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Old 11-28-2005, 04:10 PM   #1
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Hello,
I am new to this forum. I am in the process of buying my first travel trailer. I may be an Argosy owner by the end of this week! I talk to a friend visiting a neighbor and he wants to sell me a 1976 or 1977, (he dont remeber the year) Its a 20 or 22 foot Argosy. I have an appointment to look at it Wed. I am very interested in this travel trailer and what you folks think. I have known the owner for about 4 years and he has owned this Argosy for about 12 years.

I know it has not been used in about 3 years. I know it has a new water heater in it. I know the furnance does not work. The tires are most likely cracked and need replacing.

Does anyone know what this trailer will weigh? What else do I need to know? Help me all you can. What is it worth? What do I need to look for when I inspect this trailer Wed?
Mtnman
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Old 11-28-2005, 06:15 PM   #2
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Argosy 20 will weigh 2880 pounds, with a GVW of around 3500.
Argosy 22 will be around 800-1000 pounds more, both dry weight, and GVW.
As far as what to check, a quick forum search, using the search button in the upper-right hand corner of the screen, for things to check, will ghet you started. You can also find the thread, "So you want to buy a trailer that's 3 states away?" using the same search method. You may be able to find a volunteer inspector that can take a look at the trailer for you, and give you a report on condition.
Price will also be dependent on condition. You can pay anywhere from $500 to $5000, depending on whether it is an Argosy 20, or Argosy 22, and what condition it is in.
Good luck with your potential new purchase
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Old 11-28-2005, 06:23 PM   #3
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Greetings mtnman!

I might add to what Terry has posted in that, given the confusion about model year, you may be looking at either a Minuet 6.0 Metre or a Minuet 6.7 Metre as the Minuet line was introduced in 1977 (most states titled the coaches based on 20' for the 6.0 Metre or 22' for the 6.7 Metre). While there aren't terribly significant differences in either floorplans or other equipment, there is a rather significant difference in width -- the Minuet series is 8" narrower than the standard line. The Minuets are fun to own and tow, but if you aren't expecting the narrower dimension, it can be something of a surprise. There is also a small reduction in both Empty Weight (dry weight) as well as GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) with the Minuet -- it is even possible that a Minuet of either 6.0 or 6.7 Metres may have an aluminum composite floor.

Good luck with your investigations!

Kevin
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Old 11-28-2005, 06:43 PM   #4
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Welcome to the Forums mtnman! It sounds like you have a grasp of some of the issues. In spite of your familiarity with the line of ownership I would recommend looking at the unit closely and counter-offer more in line with the specifics you determine. I am sure Terry's recommendation about the 'So you want to buy a trailer that's 3 states away?' thread could result in somebody knowledgeable that would go back to the trailer with you another time.

Be wary of unseen floor issues if it smells musty inside. This is a good starting point - Vintage Airstream's 'Price vs. Condition' (http://www.vintageairstream.com/rr_t...condition.html). An Argosy in good condition could be near the value of a Safari of the period. But the higher end prices are only worthwhile if they can prove the floors are in very good condition. BTW - the furnace issue doesn't surprise me. You should want to put in your own new furnace without penalizing the PO pricewise -- carbon monoxide is way too dangerous on units this old! (search on: carbon monoxide recall)

Your 1/2-ton Ford would be great with either a 20- or 22-foot (no small compliment since folks usually want to tow 28' or more with these). Airstream didn't even offer an 8'6" wide trailer until the early 1990s. My '76 Argosy is 8' and so much easier to pull than the newer, wider, heavier trailers. Now ... you may be looking at a 7'6" wide Minuet. I don't have much knowledge about those but towing would be easier yet. I find that some folks bring preconceptions from SOB trailers and wish/hope for more space inside Airstreams. 7'6" wide is reported to feel small for extended traveling. 8' wide models are worth the tradeoff IMHO.

Let us know how this works out!
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Old 11-28-2005, 07:31 PM   #5
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I already learn a lot here my first day. One thing is, the Airstreams are called "Coaches" not travel trailers....sorry. Where can I get a price on a new furnance for my coach?
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Old 11-28-2005, 07:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnman
I already learn a lot here my first day. One thing is, the Airstreams are called "Coaches" not travel trailers....sorry. Where can I get a price on a new furnance for my coach?
Mtnman
Airstreams are called coaches because we want to feel more better than the SOB owners that own mere travel trailers.
Almost any RV supply place can help you out with a new furnace, just try not to tell them it's for an Airstream. They have a tendency to hold their hands over their ears, and chant "take it to the dealer, take it to the dealer".
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Old 11-28-2005, 08:05 PM   #7
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When I go look at this coach Wed, I am taking some coveralls and a flashlight. Will I be able to see up under the body of the coach or is it sealed off? What do I need to look for underneath there?
mtnman?
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Old 11-28-2005, 08:30 PM   #8
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I also need to know how to tell what model coach I will be looking at?. Are there numbers somewhere? Is there a model name spelled out somewhere on the unit?
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Old 11-28-2005, 08:39 PM   #9
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Take a small screwdriver (sharp object) if you should need to test any dark or damp appearing plywood.

Is this a 2-wheel or a 4-wheel trailer. The latter may tow somewhat nicer and are easier to deal with flat tires. You can tow at under 45mph on 3 tires to get into town per the manual. A spare is not so important if you can live with this; provisions for carrying a spare may not be present. To change a tire you pull the other up a small ramp or some 2x8s until the desired tire is off the ground.

The belly wrap will pretty well enclose the entire underside. Try to judge the amount of rust on the shock absorbers. The front ends of the A-frame merge right at the hitch. These front ends are channel steel that are open right behind where the hitch ball goes. Bring a wipe for the grease but you might want to feel inside these channels for hidden rust flakes. Is the breakaway switch original (and maybe rusted all to bits?) -- if the wires are intact this is an easy replacement. Are the tanks original (non-OPD) -- you would need to buy a new pair ($63.00 apiece at Camping World). How good is the seal as the A-frame enters the belly wrap up front -- probably not great -- but what condition is the steel channel as it enters?

Ask everything you can about the electric trailer brakes! If they have a tow vehicle set up for this trailer, could they take you up to 20-25mph and demonstrate manual activation of the brakes? Can they demonstrate use of the weight distribution bars if they have the various parts?

On the outside junction of the galvanized steel end caps and aluminum sides -- is there much bimetallic rust there? That can be handled... The marker lights have nearly identical replacements at fleet stores near you -- no need to go to Airstream suppliers for those (keep the aluminum mount for the corners!). The roof-top plumbing vents are plastic and usually in pretty poor condition by now. What shape is the awning in (if any -- may be CareFree or ZipDee -- this is either a make-do situation or replace entirely at some later date)? How firm or well caulked does the lower awning arm attachment seem to be down at floor level? Unless there is 30A electric service on site you will have to take the word of your friends about whether the air conditioner works.

Where is the water tank? It is at trailer front under the couch (or 'gaucho' as we coach-ites like to say...) in my Argosy. It hid a lot of leakage from the front windows and the floor was gone underneath. Can the owner demonstrate the water pump actually working? How about the Dometic fridge? An RV fridge may take overnight to cool down and this could be hard to judge if your conditions are cool that day. This is a very expensive ($1000) replacement if required.

If the battery compartment is an exterior door, the top and sides of the compartment inside is a one-piece plastic shell; there is an aluminum tray on the compartment floor -- is the caulked seal between the shell and tray in good condition? (otherwise suspect floor rot underneath)

The main fore-and-aft frame channel steel is 5 ft apart in an 8' trailer. The remainder of the width is made up of thin steel side sections called outriggers. Look in the wheelwells -- the lowest vertical part (about 4.5-5" tall) at the very front and back of the wheelwell in my 4-wheel 24-footer are outriggers. The outer edge of the outrigger is curved to help form the edge of the belly wrap. Do the outriggers show any significant rust issues?

Have the black and grey tank valves been operated recently? How well did they work? Does the Univolt work? Battery age is less important -- a minor plus if it is relatively new. Does the Univolt recharge effectively?

I'd usually recommend replacing the mattresses. Camping World had the twin sizes in stock. If you buy do you have a brake controller in your tow vehicle? http://www.rjays.com/Product_Directo...rts-dir-01.htm has some of the better prices on the Tekonsha Prodigy but you'll have to figure out the installation later. This could determine how soon you might be able to take possession.
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Old 11-28-2005, 08:52 PM   #10
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Look at the 2nd page of
http://www.airstream.com/airstream/product_line/customer_service/docs/pre1980vin.pdf

The Argosies were made in Versailles OH, so would have the letter V for the factory location. The other thread you've started has a reply by Kevin Allen (overlander 64), something of the resident expert on Minuet and Argosy models. I'd suggest re-posting questions to that thread if you still have questions after seeing this 'coach.' He'll see your inquiry since he's already offered input in that thread.
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Old 11-28-2005, 08:56 PM   #11
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.....The Argosies were made in Versailles OH, so would have the letter V for the factory location. .......
Some were made in California - including mine - a 1977 - go figure!
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Old 11-28-2005, 09:55 PM   #12
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I have a brake controller already installed on my truck. The coach does have dual axles with brakes. I think it is the 1976 22 foot model. He said he thought the hitch ball size was 2 5/8, is that correct? He is going to give me the equalizer hitch, slide in sleeve with ball and sway bar control, what is all that worth used? I plan to drive away with the rig back home Wed afternoon--60 miles? I found a furnance on ebay for $300. Is the furnance hard to replace? Thanks for all your help!!!! You have made it so much easier than I thought, I just hope this coach is a nice one.
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Old 11-29-2005, 06:19 AM   #13
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Not the expert these other guys are; however, I have an Argosy 1978, 24ft. that I am very fond of. It is the dual axel and pulls like a dream. I didn't know all the things to look for when I bought mine, so I was lucky to have found an honest seller. After getting "The Big Twinkie" home I was able to do a complete check and found there was nothing I (or my RV man) couldn't fix. Have had a great deal of pleasure from this coach. I hope you find your Argosy tomorrow and he is everything you hope for. Welcome to the very addicting forum. Oh yes, WE WANT PICTURES
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Old 11-29-2005, 06:28 AM   #14
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Some were made in California - including mine - a 1977 - go figure!
Janet,
Just out of curosity how did you all establish that? From all I have read they only made them Versailles...but there is a lot of unsubtantiated information floating around about Airstreams in general...like all of us millonare owners...I guess I am...if you count my net worth in pennies

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