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Old 09-18-2014, 08:57 PM   #1
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1975 20' Argosy 20
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Martin's Argosy Rebuild Thread

Well a things now seem to be 'real', so I thought I should start a thread describing what we hope will be a thread covering the re-build of our Argosy 20".

We wanted a 20' as we are having this built for our retirement, which will start with us spending 6-12months (or maybe longer) touring the US before we (and the Argosy) relocate back to the UK and spend the next few years touring Europe.

We decided up front we wanted twin beds in a mid-bath/wrap around rear window layout and that the beds should double up as a dinette (we have had that configuration in previous 'caravans' when living in the UK and it works for us).

We also knew this was going to be a full rebuild, and we also decided to have the work done by specialists - I think my time is spent doing something I am good at, to earn the funds to pay someone else to do something they are good at. But I have to say we struck lucky.

We found a 20' in the configuration we wanted that the previously owner had already down all the basic work.

He had remove the body from the chassis, and gone through the mechanical systems





He had then had a new floor made, fitted a new .63 aluminium under belly, insulation and a hardwood, plywood floor.













The body was remounted and after a couple of test runs we found there was an issue if the fuel tank...it was corroded and blocking fuel filters. So a new aluminium fuel cell was built and strapped in place



At that point we had 'her' loaded on a low-loader and shipped up to New England, firstly so we could have an RMV inspection to try and sort out a RMV/Title issue, but also drop off at the shop we (or rather fate) had chosen to do the work.




I say fate played a big part in us choosing Airstream of New England, we were going to have the work done at HofArc in Santa Barbara, but the cost of transport was going to be crazy. Then we had made arrangements with The Trailer Company, in Melbourne do the rebuild, before the MA RMV insisted the VIN wasn't valid and made us trailer the Argosy up to a State facility for inspection, the nearest of which is approx 10miles from Airstream of New England. But the fact that they can order all the cabinetry and fittings from Airstream it genuinely feels like we are having a new Airstream Argosy 20' built - hope the feeling continues!
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Old 09-19-2014, 02:40 PM   #2
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Wow!! This is so cool!! This is the the first body off (or should I say she'll off), frame off, frame up restoration of a 20' Argosy MH that I've seen on Airforums. There may be another one, but if so, I missed it. I really like the wrap around rear windows on the 20' MHs. This will be a fun project to watch!!
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Old 09-20-2014, 04:02 AM   #3
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Thank's Rick,

I have to say following your restoration/rebuild has given us some of the ideas, but the previous owner gets all the credit for the frame/floor work. I'm just fortunate that he ran out of time and space, so getting a head-start on our project. He bought it with rotted out floor from a lady in Pennsylvania and spent a year doing the floor work.

To be honest I'm no better off with regard to time and space, but would much rather drop approx $70K into a 'rebuilt how I want it Argosy', than a 7-9 year old Interstate, that is also going to need some work.
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Old 09-21-2014, 01:22 PM   #4
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Well that's today's mission accomplished.

I feel a little bad for the seller but it was more economic to buy a project 28' and rob the parts, than try and search around and buy parts from salvage, so now I own a second Argosy RV. I have bought it mainly for the slider windows, bumper/grill, and some parts for the dash (and now a replacement front screen)



But all the internal systems work (including generator and AC), all the interior lights seem perfect and work, and the engine fired right up and transmission works. The only parts which weren't so good were the upholstery - it's all there just thread-bear, brakes are week and the rear air bags are missing (although the PO had fitted a new compressor and valves). So once the shop have scavenged what they need, I may have some (NLA) parts available.
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Old 09-24-2014, 08:58 PM   #5
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Bumperette

If you are selling parts in the future off the 28' I am in search of a bumperette from the rear bumper and maybe some interior bits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by martin300662 View Post
Well that's today's mission accomplished.

I feel a little bad for the seller but it was more economic to buy a project 28' and rob the parts, than try and search around and buy parts from salvage, so now I own a second Argosy RV. I have bought it mainly for the slider windows, bumper/grill, and some parts for the dash (and now a replacement front screen)



But all the internal systems work (including generator and AC), all the interior lights seem perfect and work, and the engine fired right up and transmission works. The only parts which weren't so good were the upholstery - it's all there just thread-bear, brakes are week and the rear air bags are missing (although the PO had fitted a new compressor and valves). So once the shop have scavenged what they need, I may have some (NLA) parts available.
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Old 09-26-2014, 07:24 PM   #6
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It was meant to be a nice day out in the lakes of New Hampshire to collect the donor Argosy, but turned out much harder than expected....

With the rear suspension of the donor missing the airbags the tail end grounded out long before the front was up on the trailer. It took over an hour to get it on board and then about the same (in the dark) to get it off.



In the end to get it off we had to bottom out the tow hitch.rear chassis on wooden blocks, use straps to anchor the rear end of the chassis, and then drive the tow truck/trailer away - literally dragging the trailer out from under it to get it off.

Either way it is now at Airstream of New England so things like the extra windows can be installed.

The tow guy earn't his money today.
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Old 10-01-2014, 02:14 PM   #7
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The first of the parts have started to arrive for the rebuild, and those are for the wet-room/shower.

Because we want to use the MH in US and in Europe we are going with a cassette toilet setup and no black water tank. We are using the C403L which is plumbed into the MH water supply, a stepped shower pan, and a matching Whale Contessa pull-down basin. All the parts had to be special order or imported from UK, but the final setup is similar to used in van conversions in Europe (for example JIM THE TRUCK: The Water Closet).



Typical, today is the day for the guys to start working on re-positioning windows and it is the first rainy day in months in the Boston area....

The plan is to move the small fixed window from the drivers side to where the wet-room will be and then add two of the sliders (and the VistaViews), but also change the current slider for a larger slider from the 28' parts Argosy
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:50 PM   #8
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Hope this isn't a taste of things to come....got a call from the Airstream shop to let me know the 'matching' basin and toilet, supplied separately but designed to fit together....don't.

Seems the supplier of the basin, sent the wrong part (i.e. the part number he supplied wasn't the part number I ordered) so now I'm scrambling to get an alternate sent so as not to hold up work.

Trouble is there is only one supplier in the UK was willing to ship to the US - the other 4 or 5 (who no doubt can read part numbers) won't, which means drop shipping to my folks in the UK and then asking them to check it's the right part and then ship.
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Old 10-03-2014, 04:07 AM   #9
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Frustrating.........
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Old 10-03-2014, 04:20 PM   #10
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Quick visit to Airstream of New England this afternoon to check on progress.

Location for the transplanted sliders and VistaViews decided



But the dash and cab still seems to be in a 'deconstruction' phase.



But lots of progress this week; general layout agreed and marked out, location for new water tanks (using two small tanks mounted on frames over the wheels, in what would otherwise be dead space), grey water tanks (using two that empty to a common portable tote), and on-demand water heater.

Some things haven't worked out....the windshields from the parts Argosy were found to be cloudy within the lamination, so even though one has been installed in the 20', they will need to come out again and be replaced.

Some things have worked better than expect....the idea of having a small ClimateRight AC/hot air along with a Honda generator on a slide (so the 'night stand' between the twin beds will actually just be a cover for the slide out compartment) fits like a glove.

Some things are still just ideas.....how we can mount two small propane cylinders for transport but easily slide out for connection when camping.

The guys at in the shop have earn't their money this week.
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Old 10-17-2014, 01:51 PM   #11
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After a fair amount of back and forth with the supplier of the basin, it became apparent that 1) they did not have the right one and 2) it was going to cost more to send the first one back than it cost in the first place. So we have been waiting on a second 'flip down basin'. I had to get this one sent to by brother (who lives in the UK), so that he could then ship to me. All would have been well except UPS insisted he unpacked from the factory packing so they could check what it was, and therefore (as could be predicted) the then repacked basin got damaged in shipping.

The damage was to the end section which is going to be covered/not visible and even though it is frustrating I am now $1000 into this darn basin so I'm going to live with it!

Lots of progress in the last couple of weeks.....windows coming out of the donor.



....and going into our unit







Making it much brighter inside



After seeing the improvement, we have decided to also fit a third slider on the drivers side (so there will be two above the counter, one above each twin bed.

It is just visible from the photos but both ours and the donor are parked side by side in the workshop and the idea of getting a donor is really making things easier for the techs working on them.

Also you can see from the photos the changes around the 'generator enclosure' are complete (the door/hatch has been raised and the internal opening boxed in) to house the slide out tray for the portable generator and ClimateRight AC). This also allowed the tow hitch to be improved (the previous install had to loop under the old generator enclosure). Internally the 'box' will be covered by the shell of the nightstand so no-one will even know its there.
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Old 10-21-2014, 07:30 AM   #12
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This is such a fun one to watch! Its really going to be beautiful when youre done with it.
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Old 10-21-2014, 11:11 AM   #13
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Thanks for the encouragement Mayco.

As we stand I think the biggest challenge is 'fitting a quart into a pint pot'. But in some ways this is no different than kitting out an Interstate or a Bambi/Sport, and really defining what functionality you have to have is key. There is a lot of similarity between our planned layout and a (non-EXT) Interstate; we are a foot shorter (but there are only two of us so it is no hardship to loose the extra seat) but have an extra foot of width in the 'gangway', and the beds are 7" wider and 4" longer.

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Old 10-22-2014, 08:19 AM   #14
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So, it looks like your two "captains chairs" will be your primary seating when indoors. On my 310 I havent been able to figure out how to swivel the drivers side 180. My set up must be different than some, or the seats/base are a bit different. The steering wheel prevents it from turning to face the living area. Im sure youve considerred that. Someone, i cant remember who, was going to install a quick release steering wheel adapter similar to racing cars. That seems like a reasonable solution.
If you are going to install a television, are you going to do a "flip down" from the ceiling?
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Old 10-22-2014, 08:35 AM   #15
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Oooooooooooooops! Just reread your post on a thread i had started on the chair swivel.....YOU are the one that suggested the quick release steering wheel! Good idea.
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Old 10-22-2014, 10:36 AM   #16
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Did Tony's (Isuzusweet) suggested method (in your original thread) of turning the chair work?

I am still waiting on parts to try the 'remove the wheel' approach. It is quite simple if you are replacing the steering wheel anyway (as I am), as you need to get a spline to bolt pattern adapter boss for a new wheel, and the quick disconnects are sandwiched between the new boss and the new wheel.

I have ordered two (identical) disconnects (they are relatively inexpensive) and intend dismounting the wheel, but also mounting the alternate/second 'wheel side half' which will have a blanking cover - so you don't look down inside the boss to the end of the steering column when the actual wheel is removed. Clip the wheel off/clip the cover on.

The TV solution is pretty straight forward. We only have full height cabinetry on the wet room side (marked as the closet). So we are having the TV bracket mounted there, but there are standard flat panel mounts that can rotate out 180 degrees allowing the TV to face towards the beds or the cab. The beds are being built slightly higher than normal, to give extra storage but also we are having a pull-out table in the top of the night stand so the beds are also the seats of the dinette. In that position the TV can be seen whilst in bed (tilted down), when sitting at the dinette, and also when sitting in the captains chairs or even if working in the kitchen area. We are skipping a DVD player, but installing a small Lenovo PC (which also attaches to the TV mount, Q190 HTPC: The Smallest Home Theater Desktop PC*| Lenovo US) and HDMI ports (to let us plug in an iPad etc).
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Old 10-22-2014, 11:32 AM   #17
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Nice idea on the table, raising the bed height. In the 20', creativity is the key for sure. Standard seating height is 17" to 18" i believe. I just ordered some storage ottomans that will double as additional seating at our fold out table. They are 18x18x18. Im hoping they do the trick.
I never could get the drivers seat to swivel to face the lounge, tried Tony's suggestion and every other way i could think of and it aint gonna happen without some sort of mod.
So, since the captains chairs are raised on the platform, are you going with the fold out leg rests? When i get around to replacing mine i think thats the way ill go, assuming i figure out the swivel issue on the drivers side.
I bet many here will be very interested in your steering wheel adaptation. Pics please when you get that far.
Sounds GREAT so far Martin, youre really doing it right. Looking forward to seeing the finished product and you behind the wheel having fun.
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Old 10-25-2014, 02:22 PM   #18
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Well the new steering wheel, adapter and quick disconnect arrived. I went with a Grant wheel and and matching adapter and disconnect; very simple to install and they seem to work great....my dilemma? I made the mistake of opening the instructions; the first line reads "These kits are designed for use on off-road performance vehicles only. They are not legal for street use". If they are OK to use in a 200mph NASCAR how can they not be OK (even if not legal) to use for street use?
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Old 10-25-2014, 08:54 PM   #19
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I think I maybe able to answer my own question....to stop idiots doing things like this.

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Old 10-31-2014, 03:47 PM   #20
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Moving right all on many fronts this week. The third slider and VistaView is now in and it is going to be 'light' inside.



After fighting the remnants of the dash wiring for the last few weeks, Kevin the electrical tech has had to be brutal and rip it all out and start again, so new wiring to the dash, all the lights, and wipers. The marker lights have all been upgraded to LED but they have managed to keep the original castings (every corroded screw had to be drilled out - 4 days on that alone) but everything looks great. The dash itself has had a new layer of glass fiber for internal strengthening and was in the paint booth so I couldn't get a photo.

Bob the carpenter has been working hard on the wet room and the shower pan/cassette toilet/fold down basin is in.



One small change of plan is the 'spare' fixed window (removed from the original driver side bathroom) can't be used (the pull down basin has two catches to support it in use and the catch would be in the middle of the window), so the new plan is to try and source another VistaView to allow some natural light.

Last task of the week was to spec out the appliances for the kitchen area. The counter is approx 6ft (a little longer than we expected), but we are going with a Dometic Cramer combo hob to make most use of it.



Which should go nicely with the maple cabinets and Curava Savaii countertop, that are also underway. Also this means a small update in layout.

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