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Old 01-25-2008, 02:55 PM   #1
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1975 Argosy 22 Rear Door
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Newbie owner of 23' rear door - pulling issues?

Hiya,

We just bought a 23' Argosy rear door and had an experience shipper tow it from Ohio to California using a large, diesel pickup. During their trip, the drivers said the Argosy was TOUGH to pull, even with the sway bar installed, etc. In fact, the prior owner seemed to always have issues related to towing and said one of the reasons they were selling was because the trailer was hard to tow, especially at speeds of 50MPH+.

My question - are there known issues of ease-of-towing with this particular model and/or Argosy's in general? Should I look for a bent frame/axle/?? to see what's causing the problem? Could it be because the rear-door model has a weight distribution issue or something?

Like I said, I'm a total newbie, so any help is greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-25-2008, 02:58 PM   #2
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Axle and brakes come to mind...these are easy tow trailers.....if the diesel had an issue, then something has gotta be wrong and the only place I'd think to look first at would be the axle(s) and brakes.
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Old 01-25-2008, 03:02 PM   #3
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What he said. Axles, bearings, brakes. These are light, well balanced units. They should tow very easily with a moderate sized tow vehicle.

Congrats on a unique fun model!
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Old 01-25-2008, 03:07 PM   #4
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The rear door 22 and 24 foot models (no 23 offered, Argosy was even number lengths, Airstream odd-numbered lengths) have an unusually low tongue weight, this may be partly to blame for the hard to tow feeling.
IIRC, a regular 24' had a tongue weight of around 550 pounds, and a rear-entry model was around 400. This COULD cause a feeling of squirrelyness.
I towed an Argosy 24 front entry with a Dodge Dakota, and it was very easy to tow.
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Old 01-25-2008, 03:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mendosoft
Hiya,

We just bought a 23' Argosy rear door and had an experience shipper tow it from Ohio to California using a large, diesel pickup. During their trip, the drivers said the Argosy was TOUGH to pull, even with the sway bar installed, etc. In fact, the prior owner seemed to always have issues related to towing and said one of the reasons they were selling was because the trailer was hard to tow, especially at speeds of 50MPH+.

My question - are there known issues of ease-of-towing with this particular model and/or Argosy's in general? Should I look for a bent frame/axle/?? to see what's causing the problem? Could it be because the rear-door model has a weight distribution issue or something?

Like I said, I'm a total newbie, so any help is greatly appreciated.
What does "hard to tow" mean? Some specifics would help to solve this problem.

Bill
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Old 01-25-2008, 03:11 PM   #6
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What did he mean by tough to tow. Since he said at 50+ MPH, it most likely is a sway issue. I would look at weight as being a possible issue. The hitch weight should be in the 10% - 15% of the trailer weight for a good tow. If the hitch weight is too low, sway becomes a real issue.
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Old 01-25-2008, 03:34 PM   #7
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1975 Argosy 22 Rear Door
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Right, my bad - it's a 22'

Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
The rear door 22 and 24 foot models (no 23 offered, Argosy was even number lengths, Airstream odd-numbered lengths) have an unusually low tongue weight, this may be partly to blame for the hard to tow feeling.
IIRC, a regular 24' had a tongue weight of around 550 pounds, and a rear-entry model was around 400. This COULD cause a feeling of squirrelyness.
I towed an Argosy 24 front entry with a Dodge Dakota, and it was very easy to tow.

This looks like a great forum, and thanks for the multiple responses re: towing problems. My notes:

1. Yeah, it's the 22 rear door.

2. I think the tower was talking about sway, i.e. when a big rig or something passed them, you really had to have a hold of the tow vehicle's steering wheel. They said 'even with the sway bar', it was hard to tow. My guess is that it started to move around a) at speed > 50mph and b) when side draft from a passing big rig.

3. I'm relying on information over the phone rather than direct experience, so it might be hard to convey the exact dynamics. I WILL ask them for more info when I talk to them in 30 mins.

I'll post more info when I have it. I may be able to ask the seller re: what their experience was as well.

Back w/you soon - thanks!

Steve
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Old 01-25-2008, 03:52 PM   #8
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Trailer has no propane tanks - could that affect hitch weight?

Quote:
Originally Posted by azflycaster
What did he mean by tough to tow. Since he said at 50+ MPH, it most likely is a sway issue. I would look at weight as being a possible issue. The hitch weight should be in the 10% - 15% of the trailer weight for a good tow. If the hitch weight is too low, sway becomes a real issue.
I do know that the trailer is arriving w/o propane tanks, so maybe that could make the hitch weight to total weight ratio too low? I'm not sure if the prior owner ever had tanks on and/or if that affected the towing experience.
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Old 01-25-2008, 04:02 PM   #9
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Yes. If the tongue weight goes much below 10% of trailer gross weight, it gets like trying to throw an arrow backwards through the air -- it'll try to switch ends on you. This can get very dangerous!

Do you have the manual? Argosy published one manual to cover all models in a given year. It gives base weights and option weights. That will give you a guess on curb weight. The manual also include this technique - http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...ale-24195.html
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Old 01-25-2008, 04:07 PM   #10
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Has the trailer been modified in a way that has changed its centre of gravity? I particulary thinking of extra weight in the rear, or extra weight up high.
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Old 01-25-2008, 04:58 PM   #11
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Argosy built this floor plan both in a rear door and a front door model. The front door model had the axels mounted farther back on the frame than the rear door model. If you look in the Archives section of Vintage Airstream Home you'll see what I mean. With the rear door model, the axels are farther forward, the hitch weight is significantly less, and there is more rear overhang which contributes to poor towing. Couple things to consider. 1) Load the trailer heavy up front and always empty the holding tanks before hitting the freeway. 2) Use double sway bars - one on each side of the hitch. 3) It sounds crazy, but run the next size smaller tire on the front axel. Might just add a little more hitch weight. Airstream had the same problem with some of the '80s 34' frames designed for front kitchen floor plans but were used for front lounge models when the front kitchen did not sell well. Their solution was to add solid steel bars inside the a-frame at the front of the hitch to increase hitch weight - not really a great solution. Friends who bought one of those nearly ended up in the ditch before they traded it in for a 34' Classic motorhome. Darol
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Old 01-25-2008, 06:03 PM   #12
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Welcome to the Forums

Welcome to the forums. Lots of experience here. The towability issues are very important to solve. It's a real safety issue.

To help diagnose the tow issues, be sure to take the trailer to truck scales and take several measurements. Total wt of trailer as you received it. Disconnect from tow vehicle and get the axle wt and tongue wt together. Then the axles by themselves. Then the left side wheels and then the right.

Review of the data will determine if it's a wt and balance problem or if you need to look elsewhere. Post the data here and we'll help interpret if you like. The cost to weigh is very nominal. Explain to the scale operator that you are trying to diagnose a safety issue and they will help you as long as you're not there at a busy time. CAT scales are a major franchise that operates truck scales.
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Old 01-25-2008, 06:26 PM   #13
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What kind of tires are on it also? If it's "P" rated tires, not "ST" (or Special trailer) the soft sidewalls will contribute to sway. Gary and Janet (Janet is a moderator here) have a simular trailer - I don't think they've had any issues with it. My bet is underinflated "P" car tires, no propane tanks, and an empty fresh water tank. Get good trailer tires, inflate them to max recommended pressure, fill the propane, and get some water in the tank it at will be fine.

Also, check how it's hitched up and weigh (search "trailer and scales" or "CAT scales" ) to find out how to measure the weights of the your trailer tires, and the weight distribution of hitch weight on the front / rear axles of your tow vehicle. You want the set up to be level trailer to tow vehicle and front to back on the tow vehicle. My bet is that the trailering folks just hitched up to their p/u and pulled away. Take a pic before they unhook for us to look at (from the side of the trailer / p/u). My bet is the trailer is a bit nose high looking from the side of the setup (as in the hitch ball is too high). That will increase sway.

I don't think you will have any further issues once properly set up.

Of course, if it's "hard to pull" based on just getting up to speed, then it's a brake / axle bearing issue.

Also, I'm not sure where in CA you are, but if you live down south by Newport Beach, send a PM to member Uwe. He might be able to help you with your setup as well. He's a great wealth of knowledge, even if he denies his abilities!

Send pics when you get it, and welcome aboard!
Marc
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Old 01-26-2008, 09:56 AM   #14
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1975 Argosy 22 Rear Door
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Thanks! And more info to follow

Thanks for all the info. We'll hit each item and continue to diagnose the situation re: tires, weight dist, axles/brakes/bearings, etc.

The trailer is stuck in Reno, NV right now headed to our home in the San Francisco Bay Area. During the transport, one of the forward curved windows took a rock and shattered, so it's in Reno waiting for a custom replacement window. Hopefully, that'll go smoothly - the OEM replacements are apparently very hard to come by - and the window repair shop says they can make a mold of the window and get a solid fit. We'll see!?

FYI - I started this thread (http://www.airforums.com/forums/f227...3-a-39264.html) to track that repair and will continue to post updates as we move forward.

So once I have the trailer in hand, can take pictures and can diagnose in person, I'll continue this thread and see where we end up. That'll likely be a week or so after we get over to Reno to pick up the trailer.
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