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Old 01-22-2012, 12:53 AM   #1
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1976 Argosy 24
monroe , Washington
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 12
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What did we do!?

The snow here in Seattle finally started to melt today allowing us to get outside for a bit. Hubby went out to the trailer to take a look at the trailer and start pulling stuff out. What we have is a '76 24ft. Argosy. So, first thing to go was the laminate wood flooring. discovered lie #1...that the PO only used one layer of padding under the laminate instead of the two like he told us when he replied to my question of why the floor was so squishy. Then we took out the sink base, stove and upper cabinets. What we discovered...rotten floor, the whole thing. The ceiling is leaking down into the interior skins. Here's where we stand...the entire trailer is going to be gutted and replaced (hopefully not the bathroom sink surround or the shower and toilet. Also hoping to salvage the tanks. I'm so very discouraged on one hand. Wondering what the heck did we get ourselves into. Im not worried about the kind of work, hubby is talented. I'm not even worried about how long it might take. I'm wondering why anyone would want to completely gut a trailer just to replace most everything with new? Why don't you just buy a nicer, newer trailer? But then, something in me says that this trailer has character. It has history (not PO history) and community. This trailer is more than just a trailer. Its the prospect of making memories for my 3 boys. Meeting new people and going new places.

When we are done with the interior, it will be healthy (major mold now), safe and comfortable. Our plan is to deal with the exterior dents and paint in the next few years. I took several photos today and will post them tomorrow. Thanks for listening (reading). I know we are in good company with all of you and actually feel comfort in the fact that if we can't figure it out, some of you might be able to shed some light

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Old 01-22-2012, 02:46 AM   #2
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2017 26' Flying Cloud
1976 Argosy 28
Alamo Heights , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Well, sorry you had a lying PO, but that seems to be a "luck of the draw" thing. I hope you didn't spend extra based on the PO's falsehoods, but it seems like buying a used one is like playing Russian Roulette.

I'll just say, while you have the cabinets out, put in a new furnace.

It's worth it. At least most of us think so, but we're all a bit crazy.


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He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. Sir Winston Churchill
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Old 01-22-2012, 06:40 AM   #3
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1997 34' Limited
1970 27' Overlander
South of Atlanta , Georgia
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Welcome to the Airforums. You will find many threads from people who have been through hat you will need to do to your Argosy. There is also an active WBCCI unit in your corner of the country with knowledgable people who can help.

I sounds like a large project, but you will have a terrific trailer when you are finished.
Craig and Carol
1997 34' Excella 1000
1970 27' Overlander, International
2009 Ford F150 5.4L
ProPride hitch with 1400# bars

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Old 01-22-2012, 07:57 AM   #4
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1977 Argosy 28
Irrigon , Oregon
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 116
I agree with you that the argosy's have character. And we also thought about why buy a 34 year old trailer, when we purchased ours. But every time I walk out side and see it, I say to myself "self - thats one cool trailer". So have fun with the remodel and enjoy your trailer.
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:07 AM   #5
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1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 20,362
A new Airstream trailer can cost upwards of $80K, and most people would not want to spend that in order to customize it the way they want. So, they buy an older one, and tear into it.
As for the floor rot issue, there are people that are just into this to make a quick buck or ten, and others that have no clue how to properly refurbish a travel trailer.
The good part is, when you're done with this one, you'll know how to do it and you'll also know it was done right.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:29 AM   #6
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2007 23' Safari SE
Central , Connecticut
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Rest assured that you didn't do anything that lots of other vintage buyers don't encounter themselves. Heck, some buyers of used newer models find bad floors too.

These Argosys do have a certain character. We've been thinking of a newer 23 footer Airstream, but there is something different and friendly about the Argosy.

Now: 2007 Safari SE 23' "Anne" towed by 2011 Dodge Durango "Herman"
Before: Argosy Minuet and T@B, towed by various Honda Odysseys
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:44 AM   #7
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1978 Argosy 24
Scottsville , Virginia
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 97
Benefits of a redo

I really feel your pain. We bought an Argosy with high hopes of immediate camping and ended up tearing out the walls that a PO butchered, and then it just grew and grew...The paint on the end caps completely lifted off to the bare steel last winter, necessitating an exterior paint job. Joe and I have all the requisite skills to do a nice renovation of our 1978 24' Argosy. But time is an issue because we work full time. By the time we are finished, we will probably spend more $$ than if we bought another trailer in good condition. So we ask ourselves the same question all the time, but even this morning, as we discussed our project, we have our answer: We will have the trailer just the way we want it. That includes: the wiring for our ham radio operation, the installation of flat screen tv exactly where we want it, and STORAGE!!

We are incorporating special features for storage, since we feel Airstreams really fall short in this department. We are also building the configuration we want-- two twins and dinette. The beds and dinette seats lift-up for storage underneath. We are building a horizontal storage locker over top of the fresh water tank, below the vista view windows, and the dinette will be re-configured slightly- extended up to the kitchen counter to make it longer on that side, to offset the loss of space from the new storage locker. We enlarged the battery compartment to accommodate two batteries also. As Frank Sinatra and my husband crooned: "I did it MY WAY..."

I finally had to admit, amidst the frustration last year of tearing out and rebuilding the walls- that this is something my husband and I do together- we enjoy the process and enjoy the end results, something we can share and create. Good luck!

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Old 01-22-2012, 10:00 AM   #8
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2008 19' Safari SE
Erie , Colorado
Join Date: Nov 2011
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Once you're done, you're going to so love that it's your trailer from tip to top! If I had the kind of skills your husband has, I'd have totally gone that route. Who knows, maybe I'll I'll learn enough to actually have some skills, catch a much worse case of aluminitus, and that'll be the next one. Post lots of pics, please!
"If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

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Old 01-22-2012, 10:14 AM   #9
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1963 22' Safari
1955 26' Cruiser Overlander
Yakima Valley , Washington
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I agree with all the above. You'll still come in way cheaper than new, and you'll know what is inside the walls, floor etc and can really make it work how you want it to be. Lots of folks on here have worked on that era trailer and can be lots of help. Post some pictures and people can chime in on the best way to address issues. Good luck!
Scott & Megan
Restoring Wally Byam's 1955 26' European Caravan Trailer!
WBCCI 8671
1963 Safari from the 1963-64 Around the World Caravan
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Old 01-22-2012, 10:34 AM   #10
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Sioux Falls , South Dakota
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My trailer was certainly more work and more expensive than I had estimated when I bought it. I paid for a shell and everything else was questionable due to age and deferred maintenance. I could have bought a new white box trailer for about the same $ I have in my trailer right now. I still have at least $3,000 more to spend, plus all the work to strip and polish the exterior.

Airstreams are very restorable and when repairs are done correctly they will almost begin their service life all over again. I'm a mechanic and cabinetmaker and I kinda like a project. I'm rebuilding all of the interior of the trailer except the shower box. I have most of it done.

Now I need window coverings, some light fixtures, a nice television, and probably, a dish. This will be my third summer working on this trailer.
Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
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Old 01-22-2012, 10:34 AM   #11
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1971 25' Tradewind
Menlo Park , California
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Welcome to Airforums and to the club of people renovating old trailers! Even though the surprise of your unexpected change of plan must have been fairly unpleasant, the road ahead isn't necessarily bleak, by any means.

We bought vintage on purpose. First of all, it's far cheaper than buying new. But we also have control of quality, materials and design of every part of the trailer interior.

Working on it hasn't kept us from camping in it. Last year, we slept 50 nights in the Tin Pickle, and made lots of changes in between trips. It will be a work in progress for years to come. We learn something on nearly every trip that guides what we work on next. And on each trip so far we've had a new feature to enjoy in addition to the pleasures of our location. We find that the work brings its own satisfaction as well.

Our blog below covers some of what we've done and where we've gone while in progress.
Our travel and renovation blog:
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Old 01-22-2012, 11:58 AM   #12
1 Rivet Member
1976 Argosy 24
monroe , Washington
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 12
Images: 8
I appreciate you all so much! You understand exactly what it is that I'm saying and your encouraging! Well, I'll tell you that we spent just under $3k for it. Its axels are great and it has 4 new tires and new brakes. So that I'm thankful for. We will be installing a new water heater, and for the furnace we are thinking of going the route of an AC/heat pump and then getting a safe space heater. Doing this, we figure it will save a little money, but more so it will save precious space under the sink where the HUGE furnace was. Any thoughts? We will also be installing a new range, sink, cabinets, counters and turning the center twins into center bunks. The front goucho will be converted into a larger dinette that can be an extra bed. Hubby says that he's going to use pex throughout. I really like being out there with him and helping where I can...and trying to bite my tongue sometimes
Where should I post our pics? Just in our gallery or on a thread? -April :-)
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Old 01-22-2012, 12:01 PM   #13
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1963 22' Safari
1955 26' Cruiser Overlander
Yakima Valley , Washington
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In the thread is fine. Look forward to watching your progress!
Scott & Megan
Restoring Wally Byam's 1955 26' European Caravan Trailer!
WBCCI 8671
1963 Safari from the 1963-64 Around the World Caravan
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Old 01-22-2012, 01:14 PM   #14
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1963 19' Globetrotter
1953 21' Flying Cloud
Bolinas , California
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 20
I'm over here in Port Townsend across the Sound from you trying to stay dry and rebuild the '63 Globetrotter we bought in September. I have it stripped to the frame and the outer skin. I'm planning on building a temporary shed over it all to be used for the next year or so while I work. we will be traveling the same road to repair over the foreseeable time. Enjoy the process, Getting there is half the fun.

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