M116A3 Build

...ask your questions in the appropriate forums BUT document your build here...preferably in a single thread...dates for updates, are appreciated....

Re: M116A3 Build

Postby Oldragbaggers » Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:35 am

I really like that trailer, and the plan you have looks rock solid. Hope you get to pick it up soon. Looking forward to following your build
Life is sooooo good.........
Sail...camp....bike...repeat
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Build Journal http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=45917
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby lfhoward » Fri Mar 06, 2015 5:10 pm

Oldragbaggers wrote:I really like that trailer, and the plan you have looks rock solid. Hope you get to pick it up soon. Looking forward to following your build

Thanks, Becky! You too, Bob, from a few posts back. :D
I'm glad to be able to improve the plan. Thanks to all who have weighed in.
My off-road camper build on an M116A3 military chassis:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581
Tow vehicle: 2008 Jeep Liberty with a 4 inch lift.
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby lfhoward » Mon Mar 16, 2015 7:34 am

Today I am headed down to VA to collect my trailer from the military. I need to be on base tomorrow at 6AM! Wish me luck! :thumbsup:
My off-road camper build on an M116A3 military chassis:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581
Tow vehicle: 2008 Jeep Liberty with a 4 inch lift.
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby lfhoward » Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:27 pm

Well, I finally have my trailer! :D I drove down to the Navy Yard at Portsmouth, VA to pick it up, and then towed it back to PA. I stopped first at a Virginia DMV to get a "Prospective Purchaser's Trip Permit" for $5, which was good for three days. The next step is to get it registered. Pennsylvania has some interesting hoops to jump through for registering trailers, so I'm not sure whether I will end up with PA or Maine plates. (Non-residents can register utility trailers in ME for very little $$, which is why so many semi trailers have permanent ME plates.)

Here is my Jeep Liberty towing the new (to me) 1991 M116A3 generator trailer. Parked in front of Dunkin Donuts, naturally.
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Another view:
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And a close-up of the pintle hitch and military electrical hookup:
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It towed quite nicely, except for a vibration at 57-62 mph. I just drove 55, 65, or 70, depending on the speed limit. I bet the vibration comes from having imperfectly balanced military tires (which are 37's I believe!), and an unloaded trailer on heavy duty springs.

The electrical worked great too. All I needed to do was to swap out the military 24 volt bulbs for civillian 12 volt bulbs (which required only a screwdriver).

The Jeep Liberty did a great job with the tow, considering the empty trailer was about 900 lbs (3160 gross max weight). I used the tow/haul button to lock out overdrive, and had plenty of power in 3rd gear. I got 14.1 mpg going 65 mph this way -- not bad considering I get 16.5 mpg on the interstate when not towing anything (down from 21 stock due to my off-road mods).

Image
(Temp is a little high because I went into a rest area and it sat for 5 mins before I took the pic; the Jeep ran at 200 degrees while driving.)

Some other milestones from the trip:
I passed 100,000 miles on the Jeep (14,000 on the new engine).

I hit a disembodied driveshaft that appeared on the road from under the truck in front of me! Thump! :shock: Thank goodness for a 4 inch lift and skid plates! The pickup truck kept driving, but he must have hit it too, since it was flipping around on the pavement like a dead fish when it went under mine. I don't think it actually fell off his truck. It was probably a front driveshaft, due to its short length, but it would have done some real damage to a lower vehicle. :frightened:
Last edited by lfhoward on Sun May 13, 2018 2:39 pm, edited 3 times in total.
My off-road camper build on an M116A3 military chassis:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581
Tow vehicle: 2008 Jeep Liberty with a 4 inch lift.
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby lfhoward » Fri Mar 20, 2015 6:56 am

Something didn't look right when comparing my SketchUp model to the real thing, so I measured my trailer's dimensions yesterday. The trailer model I downloaded has the axle centered, but in reality it is located closer to the rear of the trailer by a half a foot. Got to update my plan...
My off-road camper build on an M116A3 military chassis:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581
Tow vehicle: 2008 Jeep Liberty with a 4 inch lift.
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby skinnedknuckles » Sat Mar 21, 2015 4:44 pm

Looking good. That will make an ideal platform for a small camper. If you go with a different lighter spring, axle, brake and wheel assembly it would just about level itself out for your Jeep and you could then eliminate some of that wheel well out of your sleeping area.
Have fun,
Paul
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby lfhoward » Sun Mar 22, 2015 12:53 pm

I remade my trailer SketchUp to conform to the trailer's actual dimensions, and am looking forward to starting the build. A couple of decisions I made in the process of remaking the design:

1) I'm going to keep the stock axle and wheels. I like how rugged the trailer is, and that it will be able to handle anything I can throw at it offroad.

2) Because of the fenders taking up some interior space, a queen mattress cannot fit between them. That's ok with me, as I will position the mattress above the wheel wells. Underneath the bed will be 11 inches of good storage space for long items like awnings, tarp poles, beach umbrellas, and other camping supplies. The headroom above a 5 inch IKEA queen mattress will be 30 inches, which should be fine. I won't be able to sit up straight (I'm 6'3"), but I will be able to recline and read and have plenty of room to change clothes, etc. The bed will be easily removable to convert the trailer to haul cargo.

3) I decided to make Wiley windows (according to this thread: http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=51721) instead of buying expensive RV windows. The side windows will be Wileys and will open, while the front window will be fixed in place to prevent leaks.

4) I found a good tiny trailer sized air conditioning and heating system that will live on the tongue: http://www.climaterightair.com/applications/rv-trailer-air-conditioning-and-heating.html/ I may not be able to get it for a while, but will install ductwork so it will be plug and play later. All the ductwork and most of the electrical will live in the utility closet/battery compartment in the front of the trailer.

5) Before I start building, I'll need to fill the holes in the steel deck. I am also waiting on the paperwork before I can get the trailer titled and registered.
My off-road camper build on an M116A3 military chassis:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581
Tow vehicle: 2008 Jeep Liberty with a 4 inch lift.
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby KCStudly » Sun Mar 22, 2015 3:10 pm

Highly recommend that you build a cardboard mockup with 30 inches of head room and see how much time you are willing to spend in it. Sounds like an awfully big assumption, that you will be happy with that, given the level of effort and investment in both time and money that you will have into the project when you are done. It is easy to change your mind and direction now; not so much later. :NC
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby lfhoward » Sun Mar 22, 2015 4:05 pm

That's a good suggestion. Will try it out and get back to you. Now is the time to make changes, as you say, while I am waiting for the registration, etc. and before beginning to build. The reason my model is the height it is right now is because I was basing the walls on a 4x8 sheet of plywood. Do 5x8 sheets of 1/4 inch ply exist? (Didn't see them at Lowes) If not, do you know of a good how-to thread for mating 1/4 sheets together to make them longer?
My off-road camper build on an M116A3 military chassis:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581
Tow vehicle: 2008 Jeep Liberty with a 4 inch lift.
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby KCStudly » Sun Mar 22, 2015 4:22 pm

In the stickies in 'tips and techniques' forum there is an extensive thread on extending plywood. If you plan your wall frames you can just butt join over backers. Another good technique is to stagger the joints of the inside and outside skins so that the larger pieces help reinforce the joints on the opposite side of the wall. I didn't have much success using the scarfing technique and resorted to simple butts over frame or a backer slat.

Also, have a look at the Desert Moose build. Under floor storage and a higher profile done very well.
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My Build: The Poet Creek Express Hybrid Foamie

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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby titanpat57 » Sun Mar 22, 2015 6:53 pm

I would think in your location , you'd be able to find a cabinet shop or would supplier to commercial contractors that would easily be able to locate 5' wide and probably up to 10' long if you need it.
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby S. Heisley » Sun Mar 22, 2015 7:12 pm

:o I am truly impressed...already...and you haven't even started building yet!

Best wishes and I'll be watching! :thumbsup:
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby lfhoward » Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:58 am

Looking at increasing the height to 5 foot tall walls. Which profile do you like better (labeled A or B)? Profile A might be easier to make, because I already designed the diagonal front section and would just move it up a foot, and the roof length would not need to be changed. Profile B might be a smidgen more aerodynamic (if a giant box can be that). The second photo shows the effect of the extra foot on headroom in the trailer (increased from 30 inches to 42 inches).

Image

Image
Last edited by lfhoward on Sun May 13, 2018 2:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
My off-road camper build on an M116A3 military chassis:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581
Tow vehicle: 2008 Jeep Liberty with a 4 inch lift.
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby lfhoward » Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:00 am

S. Heisley wrote::o I am truly impressed...already...and you haven't even started building yet!

Best wishes and I'll be watching! :thumbsup:

Thanks Sharon! I noticed you have a Jeep Liberty as well. How do you like it as your TV?
My off-road camper build on an M116A3 military chassis:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581
Tow vehicle: 2008 Jeep Liberty with a 4 inch lift.
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby lfhoward » Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:04 am

KCStudly wrote:In the stickies in 'tips and techniques' forum there is an extensive thread on extending plywood. If you plan your wall frames you can just butt join over backers. Another good technique is to stagger the joints of the inside and outside skins so that the larger pieces help reinforce the joints on the opposite side of the wall. I didn't have much success using the scarfing technique and resorted to simple butts over frame or a backer slat.

Also, have a look at the Desert Moose build. Under floor storage and a higher profile done very well.

Thanks for the links, KC. Both were interesting and helpful reads.
My off-road camper build on an M116A3 military chassis:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581
Tow vehicle: 2008 Jeep Liberty with a 4 inch lift.
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lfhoward
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