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Old 12-26-2012, 02:09 PM   #1
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1974 Argosy 26
Hillsville , Virginia
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interior restoration, rebuild, et al

Corpus delecti is a 74 25' Land Yacht, which we want to update, refresh, rebuild, etc. I've gotten as far as removing couch. Here's what we're thinking; are we crazy, wasting time, etc.? 1) remove interior skin, insulate with foam panels. 2) remove floor, insulate underside with foam 3)install radiant heat under new laminate flooring. 4) replace fuse box with breakers and update wiring.

What else? Should belly pan be insulated with foam? Since we'll always be connected, should I get rid of furnace?

Plastic housing over ceiling vents/lights is badly discolored. suggestions on eliminating/replacing, cleaning, alternatives?

Delecti is 3k mi. and 3 months away right now. Appreciate all hints, advice, encouragement.
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Old 12-26-2012, 05:38 PM   #2
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Welcome to the club, and to the library of information to be found here. Your best bet might be to click on "forums" underneath the big "Airforums" logo, and start reading threads about the topics you are interested in. Everything you've just mentioned will be fully covered and discussed by some very experienced and talented members/mechanics. Have fun with it!
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:09 PM   #3
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interior restoration, rebuild, et. al.

Greetings JakeMtMn!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Airstreaming!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeMtMn View Post
Corpus delecti is a 74 25' Land Yacht, which we want to update, refresh, rebuild, etc. I've gotten as far as removing couch. Here's what we're thinking; are we crazy, wasting time, etc.? 1) remove interior skin, insulate with foam panels.
What you propose is certainly an option, but does it make sense for your anticipated use. The process required to remove the wall panels, remove the existing insulation, install new insulation, and reinstall the wall panels will be quite labor and time instensive for somewhat modest gains in efficiency. If the existing insulation needs to be replaced due to flood or rodent damage, then it may be well worth the effort for increased safety -- or if you suspect or have uncovered major electrical damage then the process may be highly advised.

When I approached the refurbishment of my 1978 Argosy Minuet and my 1964 Airstream Overlander Land Yacht International, I realized that both had sound electrical systems with limited issues with rodents or other vermin. I chose the leave the walls untouched, but I did have new breaker boxes for the 120-Volt service and new 12-Volt DC panels installed in both coaches along with a new modern power converter in the Minuet and a modern power inverter/charger in the Overlander (it has a solar system with three high-capacity Gel Cell batteries). I have not regretted this move as I rarely travel for any great amount of time in areas with low temperatures, and I have never had any problem keeping either coach cool with their air conditioners (13,500 btu on Minuet and 15,500 btu on Overlander).

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Originally Posted by JakeMtMn View Post
2) remove floor, insulate underside with foam 3)install radiant heat under new laminate flooring.
What you propose here is a Major undertaking as it involves a Major structural component of your coach. Floor removal, when done properly, involves removing it from the channel running below the walls of the coach . . . then installing the new floor within that same channel. The seeming majority of owners who do this remove the shell from the floor system to simplify the undertaking . . . but it is a huge job however it is done. The goal is to have as few seams as possible . . . and this is a difficult task with the body-on the frame during the process. If there is significant rot in the floor, then this is a near must in the restoration process, but if the floor only has minor rot in two or three spots, it is often more efficient to repair the weak spots . . . that is exactly what I had done with my '64 Overlander -- a portion at the rear (included repairing the rear end separation) and a small spot near the entry door . . . . my Minuet has composite aluminum floor so floor rot wasn't a problem with that coach.

Updgrading the below-floor insulation can be done from below if that is something that you desire. The fiberglass batt type insulation doesn't play well with moisture, and it is often the culprit in corrossion problems in the frame. There are a couple of threads here on the Forum where owners have dropped the bellypan and replaced the fiberglass batts with closed cell foam type insulation of varying types. This also affords the option of coating the frame with something like POR 15 for corrossion protection.

There are at least two threads dealing with installing radiant heat below the floor. It is an intriguing idea, but the thought of keeping a hydronic system properly winterized would worry me . . . and providing sufficient AC power would concern me for an electric-radiant system. I have radian electric heat in my home, and it is definitely my preference, but I stayed with the tried and proven LP Gas furnaces in each of my coaches.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeMtMn View Post
4) replace fuse box with breakers and update wiring.
I think that you are on-target with the 120-Volt AC breaker box with new entrance wire (I would suggest Marinco External connector), and a new 12-volt DC panel along with a modern multi-stage Power Converter Charger. The Univolts that were standard equipment on our coaches are noted for being exceptionally noisy and being very unkind to batteries resulting in greatly diminished battery life. I also prefer the automotive blade-type fuses that are typically part of an updated 12-Volt fuse panel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeMtMn View Post
What else? Should belly pan be insulated with foam? Since we'll always be connected, should I get rid of furnace?
The furnace is a necessity in my opinion because it provides heat to the holding tanks that are mounted below floor . . . something that is very important if you anticipate either early or late season camping where temperatures will be around freezing for any amount of time.

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Plastic housing over ceiling vents/lights is badly discolored. suggestions on eliminating/replacing, cleaning, alternatives?
I am not certain precisely what housings/covers you are referencing. The route followed by many who refurbish Vintage Airstreams is to replace the 14" square roof vents with Fantastic Vents. These Fantastic Vents can be purchased with smoke color acrylic tops or aluminum tops. The interior ceiling light shades are available as reproductions. The ceiling light shades are availabe from at least two sources . . . Inland RV in California or Out of Doors Mart in North Carolina. The larger 14" x 24" Astrodome is also available as a reproduction replacement (I believe in either clear or tinted acrylic -- I ordered clear for my Overlander).

The one thing that I didn't notice in your plans is axle replacement. Replacement axles are a virtual certainty with a Vintage coach that hasn't had a relatively recent axle replacement. The rubber rods in the DuraTorque axles will likely either be worn out or have set that renders their suspension properties useless. Replacing the axles also gives you the opportunity to specify a greater "down-angle" to increase ground clearance as well as the opportunity to updgrade to electric over hydraulic disc brakes. It is also possible to specify the more traditional drum brakes when ordering new axles and achieve all new suspension components with all new braking components in one package.

Another point to consider if your coach is an Argosy as indicated in your profile rather than the Land Yacht as in your question is a front window rock guard. With a Vintage Argosy, you have the desirable deep-wrap Panoramic Windows with clear glass. The clear glass utilized in the Argosy deep-wrap wing windows (the outhermost Panoramic windows) are not and haven't been available in the replacement market for quite some time. If one is broken there are two option for replacement . . . a used unit from a salvaged coach or a new replacement from Airstream with the Solar Gray tint that is utilized with the Panoramic Windows on Airstreams. In either case, a replacement deep-wrap wing window costs very nearly as much as a three-piece rock guard to prevent potential damage.

Good luck with your coach!

Kevin
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:29 PM   #4
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Ditto to Everything that Kevin Says...

... and some clarification.

Since your travel trailer has aluminum skins, inner and outer, on an aluminum frame; it will conduct heat and cold very efficiently regardless of what type insulation you put between the ribs. Therefore Kevin's observation that removing inner skins just to insulate would be a huge expenditure of time an effort to accomplish very little improvement in heating and cooling.

Insulating the floor from beneath is a much more practical undertaking. Check Zeppelinium's tutorial on the topic.

New replacements for those those discolored "housings" you refer to are available. I exhausted every possible means of cleaning them without success.

Most of us just use the hole(s) to install Fantastic Fans.

Hope this helps, and welcome to the suffering.

Cheers,
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Old 12-27-2012, 05:34 PM   #5
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That's for all the good advice and school-of-hard-knocks wisdom shared. As I get into my project, I'm sure I'll have lots more.
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:59 PM   #6
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Jake

Welcome to the forums and to all things Airstream.

I might suggest posting some photos of your new Argosy.

I also suggest reading extensively on the forum about what changes you want to make. As always "new solutions have new problems". I personally would not make any changes unless there is a good reason to do so, and understand all the costs involved. I would also recommend that you go to some rallys or gatherings of Airstreams to see first hand what others have done to renovate their trailers. One option is to go to Highland Haven, an Airstream Park, by Floyd, VA, but it will not be open until April, 2013.

I have done some plumbing, electrical and other renovations to my 66 Tradewind and would be glad to talk to you about your plans. You can PM me or email me at danengel1@aol.com.

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