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Old 02-21-2003, 09:21 AM   #1
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Newbie looking at an Argosy

I saw a 20' (?) Argosy yesterday for sale for $2000. The skin (original paint) looks straight. The interior appears to be all intact. After surfing the "Airstream" forums I picked up a couple of pointer so I'm going back today to inspect the frame for rust, the floor board for rot..especially around the toilet, shower and sink area.
Anything else I should look for or be concern? Is the selling price reasonable? Thanks
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Old 02-21-2003, 10:42 AM   #2
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1966 26' Overlander
Woodstock , Georgia
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The price sounds fair if the systems are mostly "go". The structural
items as well as the functional accessory items. Any major system can be costly to reapir or replace, so factor that into your decision. The smaller trailers are desirable.
You might also look at this recent posting...

http://www.airforums.com/forum...6004#post26004
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Old 02-21-2003, 10:54 AM   #3
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1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
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Newbie looking at an Argosy

Greetings Seon!

Depending upon year and if the coach is actually 20', you may be looking at a Minuet. The Minuet is a bit out of the ordinary in that its floor width is approximately 6" narrower than the standard Argsoy line. It was introduced sometime in 1977, but wasn't greatly publicized until the 1978 model year. I own a '78 Minuet (6.0 Metre or 20'), and it is a wonderful little coach.

The points that you mention are quite valid for your inspection. I might suggest to also check the condition of the Dura Torque axle. There is a good description of a precise check (measurement) as well as visual inspection information available at:

Dura Torque Axle Inspection Information

As you probably discovered in reading other posts regarding inspection, unless there is concrete evidence that the tires are less than five years of age and that they are properly rated ST tires, you will be in the market for new tires. It has also been my experience that shocks will also likely be on your immediate replacement list as well.

Some other items that you might want to inspect include: the termination cap/drain valve assembly for the gray and black water tanks - - especially if it is a Minuet - - this cap is found oun the bottom of the trailer pointing down toward the road in the streetside corner - - if the trailer has been towed with a hitch that is too high or the owner hasn't been careful with steep drives this valve assembly can be damaged (I know as I have been the culprit with my own trailer). You will want to be sure that the owner can demonstrate that each of the major appliances work (I have included approximate professionally installed replacement costs in parenthesis) - - furnace ($500), refrigerator ($1,000), air conditioner ($700), water heater ($400). It seems like one of the most prolific points for water system leaks on the Minuet is at the city water entrance in the rear curbside corner - - the fitting that goes through the wall seems to have the habit of failing - - it was a problem on my coach as well as three others that I have seen.

You will also want to pay particular attention to the front "wing windows" that are either side of the window over the hitch. These windows can be quite durable, but costly to replace if broken. If my information is correct, the only replacements available new are tinted, and the ones on coaches of the 1970s were typically clear. The side windows while not cheap to replace, they aren't as likely to pose problems.

The price that you mention is in the mid-range for the coaches that I looked at prior to purchasing mine. Last August when I purchased my 6.0 Metre Minuet, the asking prices ranged from $1,000 to $4,500. The $1,000 coach had fewer options (no air conditioning or curbside awning being the major options that would have added significantly to its value in my opinion), and it needed new upholstery, drapes, and floor coverings as well (the mechanicals, however were all funcational). The $4,500 coach was basically road ready with everything being quite presentable but far from 100% perfection - - probably about 75% on a 100% scale.

One way to identify the trailer when you are inspecting it is to look at the serial number. The serial number should decode as follows:

20D9V####

20 - - Represents the length of the trailer as sold by Argsoy
D - - Represents the sleeping arrangement D=Double,
T=Twin.
9 - - Represents the last digit of the year of Manufacture
V - - Represent Versailles, OH production facility
#### - Represents the sequential production number

If the first two digits are 20, 22, or 24; and the digit following the sleeping arrangement letter is either 7, 8, or 9 - - you are likely looking at a Minuet. So far as activity here on the Forum, the rarest of the Minuets seems to be the 24' variety that is the only one to have a tandem axle setup - - the 22' variety has an extra window on each side that really increases the interior light and perception of roominess. Whether Minuets were made after 1979, I haven't seen anything posted about Minuets manufactured after 1979 but that doesn't mean that they weren't produced beyone 1979.

Good luck with your inspection!

Kevin
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1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 02-21-2003, 07:00 PM   #4
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Thank you both for replying to my query. I went to look at it today and it is a Minuet, unforturnately the owner didn't show up as scheduled . The seller's Uncle was there and allowed me to look inside and I did take pictures which I'll post later tonight.
Exterior:
The outer skin is very straight with no dents but needs repainting.
Underneath was covered with sheet metal and has a rip located under the door. The rip isn't bad, looks like a piece of 8' x 8" patch could be rivited over it. Tires appears good, but unknown of how old they are. I couldn't check the axle. The frame has a coat of light rust, but nothing serious. The windows were all intact with no broken nor crack glass. Front window was covered.
There was a "blacken" stain outside the heater vent.

Interior:
I couldn't test the plumbing, heater, stove/oven or fridge. The cabinets are in very good condition and all the roll up covers are all functional, including under the sink. The stove top is rusty, probably need replacing as well as the hardware over the fire thingy (?). I didn't notice any major cracks in the bath area, although inside the toilet is stained.
The carpet appears to have been replaced but the upholstery looks like the original material and would probably need recovering.

The owner, according to his Uncle uses this trailer once a year for deer hunting. Other than what I've described above and a thorough cleaning (maybe sand blasting) inside, it appears to be solid, however, lots and lots of maintainance i.e. caulking around windows, replacement of various "stuff".

I think I'll offer him $1500...what are your thoughts on the price?
If he doesn't accept, I'll look for another one to buy. I want to look for a single axle and maybe an Airstream? I don't know what model comes in the 20' length..any help? I want to pull it with my '58 Yeoman Station wagon. Probably will need to install air shocks/bags and other accessories to tow it.
Sorry for the long post, but I think I'm hooked on these vintage trailers.

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Old 02-22-2003, 06:20 PM   #5
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1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
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Newbie looking at an Argosy

Greetings Seon!

It never hurts to negotiate on price. I would hesitate to say too much about price as the prices that Airstream products bring seems to vary quite a bit with the higher prices being on the West Coast with very similar indicators along the East Coast as well. In the Midwest, the offer that you are proposing would be well within reason especially if it hasn't been proven that all systems are fully functional, but how realistic that price is for your geographic location would require input from someone nearer your California location.

One of the nice features with the Minuets for your proposed use is that it would be narrower than any similar size and Vintage Airstreams. The narrower width makes for a much more relaxed towing experience when an automobile is used - - its hitch height is also lower which makes finding and properly adjusting a hitch a bit easier. The hitch height is 18" for a Minuet, and 19.5" for most Airstreams of similar vintage.

You mention wondering about single axle Airstreams of similar Vintage. One place to learn about sizes, weight, etc, is:

Airstream Weights and Measures

Basically, most vintage coaches under 24' are single axle; and depending upon year and options single axle coaches can be as large as 26' Overlanders.

You can also view photos of Vintage Airstreams of various descriptions at:

Vintage Airstreams

Kevin
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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)
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