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Old 02-24-2006, 05:23 PM   #21
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Mansfield , Texas
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I don't see how you could back that thing. When I was growing up we had an old cotton trailer that had a similar set up. With the hitch and the front wheels turning, it was impossible to back up. If you didn't plan your way of exiting a tight area, you were pretty much going to spend the rest of the day getting out. Do it have stabilizers that can support weight. Or do you have to carry a small lumber yard to level it. Just another SOB with a different gimmick. Sorry I don't think it's all that neat.
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Old 02-24-2006, 07:27 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Rog0525
Here's a pic of the Argosy trailer with Watson front wheel steer system. Only one test model was built before the idea was scrapped. I don't recall the year but it was discussed some time ago on these forums.
Looks like a motor home with a tow bar on front. It would be a bear to back. So would the SOB in the ebay ad.

BTW, where in the US is it that there isn't RV access or is it that you just can't back that thing into it? Could the seller mean he won't have RV storage at his/her new home?
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Old 02-24-2006, 07:44 PM   #23
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From the pictures, it appears that the tow bar does not link to the front wheels to steer them. It looks like the tow bar is fixed left to right to the frame. It has to pivot up and down so that all four wheels will stay on the ground when it goes over anything but perfectly level ground.

It appears that the front wheels steer themselves in response to the front end of the trailer being pulled to the left or right by the tow vehicle. Either using a castor arrangement like a towed car behind a motorhome, or some sort of spring assisted return to center.

If that is the case, it would be easier to back than most travel trailers, since it would act much like a semi trailer.

I would think that the possibility of having to back it up occured to the manufacturer at some point.

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Old 02-24-2006, 07:56 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by uncleneal

I would think that the possibility of having to back it up occured to the manufacturer at some point.

I think so too.

This type of trailer is commonly seen in Europe. Much of it is commercial haulage, like in New York State, but most showpeople, moving both living trailers and equipment there, operate like this as well.

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Old 02-24-2006, 08:11 PM   #25
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Here's a copy of a classified ad for the Argosy in 2000. It sounds as though backing wasn't the only problem. Apparently It performed poorly on the slalom course. I'm sure that Airstream did a lot of research brfore deciding not to market this design.

AD Number: 3301 - Posted on: Sept 11, 2000 Expires on: Sept 28,
2000 Click on name to send E-mail * Airstream Central *
By: snakefarmer
FOR SALE: 1 of 1 factory test model
Important piece of Airstream History
1 of 1,preproduction test model, 20' cabin Airstream Argosy
Watson front wheel steer system with plexiglass windows in top of
front wheel tubs for filming steering action. Steers like a car, not
a wagon! Zero tongue weight on tow vehicle.

No interior -- ever, 4 wheel electric brakes, factory interior
lining. No vents or holes. Original paint, tires, signage, etc. Rear
tires show heavy wear from full power broadsliding through slalom
course during testing at Transportation Reasearch Center. Amateur
video of testing goes with trailer, very dramatic!

May you camp where wind wonít hit you, where snakes wonít bite and bears wonít git you.

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Old 02-24-2006, 08:23 PM   #26
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One problem I would see with the design, even if all the steering and backing problems are worked out, is that it would high center on large bumps in the road, like crossing railroad tracks. Same problem you have driving a stretch limo. Front wheels go over, middle hangs up, you rip the bottom out of it pulling it free.

But at least you wouldn't have to worry about dragging the tail on steep driveways.

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