state you choose. I just did a 1969 and a 1956 with only a bill of sale.
Staab Agency

I would be interested in pursuing that as a back up if needed. Do you know how complicated, how much the cost and lead time?

Thanks so much,
Charles
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