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Converted Argo Gives Freedom To Disabled Dairy Farmer
A farming accident paralyzed Nick Schreiner from the chest down and left him with limited mobility in his chest and arms. Although he has difficulty picking up a drinking glass, the Athens, Wis., dairy farmer can drive all over the farm in a converted Argo ATV. It's a freedom he greatly enjoys.
   Nick's accident happened in 1999. Two years ago, his brothers Mike and Richard, along with nephew Brian, set out to modify an 8-wheeled Argo so that Nick could once again enjoy the sport of hunting.
  The unit they purchased was originally amphibious, but after they cut the back end off to allow access ramps to be added, that feature was lost.
  "To operate the ramps, we used an actuator off a Gleaner combine," Richard says. "This is what was used to raise and lower the combine's steps. We had a machine shop build the ramps out of 63-in. long by 32-in. wide stainless steel and do some converting on the inside where the wheel chair sits. They took out both bench seats and moved the existing fuel tank from the center to the front of the unit. For safety reasons, they put in a longer breather tube to get it away from the motor. The fuel tank is now beneath Nick's feet."
  Richard says they put a steel floor in that could handle the heavy wheel chair plus Nick's weight. They also had to reinforce the fenders for structural reasons because the back end was cut out.
  "Then we had to modify the controls so he could drive it. The steering is very simple. We just lengthened out the two levers," he says. "It came with a motorcycle-type throttle, so we put on a lever throttle instead. The transmission lever was lengthened and the start, ignition and light switches were relocated and modified with bigger knobs for easier access."
  The family members added a full cab to the Argo, thanks to a steel frame made up of muffler pipe donated and prepared by a local auto shop.
  Lexon windows wrap around three sides. The front windshield is hinged, and lays down when more airflow is required. Nick can operate this himself with a rope system.
  "The roof is a plain canvas canopy that we bought from Fleet Farm," Richard explains. "The back is closed in by the ramps when they fold straight up. When Nick wants to get out, he flips a toggle switch and the ramps go down."
  The steel plate floor slides out the back when access to the axles is necessary.
  Nick uses the modified rig a lot, especially around the farm. He still manages his 200-cow dairy farm and finds that much easier because of his increased mobility.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Nick Schreiner, 1805 Windfall Hill Rd., Athens, Wis. 54411 (ph 715 257-7011).

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2004 - Volume #28, Issue #5