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Old 06-07-2013, 06:55 PM   #1
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1984 34' International
Toronto , Ontario
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Replace? Re-upholster? How to get a gaucho to be usable?

We have just purchased our first Airstream, a 1984 34' International. One thing we specifically liked about this model was that the back bedroom is large enough to accomodate bunks for our three children plus the inevitable sleepover guest.

That leaves my wife and myself with a conundrum - where to sleep? We're renovating the interior, with new flooring and upholstery, so now is the time to get this right.

The gaucho as is is too narrow to sleep two people in comfort, even if reupholstered from the frame up. Has anybody ever widened the sofa part, so that it turns into a wider bed? If I go down that route, we'll lose usability of two fold up tables, and would probably have to remove them completely.

Another option would be to remove the gaucho completely and replace it with a sofa bed. Here the issue is space and storage - there's electrical equipement underneath the current gaucho. I've been looking at IKEA units, but nothing seems to fit quite right.

We'll be using the trailer for weekends and holidays, so it doesn't have to be equipped for full timing, but I do value a good night's sleep.

If anybody would have any suggestions, I'd much appreciate them. Here's the current setup. If need be, everything can go.


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Old 06-07-2013, 07:53 PM   #2
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1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
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What you have is a "flip lounge" that AS used in the 80's. It is quite an ingenious device where the back cushion "flips" to the front to make the bed. They are a very comfortable couch with the back cushion at just the right angle, and the front butt to knee depth good for most people.

There are two problems with them. The side bolsters have to be removed to "flip" the back forward, and that is a PITA. The joint between the front "flip" part and the main cushion can be uncomfortable if the foam is tired, and the alignment between the two parts is off. The alignment can be adjusted though.

Now, to make it wider, you can put about a 6" piece of covered foam of the same density in the space between the curved front wall and the rear of the larger bottom piece. That will bring the total width up to the 54" of a standard double bed, and is about as wide as you will get no matter what you do in that space. There will be a curved section of course but usually that is not a big issue.

To make it longer, about the only thing you can do is to cut down the armrests and gain the space that they consume for extra at the top and bottom of the bed. You will lose the armrests of course, visually, but as mentioned they are a PITA when you want to make the bed up. What you would do is to cut them down so you could put a covered piece of foam in their place, level with the top of the cushion. If you were not fussy, you could use the curved piece that makes up the top of the armrest and either fill in the remainder with a small block of foam or leave a gap in that part.

I personally like the flip lounge when against a side wall, and with no armrests at all. I purchased one for my Argosy years ago, and have been very happy with it, but then I am single and sleep alone. It has worked for me and I like the way you can store the sheets and blankets behind the back when "fliped" into place. It makes it very easy to make the bed up quickly.

Anything else would be a custom made unit and it is always hard to work with the curved front section and still have access to the electrics under the bed. But AS people are ingenious and may have some better ideas.

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Old 06-16-2013, 08:18 PM   #3
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1974 31' Sovereign
Ottawa , ON
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I often wonder if the original frame could be strengthened and/or improved to be more stable. If at the same time, the upholstery was re-done with the best foam system available, one that used the various types of foam in concert to provide good support combined with good comfort, why should it be any less than a good home bed in terms of overall performance?

I was going to suggest you have a look at the Flexsteel products, to me they appear to be the only "high-end" aftermarket RV supplier around, but when I saw your twin batteries, I suspect they would have to be moved to accommodate a Flexsteel.

Keep us informed as to how you make out with your search? And good luck with it!
If it's to be, it's up to me.
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Old 06-16-2013, 08:55 PM   #4
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1976 Argosy 28
Milton , Ontario
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Good Suggestion...

Good Suggestion Aage,

We are looking at the FlexSteel product for our use.

Good luck with your project.
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Old 06-16-2013, 09:04 PM   #5
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1974 31' Sovereign
Ottawa , ON
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Hi, Chris!

If you get the Flexsteel, I will be really interested to hear your thoughts on how good it is.

And how much they cost, too. Do you have an idea of the price range yet?
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