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Originally Posted by imaginet
Hello! I have been an airstream admirer for a while. I have an opportunity to purchase a 1974 28' Argosy for under $500. I went to look at it and was immediately overwhelmed by the amount of work (which I expected there to be a lot). I also expect this project to be long term and with a tight budget. From what I saw and how unexperienced I am not sure if I would need to gut it. I just need some advise on whether I take the plunge and get it, or should I keep my money in my pocket and admire from afar. This being said.... I really really really want this!
Here are some pics.
Thanks for all comments!
I think that you might be pleasantly surprised by how well the coach would clean up; but with that being said, there is a great deal of work needed. Some points to consider include:
- The coach is most likely going to need axles (an axle was the first project on my Minuet). This is a typical expense with any Airstream or Argosy travel trailer produced after 1961.
- The coach needs to be carefully inspected for rot in the floors as well as rear end separation.
- The most typical points for floor rot can be found under windows, in the door opening, as well as inside of exterior compartments. Floor rot can be time consuming as well as expensive when replacement is contemplated.
- Rear end separation can be found in most any Vintage Airstream or Argosy travel trailer. Separation can be identified by observing the gap between the body and bumper support when weight is applied to the bumper (have someone stand on the bumper while you observe the gap). Should a gap open up, the coach has at least the beginnings of separation . . . and the larger the gap the more serious the problem. Typically, in advanced cases of separation, you will also find extensive floor rot in the rear of the coach.
- The photos show some obvious damage in the front lower segments. This type of damage was often caused by jacknifing the coach while backing (dents result of contact with tow vehicle's bumper). With a painted Argosy, automotive dent repair techniques can be employed to repair the damage, but it can still become an expensive repair.
- You can count on the need to repaint the exterior endcaps . . . if not now, in the none too distant future as this is a part of ongoing maintenance with an Argosy travel trailer.
- You may also find that the upholstery and drapes will shred/disintegrate when subject to just about any cleaning method . . . both of these items are typical restoration/refurbish tasks, but something to be considered.
- I am not certain whether tambour was utilized in the 1974 Argosy, but if it was, this is another typical point to be restored/refurbished. It is possible to remove the tambour. place it in a home made jig and glus canvas to the back to restore the panels . . . or you can purchase new Tambour and cut it to size and install in place of existing tambour. It is also possible to build doors and eliminate tambour entirely.
- Most of the interior is plastic laminate, and so long as you can tolerate its color, it does tend to be durable when treated with reasonable care.
There is a trailer inspection check-list linke on the homepage of the Forums that can help you to assess the condition of the coach and determine whether it is within your skill set and or budge capabilities.
Good luck with your investigation!