Featured Thread
Tourmax

Tourmax

Regular
Jul 28, 2019
692
1,267
Awards
7
VetteCoins
13,228
Car
1988 Corvette
Province
NS
Since everyone likes to see fab and build projects, I thought I'd post up my 8x8 Argo. Boys in Quebec and "The Patch" are usually pretty familiar with them, NL boys too.

Started as a 1986 I/C (IE: industrial/commercial) and I've customized it to my purpose. It was pretty beat when I picked it up:

Fr 8 size880


Fr 7 size880


Fr 1946 size880


I paid 3 grand for it. That seemed high, but finding an 8x8 that wasn't asking 10-15 grand was nearly impossible around these parts (new is around 25/30 grand and up) and I knew a 6x6 just wasn't going to have the space I needed. Well, anything that wasn't a 6x6 and in the "hundreds" was usually a total wreck. At least this one was all there and running. I knew bringing it back up to snuff was surely going to be well within my wheel house and I could customize it as I saw fit.

After I got it home, the problems became evident. Admittedly,I also didn't do my homework so there was lots wrong that I didn't even check when I looked at it. But, what was worn out on it is what typically goes on these things: all the chains were worn out (that's about 50 feet in total!), all 8 outer bearings were ratched, and all the axle seals were loose, leaking and worn. Drive it into the water and you could watch the water POUR (alarmingly!) in around the axles. The electrical system (such as it is) was a total mess and the tracks were so loose you might as well not use them at all (PO had put the undersized tires on it).

You can see the chains here are so worn they are actually beginning to chew into the frame:

Fr 3337 size880


Well, replacing all that stuff was a treat. Pretty sure I invented a few new curse words in the process.

:)

It was all seized solid for what (probably) was a couple decades. After a couple weeks of burning, banging and grinding I had all the chains, bearings and seals replaced.

Luckily, when ODG built these they used commonly available agricultural/industrial parts, so the chains and bearings I picked up relatively inexpensively a the local farm supply store. The seals we just crossed up the part number off the old ones. Needless to say, it was literally a FRACTION of what the parts would have cost from Argo.

It drove much better with all that work done and you could park it in a pond without taking on hardly any water at all.

Now that it was at least mechanically sound, I started looking at other systems. It had weak, tiny sealed beam lights, so in went a couple LED units:

Fr 41 size880


Big improvement and much easier on the weak old Kohler generator.

Then, it was time to start doing some customizing. I got it in my head I wanted to put my VF750F engine into it:

Fr 3405 size880


18 hp to 90 hp! Yeah baby:

Fr 3408 size880


The VF is water cooled, so I needed a space to mount a rad. A smashed Crown Vic offered up it's grill (found on the side of the road):

Fr 3815 size880


A little cutting and plastic welding:

Fr 3831 size880


Fr 3835 size880


I actually had the VF installed and running, but with summer coming I decided to pull it and reinstall the Kohler Magnum so I could use the Argo in the back lot this year. I use it to drag all my yard/forestry tools around so I don't have to hump it all around by "Black Cadillacs"....

Compression and oil pressure checked out good, so a quick clean and refresh of the engine and transmission:

Fr 3838 size880


Good to go.

About this time, I decided I didn't like the side exit exhaust in front of the passenger compartment, so:

Fr 3874 size880


Fr 3873 size880


worked great until the first time I leaned over it and felt the heat through my jeans. So a shield was in order:

Fr 4302 size880


then it was on to some protection and adding a mount for an outboard since the knobbies didn't swim worth a damn:

Fr 3801 size880


Fr 3829 size880


The original seats were pathetic (30 year old 1” thick open cell foam over a piece of plywood), so I ripped them out and made new ones out of a couple Ford Fusion rear seat bottoms.

Fr 3844 size880


Fr 3827 size880


Fr 3846 size880


Fr 3904 size880

It came with a piece of wood for the rear floor, so a bit of 1/8" aluminum and:

Fr 50 size880


Did a bit of work on a custom dash:

Fr 3918 size880


Fr 4301 size880


I added a Honda thumb throttle and the LH switch gear is from a Honda 500 Foreman. I rewired the switch to work with the Argo and things like horn and lights. The shifter buttons now work the winch in/out so I don’t have to take my hands off the levers to run it. On a skid steer, you want to ALWAYS have your hands on the levers.

While I was at it, I moved the driving position from RH side to LH. No reason other than it just feels more natural.

Then a rear seat/storage/battery box:

Fr 3912 size880


Nice big deep cycle AGM battery because:

Fr 3863 size880


Once installed, I made a "shield" so that when I drive into the water it doesn't just flood in through the open grill:

Fr 4300 size880


It's not meant to be water tight, it's just meant to split the water like the bow of a ship does. Once floating, the opening is well above the water line. Some water may still come in on intial water entry, but only a small amount and with two 2000 gal/min bilge pumps, you could put a 4" hole in the hull and it still (probably) wouldn't sink!

Then a cover for the winch so the weather doesn't beat it up too badly:

Fr 4391 size880


Fr 4393 size880


No one likes getting rained on, so a little sewing machine work and:

Fr 4339 size880


A bit more work in the rear compartment to add sides and back rests and here it is working at the back of my lot earlier today:

Fr 4385 size880


Fr 4409 size880
Fr 4410 size880


That's where it currently sits in it's development.

At first, my buddies with Quads hated it when I'd take it on a trail ride. It's wide and big and slooooowwww (flat out in high gear is around 20-25 mph). But, as soon as they figured out it was basically a tank and would go places they couldn't, they warmed up to it. they warmed up even more when they found out that no matter where they got thier quads stuck, the Argo would just wade in, hook up a line and drag them out. No muss no fuss. They actually ask me to go with them now, especially if they plan on going bogging. They still are a lot faster, but I just rumble along and sooner or later I pass them trying to yank thier quads out of whatever they're stuck in. I usually get to where we are going before them because while they rip up the trail and then have to work to get unstuck, I just keep on plowing through. Or, they rip on past, get stuck, I show up and pull them out, then they rip up the trail, they get stuck again and I pull them out and so it goes until we get to where we are going. It also doesn't hurt that I carry with me almost a full shop load of tools and parts. There's been a couple times they'd have been broken on the trail if I wasn't with them. Worse case scenario is the ol' Argo can drag their busted quad home. We just tie it up so that whatever end is not rolling is in the air and off we go. I'm actually thinking of building a crane like attachment so I can use the winch a bit like the boom on a tow truck.

Even with all that, they're all still usually a little peeved when we stop. Not because the Argo is so slow, but because they're wet and covered in mud and I'm wearing jeans, T-shirt and sneakers but totally dry and clean, drinking my coffee from my thermal mug. Going fast is fun, but it's not always the most important thing in life....especially at my age! lol!

Next up will be a full suspension system. As it sits, the only suspension it has is whatever give is in the tires and the seats. It's just a bit too rough for my beat up old body, so I've been slowly collecting parts (axles, cv joints, shocks/springs, etc) to make the suspension. It could also use a few more inches of ground clearance. As it sits, it's relatively easy to high center it if you manage to get something under it (like a chunk of cut log) that levers both sets of wheels off the ground or at least makes it hard for them to get traction. Suspension will likely add 4-5 inches to the 6-ish inches it currently has.

But that's a project for next winter, the Argo has work to do this summer......;)
 
Last edited:
Tourmax

Tourmax

Regular
Jul 28, 2019
692
1,267
Awards
7
VetteCoins
13,228
Car
1988 Corvette
Province
NS
30 years of SAR has left me pretty beat up. Pretty broken. I was the guy who could grab a 302 short block and walk across the shop with it. Now I struggle with a couple paint cans.

In the shop isn’t a big problem, I’ve got cranes and lifts to move heavy stuff. Outside is a different story.

So I built myself an all-terrain “crane”:



First job was to lift up the lawn tractor so I could spray the caked grass off the deck. Worked great!

This will be quite helpful for my yard and woods work!

And if I want to remove it, its just two bolts and pull the pin in the pulley to release the winch cable.

I just have to be careful how much weight I try to lift as the plastic tub will inly support so much...

:)
 
2

2KforeverC5

Regular
Mar 25, 2021
313
66
Awards
2
VetteCoins
5,864
Car
Corvette 2000 Z06
Province
AB
Since everyone likes to see fab and build projects, I thought I'd post up my 8x8 Argo. Boys in Quebec and "The Patch" are usually pretty familiar with them, NL boys too.

Started as a 1986 I/C (IE: industrial/commercial) and I've customized it to my purpose. It was pretty beat when I picked it up:

View attachment 39687

View attachment 39689

View attachment 39697

I paid 3 grand for it. That seemed high, but finding an 8x8 that wasn't asking 10-15 grand was nearly impossible around these parts (new is around 25/30 grand and up) and I knew a 6x6 just wasn't going to have the space I needed. Well, anything that wasn't a 6x6 and in the "hundreds" was usually a total wreck. At least this one was all there and running. I knew bringing it back up to snuff was surely going to be well within my wheel house and I could customize it as I saw fit.

After I got it home, the problems became evident. Admittedly,I also didn't do my homework so there was lots wrong that I didn't even check when I looked at it. But, what was worn out on it is what typically goes on these things: all the chains were worn out (that's about 50 feet in total!), all 8 outer bearings were ratched, and all the axle seals were loose, leaking and worn. Drive it into the water and you could watch the water POUR (alarmingly!) in around the axles. The electrical system (such as it is) was a total mess and the tracks were so loose you might as well not use them at all (PO had put the undersized tires on it).

You can see the chains here are so worn they are actually beginning to chew into the frame:

View attachment 39690

Well, replacing all that stuff was a treat. Pretty sure I invented a few new curse words in the process.

:)

It was all seized solid for what (probably) was a couple decades. After a couple weeks of burning, banging and grinding I had all the chains, bearings and seals replaced.

Luckily, when ODG built these they used commonly available agricultural/industrial parts, so the chains and bearings I picked up relatively inexpensively a the local farm supply store. The seals we just crossed up the part number off the old ones. Needless to say, it was literally a FRACTION of what the parts would have cost from Argo.

It drove much better with all that work done and you could park it in a pond without taking on hardly any water at all.

Now that it was at least mechanically sound, I started looking at other systems. It had weak, tiny sealed beam lights, so in went a couple LED units:

View attachment 39691

Big improvement and much easier on the weak old Kohler generator.

Then, it was time to start doing some customizing. I got it in my head I wanted to put my VF750F engine into it:

View attachment 39692

18 hp to 90 hp! Yeah baby:

View attachment 39693

The VF is water cooled, so I needed a space to mount a rad. A smashed Crown Vic offered up it's grill (found on the side of the road):

View attachment 39698

A little cutting and plastic welding:

View attachment 39699

View attachment 39716

I actually had the VF installed and running, but with summer coming I decided to pull it and reinstall the Kohler Magnum so I could use the Argo in the back lot this year. I use it to drag all my yard/forestry tools around so I don't have to hump it all around by "Black Cadillacs"....

Compression and oil pressure checked out good, so a quick clean and refresh of the engine and transmission:

View attachment 39694

Good to go.

About this time, I decided I didn't like the side exit exhaust in front of the passenger compartment, so:

View attachment 39695

View attachment 39696

worked great until the first time I leaned over it and felt the heat through my jeans. So a shield was in order:

View attachment 39717

then it was on to some protection and adding a mount for an outboard since the knobbies didn't swim worth a damn:

View attachment 39700

View attachment 39701

The original seats were pathetic (30 year old 1” thick open cell foam over a piece of plywood), so I ripped them out and made new ones out of a couple Ford Fusion rear seat bottoms.

View attachment 39702

View attachment 39703

View attachment 39718

View attachment 39704
It came with a piece of wood for the rear floor, so a bit of 1/8" aluminum and:

View attachment 39705

Did a bit of work on a custom dash:

View attachment 39711

View attachment 39712

I added a Honda thumb throttle and the LH switch gear is from a Honda 500 Foreman. I rewired the switch to work with the Argo and things like horn and lights. The shifter buttons now work the winch in/out so I don’t have to take my hands off the levers to run it. On a skid steer, you want to ALWAYS have your hands on the levers.

While I was at it, I moved the driving position from RH side to LH. No reason other than it just feels more natural.

Then a rear seat/storage/battery box:

View attachment 39706

Nice big deep cycle AGM battery because:

View attachment 39707

Once installed, I made a "shield" so that when I drive into the water it doesn't just flood in through the open grill:

View attachment 39708

It's not meant to be water tight, it's just meant to split the water like the bow of a ship does. Once floating, the opening is well above the water line. Some water may still come in on intial water entry, but only a small amount and with two 2000 gal/min bilge pumps, you could put a 4" hole in the hull and it still (probably) wouldn't sink!

Then a cover for the winch so the weather doesn't beat it up too badly:

View attachment 39709

View attachment 39719

No one likes getting rained on, so a little sewing machine work and:

View attachment 39710

A bit more work in the rear compartment to add sides and back rests and here it is working at the back of my lot earlier today:

View attachment 39715

View attachment 39713View attachment 39714

That's where it currently sits in it's development.

At first, my buddies with Quads hated it when I'd take it on a trail ride. It's wide and big and slooooowwww (flat out in high gear is around 20-25 mph). But, as soon as they figured out it was basically a tank and would go places they couldn't, they warmed up to it. they warmed up even more when they found out that no matter where they got thier quads stuck, the Argo would just wade in, hook up a line and drag them out. No muss no fuss. They actually ask me to go with them now, especially if they plan on going bogging. They still are a lot faster, but I just rumble along and sooner or later I pass them trying to yank thier quads out of whatever they're stuck in. I usually get to where we are going before them because while they rip up the trail and then have to work to get unstuck, I just keep on plowing through. Or, they rip on past, get stuck, I show up and pull them out, then they rip up the trail, they get stuck again and I pull them out and so it goes until we get to where we are going. It also doesn't hurt that I carry with me almost a full shop load of tools and parts. There's been a couple times they'd have been broken on the trail if I wasn't with them. Worse case scenario is the ol' Argo can drag their busted quad home. We just tie it up so that whatever end is not rolling is in the air and off we go. I'm actually thinking of building a crane like attachment so I can use the winch a bit like the boom on a tow truck.

Even with all that, they're all still usually a little peeved when we stop. Not because the Argo is so slow, but because they're wet and covered in mud and I'm wearing jeans, T-shirt and sneakers but totally dry and clean, drinking my coffee from my thermal mug. Going fast is fun, but it's not always the most important thing in life....especially at my age! lol!

Next up will be a full suspension system. As it sits, the only suspension it has is whatever give is in the tires and the seats. It's just a bit too rough for my beat up old body, so I've been slowly collecting parts (axles, cv joints, shocks/springs, etc) to make the suspension. It could also use a few more inches of ground clearance. As it sits, it's relatively easy to high center it if you manage to get something under it (like a chunk of cut log) that levers both sets of wheels off the ground or at least makes it hard for them to get traction. Suspension will likely add 4-5 inches to the 6-ish inches it currently has.

But that's a project for next winter, the Argo has work to do this summer......;)
I’ll see what I can do with my lawnmower. Come to think of it the self propelled on it would be a start. What do you think? 🤩😳🥂😷
 

Users who are viewing this thread