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Old 05-31-2016, 06:40 PM   #1
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frame rust

Hello all,
Need a little help here..... I am considering driving 400 miles to look at a 75 Argosy 24' for sale. Asked the seller to send pics of any rust on the exposed frame. Looks a little scary!

Question is...typical and like hell?
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Old 05-31-2016, 07:40 PM   #2
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1995 25' Excella
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A good poke or 12 with a screwdriver is needed to tell the tale on that frame.

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Old 05-31-2016, 08:32 PM   #3
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
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The pictures you posted don't look too bad for rust. A Florida trailer or anywhere else where the climate is warm and moist might cause steel to rust faster than in Phoenix or Bakersfield. It seems like the 70s Airstreams (and Argosys) are more prone to rust problems than other vintages. A 24 footer (Argosy 8 meter?) is a nice size as it came with dual axles and yet still rather light weight. This put less loads on the frame members.

You can also assess the frame rust through the rear bumper storage compartment and the fold up step box under the trailer. Rear end rainwater leaks are tough on the frame as well as the subfloor. Many Airstreams leak here. Inspect the rear of the trailer carefully.

Also carefully probe the subfloor around the interior perimeter of the trailer with an awl or ice pick. Look for spongy plywood. This is likely below windows, the entry door, and the rear bath area. Rotted plywood can be replaced, it just takes a bunch of work.

I think the most important thing in any vintage Airstream purchase is the body, or shell. The body is expensive to repair. The rest of the trailer is very repairable given enough time and money.

So the shell, subfloor, and frame make the semi monocoque construction that makes Airstreams a bit like old airplanes. Strong and light. But all three members must be in good condition for it all to work as designed.

Here is a photo of a rear frame member that has rusted holes in it. It is obviously lost strength. And here is a photo of my 66 Trade Wind rear end frame rails "as found". Rusty, but I judged the majority of the steel's strength is still there. And here is a photo of a mid seventies Argosy that's been restored. I didn't realize Airstream used the Argosy brand as a field test bed for new design concepts. It has steel end caps (thus the full body paint) and the new "panoramic" windows in front. Now all Airstreams have panoramic windows (at least most do.)

Hope this helps you...

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Old 06-01-2016, 04:35 AM   #4
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thanks for the advice guys. I have got my heart set on an Argosy and as they are all around 40 years old some rust is expected. I looked at some frame off blogs (full monty) and want to avoid that as I do not have the time, money or skill to do it. When I return I will post more photos of the frame and floor condition.
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