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Old 03-16-2006, 12:30 PM   #1
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San Jose , California
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Thinking of buying a 75 Argosy 24' Motorhome

Hi, Iím new to this forum and thinking of purchasing my first motor home. I've been looking casually for awhile and have gotten hooked on the Airstreams. I particularly like the Argosy 20' & 24' with the rear bed and wrap around windows in the back. Last week I went to look at an Argosy 24' Motor home (pictures are attached).

The ad says: Restored in and out
Interior: Honey Glazed maple Paneling
Fully Reupholstered & New Curtains
Dinette Table redone in Formica burl
New carpeting and flooring
New Sony tape player with 10 disc changer and XM-all in one with 4 Infinity Speaker & amp
60,000 original miles
New Gear Vendor Under/Overdrive (says he paid $4k for this)
New radiator, water pump, Holly electric fuel pump, Power Steering pump,
All hoses, steering gear box, all new lines for braking system, hydromantic master cylinder and slave cylinders, pads.
New tires, wheel covers, high output alternator
Oil coolers and transmission coolers with fans
Awning in fair condition.



So, to me, the pictures looked showroom. When I got there, it didn't quite measure up to the pictures. It was a bit dirty -- looked like it had been lying around for awhile. Now I know very little about motor homes or cars for that matter, but here's what I picked up:

1. Couldn't find keys for generator (generator look very old but he said it ran).
2. House batteries were dead (says they're dry cell so don't go bad). So initially we could check much. Later we hook up to house power and check lights, water, house air conditioner seemed to work and was cold.
3. Turned on the engine -- seemed rough at first but smooth after it warmed up. The car air conditioner doesn't work and he says needs a new pump ($300).
4. As you can see from the pictures he did a lot of restoration work. The job on the bathroom seemed a bit shoddy. The new flooring looks great but seems to give. He says its due to expansion -- he didn't put the required under pads (due to space). Cabinetry looked pretty good and would have look better if he had done a little dusting/cleaning before I arrived.
5. Refrigerator looks new (runs on gas, DC, or AC) -- I believe he said it was relatively new. Stove had a little rust.
6. Most of the windows need new weather stripping. This gave it a shoddy appearance but I'm not sure if it is serious. The felt (or whatever itís called) for the window sliders were wet, rotten, dirty and would probably need to be replaced on most of the windows. The felt was probably bad due to bad weather stripping.
7. Exterior wise, there is a small scrape/dent on one side. About 1 inch deep/wide and 2 ft long. Missing strips here and there.
8. One of outside storage bins (I believe there are 3) seemed to have extensive rust (the others seemed OK).
9. He said the propane system work but he could not give it his guarantee
10. Underneath the engine, I found some oil (it looked black). I check the oil (dipstick) and it was full and clean looking. The said the main gasket may have a small leak (he though it was very small).



Next week I will look at it again and he said he will have everything working (i.e. keys for the generator, batteries recharged, etc., etc. I will also take it for a drive then (he didnít have insurance for it when I looked at it).

So what do you folks think? Should I consider buying it and what do you think I should pay for it?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

Cheers,

Edward
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Old 03-16-2006, 01:06 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums and congratulations on your good decision to purchase an Airstream Motor Home.
I am going to pass on the mechanics since I am a diesel man who knows little about those engines. Let me comment on some of your other observations and the owners comments. First, the batteries are dry cells? Did you surprise him when you showed up or does he not keep them charged? Plan on replacing the batteries. The refrigerator is a 3 way and fairly new. Sorry here too, Dometic stopped making them quite awhile back, not to say that is not a bad refer. I have one and love it, its almost 30 years old and with proper maintenance will serve you well. Next I want to combine the spongy floors and the bad window channels. If the windows are bad enough they can leak water, if they leak bad enough they can rot your floor. Did he put in a new sub floor or just a new floor on top of the old rotted sub-floor. If it eels spongy you will be replacing the floor soon. The windows are a big job. I just finished mine. If you let them go they leak and rattle, if left for too long they will never work properly.
When you return. Check it out like you would a house- you will live in it. How is the wiring? Find the circuit box and check the circuits. Take off the mattresses and check underneath for mold, moisture. Plumbing: tanks solid, no leaks, hook up a hose and test the system, fill the fresh water tank and test the pump. Taste the water is it funny? Would you drink it? Closets. Take a flashlight and search the corners for mold and moisture, also use that light under the sink and in each cabinet and drawer. What you want to know is if it leaks. So check the ceiling carefully each inch for any discoloration. look carefully down the seams. Are the cabinets hanging securely? our coaches tend to loose the overheads if overloaded.
Last and most important if this coach passes your inspection and you reach a price that you are happy with remember that will be the down payment. This will be true with any classic you decide to buy however, they are the greatest vehicles ever made.
Good luck to you.
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Old 03-16-2006, 01:12 PM   #3
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canton , tx
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Hi Edward. I couldn't access the pictures so am operating blind on the looks. I have bought 3 old motorhomes (one a 79 AS) and would do it again. Can't see if a picture of the generator was included but, all three of mine looked very bad. I think a lot has to do with location ie. rear of the coach and unprotected so asways dirty. Main thing is how well it runs and puts out elec.

Soft place in bath floor could be plywood rot. Not good but repairable. Hope you can get to the wood and check. All of the motors on mine leaked a little oil but not much. A good working refer is a real plus since they are very expensive. I still have the 79 AS and a 79 Barth, I love them both but also knew I would need to spend money. Barth is 21' and I paid $3,500 lasgt month. AS is 28' with rear bed and the rear you curved windows you mentioned...way cool...cost in Oct was $8200. Please post a followup after your next insp and test drive...good luck...joe
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Old 03-16-2006, 01:21 PM   #4
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It's a Project, not a Product...

Edward-

Welcome to Forum.. Thanks for pictures, and you should get some interesting replies. Different members have different feelings, but you've sort of described a vehicle that hasn't been used much for camping in last 5 years and was "restored and upgraded" by amateur mechanic... Here they are lovingly referred to as "PO's" which is usually short for prior owner...

In terms of chassis, engine, running gear etc, description sounds like it is in OK running condition, but an RV mechanic (like perhaps Leale's in San Jose) probably ought to go through it... AIr conditioning compressor replacement, for example, is NOT a $300 job when done by actual paid mechanic.. Figure closer to $1500. If there are issues with OD or brakes or cooling system/gaskets involved in oil leaks, it could get very painful. Oil leaking onto hot surfaces under doghouse next to you when driving will make you want to resell in a hurry.

As for "house systems", if propane system and parts (water heater/furnace/refrigerator) aren't OK, those too are expensive to repair or replace. Still might be OK, but you'd want to know before you buy, not after. Same with generator and batteries. Letting even "dry" 12 volt batteries die, is usually detrimental to their long term health. Plumbing issues not too bad if they occur to fix, but water leaks resulting in floor problems or frame problems are very worrisome.

I'd encourage use of "search" feature in blue bar at top of website, to look for threads ro messages no generators, batteries, etc and see what others think and have done to repair..

As for price, there are very few behcnmarks for something like that, and condition and costs to put into condition you'd really be comfortable with are primary variables. Ratty Argosy motorhomes might be worth less than $5K, and a super clean and mechanically sound model with everything you'd like working well in interior might be worth $20K or more...

John McG
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Old 03-16-2006, 05:39 PM   #5
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What is the asking price, if there is one? Looks like allot has been done to it.
My 20, I just acquired is in awesome shape. So far, everything I have tested is in good working order. The floor in my 77 was about as good as the day it went in, no issues with the frame. Engine has been tuned up and runs like a top. I removed the gen set, but it only took an hour to get it running , like new. If the price was right, I would jump on it, where did you say it was? (kidding)
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Old 03-17-2006, 12:52 PM   #6
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Thanks to everyone who has responded so far. I will take all your comments into consideration. Here are a few more comments:

1. My impression is that the floor is not rotted (at least the area that felt spongy). I check the plywood under the sink (which was exposed) and next to the flooring, and it looked like marine grade plywood in good condition. Also the touch felt like it WAS the flooring not holding firm against the plywood rather than the plywood giving.
2. Regarding the window job. Does anyone have an idea of how much this job will cost? Material and labor. Also, where can I get the materials for this job?
3. The owner is asking $9500.

I will be looking at it again next Saturday, March 25 and will post a follow up then.

Cheers,

Edward
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Old 03-17-2006, 03:50 PM   #7
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Sounds like a pretty fair deal. You can check Vintage Traler Supply
for the weather stripping. They may have it in stock. You can pobly do the weather strip installation yourself with a little help for the Forum.

Here is a pic of the bare floor in my 20'

You can check out my progress @

http://www.balrgn.com/Argosy/20/Argosy_20.htm

GOOD LUCK!
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Old 03-20-2006, 01:16 PM   #8
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Try asking Toscana..

The closest Airstream authorized service facility is Toscana's in Los Banos... You could talk to them (Service Mgr is Ron..) about either buying parts and doing yourself, or having them do it.. They are pretty good. Another option might be contacting C&G Service in Bellflower (LA Area - (800) 662-3790) and asking them for quote. They are Airstream authorized service only shop with good reputation among WBCCI members in southern CA. One more option is to contact Andy Rogozinski at Inland RV in Corona, who posts here, and makes business of repairing and supplying parts for older Airstreams and Argosies....

John McG
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Old 03-28-2006, 04:57 PM   #9
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Hi folks, Again thanks for all the input. I'm planning to look at the Argosy this weekend. Does anyone know of an RV inspector in the Monterey/Carmel area? That's where the Argosy is located.

Thanks,

Ed
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