M101 Step 1: Basic Utility Improved

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We purchased out M101 in March. With an occasionally warm garage, work proceeded through R&R and pack bearings, getting new wider, fenders built, and sandblasting. I sprayed it with gray tractor primer, followed by OD, with an HVLP gun. Then I wired up LED lights and made a home-made tarp and bungie. Lots of little things on the side along the way, too.

So starting with the trailer as it came to me, then a pic of the trailer painted, followed by some shots of it when I got it mostly done today.
MyM101.jpg
PaintedTrailer1.jpg
LightsOn2.jpg
 
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End for now. The tarp fits much better with the bungie instead of just a rope and a couple of more grommets installed at the ends than the OEM tarp had. There's some paint drying right now, but I'll install the hooks on the bungie in the morning and it'll tighten up more. Maybe not dustproof, but should minimize the mess and keep things dry.

And Mr. C thinks that the bows and tarp make a very comfy perch.
LicenseLightLooseBungie9.jpg
CushyCatBedTarp10.jpg
 

Brentbba

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Nice work - good job on the wider fenders and even tail light protection!
 
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Brent,
Thanks!:)

The tail light guards are a little thinner than what I was looking for, but they work for now. The gauge of the metal could be thicker, but it's definitely better than plastic. I searched around to find thicker ones, but this was the only thing I could find for now. If anyone knows where to find thicker guards, I'd like to hear about it.

I had to lengthen one of the bolt hole slots to get them to fit right. Otherwise, they ended up cocked up at the top inside corner against the side of the bumper loop. A couple of hits at the end of the slot with the cut-off disc and they're fine and level now.

The DS tail light had the usual bottom window for license plate lighting. Since I have the plate mounted in the center of the rear end, I didn't need the extra lighting in the tail light. I was going to paint or tape over the license plate light window, but found that the light case opened easily.

Inside, the license plate lamp, since these are all-LED, consisted of a small, angled array of 5 LEDs. After removing the 2 screws that held it in place, I cut the wires that fed it. Now the tail light doesn't have a useless light emission and I have a small LED array to play with by mounting it elsewhere on the trailer or in the truck.

There's also a lamp guard in the form of the angle right above the license plate lamps. I repainted the chrome finish on these lamps OD by scuffing up the chrome after taking the lamp apart. They are all-plastic, except for the mounting bolt, so I'm not sure how durable these will be. The guard above is definitely needed, even to protect against my errant knee, as they are kind of fragile.

That angle also serves as a place to hook the ends of the bungie cord to in order to tighten the tarp. I had to do a touch-up on it yesterday, but should finish attaching the bungie hooks tonight. I'll take another pic showing how that works then.
 
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Geez, dead in here. Lots of people must be lucky enough to be on the trail, instead of working!

So here are some pics of the M101 hitched up to its prime mover.
80_M101_2.jpg
80_M101_3.jpg
80_M101_4.jpg
 
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nice job...lookin great so far! i like the widened fenders. do you have the measurements/specs for the fenders? looks like i can just take some sheet, and brake it to shape. is it permanently welded on? or still bolt on?
 
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Hi Sonny,
The new fenders are 12.75 inches wide, which is about 5 inches wider than original. They are 16 gauge steel and that seems rugged enough for what they are.

Instead of having a rolled lip on the outside, they have 1.5 inch angle, with the welds radiused to make it look right.

They bolt on using the same hardware as the original.
 
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Some more detail shots, starting with something one would have thought the Canadian Army would have ordered as standard equipment:)

The second pic is of the rear lamp and its guard. The guard protects the plastic light. While it won't keep you from crunching the light if you really try, it does improve your odds of keeping lights functioning on the trail.

The third shot is of one of the rehabbed triangle reflectors. I carefully taped over the reflectors and the rubber holding them in. Then I carefully sandblasted the metal frame that is crimped around the reflectors. Mine were really rusty on the back/trailer side. It also didn't seem wise to try to disassemble by bending back the crimped frame and expect to be able to get them back together right. So I just cleaned them up with grit, then primed and painted them. I used some of that crinkle-look paint from Krylon(?) and they came out looking good.
StandardEquipment.jpg
LightGuard.jpg
TriangleReflector.jpg
 
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More details...

I decided I wanted to mount the license plate on the back of the bed, rather than hanging below and illuminated by the left tail light. That's a sure recipe for losing a plate somewhere on the trail with a trailer like this.

To illuminate the plate, I use two LED license plate lights. These had a chrome plastic case on top, which I scuffed and painted OD. These needed protection and I also needed a place to hook up the bungie cord. I fabbed a piece of galvanized iron to do that, as well as to provide a place to hook the bungie cord ends. With a little work, it blends in well despite having to accommodate the protrusion from the tie-down in the rear side of the bed.

The photos show how the bungie hooks work, also.

I made the tarp by turning under the edges of a 6x7 tarp and adding grommets to it per the plan in the M101 Yahoo group Files. I added two grommets in the center of each end that make it easier to snug up the front and rear of the tarp.

The bungie is custom-made of 3/8" cord and plastic hooks from McMaster Carr. It easily snaps under the tarp hooks, so it's easy to open up on one side, then rehook the tarp to get access to stuff in the trailer bed.
LProtect_BungieHooks1.jpg
LProtect_BungieHooks2.jpg
 
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The bungie makes it easy to open it up at the rear. There you can see the ribs that hold up the tarp to help moisture drain off. The arrangement has 4 ribs made out of 1/2" PVC pipe and fittings. You make it wider than the top part of the bed, then push it in one side, curving the ribs so that the side you hold can then be set down on the opposite side.

This seems to work great at highway speed, as the tension allows wind to ripple the top of the tarp while keeping the tarp taunt enough to not cause a problem with flapping.

The last shot is looking into the bed. I thought about bedliner, but decided I'd go with something else. For $35, I got a 4 x 6 foot rubber bedliner for a short bed pickup and trimmed it to fit.
TarpRibs.jpg
Rubbermat.jpg
 
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Looks sharp. Thanks for posting the photos. I like the frugal tarp & canopy bow designs--I'll have to try that before springing for a $100+ NOS tarp.
 

Brentbba

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Looking good. Nice refurb on the reflectors. I got my two aftermarket reflectors from the UK. Perfect match on the mounting holes. I've got an led light bar to mount up this weekend. It's platic crome finished and I think I'll do what you did and scuff it up then paint to match the the trailer paint scheme.

Two wire LED light bar. I've got to assume one wire to the running light wire of the light harness and one to ground. Cheap chinese product marketed out of LA with no wiring instructions.

Will have to post some pics of them on the trailer before I take everything back off to finish off the interior.

Still need to take swampman's plans to the fabricator for a bid. Mine with the SOA sits pretty high already so I'm still leaning toward a plain flat lid at this point, but if the bid isn't too much more I certainly do like the looks and lines of the lids that mirror the top of the tub.
 
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Thanks for the comments, guys.

Brent,
I'm still undecided on what to do to provide a hard top. I definitely want to go that direction eventually to have a lockable space for the base camp.

I like the looks of swampman's lid, but could also go with a square topped one that provides a little more space and could be simpler to build.

I also would like some sort of kitchen facilities. The best spot seems to be at the rear of the trailer. But with the best place to hinge the top IMO is at the front. This means you need to reach over the kitchen to get to stuff in the front of the trailer, so this is a less than optimal plan in my mind right now

Saw a real nice set of barn doors cut into the back of a M101 with the bed still tied together by leaving a bar in place at the top of the bed. I'm real leery of cutting into the trailer's structural strength by just cutting out a tailgate.

But the barn doors could allow a long slide out kitchen to roll out on one side of the rear. This would leave the other half of the doors to be an open area.

But none of that is before next year. For now, I plan to enjoy the trailer and cogitate about what's next.
 

Brentbba

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Barn doors - interesting.

For now...I've decided to leave well enough alone on the rear of the trailer and not cut a tailgate into it.

Do plan on a lid an electric brakes this summer. Darn near toasted my brakes on the cruiser just going down a long grade into Anza Borrego, so it's worth it to me since I do go out there regularly. In fact Trailer Superstores has their 10" Dexter brakes on sale now for less than $30 each. Spurring me to call a little local trailer guy that's done some super good and inexpensive work on our scout trailer to see what he'd charge to do the job.
 
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Sure, here's a link:
Steel Tail Light Guard Square Box Trailer Camper Truck: eBay Motors (item 350255213821 end time Jul-17-10 17:39:48 PDT)

Good service, quick shipment from these folks. You can ask that they send you two without the license plate light opening. My plate is bolted to the tub in the center, so I didn't need the tail light opening on the left tail light.

Also, with the LED tail lights I bought, I was able to open the left one up and extract the 5 LED array in it for the license plate lighting. I'm going to find a place where it can come in handy somewhere on the truck or trailer and use it for lighting there.
 
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I have a dumb military trailer question. How did you strip off the original paint on the trailer in this post? I got an M101 3/4 ton trailer for a run around/dump/4wheeler/hunting trailer and after I used it and did some mods and measuring I thought it would make a great LandCruiser trailer if I swapped it to electric brakes with a 6-lug pattern and put a ball hitch coupler on it. My main hang up is the CARC paint. As many looks as I get on the way to the dump with my camo trailer I am pretty sure I don't want to drag it across the country, especially to W. TX or AZ along the border as I think it would attract more than its fair share of border patrol and law enforcement scrutiny. The latest coat of paint is fresh and looks good but it is on top of about 20 other coats of CARC paint. Aside from beating the entire trailer with a hammer and chisel has anyone found a good way to strip off the excess military paint? I asked a local sandblast guy and he said it could get into the hundreds of dollars to remove the paint, more than the trailer is worth IMHO.
 

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