Just purchased a Military trailer to build a family hauler

Mark Harley

Expedition Leader
This is my first posting and I love this Trailer build forum.

I purchased a M101A2 3/4 ton trailer with tub and side rails off ebay.
I drove to Ohio to get it with my Father on Fathers day.
It was a nine hour road trip down and back including breakfast We had a blast.

I have always wanted a matching camping trailer. I have looked at used pop ups, travel trailers and teardrops but they were always too expensive or too much work.

I saw this 3/4 ton trailer and thought It would fit the bill. When I did a search for camping trailers I found this and many other sights with info on builds, axles RTT, kitchens and hitches.

Here is my start:

M101A2 trailer Kasel MFG Co. Ebensburgh Pa. 15931 built 7 / 90
Removed the stake sides. " anyone looking for these"
drum brakes, shoes and lines and backing plates
The surge brake and parking brakes did not work so I took them off.
Removed the lunette assembly too heavy!
I also cut off the landing leg and latch.

I lucked out with this trailer, It has the straight tube axle with GM 8 x 6.5 hub centric
hubs that matchs my 2002 GMC Sierra 2500hd Crew cab

My lists of purchases.

1, Three matching chrome 16" x 6" GM rims
2. 235-85-16 Hankook tires.
3. 16 9/16 x 18 dual thread lug nuts to fit the GMC centers.
4. 7 post trailer plug with 8 foot sealed lead. "Run to junction box for trailer lights"
5. Adjustible receiver mount channel with lunette and 2" ball mount.
6. Trailer tongue jack with twist mount.

The trailer is going to be simple with a tonneau cover and rack to hold a RTT tent.
a 10# propane tank, Gas cans and water supply mounted on the sides.
a rear 2" receiver for a bile rack and slide in Oak counter top for ease of cook prep.

Being an Eagle Scout "1988" I have my fair share of camping trips under my belt.
I know what I need to take and what needs to stay home.
This trailer will be a work in progress but will be a fun adventure.
Keep watching for more posts more as I go.

Mark Harley
Oakmont, Pennsylvania


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Expedition Leader
Sounds like a fun project.....

You'll be camping in no time! They're really awesome trailers with tons of potential....!



Great Trailer

Trailer looks great. I am in the process of finding/purchasing a M101A3 to make a similar trailer. I live in Ohio so I am curious as to where you found it????. Good luck and I'll be checking back for ideas and help when I hit roadblocks with my build.

Mark Harley

Expedition Leader
More toys from ebay

More items for the trailer build today.
I am going with an adjustable receiver on the front of the trailer
I bought a five height receiver channel and a 2 1/2 " lunette and a 2" ball mount.
This will make it road friendly and trail worthy as well.

I also found a seller that will make any size tube receiver you want with a rolled
lip on the end.

The third picture is of the pintle mount with the original Surge lunette unbolted, The landing leg removed and its mount ground off. The channel will mount on the front and be welded at work " Bunting Graphics Ins. Verona Pa. " It's great to work with a shop full of skilled welders and a warehouse full of steel.

Here is what the UPS driver brought today.



So do you plan to convert to electric brakes or run it without? I have the same trailer and I'd prefer to electric but don't know if it's even possible to convert the existing axle to them.

Mark Harley

Expedition Leader
I took the non working surge brakes off mostly for weight savings. With the drums, cables, parking brake parts backing plates and the surge lunette. I shed almost 200 pounds. I towed the trailer home from from Ohio "close to Cincinnati" to Pittsburgh at speeds over 65 and it pulled and stopped fine.
With the extra parts removed it is lighter. The axle looks like your run of the mill Tractor Supply idler axle with eight bolt hubs.
I do have a 7 pole plug on the truck with a brake activator if I want to convert it to electric down the road.

Mark Harley

Expedition Leader
This trailer was an ebay sale, The seller listed a flat bed trailer with generator trailer and I was emailing back and forth with him. I asked if he had others and he said one other, Mine and one with a generator on back. He said he needed cash and would sell the M101a2 to me.

I think the flat trailer is still for sale if you are interested I could contact him.
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Mark Harley

Expedition Leader
More work while the sun shines.

I finished cutting the grass in the yard and had to move the trailer to cut around it.
The tongue is in pieces and I am waiting for a part to weld on from ebay.

I decided to remove the tub from the frame to get them ready to paint.
I must say the Military used thier heads designing this trailer. There are about 16 bolts to remove to seperate the tub from the frame.

I thought it would be a bear to remove the bolts from 1990 but this girl must have been down south or inside most of her life. My Jegs 1/2" cordless impact gun did not sweat removing the 9/16" bolts.

I lifted the tub from the frame and placed it in the yard on four saw horses.
That tub is heavy when you are lifting it by your self. My 10 year old daughter helped place the horses while I lifted and snaked the frame out from under it.

I sprayed several bolts and screws that will be removed with PB blaster and I will let them sit until tomorrow. Then get them off. " More weight reduction. "

The frame will get sprayed gloss black and the tub Hot Rod Red color plus clear.
I sold the original tires and rims, pintle assembly, and brake system The buyer picked them up today.

Here is how it looks today.


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The Adam Blaster

Expedition Leader
I always liked those trailers, but they also looked fairly heavy.
I did a quick google search and they are about 1350 lbs dry, and supposedly designed specifically to be pulled by 3/4 or larger trucks. I guess that's a decent margin of safety. :D
They do look sharp when they are all cleaned up though!

EDIT: I should add I'm quite interested as to how this thing turns out. ;)

Mark Harley

Expedition Leader
A couple more hours of work on the trailer.

Came home today from work and went straight to working on the trailer.
I removed every nut, bolt, line and screw that did not have a purpose.
Removed the brake lines and the hardware that held them to the frame.

I bought a trailer jack for the front of the tongue, I plan to cut off the foot and make a wheel that mounts instead so I can move her around easier.

I own a Gassless mig welder, I am a little sloppy because this is the first project I have welded myself in a year. It is strong but my bead is not pretty.

As the previous poster stated they are heavy. I have removed around 250 pounds of weight but that will be added back slowly with racks, gas cans and excessories.

I took the hitch mount to work today and cut 2" off the back. It was only needed for mounting the original surge lunette.

The hitch channel should arrive Friday.
I will have the fabricators at work weld that on monday,
Then I can tow the frame to pressure wash it.

Mark Harley


Mark Harley

Expedition Leader
More packages at the front door.

I received three more build items today from my favorite shop, Ebay!
1. 7 prong plug with sealed eight foot cord.
2. The steel channel for the receiver and lunette.
3. two 3/8" snap hooks for the safety chains.

Took the channel to work and had my friend and co worker weld them together.
picked up a case of gloss black spray paint and a can of red primer.
I towed the trailer frame to the local car wash and treated it to a high pressure bath.

Now home and clean, I will let it bake dry in the sun and paint the frame tomorrow.


Mark Harley

Expedition Leader
Weekend fun, More work on the trailer.

Took this weekend to do some more work on the trailer.
pressure washed the crud off the frame and painted it black.
Glosswhere you see it and matte under the tub.

Let the paint harden for a day and mounted the tail lights
These are from a stake body ford truck mounted with two holes each.

I mounted the rims and tires that match my 2002 GMC Sierra 2500HD crewcab.
I used custom 9/16 x 18 dual thread lug nuts so I could run the same centers.
I mounted them with 1/4" spacers just to make up for the removal of the brake drums.

The new adjustable channel tongue works great with the 2" ball mount and the lunette.

I cut a hole in the rear cross member for a 2" receiver mount. I need a plasma cutter!
I used a grinder with a thin cutting wheel a saber saw and a hand file. It took me 1/2 hour to get it to where I wanted it. I plan on taking the trailer to work and having the receiver welded with a couple plates to make it stronger.

The red paint for the tongue is mixed and I am still cleaning the gummy residue off and spot sanding any rust. Now to decide red alone or Red camo with black white and grey splashed in?



Expedition Leader
Nice progress! Frame came out good and the wheels look awesome.

love the old red glider and lawn chairs in the background..

Only in PA! :ylsmoke:


Your camper is coming along very well! Use a Nato three color camo. Use the same pattern that is on the trailer just change the colors. Red,Black, and Gray would look sweet.