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Old 07-07-2013, 02:51 PM   #1
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1976 Argosy 26
Perry , Georgia
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Talking Newbie

We have a 1976 26 ' Argosy and honestly we have no idea where to start w/ this camper. It has been sitting in the weather for 2 yrs. We know the electric and A/C works when we plug in to an electric source. Besides that we have not a clue!!!! Please help the ignorant in campers????? Where do you start?
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Old 07-07-2013, 03:28 PM   #2
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Its hard to say without more details. What are your plans for the Argosy. Will you travel with it or park it somewhere. Pictures inside and out will help forum members get a feel for the trailer and its condition. Then observations can be given with thoughts on the coarse of action to take. You have come to the right place but more details and good pictures is where to start at this point.

Good luck
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Old 07-07-2013, 03:44 PM   #3
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1976 Argosy 26
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Thank you so much. Great advice and will follow!! We have 2 boys ages 12 & 5 . We plan to do as much as we can as far as travel and going to parks. pics to follow soon.....
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Old 07-07-2013, 03:58 PM   #4
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Welcome!
You will find this forum to be a wealth of information and wisdom!
Read, read and read some more!
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Old 07-07-2013, 04:14 PM   #5
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Here is our Argosy..... I call it out diamond in the rough ....

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Old 07-07-2013, 04:15 PM   #6
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Bring the advice on .... I didn't label cause I know all you experts will know what it is .....lol
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Old 07-07-2013, 04:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vicki A. View Post
Welcome!
You will find this forum to be a wealth of information and wisdom!
Read, read and read some more!
Thank You
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Old 07-07-2013, 04:19 PM   #8
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Also we do know water is leaking from a copper pipe where the two red knobs which I believe is wheat the water heater is...
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Old 07-07-2013, 04:59 PM   #9
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I started at the top. Complete wash job. I did all the deferred maintenance, starting with sewer vent gaskets and screens, then top seams and rivets. I got all the towing lights either working or replaced, then new window and door gaskets. Tinted the windows and installed new front window rock guard. Next I repaired all damage - floor wood repair, frame welding, and body dent repair. I removed all of the interior except the bath vanity top and the shower bay.

I washed all the interior walls and painted the wood floor with Kilz Original.

I replaced all the fixtures and appliances. Three new ceiling Fantastic fans, new air conditioner, new water heater, furnace, cooking stove/oven, and refrigerator. New floor covering, new plumbing, new sink, new faucets, new cabinets, new countertops, new bed, new sofa.

Outside, I cleaned and set up the brakes, packed the wheel bearings, installed new tires, put on new breakaway switch, new umbilical cord, new jack, new stabilizer, new stabilizer pads, all new gas lines, painted gas tanks, stripped clearcoat, polished outside aluminum skin, and installed new fabric on awning with Alumaguard.

All I have left is to install the new bathroom door and new drapes and it's all new or looks like new.
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Old 07-07-2013, 05:32 PM   #10
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Thank You
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:59 PM   #11
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Bring the advice on .... I didn't label cause I know all you experts will know what it is .....lol
It looks all original from the Armstrong AC to the toilet. You don't see either of those items to often. Does anyone know where that thread is from happycamper about his Argosy that he rebuilt and he called it "Costalota" That is a very good thread where he covers what he did from beginning to end. I just can't find it now.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:53 PM   #12
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Greetings jshughes!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage First Generation Argosy Travel Trailers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jshughes View Post
We have a 1976 26 ' Argosy and honestly we have no idea where to start w/ this camper. It has been sitting in the weather for 2 yrs. We know the electric and A/C works when we plug in to an electric source. Besides that we have not a clue!!!! Please help the ignorant in campers????? Where do you start?
As was mentioned by an earlier poster, Happycampers posted a detailed running account of the refurbishment of their 30-foot Argosy rear bedroom in a thread titled: Costalotta Start to Finish


There are any number of ways to approach a restoration/refurbish project. A good starting place is to thorough clean and check both the interior and exterior. The cleaning process will help to highlight any areas with problems. The first goal should be safety related items such as:
  • Condition and operation of running lights on trailer.
  • Condition and operation of trailer brakes, wheel bearings, and axles.
  • Condition of frame and outriggers.
  • Condition and operation of coupler and hitch components.
  • Condition and age of tires/wheels.
Once the above systems have been deemed to be sound and safe, you have a coach that is safe to tow. Next, you will want to focus upon preventative maintenance items such as:
  • New gaskets and seals for all windows, doors, and compartment openings.
  • New gaskets for the plumbing vents that exit through the roof.
  • Re-sealing all penetrations through the roof such as ceiling vents, tv-antenna, refrigerator vent, bathroom vent, air conditioner, etc.
  • Resealing seams and any loose rivets that may be discovered anywhere on the trailer.
  • Recertify LP tanks and have new OPD valves installed if a previous owner hasn't already done so . . . if the tanks are aluminum the process is well worth the cost, but if they tanks are steel it may be cheaper to purchase new tanks.
Your next task will likely be assessing the interior and floors. The floors need to be carefully examined for rot . . . small areas can be treated with wood rot consolidants or can be patched with new plywood. Large areas of rot typically entail a comparatively major repair (many thread on floor repair/replacement can be found here on the forums). If you find that you can have good floors with a few minor repairs, you will have a number of options. My suggestion would be to try to limit the degree of change to the interior until you have had the opportunity to use it in its "original" configuration. I basically followed the procedure that I have outlined with my Overlander and I have thoroughly enjoyed using it while I learned what could be cone to make it mine. Some of the things that you will want to check include:
  • If your Argosy has its original Univolt, I would suggest replacing it with a modern multi-stage power converter that will be kinder to your house battery and any electronic devices that you add.
  • If you are uncomfortable with LP gas appliances, consider having a competent RV technician inspect and adjust your LP appliances as needed . . . or advise you of any that are beyond feasible repair. Most of the original appliances are beyond their designed life expectancy, but sill may provide service for a number of years.
    • The range/oven typically can be revived with minimal effort if the thermostat and controls for the oven are still functional. Both my Argosy and Airstream have their original ranges.
    • The factory furnaces have the reputation of being problematic as a number were subject of recalls due to problems with the heat exchangers allowing carbon monoxide into the coach. My Overlander had a bad heat exchanger when I purchased it . . . my Minuet still has its original furnace, but it is inspected annually for problems with the heat exchanger.
    • The water heater may fire and heat your water effectively for a long time, but my experience was that the original water heater in both of my trailers failed during either my first or second season of use.
  • Your Argosy may still have its original PAR water pump, and if this is the case, it is a device that can be rebuilt and it will continue to serve you faithfully for many years. The PAR pumps are a bit noisier than their modern counterparts, but they far outlast any of their competitors with a little periodic service.
  • The original Thetford toilet may be operational for some time into the future, but you need to be prepared that repair parts when needed may be difficult or impossible to find. I had to replace my Minuet's toilet because the part that it needed was no longer available from Thetbord.
  • If your Argosy has an original Armstrong air conditioner, don't automatically condemn it if it isn't functional. The Armstrong units were rebuildable unlike their modern counterparts. I didn't learn this lesson until well after I had been talked into replacing my Overlander's Armstrong with Coleman Mach III. The Armstrong was quieter and cooled the interior much better than the newer and larger air conditioner plus I miss the wall thermostat the Armstrong unit possessed.
There is one thing that I would suggest considering updating even if the original is still working. One of the modifications that I made on my Overlander that has solved a number of issues was the installation of a Marinco entrance for the 30-AMP shore-power electrical service . . . I no longer have the electrical cord stored in the same compartment with the sewer hose.

I am sure that you and your family with have many years of memories with your Argosy!

Kevin

P.S.: Another addition to consider is adding a three-piece Airstream rock guard for your front windows . . . or a similar product for protecting those difficult to replace clear front deep-wrap-wing-windows. While you can find new replacements for a broken wing window, the replacement will be solar gray tinted rather than clear.
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Old 07-07-2013, 09:23 PM   #13
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1976 Argosy 26
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Thank You Very Much!!! Can't wait for the adventure to start ..... So glad for the advice and look forward to much more to come!!!!!
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Old 07-08-2013, 08:21 AM   #14
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Think seriously about replacing the copper water pipe with PEX and the slip on fittings that go with it. It is much easier to work with than copper and you can sell the copper pipe as scrap. Follow the copper pipe 'plan' as it will tell you where valves go and what the measurements are for the pipe runs. Those two red top valves are near the univolt and the floor there is going to need attention. Dry it out and see what the condition is when dry. The valves are probably part of the system for draining the water system on the trailer with a pipe going down through the floor as a drain.
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