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Old 01-17-2014, 05:51 PM   #1
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Would you buy a unit that had been flooded?

I'm looking for a 1970's vintage Argosy in the 20-24 foot range. There is one reasonably close by. I talked to the seller who was very upfront that the unit had been in a flood a few years ago. Was by a creek. Creek flooded, picked the unit up and moved it a few feet. 8 inches or so of water was on the inside.
He bought it after that (not sure if weeks, months or years). It's been on his property for a few years.
Reportedly has a "smell" inside, though not what he describes as a mold smell.
Most of the interior equipment is reportedly there except for the stove. I don't know what kind of shape the furnace might be in. Fridge does not work. He plugged in shore power and the interior lights worked, so presumably the univolt is still working. I would have to assume the fridge would need new guts. The A/C above does nothing when turned on, but theoretically that could be a host of issues.
Water systems and holding tanks are unknown.
No exterior body damage
tires are dry rotted and axles need replacement.

I'm assuming that the insulation in the underbelly is dry by now, but likely has something growing in there.

If I do a restoration and pull the floor, I'd just as soon keep the existing layout.

Seller is asking 1800 for the unit, which seems quite high to me given the work that will likely be needed.

I'm waiting on photos and might possibly take a peek in a few days.

Would you stay a million miles away due to the concerns about what the water might have done to the electrical system and insulation etc, or is something that might be reasonably able to be rehabbed?

Thinking against it right now, but open to suggestions.

Thanks for your insights.
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Old 01-17-2014, 06:23 PM   #2
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I would take it for a grand but install all new insulation, sub floor and anything else seriously affected by the flood damage. You are looking at lots of money on replacing appliances so make sure you get it for cheap...
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Old 01-17-2014, 06:48 PM   #3
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A member on the forums bought a new one that had been flooded in ATL and did a bunch of work to it. He was happy with the result. I'm with Crabbey1 though, even a $1000 seems high. I am in the middle of a shell off reno of a 1970 and the costs add up fast!
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Old 01-17-2014, 06:51 PM   #4
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You don't state what year and what shape the exterior is in.

I bought a '75 last year and replaced all the appliances, electrical, axles, rims, tires, plus added solar panel and two AGM batteries. I think (didn't want to know exactly how much (wife), it cost me about $6 or $7,000.

Did all my own work (including floor front and back) and enjoyed it (winter project).

Electrical should not be effected (I would replace electrical converter and fuse panels anyway) so the only question is the insulation under the floor - from reading this blog of others that have done it, I don't think it would that hard.

So... if the exterior is in good shape, you end up with a nice Airstream for under 10 grand - not bad!
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Old 01-17-2014, 06:57 PM   #5
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Hello RhinoWW:

Lots of questions on this one. You already know you can't tow it home legally without tires, brakes, turn signals, etc. You could put it onto a flat bed truck. You are looking at a few hundred dollars just to move it.

Perhaps you're retired with lots of time to put in getting her into shape. You can readily purchase a stove. The refrigerator not working could be as simple as a fuse or corrosion problems. Being underwater is problematic. If the trailer dried out rapidly and hasn't been wet repeatedly, you could get lucky and not have the dreaded floor rot.

You mention no exterior body damage which is a plus. The smell could be from just being closed up for a lengthy period of time.

Should you really want this beast, I'd start with an offer of $100 plus you moving it off his property. He might not take it, but I doubt he will have many offers. You can always raise your offer.

The fact that the stove is missing leads me to believe he may have started to sell off parts.

Lots of things to consider with this one. I wouldn't pay anything near what he is asking! -- Lots of fixer-uppers out there.

Good Luck!
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Old 01-17-2014, 07:17 PM   #6
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Living in a part of the country that floods every time the weatherman even predicts a thunderstorm, my inclination would be to steer well clear of anything that was flooded and never repaired afterwards.

There are entirely too many unknowns, that you won't discover until you start tearing it apart, because the bulk of any damage will be where you can't see it. Water 8 inches above the floor means a host of potential problems.

Some possibilities:
Freshwater tank. Contaminated for sure, if only from the water in it stagnating, even if floodwater never got in.
Propane tanks. Possibly rusted out at the bottom.
Frame. Galvanized steel doesn't do well in immersion, especially if the galvanized coating was damaged anywhere.
Wiring. The trailer's breakaway switch and umbilical are undoubtedly goners, even if all other wiring is miraculously intact. Which it might not be, if any junction boxes or outlets are within 8 inches of the floor.
Floor. It's a goner, guaranteed.
Cabinets. Ditto. Water eight inches above the floor means the lower portion of every cabinet and bed frame was inundated.
Insulation. Not only under the floor, but part-way up the walls, too. Leaks happen from the top down, but wicking action can cause damage from the bottom up, too.
Mold/Mildew. If it still smells years after the fact, there's definitely mold or mildew growing in it somewhere. And you don't know if it's just cosmetic or if it's harmful. Black mold can be fatal if you breathe the spores, for example. Although I suppose that if the floodwaters carried a lot of organic clay sediment, the smell might be from that instead.
Brakes. Brake shoes don't deal well with flooding. Even assuming the brake drums aren't lumps of rust.

You might get lucky and not have any of these problems. You might get unlucky and discover even more problems. It's not worth the risk at the price he's asking.
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Old 01-17-2014, 08:07 PM   #7
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Offer him $500 for it and see what he says. Lots of potential issues there. Will be a total rebuild to get it safe to live in.

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Old 01-17-2014, 09:36 PM   #8
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Frame. Galvanized steel doesn't do well in immersion, especially if the galvanized coating was damaged anywhere.
Galvanized frame, that's optimistic, I've only heard of galvanized frames on Airstreams that were originally sold in Europe.
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Old 01-17-2014, 09:43 PM   #9
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It's an awful lot of work and/or expense. Your resale value would be better with an Airstream, not Argosy. Just saying'...
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Old 01-17-2014, 09:58 PM   #10
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Sounds like a parts unit to me, at best. Lots and lots and lots of work. You probably can do better. The glass is worth something however, as is the door, the lockset and a few other hard to find parts.
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Old 01-17-2014, 10:24 PM   #11
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Thanks all. Sometimes it is good to validate the voice in the back of your head that tells you to be careful. I have work down by the camper every once in a while. I may take a look in a week or two. I dont think this will be moving quickly.

I pulled together a short spreadsheet on work needed to be done and some guestimates on costs. Number got real big in a hurry.
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Old 01-18-2014, 01:34 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by RhinoWW View Post
Thanks all. Sometimes it is good to validate the voice in the back of your head that tells you to be careful. I have work down by the camper every once in a while. I may take a look in a week or two. I dont think this will be moving quickly.

I pulled together a short spreadsheet on work needed to be done and some guestimates on costs. Number got real big in a hurry.
Listen, listen, listen. The more you work with intuition, the more you get. I'd suspect that doing the bearings and brakes and check the wiring would make it ok for Burning Man, we don't do white glove inspections. er maybe we do but we dont tell. er oh yeah, we post signs on whose got the most dust and I usually win. Don't bring any of that moopy mold to my Nevada playa though
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Old 01-18-2014, 06:59 AM   #13
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Galvanized frame, that's optimistic, I've only heard of galvanized frames on Airstreams that were originally sold in Europe.
I stand corrected.
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Old 01-18-2014, 07:11 AM   #14
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I'm looking for a similar vintage 24'er. I've seen four so far that would need mostly everything replaced to make them "like new", which is my goal. They were all priced at $4500 or $5000. I passed.

I have a thread going right now about shopping for a vintage trailer and much good info has been posted about what is a reasonable price-quality expectation.
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