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Hotpuppy 03-01-2013 01:22 PM


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:

How to dress when you wanna play with Mice Dirt, Fibernastyglass, and 40 year old Airstream pixie dust:

Catwalk - Argosy Edition:

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....

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...


Here is the shell sitting on steel 4x4's

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 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...

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....

The forklift isn't really cheating... but it sure makes it go faster.

Prepared for departure and approved by the inspector:

Shall we go outside?

Not exactly why I bought an Airstream... but soon enough I'll have my Aluminum Tent:

Out Out I say....

The departure was very very tight...

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.

Hi-Lift Jack

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:

Here is what it looks like now:

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.


Hotpuppy 03-08-2013 09:38 PM


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.


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

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.

Here I am testing the height to see what it's going to look like against the shell.
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.

Hotpuppy 03-09-2013 09:00 PM

Today was another productive day.

Here is the photoset:

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.
I also took some pictures of the frame hanging from the set of gantries I made.
And I took some time to plan out where the tanks will go in the frame.

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


Floor braces installed:

Axles installed with tank support and tank in place (1 of 5 tanks)

Detail of Tank bottom:

Tank Top:

Finished (recoated with primer after the work)

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

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.

Indiana, PA

WBCCI 4871

Hotpuppy 10-28-2013 03:23 PM

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

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