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Old 10-16-2002, 05:23 PM   #1
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Question confused Argosy newbie

what exactly is the differance between an airstream and an argosy? (other than some paint and a name plate)

i have caught bits and pieces here and there, but wonder if there is a good Argosy faq out there somewhere (or a patient Argosy afficianado) that would be able to fill me in.

I ask because i figured they were white because they were fibreglass, and i didnt need to know any more than that. now i seem to be getting that they are, at least mostly, aluminum.

would someone please set me on the right track.
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Old 10-16-2002, 05:42 PM   #2
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I thought they had aluminum sides and steel endcaps but maybe I'm wrong. Don Reason's website gives the history of the Airstream trailers including the Argosy as well as the "Squarestream" Airstream. It was informative for me. I have the article at home with his website and if someone has not given it to you by the time I get back on, I will send it to you.
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Old 10-16-2002, 06:07 PM   #3
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From a functional point of view, and speaking in generalities, an Argosy will have steel, rather than aluminum endcaps, fewer creature comforts, and overall less interior trim than an Airstream of the same year.

Personally, I think that they have a spare, lean look to the interior that I like.

If you are looking at a particular Argosy, or even a particular model year range, you might do well to post that information and get some of the experts to tell you what the differences are for that particular Argosy.

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Old 10-16-2002, 10:35 PM   #4
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Confused Argosy Newbie

Greetings Dave, and welcome to the world of Vintage Airstreams and Argosys. An Argosy orinially sparked my interest in acquiring an Airstream or Argosy for myself. Since that time, I have been discovering a number of nuances of the Argosy line.

It seems that during the 1970s and 1980s Argosy became a test vehicle for ideas that might one day be applied to Airstreams. For instance, the motorhome began in the Argosy line before it was introduced in its Airstream clothing. Then there were the trials with the bonded fiberglass sidewalls that were a peek at the coming "square stream" trailers. I think my favorite nuance was the Minuet.

I acquired a Minuet in August of this year, and have discovered a whole new world of nuances. For instance the Minuet line had a floor width of 7.0 feet while the rest of the Argosy line had a floor width of 7 feet 8 inches. The Minuet seems to have been introduced as a 1978, and the 1978 owner's manual lists the only Minuet as a 6.0 Metre (20'). In another thread on this site, we have identified two 6.7 Metre (22') Minuets with 1978 VINs. Then in 1979, the factory showroom literature lits Minuets starting with a 20' single axle, followed by a 22' single axle, and the largest being a 24' tandem axle.

There a numerous other uniquely Argosys out there such as a 24' model with a rear (curbside) door - - one of the few Airstream (trailer) products not to have its door very near the front of the coach.

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Old 10-16-2002, 11:46 PM   #5
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Question

what kind of creature comforts were ommitted--did they skimp on components, or just omit bells and whistles?
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Old 10-17-2002, 08:42 AM   #6
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Dave Cole

Dave,
The site was www.calldon.com for history of Airstream/Argosy. Don still has questions about some of the history but it gives a general overview.
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Old 10-18-2002, 10:33 PM   #7
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I think the end caps on my '72 28' Argosy are aluminum. It was the first year made. The interior is almost the same as the same year A/S. The kitchen layout is some what different.
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Old 10-19-2002, 03:05 AM   #8
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Lightbulb Just for grins

ED

Quote:
I think the end caps on my '72 28' Argosy are aluminum.
You might take a magnet to your end caps to prove if that's true. I've heard that the differences in cap end: the Argosy's were steel and, the A/S brand were aluminum.
This also explain why the Argosy were painted. After hearing all the grips abt bare aluminum, polishing, etc...Sounds to me like "painting" is a better choice. After all, we bought these A/S for "fun and use".
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Old 10-19-2002, 06:33 AM   #9
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Wink

That's funny, I though that we bought the A/S to gripe about bare aluminum, polishing, etc.
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Old 10-19-2002, 08:42 AM   #10
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wondering about this....In the old days, it was common for metal-skinned airplanes (alluminum) to be polished and not painted, and I was under the impression that this was because paint didn't stick to alluminum very well. This changed in the 50's. I'm assuming because of some development in paint chemistry. But still, even today, it is ungodly expensive to paint an airplane. The paint that "sticks" to alluminum is very expensive. (its around 5 grand, give or take, to paint a typical 4-seater.).

I'm thinking that perhaps AS's were originally not painted to save cost, and it became a "trade-mark". But I'm wondering if re-painting an old argosy is really as expensive as an airplane of similar size.....that would make it just as much of a problem as dealing w/ the shiny alluminum finish on the ASs. Although I suppose even expensive paint is easier to maintain and holds up better than clear-coat.
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Old 10-19-2002, 09:00 AM   #11
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Lightbulb Pain?

Good point about saving cost. (for the factory) I'd be willing to bet that the paint might even help seal the trailer.~ There's two locations that I know of that will paint A/S and, the nice thing abt it..you almost can't tell em apart from bareskin. From what I understand, most paint jobs could last upward of 20 years..(Point to ponder)
The two locations that I'm aware of: Inland RV and, the GMCCOOP in FL.
just my 2cents worth..
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Old 10-19-2002, 11:00 AM   #12
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I painted my Argosy from the middle stripe up and roof with kool-seal. From the stripe down I used an outside aluminum siding paint and had it mixed to match the original color. I got the paint at Lowes.

The trailor used to leak water and hard to A/C, but not now. You need at least 4 coats of kool-seal and 2 coats of the bottom paint. I used a roller and looks good. My pixs will be posted soon.

The good thing about it is you can retouch at any time. My paint job is 5 years old.

It doesn't look like a car finish but serves its purpose. You can drill out the rivits of the logo's and replace with sheet metal screws.

The pics are on now.
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Old 12-06-2002, 01:24 PM   #13
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I have both a 73 26' Argosy and a '99 25 ft Safari.
I checked both with the magnet and found only the Argosy had a steel end-cap at both ends. On mine this was the single piece metal covering that went around the corner from the roof to near the window and sides.
On the Safari, and other aluminum capped trailers there will be several pieces at each end going up to the roof.
I guess it must be difficult to make alluminum accept a compound curve. The single steel piece must be a lot cheaper to make though.
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Old 01-18-2003, 02:04 AM   #14
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Re: Just for grins

Quote:
Originally posted by 53FlyingCloud
ED


You might take a magnet to your end caps to prove if that's true. I've heard that the differences in cap end: the Argosy's were steel and, the A/S brand were aluminum.
This also explain why the Argosy were painted. After hearing all the grips abt bare aluminum, polishing, etc...Sounds to me like "painting" is a better choice. After all, we bought these A/S for "fun and use".
ciao
Actually, one of the primary reasons for the beginning of the Argosy line was to use blemished aluminum pieces...by painting them. They couldn't be used on an Airstream with scratches and blemishes. Over the years, they used the Argosy line for experimenting with different concepts. The Classic motorhome began first as an Argosy Motorhome.

I always liked the interior of the Argosy line. The Argosy ran from around 1973 to around 1979 and ended because of the second fuel crunch. The square Argosys of 1986-1988 were not related to the earlier Argosy line except in paint color!
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Old 09-07-2006, 08:46 AM   #15
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Ramblings from an Argosy owner:

I have owned 3 Argosys: 1974 24 footer, a 197?Minuet, and a 1978 27 footer(the current one I am selling). I don't know what "creature comforts" they are missing. If that means fancy trim or something, maybe? Once I had a 1986 Excella, and after those cedar closets and wine racks, I did not consider any of my vintage units to have creature comforts! The Argosy do seem "plainer" to me of trim. Then again, they got the wrap around windows sooner as a test case than the Airstreams I think.

I do know that I prefer Argosy for TONS more storage than the other Airstreams of any other vintage through the early 1980's. All of mine had extra big fridges, and big pantries, and it seemed many more cupboards and closets. Maybe it was the models I had, I am not claiming to be an expert! They also seemed much roomier through the center aisle(well, not the Minuet) compared to all my other Airstreams. The current one has so many cupboards that I was able to pack all my families camping stuff in there, including the tents, etc. and still had a couple roomy empty spots. Of course, nothing fits all the people but hauling all their stuff did work. I surround the trailer with a little colony of tents to sleep children.

My Minuet was stripped of its paint, and the endcaps were steel. I also noticed like the previous post that all the aluminum was not as uniform in look, confirming again the previous post. I am always amazed at how when you tear apart the gauchos to fix them that the insides are "wallpapered" from various patterns throughout the trailer. They sure were thrifty on using the aluminum~

I have not noticed any quality issues with mine, they all seem to have roughly the same amount of issues regardless of Airstream/Argosy. Of course, we are dealing with 25+ year old units. They originally cost less, and I think even now have a resell value less than the silver twinkie siblings. Not having to polish is a big deal. It comes down more to preference and what floorplan and exterior you like. Of course, Argosy is even more RARE....they simply did not make them as long as they have been making the others. Of course, I have loved all my trailers, and my fixing hobby allows me to enjoy many different years and models. I am waiting around until I find the one that sleeps 12 without me having to build it.....
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Old 09-13-2006, 03:46 PM   #16
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Question Help with 1977 Argosy 26'

In search of my 1st TT, I took a look at a 1977 Argosy today so any comments/ideas/suggestions from owners or those in the know appreciated.
General info: Front sofa/foldout, center twins, rear bath. Present owner has had it 10 years and I believe is the 2nd owner. It was parked in a campground under a shed top for 9 of those years. It was towed to the owner's house, parked outside and not used for 1 year.
My inspection revealed the following:

Surprise #1-- First thing I did, pull up the carpet in the bath. I didn't find any rotten wood or soft spots. Still again, I would take out the tub/shower if I bought it to further check.

Surprise #2 -- Pulled the carpet by the door and the floor was soaked and caving in by the right corner of the sofa next to the wall. (It was pouring down rain while I was doing this so I could actually see it coming in.) Wet/rotted area extended to edge of cabinet side underneath range. Under sink area was a little suspicious but nothing stuck out as rot. Wall on other side of coach was wet also and evidence of water and dampness extended most of way in front of sofa. This area was not as bad as the other side but damaged all the same. This wet area seemed to stop at the wall by the fridge.

Other Info: The exterior has one small dent on the front corner. The interior was all original and in very good shape. Very few PO modifications. Interior paint in good shape, no evidence of roof leaks, i.e. water stains. Normal wear and tear on the sink area, original sink covers, and countertops. I would expect to replace faucet and sink drain assembly and the range was in fair condition, but has a little more rust than I am comfortable with. I would replace it also. Owner has not used the furnace in probably 8 years.???? Couldn't power it up due to heavy rain so don't know if any plumbing leaks, etc, but all systems worked when last used according to owner. Did not see obvious evidence of such in bath or undersink area.

Also due to the heavy rain, I could not do as thorough inspection as I wanted on the underside but will do that before coming to a decision on whether or not to buy. I would like your opinions on areas of damage stated and what I might be getting into trying to repair the floor. I know my way around a toolbox and could probably do most of it on my own barring any huge deals coming out of the woodwork. Also, any tips on particulars to further inspect interior and especially when I crawl under the belly. Any idea of cost to replace axels? Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-13-2006, 09:45 PM   #17
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There have been several threads on floor replacement, so you might search the forums and get what you need. Same for the axles. Inland RV carries the stock axles, but other owners have had axles made (by Dexter, I believe) with varying ease of installation. The Inland axles seem to be the least trouble to install and their prices can be checked on the web. I would suggest a look at the water heater and look for signs of leakage from the holding tank(s) and valves while you are gazing up from underneath. Removing the furniture to get at the floor is not a big deal in an Argosy, so the floor project is likely to be more cutting and fitting than anything else. The area under the sink might be soaked with a rotting wood stabilizer if it isn't too bad yet. Get the heater checked on a bench to be sure it works and is safe. They usually come out with 2 screws in front and one through the vent, so that isn't a biggy.You might actually take part of the belly pan down around the bathroom to check the plumbing system and look at the underside of the floor to check for rot rather than pulling the tub and shower.Just some thoughts.
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Old 09-14-2006, 12:26 AM   #18
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I have a 1977 Minuet the floor is also an alluminum floor so I never have to worry about the floor rotting.
What Airstream was trying to do with the the Argosy was to make a trailer or moterhome more afordable to the middle class back in the 70's. they were able to cut costs by using steel for the end caps so that is why they to paint them or else the steel would rust and yes the did cut out some comforts.
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Old 09-14-2006, 08:29 AM   #19
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'77 26' Argosy inspection

Argonaut20 --

Great info and tips. I will heed this when I look at the underside tomorrow. Also expect to power up then. Don't know if I will be able to hook up water to check all plumbing. Will do the water heater check if owner (elderly lady) is agreeable with me removing it. There is an RV dealer about 10 minutes from where it is parked. If not, that is another price negotiating point.

One other area I need help with. I did a whole bunch of searching and cannot come up with any info on how much this thing weighs.

Providing I don't find any huge "snakes in the grass", I am leaning towards bringing this Ole Girl home. Will post updates.

Thanks again
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Old 09-14-2006, 09:13 AM   #20
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Tinbender....

3850 lbs dry weight or 3830 - depending on options.
Allowable Gross vehicle weight is 6200 and the axles will carry 5600 lbs (if they are in good shape) That means you can stow just under 2000 lbs of stuff in this trailer
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