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Old 08-03-2010, 10:08 AM   #41
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Andrew T, I want this FJ Cruiser/20' Safari Se combo to work because we travel the Southwest U.S. in winter, with 80% of our time unhooked touring desert, mountain, and cities. The FJ is agile, inexpensive, reliable, and has a utility interior. We have traveled/ camped extensively, and travel lightly, seldom on interstates.

With better tires, Hensley hitch, and strengthened receiver, would this be a good handling combo for us? If not-so-good, would you have another tow vehicle in mind?

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Old 07-01-2012, 09:12 AM   #42
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The Mini Rides pretty firm with or without the trailer tires are 205/40 18" so there is not a lot of sidewall to absorb the little road seams. We have an equalizing hitch on it with a friction sway control. The sway control does not seem to make any difference but it is cheap insurance.

Our biggest concern was if we could build a receiver for it but it turned out to be fairly simple.

The Countryman may not be as good a tow vehicle. If the power is the same the extra drag from the 4WD will reduce performance. The taller centre of Gravity and larger tires may not be as precise handling, I would imagine they are tuning it for a smoother ride as well.

Here is a hitch picture.

Andrew T
Hope nobody minds the thread revival but this is pretty neat to look at. I would have concerns about the severe rear suspension drop shown in the above pic. That looks like 2" lower than stock when hitched up. What does the MINI and trailer look like when loaded with gear? What is the weight of this vintage trailer (3200 lbs and 550 tongue maybe?)?

I would love to hitch up a modern 16 or 19' International to my MINI John Cooper Works! I have four piston brembo brakes with ~13" disks on the front, ~210 ft/lb torque @ 1850 rpm and ~210 hp, optional sports suspension, etc. which makes for a fun vehicle on the road. I have little interest in owning an SUV or truck TV and I can see the appeal to having a small nimble TV like the MINI.

I would imagine it would be a good idea to swap out the drums for disks to keep up with the huge Brembo brakes on my MINI... but I have a feeling that two people, a dog, clothing and gear, etc. would be to much to ask.
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:47 AM   #43
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I realize not everyone wants to drive a 3/4 ton truck, or any truck for that matter, so this would probably be an practical combo for some. However, for what the engineering of the receiver, and a $3,000 for a Hensley/Pro Pride/etc. and the installation of all this equipment would come close to the price of a mid-90s era Suburban or Tahoe that could be used for towing only, or fill in for purposes that a Minni can't and you would have a more comfortable ride than a cramped, compact (ultimate compact) car that you have to shift gears in traffic getting in or out of your home port or along the route to your destination.
Looks like the Mini/Argo is using a conventional Easy Lift WDH. Sure the custom receiver costs a bit more than a bolt on but they are far superior in design. The rest of the hardware (brake controller,etc) is what you need to have installed on any vehicle whatever it is.

I am 6'2 and owned 2 of the original Mini's back in the 60's. I found them not that small inside and the new Mini's are much roomier.

I see the cost savings in the fuel usage, especially when not towing the trailer which is most of the time.

Because we tow with a reasonably fuel efficient V6 car (set up by Can AM) we saved enough in fuel (since buying the Airstream 10 years ago) to actually pay for the cost of buying our Airstream ($6,000).
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Old 07-04-2012, 02:35 AM   #44
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If I was going to match up a new Airstream to your Mini I would suggest the 22' Sport. It has a less air drag due to the narrower body. It also has less hitch weight when loaded for travel without sacraficing any towing stability.

This mini already had a lowered suspension so it did not sink as much as you might think when the Argosy was attached, 3/4" front and rear if my memory serves. Carrying 2 people and a dog would not be a problem and loading the Airstream will have no effect as the 22' stays pretty hitch weight neutral when loaded.

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Old 07-04-2012, 07:12 AM   #45
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Interesting stuff. Thanks.
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Old 07-20-2012, 10:59 AM   #46
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I asked around on the SOMC which is a local MINI forum and it would appear that the MINI used to tow this trailer died during a MINI parade with the Argosy in tow... Transmission and possibly other items. Poor, poor MINI.
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:49 AM   #47
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I asked around on the SOMC which is a local MINI forum and it would appear that the MINI used to tow this trailer died during a MINI parade with the Argosy in tow... Transmission and possibly other items. Poor, poor MINI.
Reference?

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Old 07-21-2012, 12:30 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by dkottum

Reference?

doug k
My source was a couple MINI SOMC forum members and not official from the dealership. The car apparently suffered transmission and may have had some suspension problems. Choice is yours if you believe it's true but I would exercise caution trying this setup.

If you really want to find out, call MINI Durham and ask them I guess.
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Old 07-21-2012, 03:58 PM   #49
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Andy Thomson set this Mini combo up. If it had mechanical failure we would like to know the facts, not guesses based on hearsay.

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Old 07-21-2012, 04:15 PM   #50
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At a parade's pace you can tow the small Argosy with a bicycle or a garden tractor. The Mini would be a Western Star or Kenworth by comparison.

MINI Durham or Mr T. is where the real story could probably be found, if there is a story at all.
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Old 07-21-2012, 04:34 PM   #51
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I could see the slow pace of a parade damaging any standard transmission if it isn't set up to go that slow slipping the clutch to maintain the slow pace.
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Old 07-21-2012, 04:41 PM   #52
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I could see the slow pace of a parade damaging any standard transmission if it isn't set up to go that slow slipping the clutch to maintain the slow pace.
Excellent point. One of the changes made during the development of the Volkswagen Kübelwagen was a lower first gear so it could travel at the pace of marching troops.
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Old 07-21-2012, 09:01 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by dkottum
Andy Thomson set this Mini combo up. If it had mechanical failure we would like to know the facts, not guesses based on hearsay.

doug k
Well since it is my expensive mini, I don't think i will be trying it out myself! Best of luck finding out the facts. I don't think anyone from mini frequents this forum but maybe canamrv can comment - not sure if they keep in touch... It's a few years later now.
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Old 07-21-2012, 09:04 PM   #54
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I could see the slow pace of a parade damaging any standard transmission if it isn't set up to go that slow slipping the clutch to maintain the slow pace.
First gear in a mini at idle is walking pace. I can almost stop the car before stalling - without a trailer in tow of course. Anyways letting the clutch slip will burn out the clutch but not the transmission IMO.
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Old 07-22-2012, 06:44 PM   #55
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I PM'd Andy T about this. I am curious if the dealership stayed in contact over the years. Not sure if he is getting the email notifications about this thread.
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Old 07-22-2012, 06:56 PM   #56
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Ever seen Smokeless Joes rig here? Mercedes sprinter truck with mini cooper on the deck and matching Argosy in tow. It's a wow for any one to see.
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:19 PM   #57
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Ever seen Smokeless Joes rig here? Mercedes sprinter truck with mini cooper on the deck and matching Argosy in tow. It's a wow for any one to see.
I did and emailed him last night about his rig. Very cool setup and great thread about his old trailer refurb. He is in transit but hope to hear from him soon and maybe see his rig In person some day when he returns to Toronto.
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Old 03-06-2015, 11:16 AM   #58
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Curious if this combo is still in use?

I was at the RV Show in Toronto, Canada and one of the sales guys suggested this MINI/Airstream setup was still in use and undamaged. Anyways they had several of their unique car/AS setups along with a nice looking AS Sport 22' on display - that revived my thoughts about this.
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Old 03-06-2015, 11:23 AM   #59
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I believe he sold it to a couple in VT last year....
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Old 03-06-2015, 01:33 PM   #60
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I believe he sold it to a couple in VT last year....
I sent a PM asking AndrewT as well. I'll probably be at CanAM RV in a couple weeks for a beginners seminar. Perhaps they can take a quick look under the MINI's 'skirt'.
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