M100 or MBT/T-3 trailer, not an M101. . .

Roaddude

Long time off-grid vanlife adventurist
After poking around for months looking for a good trailer to start a build for overland travel and extended base-camping, I bought a military trailer this afternoon. I'd looked at a cool homemade trailer with a curved axle from an old Dodge, I fantasized about the Patriot X1 or X2 and their cool suspension and host of great features, and considered a variety of other trailers both made for off-road and for hauling around the neighborhood.

This one popped up today on craigslist along the coast of Maine and I jumped on it.

Far as I can tell from hours of rather mind-boggling research, there is a TON of misinformation out there about M101s, M416s, whether they're US or Canadian, or are 1/4 ton or 3/4 ton, especially on the forums and in the for sale sections. The one I bought was listed as an M101, though I could tell just from the pics it was more likely an M416, or perhaps an M101-CDN2 (Canadian version, 1/4 ton, but much different body style than the US M101, which was 3/4 ton).

Upon further research once home, I think what I have is more likely an M100 or an MBT/T-3, but I'm interested in what y'all think, too. I'm learning as I go along and so far am leaning more towards the MBT/T-3.

The man I purchased it from bought it in a military graveyard in Massachusetts and hoped to restore it to haul behind his wicked sharp Army truck for going to military shows. (Pics below of his 65K restoration.) He put non-directional tires on both his truck and this trailer, which are something I had not known about. They leave tire marks that don't indicate which way the vehicle was traveling. Though cool looking, I may swap out the wheels and tires to match what I'll be putting on my GMC Savana EB Duramax after she gets a 4x4 conversion. Otherwise I might not know if I'm coming or going. Hoping to do the 4x4 conversion with Sportsman 4x4 in Kamloops BC and their Clydesdale conversions.

This trailer has had a fair amount of work done to it over the years--some great, some not so great--like the fenders and the welding in of 3/8" diamond plate floor, no tailgate/rear panel, what looks like rattle can bed-liner, lights missing, no hand lever parking brake, etc. Guy I bought it from said it did have a lunette ring (for pintle hook) and landing leg, but the landing leg was too far gone so off it went. The rear has two small reinforcement plates that may have been for tailgate hinges, though some of these trailers had solid backs and could float, even with 500lb payloads. Perhaps the plates were original, perhaps added later. Only CSI knows for sure.

I also believe the axle was remounted incorrectly below the leaf springs, not above, which makes it ride higher and makes the fender/tire space look wacked in comparison to the way it should look. Guy said he had worked on the leaf springs and had a new leaf added to one side because it was broken.

I think it may have once had the round fenders of the M100 or MBT/T-3, too.

Here's two great resources on the MBT/T-3s:

- MB_T_Willys_Jeep_Trailer_MBT_Bantam_WWII-WW2
- ID_photos_MBT

Here's two great resources on the MB100:
- M100_Cargo_Trailer_Manual_Images
- ID-photos_M100

Overall this little trailer is in good shape, especially when compared to a lot of others I've seen people start their builds with. Let me know what you think about that, too. Am I barking up the wrong tree, thinking I have a great foundation to start? What are the pitfalls and surprises y'all have had when building on a military trailer foundation?

I paid $700 for this trailer, and I'm really looking forward to seeing just what I can do to make it practical, efficient, good looking, and a joy to use. I see military trailers and trailer parts in all sorts of condition and disrepair going for a wide range of prices, so feel okay about what I paid. I'm sure this build will drag out over a longer period than I'd like, as I'm also working on the van build and heading west to talk to a few vendors about tops and 4x4, bull-guard and rear bumper, etc.

My full fantasy plans for this trailer, at least so far and in no particular order, are to:
- lower the center of gravity for hiway towing and off-road crawling (getting the axle above the springs should help that greatly)
- probably change out the floor for aluminum (that thick diamond plate weighs well over a 100lbs, he said)
- add flat water tanks and house batts in the body
- set up the tub for cargo, not living space, probably with a tailgate and shallow, long pull out drawers with storage above
- add a Lock-n-roll or Max Coupler hitch or similar
- add leveling legs
- do something with those fenders, though they may look less wonky once the box rides lower
- add aluminum boxes above the fenders and fore/aft of the fenders, keeping departure angle in mind
- actuators/lifts for platform to get sleeping platform up
- rooftop tent (leaning towards Tepui right now because of quality, style, and numerous tales about customer service over other vendors)
- 270 awning like Rhino, Foxwing, etc, though been pondering a way to build one myself. I have industrial sewing machines and experience with fabrics.

The list goes on. . . you get the idea. Big dreams, reality may be far different :p

Here's some pics of how the trailer looked today, with the last one being the truck meant to tow this trailer to shows once it was done:

1-M100-M416-170625-RS.jpg

2-M100-M416-170625-FQ01.jpg

3-MyM416-170625-RQ01.jpg

4-MyM416-170625-LS02.jpg

5-MyM416-170625-U.jpg

6-MyM416-170625-UaxleLS.jpg

7-MyM416-170625-UaxleRS.jpg

9-MyM416-170625-liner.jpg

10-MyM416-170625-non-dir-tires01.jpg

JDsArmyTruck01.jpg
 

Hoghead

Observer
It looks to be a modified m100. The tubs on the M416's we're bolted to the frame and therefore removable. It appears you'd is permanently attached. Also m100's had tailgates where the m416 were solid tubs, Floatable. It originally would have had the spring under the axle as you stated. Those fenders are note from a military trailer. Those are my observations. Nice trailer.
 

Roaddude

Long time off-grid vanlife adventurist
It looks to be a modified m100. The tubs on the M416's we're bolted to the frame and therefore removable. It appears you'd is permanently attached. Also m100's had tailgates where the m416 were solid tubs, Floatable. It originally would have had the spring under the axle as you stated. Those fenders are note from a military trailer. Those are my observations. Nice trailer.
Thanks for the reply and info, Hoghead. Yeah, though I forgot to change all the pic names before uploading, I pretty much dismissed the idea it might be an M416 soon as I got home and started poking around online again. I still think it may be a WWII era Willys MB-T or Bantam T3 with the rear panel cut out and reinforcement plates added along the bottom back edge for future tailgate hinges. From what I can gather, the MB-T and T-3 are very similar to the M100 but had solid tubs like the M416.

I wouldn't mind it being a solid tub and watertight, actually, for fording deep streams, though I have been wondering about what submersion does to electric brakes if I swap the axle out for a Dexter with hubs to match my GMC wheels. I really like the idea of having trailer wheels and spare matching what I use on the van so everything is interchangeable. I wonder how difficult it would be to make a tailgate with an automotive style door seal tight enough to keep water out for crossings.

That rear edge on my trailer is a bit raw and it does look like it may have originally been a solid tub with the back cut out for a tailgate mod, though I don't see any evidence of there ever being a tailgate actually added. Haven't been able to find any pics of an M100 with tailgate hinge placement as wide as the reinforcement plates mine has. Though who knows, I've seen images of M100s with corner handles like an M416 and pics of what's supposed to be an MB-T with a tailgate.

Hard to discern what's what and is original or not after 60-75yrs for most of these trailers, with WWII and Korean War trailers being so similar, and with so many sale ads and build threads these days proffering incorrect info. I know I'm having a boatload lot of fun learning about these 1/4 tons though and pondering the potential. I'm really looking forward to seeing what I can do to build mine into a functional, efficient, camping trailer that will last another 75 yrs. You can bet I'll be documenting it all for posterity and provenance.

Here are two images of the Willys MB-T / Bantam T3:

MBT-T3-Trailer-Front_View-wcaption.jpg

MBT-T3-Trailer-Rear_View-wcaption.jpg
 
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Maybe an early civilian trailer? Military 1/4 tons had 4 tie downs on the side and if I remember right three on civilian versions. M100' s had brakes. This trailer has had a ton of modifications obviously but the good news is you shouldn't have any conflicts from purists in making your trailer fit what you want to build it into. Good luck and I hope you can enjoy and use it like I have mine.


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Roaddude

Long time off-grid vanlife adventurist
Mystery Pretty Well Solved!

Maybe an early civilian trailer? Military 1/4 tons had 4 tie downs on the side and if I remember right three on civilian versions. M100' s had brakes. This trailer has had a ton of modifications obviously but the good news is you shouldn't have any conflicts from purists in making your trailer fit what you want to build it into. Good luck and I hope you can enjoy and use it like I have mine.
Thanks grnhornet, your wondering about it possibly being a civvy trailer, and your tip about the tie downs put me on the right path. It led me to a great info page on the differences between military and civilian trailers and their manufacturers: http://wwiijeepparts.com/Archives/JeepTrailer.html and to a site more specifically about the Bantam T3-C: http://bantamt3c.com/. C in T3-C for Civilian.

Yeah, with what's already been done to my trailer, I'm not too worried about trying to restore it back to all original or keeping strict purists at bay, though I'm not going to do anything drastic to the tub or frame other than paint it to match my tow vehicle, perhaps, and possibly switch out the rims and tires. If I do swap out the axle for a Dexter with brakes, or change the suspension, I'll keep all the original parts to go with the trailer if I ever sell it. I hope it turns out nice enough it'll get passed on in the family.

Whatever it is, it isn't a M101CDN
Yeah, nastav, as I wrote, I eliminated the M101 CDN soon as I saw it in person and did more research once home.

Here's what I know for sure, so far:

- I have a Bantam T3-C tub, from which the back end side gussets (that used to support the tailgate opening and were only done on the civilian trailers) were cut off. A piece of 2" x 1/2" flat steel was welded along the outside edge on each side where the gussets had been.

Though the tub has had its floor replaced, it is otherwise in remarkably good shape and has had very little rust repair or bondo, best I can tell with a magnet.

The hinge reinforcement plates closer to the corners on the lower back edge, three tarp hooks instead of four along each side, the absence of any evidence there was ever any parking brake, and some old red paint showing in the tub confirms to me it's a T3-C, civilian version of the MBT/T3, which were made from just after WWII until 1953. This little trailer is old as I am.

- It's got a late Willy's axle.
From one of the links above: Axles 3 types: 1) with a cast housing in the center (Willys early), 2) with a center seam (Willys late), or 3) Solid (Bantam). Mine is clearly a center seam axle.
- Axle is mounted incorrectly, which looks like I can easily correct and will lower the tub around 3".
- Not sure about the frame, though I suspect it's original to the T3-C tub.
- Last think I know for sure is that the fenders are fugly.

So, I strongly suspect someone found a Bantam T3-C with a bad or absent axle, bad or absent tailgate, and started trying to bring it back to life. They sourced a Willys axle. The trailer ended up in a military boneyard in Massachusetts, then to the guy I got it from, who cleaned it up, got rid of the rusted-beyond-repair landing foot, added a 2" ball receiver, added the 3/8" diamond plate floor, painted it the present color and did a decent job lining the underside and not so great a job lining the inside, and paid some good money for those military ND tires.

All in all, it's a rugged little trailer in amazingly good shape with a lot of the work done already, has great potential, and will look pretty decent with a short cap, new tailgate and equipment pullouts, trailer-top tent and awning, and articulating coupler. Just gotta get rid of those fenders.

For anyone interested, I posted what looks like might be a really good deal on another military trailer ($300) in the 'Vehicles found on eBay, CL, other forums, etc' page, with an offer to go look at it and take more pics in exchange for fuel cost and a hotdog ;) :

http://forum.expeditionportal.com/t...over-Foxcroft-Maine-300?p=2322718#post2322718
 
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JRJKU

Observer
Just picked up, M100 today myself. Some mods but overall solid. Guy said he bought it from a museum.


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Roaddude

Long time off-grid vanlife adventurist
M100 links, and my new M416

Just picked up, M100 today myself. Some mods but overall solid. Guy said he bought it from a museum.
Nice, JRJKU, looks to be well taken care of and pretty well restored. These trailers are a lot of fun to research and learn about and there's a ton of info online about them. If you haven't run across these two pages on the M100, I found them to have some of the better information. A lot of misinformation out there, but you learn fairly quickly what to depend on and these are good.

https://www.ih8mud.com/tech/pdf/trailer/m100-m115.pdf
http://olive-drab.com/idphoto/id_photos_m100.php

I just bought another trailer yesterday, an M416 that a guy was going to use the tub from for a Jeep pickup conversion, but it's three inches wider than a Bantam, so I got it rather cheap. Has a great frame, still has the lunette ring, parking brake system and handle, wiring harness (with front and back plugs), front leg, the front handles he took off, and one M416 wheel and one M100 wheel. Floor is shot and I'll probably replace the front and back panels rather than patch them. Lot more images in my M416 album.

Gets to be a bit of a fever for some people, these trailers, and I admit I've got the bug. I'm going to put the M416 up for sale, probably. Guess I'm going to learn to weld. . .

RoadsM416_170701-09.jpg
 
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