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Old 05-16-2015, 09:43 PM   #1
Kramerbuilt
 
1976 28' Argosy 28
billings , Montana
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 26
Blog Entries: 1
1976 28' Argosy Motorcoach

We bought a 1976 28’ Argosy Airstream motorhome last fall. This being our second RV restoration project we knew what we were getting into. I did a ‘66 10’ bumper pull, ground up restoration 3 years ago, but we soon outgrew and sold her. We bought a newer 2002 (other brand) RV (with foam construction walls) with the proceeds of the sale of the ’66, but we missed being pulled aside by RV’ers and onlookers alike to look at our rig, and we realized the quality was missing. So…

We are about ½ way done with the restoration and very happy with our Argosy. I started with the window seals/ fuzzy channel for all the windows last fall. As a guy who geeks out on RV’s and especially older RV restorations, I figured some here on Air Forums might enjoy our journey through this build. I know I have enjoyed many of yours. =)
My plan is to finish this project and be camping in June/ July.
I hope you will view the final product as a “survivor”. I designed this coach so you will step inside and think, “I wish we would have kept dad’s or grandpa’s camper”. I hope most will think, “we could have fixed up that old coach to look just like this.” When she is done, I hope you don’t see that every interior rivet was removed and all new wood interior was replaced and walls cleaned, along with the electronics, mechanics and upholstery.
So, here is my build…
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Old 05-17-2015, 08:09 AM   #2
Kramerbuilt
 
1976 28' Argosy 28
billings , Montana
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 26
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photos

Here are some pictures. Also, I wanted to clarify that our '66 was a Scotsman and not an airstream but after we rebuilt her, she felt very sound.
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Old 05-17-2015, 04:11 PM   #3
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1975 20' Argosy 20
Chestfield , Kent
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Looking great so far!
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Old 05-17-2015, 06:26 PM   #4
Kramerbuilt
 
1976 28' Argosy 28
billings , Montana
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 26
Blog Entries: 1
Bathroom progress/ Fridge and pantry slide

Finished the vanity top and applied a fiberglass resin finish which is drying very slowly in this rain. Also added some pixs of the new fridge and pantry slide.
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Old 05-18-2015, 04:37 AM   #5
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1978 28' Argosy 28
Austin , Texas
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Wow, is that looking pretty. Thanks for posting up some inspiration. How are the mechanicals of the old girl?
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Old 05-18-2015, 07:11 AM   #6
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2015 25' Flying Cloud
Bend , Oregon
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Hey Kramer! Great to see you on here at last.

The build looks amazing, but I would not expect anything less from you!
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Old 05-18-2015, 08:13 AM   #7
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1974 20' Argosy 20
Richmond , Kentucky
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Cool! Another Argosy rebuild thread. I always enjoy seeing what others are doing to their motorhomes.

Looking forward to more pictures

Brad
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Old 05-18-2015, 08:38 PM   #8
Kramerbuilt
 
1976 28' Argosy 28
billings , Montana
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bpg_austin View Post
Wow, is that looking pretty. Thanks for posting up some inspiration. How are the mechanicals of the old girl?
Thanks so much =) this is long winded but for those interested, this is what I know.

The coach sat for too many years and everything is suspect.

She ran, and I drove her home on 4 cylinders from the tire shop. Seriously, three of the plug wires were hanging and disconnected. One was loose and I’m certain miss-firing.

Brakes needed immediate attention we bleed them in the driveway.

I had a mechanic friend (high school friend that I trust) have the shop he works at run an assessment under the coach. The seals on the transmission leak and we are discussing having the transmission rebuilt since the tranny needs to be pulled anyway to replace the seals. We’ll replace the rear main at the same time.

Either that or, we may go for a rebuilt aftermarket but, I’ve focused on the interior for now. I haven’t researched what rebuilt tranny will bolt up? (anyone know) I was going to drop the transmissions myself but my wife suggested that we just pay someone and, with all of the other work, I’m inclined to listen to her. We’ll see.

The rear differential could use new seals.

The generator needed to be cleaned and didn’t run. I replace the old fuel pump with an aftermarket electric pump and added a gas flow rate control to bring it back to 3.5 gallons/ hr. She fires right up from the interior control station and on the generator itself. Still need to change that old oil.

The previous owner had all of the fuel lines replace recently and, put a shutoff connector to restrict the flow of gas to the generator. I think this was done as the 454 fuel pump was weak which made it hard to start. I installed another inline 7 psi electric fuel pump for the 454 and she runs/starts great.

As per the workhouse 454, it seems strong (knock on wood). We’ve ran her for a quick 2 hour road test and then had the oil changed and had an oil leak fixed.

A real road trip will tell the tale once the transmission is fixed.

The best thing we’ve done for the mechanics is to start and run them at least an hour each month since last fall. It does seem now both engines fire right up and seem to be waiting take us down the road.

Great question and I’ll update as I learn more…
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Old 05-21-2015, 07:25 PM   #9
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1979 24' Airstream Excella 24
Tipp City , Ohio
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I replaced the seals on my rear end a couple summers ago. The seals on the axles are a piece of cake. The seal on the yoke were another story. If you do that kind of work all the time it's probably no big deal but, if you don't have a big impact and a very small torque wrench it is a real project. Keep the posts coming we all like to learn from each other.
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Old 05-22-2015, 09:14 PM   #10
Kramerbuilt
 
1976 28' Argosy 28
billings , Montana
Join Date: May 2015
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Thank you so much. I'll ask your feedback as I get closer to fixing the rear seals.

Honestly, right now I'm pushing to get the interior fixed and get camping for some local trips to push the mechanics and see what breaks.

You know though, while I only mechanic to keep our vehicles safe and on the road, I had to laugh as you mentioned the impact. =) I just replaced the axle bolts on FWD/ clutch job that required the purchase of a 1" impact wrench, and my dad with a Pipe wrench on the socket to break one loose. LOL I kept the impact hoping I never have to use it again.
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Old 05-25-2015, 08:26 PM   #11
Kramerbuilt
 
1976 28' Argosy 28
billings , Montana
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Just a quick update. I am mostly finished with exterior around the fridge. I added a small storage area above the driving compartment and will post better pix without the tarp but, the windshield faces west so needed to block that sun =)


I decided to access the storage from inside the driving compartment rather than from the coach. This way we can add curtains and close off the entire driving compartment. This decision eliminated the need for doors (at least at this point) and we can store our bedding up and out of site.

The gas filler hose leaked so I removed/replaced it. The forum posts on this subject were spot on. You can remove this without removing the tank. We had no rust on the tank and just needed to replace the filler hose. I decided to get this done before the couch goes in.

You will also see that we removed the driver/passenger seats. I have these and the dinette sets if anyone is interested (need to be re-upholstered).

I went looking for seats with my dad at the local wrecking yard and found these seats out of a 2003 Kia mini van. They lay down flat/ forward and have the vinyl drink and platform area. We really like this feature as they can be folded and un-obstruct the view out the front of the coach from both the dinette and couch.

They were removable like most minivan rear seating. I removed the bases and with a little help from the drill press was easily able to attach these to the old bases.
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Old 05-26-2015, 04:40 AM   #12
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1978 28' Argosy 28
Austin , Texas
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Wow, great thinking with the overhead storage space. Were you able to get the entire plastic front shell off in once piece without cracking? Many of my panels have hairline cracks running through. We've epoxied some from the backside but I lack the ambition right now to pull the rest out to repair. Just going to roll with the semi-adequate panels for now. Although our refresh is nothing compared to your gorgeous remodel! Would you post up a picture of your kia seats please? I'd like to do as you and others have eventually. Our leather captains chairs are super comfortable, but a little rougher than I'd like. And, a bit bulky.
GREAT work.

Ben
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Old 05-26-2015, 06:51 AM   #13
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1974 20' Argosy 20
Richmond , Kentucky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kramerbuilt View Post
I decided to access the storage from inside the driving compartment rather than from the coach. This way we can add curtains and close off the entire driving compartment. This decision eliminated the need for doors (at least at this point) and we can store our bedding up and out of site.
There's been many times I've thought about adding a storage compartment like you're doing. The 20' Argosies like mine are extremely short of storage space so needless to say I'm going to have to look at the possibilities of doing something similar.

Did you take any closeup pictures of how you fastened the framework to the aluminum shell?

Brad
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Old 05-26-2015, 09:42 PM   #14
Kramerbuilt
 
1976 28' Argosy 28
billings , Montana
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 26
Blog Entries: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by bpg_austin View Post
Wow, great thinking with the overhead storage space. Were you able to get the entire plastic front shell off in once piece without cracking? Many of my panels have hairline cracks running through. We've epoxied some from the backside but I lack the ambition right now to pull the rest out to repair. Just going to roll with the semi-adequate panels for now. Although our refresh is nothing compared to your gorgeous remodel! Would you post up a picture of your kia seats please? I'd like to do as you and others have eventually. Our leather captains chairs are super comfortable, but a little rougher than I'd like. And, a bit bulky.
GREAT work.

Ben


My plastic was also cracked before I started this rebuild. We too initially thought about leaving this coach all original or fixing the original parts with newer products and fixing the cracked panels. I had a lot to do other than just the panels once I dug in and decided to work with wood as that is what I know, rather than trouble shoot with new material and product.

That said, have you thought about filling the cracks with epoxy or other filler with the panel in place? If I were to try, I'd sand the crack as best I could with a paper sand paper to create a good adhesion point. Not on the surface but the surface between the crack.

I'd then look for a plastic favorable product to fill the crack. I don't know how successful you'd be at cleaning the rest of the surface with bleach and then TSP before painting but that is how I would go about it?

Another option that I just learned about is Plasti dip? I know... I thought it was weird at first but google it. I don't know how it will test the tale of time but, I do know that there are video's out there where people are changing the color of their wheels and even painting entire cars.

It might cover and give you a great look. It might hide the filler?

Let me know if you try any of these ideas and. I hope this helps. Let me know if you try this for future reference.

I'll post pixs of the seats if I can this weekend. I'm on to Plumbing and electrical... this rig froze and I'm just getting the water, gas and electrical back to par.
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