Oooooooohhhhhh, so much to share and so little space!
First, I would say make sure you are very happy with the floor plan. You are going to invest (read as SPEND since these are not investments) lots of money and time in fixing the unit up. I have seen more than one person spend lots of time and cash on a unit only to be unhappy with the floor plan. Don't settle.
How much you spend on the purchase and the repairs depends on your personal standards and expectations. If you don't mind camping in a jalopy, you'll spend a lot less. If near-new is the expectation, you'll be separated from a fair amount of your cash! Have a long, honest talk with your camping partner about expectations!
When it comes to Argosy units, you can blow $4,000 in a blink so don't be penny wise and pound foolish. Sometimes the least expensive RV to acquire can be the MOST expensive. Look for a unit that is currently operating.
On the flip side, don't be fooled by the owner's claim that everything is perfect and there is really nothing that needs to be fixed. You'll be really irritated and disappointed. ALL of these units need repairs. The purchase price is really the down payment.
Also, I tell people to focus on the big ticket items like the engine, fridge, gen set, roof air conditioner, front windshields, side driver and passenger windows (nearly impossible to fix).
There are lots of great sources for Argosy units. Honestly, the units are fairly low priced so the sellers are too cheap to use a paid classified ad. I recommend checking the free sites and of course, my site
You'll likely be replacing the tires. Even if they don't have dry rot, RV tires are usually replaced at seven years. Lots of owners just look at the tread BUT most RVs never wear out the tires.
As for what to look for, here are some items:
- Soft or uneven floors would not be a good sign although you can repair the flooring in some case.
- Check the exterior skin for warping or wrinkles that could indicate a frame issue. It's pretty rare on the Argosy units since they are 28' at the longest. My Airstream 345 twisted funny on the leveling jacks. The Argosy units are on a pretty solid Chevy P-30 chassis.
- Windows (particularly the front and front side)
You need to be handy. If you intend to contract all of the repairs, you can still get an Argosy but plan on spending (investing
) lots of money.
When it comes to paint, don't bother with a body shop. If I had to do it all over again, I'd get some good paint and a brush. From 10+ feet away, no one will EVER know the difference.
With that said, you may be ready to run for the door! In all honesty, the Argosy units are a good quality durable unit that you can enjoy for years. The Chevy P-30, 454, and T400 transmission combination will get you to hell and back without any cumbersome electronics. When you do the math against buying a new unit you still come out WAY ahead. You'll spend far less than the depreciation on a new unit.
Now that I may have reset your expectations, go out and find one and join our Argosy club. You'll have fun telling everyone that it really is an Airstream it just says "Argosy" on the side and it is painted!
I can't tell you how much fun it is in my 1977 Argosy 20 to zoom past late model $500,000 diesel pushers struggling to climb the mountains!
I hope that helps!