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Old 10-03-2011, 03:52 PM   #1
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1977 Argosy 28
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Argosy dream becoming a nightmare.

well not really a nightmare but speaking solely on my finances i am terrified.
i do plan on making this a mobile studio/full time home/touring vessel that is self sufficient (eventually solar and rain catching filtration plumbed for minimal to no park hook up). thats alot to put in one but i feel as if my plan will work well if i could really start to devote everything i have to it. already have my WVO f350 to get me where im going for almost free.
moving on to reality........
i just got off the phone with airstream trying to price a job i wouldnt be comfortable doing on my own. (interior skins, resealing behind them and re insulating it all as well) my boisterous ambition to renew my 77 argosy (ft) has been tested with a very intense number. a number im not even close to even with the 10% off they offer in winter months. a number infact i quoted myself (without too much knowledge) for the entire rebuild. if you cant tell by now i am newb and a big time dreamer. not a quitter though. i want quality work and i want an air tight ship.

HERE COME THE QUESTIONS.

1. if anyone is in the nashville area or close by that has a good knowledge of these trailers and has time and experience and is interested, i could use a friend.. and i would pay a friend some cash for some help/knowledge. dont have alot! but this is my future home and i want to get it right.
that was less of a question and more of a proposition but do message me. or call 615 three hundred fifty 82.

2. my main concern is the order in which to begin the rest of my strip down project. when am i getting in over my head? i just finished taking down all the flimsy walls and gross 70s bathroom and kitchen, and i would love to try and start thinking about getting a good foothold on redoing the bottom portion of the project, ie; the sub floor, whatever needs work on the undercarriage/axles/wheels and bearings blabla (things i might be able to afford right away). my question is, besides popping out rivets/anything in between, and removing the skins to get to the sub flooring is there anything incredibly paramount i am missing or not thinking of or doing out of order? i wanted brand new skins as mine are sticky and disgusting, until i heard itd cost me alot more than im going to have for sometime. my 2 part question will conclude; is there any way to strip this nasty wallpaper off to original aluminum? paint/patch/melt small holes? instead of going for the brand new choice. how close could i come to a really good job on these skins without spending too many thousands? any round about quotes/pics would be a steardy branch on my decision tree!


this is alot i know and i have so much more to ask but one thing at a time.
any help/advice would be really a big help! thanks alot!



jru
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Old 10-03-2011, 04:25 PM   #2
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Welcome to the Forum!

There are a lot of answers the the questions you posed in your post already out in the various sections of the forums. One thing you might try to gain some overall confidence is to look through a few of the threads that others have posted to document their major restorations. Try searching for the term "Full Monte," and you should get at least three different threads of folks who have disassembled and reassembled 70's era trailers and made it look easy.

You might also get your hands on the back episodes of the VAP (Vintage Airstream Podcast), and do a marathon listening session. This might help you calibrate your expectations as to what is reasonable in terms of cost and labor invested to your project, as well as preparing you for the inevitable rotting floors, mouse filled walls, rust-rotted frame, etc...

Good Luck!
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Old 10-03-2011, 06:22 PM   #3
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Listening to the VAP podcast is a great idea. It's important to realize that they note that a full restoration equals 800 to 1000 hours of labor. At at least $60 an hour, that adds up to a lot - or it's a lot of time you need to spend working on the trailer. And that doesn't include the cost of parts - that can easily equal $10k-$15k.

How invested are you to the Argosy? You might want to consider something newer - it's a bigger upfront cost, but the overall cost could wind up being a lot less.

Tom
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Old 10-03-2011, 07:24 PM   #4
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thanks alot for all of your ideas. i like the podcast idea. ive started listening to it and im realizing how much i truly dont know.
i appreciatte your concern as well Mutcth. i really want to recreate the interior altogether which i understand is a lot of money and a huge amount of time. and ive toyed with the notion of getting a newer one as well but i really like this old thing and i want to kick myself into shape with this one being my first. i know its a huge project to tackle especially for a newb like myself, however i do enjoy a challenge and ill be doing my best to see this thing to the end. which i know is very far away.
however am i ignorant to think i can save up money and tackle projects in a workable sequence as im financially able ie: floors, then skin, etc.. ? maybe thats a dumb question.
lastly i would be very interested to find out just for budgets sake, is it possible to renew these old argosy aluminum skins that are grossing me out so bad? its sticky. im guessing from the "wallpaper" glue? i might be okay with the idea of a super deep clean and then prime and paint. is this a bad idea? the re skin and insulation job i was quoted was about 10-15k alone.. sounds like a harsh investment... thoughts.. please.. dont have that kindof of money to drop right now.
thanks again!
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Old 10-03-2011, 09:06 PM   #5
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The sticky walls will probably come clean with a degreaser. I used Marine Clean from POR 15, let it soak a bit then wash off. Then I scrubbed the stubborn parts with Comet. This is easier to do after the interior skins have been removed and you can lay them flat on the driveway and spray them off with a hose.

Removing the interior skins and insulating the trailer is not a bad job. You'll need an extra pair of hands for the larger pieces, the ceiling and the end caps. Label each piece on the back with a permanent marker.

There are different thoughts on insulating. I used Dow 1" x 8' x 4' Polyisocyanurate Insulated Sheathing from Lowes and sealed it with aluminum tape. At this point you need to decide on wiring too, so you'll need a good plan. I found that some of the wiring (on my '74 Sovereign) that had been buried in the walls at the factory could be run on the surface behind cabinetry, but that will depend on your design. In our Sovereign there is continuous cabinetry of some kind from the front of the door all the way around the trailer to the back of the door, so lots of possibilities for running wire without going into the walls.

How is the floor? That should be addressed while the interior is out, and if needed, the frame should be fixed before the floor. Sometimes I feel like my Airstream is a giant game of pick-up-sticks. Whatever I start in on leads me to something else that needs to be done first.

Be sure to protect the wiring. I accidentally drilled into one when I was reinstalling the end caps and later had a short in my running lights. Not fun to have to fix in the middle of Iowa on a 700 mile day!

Sorry I'm not close enough to help. It's easy to underestimate the amount of time it will take to redo the interior. Check out Smokeless Joe's account of his Argosy and note the number of decisions that need to be made and the amount of time it took. It also depends how much other things in your life get in the way of your trailer. Although we've already taken a major trip in it, I've been working on our Sovereign for 2 and a half years and still have lots to do.
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:13 PM   #6
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Welcome fellow Argonaut.

So when you say the walls are sticky, are they exposed metal that's got something sticky on it, or are the wall skins still covered and the covering is sticky? If it's the latter, something like Simple Green or another degreaser should do the trick, but if someone has stripped the coating off you'll need something stronger to deal with adhesive residue.

It sounds like you've basically gutted the interior and now you're not sure which of the 30 things it needs to do first.

Have you taken pictures? Do you know the condition of the floor? Do you know the condition of the plumbing and wiring?

There are lots of moving parts, and lots of paths between "gutted trailer" and "rolling home." It can certainly seem overwhelming... my list of projects is pretty long and my Argosy is very usable. You just have to take a deep breath, make a comprehensive plan and a budget and then decide whether you want to fish or cut bait.
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:57 AM   #7
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Here is a great thread which addresses actual costs and work hours for decent rebuilds.

You can do as much or as little as you want, but be aware it would be VERY difficult to rebuild and use it at the same time. Of course, there are various "steps" that are possible while using the Argy in-between-time.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f372...get-45902.html

Start from the bottom and work up - do the frame and running gear first - you probably will have to remove the lower panels to do this...and to inspect the floor/frame/body interface.
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Old 10-06-2011, 03:22 PM   #8
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[QUOTE=DKB_SATX;1054519]Welcome fellow Argonaut. :) So when you say the walls are

Quote:
Originally Posted by DKB_SATX View Post
Welcome fellow Argonaut.

So when you say the walls are sticky, are they exposed metal that's got something sticky on it, or are the wall skins still covered and the covering is sticky?

It sounds like you've basically gutted the interior and now you're not sure which of the 30 things it needs to do first.

Have you taken pictures? Do you know the condition of the floor? Do you know the condition of the plumbing and wiring?


the skins are still coated with the wallpaper. what im wondering is how to strip or have this aluminum stripped of this nasty wallpaper? the only problems other than the skin being super gross looking is the many rivet holes which im hoping to hide somehow??

i will take some pictures soon. the wiring is old and i would like to completly update that and the plumbing. its funtional but not desireable. the floor is coming out as it is rotton in some some spots. im a bit ocd and would like to tackle a complete overhall on the dated areas of this trailer which is the overwhelming part of a 77 or any old trailer and this mentality.
ready for the hard truth of mountains of money. like i said i was quoted such a massive price on my skins that im now rethinking the "replace everything" challenge that is obviously far over my budget. what does the stripping process look like and are brand new skins a good investment compared to stripping and renewing them??
pics coming soon.

thanks again for all of the help everyone!!
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Old 10-06-2011, 03:41 PM   #9
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I wonder if you might have wallpaper that a PO has installed over the interior skins, or if someone scary lived in there.

My wall skins are covered with a white textured stuff. I'm not sure exactly what the material is (plastic, vinyl, etc.) but it doesn't seem to be a paper or a fabric, it's durable (what you're seeing in the photo below is 36 years old, after all) and it cleans up pretty well. I've taken Simple Green and elbow grease to a couple of dirty areas and ended up with a clean white textured surface that looked like the rest of the walls. I assume it's the original stuff because the rivets that hold the interior skins in go through it, and there's nowhere in the trailer that it shows any signs of coming loose from the aluminum.

I was taking the photo below of the cabinet because I'm working on an issue with how the front panel is secured to the locker above, but to the left you can clearly see a section of the interior wall. Is this not what your walls look like? (mine's a '75.)

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Old 10-06-2011, 03:53 PM   #10
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I read here somewhere ( Inland Andy )

That Mop and Glow was the magic cure for sticky wall covering.
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Old 10-06-2011, 04:20 PM   #11
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Not Mop & Glow...Future Floor Finish.

Shari
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Old 10-06-2011, 05:02 PM   #12
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My bad

Shari, You are correct...not Mop and Glow....It WAS Future Floor Finish.

Thanks for the back up
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Old 10-06-2011, 06:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DKB_SATX View Post
I wonder if you might have wallpaper that a PO has installed over the interior skins, or if someone scary lived in there.

My wall skins are covered with a white textured stuff. I'm not sure exactly what the material is (plastic, vinyl, etc.) but it doesn't seem to be a paper or a fabric, it's durable (what you're seeing in the photo below is 36 years old, after all) and it cleans up pretty well. I've taken Simple Green and elbow grease to a couple of dirty areas and ended up with a clean white textured surface that looked like the rest of the walls. I assume it's the original stuff because the rivets that hold the interior skins in go through it, and there's nowhere in the trailer that it shows any signs of coming loose from the aluminum.
The end caps for the upper cabinets and the doors of the upper cabinets on the 74 and 75 Argosy's that I own have that same white vinyl covering over a thin wood, so it is original. Mine are coming lose in a couple of spots, but I hope to re adhere the material to the wood. I have not done it yet, however. If yours are badly detached and ugly, you may not be able to save them.'

In your photo I see the original brown plastic door latch, which has turned a chalky brown. You can easily restore those ugly brown latches by removing them and painting them with Krylon Fusion gloss brown spray paint. You can get it at Wal Mart. Be sure to get the "fusion" not the regular Krylon. It fuses to the plastic and works great. They will turn out like new and really dress up the interior.
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Old 10-06-2011, 06:52 PM   #14
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There are other posts about owners of this vintage trailer removing the interior skins and using chemical stripper to get off the vinyl wall coating. You then probably will need to polish the panels afterwards. Rivet holes can be filled with rivets.

A lot of threads warn against doing this because it is very labor-intensive, but if you have (much) more time than money, it can be done. Or you can just go over the panels with new sheets of aluminum.

I kept the vinyl wall covering (it held up great.) It gets sticky, but periodic cleaning fixes that. I like that stuff wipes off of it easily.

Tom
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