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Old 10-16-2010, 11:38 PM   #1
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1977 Argosy 28
nashville , Tennessee
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overwhelmed newbie

hello, im new to this site and to owning an airstream.
i just took the jump on a 1977 28'? argosy, rear bed. the man who sold it to me told me that it was 31 feet but ive heard this isnt possible... moving on...
i spent 3000 on the argosy and renting a tow vehicle to get it home (getting closer to owning a tow vehicle now) the floors have been replaced to my knowledge but im worried about underneath this floor job.
i also bought a manual and am being lazy about diving into it because i dont know what to do about my restoration plans as they are growing and overwhelming me...
i thought a thorough clean up job, and some reconfiguring of the floor plan ie; cabinets, closets etc.. would do the trick for me atleast.
the more i read the more i fear now that i may have some sort of colony of rats and wasps under my floor or perhaps under the not so appealing panelling, or rotton rusted carriage... .. some sort of nightmare....
im not the handiest man out there, meaning i do not have many tools or many dollars. however i do have a big vision and a drive to make this my home as i am a musician and travel alot but have the next couple of months to spend working on this trailer..
im worried about depreciating my trailer with not so expert hands, especially when ive just sunk 3k into a decent trailer. (new toilet, plumbing is said to work fine, no leaks that i can tell, etc etc)
i know ive written a novel here for my first post but any advice would be wonderful!!
also if there is anyone in nashville that could meet up and give me a crash coarse on my trailer and maybe take a deep look holler at me, id make it worth your time !!
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Old 10-16-2010, 11:46 PM   #2
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I just bought a 22' Safari. Everything you need to know can be found in this forum. Make use of the search function, look at the photo gallery and read read read. Find the section for your argosy and read that from start to finish.

You can also look into the VAP (Vintage Airstream Podcast) on iTunes or on http://www.thevap.com/

Where did you rent your tow vehicle? I wound up renting a 14' u-haul and am curious to find what you used.

Dag
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Old 10-17-2010, 12:13 AM   #3
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i did the same exact thing!! haha
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Old 10-17-2010, 05:20 AM   #4
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You will have fun. I am sometimes an airhead - so I am automaticly overwhelmed. Some one will come around to help you inspect it. Just hang in thar!
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Old 10-17-2010, 05:32 AM   #5
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The easiest way to determine what size/model trailer you own is by breaking down the VIN. If it is a rear bed Argosy, I would guess that it is a 30 footer.
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Old 10-17-2010, 06:25 AM   #6
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JR it is important to make sure your trailer is watertight. Check all opening seals like roof vents, vent pipe gaskets, window gaskets. door seals, compartment seals and gaskets.
You are right to be concerned about replacment finish flooring. Often people install hardwood flooring or new lino to hide sub floor rot. Use an ice pick and check all around the edges of the floor and anywhere that water may penetrate like the toilet, shower and sinks.
Frame damage is virtually impossible to determine without removal of the belly pan and visually inspecting it.
IMHO opinion it is a waste of time and money renovating the interior (changing floor plan, closets, cabinets etc) without making sure your frame/floor are soild and in good condition and sealing up the shell to be watertight. Lipstick and mascara are just that decorations if you don't start with a soild base you might as well just set your cash on fire.
Not to scare you but would you paint a house that had a crumbling foundation and a rotten leaking roof and feel safe and secure.
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Old 10-17-2010, 08:56 AM   #7
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Congratulations on your new trailer. You can take most of the trailer apart with a philips head screwdriver, I did on my 72 Tradewind and started taking out panels, fridges, heaters and on and on. But take it slow, research here on the forums. Everything you need to or will ever want to do has been done before by someone willing to help you through the process. Find a rally nearby and bring your trailer to it. I took mine to Branson last Fall and before I knew it there were 4 guys out in the rain under my trailer all looking it over and mounting a new hitch to my rig. First thing is to clean her up inside and out. You'll feel like you're taking off about 20 years on her when you're done.
Enjoy the process.
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Old 10-17-2010, 09:14 AM   #8
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What wasagachris wrote: Very good post!

The Airstream I have is a steel trailer with a plywood deck and an aluminum body. The condition is determined by care vs. neglect, use vs. miss-use, and storage vs. abandonment. The good news is, that for slightly less than the cost of a new trailer, I can have a usable, fixed up, used trailer, worth a fraction of what I have invested.

Gary
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Old 10-17-2010, 09:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Splitrock View Post
What wasagachris wrote: Very good post!

The Airstream I have is a steel trailer with a plywood deck and an aluminum body. The condition is determined by care vs. neglect, use vs. miss-use, and storage vs. abandonment. The good news is, that for slightly less than the cost of a new trailer, I can have a usable, fixed up, used trailer, worth a fraction of what I have invested.

Gary
It all depends on what you plan on doing with the trailer. Argosy's had a stout frame under them unless dragged through salt water on icey roads a lot. As you walk through the trailer does the floor have squishey spots or sag? If you are striking out across the country planning on 20 to 30 thousand miles of adventure then the frame and suspension must be in good shape.
If you are going to plant it and use it for a weekend getaway or to live in then clean her up, make her watertight and comfortable and let the next owner change what suits them. Obvioulsly if you pour $12000 into any trailer that has serious problems underneath and want to tow it you need a friend to throw a net over you.
And the most important thing is you can always sell it.
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Old 10-17-2010, 09:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Splitrock View Post
The good news is, that for slightly less than the cost of a new trailer, I can have a usable, fixed up, used trailer, worth a fraction of what I have invested.
LOL. That's very well stated; I'm in the same boat. (Let's - slightly - console ourselves that the old trailers are lighter.)

This Argosy could be either a 28 or a 30. They're neat trailers. A lot of people fix the really bad stuff (sagged out axles, some floor rot repair) without doing a full shell-off restoration. As stated above, it all depends on your goals and use.

Tom
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Old 10-17-2010, 10:01 AM   #11
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Gary
I can have a usable, fixed up, used trailer, worth a fraction of what I have invested.

Are you saying that yours will be worth less than you have invested into it? From reading your posts your'e not spending that much to get your trailer in good useable condition. I am however spending a lot to make mine better than new and replacing quite a bit of the trailer and don't expect to be able to sell it for what I have invested. It's not a financially sane decision but I am enjoying the work and love seeing the outcome.
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Old 10-17-2010, 10:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wasagachris View Post
Gary
I can have a usable, fixed up, used trailer, worth a fraction of what I have invested.

Are you saying that yours will be worth less than you have invested into it? From reading your posts your'e not spending that much to get your trailer in good useable condition. I am however spending a lot to make mine better than new and replacing quite a bit of the trailer and don't expect to be able to sell it for what I have invested. It's not a financially sane decision but I am enjoying the work and love seeing the outcome.

Hi wasagachris,

I have more invested in mine that I'll ever get out of it when it's done right now in hard costs, and I haven't started on the inside yet. I just bought the new water heater, furnace, and gas range. I still need to install a new sink, and all new plumbing. I haven't tested the refrigerator yet but I expect it will not be good. I have all of the interior to buy and install yet . . . floor, furniture, bed pedestal, cabinets, counter tops, drapes, and entertainment system.

I haven't even looked at cleaning up the outside of the aluminum body. I had hoped to be finished in a good way at somewhere near 14k, but it's going to be north of that. Maybe way north.

Gary
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Old 10-17-2010, 10:30 AM   #13
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Hi Gary I don't know with a whole new interior and all new appliances and a polished shell it should be worth at least that. It sounds like you have very good plans for you A/S.
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Old 10-17-2010, 11:43 AM   #14
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Hi wasagachris,

I was naive in the extream when I bought this trailer in June. I thought I'd clean it up and start taking trips. Then I started to work on it and I became determined to get rid of all the mouse droppings, then I was determined to get rid of the musty smell, then I was determined to fix the leaks, then I was determined to fix the frame and the floor wood, and so it went. Next thing I see is an almost empty trailer.

New air conditioner, new roof power vents, new window and door gaskets, seam and vent seals, new tires, new 7-way & lights, now all new fixtures and I'm not even half done. I'm glad I bought it, but I wish it had been in better shape. The seller didn't cover up any damage, Airstream INC. did.

So much of my education has been paid for in the rears. This trailer is certainly not going to be the exception to that.

Gary
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Old 10-17-2010, 12:00 PM   #15
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1977 Argosy 28
nashville , Tennessee
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thanks everyone for the advice!!
to me a job worth doing is worth doing right. and my fear comes from moving the couch out of the argosy and finding that the floor was sagging a bit up in the front where the axles are. its a very intimidating thing as no one around me knows anything about the trailers, including myself!! im just trying to do all i can before i do something stupid and cost myself alot of money. id like to have this thing in top notch condition but am sometimes weary i dont have the capabilities to fix flooring and panelling etc etc.
ive got it stored outside under some trees at a storage space and it has been there since august.
should i rip the floors up should i take the panels off??
my intention is to have a good critter free or minimum critter home on the road.
thanks again everyone!!
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Old 10-17-2010, 12:05 PM   #16
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1977 Argosy 28
nashville , Tennessee
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also.....
i have no idea what these little connectors are but they have essentially replaced the screw in this argosy and i cannot figure out how to remove them. its a little round silver thing with a hole in the middle, they hold the panels in place, door frame, etc etc... dont want to ruin them or the surface of what they are connected by prying them off...
is this some sort of special airstream way? is there a special tool i need to get it off??
does this make sense to anyone?
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Old 10-17-2010, 12:07 PM   #17
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They are blind (pop) rivets and should be drilled out to remove.
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Old 10-17-2010, 12:11 PM   #18
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The little round silver things with the hole in the middle. That is a pop rivet. It is used to hold two things together. A small drill bit will drill ot the rivet and you can easily replace them yourself with a pop rivet tool.
It sounds like you really need to do a lot of reading and educate yourself before you attempt any repairs. from your description of tools and talents this repair may be beyond you. Sorry but I don't mean to be rude but if you don't know what a rivet is you have a lot to learn especially on Airstreams which are almost exclusively riveted together.
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Old 10-17-2010, 12:24 PM   #19
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1977 Argosy 28
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wasagachris,
this probably is beyond me and im sure that i will encounter many problems with my lack of knowledge. thankfully i have this site to help me. i dont want to surrender the job ....yet.... as i have only just begun to work on taking out and cleaning what i can ie; couch, fridge, fridge wall, etc...
i am not a wealthy man and dont really want/ cant pay someone else to fix her up.
i am overwhelmed with the project but excited to learn and do a good job. dont scare me!!! i just got my manual and im trying to get an order of operations so i can begin and learn with confidence. maybe this is misguided confidence and i should hire someone?? i will try to take some pictures soon and give a better description soon so this isnt a blind query...
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Old 10-17-2010, 01:12 PM   #20
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We can guide you through it. I have never done a refurb like mine either. I am handy and have several tools and also have background in RV's. I am a licensed RV tech.
Ask as many questions as you like and include pics and I will try to help. Originally I contacted a shop that specializes inA/S restorations. They told me 1000 to 1500 hrs for a total refurb at $65.00/hr convinced me to do it myself. You will need an area to work on it as well as some power tools.
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