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Old 05-17-2009, 04:30 PM   #1
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making big changes

after two years and lots of other work, we are back working on the Argosy 24, so far it is completely gutted, the rotten parts of the floor is being replaced and it is now time to decide how to rebuild the rest. Being in the UK we have decided to jettison a lot of the original equipment and fit more modern and accessible (to us) fittings. The generator has gone, along with the steelwork and cupboard, and the hole panelled over with new alu sheet. The bathroom and all the tanks have gone, to be replaced by a new custom aluminium shower unit that we designed, with a cassette toilet. The old aircon unit from the roof came down on Saturday, hoisted with a rope and chain, much heavier than we ever thought possible that the roof could support, and on close inspection up on top the rivets in that area have been loosened by the vibration caused by the weight. The paint has been shaken free from nearly all the rivets, but either we will re-tighten them or replace them because that aircon unit will not be going back. Perhaps we will put a low level marine deck hatch in that space instead, it will give lots of light and no drag. The thing that stood out most when we first saw the MH from the back was that the rear wheels looked too far underneath the body. This is probably because Airstream just picked a stock GM axle and didn't really think about whether it was a good fit. SO, on the lathe at our local machine shop are two 4" wheel spacers which we designed to fit over the rear hubs and bolt on to the drums. This will give us another 8" floorspace inside the van as well as improving the stability and appearance of the vehicle. For those of you who may be interested in this, I will post some pics as soon as they are finished.
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Old 05-17-2009, 07:16 PM   #2
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1976 28' Argosy 28
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Wow you and the wife are really working. I do like the idea about the spacers and the rims. I would like to be the first in line to get the spacers from you if they work because I was thinking the same. What type of metal are you using and will they hold up to the daily travels? Wish I lived there I would help you and get pointers.
Keep up the great work. Your American friend “The Bad Wolf”.
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Old 05-17-2009, 07:37 PM   #3
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Monterey , California
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I'm thinking of taking out much of my interior and the surface floor so I can see if there is floor rot and what needs to be replaced.

But my real question is the interior rivets - how can I take them out and should I re-rivet or use screws instead? And if I use screws, what kind of screws should I use?
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Old 05-18-2009, 05:47 PM   #4
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firstly, we are having the wheel spacers turned up from solid steel billets so no welding so no distorting, they have a radius on the inside to increase the strength. The wall thickness is 15mm throughout also it is a tight fit over the stub axle to ensure no movement once they are in place.
secondly, I think you are referring to the pop rivets holding the inner skin on the walls, these are relatively easy to remove, first drill the tops off using a slightly smaller drill than the head. Be careful not to drill through too far, the idea is just take the head off the rivet, and take care not to slip and skid across the wall! The panel will then come away with a bit of wiggling, leaving the rest of the rivet behind. These can then be removed with a small sharp chisel, hit them in an upward or downward direction only on the ribs and they should come away. If they are still stuck get behind them with a pair of grips and wiggle them out. It is much quicker and cheaper to replace the panels using fresh pop rivets than screws, using the same holes, as long as you don't intend to remove the panel again. If you mean the huge rivets holding the flooring and c-channel in, these are really tough and I have learnt how to deal with those but it's getting late for us now and I will post these details later if you wish. Cheers, Keith
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Old 05-18-2009, 08:11 PM   #5
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As always I am learning from a master

Hello Keith,
I would like to know how you tackle those pop rivets on the c channel. I am thinking of replacing the floor but I think I can get away with the sides being replaced and then a thin layer of plywood on top attached by wood screws. What do you think?
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:48 PM   #6
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I have some floor rot, but not extensively. I think I can replace some of the subflooring. But do I need to go all the way over to the c-joints? I thought I'd be able to just patch parts of it.

As for the rivets - I understand drilling off the tops and then wiggling the skins away. But when you say hitting the "ribs" with a chisel - do you mean at the section of the rivet that is flush with the wall stud?

Finally, when you say re-rivet, are there special rivet guns that I can use? I saw some at Home Depot, but I didn't know if they would be heavy duty enough. A picture of what I should buy would be great - when you're a bit more rested. I don't plan on repanelling any time soon.

d
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Old 05-19-2009, 10:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Landis View Post
I'm thinking of taking out much of my interior and the surface floor so I can see if there is floor rot and what needs to be replaced.

But my real question is the interior rivets - how can I take them out and should I re-rivet or use screws instead? And if I use screws, what kind of screws should I use?
Don,

To remove the interior rivets just just the correct size drill bit and drill out the center of the rivet. I would not recommend using screws when reinstalling the panels. Screws can work themselves loose where rivets will hold solidly. If some previous owner used screws I would remove them and replace with the appropriate sized pop rivets.

Do a search on interior rivets and exterior rivets and you'll find all sorts of good information on what kind to use and how to install them.

Brad
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Old 05-20-2009, 04:28 PM   #8
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Further to the c-channel fixings, there are three different types in our floor, fairly small philips screws, then hex head inch and 3/4 screws, and finally some whopping great rivets with a shaft 5/16 which extends through the head about 1/2 inch. I've never seen anything quite like them and fortunately there aren't too many of these. I found the best way to tackle them and still leave the wooden floor intact (for use as a template) is to chisel the aluminium head away first, using a small thin chisel and hitting it vertically either side of the shaft so that it splits in two pieces and comes away with a bit of prising, and leaving the shaft in place. Now hit the shaft left and right a couple of times to loosen it, then hit the shaft downwards until it is level and use a punch to drive it all the way out of the hole. I'll try to post some pics of this process.
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Old 05-20-2009, 04:52 PM   #9
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oh, and I forgot to mention that the floor was put in first, using 8x4 sheets of ply which go all the way across the van, meaning it will not come out of the channel unless you cut it down the middle first. Unfortunately the way airstream built the frame means that any join you wish to make along the centre of the van will not be supported, as all the frames run from side to side. The answer is to get some 2x1 box steel and weld it in where you have to make a join. Remember this is not a structural piece so a single weld across the top will be enough to support the ply joint and you will not have to remove the aluminium skin underneath. If you don't have a mig, make friends with someone who does! I'm afraid I can't think of any other satisfactory way of doing this job without getting problems later. Bearing in mind that the floor is being replaced because of rot, it is likely to be stuck with corrosion in places inside the channel but it can be loosened with a thin scraper driven between it and the floor. Good luck with your projects and don't hesitate to ask for help!
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Old 05-22-2009, 04:05 PM   #10
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today we have been pestering the guys in the engineering shop, and managed to get one of our wheel spacers finished enough to dash back to the barn and try it on for size, amazing but it went straight on and fits like a glove. We think it looks like it should have been like this out of the factory, what do you think?
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Old 05-23-2009, 12:31 AM   #11
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Hello,
I want some how much I want to be the first please!!!
after some test!!!!!!
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Old 06-20-2009, 03:41 PM   #12
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I haven't had much chance in the last few weeks to do any more work on the Argosy, I have been stuck working on a VW campervan. We have now found the problem so hopefully once the parts arrive we will be able to complete the work and another one will be gone. I am still welding the P4 rover, I've been doing this a long time but at least we have now finished one side so I hope in another two weeks we will finish the second side and then get back on our Argosy. We have removed the air conditioning unit from the roof and we intend to replace it with a boat deck hatch of about 40 cm square or so letting a lot of light in and heat out (not too much danger of excess heat getting in over here). we are adding more steel framing around the wheelarches so we can install plastic mudguards and then insulate them with foam, this should make it very quiet while we are travelling.
Of course we will be taking more photographs of this which we will be posting soon but for now there's not much else going on.
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Old 02-03-2010, 05:02 PM   #13
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Interesting spacers. What's your thoughts on any extra strain on the wheel bearings?

Just thought.....What about the front? I have this problem about over steer (or is it under-steer?) - It doesn't go round corners very well!!

If the tracking is that bit wider on the front using these spacers, two things might happen

1. Turning circle improves from two football pitches to One!
2. And it may go round corners better

What do you think? Mind you what do they cost -? is more the question!
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Old 02-04-2010, 04:45 PM   #14
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Right, I really must get on with this project, it is sitting waiting for some more attention! We haven't yet had a chance to road test the wheel spacers but I'm confident that they will not affect the wheel bearings because the centre of the twin wheels is now over the spacer and outer bearing, instead of it sticking through by 4 inches. The spacer is a tight fit over the stub axle and bolts firmly against the brake drum so it is very accurate. We made them from a single 30kg billet each, so there was no welding or distortion, but they come out very pricey at 150 each! I haven't thought it necessary to make them for the front, as spacing out the front wheels changes the steering geometry and can cause excessive tyre wear and eccentric handling. I don't think it would affect the turning circle at all, although it would improve stability. I know the front suspension is very sensitive to the air pressure in the air bags, the engine is very heavy on the front wheels so setting up the suspension may help with the handling, although these things are never going to be great. If you want a set of spacers I can send some drawings and then you could commission them from your local engineering workshop, but I don't know if they will be the same for disc brake models. If you send me some photos of the brakes and axle I will tell you what I think. Hope this helps, Keith
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