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Thread: Military M101A2 (slow) Expedition Trailer conversion.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Temple TX
    Posts
    66

    Default Military M101A2 (slow) Expedition Trailer conversion.

    Hi Guy I'm fairly new on these forum and I have been watching everyones Expedition trailer. While I'm new at the forum, I'm not new at the long term camping thing. Because I'm a disabled vet and getting a little older. I want to travel with some more comfort. I'm also very limited on my income so, I could never afford a Expedition trailer (such as the Chaser and the Horizon), so I decided to built my own.

    I already began my project and is going slow but making progress. At first i was not going to share, my project. But I see all you, sharing so I say what the heck.

    Well let's see Last September I won an auction , got this trailer for dirt cheap. The trailer is fairly new "refurbishement" that never left the Depot, so the tire were brand new and everything else was ok.

    Here are some pictures of the trailer that were taken at the Red River Depot:

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...type=3&theater

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...type=3&theater

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...type=3&theater

    Here are my goals:

    PROJECT: Expeditionary Self Contained Trailer (ESCT)

    Goal: To create a ESCT that will be able to be tow by Jeep Wrangler TJ over trails rated up to 3.5, The ESCT must able to transport supplies and equipment to sustain 2 person on a for at least 7 days without further replenishment through a deserted or forested environment.

    ESCT Design Criteria’s:

    • Strength to match the Jeep Wrangler TJ or equivalent vehicle.
    • Must be simple in both operation and design.
    • Must be legal to use on US and Canadian Highways to speed of least 60 MPH
    • Rims must remain the same 16X6.5 (235 85 R 16) with a spare inside the trailer
    • Actual food preparation and storage area must be bear or other wild Animal proof.
    • Must be able to accommodate at least a 2 person Roof Top Tent.
    • Must be able to provide a 12V connection with solar charging system.
    • Must have a food refrigeration unit.
    • Must be able to transport at 5 lbs of LPG on board.
    • Must be able to transport at least 20 gallons of water.
    • Must have on board provision for showering
    • Must have on board food preparation capabilities
    • Must have braking system.
    • Must have a Pintle Hitch or equivalent.
    • Must be military desert flat color.
    • Must be under 2,000 lbs

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Temple TX
    Posts
    66
    Here is a sketch of my plan for the trailer.

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...type=3&theater

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Orange County, Ca.
    Posts
    555
    What's the weight as it sits? I'm thinking 2K lbs. might be tight???

    Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    3,077
    Naked my M101A2 weighs in at 1080 pounds.
    I started to add to the pounds I took off.

    My build:
    http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...-family-hauler

    Post pictures of the build on the forum.
    Last edited by Mark Harley; 11-19-2011 at 08:07 PM. Reason: typo

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Temple TX
    Posts
    66
    The trailer dry weight is 1,340 lbs, I'm planning on 2,000 LBS total. I'm not much of a packer and I usually take the bare minimum. We built around seven of them when I was in the service. We used our for foward observer. I usually spend about 3 to 4 week on the road myself. I'm planning on keeping everything in or around the 2,000 lbs mark.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Temple TX
    Posts
    66
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Harley View Post
    Naked my M101A2 weighs in at 1080 pounds.
    I staated to add to the pounds I took off.

    My build:
    http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...-family-hauler

    Post pictures of the build on the forum.
    by the way i saw your built a little while back, very nice!!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Temple TX
    Posts
    66
    Tailgate: I needed the tailgate to lay flat so it double as a table. Problem: Chain was too short. Solution: Went to Harbor Freight and purchased 2 feet of chain, 2 chain link connectors and 2 hooks. cut the chain into 2 five links sections hook the chain links and the 5 links section to the end of the original chain and the 2 hooks to the end and presto the tail gate now open as flat table. Cost: less than $5.00 Here is the picture:

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...type=3&theater
    Last edited by Arctic Cat; 11-19-2011 at 08:15 PM.
    I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade... And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party.
    ~Ron White~



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    817
    Good choice there. Alot of people are using wire or cable to cut down on the noise and weight issue. Keep up the work..

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Temple TX
    Posts
    66
    Military or Civilian look?:
    Early on in the project I asked myself the question, do I want the trailer to keep the military look or do I want to convert it to a civilian looking trailer? Keep on mind that I'm a veteran and I’m a firm believer of keeping things as original as I can, while still serving my purpose. With that said I was willing to put my preference to the side and look at it from an outsider perspective. I also enlisted the help of several individuals, including a utility trailer manufacturer, several Jeep Expedition individuals, and three ex military guys to help me make a better opinion. Before I get to my decision here is a little history on the trailer. The trailer was pick- up at the Red River Army Depot, Texas, while picking the trailer I found all the maintenance paperwork regarding this trailer. The trailer is 1990 Kasel M101A2. The trailer like many other trailers in the military arrived to the depot from Fort Hood Texas for an overhaul. The trailer arrived on June 2007. The trailer was completely overhauled and that was completed on 11/04/2008. By that time the trailer was deemed obsolete as all the M101A2 were being retrofitted to be M101A3. So the trailer was parked and remained there waiting to be retrofitted. The trailer was never retrofitted, as the M101A3 also became obsolete and is being phased out for a newer trailer. So the trailer remained there parked until September, 2011. I won my bid ($441 out the door) for the trailer on 09/14/2011 and pick up the trailer on 09/29/2011 and pull it with my Jeep for a little over 300 miles. (I did not need an ECU) So I weight the issues as follows:

    Military or Civilian Conversion? - To make that decision I sat down and talk to my “team” to tackle several issues:

    Registration: Under Texas Law an ex military vehicle of any kind pay a flat fee of $50.00 for a 5 years registration, as long as the vehicle remain pretty much military looking in nature. In comparison a civilian trailer of equal weight, pay $60.90 per year. Additionally as an ex military vehicle I don’t need a license plate for the vehicle as long as there is a military unit number in the rear of the trailer. So cost effectiveness on this specific issue dictated a military conversion.

    Tires and Rims: Originally I wanted to change the tires and rims to be same size as the Jeep (31 10.50R15) to match the spare. The original trailer tires are 235 85R16. We agreed that the rims did not need to match the colors of the trailer, as this would bring the cost up and we were already leaning toward a military conversion. Additionally it was agreed that I should have 2 spares anyway, just in case. So the decision now was a matter of size. We measured both tires from top to bottom and the difference was only Ύ of an inch (that would have lower the trailer only .375 of an inch). The tires on the trailer are brand new (Still got the little knobs). A spare tire cost $154.00 and the matching rim to the trailer was $35.00. Aesthetically having matching rims and tires with the Jeep would have been nice, but practicability and economically the original tires were sounding a lot better so a decision was made to keep the original tires.

    Paint: Well to be honest the military is not known for their paint jobs, plus additionally they use CARC Paint (Chemical Agent Resistant Coating) and CARC paint peel off very easily if the job is not done right. There are some areas on the trailer that the CARC Paint is peeling off. The trailer has no rust whatsoever. Taking the trailer to get sandblasted and painted the same color as the Jeep (Yellow), would has been aesthetically nice. But it was taken into consideration repairing and scratching the trailer while in the field. Painting the trailer would have mean that I would have to take the trailer to the shop to be repainted. On the other side of the coin, the actual paint color code number for the desert tan trailer is 33446. The paint can be match at any hardware store (such as Lowes or Home Depot) and is readily available on spray cans at Rapco Parts (http://www.rapcoparts.com/336tancsucud.html), meaning that repair can be easily done in a cost effective manner. Additionally the cost of sand blasting the trailer to match the Jeep was prohibitive and not very practical. So again my “team” and I leaned towards a military motive. So overall a decision was made taking all issues in consideration to keep the trailer military looking. Sorry for the long post
    Last edited by Arctic Cat; 11-20-2011 at 01:36 AM.
    I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade... And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party.
    ~Ron White~



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Temple TX
    Posts
    66
    Axle, Suspension and Trailer Height:
    AXLE & SUSPENSION: Originally I was planning on replacing the axle and the leaf for a lighter one with electric brakes. The idea was to make the trailer lighter and of course lower it a bit. I went to a trailer manufacturer and I took the trailer there and show him what I wanted to do. Running the trailer without any brakes was not an option as the Jeep is a smaller vehicle and the surge brakes work so well on the trip back from the depot that I knew there and then, that some sort brakes were needed. I was explained that switching the axle for a 3500 axle with electric brakes would not make a major dent as far as weight goes. Additionally it don’t matter how light the trailer is, I still would need to change the gears on my differentials as the TJs are not known for towing. I also love the fact that the trailer has parking brakes, eliminating the need for chock blocks. Once again I talked this with my “Team” and it was again decided that the cost would not justify the benefits. But the issued was still there, the trailer have to be lower just a bit for two reasons:
    Travel Height: When I originally got the trailer the rear was very high, as the Pintle Hitch on the Jeep was about 15 ½ inches of the ground. See picture:
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...type=3&theater
    Solution: Purchased a 5 TON Pintle Hitch, and a 6 position receiver and a couple of hooks for the safety chains and presto (In addition the Jeep is to receive a 2 inch lift sometime next year). This is what the hitch look like:
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...type=3&theater
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...type=3&theater
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...type=3&theater

    Stationary Height: Now the problem was the height when the trailer was parked. As you can see in the drawing below, the height of the trailer was a little bit high in the rear when the trailer was parked. I wanted the trailer to be level as I do not plan to sleep on a slanted position.
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...type=3&theater
    So to see if the trailer would go down with weight, we literally overloaded the trailer with 40 cinder blocks to 1,040 lbs (something that I would never tow as I’m planning to stay within the 2,000 lbs limits.) The trailer was still high.
    Solution: Removed 2 leafs from each side and the trailer came in within normal height, we tested it at first with 520, lbs, and then with 1,040 lbs and it was perfect, about as level as it going to get.
    Cost: Pintle Hitch-$50.00, 6 Position Connection-$80.00 and the 2 Hooks $1.00 a piece
    I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade... And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party.
    ~Ron White~



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