My first Argo configuration advice and questions.

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Thread: My first Argo configuration advice and questions.

  1. #1
    scimanstev's Avatar
    scimanstev is online now Sophomore Slider scimanstev is on a distinguished road
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    My first Argo configuration advice and questions.

    The time is getting close for me to finally buy an Argo. I have wanted an amphibious ATV since I first saw the Banana Splits as a boy. I have made every effort over the years to learn as much as I can, but one thing I have learned is to listen to those that have experience. And answers to questions or advice will be very much appreciated, and taken very seriously. I am in a position where initial cost is not a concern, but I only want to do it once, and have a wonderful machine for decades.

    I had wanted an Avenger LX, but recent advice made me realize that the HS transmission would not work with tracks very well. I was recommended the Avenger STR, as it does have bead lock tires. I agree. I don't know how often I will be using tracks, but when they are on, I will be making long rides, so I will go with the HT transmission. I don't care about top end speed, just reliability, and versatility.

    These are the options for the STR:
    1. Alternator. That sounds like I want that. My question is how does an Argo work without an alternator? I will add USB ports, and perhaps a stereo like the LX, and having plenty of electrical power is a no brainer.
    2. Brake cooling fan. I'm not sure exactly what this is, but it sounds like a good idea. Any comments would be welcome.
    3. HD drive belt. That sounds like another no brainer, but what do you think?
    4. Brushguard. Yep, I need one.
    5. Winch. Absolutely! I will also have 100 feet of extra steel cable, and a land anchor in case I get stuck somewhere with nothing to winch onto. I want to be ready for anything!
    Now for the accessories.
    1. Brake lights. This is a requirement to register it as a snow mobile in New Hampshire. I wanted fog lights for the brushguard, but New Hampshire allows a maximum of two head lights to be a snow mobile. I have to register it as an OHRV, but can also register it as a snow mobile.
    2. Automatic chain oiler. This sounds like a good idea.
    3. Outboard motor mount. Many of the ATV trails in New Hampshire are not legal for an ATV 60 inches wide, as is the STR. The trails that are legal are about a 2 hour drive away, but there are lakes all over the place. A question I have, as I have looked at 9,9 hp outboard motors, is shaft length. I have seen 15", 20", and 25". Which is the right one for an Argo. I am even looking at electric start motors, as I don't want to be 90 years old, pulling a cord.
    4. Windshield. This is a great idea, and since I want the full canvas cover, is a requirement.
    5. Windshield wiper. This is an all weather, all terrain machine, so yes a windshield wiper seems like a good idea. I can picture myself riding out in a rain or snow storm, knowing the chances of getting stuck are minimal.
    6. Convertible top. That can work great for winter, or even bug season. I am thinking of modifying it so that screens can be on the inside of the plastic, like a tent is structured. That way, the bugs stay out, and the breeze comes through. I also see that it is removable for the times I just want to be out in the sun. Perfect!
    7. Rear Winch Receiver Accessory. What is that? It looks very useful, and from the picture it seems it has a remote for the winch. A remote sounds like a very good idea.
    8. Under hood fan. I can't find that listed at the moment, but I know I have read about it somewhere. This seems like a good idea.
    9. Cab heater. This sounds excellent for a cold day, but I have some questions. First, where is it placed? Does it prevent me from removing the convertible top? I did read in these forums that it can't be shut off in the summer. I am guessing it works by running engine coolant through it, so some sort of shut off valve might be required. I do need your thoughts on this, as the description doesn't answer the questions.
    10. Tracks. The real power of an Argo is unleashed with tracks. Without a consumer report style comparison of the different styles for the same conditions, I have to rely on the videos. I have settled on the Escargo tracks with the removable winter kit. That video of an Argo crawling on and off broken ice made the decision for me. That was awesome! I understand that they are heavier, and perhaps a bit slower in water, but as far as traction going up hills and snow, they seem to be the most likely to not be stuck. I know I need track tuners, which is fine. That makes sense to me. I think I need extensions, but with the beadlock tires, I'm not sure. I know they can be reversed to add a built in extension. What do you think?
    11. Covered trailer. This is indispensable, as the legal summer trails are about 2 hours away. I have been looking at SLE Equipment as a dealer for both the Argo and the trailer. I am hoping I can get the Argo delivered in the trailer. The trailer will double as another garage bay. Perfect! I don't have a trailer hitch on my Jeep Liberty yet, but will have one installed as soon as I learn the correct size. I think at that dealer, I saw I could get the Argo in red. I saw on the Argo website, that the STR only comes in black, tundra, and camo. If it could be red, that would be awesome!

    I am really looking forward to this. I think the 2018 models will be out soon, and I may base the root STR on the new models, but at least I will have the basic configuration set. I already have helmets, live jackets, a GoPro Hero 5, with 128 Gb SD card all picked out. Once a few more things fall into place, I will go on an ordering spree. I am open to suggestions on the best electric start outboard motor, or anything else. I can only do this once, but for just this once, I am not cost shy. I want this Argo to be the best thing I have ever purchased, that will last me many, many years. My wife thinks I am a nut, and doesn't approve, but this time she is over ruled. I will have my Argo!

    Steve

  2. #2
    scimanstev's Avatar
    scimanstev is online now Sophomore Slider scimanstev is on a distinguished road
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    I found my first part of bad news. In order to register an ATV as a snow mobile in New Hampshire, it can't be any wider than 54"
    I think I can get around it with written owners permission. I will be in touch with Fish and Wildlife, and ask specific questions.
    Most of the legal trails are way up north, but I am finding some about 45 minutes away. Does anyone know what conditions I will find on any of the UTV trails in New Hampshire? I want to be ready for anything!

    Steve

  3. #3
    bakedalaskan is offline Registered Rider bakedalaskan is on a distinguished road
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    Hi Steve,

    If money is not the concern; why not a 750HDI? It is water cooled and does not have brake fans.
    1. Alternator = Yes Electrical loads will not be a concern. The other advantage is if it ever goes off line/quits you can hook up the original rectifier and keep on going.
    3. HD drive belt = Yes
    4 generally is used with the winch. Opt for wireless remote for the winch.
    2. Automatic chain oiler? My opinion is no. Not needed/ extra pain for maintaining. I live in Alaska and am always on long remote trips. Chain oiling is generally the last thing on my maintenance list only because good chain lube will stay on for a long time. Note* this is a chicken or egg topic. You will hear many different opinions on this. There is a discussion on this in the forum.
    3. You will need a long shaft outboard or trolling motor.
    4 & 6 Windshield and top = yes
    5 windshield wiper = look at this MANUAL HD WIPER 14" Simple/works well/no electrics. There is a discussion about this topic on the forum.
    8. under hood fan = ? I have not needed one even in Texas but have no experience on this topic. Most of my activity is colder weather.
    9. cab heater. I wish I did not have one. I don't need mine even at 0 degrees with the top up and it is hot in the summer. The only time I have used mine was on a cold fall day when I was too lazy/close to the trailer to put the top up.
    10. Tracks = yes Looks like you have researched this topic. There are no right or wrong answers to this topic.
    14. Wish I still had a covered trailer. Make sure you get one with a high door opening. A flat deck trailer (deck over the wheels/snowmobile)will not have the clearance to drive in with the top up and you will not be able to sell to side by side owners in the future.
    There are also discussions about registrations in the forum. I tell the registration people the only thing it can't do is stay airborne under its own power. You tell me what we are going to call it. Your local dealer should know how to handle this and give you advice.
    Welcome to the group. Have fun shopping and dreaming.
    Bakedalaskan

  4. #4
    scimanstev's Avatar
    scimanstev is online now Sophomore Slider scimanstev is on a distinguished road
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    Thank you so much for the reply. As to the HDI, I am not seeing them on the Argo website. I think I read somewhere that the STR, ST, and S models were once called HDI. I may be wrong about this. I do like the Avenger STR, because of the beadlock tires. The LX had them, but it is only available in the HS transmission configuration. I love it that the STR has a bilge pump. I hope to be doing a lot of boating!
    How does the original rectifier work? To me as skilled in electronics, a rectifier is usually a single diode, which only passes one polarity of an AC signal, or a bridge rectifier, which turns an AC signal into a chopped DC signal. I am not sure how a rectifier will maintain a charge on a battery. I will get the alternator regardless.
    I understand with the chain oiler. I am thinking that a bit of DuraLube, and the chain will be good for eons. I'm not sure about the under hood fan, but I have seen videos of people running without the hood, mainly in warmer climates. I am in New Hampshire, but it does get into the high 90's every now and then.
    The long shaft motor. Would that be the 25"? I like your recommendation about not needing the cab heater. I understand that every doohicky I add is more weight. I am less concerned so much on land, but am aware that the weight limit in water is more important. That is why I opted out of the ROPS at 155 pounds. I agree the trailer must be able for me to just drive in, with the convertible cove fully on. Anything smaller than that is a non-starter.

    I was disappointed that I can't register this as a snow mobile, as it can only be 54" wide. On the other hand, that means I can add the fog lights to the brush guard. I hope Fish and Game can give me a list of land owners, so at least I can ask permission. There are not many legal places to ride here in New Hampshire, that are less than a 2 hour ride away. I am hoping to make up for that by using it as a boat locally. I understand that I can't use it in wetlands, and wouldn't want to disturb wildlife. I would like to keep it in the water for extended lengths of time, and explore the shore lines of many swamps. I will ask Fish and Game about what I can, and can not do. I am certainly not looking to be a pest to local land owners. In a state where the motto is Live Free or Die, there certainly are a lot of restrictions on where I can ride.

    Anyway, thank you so much for your excellent reply. I have done about as much research as I could without directly asking questions. I will search for the threads you mentioned, and see what else I can learn. As I stated, my up front cost is not a problem, but I want to do it in such a way as to avoid unnecessary repairs, which will only antagonize my wife......

    Speaking of repairs, I am thinking of getting two extra wheels, in case I get a flat. What other spare parts should I keep on hand? The initial buy should keep me going. After that I will need to be careful with funds, as I have about 10 years until I can retire.

    Steve

  5. #5
    bakedalaskan is offline Registered Rider bakedalaskan is on a distinguished road
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    Hi Steve,
    I have to admit I am not familiar with the newer models and what I am calling a HDI may have a new name. The models with Admiral transmissions do not have brake cooling fans. Transmission choice will also start a debate with no right or wrong answer. The choice of transmission comes down to which one you started with or got used to.
    If you are going to mostly fish; leave the tracks off. Argos are much better at swimming without tracks. You also have to fish past/over the tracks. Just use wheels in the inboard position. The new reversible wheels are much easier to turn around than the old days of spacers. The tracks are not that hard to get on and off once you learn the tricks.( My experience with Argo rubber and Adair tracks)
    Here is what my HDI has for a standard charging system....NOTE: 20 amp charging systems use a 15 amp stator with a 25 amp rectifier-regulator. (When you add the alternator you just disconnect the leads from the rectifier. All the pieces are still on the engine and can easily be reconnected in the field)
    I don't think you need any spare tires. This is my opinion and subject to debate but I have gone many miles with a tire unseated. You have enough wheels to get back to the trailer with no problem just take a flat one off or leave it on if terrain is acceptable. As long as the tire does not unseat they are easy to plug and reinflate. A spare tire is much bigger than it appears on the machine and will take up a lot of room. I could write a whole story about how to fix tires in the bush but you will not be that remote to make a big difference.
    You will start to get a lot of good advice once the thread gets read by the group.
    Try not to overthink breakdowns. Any spare part you are carrying will not break or only the parts you don't have spares for will break!
    Have fun.
    Bakedalaskan

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    scimanstev's Avatar
    scimanstev is online now Sophomore Slider scimanstev is on a distinguished road
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    Thank you again. I am truly having fun making these final preparations. I want to learn by those who know more than I do. All of the pieces are not in place yet, but I expect they will be by August. I am doing my final homework now, so I will know exactly what to order. You have already been a huge help. I am looking forward to making new friends, and going for rides. I am itching to have my first ride, and since I have a 5 acre lawn, I won't even have to register it once it arrives for the first test rides. I read about the manual windshield wiper, and that looks like a better idea. I am quite sure those beadlock tires will never become unseated, so I would just worry about a flat. I watched that Rubicon Expedition video, and saw they were changing tires. That is what led me to think I needed spares. I agree completely, that any spare part I get, will never fail.

    I don't know what conditions I will encounter, but I will take videos and post them. The north woods of New Hampshire is beautiful to begin with, and I can't wait to immerse myself in them. I am certain I am going to have so much fun, my wife will have to pry me out of the Argo. I just wish it had a power take off, so I could hook a lawn mower up to it. I suppose I could get one of those huge mowers they use on a golf course, but I have no place to store it. I am really going to have fun, and I have no doubt about it! What I really like, is that I can ride all year round, in all terrain. I may even take it on vacations, even though I have to register it in every state I go to. It would be great fun to ride in Busco Beach, or any of the other places I have seen on video. I like the advice on removing tracks when in water. The only time I wouldn't do that is when I crawl on and off ice shelves. That looks like fun just by itself! Yes, I am as excited as a young boy going to an amusement park!

    Steve

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    Sparx's Avatar
    Sparx is offline Sophomore Slider Sparx is on a distinguished road
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    Not sure how the Escargo's would fit with the beadlock wheels but I think you would still need 1/2" spacers since the offset was designed for the 18" rubber tracks. The rubber tracks used 2.5" spacers and tuners and I had to get the 3" spacers and tuners for my Escargo tracks and the occasionally scuff the plastic tub so I wouldn't go any less then 3".
    Check out my vids of my Escargo tracks on Youtube, my username is Sparxtreme and I have a few good videos showing the Argo crossing and floating beaver ponds and beaver runs. The Escargo's are amazing, best traction hands down but a bit over aggressive if you want to use on everyday trails or around an acreage in my opinion. For crawling up and down ice and durability they are hard to beat and basically indestructible. They swim fine for short distances but won't fight wind or current in the open body water floating, so yes a trolling motor at the least is recommended. I will be trying a 6hp outboard with high torque prop this year, I will try and video how that does with the tracks on.
    Taking off the tracks isn't much work but the issue is with unbolting every spacer to put it back to factory width which is a real pain, it would be much easier to leave them on and run an outboard motor. The tires really don't give you that much propulsion to outweigh the outboard idea anyways. They just get you by enough to move in water a little better then the Escargo tracks which climb out of water much, much better then the tires as well.
    Definitely do the Alternator with lights and the ability to charge up batteries when running a trolling motor or anything else like heavier winch use and such. At idle you will have 14Volts of power with the alternator even with a light load like lights on where as you won't even have 12V with the factory setup without any power on.
    I wouldn't bother with the LX stereo, just find a Bluetooth speaker like a Voodoo I'm using for your music. It's waterproof and clamps on bars like pedal bikes and works great for the price and moveable to around the campfire if you want too. You can charge it up with the USB ports or cell phone charging cords and also has a plug in speaker port.
    I would really recommend the High Torque trans with the heavier tracks like the Escargo or Rubber tracks, it will really wake them up acceleration and top speed wise. Just make sure your track tension is spot on with the Escargo at speed as rubbing the tub isn't as tolerable with metal tracks.

  8. #8
    argojosh is offline Registered Rider argojosh is on a distinguished road
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    I do not recommend the LX model. The stereo, speakers and everything else on the LX model is junk and overpriced. The beadlock rims/tires are awesome during summer but they are wider than the standard Argo rim/tire or reversible rim/tire. They do not fit any track or aftermarket track properly currently on the market. Using the Beadlock rim/tire will cause excessive wear on the tires, track and guides. Brake cooling fan allows you to efficiently use 100% of your braking power all the time or else with no brake cooler it can cause icing(which prevents you from braking/turning). Stay away from Escargo track as they are extremely unreliable and will cause you a lot of damage quickly if there is a mistake. Get yourself a good Avenger 8x8 ST with reversible rims and chevron Argo tires, STD transmission(if you do a lot of road) alternator, heater, full convertible top(not a half top), windshield, rubber tracks, 4x4 trailer, winch, brushguard, upgrade to a brake cooling fan, 1 hour chain oil, outboard motor bracket and you are set for the next 20years minimum. I STRONGLY do not recommend using any tracks with beadlock rims, certainly not the escargo or channel tracks.

  9. #9
    beagle man is offline Master Mudder beagle man is on a distinguished road
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    Beadlock rims and tracks? I have a 2016 750hdi with up graded axles and aluminum beadlocks and I have to ask why not channels or escargot tracks or any tracks for that matter.

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    AlaskaGrizzly is offline Master Mudder AlaskaGrizzly is on a distinguished road
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    These are the options for the STR:
    1. Alternator. Good if you want to run a lot of lights or want the heater kit.
    2. Brake cooling fan. Not a lot of experience with the new tranny but they left it out because there is less brake heat with the admiral transmission. IF you run in LOW gear a lot you might want it. I'd wait.
    3. HD drive belt. Never blown a belt in my life on a argo. HD Argo belts are not worth it if you ask me. Its not like a 180 hp snowmobile.
    4. Brushguard. Nice to have.
    5. Winch. Absolutely! Yes to winch. Carry 1/2" yellow poly rope an not cable. Or go with synthetic winch cables not steel.
    Now for the accessories.
    1. Brake lights. No need for lights
    2. Automatic chain oiler. No I would not.
    3. Outboard motor mount. Long shaft is need - 20 or 25"
    4. Windshield. Good accessory.
    5. Windshield wiper. Hand or electric is nice to have.
    6. Convertible top. Good for cold weather. Can get too warm in nice weather.
    7. Rear Winch Receiver Accessory. Never had a desire for one. If I get stuck I typically can pull myself through. Only on a few occasions have I been by myself and had to get creative pulling myself out backwards with my front mount winch. I wouldn't get one.
    8. Under hood fan. Good accessory in my opinion.
    9. Cab heater. It mounts in the air box that bring in air for the radiator up front. Would be a nice thing if you run in the winter.
    10. Tracks. Tracks are nice but Argo's have plenty of "power" without them. If you are going to run in snow definately plan on getting tracks. Without them you can't go far at all in the winter. Run track tuners! If you are only looking for summer type tracks check out the Adair Argo tracks.
    11. Covered trailer. Nice if have the $'s!!!

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