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Old 07-26-2006, 08:17 PM   #57
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Hi Dave,

You're not the only one to make that comment.

The original window was hinged at the top. Without the visor the top of the rounded window would let in a lot of rain. My new windows are fixed so the need for the front and rear visors were eliminated. I'm from the school of "form follows function" when it comes to design.

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Old 07-27-2006, 09:42 AM   #58
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My design philosophy has always been "form follows function". The visors no longer had a function as the new rear windows don't open.

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Old 07-27-2006, 09:44 AM   #59
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Sorry, double answer.
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Old 07-27-2006, 03:30 PM   #60
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Just a little input on towing something behind a motor home. For a living I deliver various makes, models, size, motor types of motorhomes around the country. I avoid like the plauge delivering anything with a gas motor, they get rotten mpg and that is with it being completley empty and pulling my 06 chevy malibu. the engine and trannys work way to hard. If it is pulling you want go with a diesel much better mpg and a lot less stress on the engine and tranny. I do like your trailer. It is not so much always just getting what you are towing moving but to keep it moving going up hills and that includes overpasses. If you are looking for a serious tow vehicle check out
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Old 08-02-2006, 08:50 PM   #61
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8-2-2006 10 days to go

Bill finished the table top and took measurements for the service area cabinets.

The bubble lamp casts an intersting circle on the table top.

Tha back end is just about done. The aluminum moulding turned out better than I expected. It almost looks like it was part of the original structure.

I installed the 2KW inverter/charger. For the uninformed, as I was, there are inexpensive inverters and there are expensive inverters. True sine-wave inverters are necessary to run sensitive electronics and certain types of electric motors.

I sized the inverter based on the actual load of the trailer and all its goodies. The A/C unit I selected only draws 8 amps vs. 13-15 amps for a larger AC unit. At 7,100 btu this unit will freeze us out in no time. Four inches of insulation and 5/8" of bamboo makes the cabin like an icebox.

I actually read the instructions and followed the installation guide (lots of pictures) and fired up the unit. The LCD display lit up and told me it was charging the battery.

I disconnected the AC power and the inverter transferred power to its 120-volt output at 2,000 contant watts and 4,500 peak watts. That was more than sufficient to let the rooftop AC unit keep running at peak output.

I have three new 650 CA Optima marine batteries and I have room for five more in the rack. I'll add batteries as needed. I'm sure I'll carry a generator in the tow vehicle, but it will be nice to be totally off-grid if necessary.

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Old 08-03-2006, 10:14 AM   #62
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1960 17' Pacer
gulf hammock , Florida
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No spam can

The term 'spam can' will not apply here cuz the meat yer hualin is more like filet mignon.Makes me proud to be a fellow Spartanette owner.I have a 28 on the bank of the Swanee river mostly original.Hooray for Americana!I saw a Spartan motorhome on one the old Spartan sites might be worth a look for a TV.Keep up the good work it is inspiring.
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Old 08-06-2006, 07:48 PM   #63
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I took the trailer for its first drive Saturday and it performed beyond expectations. I hooked it up to one of my heavy-duty work trucks and took it for a spin. The time leading up to the first run was filled with trepidation because some jerk had planted in my mind that I had too much braking capacity and that the trailer tires would lock up whenever the brakes were applied. He was dead wrong and the drive went flawlessly. All of my hard work paid off.

I had an audience for the second, much further, trial run. I had been contacted by a Free Press editor through my web site. Her note stated that she had been surfing the web looking at travel trailer links and mine popped up. She said she was fascinated by the project and wanted to do a mixed-media story on it. It seem our home town paper is venturing into the 21st century.

The newspaper sent out a photographer last week and she took a bunch of shots and stayed 4 hours while she watched me work. She took shots of both of our show cars and went back to her editor to expand the story. They sent out a video-reporter (whatever that is) and he interviewed me about the cars and trailer. He followed us out to the Sunday cruise we frequent and interviewed a number of the well-wishers and people that were fascinated with the project.

It was quite a day.

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Old 08-07-2006, 07:52 AM   #64
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Looks absolutely amazing, Barry. Glad to hear it all went so well. Have you had a chance to do a test run with the Continental aboard, yet?

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Old 08-07-2006, 10:50 AM   #65
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I've only towed it empty. It's first loaded run will be cross-state to the Krasl Art Center Concours on the 12th. We're taking the '55 Porsche to that show.
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Old 08-07-2006, 11:26 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by Barry2952
I've only towed it empty. It's first loaded run will be cross-state to the Krasl Art Center Concours on the 12th. We're taking the '55 Porsche to that show.
Naw, go ahead and load up the Mark II. I'll run that Porsche up there for ya!

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Old 08-09-2006, 04:34 AM   #67
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8-8-06 Down to the wire.

The maiden voyage cross-Michigan is this Friday. I installed the e-tracks to secure the car. They were installed so that the inner edge of both tracks are fastened to the frame with 1/4"-20 stainless screws that are drilled and tapped into the 10-gauge metal. The outer edges are fastened with 1 1/2" #14 screws with heads that match the machine screws. The deck is two layers of 3/4" plywood.

Before the first jaunt I installed a load distribution hitch with anti-sway. It probably didn't need it. I drove it a distance without it and noticed now sway, just a little more porpoising.

The crowd at Baker's loved it.

Parked in front of the house and left the running lights on near sunset. See how it disappears at dusk.

Celebrated the weekend with a bottle of champaign while sitting in my air-conditioned, off-grid, silver palace.

Bill built the cabinetry for the "refreshment center". The upper section is flush with the bulkhead wall. It will be framed in the green window sill material or the aluminum strips I framed the windows in.

That's the 6-bottle wine cooler on the right. Next to it, and level with the top of the cooler will be the microwave. Underneath it will be an open area for serving tray storage. The trays will be retained by a stainless rod made from the leftover curtain rod material.

In typical trailer interior fashion, there will be a one piece door that will be top-hinged for the upper storage area.

The lower cabinet will have a wet sink built into a countertop made of the same material as the table and windowsills. There will be an ice bucket and a waste bin also built into the countertop.

There will be two drawers big enough for dishes and other serving utensils. The lower left divided areas are more storage and the white object is the RV toilet. It will be concealed behind doors.

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Old 09-14-2006, 07:23 PM   #68
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I've settled with the insurance company. I've decided to make the repairs myself. The Phoenix will rise again.

As a caution to anyone with a round-bar weight distributing hitch. Since this accident I have found numerous stories of similar occurances. The overall design makes mechanical sense, but suffers, in my opinion, from a failure to be idiot-proof. There are just too many things that could happen that would allow the round bar to drop out.

However, I take some responsibility in the crash. There is a trailer towing dynamic that I was unaware of. Everyone talks about tongue weight as the most critical measurement in towing. I now believe that inertia is much more critical.

I loaded the Porsche in the trailer right over the center of the three axles. That created too much tongue weight. The rear of the F-450 sat down about 4". That produced an obvious overload. I moved the Porsche back in the 21' space within 2 feet of the back end. This produced about a 2" drop in the tow vehicle. As a rule of thumb, a 2" drop on an F-450 is plenty of tongue weight.

What I hadn't accounted for was mass. The Porsche is rear-engined. While the car has excellent weight distribution, most of the mass is at the rear. In fact, the Porsche engine sits aft of the transaxle, so all of the mechanicals are at the rear of the car. I had a 13 foot car in the rear of a 36 foot trailer. I has effectively set up a pendulum.

The pendulum effect was thoroughly masked by the new weight distributing hitch until one of the round bars somehow disengaged. When it fell off it changed the towing dynamics so dramatically that we started to spin.

The extreme "wags" of the trailer was apparently due to the position of the car, at the end of a 36-foot trailer. Once it started, the mass of the car kept it going as a body in motion tends to stay in motion. The side to side skid marks on the floor was evidence of extreme side forces which played further into the mishap.

I've entertained two schools of thought about the actual detachment of the round bar. The first would be that the cumulative manufacturing errors contributed to the bar falling out of its socket. The other school of thought is that the chain tensioner came up over the edge of the frame rail and disengaged the tension on the round bar. The torsion bar could have rotated sideways 90 and then fallen out as the pin can not hold the bar past 90. It is my opinion that the tensioner should have been welded in place but the unit is clearly marked that welding would void the warranty.


The Porsche suffered extensive body damage on the passenger side. It also suffered some severe suspension damage on the same side. Both side wheels are bent, as are the extremely rare aluminum brake drums. The front spindle is bent and both hubcaps are ruined. The rear axle appears to be bent and the transmission may have suffered some internal damage.

The car is too rare not to repair. It was insured for a bit more than the anticipated damages and the insurance company hasn't balked at anything.

The front suspension has been repaired but the engine and transaxle need to come out for repair by another specialist. While the transaxle is being repaired the car will be disassembled for a complete paint job. The windshield, top windows and interior will be removed and reassembled after the bodywork and paint are done at Autometrics, in Pontiac, MI. I should get it back better than new.


Was pretty banged up. The inner wall was pushed out about 4 inches. 4 wood studs broke and two aluminum supports on either side of the rear door were badly bent.

The door is bent at the same angle as the trailer wall. The door was trapped closed by the guardrail when the Porsche hit the wall from the inside. I couldn't figure it out at first.

The passenger side got the worst of it, just like the Porsche. You can see how the guardrail left its mark.

The driver's side took a smack that did some superficial damage but made a kink in the rear opening.

The inertia of the impact wracked the ramp system. I should be able to bend this back into shape.

The door frame took the brunt of the damage.

My first step will be to remove the FRP lining and remove damaged wood and foam.
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Old 09-15-2006, 07:31 PM   #69
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9-15-2006 Back at it.

Stripped off the FRP from the damaged areas. Removed foam from wall cavaties. The foam stuck very well to exposed surfaces. did not stick to tar.

Found broken studs and bent door frame supports. Both simple parts to duplicate.

Once the bent supports were removed the door frame was simple to straighten but left some cosmetic scars.

A little hammer and dolly work.

Coarse through 600 grit sanding.

Some compounding. I think it looks fine.

I decided to replace the bottom 24" of Alclad in the damage area.

I measured a distance of 1 7/8" inch below a rivet line and created a stop for my circular saw with the aluminum-specific carbide blade. This cut line will become the top of a lapped joint, matching the joint 24" above it.

I learned a trick I'll pass on. If you put a piece of masking tape across the cut line the edge will be virtually burr-free.

I drilled out several hundred rivets and removed the damaged sheet metal, exposing the back side of the broken studs. The damaged metal will be hammered flat and used as a template for new Alclad material.

This is the piece I'm going to have to have made, or sacrifice an entire trailer for.

I'll remove the foam several inches above the new horizontal seam for better access for riveting.

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Old 09-15-2006, 08:48 PM   #70
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1975 28' Argosy 28
Rutledge , Georgia
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Hi, Barry,

I'm glad to see that you're going at the repair with gusto.

This may be way beside the point, but I've been recently reading about the European Airstreams and the way they pull them. They have far less than the 10-15% of the trailer weight on the ball, then distributed, than we expect.

This got me to thinking about how your trailer is inherently balanced - moving it around by hand and all.

This hitch, and I don't even trust my own like hitch on the Argosy now, was made to distribute 10-15%. Was it even LOADED?

I'm wondering if it was actually unloading a trailer that did not need to be. Then I think about having three axles, and it seems to me that the middle one ends up the fulcrum. If so, aren't the other four the bounce?

Then I'm thinking about the tail wagging the dog, and I'm wondering if this could have recovered on its own if enough of the weight were actually on the ball.

What if you had moved the load forward so that 10-15% of the trailer weight was actually on the ball? After all, other forum members have reported seeing this type of hitch with a bar dragging going down the road!

This is just discussion, however. Thank you for sharing all the details with us, and thank you for making it beautiful again.


1975 Argosy 28 "Argosy"
1979 Excella 500 31 "Betsy"
1992 Lincoln Mk 7 LSC
2003 Dodge 2500 Cummins "TowHog"
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