Oregon Trailer Inspired build on a M116A1 platform (Updated Pullout Kitchen 2020)


After finding my M116A1 platform back in May and just sitting for 6 months, I decided to use the holiday season and slow period at work to start on my trailer build. Anyone that wants to join me on this journey and is looking at the military platform as a potential starting point, I welcome to follow along. There are a ton of these build threads and I wasn't going to start another one, but I thought if anyone was looking for something along the lines of the TerraDrop by Oregon Trailers or the Moby X1, these were my inspiration for the design and I would post this for ideas for others.

So here was the M116A1 that I found in May as she sat.




My 1st goal was to find matching wheels and tires to my wife's Toyota 4 Runner and swap out that giant axle. So I had the local trailer shop put in a 3500lb Dexter axle and install the wheels and tires and we were ready to bring her home.


More to follow....


So here is my inspiration and the platform I really wanted to emulate. I love the rugged looks of the TerraDrop by Oregon Trailers.



So after spending 5 months researching and reviewing this board and all the great build threads and countless hours on youtube where there are some great step by step videos on building teardrops I finally got started.

In a perfect world I would have had the local welding company tear off the metal platform that was welded on as it was slightly off level and build me a metal frame for the teardrop. I battled with the decision of wood vs aluminum frame and decided that because I know nothing about welding and I am skilled at woodworking that it was the best route to go for me. Also budget was tight and I could overcome these issue by putting down a new floor and shim the areas that were off.






Options that I plan to eventually install over a period of time.
- Full electrical with solar added on later
- Fresh water storage with RO unit / sink / pull out handheld shower for rinsing off
- Full kitchen with pull out grill and cooler. I will probably buy a Yeti or Pelican but it burns me to pay that much money for a cooler. I might try the 1st initial run with my colmman and see what happens.
- Awning and roof rack installed
- Maybe a RTT but that will be last on the list standard tent will do for the kids for now
- Bike rack mount
- AC/Heat (possibly)


This is my progress to date. The hatch is just held on with clips right now as the hinge is on order. This took me an entire day to build as I had to rebuild part of it after buying the wrong baltic birch to skin it with. I got 5mm instead of 3mm. The local place didn't have 3mm and I figured how bad could it be to bend 5mm? Well if went poorly and I ended up have to rip it off and rebuild part of the frame because the glue and nails destroyed those ribs. Fortunately it was only half of the frame and most was saved. Just a day setback to get it back to being ready to skin. I also ordered the 3mm Purebond Radius plywood this time and will skin it when it comes in.

I will eventually use .030 White Aluminum to skin the outside walls and roof but I am still in process of finding a local source. The problem is the aluminum sheets come in 4' widths and I need 6' width for the roof and hatch. I really don't want a seam and the my width is 66". Didn't really think about that when I built the frame until after I was done and then I went to source the aluminum. Learning lesson and the roof may need to have a seam. The sides will be clean with no seams and I haven't decided on the doors yet. I really just wanted to buy the prefab doors but @ $350 each door that is a big expense. I will most likely try my hand at cutting my own doors and that is why I haven't cut out the doors yet.






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Got some more done today as my last day off before returning to reality and my day job. It was a good stopping point as I ordered my sink and faucet for the counter top and need to do some research on wiring and electrical. I ordered my flex plywood and tomorrow will hopefully find a local source for the aluminum skins so I don't have to ship it.

I did score this grill at home depot for 70% of that was returned for a scratch on the side. It is not the ideal size in height as it measures 11" tall x 17" deep. But for $30 I will figure it out. I think I will build a add on table for the side of the trailer that this will sit on.



Progress from today



This shows the outline of the rear hatch



Putting the skin on one side of the hatch took way longer than expected. Because of the width of my trailer at 66" I will have a seam when I put the aluminum on the roof and the hatch. Poor planning on my part as I haven't been able to find aluminum sheets over 49" wide. I am considering fiberglass but will need more research.

Anyone have opinions on fiberglass? I have done some initial research and the pros seem pretty good with cost being one of the major cons.

The hatch hinge is on order so once it comes in I can mount the hatch better as it is just sitting in place right now. I did get the sink installed and the cabinets trimmed out. Next weekend I will build the cabinet doors for the galley and the inside cabinets.




I finally got back to the build yesterday and had a major setback. One of those that after it hits you, you just stand there staring off into space for 10 minutes realizing your 10+ hours of build time on that particular part is wasted and you have to start over. After the initial shock, anger and disappointment I realized that it would be better this way as I would improve the design on the 2nd try and began the redesign.

So after receiving the hatch hurricane hinge, I mounted the hatch and found that two problems were occurring. One the hatch was much too large, I didn't have nearly enough ribs. Even though I had plenty of cross bars and support, it would twist and catch on the edge of the wall on the way down. Second problem was that the hatch no longer lined up when closed. I have no idea how that happened, wood swelled maybe or when putting on the skin it changed something, I don't know. When I built the ribs prior to skinning it, it all lined up perfect. I used the edge of the walls as my template guide when making the ribs, so the radius and angles should have been perfect.

Anyway, I have moved the hinge down over 24" and the new hatch will be half the length as the 1st one and I am building with 3 extra ribs in the design. So we continue on hatch 2.0 today. Will post some pics this afternoon of hopefully a new hatch completed.


I know the feeling. Sorry to hear that. My curved hatch was a pain in the *** to build too. I ended up trimming the walls down and ran the hatch full width.


Got a lot accomplished today and Hatch 2.0 is so much better. It doesn't twist and lines up perfect. Just need to skin the outside and install the latch and gas struts. I did finish up the galley and I only have to make the cabinet doors. Still waiting on a router bit to come in the mail. I am also making a slide out drawer under the sink for utensils and spices. I still have to tackle the water tank and electrical but my plan is to get the outside skinned in aluminum and leave the inside skin off so I can still run electrical. I want the option to be able to take it out on a test run without electrical and plumbing working if I so choose. Also it gives me the ability to have a few nights out and figure out anything that I missed or want to change. And money is tight right now, so some things need to be put on the back burner for a while.

Next weekend I plan to start figuring out the door. Not sure if I am going to build my own doors or order them prefab. I love the simplicity of the prefab but don't like the price tag of $375 each door. I am pretty confident I can build it. Might take me two tries but we shall see.




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