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lewster 05-28-2006 09:06 PM


Originally Posted by SmokelessJoe

Interesting coincidences those, .... Black and Pepper White, Sprinter.

There has been a diesel powered trailer discussion here, including your earlier contribution.

Did you see it?



Saw it, read it, but forgot that I said essentially the same thing there as here. Must be a case of early old age!:lol:

SmokelessJoe 06-01-2006 11:52 AM

Xenon lighting
2 Attachment(s)
We cut eight 2 5/8” holes in the centre panel of the trailer for the Zee-Puk Xenon down lights only to find that the original wiring for the unit runs all through that space.

So we did what we should have done in the first place: popped out the entire centre panel.

You will need help to do this. It’s one 20’ long piece of aluminum.

If you install new lighting this way, you can more easily run your new circuits and also avoid damaging the original wiring.

Two photos show the panel removed and the aluminum J mold extrusion that the centre panel snaps in and out of.

Four 18 w pot lamps to each 12v dimmer. The dimmers are by FriLight of Sweden.

Removing the panel also shows us that there is a nice 20” x 30” clear space near the front door, exactly were I would like to install a skylight.

We will price out the European caravan models against the marine type WEST MARINE sells here.


lewster 06-01-2006 01:25 PM

Looking Good
Hi Sergei,

That will be a nice effect! I happen to know where you can get a screaming deal on a new Fantastic Fan with thermostat and rain sensor:D :brows: :blink: , now that you have the ceiling open. Check the classifieds:cool: .

3Ms75Argosy 06-01-2006 03:46 PM

Now you're cooking! Are you saying that West Marine sells skylights? Please tell us more after you make your choice - I'm interested too!

That center panel... does it snap out of the tracks after the skylight screens are dropped? Did you have to remove the roof AC for this to happen?

As far as the lights - are you mounting them first to the panel, or are you cutting holes in the panel while it's out, pulling wires, and then mounting them after the panel is back up, or mounting them first and then putting the panel back?


SmokelessJoe 06-01-2006 09:08 PM


Part of the rationalization for spending money on the LG “Art Cool” split air system we are installing (instead of a traditional RV rooftop) was that I would not be spending money on Fantastic Fans for the two traditional Airstream roof vents.


West Marine sells hatches, which I thought could easily serve as a skylight. On reflection, I think one of the elegant European skylights, which are purpose built and will not need to be adapted, will be best.

You can see the SEITZ Midi Heki Roof Light, made in Germany by Dometic, I believe, here:

We cut all eight 2 5/8” holes for the pot lamps in the original ceiling and found that all the Airstream wiring runs behind that panel.

Running new wiring or placing the fixtures in the cut outs was going to be difficult so we snapped out the entire panel.

I recommend that anyone thinking of installing pot lamps in the ceiling take the panel down, as we eventually did. It will be easier and you will not risk damaging existing wiring.

I don’t have a rooftop A/C but after removing the trim pieces for the vent openings the panel will pop out fairly easily. Phil, the truck body builder doing the work, says the panel will snap back into the J mold just as easily as it came out.

We have run new circuits for the pot lamps (all the original Argosy lighting is being abandoned) and roughed in for two new12v dimmers.

When we put the ceiling panel back, the wiring will hang out of the cut outs, just like it would in residential or commercial construction. The lamps are not surface mounted but rather recessed. They will snap into the openings.

Since removing the panel, and because I want to move some outlets slightly, we are now going to replace all the existing 110v wiring. Strip it all out and pull new. (A new service panel was always the plan).

We are completely revitalizing this trailer. Only the lovely iconic aluminum shell will be original when we finish.


3Ms75Argosy 06-01-2006 10:11 PM

Thank you for the details! I can't wait to see more. What do you have planned for the interior skins? Will you repaint them, or replace with aluminum or....?
I like those skylights too... will you build a short curb to accomidate the curve of the roof?

I can't remember... you did get the Sprinter already, right? How do you like it so far. Have you had a chance to tow with it?

SmokelessJoe 06-02-2006 07:23 AM


After we finish the wiring, re-run some plumbing and install the skylight, we will replace the centre panel and paint the interior.

The bath will be an EPOXY in Pure White and the rest a top grade flat oil by Benjamin Moore, in the colour Old Prairie.

Then we will lay the entire floor in ONE SHEET of MAROLEUM, colour LAVA.

The Skylight is 19.5 inches wide and 27.5 inches long. The roof is almost flat at the peak. If required, we will build a small curb to seat it.

The Sprinter has arrived in America from Düsseldorf. We get it on JULY 6.

Things are moving along, slowly but surely.


lewster 06-03-2006 07:12 AM

Sounds great Sergei,

I'm sure you will keep us posted on your progress. I can't wait to see your Sprinter! Have you decided how you will get the MINI on the Sprinter.....ramps or a tilting flat-bed? Hey, then you could pick up a few extra bucks here and there as a classy tow truck (just kidding:D ).

SmokelessJoe 06-03-2006 10:38 AM


The flat bed will be made of aluminum and designed on the spot, as we go. I don't think we will devise a tilting mechanism but who knows. We expect this to be in August and/or September.

If I feel comfortable driving the car up the ramp, we will do that. If not, I will use a boat winch, like WEST MARINE sells for winching boats onto a trailer.

That way the car can be pulled up backwards and driven straight off the deck, down the ramps.

That way may be easier for an old man.


SmokelessJoe 06-11-2006 07:37 PM

Need help from European member / Sky-light
Is there a European member out there that would be willing to help me get the MIDI HEKI sky-light made by Seitz-Dometic?

See it here:,674,1346.aspx

These are not available in America.

I am looking for a member in Europe who will help me locate one at an RV supplier.

Perhaps I can pay the retailer directly by VISA.

The European friend will probably need to trans-ship the skylight to me.

Many European suppliers seem unwilling or unable to ship globally.

I will appreciate any help with this.


lewster 06-11-2006 08:00 PM


Originally Posted by SmokelessJoe

The flat bed will be made of aluminum and designed on the spot, as we go. I don't think we will devise a tilting mechanism but who knows. We expect this to be in August and/or September.

If I feel comfortable driving the car up the ramp, we will do that. If not, I will use a boat winch, like WEST MARINE sells for winching boats onto a trailer.

That way the car can be pulled up backwards and driven straight off the deck, down the ramps.

That way may be easier for an old man.



Check out the marine windlass winches that Carefree of Colorado makes. They might serve your purpose for winching up the MINI and as one of their dealers, I can save you some $$$$.

SmokelessJoe 06-14-2006 11:56 AM

new MARMOLEUM floor
2 Attachment(s)
This is the new MARMOLEUM floor.

It’s wall-to-wall and seamless. We think it will be a joy to keep clean.

Because the interior has been stripped, we had the luxury of doing it this way.

The flooring runs under everything this way, even the shower pan.


dieterdog 06-14-2006 04:35 PM

HI Sergei,, love your flooring as you know Marmoleum is my favorite,,, looks wonderful,,,, will last a lifetime,,, best,,, donna

SmokelessJoe 06-15-2006 07:11 AM


Thanks. They look good.

The MINI weights 2557 pounds. My guess is that a 12' ramp will rise to 30" to give you some idea of incline.

Give me a recommendation and your price.


bhayden 06-15-2006 12:27 PM

Sprinter TV rating
The floor, neah the whole project looks stunning. Having a 24' Argosy I'm loving the pictures of the shell up rebuild. But I still don't how you're going to pull off towing all this down the road with the Sprinter. I love the size of these vans and since GM quite producing the Astro/Safari a couple of years ago I wonder what I'd replace our's with. One thing for certain I'd want more, not less capacity and the Sprinter is lacking everywhere but wheelbase.

Mercedes-Benz 2.7-liter turbodiesel engine at 154@3800rpm
243 pound-feet of torque @ 1800rpm
Payload capacities up to 3,011 pounds are available.
Towing capacity maxes out at 5,000 pounds.

Curb weight for the Sprinter 2557# for the mini + driver, fuel, etc. and the van's maxed. Generally that means a significant reduction in towing capacity. The stock Argosy 24 is ~4,000 dry and your talking about diesel gensets and supplies for living "off grid"?


SmokelessJoe 06-15-2006 02:02 PM


You may be talking about the Sprinter VANS. (The payloads range from 3308 to 4824 pounds, depending on model).

I have the 158” wb CAB and CHASSIS. The curb weight is 4536 and the GVWR is 10,200 pounds.

The Combined Gross Weight Rating is 15,200 pounds.

The renewed ARGOSY will come in around 5000 pounds.

It will be tight but I’ve bought the truck and we’ll see how things work out.

I am comfortable with all of this.

No diesel genset by the way. I’m going “under the hood”, using the Sprinter’s optional Power Take-off. The belt driven generator weighs 32 pounds. ( Well, I guess maybe that is a diesel generator but it’s using the Sprinter’s Mercedes motor.)

I think a diesel-powered trailer – cook top, heater, water heater, will weight less than standard propane set up.

The main component, the WEBASTO diesel fired coolant heater, weighs only 6.5 pounds.

There is experimenting going on here.

Thanks for your opinions.


bhayden 06-15-2006 02:42 PM

Spinter into the future
Looking at the specs for '07 it appears Chrysler is responding to the need for larger engines. After all, just about any province in Canada is way bigger than all of Europe. Shoot, we've got States the size of the whole continent! The 3.5 liter gasoline V6 is ho hum, but with the 3.0 liter V6 turbodiesel (184 hp (135 kW) and 295 lb-ft of torque) now we're talking!

When will 4 wheel drive come to North America:

SmokelessJoe 06-18-2006 08:51 PM

Another important person in my life story is gone.
FRANK WILTSIE, the Elgin County man who’d never even seen a circus but still managed to build me the most beautiful show ever to hit North American roads died, aged 82, in Aylmer, Ontario on Friday evening.

His sons Bev and Russ and grandsons Aaron and Bradley carry on the family business.

The funeral will be on Tuesday.

Wiltsie Custom Bodies are doing all the work on my Argosy renewal.

Frank won’t see the completed trailer but I will take along the Elgin County wisdom he often repeated:

“Build ‘er cheap; now THAT’S expensive.”


SmokelessJoe 06-24-2006 04:36 PM

A question about the “polarity light”:
3 Attachment(s)
We’ve stripped all the old cloth covered wire out of the trailer.

Removing the centre panels around the trailer makes it easier to trace the old circuits and “fish” new runs.

We have about half of the new BX armored cable run now.

See the photos.

The 3 circuits in the trailer were:

- a dedicated line to the battery charger

- another to the kitchen counter outlet

- everything else in the trailer was on the last circuit.

This last circuit runs from the panel to the “polarity light” and then to the rest of the circuit.

I’m guessing there is no longer any need, in this day and age, for the 1976 Argosy “polarity lamp”, right?

Should we abandon it and just wire the three circuits to the new panel?


(We are moving the city power inlet to the FRONT of the trailer to make it easier to connect to the Sprinter tow vehicle.

We’ll use the MARINCO 30 amp bayonet style used in current Airstreams.

The # 8 –4-wire Cab Tire main feed from the inlet to the new distribution panel will run UNDER THE FLOOR.)

bhayden 06-24-2006 07:39 PM

Love the pictures, keep 'em coming. It's like a How-to manual for my trailer! How come you got a polarity light in your '76 and I didn't in my '78? :(
All I have for indicators is a battery charge that's sort of like an old stereo VU meter with red/yellow/green zones. No indicator from the Univolt for AC, at least not that I've found. Everything is located in the closet, street side back in the bathroom. Given the "shower" arrangement I'm not thrilled about it all being back there where mosture can get to it.

Marine panels seem to be big on the reverse polarity protection. I'd think it would be worth having. You're plugging into unknown sources on the road and if someone goofed on the wiring you could end up damaging some expensive electronics. Ideally it would indicate "Polarity OK" which would then be an AC connected light. I did a quick search on line last week but need to look into it more. The marine supply stores surprisingly didn't seem too out of line with their prices. Some of the panels had switches for "shore power" and generator; even a generator start button which would be discusstingly civilized matched up with a propane Yamaha with autostart :). I think a low voltage alarm would be handy too, that's something that can be really hard on some equipment.


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