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Old 04-01-2007, 10:42 AM   #1
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1976 26' Argosy 26
glen ellyn , Illinois
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Rivet looking for advice from the forum

Hi everyone.
I am here in my trailer, at the resort campground my Argosy lives at.
My husband and I are debating, or in lots of discussion of what we can do for our a/s.
I have been in here about two hours, investigating, taking lots of pictures, writing down what I think needs or could use a repair.
Here's my question that's been bugging me:
So where do I start?

We've had this a/s for ten years. If I can't have a newer a/s, I think I want to make this one last a while longer.

The biggest things are the floor, a wall, and how do I find a leak in the ceiling?
I have a wall between the gaucho and bath tub that has a big tear. We have always had problem pulling the gaucho in and out, but we didn't know we ripped the bottom of the wall in the process.
This is the first year we believe there is a ceiling leak. I had left a pair of shoes in here, they got moldy. So did the floor. It's soggy by the front door. And jumping up and down makes it creaky.

There is a laundry list of things that could be done, and we only get out here one or two sundays a month.
Can you guys give me some direction on where or how to get started?
I've really, really got my heart on keeping our cream 'stream, it's our first home outside of living with our parents. (Sentimental value?)

I don't know if I should even ask if my trailer is worth keeping, because I know a lot of folks here have invested a lot of work into their trailers.

I'll be posting pictures later. If it wasn't raining outside, I'd take some outside shots.
I'm on my blackberry, forgive me if this is a marathon of a post.
Thanks so much in advance.

fan of the VAP podcast.
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Old 04-01-2007, 10:45 AM   #2
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2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 10,336
Depending on how bad the floor is, it could be a shell off chassis restoration. In any case, restoring is usually les costly than a new Airstream, depending on what you place into it. It's not uncommon to see 50 and 60 year old Airstreams still on the road today.

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Old 04-01-2007, 10:50 AM   #3
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1977 31' Excella 500
Berkeley Springs , West Virginia
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I think you'll want to stop the leak first. At least before you do much rebuilding. There are various ways to find them. The manual says to have a person on the ouside with a hose spraying in one area while somebody else is inside looking for a leak. Do this for awhile, if no leak, then spray a different area. Another way is to put soapy water over the outside of the coach and pressurize the inside with air. I'm not real sure how you would do that...maybe use a shop vac or something where you somehow draw air in from the outside to the closed up coach and create some positive pressure inside. Then look for soapy bubbles outside. Where you see them is where the leak is. These things can leak from many different places. Rivets not driven properly, vulkem missing from the seams, there are tons of places. But I'd try to fix the leak early on. Then you can rest assured that whatever you fix next won't get water damaged.

My '77 leaks around the window seals. When it rains sideways, I take on water in the kitchen area. Inland RV sells all that stuff. You'll see them on here.

Good luck!
- Jim
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Old 04-01-2007, 11:19 AM   #4
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1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
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looking for advice from the forum

Greetings lilmouse!

You have owned your Argosy 26 about the same amount of time that I have owned my Overlander (I have about two years more in my Overlander). My suggestions is that if you are truly happy with your coach with no strong desire for an Argosy or Airstream of a different vintage or size; proceed with repairs refurbishment. Back in 1997 when I spent over $3,000 to have rear end separation and floor rot repaired, the typical advice was don't since it was approximating the value of the coach at the time -- I proceeded anyway and have had no regrets. If you aren't greatly attached to the coach, you may end up regretting spending on repairs -- so it is something of a decision with two components -- emotional attachment to the coach and the extent to which you are prepared to go to remedy problems.

If the leak is by the entrance door, it is quite likely due to gasket failure around the door or warpage that results when the door blows open and bangs against the side of the coach (this can happen when parked as well as when underway -- typically the damage is worse when the door blows open in-transit). If the rot isn't terribly severe, it may be possible to use an epoxy consolidant to strengthen the plywood once it has dried out.

You aren't too far from an excellent, Vintage Friendly, Airstream dealer who could evaluate the coach if you have any uncertainties. Ace Fogdall RV in Cedar Falls Iowa has done virtually all of the repairs and restoration on my coaches (chassis, running gear, structure, etc.).

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 04-01-2007, 01:02 PM   #5
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Vintage Kin Owner
Virginia Beach , Virginia
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Good Advice Kevin!

I agree that the leaks should be stopped first, they will ruin any other repairs you attempt. I think Kevin has given you particularly good advice. You sound overwhelmed... wondering what to do, how much will be involved and what comes first. A vintage friendly dealer will charge you for a complete evaluation and "to do" list, but that alone will break the job down into doable steps. The dealer can also give you an idea of how difficult the jobs are so that you can decide which are "do it yourself" and which should be done by the dealer.

Your list should also give you an idea of how long each step should take and what it should cost. Only you know which you have more of - money or time. I don't think of myself as being rich, however 2 years of fulltiming for dirt cheap have put a lot of cash in my pocket! So I'd probably have the dealer do pretty much everything but the upholstery and curtains if I were into vintage.

I never advise anyone to go deep into debt for an RV hobby. You've got to take care of real life obligations first, and put away money for kids college and your own eventual retirement FIRST. Then pick a hobby or "second life" and enjoy it fully. That said, it IS a wierd truth that you CAN finance a brand spanking new Airstream with a reasonable downpayment for 15 years with monthly payments of under $500 (for a 25' or 27').... and you might spend LESS over the next three to five years than you will to restore your Argosy. You'll also be camping next week. (If you DO go to the dealer, you WILL look at new ones... Resistance is Futile.)

Whatever you choose Have Fun!

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Old 04-01-2007, 02:56 PM   #6
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Dunsmuir , California
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I think step one is to get it dry! Find a safe way to supply heat and moving air and dry it very thoughly. The floor can stand some wet if it doesn't stay wet. Leave it wet and glue may fail and/or rot set in.
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Old 04-01-2007, 03:02 PM   #7
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1976 26' Argosy 26
glen ellyn , Illinois
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 135
Images: 29
Send a message via MSN to lilmouse Send a message via Yahoo to lilmouse stopped raining for two minutes, but the wind is blowing and it's cold out here. I tried to figure out where the leak is coming from, but I can't use the garden hose. Everything here is still in a winterized state of mind.
The door gasket is something I did not think about, the door has been blown away quite a bit over the years.
A friend of our family did give us an awning off of their trailer, a 24 ft argosy. I don't think my husband did a great job at trying to install it (mostly improvised). We are now thinking that the awning is a bad idea plus it's holding a lot of rain water. Jeff and I will be checking out the seams on the roof maybe in the next visit here, under better weather conditions.

This repair/restoration idea could go one way or the other. I'll be checking out the different areas of the forums, get an idea of how much money and time people have spent on similar issues.

Either way it goes, I think jeff and I enjoy the trailer. I have been coming to this campground since I was a toddler with my grandparents. They have passed away, and I have my own property here. If we don't get another airstream, I know we'll buy a park model.
I just love it in this campground! Good change of scenery.
I'll try to post the pics I took today when we get home.
I read the reponses here to my husband. Lots of good advice! Thank you!

fan of the VAP podcast.
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