Deciding on Airstream Insulation? – Vintage Airstream Argosy Renovation

Airstream Insulation is a highly debated topic among the airstream forums. Theres spray foam, reflectix, mineral wool, fiberglass, recycled denim, foam board and more. There are so many options and differing opinions.

thermasheath-foam-board-insulation-787264-64_1000We researched, debated and changed our minds. We have finally decided on two layers of polyisocyanurate  (PIC) rigid foam board. It’s water resistant and has a R value of 6 per one inch of thickness. We have a 1.5″ gap in the wall for insulation so we’re going to layer a 1″ and .5″ foam board for a combined R value of 9. Thats the highest we could get out of any of the products.

rockwool-mineral-wool-insulation-rxcb351525-64_1000

Roxul was a close second option and we still may need to use it for the endcaps. Mineral wool is great because its very heat resistant, doesn’t grow mold, and is pest resistant. If we split a batt to the thickness we need we would get about an R value of 6.

We decided against the popular spray foam insulation for a couple of reasons. To be done correctly, it should be applied by a professional and its very expensive. We don’t want our wiring to be difficult to get to. We’re wiring the whole trailer ourselves and trying to anticipate all our electrical needs and additions, but if we need to access it in the future we would prefer not to destroy our insulation to get to it.

Another factor that influenced our Airstream insulation decision, is that we’re waiting on all our wiring to arrive. We can go ahead and get the insulation done while we wait and we can easily run the wiring over the top of the foam board. We’ll be one step closer to putting the walls back up!

This is all in theory for now, the giant foam boards are waiting to be measured and cut. We will score them with a utility knife to follow the curves and then seal the seams with foil tape. The last step will be applying double sided tape and foam sill seal (polystyrene roll) to cover all the ribs. I’ve read a couple folks have done this and it seems like a great way to help prevent the ribs from conducting cold and heat from the outer skins to the inner skins.

We’ll update with photos and let you all know if we run into any issues as we begin the insulation process, so make sure to follow our blog to receive updates!

 

Here are some of the blogs, groups and resources that helped us when researching Airstream insulation –

Air Forums

Airstream Addicts

Airstream Argosy Owners

Beahmstream

The Greatleys

 



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History of the Airstream Argosy

Today we’re excited to explore the history of the Airstream Argosy!

ArgosyWe’ve been getting to know our Airstream Argosy for about 7 months now. We bought it sight unseen in January, and knew it was a big project. It was completely gutted and had no floors, but we saw the potential to build our very own dream rig.

We love all things vintage and currently live and travel in our vintage Fiber Stream travel trailer. When we started considering a larger space, this unique travel trailer came right to us! We had loved the style and look of the Argosy, ever since we found out about them, so we jumped at the opportunity to own and renovate one!

So what is an Airstream Argosy exactly? We’re going to tell you all about the airstreams long lost cousin.

What Inspired the Airstream Argosy?

Originak Argosy LayoutsIn the 1970’s Airstream wanted to create a mid-price option for buyers, with the same great design and features of the classic airstream. They opened a plant in Versailles, OH and the first Argosy’s were released in April 1971. Argosy’s were almost identical to airstreams, but with some twits. They were painted, the endcaps were made of steel (because it was more cost effective) and it was the first experiment with the front wrap around windows. They had many layout options to choose from, ours was originally had a rear bath and two twin beds. In our new layout, it will more closely resemble the Argosy 28 double bed model with the center bath.

Minuets

 

The Airstream Argosy also experimented with “Minuet” models, which were much lighter an designed to be towed by cars. The Minuets were a foot narrower and the first years even had aluminum floors and partitions. They were made from 1977-1979 and had 3 different sizes –  the 6.0 Metre (20′), 6.7 Metre (22′), and 7.4 Metre (24′) Minuet. We have the 7.4 Minuet and its unique size makes it easy to tow, but does present some challenges in trying to re-arrange the original layout because of the width.

In 1973 they released a class a Motorhome branded with Argosy which eventually led to the classic shiny airstream motorhome.

The Airstream Argosy plant closed in 79′ due to the economy during the fuel crisis. It reopened in 1986 with some wild new designs with fiberglass end caps and a square design. These models were nicknamed the “squarestream.”

 

At first, the Argosy’s were not welcomed in Wally Byam Caravan Club or allowed to participate in their activities, due to their “almost airstream” status. Today, Argosy trailers are recognized as rare and unique part of the airstream history. They are welcome at Airstream events and rallies across the country.

 

Why are They Painted?

Some say that the Argosy was painted because they used imperfect, lower grade aluminum or discards from the Airstream factory and the paint may have hidden scratches, dents or discoloration. Other folks would disagree because many have been stripped and polished and showed no imperfections. The end caps are steel though, so they won’t polish up and would have to be painted anyways. I personally think this was probably one of the biggest reasons to paint the whole trailer.

argosy-1

 

We will be stripping the paint off our Argosy soon, to prepare for a new paint job. We may leave some shiny aluminum exposed, depending on the quality of the aluminum. We’ve removed the vinyl stripe and so far so good, but we’ll let you know what else we find under there!

Our Airstream Argosy Renovation Journey

Its been a difficult journey tackling a project this big and essentially rebuilding a trailer from the floor up, with no experience whatsoever. We’ve learned a lot of skills and start each day willing to work hard and do our best. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished and theres still a long way to go, but we’re getting there.

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If you want to see what we’ve done so far, check out our post – Vintage Airstream Renovation: Subfloor, Frame & Axels This process took much longer than expected, but we have a solid foundation and we’re ready to start wiring, insulation and plumbing soon!

Sources

If you want to read more about the history of the Airstream Argosy, these are the articles I referenced for info – by Airstream and Tin Can Tourists

 

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