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Old 05-30-2014, 09:07 AM   #1
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Newport , North Carolina
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Red face Potential Argosy Owners in Eastern NC

Good morning, lovely Airstreamers! We are a young Marine Corps family of four living in Eastern North Carolina and scoping out vintage campers. My husband is about to come home from his THIRD back-to-back deployment to Afghanistan and what seems to be a potentially perfect candidate for our family is available in our area.

AIRSTREAM AGOSY

I have already contacted the seller to confirm that the travel trailer is still available, but was wondering if I could get some advice from the community on what questions to ask, what to look for in pictures/in person, and what you think of this Argosy based on the pictures available. I have been all over the forums and web doing my own research, but I certainly have little real-life experience and want to make the most well-guided decision for my family.

Thank you in advance for any and all assistance, and I so look forward to becoming part of the Airstream family, whether it is with the above trailer or another one in the future!
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Old 05-30-2014, 09:55 AM   #2
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1978 31' Sovereign
Texas Airstream Harbor , Zavalla, in the Deep East Texas Piney Woods on Lake Sam Rayburn
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The Argy looks good in the pictures. 27' is (to me) the ideal towing size. One thing to look out for with the rear bath is floor rot and rear end separation - you need to look up here on the Forums what those problems are. Five grand is a reasonable purchase price for a unit in more or less "average" condition. Keep in mind that just a little bit of floor rot or frame issues will quickly bring the unit to a less than average condition.

Things like axles and various rubber body seals can usually be taken care of after you get some initial use out of it and decide if the Airstream lifestyle is really for your young family. Tires will have to be replaced unless they are less than 5 years old (no matter what they look like). Consider a lot of maintenance as just the cost of ownership. Small general aviation mechanics are familiar with body work if any comes up - the learning curve is steep and expensive on aluminum skinned trailers. Even more so with the problems created by Airstreams monocoque design which relies on the bond with the frame to the floor and the floor to the shell for much of the overall body strength.

Best insurance you can get is to find an inspector who has rebuilt a similar Airstream - either a professional or hobbiest - and have the inspector do a THOROUGH inspection - this will take at least a couple of hours. If the unit was stored indoors during much of it's life you may have a real jewel in the rough. On the other hand, without knowing what to look for and where to look you may find yourself in over your head with repairs. Be prepared to somehow compensate the inspector for taking an afternoon out of his life to do a proper inspection for you - an invitation to a Bar-B-Que at least. That inspection will may well save you a ton of money.

It has been said on here that the purchase price is just the down payment on Vintage ownership. You may want to budget items such as a new water heater, a new furnace, and a new fridge - with a unit this old it just makes sense to replace things that may go wrong while you are sleeping. I do not include the stove since you will be right there when the stove is in operation. Too many things can go wrong with older gas appliances while you are sleeping.

Contact a WBCCI member in your area and go to a rally or two and ask lots of questions. Forum rallies are great tool also, if you can find one in your area.

After reading through a couple of dozen rebuild threads you should readily be able to garner out those who know what they are talking about from those who just like to talk about it. Do not be afraid to PM anyone whom you think may be able to help you with a particular question.

Good luck with your camper purchase, what ever you decide to do.

Thanks to you and your husband for the service to our great country.
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Old 05-30-2014, 11:06 AM   #3
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Fortunately when I was Active Duty I was stationed with the Marine Air Wing, so I am sure I can find some airframers that would be willing to help/advise for the price of beer and food, if needed. I tried to search the forums for inspectors in the area and found that there is one in Wilmington, very near the trailer, but he hasn't been active in a couple years. I will probably still contact him, but continue to search for another reliable inspector. I 100% agree with pre-purchase inspections and have never made a major purchase without that kind of advisement. This site and the forums are a true goldmine of wealthy information. I spent hours last night reading the ENTIRE forum about Smokeless Joe (Sergei)'s total Argosy overhaul. DROOL.
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Old 05-30-2014, 11:09 AM   #4
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1977 Argosy 24
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First thank you and your husband for your service to our country. From the description it looks like the original propane/electric refrigerator has been replaced with a home electric model. That limits you to camping only where they have 110 volt hookups available. With an RV fridge you can run it on LP while on the road and when no 110 volt power is available. A new LP/110volt RV fridge will cost over $1000, so keep that in mind when negotiating the sale price.
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Old 05-30-2014, 11:17 AM   #5
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Looked at the pictures again - no stove, and I would recommend getting rid of the residential style refrigerator - probably looking at close to three grand to rectify those two items. Much less if you can find good used equipment. Since the newer double door Dometics have come out you can sometimes find the single door units that have been removed for a double door replacement for a cost of almost nothing compared to new price.

Also noticed that there is no cover on top of the AC - replacements are expensive - look at the cost of a new heat pump as compared to replacing parts on a 30 year old unit. I believe that the type of unit that is on the trailer requires a cover for proper air flow through the unit...I have known to be wrong.
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Old 05-30-2014, 11:31 AM   #6
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To me, this trailer looks ok, not terrible, but not great by any stretch of the imagination. The owner of the trailer was spouting more than a fair share of BS in their writeup too. Argosy was actually the cheaper line compared to Airstreams of the same year, though they tended to try out new features first (like the wrap around windows) and if they did well they incorporated them into the silver versions later. Argosys have steel endcaps and aluminum side panels and are painted and the rest is basically the same as an Airstream.

The interior looks like a bit of a hack job what with the beadboard and formica counter and lack of stove. It also has a household fridge in it, not an rv version. Given those mods, I would question any other work done on the trailer. Not to say its a bad deal at that price, but pictures on CL can only tell you so much.

And if you take one bit of advice, get somebody familiar with Airstreams to look at it for you, not just somebody who knows about sheet metal and rivets. There is alot more to know than that and it could save you from buying a $2000 trailer for 5 grand.
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Old 05-30-2014, 11:36 AM   #7
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1977 Argosy 24
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Good catch Dennis! The stove should have gone just to the rear of the entrance door ahead of the sink. From the outside you can see the exhaust vent high on the side just under the awning rail and just to the rear of the door. I would also check to see if it still has a working furnace. The furnace should be found under the counter where the stove should be, the vent for it is visable on the outside next to the door.
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Old 05-30-2014, 11:38 AM   #8
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I was thinking all of the same things about the modification choices. I never considered the refrigerator bit, but the way they chose to do the cabinets/countertop and lack of range definitely threw me. I also feel like the interior pictures are easily deceiving. The guy who is selling it is clearly a doofus, considering he posted it as an "Agosy" and has been borderline rude with me in e-mail correspondence. As much as I am inclined to want this to be "our" new baby, it has to be pretty sound on the exterior/foundation to be worth the relatively immediate investments we will have to make to get it up to speed. I think my biggest draw was timing and location, followed closely by the claim that it has been garage kept, which is huge and RARE here in NC! You guys are all great--thank you so much for all of the help and advice.
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Old 05-30-2014, 02:33 PM   #9
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Hi Volavero; thanks for your very nice review.

My instinct, probably your's too, truth be known, would be to pull away from this.

The trailer is tantalizingly close to you but something much better will come along. You'll see.

Wait until you see someone post an ad who writes as well as you do.

The current advertiser's inability in this area doesn't just indicate that he doesn't know very much, it also means that dealing with the guy could be a nightmare.

Good luck; you'll find something nicer by waiting.

My ARGOSY can be had separate from the rig; see below.


Thanks again for your nice words,
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please check this:
http://www.airstreamclassifieds.com/...sy-24-ontario/
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Old 05-30-2014, 02:40 PM   #10
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Hey where in newport? I live in woodcrest sub off of Roberts road and what are your questions?
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Old 05-30-2014, 02:59 PM   #11
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Just read the replays that you received and are you doubtful yet? 5k is not bad from what I have seen lately but still you need to have or do a good inspection and that is not all that bad. First you need time alone with the trailer because distractions can divert you attention to detail. I work at cherry point and the wife and I are renovating a 1966 caravel and in the condition it was in they (friends of the wife) got 5k for it. There are inspection checklist on the forums do a search and then print it out. Take the list and transcribe it to a steno pad this allows you to take good notes and does not put the current owners off then set you goal for useable with minor cost! Write down everything that does not look right to you take think time and post your questions on the forum for feedback if they will let you take a digital camera with you for pictures of areas you have questions about. Will you husband be back in time do do he inspection? If yes then have him pm me and I will make a few suggestions. Welcome to the site and thank you and your family for your sacrifices.
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Old 05-30-2014, 03:19 PM   #12
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Everyone else caught my every reservation before I could voice it.

So, I'll offer you some unsolicited advice. Check the classifieds here - (and look at Smokeless Joe's Argosy, but hold a drool cloth below your mouth when you do!) Compare all other Argosies to his.

Check the classifieds here for other Airstreams.

Get a list of campgrounds in your area and troll their storage areas. Also keep an eye out when you go past storage facilities that have RV's in storage. The world is full of RV's for sale and some of them are Airstreams! They're thicker on the ground than you would think. Make contact with Out of Doors Mart, they sell new Airstreams and often take in older ones in trade. They'll want to get the old ones off of the lot quickly.

Consider "vintage kin" such as Avions too.

No one should borrow when they don't have to, but rates are so low right now, that you might want to consider financing a new one especially later in the season when sales are slowing at dealerships and they want to thin the herd.

And may your husband be home well, happy and for good after this tour.

Shalom, Paula
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Old 05-30-2014, 08:08 PM   #13
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RM66caravel, you probably should've never admitted you lived so close--now I am going to want to know all your trade secrets for camping in the area! We live off of Nine Foot in a small subdivision called Huntington Ridge. And... we realize that our gut instinct is to walk away on this one. There is a polished/yellow-capped Argosy up in VA (also mentioned here in the forums) that we are thinking about seeing when we go up that way in mid-June.

1979 Airstream Argosy 27’ for sale in Front Royal, Virginia

If everything pans out, the next thing will be joining some groups and taking this baby out camping and exploring! Anyone know of a good place to stop near Williamsburg?
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Old 05-30-2014, 08:37 PM   #14
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If you ever get to where you just want to rebuild one ride 70 towards newbern and about 3 miles past the back gate (slocum) there is a storage lot on the left hand side of 70 with a 24 footer that has been sitting for the past 2 years with the vents two windows and the front compartment open! Storage lot owners won't give up any info or pass any word to the owners.
Cliff
Try Flanders beach has both tent and trailer spots with power. There are also the cliffs by the neuse but it has been a while since I was there the previous manager was not meant for the job!
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