Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 07-07-2013, 10:10 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
 
1976 Argosy 28
Traverse City , Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 8
1976 Argosy 28' Electrical Questions

I am totally new to this and I really hope I am in the right place for answers....

Anyways, I recently acquired a 1976 Argosy Airstream 28' Center bath trailer from my great grandparent's cabin which sat outside for 16+ years. Don't make any comments on tires because I already know they need to be replaced ASAP. The trailer is still in remarkably good condition for being outside for about as long as I've been alive.

But to the problem. I tried to plug in the electrical wire in the bumper to my house with an adapter (fire extinguisher ready). I heard no noise and no lights or any electrical work. The only electric that works is trailer lights for when it is being towed. One thing I must add is my grandfather or great grandfather must have added an electrical wire to the battery terminals in the battery storage box on the side of the trailer. It is simply a wire on one end hooked up to the battery terminal connectors (battery absent) and on the other, two grommeted bare wires. Maybe he used this to power the trailer? I don't know.

My real question is if anyone has any idea what might be wrong with it? A blown fuse, a switch to choose between AC and DC, etc...? I know little about these trailers and am trying to restore it, so any other tips from experience is greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
__________________

__________________
1976 Argosy Airstream 28' Center Bath
Pulled with 2005 Ford Explorer XLT
lkreykes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2013, 10:38 PM   #2
Moderator Emeritus
 
overlander64's Avatar
 
1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5,396
Images: 183
Send a message via Yahoo to overlander64
1976 Argosy 28' Electrical Questions

Greetings lkreykes!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Argosy ownership!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lkreykes View Post
I am totally new to this and I really hope I am in the right place for answers....
You are certainly in the correct place. You will find a friendly bunch here who are quite willing to share their Airstream and Argosy knowledge with you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lkreykes View Post
Anyways, I recently acquired a 1976 Argosy Airstream 28' Center bath trailer from my great grandparent's cabin which sat outside for 16+ years. Don't make any comments on tires because I already know they need to be replaced ASAP. The trailer is still in remarkably good condition for being outside for about as long as I've been alive.
The center bath floorplan is among the more uncommon Argosy models. You probably also have the rear panoramic windows as well. Both the front and rear panoramic windows were pioneered in the first generation Argosy travel trailers before the feature made its transition to the Airstream travel trailers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lkreykes View Post
But to the problem. I tried to plug in the electrical wire in the bumper to my house with an adapter (fire extinguisher ready). I heard no noise and no lights or any electrical work. The only electric that works is trailer lights for when it is being towed. One thing I must add is my grandfather or great grandfather must have added an electrical wire to the battery terminals in the battery storage box on the side of the trailer. It is simply a wire on one end hooked up to the battery terminal connectors (battery absent) and on the other, two grommeted bare wires. Maybe he used this to power the trailer? I don't know.
There are any number of problems that could produce these symptoms, and some will be easier to correct than others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lkreykes View Post
My real question is if anyone has any idea what might be wrong with it? A blown fuse, a switch to choose between AC and DC, etc...? I know little about these trailers and am trying to restore it, so any other tips from experience is greatly appreciated.
The first place to begin checking is the Argosy's circuit breaker box. The circuit breaker box is most often found in a curbside rear corner cabinet, but with the center bath this may not be the case. When observing the 120-Volt AC circuit breaker box you want to switch off all circuit breakers then switch each of them back on . . . then try plugging the coach back in and see if anything starts to happen. If you find that any of the circuit breakers have weak action, replacement breakers aren't terribly expensive and are comparatively easy to replace. Most everything in your Argosy runs on 12-volts other than the air conditioner so the 120-volt AC side of the electric may actually be working.

The 12-volt side of the equation can be a little more perplexing as there are a few more places for problems. First, the Argosy must have either a good full-charge deep cycle battery in place or a functional Univolt or power converter of another make. The Univolt power converter is typically a 9 or 10 inch metal cube that is either blue, green, gray, black, or tan . . . it may be hardwired to the 120-volt AC circuit breaker box or it may be plugged into a 120-volt AC outlet . . . the Univolt converts 120-volt AC into 12-volt DC that operates most electrical devices in the trailer as well as charges the house battery(ies). Since the Univolts of this era tended to be noisy, it isn't unusual to find that previous owners have added switches to turn off the Univolt when it wasn't needed . . . or sometimes the prior owner would just unplug the Univolt and leave it unplugged until needed. When you find the Univolt, determine if it is plugged into a working outlet . . . if it is plugged into a working outlet, you should be able to hear a hum or buzz that indicates that it is working . . . if there is power to the device and an absence of noise it likely isn't functioning. If you find that there is noise, but your 12-volt devices still aren't working, you will want to check the 12-volt fuses . . . the 12-volt fuses are typically behind an access panel on the Univolt. On a 1976 Argosy, the fuses are likely to be automotive glass cylinder fuses. You will want to look for obvious blown fuses . . . replace any blown fuses with similar sized fuses . . . check terminals that hold the fuses and if you find corrosion, clean the corrosion and reinsert the fuse being sure that it is securely seated. If this doesn't result in livening of at least some of your 12-volt circuits, the Univolt may be making its noise without actually producing power. At this point, a known good deep cycle 12-volt battery can be connected to the system to see if any of the interior 12-volt circuits come to life (you may need a new in-line fuse for one or both of the 12-volt battery leads). Once you find that you have 12-volt DC going to at least some circuits, you can begin searching for burned out lights and other issues at the fixture level.

I strongly suspect that you are going to find that the Univolt is the source of your problem as without a battery in-place your Argosy will have almost no interior electrics if the Univolt isn't operational. All of your ceiling lights, ceiling vent fans, range hood vent, range hood light, reading lamps, TV antenna amplifier, water pump, furnace blower motor, etc. are 12-volt DC powered.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin

P.S.: If you find that your Univolt is dead, repair isn't advised. The usual advice is to replace the Univolt with a modern multi-stage power converter that offers kinder treatment of the house batteries extending their life. Most of these modern converters utilize external fuse blocks so this change usually requires installing a new fuse block compatible with the new power converter.
__________________

__________________
Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
overlander64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2013, 10:52 PM   #3
1 Rivet Member
 
1976 Argosy 28
Traverse City , Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander64 View Post
Greetings lkreykes!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Argosy ownership!



You are certainly in the correct place. You will find a friendly bunch here who are quite willing to share their Airstream and Argosy knowledge with you.
Thank you! I am glad to hear this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander64 View Post
The center bath floorplan is among the more uncommon Argosy models. You probably also have the rear panoramic windows as well. Both the front and rear panoramic windows were pioneered in the first generation Argosy travel trailers before the feature made its transition to the Airstream travel trailers.
Yes there is the wrap around glass in the back, people always point out how crazy that is when they first see it!

Thank you for the quick response and valuable information. Tomorrow I will go out to the trailer and check the breakers and fuses to see if any are blown. I do remember seeing the Univolt being unplugged from an outlet behind it. What confuses me is why there is an extra electrical cable though... I am guessing my grandfather didn't bother to check the Univolt and went ahead and tried to rewire it himself... I really don't know. Also, would any deep cycle marine/RV battery work for this trailer? Thanks
__________________
1976 Argosy Airstream 28' Center Bath
Pulled with 2005 Ford Explorer XLT
lkreykes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2013, 11:03 PM   #4
1 Rivet Member
 
1976 Argosy 28
Traverse City , Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 8
I just went out to the trailer and plugged in the Univolt (a grey box that nowhere said Univolt on it, just something about being a converter). When I tried to plug the trailer into a standard socket from my house, it tripped the GFI. Now, I don't know if it was just drawing too much power or if I have a grounding issue, but I am not continuing tonight. I do remember my grandfather having a metal rod stuck in the ground and alligator clips on that which led to the trailer...Perhaps there is a problem with the ground.
__________________
1976 Argosy Airstream 28' Center Bath
Pulled with 2005 Ford Explorer XLT
lkreykes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2013, 11:10 PM   #5
Moderator Emeritus
 
overlander64's Avatar
 
1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5,396
Images: 183
Send a message via Yahoo to overlander64
1976 Argosy 28' Electrical Questions

Greetings lkreykes!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lkreykes View Post
Also, would any deep cycle marine/RV battery work for this trailer? Thanks
I believe that the battery compartment in your Argosy 28 will accommodate a series 27 Deep-Cycle RV/Marine battery. When I was getting acquainted with my coaches, I went with the least expensive I could find while I was working through any issues with the 12-volt DC equipment . . . then when problems were sorted out and the inexpensive battery died it was replaced with a better quality higher capacity model. The OEM Univolts are notoriously unkind to the coach battery so it doesn't pay to get a high quality battery until a multi-stage converter/charger can be installed in place of the Univolt.

There is a fairly common work-around for a noisy Univolt, but it has some safety flaws. The Univolt is disconnected and a 12-volt battery charger is substituted to supply power for the 12-volt devices. You may find that is what was tried in your Argosy.

Good luck with your investigation and research!

If your Argosy didn't come with an Owners' Manual, you can obtain a copy from the Airstream store at Airstream.com. The manuals are photo copies of the originals, but contain all of the pertinent information. There weren't service manuals for Argosy travel trailers, but the service manual for the same year Airstream travel trailer will provide the necessary information to understand an Argosy as well.

Kevin
__________________
Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
overlander64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2013, 11:12 PM   #6
Site Team
 
Aage's Avatar
 
1974 31' Sovereign
Ottawa , ON
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 11,204
Images: 25
Smile

Howdy, and to Airforums.com, lkreykes! You may qualify as the youngest TT (travel trailer) owner we have here.

If you want us to ID that mystery wired your grandfather installed, shoot a few photos and post them up here. Who knows? It could be important and necessary, or maybe it was just something that your grandfather did for a temporary reason.

The towing / running lights working is a good sign. They get their power from your tow vehicle, so that means your "umbilical" to the TV is working. There's a blue wire in the umbilical for just that circuit.

Sounds like you have one of the more sought-after models there! Howsabout aome photos of the outside and inside..?
__________________
“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”
...John Wayne...........................
Aage is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2013, 11:18 PM   #7
Moderator Emeritus
 
overlander64's Avatar
 
1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5,396
Images: 183
Send a message via Yahoo to overlander64
1976 Argosy 28' Electrical Questions

Greetings lkreykes!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lkreykes View Post
I just went out to the trailer and plugged in the Univolt (a grey box that nowhere said Univolt on it, just something about being a converter). When I tried to plug the trailer into a standard socket from my house, it tripped the GFI. Now, I don't know if it was just drawing too much power or if I have a grounding issue, but I am not continuing tonight. I do remember my grandfather having a metal rod stuck in the ground and alligator clips on that which led to the trailer...Perhaps there is a problem with the ground.
There are at least a couple of things that may be happening here. If you are using an adapter to go between your 30-AMP trailer plug and a 15-AMP household type plug, this adapter can cause errant problems with the GFCI outlets. Examine the power cord for your coach . . . if the 30-AMP plug isn't molded onto the cable, it is likely a replacement and if that replacement has ground and neutral switched it can cause problems with the GFCI. There is also the possibility that someone may have changed the ground/neutral wiring in the circuit breaker box . . . when the bonding of neutral and/or ground is not to standard it will result in GFCI problems as well.

One way of temporarily circumventing this issue would be to run an extension cord directly from your home to the Univolt and plug it into the extension cord eliminating the Argosy's 120-volt electrical system from the test. That may give you a chance to see if the Univolt is doing anything for the 12-volt side.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
__________________
Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
overlander64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2013, 12:18 PM   #8
1 Rivet Member
 
1976 Argosy 28
Traverse City , Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 8
I plugged just the Univolt into an extension cord, and it started humming and all of the lights are on! Now just to figure out why it won't work with the actual trailer wire. I attached pictures of the trailer, univolt, and battery box.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMAG0913.jpg
Views:	325
Size:	310.2 KB
ID:	190503   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMAG0914.jpg
Views:	175
Size:	223.6 KB
ID:	190504  

Click image for larger version

Name:	IMAG0915.jpg
Views:	375
Size:	225.7 KB
ID:	190505   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMAG0916.jpg
Views:	172
Size:	269.7 KB
ID:	190506  

__________________
1976 Argosy Airstream 28' Center Bath
Pulled with 2005 Ford Explorer XLT
lkreykes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2013, 12:32 PM   #9
Rivet Master
 
1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,591
As you are working without a battery, one thing you need to do in the battery box is to tape the two wires with the ring terminals so they do not short out sometime. I am also concerned with the gray "romex type" wire that your grandfather added. You need to trace where that goes if you can and report back.

The 120 volt wiring issue you have of no power to the Univolt via the original wiring... Does anything on the 120 volt side work? That is are any of the outlets live in other parts of the trailer.

Look at the 120 volt circuit breaker panel. It should have a 30 amp breaker (which is the main breaker). First thing to do is to switch that on and off a couple of times while the trailer is plugged into your house power. Then do the same with the other breakers. That might restore power to the outlets. That is the only simple test I can offer. Report back on what you find.
__________________
idroba is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2013, 03:15 PM   #10
4 Rivet Member
 
damonbeals's Avatar
 
1998 31' Excella 1000
1979 23' Safari
Mooresville , Indiana
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 473
FYI your electrical box is under the bed on the left side of the trailer, if you remove the mattress you should see a access panel, remove that and you now have access to the electrical box and the low point water drain valves.

I would remove the bed decking if you need to work on the electrical box, the little access panel doesn't give you any room to work.

Damon
#4827
__________________
damonbeals is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2013, 04:56 PM   #11
1 Rivet Member
 
1976 Argosy 28
Traverse City , Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 8
I took off the bed deck to reveal the circuit breakers, all of which were on, so I flipped them all off and back on about 5-6 times each. Which only led to the GFI outlet to trip again, this time without the Univolt plugged in.

I followed the wire that was added, it just goes across the bottom of the trailer over to the refrigerator access door and just ends with grommets on the wires. I'm guessing my grandfather plugged that in directly to an outlet to act as a "battery", but why he did that puzzles me and leads me to believe there might be a major problem with the normal wiring.
__________________
1976 Argosy Airstream 28' Center Bath
Pulled with 2005 Ford Explorer XLT
lkreykes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2013, 08:18 AM   #12
1 Rivet Member
 
1976 Argosy 28
Traverse City , Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 8
I must also add that to the right of the breaker box is a junction box full of wires. I opened it to find ground wires connected to white wires, and black wires connected to white wires.... ????
__________________
1976 Argosy Airstream 28' Center Bath
Pulled with 2005 Ford Explorer XLT
lkreykes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2013, 08:30 AM   #13
Site Team
 
Aage's Avatar
 
1974 31' Sovereign
Ottawa , ON
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 11,204
Images: 25
Sounds like you may need some help to sort things out with regards to the electrical system.

There is no need that I can imagine for a secondary junction box, unless obvious after-market equipment was added to the TT.

Any relations or friends that are electricians?
__________________
“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”
...John Wayne...........................
Aage is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2013, 11:00 AM   #14
1 Rivet Member
 
1976 Argosy 28
Traverse City , Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 8
The box to the right just had a little light connected that illuminated outside of the trailer for some reason, but I disconnected it. I attached pictures of the wiring in the Univolt. I am really stuck on this project!!! Also, in the front where all the trailer lighting wires are, there is a yellow wire that goes into the floor of the trailer, then reappears at the Univolt I think. What should this be connected to? I have everything disconnected right now. The water pump is also unplugged and was when I received the trailer. What wire goes where? Thanks!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMAG0922.jpg
Views:	131
Size:	153.9 KB
ID:	190638  
__________________

__________________
1976 Argosy Airstream 28' Center Bath
Pulled with 2005 Ford Explorer XLT
lkreykes is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:50 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.