I took the trailer to Frank's Trailer Works to get a bunch of renovations and updates done.
As Pink Floyd said, "You can't have any pudding until you eat your meat." In that vein, we wanted to make sure the structure of the trailer was straight as well as addressing cosmetics. All signs pointed towards a solid trailer - I had only a handful of recently popped rivets, and those could easily be blamed on the sagged out axle.
Surprise! When Frank went to rivet the sagging belly pan, one of the crossmembers moved, and the other one was missing. Two crossmembers had weld failures
where their gussets attached to the main rails. Frank installed two stiffer crossmembers as well as reinstalling the original two. (I went from an original five, with only three in place, to seven crossmembers in all.) This improved some of the typical aluminium floor sag, given that Argosy added lightness by not using that many crossmembers.
After finding that unsettling surprise, the whole belly pan came down. The frame was checked over and painted with rust enscapulator. Now I know I have a solid trailer.
I also had a Henschen axle installed. To my way of thinking, it was a few hundred dollars more, but over the 20 year lifespan, that added cost just didn't matter that much. Plus, it's "plug and play," saving me on labor. I got the original geometry but went to a 3500 lb axle (instead of the OEM 3200 lbs.) My old axle was way sagged-out; the trailer went up about 3" and it tows even better than it did. So smooth over bumps.
With that stuff addressed, on to the pretty pictures:
We hated the tatty blue outdoor carpet that came in our coach. Other Minuet owners also stressed using a laminate floor to add some rigidity and protection to the aluminium/foam composite floor. So we had Marmoleum Click installed. Yellow wasn't our first pick - we bought it majorly discounted online - but it turned out wonderfully. It really brightens up the small space, making it seem even bigger.
I had a local upholstery shop recover the cushions. Gone is the ugly plaid. Now the cushions are done in Ultraleather and a nice green fabric with a subtle pattern. The fabrics are from newtoto.com - great service, and great prices.
I also had the table and the dinette and gaucho endcaps redone in a silver laminate with a very subtle houndstooth pattern. They are modern, yet neutral, needed given all of the other colors, including the OEM orange countertop.
We had the gaucho done too. I reupholstered the front of the gaucho frame. (Staple guns are fun!)
I got rid of the plood insert in the original Dometic - Frank put in a matching piece of the table/dinette end laminate. My wife thought this was a silly twitch of mine, but she came around - it looks so much more modern. (Guess I should update the knobs on the tambour sink cabinet and fix that rusty furnace vent.)
Another silly thing I wanted was a modern Marinco shore power plug. I hated the stiff cord in the bumper cabinet (which was rebuilt with a new floor).
Lots of other stuff was done - a new top-of-the-line Fantastic Vent with remote, a Wave 6 cat heater, putting a patch over the open hole for long-gone furnace exhaust, and lots and lots of sealant to fix multiple leaks. (Inland Andy is right - it's a good idea to make sure the trailer is waterproof first.)
We're thrilled with the changes. It looks much more modern inside and we're happy to know the frame isn't going to snap in half. It tows wonderfully behind the Odyssey, our favorite road trip car ever.
There is always more to do (the definition of vintage, next to "money pit") - it could use a repaint and badge polishing, aluminium tambour overhead doors would be nice, and I'm tempted by a SMEV oven - but it's a long way from where we started 8 months ago.