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Old 01-03-2016, 11:41 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1976 Argosy 26
Squamish , British Columbia
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 14
Commencing full interior gut job...

I have a 1976 argosy 26'. She's a thing of beauty. I live in her full time with my 9 year old daughter on the west coast of Canada. I've spent the last 2 years slowly removing original al stuff as it broke and replacing it with my own hack-job 2x4 carpentry replacement furniture. I even installed a tiny marine wood stove.

It's apparent that the insulation amd electrical wiring (and plumbing) need to be started from scratch. I'm taking the summer off to strip it down to the skeleton amd do the following :

Remove all flooring/wall sheeting/fixtures
Wire electrical with solar/alternative energy capability
Re-plumb with pex, not copper
Spray foam insulation
Re-sheet walls and endcaps
Insulate floor, re-sheet, install hardwood
Install appliances (washer/dryer combo, central vac, smeg fridge, original stove/oven,
Dishwasher?, hot water on demand (propane), and ventilation to avoid condensation)
Reinstall wood stove

I'm at the overwhelming planning stage of all this where I talk to all my tradesman friends and decide what to attempt myself amd what to source out. I'm skilled in the demo, insulation, sheeting and flooring (and most of the plumbing), but after that, I'm at the mercy of professionals.

I'm trying to grasp an idea of whether my $20,000 budget will cover the cost of all this if I stick to simple design and if I already have some of the appliances ready to install.

Has anyone else out there done a major overhaul like this? How much did you spend? Realistically, how long did the work take, and most importantly, are there any fatal mistakes you can help me not to make. This is my home, and the repairs/upgrades are absolutely necessary to our comfort in the canadian winters. I'm highly creative and will not settle for an " already renovated " unit that someone else designed.

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Old 01-04-2016, 06:24 AM   #2
3 Rivet Member
Commercial Member
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1967 28' Ambassador
1964 19' Globetrotter
1960 24' Tradewind
Edgewood , Kentucky
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 206
20K budget?

This will get you a good majority of the way.... But unfortunately even doing all the work yourself you may be under budget for what you have listed. I have done almost everything you have listed myself to a 67' ambassador. My initial budget was also 20k for materials. I'm far beyond that with more to spend. I am currently finishing the cabinets getting ready to finish it out with a back bedroom and some flooring.

Don't be discouraged though. If you can settle for other things later you could eventually finish out your dream. If I were you I would be considering more like a 25k to 30k budget. New systems are not cheap. Especially if you want a boondocking package.

All I can recommend is homework! and lots of it. Iv'e spent countless hours finding resolutions to my problems getting ready to squeeze the trigger and some other persuasive simple way falls right in your lap. Don't always go with your first vendor when buying products, shop around. I've seen products swing 100$ or more from different retailers. Learn from everyone's experiences, read, read, and read some more on how to's (especially from this forum), it will save you grief and money in the long run.

Good luck on your build!
You can check my build @

Artisan Airstreams
Custom restorations and renovations
Keeping the Art on the road, one project at a time
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Old 01-05-2016, 08:20 PM   #3
2 Rivet Member
1975 Argosy 26
Tulsa , Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 87
Liesel, I have a 1975 Airstream Argosy 26', and we just started the same process. We've gutted most of the interior, and are now working on taking down the interior walls. Next, we plan to drop the bottom pan, remove the floors, and start in on the frame (repairing where needed, and then remove rust, and apply rust converter). Then we'll replace the floors, core plumbing and electrical, axles and tires, window gaskets, remove a couple of minor dents and start rebuilding the interior. At my current rate, we should be done sometime in 2030, but we are hoping to accelerate. The nice thing about going slow, is it makes it easier to pay for :-)
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Old 01-14-2016, 07:56 AM   #4
The Sign Lady
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 674
What about your wiring makes you think you need to replace your electrical from scratch? That's something that you really don't want to dig in to unless you need to. Panel boxes and switches are easy things to update without redoing ALL the wiring, that's a complicated expensive job...
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Old 01-14-2016, 08:48 AM   #5
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1978 31' Sovereign
Texas Airstream Harbor , Zavalla, in the Deep East Texas Piney Woods on Lake Sam Rayburn
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,435
Images: 292
Check out the undercarriage first!

My experiences are mostly parallel to post #2 to this thread. Absolutely worth it to me.

One thought of caution.

Your demolition may uncover frame damage and floor damage at the perimeter. To insure a good frame/floor/interface it is imperative that the floor be reinstalled fully into the "C" channel. I do not know of a way to do this without separating the shell from the frame.

Consider carefully throwing all this money into a trailer that you may not be able to recoup your costs should you decide to move on in a few years.

"Suck it up, spend the bucks, do it right the first time."

WBCCI # 1113
AirForums #1737

Trailer '78 31' Sovereign

Living Large at an Airstream Park on the Largest Lake Totally Contained in Texas
Texas Airstream Harbor, Inc.
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Old 01-15-2016, 10:09 PM   #6
1 Rivet Member
1976 Argosy 26
Squamish , British Columbia
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 14
I have an electrician and a solar power specialist helping me with a system that can handle a washer/dryer combo, central vac, and 120V lighting along with heated floors. I'm changing my layout slightly, so it is neccesary. My blender is already frying the light-Guage wires that make my house. I feel pretty prepared in that regard.

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