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Old 06-14-2020, 08:39 PM   #1
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1978 Argosy 30
Auburn , Washington
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78 Argosy Rebuild

Greeting all. I am starting a rebuild on a 30 foot center bath Argosy. I reason for doing the rebuild is to address a few items. This 42 year old trailer has had some work done on it before. The color had been changed along with some updates to the cosmetics and a pergo floor installed. Guessing about the early 90s by the style. Somewhere between then and 2014 when I got it, it had been stripped of some items like the awnings, furnace, steps and lighting. I replaced all that and some of the other systems so I could use it for camping over the next 6 years.

I noticed when I bought the trailer, it had pancake rust on the rear frame rails. Though it didn't have rear frame separation, I could tell it would be an issue in the future. In one of the pictures it shows the bumper and seperation. It can no longer hold my weight.

There is a strap of aluminium running across the to top of one of the end caps. I can see that it was installed with steel screws that are rusting. It appears its a fix for a leak between the end cap and the shell. I am going to have to fix that while its apart.

The rest is just standard replacing the rotten floor, replacing the plumbing, and new axles. I will update the electric and install solar. New paint and belly pan. Finally I will fix the door. The hinges are broken and the lock set has been replaced with a bad patch and steel rivets.
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Old 06-15-2020, 09:22 AM   #2
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1974 Argosy 28
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It looks like you have your work cut out for you. Good luck.
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Old 06-17-2020, 11:14 PM   #3
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1978 Argosy 30
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Thanks Roger. I don't currently have very many questions. I've been through the forum site so much that most of my questions had answers. I am further along than what my post shows and soon I will catch up to where I am. But I figured I will post to maybe help someone else in the forum or at least give you some different pictures to look at.

The first picture is a side view of the trailer. It's in my shop so it's the best I can get. The awning I had replaced awhile back. Its a different color than the trailer but it will match once the refit is done. Other items I've added were the steps and the front shades. Got to protect those rare clear panoramics. I have found that there is a lot of stuff that comes out of the trailer. Space become a premium. It probably wouldn't be so bad but I am saving the interior for patterns later on.

The first thing I removed...was the 8 track player. It works. Had a whole collection of about 40 8 tracks to go with it that came with the trailer. Brought back memories when I was a kid listening to them in my parents conversion van. But that's where it ends. The quality of 8 tracks are terrible and they take up a lot of space so it will get an upgrade.

The next picture is looking back towards the bedroom. The interior wasn't bad but it was worn out. The walls were dry rotting and just needed redone. The bed I had converted to a queen bed with a hatch but made it temporary since I was going to tear it all out again.

The last picture is gutting towards the back. Mainly it's my picture to help with plumbing configuration when I reassemble.
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Old 06-18-2020, 12:10 AM   #4
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1980 24' Caravelle
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welcome BiggMixx, to the wonderful world of vintage AS! my caravelle did not have any frame damage,just lite rust,some floor rot, and a blank canvas. keep us posted on yor progress. kurt
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Old 07-02-2020, 11:43 PM   #5
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Thanks Kurt. I am enjoying the work involved in the project. I am almost to where I am currently working. The first picture shows the inner walls out. I am leaving the endcaps on for the moment because I don't really have any where to store them and keep them safe. I get my first look at the band that crosses on the back. I see it was installed to fix a leak between the endcap and the roof. It looks like it was bad and affected the electrical as well since there was a lot of electrical tape and non standard electrical boxes used. The screws are badly rusted so I am going to have to do something about it.
The next picture is of everything removed down to the ribs. Not much to see here just about like all the rest with everything out.
I took out the vents since I was going to use them for the hoist. Wire brush made quick work of the sealer. I plan to install new vents when its time. There is the top of the band with the rusty screws. Sigh..
The final picture is of the gantry I am using to pull the shell. I used Andy Rawls' design. I paid attention to his video and modified it to fit my shop. The roof work I did using the notches on the gantry to create a platform. It saved my roof from me walking around on it and causing more leaks or making dents. His plans are for sale on his site but I didn't use them. Since he did the math though I plan on picking up some to support him. Same with this site once I figure out the paypal thing.
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Old 07-09-2020, 11:29 PM   #6
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Here I go for another round. Stuff is starting to get fun. I looked to see if there was any information on how to remove the battery box. I didn't see anything specific but I could see it removed in so many other projects. Figured since nobody addressed it, it couldn't be hard. The inside was covered in sealer but poking at it a bit I could see that the flange was on the outside of the shell. I removed the rivets on the battery hatch. When I pulled the hatch off I noticed the flange wasn't riveted on but just lipped into a grove. I could of just popped it out if I used a little muscle. Oh well was planning on removing the battery hatch anyways since I am going to move the battery someplace else.

Next I was ready to lift. As I took the tension I noticed the ribs on the end of the center beam were starting to roll. So I set it back down. I didn't want to chance rolling the ribs, popping the rivets or damaging the rib itself. I didn't see anyone else having this problem so I don't know if its because mine is 30 feet and had extra weight or it was unique to my setup. To fix it I installed blocks that were shorter than the ribs. It held the ribs in place so they didn't roll.

With everything ready to go, I lifted the shell. Of course it didn't come right apart. I missed 2 rivets. One was just aft of the door covered in dirt. The other was a rib that they drilled to far down and caught the c channel. Who knew those thing were so strong. After that with a little resistance from some sealer here and there , the shell popped off. The back c channel was so corroded it broke but I figured that might happen because it was pretty rough.

When I first lifted the shell the wheel wells were still in. Looking at how much play I had in the chain hoist I knew I wouldn't clear the front. So I took them out. When I pulled the curb side, The shell shifted. The weight from the awning and the door came into play. I knew that was going to happen and had planned to counter it with weights hung from the windows. I was concerned about damaging the frame so I had to come up with a different plan.

That's if for this post. Didn't mean to leave it on a cliff hanger but I got to go to bed.

Dave
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Old 07-10-2020, 10:09 PM   #7
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Ok picking up from where I left off. I had to re-level but I didn't want to hang it from the windows. The bracing I used on the inside was spaced close enough that I could use a couple 2x6s and make a platform for weights. I used a sand bag and a bucket of tools that came out to the right amount. After that it was a piece of cake.

Fired up the F250 and called on the missus to play pilot. I had her drive the trailer out while I watched to make sure there wasn't any hang ups. The trailer slid out without a hitch and took up residence in my driveway.

With the trailer out, I was able to return to the shell and lower it down to the ground. I placed some 2x4s at the end caps and touch the shell down. The shop floor was pretty level. I placed some supports from the 3 mid sections to the shop floor so all the weight wasn't supported by the ends. I lowered the lifting beam and set it on the cross members. Now I can use the gantries for the frame.

I noticed this little item on the front of the frame. Its the vin number of the Argosy written by the factory. Been awhile since its seen the light of day.

Dave
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Old 07-11-2020, 05:04 AM   #8
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1973 Argosy 22
Lake Wales , Florida
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Looking good !...bet it was a relief to get the shell off.. Hoping I don't have to pull the shell on ours...lol
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Old 07-11-2020, 10:02 AM   #9
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Battle Ground , Washington
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Look forward to watching your progress.
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Old 07-12-2020, 05:30 AM   #10
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Looks good. Can you get your gantries out of the shop to use on the frame?
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Old 07-12-2020, 08:55 AM   #11
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Thanks KCdaniels. It sure was. Felt like I had reached a milepost. I am at the root of my problem and its nice to be addressing it.

Unfortunately 57Vintage I am about to reach where I currently at. I needed the shell off to get a good look at the frame. Now that I am working in the driveway I am now at the whim of the weather.

Yes Eric26argo. I built them to just squeeze through the shop opening. They ride on a tire trundle used to move cars. They will come out when I flip the frame or start sandblasting. With the way they are, I barely had enough clearance to get the frame out. With new axles I might have to raise them up but that a problem for the future.

Dave
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Old 07-15-2020, 05:36 PM   #12
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1979 30' Argosy
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Looks like your flooring was 1/2 are you staying with that or going to something thicker? I have 79 30 center bath Argosy at the sell or get my butt in gear to fix stage!
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Old 07-15-2020, 09:39 PM   #13
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Dave,
Are you planning to keep the above floor black tank or relocate to the frame? Will be curious to see what the frame structure is for these Argosy 30s and what space is available for additional tanks.
Jim
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Old 07-16-2020, 10:05 PM   #14
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Jim, I hope one of these pictures might answer your question about the tank. I will post more pictures of the frame areas in greater detail next post. As far as the floor thickness I was planning on staying with the 1/2 inch. I am adding additional cross member which should make the floor more solid. The black tank I will keep the same. Its just the 2 of us and the couple of weeks we boondocked with it was enough for us. The gray water on the other hand...

Removing the deck was easy. The first 2 panels came up by hand. It got progressively harder as I went back. I have to thank those who came before and came up with the hole saw and guide trick. Made quick work of the deck screws the were by far to rusty to remove. Around the edges I found a series of 1/4 drilled holes i am assuming were placed there to drain water off the deck. I see a lot of leak detection in my future.

The stern view is with all the insulation and various detritus removed. Under one deck panel I thought I had a blackberry bramble that had manage to grow through. It was a skeketonized rat tail connected to it owner. Also I found the drilled out shower pan blank and 40 year old cold chisel sitting in the belly pan. On the lower right you can see the temporary frame repair I made 4 year ago. It held up all right and it gave me the confidence for what I am doing today. On the right is a pile of old decking. I experimented with the styrofoam insulation but I don't think I will put it back in.

There is a view of the gray tank. It looks huge but it isn't. This is one of the upgrades I plan to do. Not to mention that valve is toast. The sheet metal pan on the bottom is rusted through. Its my first look at the frame and it was soul crushing. About the only good part is the A frame.

Finally its time to say good bye to some rather large pieces. So glad to see the big bags of insulation depart because they took up so much room. Now its time to spend some money.
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Old 07-17-2020, 12:34 PM   #15
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78 Argosy Rebuild

Thanks! Much appreciated. That certainly looks like a good size grey tank and it looks like there is room in the forward bay for a tank as well. Are the frame openings 5 deep?


Im planning to use 1/2 COOSA along with adding cross members. Im sure youve noticed the same squishy floors in many spots. Also considering a 3 lift on the axles which would give some room for deeper tanks.
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Old 07-17-2020, 01:04 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biggmixx View Post

Its my first look at the frame and it was soul crushing. About the only good part is the A frame.


Ive seen that same rear section of mine so yes, its going to need some repair as well a wire wheel + good dose of POR15
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Old 07-25-2020, 02:41 PM   #17
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Back at it again. Had to make some decisions on how to proceed with the frame. At first I thought there is no saving any of this its a rust bucket. I looked into doing a full frame rebuild. I would use 1/4 steel and make it strong and worry free for the rest of eternity. I went to the metal shop and sourced what I would need. There I found out the reality of what I wanted to do.

1/4 steel c channel is heavy as heck. What would that do to my stability? We're not talking about a 24 footer. That might require an axle shift and that's a whole another can of worms. The rear queen bed set up turned the whole back area into storage so adding that much extra weight on top of the frame weight has to have an effect on towing. Then I looked at my welder. I couldn't get the metal in one continuous length so it would have to be welded. It was at the top end of my welder's capability using a multipass technique. I am fine single passing but on a critical joint like a frame rail junction, I would turn it over to a professional....ok overbuilding is making less sense.

So while I was pondering the frame 2 things came up. One had to do with my job. Defunding has become an issue where I live. They are eliminating positions and eventually closing where I work. This caused a pause in the process while I looked at exactly what that meant. Options were weighed and the decision was to continue with the resto. It allows us to have flexibility for the future. The other thing that popped into my mind was this trailer has lasted for 42 years the way it was built. If I do this right it would last another 40 or so which will put me in my 90s. Does it really need that rebuilt? With attention I give it for the next 30 years or so be satisfactory for my use. Why build it for someone in the future if they are going to take it apart just to update to the style of the future. No I am going to rein in this horse to keep the project on track.

In the pictures below shows the rust in the frame. The cross members are pretty rough. I could save some of them as they get better around the tank. I decided to replace them all and double them so I have a 2 foot span. Figured that would stiffen up the flooring allowing 1/2 plywood to be sufficient. The rear is where the through rust is. The rust penetrates through every member back there so it going to be a total replacement. The A frame is in great shape. A little sandblasting and new paint job and she'll be good to go. Finally I noticed my street side rear was sagging a small amount compared to the curb side. I found a slight buckle on the rail. I plan on reinforcing that area by boxing the c channel in that area on the repair for added strength.

This post is long enough. Let me know if you see anything wrong with anything so far. My next post will cover the metal order and the other items required to move ahead.

Dave
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Old 07-31-2020, 12:49 PM   #18
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Great work so far!

I like your take on things! Good luck reining in that horse. I am looking forward to the progress you make!
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