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Old 02-25-2013, 05:45 PM   #21
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1973 Argosy 24
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Originally Posted by Roadrunner View Post
My wife got me a Rockwell Sonic Crafter 2 for Christmas. Think something like this with metal cutting blade would work? Might give better angle of attack than sawzall.
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I have the dremel version... it's great on anything but metal... even with the over priced "metal" blade. To be sure it gouges aluminum... but it's true talent is in wood... it carves rotten and semi-rotted wood like a hot knife in warm butter.

The sawzall did a better job on rusted bolts from mechanic's hell.

Now I just need to get to Home Depot for some lumber so I can brace and lift the shell. Then comes the fun part of raising the shell to clear the wheel wells and figuring out how to fetch the frame out from under the shell.

I'm thinking about just lowering the frame down to some furniture dollies and pulling it out. lol. I have some steel beams for another project that I can put the shell on. If it can sit on 2x4's it will be fine on 4x4 10ga steel tube. In the meanwhile I have the axles out... so it's perfect timing to work on the frame.
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Old 02-28-2013, 01:55 PM   #22
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Okay, so I admit part of the allure of this Argosy was that it promised not to be as much work as all the completely gutted Airstreams I looked at. For one thing, paint doesn't have to be worshipped with a buffer.

It was supposed to be a simple project... or at least that was the lie I told my friends. A little flooring here, a new built-in bed there, some shelf liner, a microwave...we'd be on the road in no time.

HA! If only such lies could come true. I supposed having a 1500 s/f "garage" with 10' eaves gives away my tendency to collect tools - even if I only use them once or twice. That probably makes me a shoe-in for owning anything Airstream.

So I put her up on 8 jack stands and liberated the 38 year old axles. New axles are on order.

I did some minor surgery to look under the shower.... not pretty.... I have some very minor floor rot near the front door. The kind that screams out for a puddle of West System epoxy to make it all feel better (and solid).

The tail is worrisome though. As best I can tell the floor under the shower is a lost cause and aqua-express appears to be a feature that was installed on the rear of my Argosy.

So I am at a cross roads. My belly pan looks like someone took a 3/8" circle saw to the rivets. To be sure there are a few holding it up there, but by and large they are all corroded away. I'm not sure what happened. There is some surface rust on almost everything I can see frame wise. No big deal, and not entirely unexpected.

I *really* wanted to avoid re-manufacturing the trailer. Confession - while I do enjoy working on it, I wanted to camp in it... not under it.

One road leads to project hell where I do a shell off and probably don't camp for over a year.

The other road involves dropping the belly pan (which really has seen better decades) and deconstructing the bathroom to get at the rear 4 feet of floor. I really think the rear 3 or 4 feet is the part that needs replacing.

The part under the frankenvolt (univolt) is fine... the parts under the kitchen etc are fine. It's the curb side behind the wheel well and under the shower that appears to be the worst.

I had planned on replacing the black tank, adding a grey tank, and redoing the plumbing anyway.... so I'm not too far off.

The insulation is in far better shape than I expected. What I have seen has it's share of spider webs, dust, and nasties*®. However it's still pink and has a little fluff in it.... nothing I'd really want to touch, but not as bad as one might imagine.

So my dilemna is how to tell if I need to do a shell off or if I can get by with replacing the bathroom floor that is rotted. The bulk of it is solid, it seems like the shower itself had a leak for a while... or the trunk seam stored it's water under the shower. Can't really tell til I dig out the rest of the bathroom.

Picture One has a good picture of the rivets in the bellypan.

It looks like the bellypan is one long piece of aluminum and that it covers the banana wraps that cover the edges. The bellypan doesn't seem to be on there very well and it would make more sense to replace it with sections anyhow.

What should I be looking at to decide shell on/off?
Hi,

I am a newbie and am officially freaked out by this post. I am a fan of the Argosy and planned on looking at one this weekend 200 miles from me. Like you, I figured that the Argosy is not as much work as the Airstream. I am a woman (not good at anything requiring tools other than hanging curtain rods) and I thought I could buy one for me and my mom and not expect any major problems. Now I'm not so sure. I am officially reconsidering the trek to look at the Argosy this weekend.
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Old 02-28-2013, 02:32 PM   #23
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Hi,

I am a newbie and am officially freaked out by this post. I am a fan of the Argosy and planned on looking at one this weekend 200 miles from me. Like you, I figured that the Argosy is not as much work as the Airstream. I am a woman (not good at anything requiring tools other than hanging curtain rods) and I thought I could buy one for me and my mom and not expect any major problems. Now I'm not so sure. I am officially reconsidering the trek to look at the Argosy this weekend.
Take a deep breath.

Some trailers are ready to camp, some need a little work, some need a lot and some need to be completely restored.

Unless you have good reason to believe that the Argosy you're going to look at this weekend is a disaster, go and look at it. Take a copy of the Trailer Inspection Checklist with you, and look honestly at the trailer you're inspecting. Don't let the new-to-you-toy effect blind you, but don't assume that every trailer is a basket case either.

It's important to be skeptical, it'll save you lots of time and money, but there are good trailers out there. I bought our Argosy and did a lot of camping before I addressed a few fairly big issues, and I could have ignored a couple of those for a lot longer if I weren't so obsessive-compulsive.

Happy hunting!
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Old 02-28-2013, 03:21 PM   #24
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Take a deep breath.

Some trailers are ready to camp, some need a little work, some need a lot and some need to be completely restored.

Unless you have good reason to believe that the Argosy you're going to look at this weekend is a disaster, go and look at it. Take a copy of the Trailer Inspection Checklist with you, and look honestly at the trailer you're inspecting. Don't let the new-to-you-toy effect blind you, but don't assume that every trailer is a basket case either.

It's important to be skeptical, it'll save you lots of time and money, but there are good trailers out there. I bought our Argosy and did a lot of camping before I addressed a few fairly big issues, and I could have ignored a couple of those for a lot longer if I weren't so obsessive-compulsive.

Happy hunting!
Thanks so much for the pep talk. I'm actually feeling better I followed your link and printed out the inspection checklist. My head is officially back in the game!
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Old 02-28-2013, 03:32 PM   #25
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Do you plan on traveling with your Mom? Or just living in the trailer?
As mentioned above. There is a whole list of things that can wait. Depending on the useage. You may not have to do anything like a shell off job.
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Old 02-28-2013, 03:53 PM   #26
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Do you plan on traveling with your Mom? Or just living in the trailer?
As mentioned above. There is a whole list of things that can wait. Depending on the useage. You may not have to do anything like a shell off job.
Mom and I plan on traveling in the trailer. I live in Los Angeles but have rental property in Texas. So, I'd like to take the trailer back and forth to these locations. Plus, I want my mom to be able to take the trailer to the beach while I'm at work. I haven't vacationed in an RV since 1983 so I'm really a newbie!!!
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Old 02-28-2013, 04:12 PM   #27
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Do you know what size the trailer is? Is it a Minuet? What year?
If it is earlier than a '74. It won't have a grey water holding tank. Unless a PO installed one.
Is it set up to be towed by a modern TV? Meaning. Will all of the lights and brakes work? You haven't mentioned how you will get it home.
If the Argosy has it's original paint job. It could look pretty ugly. Don't know if you are into ugly.
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Old 02-28-2013, 04:32 PM   #28
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Do you know what size the trailer is? Is it a Minuet? What year?
If it is earlier than a '74. It won't have a grey water holding tank. Unless a PO installed one.
Is it set up to be towed by a modern TV? Meaning. Will all of the lights and brakes work? You haven't mentioned how you will get it home.
If the Argosy has it's original paint job. It could look pretty ugly. Don't know if you are into ugly.
The trailer is listed as a 26' from 1973.
Here is the description:

"Has full kitchen with all original appliances. Fridge is gas /electric. Has furnace and new gas hot water heater. Full bathroom. 50 gal holding tank. Two 50lb gas tanks. Was painted when I purchased, but all aluminum underneath in good shape.

What are the ramifications of having no gray water tank? I plan to tow with a 2003 Tahoe (BTW I've never towed before.) The seller towes with a Silverado.
Oh, the paint job is newer but pretty bad. I have no idea about lights, brakes working...I'll have to ask the seller.
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Old 02-28-2013, 04:41 PM   #29
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The trailer is listed as a 26' from 1973.
Here is the description:

"Has full kitchen with all original appliances. Fridge is gas /electric. Has furnace and new gas hot water heater. Full bathroom. 50 gal holding tank. Two 50lb gas tanks. Was painted when I purchased, but all aluminum underneath in good shape.

What are the ramifications of having no gray water tank? I plan to tow with a 2003 Tahoe (BTW I've never towed before.) The seller towes with a Silverado.
Oh, the paint job is newer but pretty bad. I have no idea about lights, brakes working...I'll have to ask the seller.
No gray tank means that you'll have to either have an external tank to collect wash water (sinks and shower) or have a full-hookup campsite. Very few places allow discharge of gray water except into the sewer connection or dump station.

From the assertion of a 50-gallon "holding tank" and 2 "50-lb" gas tanks I'm guessing that the current owner doesn't know a lot about the trailer. Argosies had 30-gallon fresh water tanks, and a tiny black water tank (and later on, tiny gray water tanks.) Common propane cylinder sizes are 30 lb or 40 lb. Trust more to a detailed inspection of the trailer than anything the seller says (that's good advice with an unknown seller who DOES know what he's talking about too, of course, but doubly so with one who seems to be shooting from the hip.)
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:29 PM   #30
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No gray tank means that you'll have to either have an external tank to collect wash water (sinks and shower) or have a full-hookup campsite. Very few places allow discharge of gray water except into the sewer connection or dump station.

From the assertion of a 50-gallon "holding tank" and 2 "50-lb" gas tanks I'm guessing that the current owner doesn't know a lot about the trailer. Argosies had 30-gallon fresh water tanks, and a tiny black water tank (and later on, tiny gray water tanks.) Common propane cylinder sizes are 30 lb or 40 lb. Trust more to a detailed inspection of the trailer than anything the seller says (that's good advice with an unknown seller who DOES know what he's talking about too, of course, but doubly so with one who seems to be shooting from the hip.)
Thanks for spelling things out for me. I think that I have alot to think about and to pray about. You know, I thought having a trailer would be a way to escape a high-tech lifestyle and have a simple, relaxing pasttime. Now I feel that I need to ramp up technical knowledge of anything and everything science oriented in order to buy a trailer. But I'm not giving up! I just need to educate myself. Thanks for your help
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:42 PM   #31
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Pano-panic

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The nice-nice-nice thing about the center-bath Argosies is that they get pano windows at all 4 corners.
Beware DKB, it's also the most expensive thing about them . But gosh, are they lovely! I just spent 3x as much $$$ as I did on my trailer (you know, the 'down-payment') just for two original clear replacements .

I also think there's less tail rot/separation in the center baths (less weight and plumbing back there). Hopefully one less surprise for me when I open her up.

(Good luck with your search! If you find a beater, let me know if you want/need any interior original parts for a 28'-30', I might be able to help.)
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:19 PM   #32
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ozobu_1
The PO's capacities are a little off. '26' Argosy has a 30 gallon fresh water holding tank. The propane tanks weigh 55 pounds when full. That means they hold about 30 pounds of propane each. The black water tank is 12 gallons.
Do you have the hitch capacity on the Tahoe? It should be at least a Class III. Class IV would be better. Either way you will need a weight distribution hitch.
You should make sure the refer works. On both gas and electric. Don't take the PO's word for it. Have him show you how to light the refer in the gas mode. Then check to see that the bottom of the freezer gets cold. This could take several hours. The trailer MUST BE SETTING LEVEL for the refer to work. A new refer is in excess of $1,000.00.
If the furnace is original. It will need to be thoroughly checked out by a qualified technician. A replacement is around $600.00. If it has the original Univolt converter, it should be replaced.
Does it have a good "house battery"
Do you have a brake controller in your TV?
Do you know how to check to make sure the brakes work?
Do you know how to check for leaks in the fresh water plumbing?
If it has the original axles. You are looking at $1500.00 to replace them. If you have to hire it done.
It is pretty easy to wrap up $10,000 in one of these old units. And that is not talking about any kind of serious renovation.
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:15 PM   #33
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ozobu_1
The PO's capacities are a little off. '26' Argosy has a 30 gallon fresh water holding tank. The propane tanks weigh 55 pounds when full. That means they hold about 30 pounds of propane each. The black water tank is 12 gallons.
Do you have the hitch capacity on the Tahoe? It should be at least a Class III. Class IV would be better. Either way you will need a weight distribution hitch.
You should make sure the refer works. On both gas and electric. Don't take the PO's word for it. Have him show you how to light the refer in the gas mode. Then check to see that the bottom of the freezer gets cold. This could take several hours. The trailer MUST BE SETTING LEVEL for the refer to work. A new refer is in excess of $1,000.00.
If the furnace is original. It will need to be thoroughly checked out by a qualified technician. A replacement is around $600.00. If it has the original Univolt converter, it should be replaced.
Does it have a good "house battery"
Do you have a brake controller in your TV?
Do you know how to check to make sure the brakes work?
Do you know how to check for leaks in the fresh water plumbing?
If it has the original axles. You are looking at $1500.00 to replace them. If you have to hire it done.
It is pretty easy to wrap up $10,000 in one of these old units. And that is not talking about any kind of serious renovation.
Um,
I honestly can't answer one of your questions. I only know that the Tahoe has a square hole near the rear bumper with an electrical outlet next to it. Yep, am going to have to seriously hit the books on trailer mechanics before I take the plunge.
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:07 PM   #34
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Um,
I honestly can't answer one of your questions. I only know that the Tahoe has a square hole near the rear bumper with an electrical outlet next to it. Yep, am going to have to seriously hit the books on trailer mechanics before I take the plunge.
Just take a deep breath. I'm doing what I'm doing because I enjoy working on stuff and a trailer is cheaper than a sailboat. I also don't want to have to redo any of it in 12 months or 15 months.

I tow with a 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited. When I brought it home I had no trailer brakes, a few lights, and no sway control. According to the internet my tires should have wound up looking like pretzels and my Jeep in a ditch in the first 50 feet. The reality is that even with sway control and brakes you need to go slower and drive responsibly. This means not driving like a bat out of hell or Mario Andretti. A Tahoe is a little high, but otherwise a solid full size vehicle.

Stop by a U-Haul store. Not a dealer, a store. Tell them you are thinking about towing your Mothers 1972 Cadillac Roadzilla across country on a auto-trailer. Ask them if they can look at your Tahoe and tell you if the hitch is the right capacity. If you feel guilty about this give the guy $5 and tell him thanks for his help you'll be back when your Mom has a Caddy. A full size Caddy on a auto-trailer weighs in about the same as a 26' trailer.

Next, find the owner's manual and see what it says the maximum tow length is. Chevy's engineers will have determined what you can safely tow. They will have a max length, max weight, and max size. Airstreams in general are fine on the max frontal size. You need to check weight and length.

If your hitch is not a Class IV or V then you need to get that upgraded. It shouldn't be more than $300 or $400.

As you are in Cali, you could also talk to Andy at Inland and see if he would be willing to inspect the trailer for you and have the seller meet you there. Andy is a reputable dealer and member of this forum who routinely helps others out. It's only fair to pay him for his time in inspecting the trailer, but you will get a true professional assessment of the safety and suitability of the trailer.

Lastly - in one of your posts you mentioned something about tools and being a woman. Don't let that stop you from doing it. Every guy that can turn a wrench learned by getting his hands dirty, reading a book, or having someone show him. Yes, guys can often spin smaller nuts and bolts by hand, but you'd be amazed what a electric impact wrench can do to level the playing field. Women can do damn near anything they put their minds to. Take your time, be safe, and have fun. Pay others to do what you don't enjoy.
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:18 PM   #35
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Argosy edge detail -- unsure what best way to proceed is

Well tonight was almost productive. I freed the rest of the edge panels and banana wraps. I dealt with the bastion of torture known as the battery door.... and the bonanza of rot under it.


Photoset:1973 Argosy bracing and edge detail - a set on Flickr


I found a new problem though.... AS used a different moulding style on the wall for the base channel. It has an extra slot that wraps around the floor.




From what I can tell my three options are:
1) cut the floor up so I can get the shell off and then put the floor back in in pieces when I get to putting it back together.

2) Cut the channel off with a grinder so I can lift off the walls.

3) unrivet all the sides and remove the channel.

Option 2 seems the easiest and then figure out a new edge detail on the floor. I was considering wrapping it in aluminum flashing anyway and then riveting that on the inside a couple of inches up.

Option 1 is the next best but it will be a pain to put the floor back in. I had wanted to avoid extra floor seams.

Option 3 seems like it will be a mess. I have not figured out how to remove solid rivets without it looking like a grinder massacre occurred.

HELP!
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:30 PM   #36
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Um,
I honestly can't answer one of your questions. I only know that the Tahoe has a square hole near the rear bumper with an electrical outlet next to it. Yep, am going to have to seriously hit the books on trailer mechanics before I take the plunge.
Haha ... I just bought a 1976 22' Argosy myself a few weeks ago, and am absolutely amazed not just at the helpfulness of the community here ... but also how small it is.

In the 3 weeks since I bought mine, I've run into the purchaser of a 1967 Airstream shell that I was looking at while picking up my new axles this week at Inland RV; the purchaser of another one that I looked at, a 1974 28' Argosy in San Luis Obispo, CA is now posting about his new toy in the Argosy forums; and now here is ozobu_1 posting questions about the same 1973 26' Argosy that I telephoned about this morning (it's located in Santa Maria, CA).

The purchaser of the Airstream shell bought it from the Hoffmans in Santa Barbara, CA (as seen on the Retro Roadhomes TV show), and coincidentally, I'm getting my axles replaced by a trailer company in Ventura, CA that has apparently done the running gear work for the Hoffmans.

It's a very small Airstream world!

My reaction to Hotpuppy's thread and pictures is a similar horror to ozobu_1's except in my case, I'm already considerably invested in the trailer, new tires, wheels, and axles!

Anyway, ozobu_1 ... so as to avoid going even more off-topic in Hotpuppy's thread, I'll start one of my own in the Argosy section. BTW, I was also thinking of looking at the Santa Maria trailer this weekend, possibly to purchase, but from curiosity if nothing else.
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:08 PM   #37
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My advice to any Argosy owner is to check your shower.... from what I could tell there is a water intake built into the sides of the shower that adds grey tank storage to the plywood located under the shower.
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Old 03-01-2013, 01:49 AM   #38
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My advice to any Argosy owner is to check your shower.... from what I could tell there is a water intake built into the sides of the shower that adds grey tank storage to the plywood located under the shower.
Thanks, I'll do that as soon as I get Argosy back with its new-and-improved axles/rims/tires.

Your photos also show some other good locations to check like behind the water tank.
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:18 AM   #39
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Just take a deep breath. I'm doing what I'm doing because I enjoy working on stuff and a trailer is cheaper than a sailboat. I also don't want to have to redo any of it in 12 months or 15 months.

I tow with a 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited. When I brought it home I had no trailer brakes, a few lights, and no sway control. According to the internet my tires should have wound up looking like pretzels and my Jeep in a ditch in the first 50 feet. The reality is that even with sway control and brakes you need to go slower and drive responsibly. This means not driving like a bat out of hell or Mario Andretti. A Tahoe is a little high, but otherwise a solid full size vehicle.

Stop by a U-Haul store. Not a dealer, a store. Tell them you are thinking about towing your Mothers 1972 Cadillac Roadzilla across country on a auto-trailer. Ask them if they can look at your Tahoe and tell you if the hitch is the right capacity. If you feel guilty about this give the guy $5 and tell him thanks for his help you'll be back when your Mom has a Caddy. A full size Caddy on a auto-trailer weighs in about the same as a 26' trailer.

Next, find the owner's manual and see what it says the maximum tow length is. Chevy's engineers will have determined what you can safely tow. They will have a max length, max weight, and max size. Airstreams in general are fine on the max frontal size. You need to check weight and length.

If your hitch is not a Class IV or V then you need to get that upgraded. It shouldn't be more than $300 or $400.

As you are in Cali, you could also talk to Andy at Inland and see if he would be willing to inspect the trailer for you and have the seller meet you there. Andy is a reputable dealer and member of this forum who routinely helps others out. It's only fair to pay him for his time in inspecting the trailer, but you will get a true professional assessment of the safety and suitability of the trailer.

Lastly - in one of your posts you mentioned something about tools and being a woman. Don't let that stop you from doing it. Every guy that can turn a wrench learned by getting his hands dirty, reading a book, or having someone show him. Yes, guys can often spin smaller nuts and bolts by hand, but you'd be amazed what a electric impact wrench can do to level the playing field. Women can do damn near anything they put their minds to. Take your time, be safe, and have fun. Pay others to do what you don't enjoy.
Thanks so much for the advice and the pep talk. I just started looking at the owner's manual and it appears that the minimum maximum trailer weight for my vehicle may be 5,700 pounds. That's for a 4800 V8. But, if my Tahoe is a 5300 V8 the minimum maximum trailer weight is 7,400 pounds. So, I'm going to have to figure out what type of V8 my car is. I will also go to Uhaul and ask about the Roadzilla Actually I will follow all of your suggestions. And as an aside - I love the 2008 Jeep Cherokee. I looked at one before I got the Tahoe. Mom wanted me to buy that as a tow vehicle but the Tahoo was better for my budget. Well, I look forward to seeing more pictures of your progress
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:29 AM   #40
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Haha ... I just bought a 1976 22' Argosy myself a few weeks ago, and am absolutely amazed not just at the helpfulness of the community here ... but also how small it is.

In the 3 weeks since I bought mine, I've run into the purchaser of a 1967 Airstream shell that I was looking at while picking up my new axles this week at Inland RV; the purchaser of another one that I looked at, a 1974 28' Argosy in San Luis Obispo, CA is now posting about his new toy in the Argosy forums; and now here is ozobu_1 posting questions about the same 1973 26' Argosy that I telephoned about this morning (it's located in Santa Maria, CA).

The purchaser of the Airstream shell bought it from the Hoffmans in Santa Barbara, CA (as seen on the Retro Roadhomes TV show), and coincidentally, I'm getting my axles replaced by a trailer company in Ventura, CA that has apparently done the running gear work for the Hoffmans.

It's a very small Airstream world!

My reaction to Hotpuppy's thread and pictures is a similar horror to ozobu_1's except in my case, I'm already considerably invested in the trailer, new tires, wheels, and axles!

Anyway, ozobu_1 ... so as to avoid going even more off-topic in Hotpuppy's thread, I'll start one of my own in the Argosy section. BTW, I was also thinking of looking at the Santa Maria trailer this weekend, possibly to purchase, but from curiosity if nothing else.
Hi,

Such a small world. Well, I plan to drive out to Santa Maria tomorrow. Let me know if you want to meet up and see the trailer together. Feel free to e-mail me if interested at ozobu_1@yahoo.com. If the trailer is still available, that is

And, have a look at your 22'... I haven't seen one am curious to see the layout in person.
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