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Old 03-09-2013, 07:09 AM   #1
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Just curious

Just curious to know why an Argosy has a one piece rear aluminum end cap when all our Airstreams have two extra seams where water can come into? If they could manufacturer a one piece in 1976, why not in 198.........?
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Old 03-09-2013, 07:14 AM   #2
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because the aluminum is steel
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Old 03-09-2013, 07:41 AM   #3
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because the aluminum is steel

Yes....and Argosy was a test bed of new ideas that they didn't want to introduce to AS too fast, presumably, because of traditionalist buyers. Some things lasted and carried over (not many, I think) and some didn't....like steel one piece end caps. They would have to have been painted to match the Aluminum....and IMO, would have ruined the AS appearance. (Yes, I'm a traditionalist.)
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Old 03-09-2013, 07:41 AM   #4
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Both end caps are made of one piece of steel. fewer seams mean fewer leaks. I'm sure it was also the cost factor. Less material cost, less labor cost.
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:46 AM   #5
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It takes very little tonnage to press the steel compared the aluminum which requires a great deal more. To form a one piece end cap from aluminum would be virtual impossible.
Personally, I love a polished Argosy with painted end caps. I have seen a number of these over the years and they look stunning to me. I am a traditionalist also I might add...
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:59 AM   #6
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I know a couple of masters of the English Wheel that would have no problem at all hand forming one piece caps out of aluminum. They would have to take a couple of dozen hours but it could be done. The cost would be prohibitive to all but a few. I have seen them do some amazing work for the deep pockets; money is no object custom/antique car crowd.
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Old 03-09-2013, 10:34 AM   #7
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BTW, Argosy also used fiberglas for some end caps. I made a post on it and found that it appears to be '75's only, and then, very few of them. We also have determined that some Argosy trailers were made in CA, even though Airstream says they were only made in Ohio. One of the responders found he had a steel end cap on one end, and fiberglas on the other. So, with an Argosy you never know what you might find.

The steel end caps have rusting issues and are hard to keep paint on. The fiberglas ones are very nice in that they don't rust.
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Old 03-09-2013, 10:45 AM   #8
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With over 32 years of working in the aluminum and steel container manufacturing business. I can tell you, it takes a lot more tonnage to form an item out of steel than aluminum.
I believe that there were no aluminum alloys back in the '70's that would withstand the stress required to form the end cap. The aluminum would just crack or tear apart.
Back in the '70's, once the body of an aluminum container was formed. The open end of the container was annealed (softened) with a flame prior to rolling a flange. Today, annealing is no longer required.
In the future, you will see cars and trucks that are made with aluminum sheet metal formed into roof tops, hoods, trunk lids and fenders. Because the science of metal alloys has changed.
I have no doubt that an aluminum end cap could be formed in one piece using the alloys available today. The reason it is not done is there is a very limited market for an item such as this. After all. How many A$ are built in the average year. Even making both interior and exterior end caps. It would not be worth the investment in the machinery and tooling required. NO RETURN ON INVESTMENT due to lack of market demand.
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Old 03-09-2013, 10:55 AM   #9
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It takes very little tonnage to press the steel compared the aluminum which requires a great deal more. To form a one piece end cap from aluminum would be virtual impossible.
Personally, I love a polished Argosy with painted end caps. I have seen a number of these over the years and they look stunning to me. I am a traditionalist also I might add...
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Frank, that appears to be an exact match. Do you know what paint code is used for the endcaps?
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Old 03-09-2013, 11:01 AM   #10
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I know a couple of masters of the English Wheel that would have no problem at all hand forming one piece caps out of aluminum.
I'd sure like to see that. Would need to be a really big English Wheel to do a one piece end cap. And a guy with really long arms.
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Old 03-09-2013, 12:25 PM   #11
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Frank, that appears to be an exact match. Do you know what paint code is used for the endcaps?
That trailer belongs to member Ifly4cal. It is the same color as their tow vehicle.
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Old 03-09-2013, 12:30 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the replies.

It just seems strange to me being a Brit and lusting after Jag C,D and E types who's hoods (bonnets) were made out of one piece of steel exept for the light weight versions which were aluminum, that the end cap on an Airstream which is comparitively simple couldn't be made like the Argosy pictured.

As for tooling......they had to have one for the steel one.

I can understand the Aluminum cracking or tearing under pressure but what did Jag do.......STARTING IN THE 50's with the C type? Check out the complex curves on an E type lightweight!
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Old 03-09-2013, 06:17 PM   #13
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Didn't realize that auto parts were made of aluminum back that far. It probably had to do more with the cost of material. Not really sure.
And you are right. The tooling would have been pretty much the same as long as the metal gage is the same.
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Old 03-09-2013, 06:48 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the replies.

It just seems strange to me being a Brit and lusting after Jag C,D and E types who's hoods (bonnets) were made out of one piece of steel exept for the light weight versions which were aluminum, that the end cap on an Airstream which is comparitively simple couldn't be made like the Argosy pictured.

As for tooling......they had to have one for the steel one.

I can understand the Aluminum cracking or tearing under pressure but what did Jag do.......STARTING IN THE 50's with the C type? Check out the complex curves on an E type lightweight!
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Didn't realize that auto parts were made of aluminum back that far. It probably had to do more with the cost of material. Not really sure.
And you are right. The tooling would have been pretty much the same as long as the metal gage is the same.
I believe the depth of draw for the Jag hoods would be much less than the Arg's endcap. I also have always been under the impression the Jag lightweights had hand formed components made over wooden bucks.
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