Cayman Islands DIY M416(US) / M101 (CDN) trailer

mmajsw

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Hi scrapdaddy;
I have noticed that some days I can get all the pictures to download and on others, it loads slowly and I only get some. Today was a good day as I can get all images on my tablet and at work. Perhaps you tried on a bad day. If it continues, let me know and I will reload them.

An update is overdue, so here it is.
I installed the rear door inserts, continuing to use the 5200 marine polyurethane as the bonding agent. All pieces of plywood received the usual 2 on the outside and 1 on the inside fiberglass coatings before being bonded in place.

Here is an image part way through the bonding process, before I got polyurethane all over my hands. The space around each piece ranges from 1/16 -1/8. Just enough to carefully get some poly in the gaps. Many more clamps were used to keep things aligned and to ensure a tight bond.

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The clamping idea was to have as small as possible gap between the wood and the metal. In most cases, I managed to achieve that.

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After the doors were done, it was time for the floor. I had been previously cut and test fitted it, leaving enough gaps for the fiberglass sealed edges. Before fixing it in place, I went underneath to ensure I knew where the plywood was in contact with the metal, and also note where it was not. Due to the construction of the frame, some crosspieces sit below others. I did not think about creating a flush floor in the initial design 20 odd years ago. But I am sure that I will not be filling the trailer again with 2 cubic yards of sand (somewhere between 5-6000lbs), so any minor gaps will be insignificant.

After the floor was inserted, I went around and created a cove from the polyurethane sealant. I was going to fiberglass the coves but that is a very permanent solution. Somewhere down the road, someone might have to replace a side board or the flooring and would have appreciated not having to cut through 16' of fiberglass corner.

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For now, the whole thing sits and dries for around 3-4 days. If all goes well, I hope to be sealing the inside this coming weekend with Monstaliner in Desert Sand color.

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I figured it was light enough to allow one to see the trailer contents but dark enough to hide scuff and dirt marks.
 
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scrapdaddy

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That's cool, so you're going with Monstaliner. Have you talked to them about prepping the floor before applying the Monstaliner, want it to stick good.
 

mmajsw

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I have used Monstaliner before on the roof of my Land Cruiser. Prepping is important and I have to ensure that all shiny surfaces are dull. My disk sander and I will take care of that.
All that is needed is to just follow the instructions that come with the kit.
 

mmajsw

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There are some benefits from living in a high humidity, high temperature region. One is when applying Monstaliner, it is dry to the touch within 30-40 minutes. This was what I encountered when lining the inside of the trailer.
I got up early in the morning and using a mixture of 80 and 120, I sanded down the whole inside of the trailer. Every surface that was to be coated was sanded until it was dull in appearance. Then I wiped all the surfaces with MEK to remove dust and any oils/grease that might have gotten on them. I think the biggest source would have been me.
Then mixing a gallon of tinted Monstaliner according to the enclosed instructions, and using a combination of paintbrush and the supplied roller, the first coat was applied. I must admit that the painted surfaces looked pretty good and were initially smoother than the rolled. Got the wife to help me and we took our time, ensuring that every surface was covered. Beginning with the sides then the bottom. All edges and corners were initially painted so that the roller just blended into it.

Then about 20 minutes after we had applied the first coat, the sides were ready to take the second thicker coat. Edges and corners were once again painted before doing the sides and bottom.
Then I covered the whole thing up and let it dry for 7 days. This morning, I took the following pictures of the lining job.

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I was happy. Monstaliner is the way to go. It had rained during the week and needless to say, water collected in the trailer. At least it proved that it was waterproof! :)
 
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mmajsw

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There are some little things left to do before attacking the cover.
The first was the top brace to tie the sides of the rear opening together. A piece of 2x2x 1/8 angle and a couple holes, add two 1" bolts with lock washers and nuts, a bit of hot metal glue and it is done.

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It was taken away for painting before installation.

Afterwards, I cut out the back of the cover to see what it would look like. This is the result...

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It is about 6" high and will be based on another plywood top I saw on MUD. While there were no plans or dimensions with the one shown, there was enough detail for me to understand how I need to proceed.
Time to make sawdust!:cheers:
 

mmajsw

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So how does one build a plywood trailer cover? It took a bit of testing and thinking but in the end I got it worked out.
The first thing is to design your profile. After playing with designs on paper, I decided that all angles would be 22.5 or 45 degrees for easy of cutting and they were presets on my miter saw and are also easy to measure on a protractor.

The corners followed this pattern and are cut from void free 1/2" birch plywood and are 2" wide.
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Now one could cut all the beams (not sure what to call the vertical support pieces that span the trailer) as one piece from a sheet of plywood but as mine were 58" wide and I needed 7 beams plus two faces pieces, this would take about two sheets of plywood. I ended up using 3/4 sheet by joining the pieces together.
I also cut 7 pieces of the same 1/2" plywood 48" long and 2" wide.

14 of these Simpson braces were were cut in two pieces following the scribed line and then trimmed to fit the corner piece.
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Combine the two wooden pieces and used the Simpson strap as a brace between the two. I wiped each Simpson tie with acetone as they come with an oily coating which might hinder the polyurethane from bonding. I used polyurethane adhesive between the metal and the wood that proceeded to fill all the holes with 1/2 x #6 screws. Ended up using close to 500 of the 1/2" Screws. Both sides were each joint were done the same way. I pre marked the outline of each metal piece so that I knew where to place the polyurethane.


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One side of the beam joint completed. I marked out a template on my workbench to ensure that I could repeat the first beam without having to do any more measurements. Just assemble one corner, fit it to the marks, overlay the other corner, trim the 48" strip, then more polyurethane, metal braces and screws. I did clean up the excess polyurethane after it had dried a bit.

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Then using a 72" long piece of 1/2" thick by 1.5" wide plywood as the base on the trailer top, I positioned and screwed the beams at 10" intervals using #6x1" sheet metal screws.
Two pieces of 1/2" thick x2" wide strips were used on the top to hold each beam in the correct position and then another piece of 2" wide plywood was secured to the top of each beam to make a wider surface to screw the top cover on. Lots of cutting to length with angles to get a good fit.
Once the frame was completed, it was clamped to the trailer top and the vertical outside edges of the beams were secured a strip of 4.25" high x 74" long plywood with a 135 degree edge to give the beams vertical strength. Excess pieces were then trimmed to fit.

The result is as follows.
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All wood to wood surfaces are glued and screwed together and countersunk into the wood. You can see that the far two beams were not finished as yet.

The top will be covered with 1/4" birch then followed by a couple coats of fiberglass resin and cloth for weather proofing.
 
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mmajsw

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After doing some research, I decided to do one further step before applying the plywood top. That was to make fillet joints for all the right angle joints in the top with fiberglass peanut butter. It was a slow and messy job but should add quite a bit of strength to the top.
I have no images of the process but I did take one of the final result. I will explain it the best I could with words. Videos can be found in YouTube which can explain the process in detail.

You make you normal fiberglass mixture using slow cure hardener and paint all joints to be strengthened. Then when the painted fiberglass gets tacky, you mix a larger amount and add in the West Systems 405 filleting blend adhesive filler until you get a peanut butter type mixture. Empty the whole mess into a suitable sized Ziploc bag, cut a small hole in a corner by snipping of a little bit of the bag, then squeeze a bead along all the joints. Once you have done all that you can or want, follow through with a rounded piece of wood like a tongue depressor, or a small metal spoon borrowed from the kitchen (hope the wife does not miss one) to create the fillet. Sit and let dry and the result is this...

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It is a messy job and I am glad I wore gloves doing this. After you have created the fillets, follow through with a scraper to clean up all the excess peanut butter fiberglass that will inevitable get smeared everywhere beyond the fillets.
After this has had 24 hrs to sure, I will flip the cover 180 degrees and do the same thing to the other side of the joints.
I also intend to do this to all joints when the top covers pieces are cut and in place. I believe that it will greatly strengthen the whole top.
 
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mmajsw

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Yesterday, I cut and installed the 1/4" ply that would form the outer skin. Minor gaps (largest was 3/16") but nothing that the fiberglass resin would not fill.
So this morning, while the wife and kids asleep, I started to do the last of the fillets on the inside of the cover. The same procedure was used - paint resin over the area to be filleted and wait till is is just a bit tacky. Mix and apply fiberglass peanut butter with a zip lock bag and smooth out with appropriate tool. In this case, I got the proper plastic tool. I ended up doing it in three sets with one break for breakfast between sets.
The end result is this...

upload_2018-12-25_11-52-52.png


Every joint between two pieces of wood was done. It will now go into the garage to dry overnight and tomorrow morning, I will begin to do the top of the cover.
 

mmajsw

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Well, after many hours spent over the holidays, I now have the trailer cover on the trailer. There is still a lot of work to be done to it, but the end is in sight.
After finishing the inside, I flipped the cover over and began the fiberglass work. The first thing was to cover each joint with a 6" wide piece of cloth and resin. This strengthened the joint and made the top more rigid.
Then the top was covered with one sheet of cloth and resin. Then another piece was run from the bottom to the upper surface. This ensured that all joints received two layers of resin and cloth. It added a lot more weight but a lot of strength.
The diagram below shows what was done

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And when installed, it looks like this

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I still have to do the front and back faces but that is a small job. With the top on the trailer, it is easier to work on.

Finally, I went looking for suitable hinges and found this set made for fire doors. They come three to a box and are made by Design Hardware. They have non-removable ball bearings in the hinge and seem to be quite heavy duty.

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The size is 4.5" x 4.5" and the main reason for choosing them is that they carry a locking set screw that hampers removal of the hinge pin. Security is built in.

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Need to work out positioning but that is a minor issue.
 

mmajsw

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The next step was to figure out how to mount the hinges. Securing one side to the metal body was not the issue. Deciding on whether to have the hinge secured inside or outside of the top was the problem.
After sketching a couple diagrams, I decided that I would mount the hinge on the outside of the top which would allow me to add support both outside and inside as needed.
My final decision was this positioning.

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Now to make my chosen hinged fit.

First, I took the hinge apart and decided where bends would take place. Each half was then placed in the vise and hammered and pried into position.
In the image below, the original hinge is on the left, and the modified one is on the right.
The bend was to allow the 1/2" plywood side of the top to rest on the hinge center for easy movement and weight support of the top.

upload_2019-1-3_18-59-0.png


Once it was tested and confirmed that it would fit, I made the adjustments to the other hinges. The result is three reconfigured hinges.
The next step is to put additional bracing on the inside of the top and install the hinges.

I also managed to secure a lock for the top. I think it is overkill, but thought that a hasp and staple with a padlock was not secure enough. I might find a better alternative.

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Finally, I got a 6 pack of toggle clamps to secure the top

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Things are coming together.
 

mmajsw

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Today was forecast to be wet with thunderstorms but I was determined to at least get to top on and see how it fits.
So, bright and early, I got up and cut the reinforcements for the hinge locations. It was simply another piece of 1/2 ply cut and glue it to the hinge locations.
While the glue was drying, I decided to finish off the spare tire mount on the rear trailer door. I had drawn the location of the wheel studs on a template at work and printed it off. It was a simple matter of positioning and drilling holes. Studs were inserted and the wheel was bolted up. The distance from the door to the wheel is about 3/4" with the currently used 265/70R16. When I change to 285/75R16 tires to match those on the Land Cruiser, the space will drop to about 1/4". I rounded off the plate before painting it.

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After this was done, I painted the metal and cut a thin rubber gasket to put between the rim and metal. The spare tire will be mounted once everything is dry.

In the interim, the glue had dried enough to remove the clamps and place the cover back on the trailer. Hinge positions were determined for the body and the hinges were tack welded on. A couple screws were driven into each hinge and the first lift attempt was made. An it worked! The whole concept works!

I quickly propped it up and took a picture. There was no binding of any hinges and everything lifted smoothly.

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Then the cover was brought back down and the additional hinge screws were put in. The hinges were also welded in position and retested. All was still working. There is sufficient space to get to top of the trailer by the hinges ton install the weatherstripping and for future painting if needed. I used a luggage scale to see how much effort was needed to lift the top and it measured at 35 lbs.

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The next step is to remove the top for the final time (I hope), seal the wood with either paint or Thompson Weather seal for decks and install weather sealing foam tape.
I will also install some led lights to illuminate the interior if and when needed. Then, a lot of painting and repainting is needed.
The top will be covered with white Rustoleum Topside marine paint.
 
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mmajsw

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Finally, a picture of the hinges. The bottoms were trimmed so as not to extend past the metal on the trailer. I was racing the rain, hence I did not get the soot off the hinges before taking the picture. I promise that they will look better once cleaned and painted. :)

upload_2019-1-6_16-58-46.png
 

mmajsw

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After removing the cover, I proceeded to paint and seal it. The inside got 2 coats of Thompson Water Seal, again with multiple coatings on the edge of the wood. After this was dry, the top was flipped over and two layers of white Rustoleum Topside coating were applied. One quart can was just enough.
After getting some assistance, the cover was put back and tested.again. Everything still worked. Here is how it looks

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Two handles were installed to assist with lifting the cover.

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Latches still have to be installed.

I had been playing with a fuel can locking idea and took some time out to test the concept. It involves a length of 3/4" steel strap and a locking clamp.
You bend the edges to fit through the U-bolts welded the body and tray, trim the top piece so that it can slide between the fuel can body and handle, a little bit of welding and it should look like this....

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...and is use securing the fuel can. The bends were made around a 1/4" diameter bolt.
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The clamp has a position to put in small padlock. I will be wrapping or inserting the strap into plastic hosing to protect the plastic fuel can from abrasion against the metal strap. One down, 3 to go.
 

mmajsw

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Details on the strap and the U-bolt. It is the same for inside and outside.

upload_2019-1-20_16-41-20.png


Finally, I started on the electrical. The main thing is marker and brake lights. There are too many trailers out there with minimal lighting.
I was on Amazon and found some eagle eye leds in different colors. I decided that orange as the marker lights and red as additional brake lights would be acceptable.

Testing on one side of the trailer, I installed 1 marker and 2 red brake lights. There were simply hooked up to 12V for this test.

upload_2019-1-20_16-45-48.png


The marker lights will be placed at the extreme ends of the trailer, 2 at the back and 2 on each side. I added 4 red brake lights at the rear along the cross member, with two visible on this half. These lights are bright in daylight. Going to get and post a night time picture tonight.
 
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mmajsw

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Spent the last week playing with light layouts. I got more red and amber as well as amber/white light.s Thinking about using the amber/white for marker/reverse lights but the wiring is getting out of hand. I wanted to keep it simple so will probably got back to the original layout.

Today, I took a break from electrical and turned to the front box. The original idea was to carry 5 fuel cans in it, but recent plans now include a space for a battery. But the original size will work for that too.
The bottom of the box was cut out and test fitted in post #29, so it was a simple matter to measure the angles and cut the pieces out. I made the front 19" high and the rear 21". This gives some slope to the cover as well as allows clearance to the fuel cans.
The sides were temporarily held in place with angle aluminum and finishing nails. Enough for me to fix everything in position and remove the box. Those fasteners will be replace with fiberglass fillets later on.

This is how the unfinished box looks on the outside...
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...and the inside showing the temporary aluminum support...
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...and with the fuel cans inserted
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There will be no back on the box as the front of the trailer will be its back.
Afterwards, the whole box was removed and the fiber-glassing was started.
 
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mmajsw

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Today was welding day. Had a couple projects that were ready to be welded up.
The first was a D ring tow point for the trailer hitch on my tow vehicle. Easy to make. Just need to drill 4 of 5/8 holes so that it can be used for vertical as well as horizontal use.

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The second item was trailer related. I wanted to have a 3 way trailer coupling where the trailer could rotate as much as it wanted without twisting the truck. Enter the $50 3 way coupler plans from TVenturing and the result for me is...

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The bar off the end is about 2' long for now until I determine how much length I really need.

Finally, the tongue box is finished and it was inserted into place. Still need to paint it as well as make a top for it but those will come as time progresses. It was a tight fit.

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An inside look at the fillets at the joints
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More to come!
 
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