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-   -   Argosy tail rot (https://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/argosy-tail-rot-101545.html)

Hotpuppy 02-18-2013 08:07 PM

Argosy tail rot
 
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?

TG Twinkie 02-18-2013 08:30 PM

If the holes in the belly pan are about the size of a dime around the rivet and washer. And that is the only significant problem. It can be reattached.
I took a hole saw and cut some 1 1/2" washer from a sheet of fiberglass. Like you would use to line a shower. I bought some fender washers about the same size as the fiberglass washers that I made.
After drilling out the old pop rivets. I used 3/16" x 1/2" pop rivets. Put the fender washer on the rivet then the fiberglass washer. Then installed the rivet. The fender washer covers a larger area in supporting the belly pan and the fiberglass washer cuts down on the electrolysis effect of the dissimilar metals touching.
Think of it like an Oreo cookie, with one side being the belly pan, the Fiberglass washer being the creamy filling and the fender washer being the other side of the cookie.
Hope this will help.

Hotpuppy 02-19-2013 05:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TG Twinkie (Post 1262999)
If the holes in the belly pan are about the size of a dime around the rivet and washer. And that is the only significant problem. It can be reattached.
I took a hole saw and cut some 1 1/2" washer from a sheet of fiberglass. Like you would use to line a shower. I bought some fender washers about the same size as the fiberglass washers that I made.
After drilling out the old pop rivets. I used 3/16" x 1/2" pop rivets. Put the fender washer on the rivet then the fiberglass washer. Then installed the rivet. The fender washer covers a larger area in supporting the belly pan and the fiberglass washer cuts down on the electrolysis effect of the dissimilar metals touching.
Think of it like an Oreo cookie, with one side being the belly pan, the Fiberglass washer being the creamy filling and the fender washer being the other side of the cookie.
Hope this will help.

Hmm, interesting. I could probably fabricate some aluminum washers to do the same general thing. Although, having a 24 foot sheet of aluminum seems like more headache then it's worth. I want to section it off when I reinstall it so that it's more maintainable.

I also would like to avoid setting up a trapeze to swing my trailer from.... it's just not what I bought a trailer for.... as amusing as it seems. And trust me, it's tempting. :) I weld, have steel laying around, and own a forklift. But alas, I bought the camper to go camping and I enjoy parking in my garage.

perryg114 02-19-2013 06:31 AM

I am assuming the Argosy trailers are built the same way the silver ones are. There is a plate that goes under the rear of the trailer in front of the bumper. This plate funnels water into the rear floor area. This area is also the main structural attachment between the frame and the shell. The floor goes between the frame and shell so unfortunately to repair the rear floor, you have to get into the structure a little. There is an L-shaped steel plate that is riveted to the shell and attached to a cross member with 1/4" screws. There are also a couple of bolts the go into the frame rails at the back. Many times the L-shaped plate is rotten and you have to fab a new one and preferably buck rivet a new one back in.

Perry

Hotpuppy 02-19-2013 09:30 PM

Well, it was not as bad as I feared. I got most of the bathroom pulled out. What a cluster of crappy construction. I took a number of photos hopefully they will help others.

Notable discoveries:
- The shower foundation is flimsy.... literally
- The shower leaked and this is what caused rot on my coach.
- The toilet sits on some particle board on top of the tank... amazing, but not surprising.
- I "explored" for rotten floor with a hammer and found plenty, but not what I had feared.
- The only access to the shower valve is by removing the plastic panel it's part of... not mission impossible, but not a stroll in the park either. Oh yea, and there was a water leak there too, so it had to come out one way or another. lol. That could have contributed to the rot as well.

Pics are on Flickr Argosy Coach - 1973 - 24 foot - a set on Flickr

Now the trick is for me to repair and reassemble it. I have an itch to make it a mid-coach bathroom and a rear bedroom with queen size bed. It's all I can do not to shred the inside and start over.... lol.

I took several pictures of the unibomb/univolt. Mine was equipped with vintage toilet paper and rat droppings.. For a lovely campside fire. Needless to say the future of my coach does not include a unibomb. It also doesn't include a 7.5 gallon poo tank either. I'm planning to relocate that to under the coach and add a grey water tank.

DKB_SATX 02-19-2013 10:16 PM

I think I mentioned the frustrating shower valve thing in a PM. I haven't gotten to the point of yanking out the bathroom walls yet, but I know that's in the relatively near future because there's some rot under mine as well. At least you'll be able to exorcise the last of the copper that way.

I think 24 is a little short for a mid-bath. Usually in that size range it's either across one end or jammed in a corner, and if you jam it in the corner there are access issues for the bed. I'm on the low-priority "hunt" for a rear-bed 28' or 30' Argosy so I can take that all apart and still camp in the 24... ;) The nice-nice-nice thing about the center-bath Argosies is that they get pano windows at all 4 corners.

boatdoc 02-20-2013 04:40 AM

Hi Hotpuppy: I have purchased a 1973 26' Argosy. It looked OK at preliminary inspection at the sellers home, however things must have changed after towing it home from Ohio. After removing the belly pan which looked like a top of a salt shaker I was looking at two cubic yards of mud wasp nest. After removing it I found rusted away outriggers and badly corroded frame. At first I was going to repair it knowing that few years down the line I will be back at it. I decided to take a plunge and go all the way. The reason for it with me was rather simple. I am a luckiest fellow to have a wife like Margaret. She is everything in this world to me. She absolutely loves camping more than any other activity. That in itself was a sufficient reason to go Full Monte. Shell came off, new 6" Stainless Steel frame was built over first winter. New Dexter Axles, rims and tires. New black and gray tanks. 1500 BTU Carrier low profile AC, 30.000 BTU heater, Pex water system. New 4.5 Cub Feet Fridge. 17 sheets of African Okume plywood for interior with 5 coats of finest Marine varnish. New beds, sofa, closets. New Intellipower 9200, two Group 31 Deep Cycle batteries in sealed SS enclosure. Every shread of silver coated marine wiring inside and out. All new LED lighting. New Epoxy Paint job. All documented on the forums if you wish to see my posts. Latest addition this past winter was a electric over hydraulic leveling system capable od lifting all wheels 3" off the ground which works flawlesly. As you can see one must have a reason and the drive in order to make such immense decisions. Do you love trouble free camping? Will you still be doing it ten years from now? How important it is to your lifestyle? When you choose to read my posts you can get a better idea what you will be facing when you go Full Monte. On the other hand you may prefer just to repair it so it is operational, but try to avoid doing anything twice. Good luck in your undertaking in whatever you decide. If you have question, I will try to help. Thanks, "Boatdoc"

Happycampers 02-20-2013 07:02 AM

Hello.. Great trailers Argosys... looking thru some of your pics... you also need an outrigger replaced where the hole is also... a project for sure... been there and know it... love what we have now.:D

Belegedhel 02-20-2013 07:29 AM

Ah, the familiar tale of woe (familiar because I am experiencing it myself). I too bought a "fixer-up" trailer, and am now just turning the corner toward reassembly in a full-monte.

My two cents: build the gantries, lift the shell, flip the frame and do all your underside work with the frame upside down. You describe a lot of work (grey tanks, frame fixes, frame painting, belly pan repair) that will go much easier if you just take the plunge. I know that people patch rotten floors all the time without doing a shell-off, but with the quantity of tasks you have planned, you are just doing a shell off without romoving the shell (aka "the hard way").

I see you live in Houston. I bought 4x12 sheets of 6061 aluminum at a supplier called Trident for a very reasonable price compared to ordering it online. I replaced my entire bellpan for a few hundred $

Good luck!

Hotpuppy 02-20-2013 06:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Belegedhel (Post 1263511)
Ah, the familiar tale of woe (familiar because I am experiencing it myself). I too bought a "fixer-up" trailer, and am now just turning the corner toward reassembly in a full-monte.

My two cents: build the gantries, lift the shell, flip the frame and do all your underside work with the frame upside down. You describe a lot of work (grey tanks, frame fixes, frame painting, belly pan repair) that will go much easier if you just take the plunge. I know that people patch rotten floors all the time without doing a shell-off, but with the quantity of tasks you have planned, you are just doing a shell off without romoving the shell (aka "the hard way").

I see you live in Houston. I bought 4x12 sheets of 6061 aluminum at a supplier called Trident for a very reasonable price compared to ordering it online. I replaced my entire bellpan for a few hundred $

Good luck!

Trident is a great supplier....

I plan to do some more investigation before I have a final verdict. Right now it looks like the rest of the floor is fine. The outrigger in question is present with some rust, but otherwise is serviceable.

The next step is finishing the interior removal and then peeling the belly pan this weekend. That will tell me definitively what I am looking at. From there I'll make a decision about shell off.

I wanted to avoid shell off because at that point I will end up reworking the whole darn thing with a new floor plan.

Hotpuppy 02-20-2013 06:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Happycampers (Post 1263500)
Hello.. Great trailers Argosys... looking thru some of your pics... you also need an outrigger replaced where the hole is also... a project for sure... been there and know it... love what we have now.:D

Why do you think the outrigger needs replacing? It has some rust, yes.. but it's otherwise solid from what I can see. I'll know more when I get the demolition done... maybe sometime this weekend that will be finished.

Hotpuppy 02-21-2013 08:14 PM

Well, I spent a few hours tonight removing the belly pan, insulation, and taking pictures. The belly pan wasn't held on by much. I had not realized just *how* lightweight the construction was in Airstream trailers. lol. LIGHT-weight. There is some surface rust on the cross members and exterior frame, but nothing to be worried about. In fact, nothing that can't be painted with osphor and then painted with primer and rustoleum.

Pictures: 1973 24' argosy belly pan removal and inspection - a set on Flickr

The real miracle is that the brakes ever worked.... what a joke. I took pictures so other owners know what is hidden behind the belly pan.

The plumbing is interesting.... took alot of pictures of that as well.

I will need to remove the panels that go from the side down to the belly pan... or at least loosen the lower edge of them. That will let me inspect the last of the floor.

Essentially the construction of an Argosy is 2 decent steel rails running the length of the trailer. Every 2 to 4 feet is a cross member. There are two 2x4's that run the length of the trailer in the middle, space about 18" apart. On top of this is 1/2" plywood that is spliced together with stapled splices.

The only substantial floor damage on my trailer is where the shower was. It looks like just bad assembly and bad design. The panels have an open seam facing up to catch water and funnel it to the bottom of the trailer.

I think for now I'll be replacing the affected 3 square feet of floor and putting it back together. I still have half-a-mind to completely re-arrange the trailer. A rear queen bed is calling my name with a small bathroom in the middle and a custom aluminum shower pan. It would certainly simplify the plumbing. No worries, I will be plumbing the trailer more like a boat then a house. It's laughable to use such oversized pipes on a trailer.

Before you argue with me just realize that everything you eat passes through a 1" tube already..... Hence the old saying on boats, if you couldn't eat it, you shouldn't flush it. Wise advice for RV's as well. Most boats use 1/2" drains for sinks. I tested this a long time back on a sink in my shop. I plumbed it with 1" pipe and it actually is one of the best draining sinks I've ever seen.

Anyhow, I will be installing a macerator pump on the toilet. I happen to have one that never got used when I owned a boat. I plan to enjoy the conveniences of camping, not the chores of plumbing.

Stumpjumper 02-21-2013 08:43 PM

Wow, what a job! The nasty stuff we get into in restoring these things. We do jobs that you couldn't pay someone to do, like cleaning up vermin infested insulation, wood, get into wiring, plumbing in spots not fit for man nor beast. It might not be much consolation, but you ain't alone. Why is this fun? I don't know, but I am still doing it, like you will be too. It's a disease, I think called aluminumitis.

Hotpuppy 02-23-2013 10:13 PM

Sigh.... well, it has turned into a shell off project. I spent some time looking for rot and found it in the front and a few other places.

I stripped the trailer interior today... here are the pics:
1973 Argosy interior removal for shell off refurbishment and remodel - a set on Flickr


Lots of nasty stuff came out... .

Hotpuppy 02-23-2013 10:27 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I also created a sketch of what I think I want to do for a floor plan.

High points of the sketch:
- Queen size bed in the rear with basement storage. Probably gas shocks or something else to lift the bed to get under it. Not sure on that... could just be tilt and prop with a stick too. :)
- Closet on the curb side. Need to think on this. There is a window there.. so it might wind up being some drawers and overhead storage. No big deal, I don't need hanging space to be honest.
- Shower incorporates a seat over the wheel well. The idea is to have a 32x36 shower. Toilet is next to it. Shaving would be done in the shower and hand washing would be done in the "kitchen" sink.
- Fridge stays put. Microwave goes above it. More storage above that.
- Oven (or cooktop) and sink are in basically the same spot... however they flip sides. This consolidates the plumbing. Might make for some interesting vent work on the roof. I think it will work okay.
- Water heater and space heater stay where they are.
- Front is remade into a booth seat based on restaurant dimensions. Features a 45x30 table with a 6 inch drop leaf. This makes for a nice table for having a couple of visitors.
- More storage under the seats of the booth.

The trailer is intended to support one couple, no kids, and entertain one other couple.

Water tanks would be located under the floor between axles. Probably Fresh, Gray, and Black from front to rear. I'm looking at 40 gallon fresh and 40 gallon gray, and 25 to 35 gallon black. Looking at macerating the black. Might also consider a 40 gallon mixed tank.

I have owned a couple of sailboats in the past and my last camper was a truck camper. I'm comfortable with the bed and bath access/dimensions.

The twin bed is too small for two adults to sleep in it. And frankly, if you are going camping with someone.... well you need to be able to be cozy. :)

I may put the inverter and a pair of sealed batteries under the front seat. Not sure on that yet.

Roadrunner 02-24-2013 08:25 AM

I've been following your thread with interest as I'm going to look at a "76" Argosy 24 this week. It has already been partially gutted and I suspect will end up looking similar to your Argosy. Are you intending to replace the inside skins with new naked aluminum? What are your plans with the frame? I believe you said you are going to lift the shell? Will you also remove the upper skins and remove the insulation? I've heard that Argosy's have less chance to leak because of the outside paint. It will be interesting to see what you find if you do remove the overhead skins. Thanks for the great documentation...

Bob
Indiana, PA
TAC PA-5
WBCCI 4871

Stumpjumper 02-24-2013 03:29 PM

Impressive lot of work. I've done a partial Arogosy, a total Scotty and a total Avalair, almost done. In all of them, do you get the same feeling I did, that is, they were all made to look good out of the show room, not designed to last, even though many do? Also, just a few caring design changes, would have made them to last indefinitely, that is water flows downhill, design them that way! but, then we wouldn't be having all this fun!
Good luck and keep up the pics, I never took enough.

Hotpuppy 02-24-2013 09:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roadrunner (Post 1265169)
I've been following your thread with interest as I'm going to look at a "76" Argosy 24 this week. It has already been partially gutted and I suspect will end up looking similar to your Argosy. Are you intending to replace the inside skins with new naked aluminum? What are your plans with the frame? I believe you said you are going to lift the shell? Will you also remove the upper skins and remove the insulation? I've heard that Argosy's have less chance to leak because of the outside paint. It will be interesting to see what you find if you do remove the overhead skins. Thanks for the great documentation...

Bob
Indiana, PA
TAC PA-5
WBCCI 4871

Hi Bob,
I plan to put the interior skin back mostly intact. Although I really appreciate the Airstream look I think the polishing is too much for me personally to keep up with. lol.

So far I haven't found anything really striking on the interior as far as leaks. It looks like the following things may have leaked:
- Awning attachment points. (they used dissimilar metals)
- Air Conditioner mount
- Front windows
- Shower.
- Around the door.

I would encourage you to download some of the pictures and take them with you if you think you might have similar problems. Overall, I think the Airstream is well built, but suffers from the same things every other RV does.... it's built as cheaply as possible for it's design. Airstream is well built though.

My goal at this point is to get to the "aluminum tent" phase as quickly as possible.

I didn't make much progress today. My back is sore from yesterday and I'm unable to locate my dremel. I ordered a Black and Decker RTX tool from Amazon.

Speaking of Amazon - they sell 1/8" "jobber" drill bits under the champion brand that are extremely durable and cheap. I have yet to break one drilling out hundreds of rivets.

Hotpuppy 02-24-2013 09:13 PM

The last post was typed around 3pm and I forgot to submit... lol. Went and took a much needed nap.

After dinner I went out and put in some time on the Aluminum Sin.

I found that a sawzall and dremel multi-purpose tool were the best tool for bolts and elevator bolts in particular.

Pictures are posted to Flickr - 1973 Argosy Elevator Bolt Removal - a set on Flickr

Handy tips:
- Watch your blade depth carefully. I didn't have any issues here.
- Use the multi tool to "carve" wood if you have trouble getting the blade in.
- If your blade starts to dull, use a pair of shears to carefully cut off the dull end of the blade. Most of the time I find that I only wear out the end of the sawzall blade. I found that I can trim the blade down to get more sharp teeth at the end and improve the lifespan of my blades.

Btw, this is one of the harder projects I've used my Harbor Freight CAT set on (Cheap A** Tool Set) lol. I've been really impressed with battery life and performance. Very similar to my other tools at a fraction of the cost.

Roadrunner 02-25-2013 05:27 AM

2 Attachment(s)
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.
Attachment 179813

Attachment 179814

Bob
Indiana, PA
TAC PA-5
WBCCI 4871

Hotpuppy 02-25-2013 05:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roadrunner (Post 1265483)
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.
Attachment 179813

Attachment 179814

Bob
Indiana, PA
TAC PA-5
WBCCI 4871

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. :)

ozobu_1 02-28-2013 01:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hotpuppy (Post 1262992)
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.

DKB_SATX 02-28-2013 02:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ozobu_1 (Post 1266952)
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!

ozobu_1 02-28-2013 03:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DKB_SATX (Post 1266964)
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!

TG Twinkie 02-28-2013 03:32 PM

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.

ozobu_1 02-28-2013 03:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TG Twinkie (Post 1266980)
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!!!

TG Twinkie 02-28-2013 04:12 PM

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.

ozobu_1 02-28-2013 04:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TG Twinkie (Post 1266995)
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.

DKB_SATX 02-28-2013 04:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ozobu_1 (Post 1267006)
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.)

ozobu_1 02-28-2013 05:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DKB_SATX (Post 1267013)
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 :)

TinyFixation 02-28-2013 05:42 PM

Pano-panic
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DKB_SATX (Post 1263419)
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 :lol:. 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 :blink:.

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.):flowers:

TG Twinkie 02-28-2013 06:19 PM

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.

ozobu_1 02-28-2013 08:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TG Twinkie (Post 1267048)
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.

Hotpuppy 02-28-2013 10:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ozobu_1 (Post 1267097)
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.

Hotpuppy 02-28-2013 10:18 PM

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.
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8092/8...4c75218880.jpg

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.
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8252/8...d543686028.jpg
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8374/8...ecca045730.jpg
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8517/8...9ee9a1816a.jpg

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! :)

elmer 02-28-2013 10:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ozobu_1 (Post 1267097)
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! :lol:

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. :innocent:

Hotpuppy 02-28-2013 11:08 PM

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. :)

elmer 03-01-2013 01:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hotpuppy (Post 1267162)
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.

ozobu_1 03-01-2013 11:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hotpuppy (Post 1267145)
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 :)

ozobu_1 03-01-2013 11:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by elmer (Post 1267152)
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! :lol:

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. :innocent:

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.

Hotpuppy 03-01-2013 01:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ozobu_1 (Post 1267316)
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 :)

The Jeep is a great vehicle. Awful on gas mileage.. but the 5.7 Hemi tows like a dream. When I was bringing the Argosy home from Kansas I got into some nasty traffic in Dallas. I swear that's all Dallas is good for... Anyway I scared the devil out of a few drivers when I had to pull out and accelerate. They aren't used to seeing a trailer and tow vehicle change lanes and accelerate quickly. While the Hemi will get up and go it ought to play the sound of money burning when you step on the gas. :angel:

The Jeep will get 18 MPG on cruise control, not towing on the freeway. Towing at 55-60 using cruise control I can get 13.5MPG which is about what I get in the city without towing. Yes, you can go faster.. but I was towing a trailer with no brakes, no stabilization, and tires that I didn't think were gonna make it home with air in them. Slow and safe is the name of the game with trailers.

Hotpuppy 03-01-2013 01:29 PM

1973 Argosy 24 floor removal - a set on Flickr

Here's the set from removing the floor today.... I'm really glad I'm taking the floor out. It is mostly in good shape but this will let me address all the minor frame rust and fix some underlying issues. It will take longer, but be better in the end.

The inspector and helper:
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8526/8...5487f116d1.jpg

How to dress when you wanna play with Mice Dirt, Fibernastyglass, and 40 year old Airstream pixie dust:
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8244/8...7429a3be35.jpg

Catwalk - Argosy Edition:
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8089/8...2774bf26c2.jpg

What I did here is remove the central plywood permiter. I left the plywood between the sleepers. I'll be dealing with that after lunch. :brows:

Hotpuppy 03-01-2013 09:13 PM

We have liftoff
 
Finally.... I got the damn shell off.

My dog managed to find a dehydrated mouse....
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8385/8...4a805c0c2c.jpg

I stepped on it and thought hmm, that crunch doesn't sound like anything else that has come out of the trailer... wonder what it is.

Had some issues with a elevator bolt I forgot...
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8252/8...40fc40c75b.jpg

lol
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8246/8...db8a64cd97.jpg

Here is the shell sitting on steel 4x4's
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8107/8...7c4c613f19.jpg

I'll be picking those up tomorrow and putting them up on something else. I thought about building gantries.... but for now this is how I'll do it. I still may build gantries before this is done.

I also might bring in the one grantry I already have from another project and then hang the front from the center beam of the shop. That would certainly be simple and easy.

Here's the full set from this afternoon and evening:
1973 Argosy 24 shell removal part 2 - a set on Flickr

Roadrunner 03-02-2013 08:44 AM

Great job...you are making good progress. I may have missed this but how are you going to size the new subfloor? Doesn't appear there is much of the old floor left to use as a template. Will you be taking the rest of the skins out? Keep the pictures coming...

Bob
Indiana, PA

Hotpuppy 03-02-2013 10:03 PM

I saved the end pieces to use as templates for the ends. The longest dimension on the end caps should serve as the floor template.

One thing I learned is that overhead is substantially easier. I have some headroom limitations inside my shop. I'm still strongly considering building gantries to use for putting the shell back on. I thought about buying them, but frankly they are over priced for what they are.

In the meanwhile I'm fortunate enough to have a forklift and hi-lift jack.

What I have found so far is really interesting. The frame is probably about 450 to 500 pounds. With furniture dollies at the axle positions I can stand on the end and balance the frame. I weigh roughly 210 pounds. That suggests that what is the rear of the frame plus my weight is equal to the front.... or roughly 450 to 500 pounds. Now, there is some fuzzy math involved here in that the floor segments are mostly missing.

The shell on the other hand.. is probably 750 to 800 pounds as shown. I've got an awning and an air conditioner in mine. I cannot lift one corner myself. If I try hard I can barely budge a corner. With a jack it requires almost no force. Again, I'd guess around 750 to 800 pounds. My guess is that the old AC is good for 180 pounds and the awning is good for 75 to 100 pounds. The shell is definately heavier on the door side.

Here is today's photo set for the actual shell removal:
1973 Argosy 24 frame removal from shell - a set on Flickr

What I swept up when it was done....
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8245/8...1531966bda.jpg

The forklift isn't really cheating... but it sure makes it go faster.
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8095/8...12845c8e39.jpg

Prepared for departure and approved by the inspector:
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8376/8...09edf14a6d.jpg

Shall we go outside?
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8089/8...7de6a7b31a.jpg

Not exactly why I bought an Airstream... but soon enough I'll have my Aluminum Tent:
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8528/8...66ab31dce0.jpg

Out Out I say....
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8387/8...1eb24f4f28.jpg

The departure was very very tight...
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8509/8...7169058cb6.jpg

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8520/8...5a7febf8ed.jpg

The jack in this picture is just sitting there... lest anyone get any creative ideas..... The shell is a static (not moving not capable of moving) load at this point.
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8250/8...bdbda9ffd9.jpg

Hi-Lift Jack
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8517/8...a20604c7b4.jpg

Hotpuppy 03-02-2013 10:11 PM

I'd like to add a point for those using my experience as inspiration...

Concrete blocks are reasonably delicate. I normally don't like them.
However, they were $28.... as opposed to $150 for gantry materials.

They are solid. They are also sitting on an extremely solid foundation. The slab for this building is 6" thick reinforced concrete.

Given the relative load of approximately 800 pounds. We can double that to 1600 and still be comfortably at 400 pounds per block. That's equivalent to two people and the block can easily handle that as long as it doesn't have torsional (sideways or twisting) loads applied to it.

I'm not an engineer so your mileage may vary. Lifting heavy objects can be extremely dangerous and if you are not comfortable doing so you should find some help that is.

Part of the reason I'm okay with the CMUs (Concrete Masonry Units) is that the building is enclosed and I keep the door shut. This means no wind. I don't have kids and no other people go inside where my trailer is stored. So I don't have to worry about someone playing on or under it.... which would be bad no matter how it was elevated.

I'm also fortunate to have a large garage and plenty of driveway to work on the trailer in.

My next step is to finish stripping the frame and start prepping it for sandblasting and painting. I happen to have a sandblaster and the proper breathing equipment. A respirator is not safe to use for sandblasting. You need a supplied air mask that pumps fresh air to you.

At this point the plan is to use rustoleum on it. I know many people like Por15. I've had good luck with rustoleum and it's easy to work with. I do plan to weld the frame and would rather not have toxic gases involved. Rustoleum burns and probably destroys the ozone causing sunburns to bunnies everywhere. Por15 forms a toxic gas (cyanide) when burned and is lethal to the operator. Pick your poison. Die bunny die.... :)

Hotpuppy 03-03-2013 10:13 PM

I got a lot done today....
1973 Argosy 24 Frame prep for paint - a set on Flickr

Frame is stripped, wire brushed, the rust prep is done (something similar to ospho).

Should have a chance to get primer on it in the next couple of days.

I made some big bold choices this evening.... Found 27 gallon tanks on Amazon for $55. Ordered what I need for the project. I plan to modify the frame to accomodate the tanks.

Also decided to skip the legacy furnace and water heater. A replacement water heater is on the way and the parts for a better heater system are on the way.

The pictures include a detailed set of tape measure shots showing the frame dimensions and placement of all cross members and axles.

In hindsight, I'm glad I took the shell off... there was more rust than I expected.

Hotpuppy 03-04-2013 08:32 PM

Quick n dirty primer paint job. - a set on Flickr

I managed to squeeze in a coat of primer before it got too dark. The weather was perfect, about 70 degrees, 50% humidity and a low of 63 tonight. Doesn't get any better than that for painting. I'm using Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer which has worked well for me in the past.

Here is what I started with:
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8387/8...096cbf32b8.jpg

Here is what it looks like now:
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8369/8...26805123e0.jpg

This was about 2/3rds of a quart of paint. Thinned 10% with acetone.

While rustoleum isn't bullet proof it's easy to live with and easy to touch up. I plan to put another primer coat and then top coat with silver. At that point I'll drag the frame inside so I can work on modifications and tankage installation.

Hotpuppy 03-04-2013 08:34 PM

My goal tomorrow night is to build a rotary jig for the frame. I realized tonight that it's too difficult to get all the nooks and crannies on the frame without flipping it.

trailjanitor 03-07-2013 11:44 AM

Hi there -

First of all, let me say that your project is both inspiring and daunting. Congrats on your new toy. I wish I had enough space & power tools to do a full monte on my '77 24' footer. Then no rust / floor rott would escape me. I had a few blueprint / design questions:

Are you going to go with a center shower bath, or modify the back frame to fit your new tanks?

How about the insides - all new / re-designed, or are you restoring the former '73 interior.

Thanks!

Hotpuppy 03-08-2013 09:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by trailjanitor (Post 1269934)
Hi there -

First of all, let me say that your project is both inspiring and daunting. Congrats on your new toy. I wish I had enough space & power tools to do a full monte on my '77 24' footer. Then no rust / floor rott would escape me. I had a few blueprint / design questions:

Are you going to go with a center shower bath, or modify the back frame to fit your new tanks?

How about the insides - all new / re-designed, or are you restoring the former '73 interior.

Thanks!

Hi,
Thank you for the kind words. :) Looks like we have trailers that are very similar. You may want to take a good look at my flickr albums to get an idea where I found problems in my trailer and how it's put together. In particular I did a series of pictures with a tape measure to document where things are on the frame.

As for the floor plan. I've decided to completely redo the camper. I'll never get out of a camper (or boat) what I put into it in time and money. I'll get some back when I'm done with it. So it's more about making it the way I like and to accommodate my personal tastes.

I chose to put the bed in the back. This solves the tank at the tail problem which flexes the frame and shell and also changes the weight of the trailer as the tanks fill. More importantly, it allows me to put in a queen sized bed which will let two adults sleep comfortably in the bed. I don't care who you date or are married to.. there are nights you want to cuddle and nights you don't. A twin bed isn't going to cut it in either case. :)

I plan to salvage some of the furniture and study how it's assembled. I've kept all of it for the moment.

I will offer up for sale or the taking the leftovers. I know for a fact I have a water and holding tank, original water boiler, and flame throwing furnace that are not going back in the coach. The jury is still out on the cabinets but they are very likely not going back in. Wood is more my style. Nonetheless they will be very useful for patterns and construction methods.

I found some 27 gallon tanks on Amazon for $55/ea. I am planning to use 5 of them right now. 1 for black (macerated), 2 for gray, and 2 for fresh, all frame mounted near the axles, biased towards the front. This will yield essentially 50 gallons each for fresh and gray, and 25 gallons for black.

My last camper was a truck camper. While I loved it, I promise you the 8 gallon black and 12 gallon grey were a curse. I never filled the black, but you couldn't do more than one shower and dishes without filling the grey. This will give me a fighting chance.

I am planning to set things up so that the grey can be emptied into the black. This will help with flushing it. The black will use a whale gulper pump for evacuation. Yea, it's a investment... look it up on Youtube and you'll see why I find them impressive. I hope to never deal with mount poo (what builds up in the tank in some coaches) or it's nemesis pluggedesoras-tankus.

Where I park it's not practical to run a drain line... but it's easy enough to run a hose to the nearest toilet. So I'm setting the camper up for convenience and comfort. What a novel concept. :)

Now, full disclosure I once owned a 1963 GMC Fishbowl Bus. I got it stripped down and then realized I didn't have the skills do the mechanical and couldn't afford to pay a truck shop to work on it. I promptly got rid of it. I've also owned two sailboats. The Argosy ain't my first rodeo with DIY campers.

I'm also seriously considering a wet bath. Wet baths are like cotton candy. You can either put up with them or find them a giant mess. The pros for a wet bath is that I'm really tight on space in a 20 foot house. I measured the inside at just over 19.5 feet I think. It will also simplify the waterproofing aspects and provide for a bigger shower. There are only two reasons that I go into the bathroom- shower and chores with paperwork. :) It's not someplace that I hang out in... especially after anything involving paperwork. lol. I don't want to waste any more space on it than I have to.

Hotpuppy 03-08-2013 09:41 PM

Here are the photos from the 2nd set of primer I put on the frame.
2nd Coat of Primer on Frame - a set on Flickr
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8379/8...30f6b7ffc1.jpg

Hotpuppy 03-08-2013 09:45 PM

I finally got the gantry built. It cost $110 in material from Home Depot excluding nails.

I made it 11'6" high because I have vertical clearance issues in my shop with the lights.

Gantry for camper - a set on Flickr

Here is a shot of the vertical clearing the light fixture by an inch or so... lol.
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8095/8...cd7f6704c6.jpg

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8240/8...4624c90edb.jpg

Here I am testing the height to see what it's going to look like against the shell.
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8228/8...ed8db62f46.jpg
Note the shell is already as high as it needs to go. I only need to be able to grab it and lower it down from this position.
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8108/8...3e2050b3c9.jpg

Hotpuppy 03-09-2013 09:00 PM

Today was another productive day.

Here is the photoset:https://www.flickr.com/photos/hotpupp...7632961085738/

I took the time to gauge all the metal on my frame with an Eastwood metal gauge. The bulk of the frame is 1/8" steel.
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8240/8...d6f74d3e61.jpg
I also took some pictures of the frame hanging from the set of gantries I made.
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8246/8...5e7a0873a3.jpg
And I took some time to plan out where the tanks will go in the frame.
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8237/8...e79cfa1c60.jpg

I decided to eliminate the sleepers under the floor and install steel cross beams. This will free up 1.5" inside the frame for tanks.

I removed the sorry excuse for a wiring harness and the last of the copper propane tubing.

Oh, one last interesting detail... the shock mounts were drilled and then welded to the frame drop downs. The frame drop downs are 1/8" steel plate like most of the frame.

I got the whole frame primered today. Tomorrow the weather is not supposed to cooperate so I am planning on fabricating steel to be installed on the frame when the weather cooperates. The frame modifications will add 330 pounds of steel to the frame and eliminate 2 20' 2x4's. The 2x4's should weigh about 60#'s. It's an increase, but not the end of the world. Most of it will wind up supporting tanks.

Hotpuppy 03-17-2013 07:02 PM

I made a lot of progress this weekend. Axles are in, frame modifications are done to accommodate the new tanks. I'm very happy with the direction things are heading. The frame is substantially stiffer with the extra steel and that will pay dividends in the long run.

I'm hoping to paint the frame silver next weekend.

Full photo set: 1973 Argosy 24 Frame modification and primer paint - a set on Flickr

Start:
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8384/8...25bc3fa44f.jpg

Floor braces installed:
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8367/8...066fe0afcf.jpg

Axles installed with tank support and tank in place (1 of 5 tanks)
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8390/8...1906868e38.jpg

Detail of Tank bottom:
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8238/8...001f88238c.jpg

Tank Top:
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8505/8...8fb7dbd067.jpg

Finished (recoated with primer after the work)
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8366/8...3a448cace8.jpg

Hotpuppy 03-17-2013 07:09 PM

I decided to go with lateral floor bracing instead of front to rear. The plywood is rated for 24" span and that's essentially how AS had installed it.

The advantage to this is that it stiffens the trailer frame and frees up 1.5" of clearance inside the frame. My theory is that tanks that are no lower than the axles are just fine.

The disadvantage is I'm picking up some weight. Both in steel and tankage. I'm not worried. I'm shifting the weight to the middle of the trailer and over the wheels. There is still a bias towards the hitch which is how it should be. Plumbing will be minimized with this layout.

I am using 27 gallon tanks made by Valterra. They were a bargain on Amazon at $55/ea including shipping. They measure 8 deep, 16 wide, and 54 long. They fit in the frame with about 5 inches on one end. I am planning to use pumps to empty the tanks, so no big deal putting them where they are at. I will be doing plumbing more like a boat and less like an RV.

The core of it is a 27 gallon black tank with a pre-tank macerator. Basically nothing will go in the black tank that isn't ground up first.

The gray will be a pair of 27 gallon tanks, they will be linked.

Fresh will be a pair of 27 gallon tanks, they will probably be linked.

I am planning to set it up where there is a waste hose at the rear of the trailer that can go to the disposal inlet. This accommodates my primary parking location better.

Grey will empty to black when draining tanks. Black will be pumped to wherever. I'm thinking of putting an option to bypass draining grey to black... we'll see. That has it's advantages and disadvantages.

BentMetal 03-22-2013 08:42 PM

Nice!
 
I've been watching your thread carefully. I purchased a '72 Argosy, 26' last month. I've only just got the carpet out. I wish I had the resources to do what you are doing. The floor in my trailer looks really good in the rear, but I do have about a 1'x2' area of rot by the front door. My trailer has been in El Paso, TX for many years, so it was really dry. Best of luck with your restoration. What are you thinking about for flooring?

Carolinda 10-25-2013 05:57 PM

I'm working on a 1973 Argosy 24 and find I need some interior pieces. Missing a drawer from under the lounge gaucho and a trim piece under the plastic drawer in the the "chest of drawers" cabinet under "bedroom" window. Is this the sort of thing you have? If so, do please contact me!

Roadrunner 10-26-2013 10:27 AM

Miller Welder?
 
Nice work! How do you like your Millermatic 211? Is it up to the task? Looking to pick up either a Miller or Lincoln for our shop.

Bob
Indiana, PA

TAC PA-5
WBCCI 4871

Hotpuppy 10-28-2013 03:23 PM

The millermatic211 is great. It's a very capable welder.

Hotpuppy 10-28-2013 05:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Carolinda (Post 1371681)
I'm working on a 1973 Argosy 24 and find I need some interior pieces. Missing a drawer from under the lounge gaucho and a trim piece under the plastic drawer in the the "chest of drawers" cabinet under "bedroom" window. Is this the sort of thing you have? If so, do please contact me!

I have every piece of furniture that came out of the trailer still. I've decided that I'm putting in a completely custom interior. I've kept all of it so that I could measure it for reference purposes.

Please take a picture of what you need or where it's supposed to be.... or find it in one of my pictures and let me know what it is.

I post most of my photos to Flickr which makes them easier to look through. There are complete pictures of the interior in one of the sets. https://www.flickr.com/photos/hotpuppy/sets/

When you contact me please let me know what you are willing to offer for the part. That will save us both aggravation.

My plan right now is to rebuild the interior over the winter. When I am done I will be scrapping all of the aluminum in the furniture.

dbj216 10-30-2013 09:21 AM

Your thread is a delight to read, and full of interesting challenges that you have solved. Please keep us posted on your progress. I'm particularly interested in your subfloor installation, plumbing layout and materials.

My 66 24' Trade Wind has some floor rot under the rear bathroom. Can you imagine! I'm three weeks away from removing the belly pan to access what kind of a mess I may have.

Your thread is my future.

David


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