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Old 06-06-2015, 04:53 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
New Orleans , Louisiana
Join Date: May 2015
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Several Random Newbie Argosy Questions


I'm considering living in an Airstream full-time, similar to living in a "tiny house". There is a 1976 Argosy 26 double-bed for sale near me that I'm planning to look at next weekend, and I have a bunch of random questions.

1) Are shell-off, full restorations of Argosies (Argosii ?) done the same was as for Airstreams? That is, are the shells riveted to the frame the same as Airstreams, with the sub-floor sandwiched between?

2) Are the axles the same? Is it as easy to get spare parts for Argosies as it is for Airstreams?

3) Silly question: I really like the traditional, retro look of the aluminum skin, aka "Airstream". But, I've googled "argosy paint jobs", and the sense of individuality of expression that comes with a custom paint job is growing on me. Here's my question: could I polish the aluminum parts and paint the steel parts?

4) Bonus question: Is it typical to replace the steel panels if need be, as is done with aluminum panels. Also, has anyone ever fabricated after-market end-caps, either from aluminum or something newer, like carbon-fiber?

5) Why are the end-caps steel instead of aluminum, in the first place?

Anything else I should be asking? I'll google for a pre-purchase inspection check-list, but if anyone wants to suggest their favorite, I'd appreciate that.

Mark T
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Old 06-06-2015, 05:08 PM   #2
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Yes to all questions.

The galvanized end caps were easier and cheaper to form than piecing together aluminum.

Argosys came about when Airstream started making motorhomes. They made the motorhlmes under the name Argosy as kind of an experiment.The company decided to also test a cheaper trailer line under the same name. They also tried out a few features out on the Argosy trailers. ( lighter furniture, wrap around windows, end caps, and some were slimmer )
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Old 06-06-2015, 05:21 PM   #3
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Living full time in a travel trailer

Does the trailer have an AC unit? I don't think all Argosys did.

Here's the thing. Travel trailers are designed to be mobile, light, and quick to build. There are not designed to live in year round.
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Old 06-07-2015, 08:12 AM   #4
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1966 17' Caravel
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Las Cruces , New Mexico
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You can live in an Airstream/Argosy year around but they are not as well insulated as you can do with a tiny house. AC in hot climates is a must, ways to keep the plumbing from freezing in cold climates is also a must. There are many 'full timers' who live in a travel trailer year round.
The only steel panels in the Argosy are the end caps. The rest of the panels are aluminum. The parts are AS stock, the techniques for working on the Argosy are the same as AS. Some of the bits that were peculiar to the Argosy line (hub caps, for example) are not available but can be replaced with similar parts.
Paint can be easier to take care of than polished aluminum.
26 feet is OK for one or two people, more than 2 for full time would be crowded IMHO.
1966 Airstream Caravel
2006 Toyota Tacoma
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Old 06-07-2015, 09:21 AM   #5
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1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
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Mostly yes to all of your questions. Striping, and polishing an Argosy is not at all easy as some of the aluminum panels were pretty rough when built at the factory, they even can have some body putty in places. I know, I did one.

A few Argosy's did come with fiberglass end caps, as far as we can determine all were made in California, despite the factory claim that no Argosy's were built there, some had a CA serial number! The fiberglass end caps were very rare, again, I had one. I posted about it several years ago and we even found one which had one fiberglass end cap and one steel.

Argosy's were the test kitchen for Airstream, and were less expensive, built as an entry vehicle. Lots of strange things have shown up in the Argosy line.
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Old 06-07-2015, 11:52 AM   #6
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1976 Argosy 30
Annapolis , Maryland
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Argosy 75' combo paint and polished

Trying to upload photo. All the panels on mine have a pretty good finish.
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Old 06-07-2015, 04:00 PM   #7
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1967 26' Overlander
Spartanburg , South Carolina
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One of the best looking trailer DIY restorations I've seen was an Argosy mirror polished and both end caps painted as a South Carolina state flag (Blue with a white palmetto tree and crescent)
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