Dstock's M101A1 build... or the reality, I needed a new project!

dstock

Explorer
I got a couple more things done prepping the trailer for the inevitable run to Home Depot for wood to build out the sleeping platform and storage unit.

I had to do a little trimming of the camper shell base rail where it meets the tailgate, to ensure it would close properly. It was nothing that couldn't be solved with a Dremel and a small cutting wheel. I still need to do the latches to hold the tailgate shut, but I'm waiting until I install the wood bed walls.

The other item was modifying the wood on our tailgate to accommodate the camper shell rear window lock which is a single lock in the middle. I thought about switching to two separate locking handles on the sides of the rear window but it seemed like a lot work and I like the single lever for ease of access from the inside. I will probably figure out a way to "lock" the handle from the inside so I left some extra room when trimming the wood for this purpose. I put a neoprene patch under the wood to cut down on wear.



There was also a ton of staring, removing old tie downs and bed hardware, and moving some of our camping bits around in the trailer to figure where everything is going to go.

Oh, and I also finished modifying this game hoist to get my RTT off the Jeep!


Stay tuned!
 

dstock

Explorer
I managed to make a bunch of progress on the sleeping platform/storage areas this past weekend. A finish carpenter I am not, but I got all the major pieces cut, and some of it installed, and I still have all my fingers and toes!

I've got latches, lift struts on order, and I need to decide what type of hinge to go with for the 36" x 64" panel in the front third of the trailer. It's either going to be 2-3 regular hinges or a piano hinge.

The rest of the sleeping platform has a removable center section and I'm still working on the design for the back third of the trailer. I also need to source some decent carpet to line the platform and I haven't decided whether to paint or clear coat the rest. I did use a poly seal on the underside of the floor before I installed it.

I will get some more detailed photos once I've got things bolted down but here's where I am at the moment.



Only the sides, floor and side supports are attached at the moment, everything else is just layed in place.

I am already seeing wear on the neoprene under the camper shell rear window latch so I'm going to find a different solution but it does latch properly and even holds the tailgate up when stationary. I still have to attach the tailgate latches which will be bolted through the side walls and the metal bed.

Happy Monday!
 

dstock

Explorer
Got some more work done on the trailer this past weekend. Mostly tweaking and attaching the panels, hinges for the front panels, 1x2 support pieces for the sleeping platform and lots of thinking.

One of the issues I haven't made up my mind about yet is what to go with for coverage of the wood. The sleeping platform will get carpeted, but the rest needs to be sealed at the very least, or actually stained or painted. Lots of folks paint everything black but that seems like it would just make it all dark and hard to find things in the compartments. White would be overkill the other way, so maybe a gray for inside the storage compartments but really at an impasse as to the rest. We're going to be trekking in and out of it so easy clean up for the base deck is a consideration. I'm sure will have some sort of doormat we can roll out when needed.

I went to install the lift struts for the 21 lb 3/4 front storage lid and discovered the 22 lb. lift struts were not enough to hold it open. After watching some Youtube videos, it seems most people double the weight of the panel being lifted to chose their struts. I ordered some new struts rated at 44 lb. and I will report back on my findings. Fortunately the struts are pretty cheap on Amazon, $10/4 for the first round and $10/2 on the heavier ones. I've also got a 2" slam latch for the front storage lid that will get installed once the correct lift struts arrive.

I'll get some pictures later this week but I also received my Scepter jerry can holders from Lexington Container Company which are going to be mounted outside by the tongue box. I'm really impressed with the quality, they are very sturdy and there are lots of rubber protection pieces inside to protect the cans. I considered making my own but these appear to be well worth the $45 and the time saved. I will add that they are very responsive to emails.
http://lexingtoncontainercompanyson...ce.com/scepter-military-water-can-holder-20l/
I was planning on doing this mod regardless of the camper shell revision, along with getting the propane tanks out of the bed as well.

I found a small leak at one of the side windows when the trailer was outside a couple weekends ago. We had a foggy night and some of the dew made it's way inside. It's coming from one of 2 places on the side window and I've got some RV Sealant coming from Amazon to tackle the issue.

Lots more to come...
 

dstock

Explorer
Here's a few pics of the Scepter can holders mentioned in my previous post:




They did tell me I might have to adjust the cap to get the hasp to lock down on the water cans. I'll test that out this weekend.
 

dstock

Explorer
I got a bit more done this past weekend. Everything seemed to take longer then expected, one of those 1 step forward, 2 steps back kind of weekends. Installing the lift struts for the forward storage compartment was a bit challenging. Getting them at exactly the right angle so they would actually support the lid and close all the way was a bit of trial and error. The instructions that came with them were virtually useless but I eventually got them to work. I used 45lb struts for my 21lb lid and then I added a slam latch to keep it closed.



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The force of the struts actually bowed the front wood wall about 1/4 away from the front of the trailer bed which then trickled down to making every other panel towards the rear off by a 1/4". I ended up bolting the front wood wall to the bed of the trailer which pulled everything back where it needed to be. Disaster averted! There was definitely some checking and squaring and aligning of panels and such as I got everything screwed down.
Next up was a low wall around our portable toilet to keep it secured while traveling. It will be getting a strap over the top of it as well. The cool thing about it's placement is we can actually use it in place during the night if it was needed. Most of the time it will live in our shower enclosure, but when weather dictates, we can throw it in the trailer.



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Overall, I'm happy with the way it's turning out. It was decided for ease of cleaning, we aren't going to carpet the sleeping platform as it will ultimately be covered with a multi-piece foam matress. I'm going to seal everything with a clear poly finish and then probably go with a floor mat we can flip out for entry.



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dstock

Explorer
Happy New Year everyone! It's been quite awhile since my last update. Work got extremely busy starting in October and pretty much continued that way until this week. That is not to say that no tasks got done on the trailer or that we didn't get out for a quick test run because they were and we did! I'll post up some more pictures of the laundry list of small but important tasks that were completed in the past couple months but here's a quick run down:
- All wood sealed (this took a couple weekends)
- Reflectix insulation added to the roof with 3M VHB double sided tape
- Bluesea fuseblock for power distribution
- LED strip lighting with dimmer switches - 1 in shell, 1 on tailgate hatch
- USB dual powerport and voltage monitor
- (2) Bal-C stabilizers to keep the trailer firmly planted when we are in it
- Relocation of the license plate mount due to stabilizer jacks
- (4) removable tie downs to keep bedding (and anything thrown in on top) in place while traveling using a bunge net

Here's a pic of the relocation of the license plate and a couple pics of the stabilizer feet which work amazingly well and tuck up nicely out of the way when they aren't in use:


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They come with a crank handle but it was super easy to bring along a cordless drill with a 3/4" socket for quick deployment!

Since this was a test run, I had not yet ordered the planned custom 4" memory foam bedding which will be in 2 sections to facilitate entry into the front storage area. The test run bedding consisted of chaise lounge cushions, a down feather bed, sheets and a down comforter which was actually really comfortable. On the flip-side it was heavy and awkward getting into the front compartment. It did help prove we liked the overall concept so that was all that mattered. Here's a couple shots of the bed setup and the you can also see the Reflectix on the ceiling.

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Ultimately the height of the bedding will be considerably lower once the memory foam is in place.

There was a good deal of condensation the first night, although none of it dripped on us. I only had one of the side windows open a little bit so it was not really proper venting. The second night I opened the side window more and the front slider with a small 3"fan pointed out of it, pulling air through from the side window. We slept just as comfortably and the next morning it was dry as a bone when we woke up! Just like a tent, it's all about air flow. I will likely install a small marine style roof fan in the top of the shell to handle the issue.

The next tasks up are to paint the shell to match the trailer, weld up a rack at the front for jerry cans, propane, etc., and to make a support structure for the awning and the Roadshower.

All said the test run was a great success and I'm very happy with the progress/concept thus far.

Stay tuned!
 

dstock

Explorer
I am currently "Safe at Home" as is most of the rest of the country. I'll start with saying I hope everyone is weathering this crazy time, stay healthy and safe everyone.

I had grand plans for the trailer re-build in an attempt to get it finished up during our slow time at work and before the late Winter/Spring camping seasons kicked into gear. Needless to say, things didn't go as planned! Starting mid-January, I had a round of colds, combined with allergy issues which lasted through the beginning of March. I also had some minor scheduled surgery which took about 4 weeks recovery time in terms of any heavy lifting. In a nutshell, I made zero progress on the trailer during this time.

I had acquired a bunch of the materials I needed for the trailer during this recovery/cold period so when the lock-down hit and my word being deemed "non-essential" I hit the garage full steam ahead.
Towards the end of my recovery I addressed the color of the shell as it seemed it would be the least impact physically. I got everything masked off but because my shell is plastic, I had to prime it first to be able to use the same paint as the rest of the trailer. It actually came out better than expected and it will be easy to touch up any desert pin-striping.


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Once the shell was done I began work on the frame to hold the Jerry cans and the propane tank at the front of the trailer. This was a project I wanted to do on the previous iteration of the trailer to free up space in the trailer bed, but now with a sleeping platform inside it was required. The tricky part of this was making sure I would still have enough room to open the tailgate on the Jeep. I used the steel from the old RTT rack to weld up a simple frame which bolts on through the tongue box and with a couple additional mounts on the side of the trailer frame. I used grade 8 bolts for everything. The Jerry can mounts are from Lexington Container Company and the propane box is aluminum from Pit Products. I sprayed it black as shiny diamond plate doesn't really go with my build.


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The post with the ring in the last photo is used with the Rhinorack Batwing awning, which leads to the next part of the project.
I wanted to mount my Batwing awning and our Roadshower 4 in a similar fashion as before, but the trick was keeping it high enough to stand under and low enough to get out the garage door. Needless to say, there was much measuring, re-measuring, and measuring again.


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Drilling the holes for the upright posts was a huge pain, although I did use a drill guide I bought off Amazon which made sure the holes were straight through the tubing. My cobalt bits took quite the beating but everything lined up when I was done.


There were some tense moments as I inched the trailer out of the garage but it made it out with millimeters to spare!


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I added some dimmible led strips to the awning rack and also under the lip of the shell on the other side for some ambient lighting. They work off a remote control as before and really add some great light with zero setup.


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That's it for the exterior updates....I think! More to follow on the interior tomorrow!

Stay safe!
 
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