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Old 02-01-2016, 04:01 PM   #1
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1978 Argosy 27
Santa Fe , New Mexico
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 8
Repairing 1978 Argosy Shower Tub

Hello,

I just purchased a 1978 Argosy 27 with a cracked ABS tub. Previous owner stepped on the front edge of tub and it cracked down wall of tub and to the drain hole. I figure the best plan is to remove the tub and fiberglass it from the bottom and reinforce the tub since it is out. My wife is chemically sensitive and so I cannot repair the tub inside the trailer because of the fumes from the solvents and polyester resin.

This Argosy is in great shape except for the tub. I want to keep it as original as possible. I might put down hardwood flooring since the original forest green carpet has been replaced by a dull gray carpet long ago.

I am trying to remove the ABS tub and I have a few questions. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

1. How is the drain removed. I tried to turn it out with a drain tool but it is not budging. Bending yes.... Budging no!

2. How does one remove the tub? I have removed all the screws that are visible. I believe the tub is screwed along the back edge as well. Was the tub put in before the exterior outer panels were put on?

3. Is fiberglassing the tub the best solution for an ABS tub repair?

Thank for all your help.

Peter
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Old 02-01-2016, 05:05 PM   #2
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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Welcome to the Forums!

You might want to post a picture of the tub as it may be common to other Airstream models and you might find a broader knowledge base. In general, though, the plasticy "walls" of the tub/shower area will overlap the top edge of the tub, and will need to be removed (at least at the overlap). Similarly, you may find pieces of aluminum trim that cover blind rivets that hold the whole assembly in place.

For repair, it's a toss up. I tried repairing my ABS wheel wells with conventional polyester fiberglass, and dispite all the cleaning and roughing I did in preparation, I just didn't find that that resin stuck very well. It began delaminating in less time than you would think.

My tub also is a cracked mess. To remove the drain assembly (which was frozen in place for sure), I had to access it from underneath the trailer (with belly skin removed), cut the PVC/ABS pip off so that the tub could be lifted out, and then basically destroy the drain assembly carefully so that it could be removed without causing further damage to the tub.

I have started to try to repair my tub using SMS fiberglass. This stuff is used to fix plastic extrusions (like bumpers) in the automotive repair business, and it seems to be sticking to the tub better than the polyester stuff stuck to my wheel wells. So far, my results are pretty disapointing--suggesting either my technique is awful, the approach to the repair is misguided, or that the whole business is a lost cause. The 40 year old ABS is very fragile and brittle. I even got to the point of fiberglassing the entire thing, thinking I would just use the original as sort of a form. But the whole process is painful and toxic. So let us know if you come up with a more effective repair.

good luck!
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Old 02-01-2016, 05:29 PM   #3
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1978 Argosy 27
Santa Fe , New Mexico
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Thanks for your input!!! I can confirm that the tub is very brittle. The ABS does degrade over the years. I have tried a high quality abs glue and tried to glue the crack on the edge. But I am doubtful that over the years it will withstand normal use. I am basically glueing 2 pieces of paper on edge. I might be able to take some pictures in a few days when I am next at the camper.

My understanding is that a replacement tub is not available so I have to make this one work. If I can come across any methods for repairing the tub I will be sure to post. I have heard about Lego pieces put in acetone and window screening. Has anyone had any luck with this approach?

Thanks
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Old 02-02-2016, 08:59 AM   #4
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1973 21' Globetrotter
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You might explain a little more about the use of window screening. Is that used in conjunction with the dissolved legos?

I had cracks in my ABS interior endcaps, and I tried to get them to glue up in a butt joint using ABS solvent based cement that is used in plumbing. It didn't really have much effect on the old brittle ABS endcap, and even though the cracks seemed to stabilize, just the act of reinstalling the endcap caused them to open up again.

You are correct--there is no drop-in replacement available so you are either obligated to fix what you have or to have something custom made (which I have considered as well).
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Old 02-02-2016, 10:35 AM   #5
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Kitchener , Ontario
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The window screen mesh is for reinforcement same as the fiberglas cloth would be. I would look on line for ABS grind that can me mixed with an ABS solvent cement to produce a thicker cement with body that will bond/fuse to the abs. All of this would be done from the back side of the tub, obviously.
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Old 02-02-2016, 11:14 AM   #6
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1973 Argosy 26
dawsonville , Georgia
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Thanks for this information. I just bought a 73 Argosy and the tub is also not in very good condition around the drain. I was debating on whether to resurface with Krylon Fusion paint as I did with the counter, sink and surround or replace with a galvanized steel tub. As difficult as it sounds to remove, I think my decision to keep original had been made!
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Old 02-02-2016, 11:25 AM   #7
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I would be inclined to try Epoxy Resin on your ABS. It is a bit harder to work all the air out if you are using mat ( which is pre-coated with polystyrene), but glass fab will coat and work quite well with a stiff brush, and it is easy to build up several layers while wet or cured. Boat supply dealers have 2-part epoxy.
JCW
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Old 02-02-2016, 12:50 PM   #8
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2012 27' FB Eddie Bauer
Zurich , Ontario
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You might try for a repair kit for Vetter fairings. Think they were made from ABS. I used one for my fairing and it seemed to hold. Pretty nasty stuff.
"Hotcha Repair Kit"
http://www.craigvetter.com/pages/onl...s/Details.html

Hope this helps, John
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Old 02-02-2016, 12:52 PM   #9
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2012 27' FB Eddie Bauer
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You might try for a repair kit for Vetter fairings. Think they were made from ABS. I used one for my fairing and it seemed to hold. Pretty nasty stuff.
"Hotcha Repair Kit"
http://www.craigvetter.com/pages/onl...s/Details.html

Also some motorcycle are welded for repairs. That may be a option.
Hope this helps, John
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Old 02-02-2016, 12:53 PM   #10
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2012 27' FB Eddie Bauer
Zurich , Ontario
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You might try for a repair kit for Vetter fairings. Think they were made from ABS. I used one for my fairing and it seemed to hold. Pretty nasty stuff.
"Hotcha Repair Kit"
http://www.craigvetter.com/pages/onl...s/Details.html

Also some motorcycle fairings are welded for repairs. That may be a option.

Hope this helps, John
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Old 02-02-2016, 01:54 PM   #11
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1978 Argosy 27
Santa Fe , New Mexico
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I have found some pictures but I cannot seem to figure out how to post them. My last attempt deleted my post that I typed up before publishing.

Thanks for everyone's input. I have read that epoxy and polyester resin do not adhere to ABS that well. The Acetone slurry method uses a chemical bond versus a physical bond from the resin method. The Acetone method would imbed the mesh reinforcement material into the ABS tub where as the epoxy method relies on the ability to adhere to the plastic. Any thoughts?

Thanks for all your help
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Old 02-02-2016, 02:01 PM   #12
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1978 Argosy 27
Santa Fe , New Mexico
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You might be able to see in the photos that the tub is placed against the interior wall of the fabulous 1970's floral patter bathroom wall. There is a bead of silicon caulking to seal the gap. The wall does not overlap the tub as it is done in other models. It seems the tub is screwed in place from the outside before the exterior skin/panel is attached. It boggles my mind if that is indeed how the Argosy was assembled.

I think I will have to cut the screws with either a reciprocating or oscillating saw. Has anyone experienced that same situation?
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Old 02-02-2016, 02:25 PM   #13
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check out a product called Plasti-mend . I am going to repair my shower seat with it.According to their web site it will work on the ABS plastic used in Airstreams
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Old 02-02-2016, 03:34 PM   #14
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1978 Argosy 27
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It looks like it might be the ticket. I was thinking that when I get the tub out I wanted to reinforce the seat with plywood and fiberglass and also the corners of the tub bottom. The ABS is incredibly brittle after 40 years. I am hoping that the epoxy or polyester resin will bond well to the ABS.
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