2008 M116A1 Trailer and a one-time trip with a Four Wheel Camper [Sanity Check]

slepe67

Active member
Hey everyone!

Last summer, I finished my old Coleman pop up. https://expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/1974-coleman-valley-forge-complete-gut-job.204401/

It's pretty sweet, but I cant bring much else besides the camper when I go with the pop up. Last week, I returned from a deployment to Afghanistan and have been looking for a FWC to restore. My 24 year-old son just informed me he that wanted to buy the Coleman, so Im winning on that front.

I found an early 1980s Four Wheel Camper (FWC) Grandby about 800 miles from me. To me, this is THE camper. It's in pretty good shape for its age, the price is perfect, and the seller is super patient. It will be restored, and actually converted (shortened) from a Grandby (8ft) to a Hawk (6ft), so it will fit in the bed of my 2015 F250, tailgate closed.

But first, I need to get it home. Actual camper below. Seller now has it on a flatbed trailer, and has access to a forklift. The interior is way nicer than I initially imagined.

fwc.jpg
The issues:
The older FWC's wont fit on newer trucks (mine is a 2015 F250 4x4, 7-ft bed). The beds now are much taller and tailgate openings are much narrower. I need to remove 3 inches (at least) from each side of the floor pack). This has been part of my plan, so I know what I'm getting into: a complete floor pack rebuild. Wander The West is a GREAT source of info for these old campers.

Since the Grandby wont fit on the truck, I need a trailer to get it home. Not a total lapse of sanity, as I do need a rugged trailer to haul dirtbikes/ATVs/snowmobiles anyways. (Hindsight, the M116A2 might actually be a great base to put the Coleman pop up trailer on, had I thought of it a year ago. Oh well, it's my son's problem now! ********!)

Here's where the roadblocks begin:
1. The U-haul utility trailers (6x12) are for "local use only". They flat-out will not allow me to rent it and drive it long distance. (I thought about renting it for a few days and not saying anything, but...#integrity). The camper SHOULD fit, but I cant take it 800 miles to get the camper. Renting is out.

2. Commercial trailers are WAY too expensive, and really wont work for what I need them for. I plan on using the truck to haul the camper, and the trailer to haul dirt bikes, etc. This means miles and miles of Montana's finest gravel and fire roads. I wont be "overlanding", but if I need to, I want the right trailer to do the job. Commercial trailers are out.

Then I thought about military trailers.


Yes, this is going downhill rapidly...

I found and M1101, and after finding measurements online, I determined that trailer is also too narrow at the tail gate area. This trailer represents the same problem as my truck bed. While this trailer is my preferred option for what I need, the initial intent of getting the camper home is a deal breaker. It's out.

I also found a 2008 M116A2 trailer. It's a flatbed, with the canvas bows. This might just work.

My questions about the M116A2:
1. The particular trailer I'm looking at is a flatbed (actual trailer shown below) with the canvas bows. Are these bows removable, or do they need to be cut out?
EDIT: Seller said they are removable. I'll remove them and stow them in the truck bed for the trip home.

2. It looks a bit short, but it should be OK to get the camper home. I'll slide it in nose first, as far forward as possible. I'm still looking for dimensions online.
EDIT: Seller said it is 8 ft long. It will fit lengthwise.

3. I'll have to find a pintle adapter for my truck. I have some active military friends, so I might be able to borrow one from them until I can order one.
EDIT: Found one & bought it.

4. If the A2's wheel wells are too high for my camper, I can build a 2x2/2x4 frame to put under it for clearance. Standard FWC ops.
EDIT: Distance between wheel wells: 4'6". I need 48". Wheel wells are under 12" high. It will fit.

5. Lighting. I'll ask the seller if it's 12V or 24V. Worst case, I can zip-tie on a cheap lighting kit to get it home.
EDIT: I already had a set for another camper...it's in the tool bag, along with some zip ties and duct tape.

6. The old FWC's were actually bolted to the truck-beds. I'll do this to get the camper home. Drill through existing camper holes into trailer, install Grade 8 hardware. Until I get there to look at it, I'm thinking I might also want toss some long straps over the roof to keep the roof from potentially blowing up.
EDIT: I bought four 7/16 x 2-1/2" bolts, with double-up "fender" washers AND two 2'x27ft ratchet straps.

7. Anything I'm not thinking about? Again, this is just for the 800 mile trip home. I can modify the trailer to better suit my needs when I get home.

8. Am I being stupid? Is this juice worth the squeeze? I REALLY want the camper, but am I being smart about this?

m116a1.jpg

Thanks in advance for any help, It's always appreciated.
 
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Ovrlnd Rd

Adventurer
You’ll need to unbolt the toolbox and Gerry can holders. A set of magnetic trailer lights work great and you don’t have to worry about zip tying them (and they’re fairly cheap). The 116 should tow great just check the hub grease before heading out as that usually overlooked.
 

slepe67

Active member
You’ll need to unbolt the toolbox and Gerry can holders. A set of magnetic trailer lights work great and you don’t have to worry about zip tying them (and they’re fairly cheap). The 116 should tow great just check the hub grease before heading out as that usually overlooked.
Thank you, sir!

At this point, Im not sure if it's going to be an exact fit, length-wise. (I cant find anything specific on bed-length. Seller states it's an 8-foot bed, so is the camper. Allegedly. If so, magnetic lights would be a GO, if I could find them locally in such a short-notice scenario. Again, it just needs to get me home, then I can tinker and get things done correctly.

I told myself to grab a tub of axle grease and some rags and forgot. LOL Thanks for the reminder!
 
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