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SmokelessJoe 06-25-2006 07:51 PM


I guess it couldnít hurt anything to keep the polarity light but the fact that your 79 does not have one helps convince me the light is outmoded stuff.

In the days before the lugs on standard plugs being two different widths and in the days before 3 prong plugs / outlets were universal, it probably was wise to have the light.

It will be very hard for me to plug the MARINCO 30 amp 3 prong cord into a very old 2-opening device.

Good idea about the 120 v /12 v combined distribution panels. I will check the marine catalogs to see what there is.

Marine stuff will mostly work in trailer applications. They are both forms of mobility. Marine things seem to be better built.


bhayden 06-25-2006 08:51 PM

I think the point of the polarity light is that the outlet you're plugging into may be wired backwards. Who know's what "handy man" may have last worked on the wiring in the ma'n'pa campground outside Hooterville :). That's the reason all the marine panels have them; you pull into a slip in Mexico or the Carribean and "code" is non-existant.

I think it's not in my '78 Argosy because it was a way to cut cost. I don't have an indicator light from the Univolt or any sort of tank gages either. The other possibility is it was removed by a PO. I do have a GFI main breaker and I'm pretty sure those weren't around back in '78.

SmokelessJoe 07-03-2006 03:58 PM

Update on the Polarity question
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I asked PM opinions of Uwe, Road King Moe and Tinsel Loaf and the consensus was that the light was outmoded but testing the polarity was a good idea.

TINSEL LOAF hit it right on the head: with a trailer polarity light, by the time you discovered that you had a problem, the damage would be done.

Why use my trailer as a polarity tester when I can carry an inexpensive plug-in one, like they all do?

(Maybe Airstream themselves figured this out in time).

Here are some shots of the BX runs tucked away in the roof and the shielded 12v lines, near were the Skylight will go in.


bhayden 07-03-2006 05:03 PM


Originally Posted by SmokelessJoe
TINSEL LOAF hit it right on the head: with a trailer polarity light, by the time you discovered that you had a problem, the damage would be done.

That all depends on how it's wired. I turn off my main breaker before I unplug and don't turn it on until after I'm plugged in. The polarity indicator "should" indicate a problem BEFORE you flip the breaker and power up anything powered by A/C in the trailer. Most marine panels are also equiped with a device to trip the main breaker if the wrong polarity is detected. If possible I'd sure prefer a light that says A/C good rather than "oops, too late":brows:

The talk of airconditioning has me thinking the most common problem is going to be under voltage. Sure I carry a VOM and can manually check it but what about durning the day. As it heats up more and more people in the park are turning on the airconditioners and as it heats up the resistance in the circuits increases. Depending on how the place is wired someone with 50 amp service next to you could have a big effect on voltage to your pole.


azflycaster 07-03-2006 05:23 PM

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Originally Posted by bhayden
The talk of airconditioning has me thinking the most common problem is going to be under voltage. Sure I carry a VOM and can manually check it but what about durning the day. As it heats up more and more people in the park are turning on the airconditioners and as it heats up the resistance in the circuits increases. Depending on how the place is wired someone with 50 amp service next to you could have a big effect on voltage to your pole.


That's why I have these......

SmokelessJoe 07-03-2006 06:14 PM

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I donít understand matters electrical so I have to ask around a lot. Eventually, I have to be guided by intuition.

If trailers donít have polarity lights now but polarity problems might still occur, how do careful people look after that? Apparently, by carrying a polarity tester and using it before they plug in.

That makes the most sense to me for another reason: Iím moving the power inlet to the front of the trailer. Unless I go to the trouble of rewiring the whole trailer, the warning light will not be next to the inlet anymore.

What I think I have learned from this is that I should buy a polarity tester and learn how to use it.

Hereís another electrical question for you (or anyone else out there that can help):

Pictured is the MARINCO Easy Lock inlet that I am going to install on the trailer.

The Marinco Easy Lock cordset for this device is 30A 125V 2 pole, 3 wire.

What kind of wire should we run from that Inlet box to the main breaker inside the trailer?

I would appreciate anyoneís advice about this.


bhayden 07-03-2006 07:01 PM

The Marine fittings are usually twist lock. Good reason for that since you're bobing up and down at the dock and don't want it falling out :) Bummer that that's not the RV standard. That means you'll need an adaptor(s) or a custom wired cord. As to what gauge wire that depends on how many amps and how far you want to run the power. Longer the cord, heavier the wire. Likewise, the more amps the heavier the wire. There's nothing wrong with going to a larger wire but going too small will cause voltage drop and overheating. For RV's it looks like 10/3 is pretty common for 30 Amps up to lengths of 50'. I'd keep it to 25' if you're pretty sure that'll be enough.

As far as location of the indicator lights it only seems prudent to me to turn on the breaker after you've hooked up the power and you're in the trailer to see if anything looks wrong. Maybe I'm just paranoid. Do most people turn off their main breaker when leaving?


SmokelessJoe 07-03-2006 07:52 PM


I think youíve misunderstood my question.

The photos are of a MARINCO brand inlet on a new Airstream.

I am going to install the same type in the Argosy.

The Marinco matching cordset that patches into city power is rated at 30A 125V 2 pole, 3 wire. Iím not sure what gauge.


Somebody suggested #8 Cab Tire, 4 wire. Is this too big? Why 4 wire?

The polarity lamp on the 1976 Argosy was OUTSIDE the trailer, next to the power inlet.

(Most people donít close their breakers when they leave home but youíre not paranoid, just careful).


SmokelessJoe 07-21-2006 11:02 AM

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Most Argosy owners realize that a distinctive feature of the model was the steel roof cap, front and rear, on the otherwise all-aluminum trailer.

We are removing the original paint with aircraft stripper and this is a chance to show other owners what the steel cap under the paint looks like.


dieterdog 07-21-2006 11:29 AM

Great pictures Sergei,, always wondered what the Argosy end caps looked like,,, still love that trailer,,, wonderful job you are doing,,,, thanks for sharing,,, dieterdog

bhayden 07-21-2006 12:02 PM

End Cap Questions:
Cool, I'd thought the entire end of the trailer was steel, not just the curved part on top. Anyone know why they did this? I'm guessing it's because steel is easier to form without cracking or tearing than most aluminum alloys. It might be a little stronger depending on gauge. Did they galvanize the steel? If so that requires a special etch before paint (phosphoric acid??). Any sign of corrosion from dissimilar metals being in contact? What type of rivets, steel or aluminum?

It's geat to see what's inside my trailer without having to take mine all apart :)


SmokelessJoe 07-21-2006 12:41 PM

You always like the pictures, dieterdog.

Whereís my Airstream mouse pad?

The scratch pad I'm still using in lieu is REALLY dog-eared now!


SmokelessJoe 07-21-2006 01:52 PM

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Yes, Iíd always assumed the ďend capĒ to mean the entire ends. After I bought my trailer I realized this wasnít so. Tapping on the metal quickly showed me that there were two different metals being used.

I donít know why steel was used. Airstream caps are all aluminum now. Better techniques or materials eventually developed?

I donít think the cap is galvanized. It doesnít look it. The dull brown-black surface canít be removed with stripper so it isnít primer.

You can sand it off very easily so maybe its oxidization or another chemical process?

There is no corrosion from dissimilar metals that I can see. Maybe this theory is overrated?

I think the brown spots in the photo may be filler from a previous owners body repair. Just guessing.

All the rivets are aluminum and everything seems in good repair.

Once we sand it all down, prep the aluminum for painting and paint it, the little trailer will look pretty cool.

That wonít be for a few months yet so we have to prime the steel caps now.


3Ms75Argosy 07-21-2006 06:10 PM

good ol stripping...
but a metal paint scraper... YIKES! I used both aircraft stripper (on the steel sections) and the Hydrostrip (ICI product) on my trailer with good results... the Hydrostrip just came off with a hose easily. I used a plastic scraper at times to save the aluminum.

Interesting about your caps. Mine are definately galvinized, but not as dark as yours. No filler either.... except for one area of Brown bondo on the rear aluminum... I too think it was a PO thing - but maybe it was factory?

I'm curiuos how you got the end fiberglass piece off - did the midstrip holder have to come off first?

juel 07-21-2006 06:20 PM

We should all give dieterdog a hard time. She still cannot put pictures on her computer or send them in an email. She goes on some great trips and I'm still waiting to see pictures. Also great job on that Argosy. I really want to get another one to work on. Mine is down at the lake and I can't fix on him. I miss him. Have lots I could do, but if I get him out of the lake lot, then I can't get him back in by myself. I really enjoy going down there to my hide-a-way.

dieterdog 07-21-2006 06:48 PM

ok, Juel,,,, yep,, went to the International and just got back last night from a trip to the wilds of Idaho,,,, and Sergei,,,did get a mouse pad for you,, but not the anniversary one,,,, this one is in colors,,, and will not match your black and white theme,,,, will look online for what you want if it is available still,, was not last time i looked,,, sorry all,,, am a techno drop out,,, dieterdog

SmokelessJoe 07-21-2006 09:10 PM

Hello All:

Dieterdog, do you have my mailing address at Port Bruce?

Iím still waiting for my prize. It doesnít need to match my trailer, just be from you.

Marc, thatís actually a plastic scraper in the photo. Mindougas, the guy doing all the hard work, did revert to a steel scraper in the end. The aircraft stripper that weíre using melts the scraper.

Heís being extra careful. There appears to be two layers of paint. The first is scraped off. Then he uses a stiff plastic bristle brush to get the bottom coat off. After that he will wet sand. He also carefully rounded the edges of the scraper.

It looks OK to me.

The rear fiberglass detail comes off by drilling out the 9 rivets along the top. Then there are two long screws that go thru the light fixtures to the body of the trailer.

These may not be original. Mindougas says it doesnít look like factory work.


SmokelessJoe 07-27-2006 02:39 PM

stripping finished
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Mindougas says that the paint he scraped off the trailer weighed at least 50 pounds.

Next, polishing all the moldings.


SmokelessJoe 08-02-2006 05:55 PM

Protecting Aluminum
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Mindougas spent the day stripping, then polishing, the thirty-year-old rear bumper.

Itís starting to look good. (It's just propped in place for the photo.)

How do we protect the shine? Is there a clear coat, preferably sprayed on, that will last?


SmokelessJoe 09-23-2006 03:18 PM

Any PLUMBERS out there?
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We are replacing the entire water system with PEX.

The attached photo is of the 30-year-old pressure regulator, set at 45 psi. Are there more modern, smaller sized regulators available now?

The check or overflow valve next in line after the water exits the regulator: what function does it serve?

If Iím describing the regulator as ď30 year oldĒ, perhaps implying a new one will be better, doesnít that go for the water pump too?

The current one is a PAR type IV Model 36975-1060. Flow rate 2.8 US, 2.3 Canadian gallons per minute.

It doesnít say what pressure. I assume 45 if the regulator was 45 pounds.

What is the best new pump out there?

Do I assume that if I get a pump rated at 65 psi that I will need a new matching pressure regulator in any case?

Thanks in advance for suggestions and help.


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