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Old 09-13-2008, 12:18 PM   #1
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Rebirth of a 1974 20' Argosy Motorhome

I thought it was appropriate to start documenting the rebuild process on our 20' Argosy Motorhome. Some of you might remember we bought the Argosy last year and towed it home on a trailer. Interesting trip and documented elsewhere on Airforums.

When we got the MH the original 454 had been pulled by some previous owner for use in a race car who then sold the MH to the people we bought it from. The PO then installed a freshly rebuilt 350 and due to other problems had to sell the MH. We bought it off of eBay to use as living quarters and a tow vehicle for our 31' airstream trailer thats being converted to a race car hauler.

For power and performance reasons we've opted to pull the 350 and reinstall a freshly rebuilt 454. I pulled the engine several months ago and its now at the rebuilders.

However the rest of the MH was in dire need of having all systems rebuilt, replaced or updated. Since we are currently in a time crunch due to our upcoming move to Kentucky we opted to hire certain work out to some friends. The goal is to get all of the suspension rebuilt and/or replaced as required, brakes gone through and new engine installed and running. We would much rather drive the Argosy to Kentucky instead of trailering it.

We are replacing with new (or rebuilt) the hydro-boost unit, power steering gearbox, brake m/c, shocks, control arm bushings & shafts, front coil springs, ball joints, tie rod ends, idler arms, idler arm pivots (being rebuilt), drag link, sway bar bushings, pitman arm, wheel seals & bearings (as needed) and various other odds and ends to numerous to mention. Needless to say the people at O'Reillys were happy to see me walk in the door that day .

We're also going to be sandblasting and powder coating the wheels and putting new tires on. I will also be adding front airbags to the coil springs and rear air bags for better ride comfort. I haven't yet made the decision whether to replace the rear leaf springs. I think I'll wait and see how it actually rides and how well it works with the 31' trailer hooked up to it. I might opt for a little stiffer set of leaf springs if need be.

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There is a lot of coach rewiring that needs to be done and I need to clean around all the windows and openings and then reseal with Parbond. I'm really hoping I can do that before we move it to Kentucky because when it gets there its going to have to sit outside again until our new shop is built.

Once its mechanically sound and weather tight we'll start remodeling the inside. I know Susan can't wait for that time too come .

More to come................
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Old 09-13-2008, 01:04 PM   #2
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It looks like you have a huge job ahead of you. Where in KY are you moving???

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Old 09-13-2008, 01:19 PM   #3
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Ahh, to be young again.
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Old 09-13-2008, 01:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 63Silver View Post
It looks like you have a huge job ahead of you. Where in KY are you moving???

63silver
Darn, I thought all the huge jobs were behind me!

We'll be moving to the Richmond area. Susan starts work Oct 13 and I'll be there sometime in February.

Brad
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Old 09-13-2008, 01:50 PM   #5
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Ahh, to be young again.
Who said anything about being young . It seems like the older I get the more work I have to do .

Brad
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Old 01-11-2009, 01:33 PM   #6
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Just a quick update.

The front suspension & steering work is getting close to being done. All that remains up front is install the hubs using new bearings and seals, replace some rusted brake lines and attach a couple of tie rod ends.

Still waiting for the rear drums to be pulled to check condition but at a minimum new axle seals, wheel cylinders and brake shoes are going to be installed. Time permitting we'll replace the u-joints as well.

I drained both gas tanks and although the gas had a very heavy varnish odor it was still liquid and drained easily. For some reason the right middle side gas tank had been bypassed. It looks good from the outside and the gas that came out was clean so I'm guessing the rubber hoses are dry rotted preventing suction from the tank. Again time permitting I'll pull the tank and check it out. The rear tank has its lines attached to the upper front side and it will be easy to replace those rubber lines. I will be replacing the fuel tank selector valve so that I can hopefully use both tanks on the drive to Kentucky.

The radiator is at a radiator shop being repaired. I haven't heard what they did to it but I'm pretty sure it was going to have to be re-cored. It should be ready this coming week.

The new motor is sitting on the floor in front of the Motorhome ready to be installed. I just want to make sure everything that could be done up front was done before installing the motor. The 454 got a new Comp Cams towing cam, Comp Cams lifters & springs, Edelbrock Performer 2-O intake manifold and an Edelbrock 1406 600 CFM carburetor and a high volume oil pump among other things.

Hoping for a late February completion date but that's probably overlly optimistic!

Brad
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Old 04-07-2009, 01:39 PM   #7
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Brad, sounds like you will be close and great timing for the season to complete the Argosy. Post pictures when your done. Thanks, Matt
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:01 PM   #8
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Brad, sounds like you will be close and great timing for the season to complete the Argosy. Post pictures when your done. Thanks, Matt
Matt, progress has kind of ground to a halt for the time being. The two guys that had been doing the work sort of lost interest after they were about 75% done. The Argosy is still sitting on jack stands with the rear diff cover off, right axle pulled and parts of the front suspension waiting to be reinstalled. Also the motor is still waiting to be installed.

The new plan is for me to finish the suspension work, reassemble the rear end and then winch it up onto our 24' trailer. I'll then haul it to our new shop in Kentucky where I hope to make more progress later this summer. Can't really work on it until I've finished moving everything else from Arkansas to Kentucky.

Considering how many people are out of work (including the two that were working on the motorhome) its seems strange that you can't find anyone who wants to finish a job after they start it.

I guess its probably better this way. I really prefer to do the work myself, at least that way I know its going to get done right. Fortunately the work they did looks good so I'm not concerned about having to rework anything.

Fortunately we still have our 310 motorhome for use this year!

Brad
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:47 AM   #9
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Well a LOT has happened since the last update back in April of 2009. The two guys I had working on the Argosy trying to get it road worthy did in deal bail on me out with it still sitting on jack stands, front suspension incomplete, no motor installed and the differential cover removed. So it was up to me to figure out a way to get it from Arkansas to Kentucky doing everything by myself with only a few hours every other weekend to work on it. It took me from about Mid April 2009 until the July 4th weekend of 2009 to get the front suspension back together, differential cover re-installed and up onto the trailer ready for the trip to Kentucky.

Below in pictures you'll see what I finally ended up doing to get the Argsoy ready to load onto a trailer and the actual trailer loading process itself. This is not something I would want to do on a regular basis.

As you can see in the pictures the Argosy is sitting perpendicular to the actual door that I needed to use to get it out of the shop. The door it's facing wouldn't work due to the proximity of trees along the shop so I had to rotate the Argosy 90 degrees from the way it was currently sitting and then get it moved to the other door, outside and then up onto a 24' gooseneck trailer. The following pictures sort of give you an idea of the process I used to accomplish the task.

During part of this process I was actually sitting in the drivers seat of the Argosy steering it as I used the remote control from the winch to pull it towards the trailer and then up onto the trailer. I think the whole process from putting the front wheels of the Argosy up onto the dollies to the point I could tie the Argosy down onto the trailer took about 4 hours. I will say this, without power steering the Argosy is a bear to try and steer

We bought this trailer and the 10,000 lb winch mainly for this one trip although I did use the trailer and winch on five separate trips during our move. In total I made about 24 trips between Arkansas and Kentucky from late 2008 through October of 2009 moving mainly the contents of my shop and various vehicles that we owned at the time. We ended up selling the trailer (kept the winch) for about what we paid for it which was nice.

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Old 08-01-2012, 09:56 AM   #10
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As you can see in the fourth picture the angle was kind of steep and the hitch dug into the ground a little bit

Since I was sitting in the cab at the time I couldn't tell what was slowing me down but the winch was strong enough to continue pulling the Argosy up onto the trailer.

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Old 08-01-2012, 10:07 AM   #11
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Here are a few pictures showing it's arrival at our home in Kentucky, the unloading process and where it currently rests.

I opted not to tow the trailer myself since I didn't feel our 92 F350 non-turbo diesel was up to the task of hauling it through the hills (mountains?!) of Tennessee and Kentucky. A friend of mine used his Dodge diesel and said other than the front of the Argosy acting like a huge drag chute the trip went just fine. He never did tell me what his fuel mileage was for the trip

I can't say exactly when I will be able to start working on it again. Seems like everytime I think I'm going to have time to work on it something comes up that keeps that from happening. Who knows, maybe this winter

Brad

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Old 08-01-2012, 10:07 AM   #12
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Nice work. Just looking at the pictures made me tired. Sal.
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Old 08-01-2012, 10:28 AM   #13
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Wow, what an adventure and a lot of hard work!
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Old 08-01-2012, 10:36 AM   #14
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It was definitely a lot of hard work. I traveled over 24,000 miles in 2009 just moving our shop and garage contents. I don't think I'll ever do anything like that again

Brad
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