“HitchHiker” is a highly modified and fully restored 1977 Argosy Minuet 6 Meter with the composite (no rot ever) insulated aluminum sub floor used in only some Minuets.The end product shown here is not intended to be a “restoration” that aims toward preservation of the original design, but rather a custom build of a smaller RV targeted to specific adventure and event related activities. That use will become clearer as you understand the build. We started out with “good bones” in that the shell was in reasonably good shape as was the frame.
1. The frame and outriggers were reinforced for more floor support and additional axle mounts were added to support a new heavy duty torsion axle with a 45 degree down angle that gives it about 5″ more ground clearance. The older frame components were inspected for any weakness and then coated and painted with a rust resistant primer and paint. The new axle assembly has electric brakes. Heavy duty worm-drive stabilizers are on all four frame corners. The tongue assembly was re-unforced and extended to enable the mounting of the split system HVAC unit’s compressor and a loading and carry rack for a small “pit bike” or a pair of e-bikes. The 2 5/16″ ball coupler is at standard 21″ Airstream height and is replaceable.
A rear platform was fabricated to carry 2 Viking composite propane tanks, a full size spare tire and a lockable battery box for the house 100 AH AGM deep cycle battery. The new belly pan was fabricated out of clear poly-carbonate panels. While not intended for full-bore off-road use, it is capable of light duty off-road use and high crown unpaved back roads. Wheels are standard 15″ steel with grease fitting bearings. Tires and spare are new Goodyear Endurance trailer service.
2. Minuets of this vintage did not have a grey water tank. This one now has a both a grey water tank and a black tank with standard rv dump valves and connections. A tube type storage unit is mounted under the back bumper to carry a 15′ dump hose and cleaning wand. The 18 gallon (?) fresh water tank is original as built.
3. Minuets did not have boarding steps as built, but this feature has also been added.
4. The custom built roof platform is all aluminum and is removable. It is made in 2 sections plus a rear access ladder. The supports were welded into the rv’s main frame members. A roof mounted removable box made of aluminum contains the air handler for the split system HVAC heating and air conditioning and it is mounted free of the roof platform. The platform also carries a single 100 watt solar panel, an amplified TV antenna, 2 side mounted LED floodlights and a powered cell booster antenna. The deck is perforated aluminum plate and also protects the roof from hail or debris damage. The roof deck is capable of carrying a kayak or canoe, but is not intended to carry really heavy cargo. The roof panels were removed for this construction and access for wiring and new insulation was added before all new aluminum roof panels were installed.
5. The professionally done paint job is 2-part automotive polyurethane with a catalyzed clear coat.
6. All lighting including running lights are 12v DC LED. About 80% of the original wiring was replaced and a new fuse and battery charger/power center was installed. There is no inverter, but the trailer is wired for 110ac shore power and a control converter/transformer run the dedicated 220v HVAC system. The connection to the Tow Vehicle is a standard 7-pin round Bargman connector.
7. Going inside, all cabinetry is custom built from solid core bamboo cabinet grade plywood. The floor is new composite wood grain vinyl textured planking. The fridge/freezer is a Norcold unit that is both propane and electric (110v) powered. There is a new propane powered wall mounted catalytic heater. The water heater is a new 6-gallon propane or electric unit. There is a CO2 and propane monitor installed along with a dry chemical fire extinguisher. The water pump is also new and runs on 12v, as does the entertainment electronics. The TV is a 12v 21″ wall mounted Skyworth flat panel unit with a built in DVD player. The radio is a Sony AM-FM with a CD player. A Blue Tooth amp powers the sound bar for any BT capable audio source and the TV. There is an installed MPPT Blue Sky solar controller and a powered cell booster from SmoothTalker that will support multiple cell devices at the same time. Interior plug outlets offer USB charging as well as both cig lighter sockets and 110v GFI household outlets.
8. The galley has a new 4-burner propane stove with an integrated broiler. There is a 12v range hood with exterior exhaust over the stove with interior LED lighting. The sink is a single with a glass cover and stainless drain board. There is a small porcelain sink in the bathroom and a stand-up shower. The toilet is a fresh water flush model that drains direct into the black tank. Sink drains and shower drains into the separate grey water tank. All plumbing is new pex and all mounted inside the body of the trailer. There is an integral pressure regulator for incoming fresh water from the skin fitting. and a household type charcoal filter under the sink for the cold water going into the galley.
9. The Argosy’s front dinette table folds down to make a double bunk and it has a pull-out bench sofa opposite the galley for seating or another bunk. All cushions and interior window coverings are custom made and are new and covered with a soft acrylic fabric. All windows are tinted and include “window popper” easy openers. The exterior front windows are the original curved clear glass protected by new Airstream rock guard cover units cut down to fit the Argosy. The new box-type side awning is by Fiamma and is fully manual in operation, so it does not jam!
The towing weight is around 3500 pounds. The hitch weight depends on the loading, but it is normally around 450 pounds. We tow it on a simple weight distribution hitch (included in sale) with a Chevy Tahoe SUV with the factory installed tow package. It tows easily and we get around 14 mpg on normal trips. We have Sunbrella covers for the propane tanks, the spare tire and the HVAC front compressor unit when traveling.
10. One last comment on the split system HVAC system. It is incredibly quiet in operation and is controlled by a hand-held remote. It is also very stable in temperature either in heating or cooling mode. If you have not been exposed to one of these in operation, you will be as astonished as I was when we first fired it up! It was not all that easy to install as a retrofit, but if I were building these as new, I would not use anything else.
Clear Tennessee title. Located in Nashville Tennessee with an inspection encouraged by appointment.
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