Airstream Forums

Airstream Forums (
-   All Argosy Trailers (
-   -   Contemporizing 1976 Argosy D - opinions please (

bhayden 03-08-2007 02:05 PM

I'll poke around Home Dopey and the local "real" hardware stores and look into the J molding. The Aluminum "L" is that 1-1/2" on one leg and and 1/4" on the other or does the 1/4" dimension apply to a groove that the skin and/or shower pan slip into?

Damn it's looking good! What were you doing in the mid 70's when Airstream needed you as their interior designer ;+)


malconium 03-08-2007 02:33 PM


I think your idea of using cabinets from IKEA is very inventive. Is there a particular model or product line name that you chose to use? There is a brand new IKEA store being built here in Portland, Oregon as we speak.


SmokelessJoe 03-08-2007 08:51 PM

A lot has happened
Sorry, Marmaduke. Your advice is 15 MONTHS and over a 100 posts too late.

A lot has happened since then.

(Could you be a politician, seeing as how you know how to quote out of context so selectively?).

Here’s respected member UWE’s reaction when I decided to stay the course
( post #27 above):


Sergei, sounds to me like you have a very good plan to spend the rest of your life. ( may it be long and fun filled!)
Frankly, I was a little saddened by your earlier post where abandoning your otherwise great ideas was mentioned.
Many of us would do the same thing, were we not compromised by time, family needs, financial woes, or whatever else usually gets in the way of doing exactly what we want. You having this option is a great asset! Use it!

Here’s my explanation of how I got back on course, while thanking him and others ( post #28):

Tin Lizzie, Uwe and others who sent messages off line.

I appreciate your support.

Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Computer recently said

“ don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice”.

I liked reading that, I suppose because I usually do listen to my own inner voice despite the noise.

This time I got confused with what my own voice was. I was making myself believe that I should be practical.

There was no “ noise of others’ opinions” actually. It was just me doing a trip on myself.

Two people in particular put me back on path.

One was Russ Wiltsie, in whose shop I am remodeling the Argosy. He’s a very soft-spoken guy and one day he said, his eyes searching my face for a reaction “ will you be happy with a van as your daily vehicle?”

The other person was George, the son of my best friend, who came to see me on New Year’s Eve.

I told him that I had decided to get practical. He shot back “Get real, Sergei. Owning a trailer isn’t a practical idea in the first place! Follow your dream. Go back to your plan. It was too cool”

From that moment I got back with the program.

Next, I want to post some ideas here about harnessing the Sprinter’s power plant to provide electricity for my rig, hoping that some of the technically minded here can give me advice.

Uwe, if you’re out there, I particularly want to hear your suggestions.

Thanks again.

Thanks for your opinion anyway, Marmaduke.

Enjoy your Tahoe. I’m having fun too.


3Ms75Argosy 03-08-2007 09:26 PM

Ha Ha...
There can't be any turning back.... I want to see the completed rig!:D

Malcom - oh boy, Ikea, no taxes... time for a trip down south (I can smell those Swedish meatballs a mile away...)! I can answer about the Ikea cabinets for Sergei. Ikea uses a basic cabinet shell (that's the white box that Sergei has lightened), and then you pick your own type of style/wood/glass for the doors/sides. Pretty easy system to use and build (I redid our 1940's kitchen using their system) - reasonalbly priced too. The biggest bugaboo is weight - which Sergei has nicely taken care of.

Power take off... Sergei - you mentioned that the Sprinter has a high idle function and built in generator. Is there a power outlet to plug into somewhere on the rig? I can't remember your posted specs off the top of my head (without re-reading the whole post). Something around 3000 watts?

SmokelessJoe 03-09-2007 07:11 AM


Yes, the J mold is the stuff used with those plastic sheets.

The butyl rubber tape comes on a roll, something like weather strip. See Phil using it in #132 just above.

It is rubbery and VERY sticky. It stuck the mold in place, no screws.

Truck body builders use it between the ribs and the roof and body panels. Airstream should use it the same way. Thermo conduction would be eliminated that way.


On the shower wall I used the angle mold with the 1/4” lip ON TOP. That was because there is a fiberglass lip from the pan to hide.

When I use the same molding as a base board, I will have the lip on the BOTTOM.

I’m happy that you like what’s happening.


SmokelessJoe 03-09-2007 04:13 PM


All the IKEA base cabinets are the same standard sizes. There are approximately 20 different drawer and door styles, which give you your final look and price.

The disadvantage of Ikea for us is the WEIGHT. It’s extremely heavy.

I came up with my own way to knock this down. You can see how at posts 93 and 103 above.

The advantage of Ikea is that you can have very good design at an affordable price and you don’t need to be a cabinetmaker to install it.

I had originally planned to have Amish craftsmen living in my area do the work but realized that doing it myself with IKEA was more practical.

With Ikea you know what the finished job will look like before you start.

The example of another member, Simon Hanbury, inspired me.

You can see his Ikea Airstream if you look him up in the photo gallery.


SmokelessJoe 03-09-2007 07:23 PM

Electric Next

So here’s what you might vaguely remember about my generator.....

When I went to Michigan to buy the Sprinter I found it had options that couldn’t be explained to me: a power take off, a High Idle Function and a 200 Amp alternator.

It wasn’t just the Stateside salesman. The Canadian dealers that had previously quoted me couldn’t explain what these options were (or how they operated) either.

In a way it was symptomatic of the troubles the American auto industry finds itself in: too big, too unresponsive, too slow on its feet.

More than a MILLION of these trucks had been sold worldwide by the time they were introduced to North America but the salesmen didn’t know a thing about them.

Anyway, on the Internet that weekend I found BELT DRIVEN GENERATORS and suddenly all the options seemed to make sense to me. So on Monday morning, before the order went to Detroit, I added the items to the Sprinter.

I bought the generator long before the truck arrived 6 months later.

I should have waited. Long story short, the belt driven generator was probably better suited for the 1960’s than now. As small as it was- 3500 constant watts from a 35-pound item about the size of a starter motor- it wouldn’t fit anywhere in the technology crammed Sprinter motor compartment.

As well, the generator needed 1200 rpm from the truck. The Sprinter High Idle was factory set at 2000 rpm.

So it was a lesson that cost me some money and time. It will be worth it if I actually learn something.

I still want to exploit the giant alternator and high idle. The electrical system is the last frontier to conquer with this rig.

I’d like to have a couple of big, multi-hour glass mat batteries on the truck and one big one in the trailer, joined somehow to provide power when I don’t have shore service.

A man that I’ve met on the Internet has built a Sprinter Off Road Vehicle doing this. I know he will help me. So will some other knowledgeable people on this forum I’m sure.

I’m a little bit afraid of this because I know zero about electrical matters but that was also the case with hydronic heating and I managed to understand how it works in the end.


lewster 03-10-2007 05:32 AM

Keep ON!!!

You're doing great! If you need any help on your last stages of the project, let me know if I can assist in any way!:D

SmokelessJoe 03-10-2007 10:46 AM

Thanks Lew. At the very least I will need a Zip Dee in BLACK. I’ll email you for a factory installed price.


SmokelessJoe 03-10-2007 02:22 PM

2 Attachment(s)
We now have the pocket door “sandwiched” between the two walls.

We will run the copper pipes and communication wire for the A/C in this outside wall, facing the camera.

Then we will clad it in fiberboard, pre-painted in our chosen Kendall Grey flat wall paint.

The interior unit of the split system air conditioning fits on top of that, were you see the 22” square in the aluminum tubing.


malconium 03-11-2007 02:25 PM


I like your grey color. I have been contemplating using a soft grey too. Is the color name specific to a particular paint brand and type? What kind of paint did you end up using for the interior? Did you list source information for the type of sliding door hardware that you are using?


SmokelessJoe 03-11-2007 07:29 PM


I suspect that the color you are talking about is the principal color I used in the trailer. It’s by Benjamin Moore and called Old Prairie.

We painted with small foam rollers (they were once called ‘German rollers’) and applied two coats over two coats of Kilz primer.

The oil-based version was used and I will apply a final coat after everything is installed.

The charcoal color I referred to will be on the wall leading to the rear bath, like a “feature wall.’ It’s a dark charcoal color almost as deep as the Marmoleum flooring.

The door hardware is by Johnson Hardware:


SmokelessJoe 03-13-2007 07:47 AM

1 Attachment(s)
This is the fiberboard “skin” for the aluminum wall, painted in the Kendall Charcoal colour.


SmokelessJoe 03-13-2007 12:05 PM

2 Attachment(s)
This is the “guts” of the inside unit of the LG air conditioning system, in it’s exact location.

Once Phil and me complete the connection of the copper gas and liquid lines and the drains and communication cable, we’ll cover up the open wall with the fiberboard skin.

Only the unit itself will be seen, complete with it’s contemporary looking face panel.

The unit is about 4” deep. The facing adds another inch.


SmokelessJoe 03-13-2007 04:44 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Seen in position, the bathroom counter that DavidsonOverlander made for me.

Nice birch or maple trim and a beautifully inlaid Marmoleum top, matching the flooring.

He is making the rest of the furniture, including the fold-out table and the kitchen counter this way.


3Ms75Argosy 03-13-2007 08:18 PM

Looks great!
The countertop looks sharp! Are you mounting it to the cabinet frame and the wall, or just the frame?

What is the layout going to be, oven, stove, cabinet on the curbside, side gaucho on the curbside with dinette? Or....

SmokelessJoe 03-14-2007 12:50 PM

same layout as original
1 Attachment(s)

We will attach both the stand and the counter to the wall and the counter to the stand too.

I will probably make a back-splash with aluminum trim.

My layout is basically the same as the original. I’ve just rebuilt the whole thing. Here’s a drawing I did at the beginning:


bhayden 03-14-2007 01:03 PM

Like the cabinets but LOVE the smooth clean walls. Looks like you've removed the closet in the bathroom and move the electrical stuff. I think that's a great concept. The bathroom closet is under utilised largely because you have to leave clearance around the Univolt and the breakers (not to mention all the loose wires). Plus, it just doesn't seem like having the electrical in the bathroom is a good idea from the beginning.

Moving the sink and counter up against the outside wall will allow a mirror a 6' person can actually use and make it so it's a real "medicine cabinet" to boot. The round sink nestled into the rounded corner of the trailer looks good and is an efficient use of space. Now if there was just a good way to make it so the window didn't extend into the shower! Oh well, can't have everything.


SmokelessJoe 03-14-2007 07:05 PM

WHITE bathrooms
Yeah, Bernie, I do like a WHITE bathroom.

All of the assumptions you make are correct.

The electrical panel will be moved just outside the bathroom, in the wardrobe/desk combination that is next along the street side wall.

I think I will follow your suggestion and put frosted glass film on the rear window, except for maybe the uppermost 4” or so. That will look cool and afford a level of privacy in the shower stall.


3Ms75Argosy 03-14-2007 07:29 PM

cool drawings..
Sergei... were you an architect? Nice details!

What are you using for upper cabinets... if at all?

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:22 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.