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Old 10-18-2005, 08:32 AM   #1
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1976 Argosy 28
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Towing..?

Hi there- We just had our 1973 20 foot Argosy in for some repairs and winterizing. We moved and therefore went to a new trailer repair shop. The man who organizes the work gave our oldie to a 'senior' technician. The tech. checked our brakes and said he felt they were not being used at all. When we got the trailer from my in-laws we had a garage put in a brake package, which we hook up for towing. I am not very good at knowing what is what... not a mechanic or even trying to know what is up We tow with a 2000 Honda Odyssey, which we had a towing package added on , which I think meant added something to the transmission to pull a trailer. However, the people at the repair shop felt that we should never be towing the trailer with our van... they felt it is unsafe and all the weight is on the van. Admittedly we usually have the trailer on a seasonal site for most of the season (April to October), BUT we have towed it off for a couple weeks each year to take it to a park 2 -3 hours away... and had no problem. Just wondering if this all sounds like nothing OR should I be concerned...? Sorry long e mail, I'll stop now.. thanks for any help or suggestions. W. Phibbs
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Old 10-18-2005, 08:55 AM   #2
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Hi Phibbs! Welcome to the Forums! I'm sure you'll get lots of opinions on your question...

First, you need to understand that what was probably added to your Honda was a brake controller, transmission cooler and wiring to connect the trailer to the tow vehicle. The brakes on the trailer may not have been checked at all at that time.

The amount and timing of braking your trailer does is controlled by the brake controller and the way you have it set up and adjusted initially. If you haven't done that, or dont' know how you really need to find the instructions and make sure it's done properly. It can't be done without the trailer attached.

Regarding the weight of your trailer, as I remember the Argosy 20s were something around 3700 lbs dry, and the tow limit on your Odessey is 3500 lbs. You definately need a weight distribution hitch if you're not using one... and you absolutely need your brakes to work on the Argosy. Hopefully someone can give you better weight numbers on your Argosy 20' that are more accurate than my memory!

Good luck!

Roger
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Old 10-18-2005, 01:07 PM   #3
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You definitely need to make an appointment at Can-Am to get the towing bits taken care of.

They are in London, just down the road a bit, eh?

http://www.can-am-rv.com/
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Old 10-18-2005, 05:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 85MH325
Regarding the weight of your trailer, as I remember the Argosy 20s were something around 3700 lbs dry, and the tow limit on your Odessey is 3500 lbs. You definately need a weight distribution hitch if you're not using one... and you absolutely need your brakes to work on the Argosy. Hopefully someone can give you better weight numbers on your Argosy 20' that are more accurate than my memory!

Good luck!

Roger
Dry weight of a stock 1973 Argosy 20 is 2880 pounds. GVWR is 3500 pounds. My 1972 was slightly heavier, but was the exception. It had a GVWR of 4500 pounds, and dry weight of 3300 pounds.
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Old 10-18-2005, 05:57 PM   #5
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Welcome to the Forums!

An Argosy is just like an Airstream, only with snow on it... Ohhh, that season is only too close.

What kind of brake controller was installed in your Honda? You probably have printed instructions that include testing for proper braking pressure occurring back at the trailer and then adjusting so that happens. Most brake controllers have a way of activating the trailer brakes only -- for my Tekonsha Prodigy that is accomplished by moving a lever on the brake controller. The lever works just like your van's brake pedal -- you get less pressure if you don't move the lever as far over. My instructions suggest testing with full lever pressure at about 25mph. The trailer brakes alone bring me to a quick stop!

Not having trailer brakes could result in a serious property and safety situation in very ordinary quick stops. Ditto on markdoane's suggestion to have a dealer work on it if you do not have trailer braking. Also have the dealer check that your breakaway switch works properly.

[Classic ASForums advice: 1. Don't let the breakaway be activated for more than a minute or two. Longer could burn out your brakes' electronics. 2. Don't test the breakaway switch with the umbilical plugged in to your tow vehicle. It will fry a Prodigy. Others? I dunno... One tests a breakaway switch by putting a compass as close to the axle side of your hubs as possible and watching for a bit of needle swing when the breakaway is pulled -- after you know whether your brakes truly do activate thru the front umbilical. Thanks to Jack Canavera and Overlander 64.]
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Old 10-19-2005, 02:28 PM   #6
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1976 Argosy 28
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Me again- There is a brake unit, that was installed just under the steering column in the van. When a connection is made between trailer and van , the unit gives numbers... we usually have it at 12-15. This I think controls the brakes. I am getting more worried about towing it now...but as I said, I have towed it several places over the last few years and van or trailer are safe. I am totally not technical at all, so maybe when spring comes I should take it into a trailer place on the van and get some reassurance? Thanks for all your help! Wade
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Old 10-19-2005, 02:44 PM   #7
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In the neigbourhood

Hello Wade.

I am just outside of Stratford but work in town. If you want me to have a look see some day let me know. There is also a fellow in Avonton that works on vintage Airstreams and Argosys, if you drive there (about 10 minutes outside of Stratford) you will see his place.

PM me for more info.
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