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Old 03-31-2014, 12:46 PM   #1
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1976 Argosy 28
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Renovating 1976 Argosy Airstream...what am I doing?!



Hello! I'm new here, so please let me know if I'm breaking all kinda rules! I just bought a partially gutted 76 Argosy at the start of this year. I'm going to renovate it myself, probably with some help from friends, and it will be my year round home. Currently she has no flooring, just sub floor which feels and looks to be in decent shape. However, it looks like the previous couple of owners have sort of made up their own style of wiring (this is so not good haha). I have someone (who I trust and know is completely capable) who is going to do the re-wiring for free minus cost of materials. I'm thinking I don't want to/can't get too deep into any other reno at this point until the wiring is done. I also slept in it part of last night and boy was it cold. So, insulation? I guess really I need a couple starting points to get this going. And probably some encouragement because I've never done anything like this before

I know that's not a lot of info but I have no earthly idea where to start! Thanks!
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:16 PM   #2
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1973 21' Globetrotter
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Post a picture or your interior so that see can see what you are up against. If your interior walls are in place, and the previous owners have patched in visible wiring, then the best way to fix the problem would be to start by removing the interior and all the interior panels (the inner skins), and then you will be able to get a good look at the original wiring, how the "new" wiring was kludged onto it, and what shape your insulation is in (there should be pink fiberglass insulation in the walls).

If your trailer is already completely gutted, and has no interior skins, then yes, step one will be to address the wiring, step 2 is to reinsulate the walls, and step three would be to recreate the interior skins (which may be a challenge without the original interior skins to use as a template).

Don't panic--if you can see your entire subfloor, and it isn't rotten and needing repair or replacement, then you are still ahead in the game. If you haven't verified the condition of your floor, then this would be step 1. Think of your trailer as a house--you want to start the rebuild with the foundation--so check you axles (they can be replaced at any time) and running gear, the condition of the frame, and the subfloor, and then you can move on to electrical, plumbing, insulation, etc..

There is a wealth of information here on the forums--make good use of the "search" function, and read some of the "full monty" blogs.

Working on these trailers is like the old saying "how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." Its more of a marathon than a sprint--you just have to have the endurance to keep working on what could be a very big project. This isn't rocket science, if you can use a saw without losing any fingers, and can turn a wrench, you can learn most of the needed skills, and hire someone for the rest.

good luck!
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:17 PM   #3
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Oh, and welcome to the forums!
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:29 PM   #4
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Another question for you--do you plan to tow this trailer and use it to travel, or will it be parked and rarely ever moved? The reason I ask is that your answer can affect your priorities with the repair/rennovation. Trailers that travel will have both a 120v system as well as a 12V system. A "park model" can get by with only 120 V. Similarly, a traveling trailer will use specialized appliances (the refrigerator in particular), whereas a park model could get by with something for a small apartment. A traveling trailer will probably need new axles, a park model can sit on the originals as well as it can on new ones.

As to your trailer being cold, if insulation has been removed from the walls (and the inner skins), that will definitely account for the cold. But also, you have lots of big windows, and those guys are going to bleed heat and cold no matter what you have in the walls for insulation. So to live in it in the winter, you will need a good heater and to employ some strategies for winter occupation (there are various threads on this topic on the forums).
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Old 03-31-2014, 04:35 PM   #5
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1976 Argosy 28
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The inner skins are all intact thankfully. Though I have no idea how I go about taking them off. I certainly don't want to get ahead of myself which I am pretty good at. She's not entirely gutted, but there's no sleeping platforms or whatever. Just basically the bathroom, kitchen and pantry/fridge were left. I've removed the fridge and pantry because wow they were taking up a lot of space.

I'm planning on setting her up at an RV park here so there won't be much traveling, at least initially. And thankfully I live in Phoenix so I'm not going to be freezing to death, though maybe melting is more accurate.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 03-31-2014, 04:57 PM   #6
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Post some general pics of the interior and specifically of the suspect wiring. There may be options to address your wiring that don't necessitate removing the inner skins and insulation. It could be that the previous owners just had no idea how it was wired, and when some outlet stopped working, they tried to compensate by just running a wire from the fuse box to the place needed. There may be an easy fix that will get you going, assuming they didn't rip out the old wiring in the process of their mods.

Good luck!
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Old 04-01-2014, 04:47 PM   #7
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I'll post some pictures soon, it would be amazing if I didn't need to re-wire all of it. I don't really want to use propane for anything so I want to make sure the electrical isn't going to kill me. Thanks for the help!
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Old 04-01-2014, 05:25 PM   #8
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Welcome to the forums
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