RagnarD's M101A3 Build

RagnarD

Adventurer
I have enjoyed reading the build threads posted here. Figured I am at a point that I can call this project more complete than not so it’s safe to start a build thread of my own. I did take a lot of pictures but did not organize them as I went so I will post as I organize them. For those instant gratification types, here is a current pic. I have a few ongoing threads on SS but this thread will cover the entire build.



This build started life as a pretty clean M101A3 of GL. Trailer did not come with the gates, bows, or a tarp. Picked it up while on vacation in CA then towed it back to TX with a set of magnetic lights. Made the trip home without any issues; even with a decent load in the trailer.

A cell phone pic from a rest stop in Flagstaff, AZ.



At its new home in the driveway.





Since I put a topper and BedRug on the bed of my truck, the original plan was to use it at a general utility trailer/truck bed replacement. Other than lights and smaller tires, I didn’t really have any specific plans for it. As with most projects I start, plans began to develop once I started working on it. Joining Steel Soldiers and this forum helped get the juices flowing.

In February 2013, I started to pull things apart.

Since the surge brake system was less than operational, I decided to copy Mark Harley and remove the surge brake assembly and gain some drop on the trailer side with an adjustable channel.











Tongue parts laid out (inverted)



I removed all of the electrical, lights, and hardware that went along with it. Also removed all of the hydraulic brake lines and hardware. It took a surprising amount of effort to remove all of the phillips head screws that held everything on the frame. They had been painted over several times and had over a decade to rust into place. My trusty T-handle screw driver got a work out. Even though most wont see it, the effort to clean up the under carriage was worth it. While I was in the mode of removing things, I decided to remove the data plates as well (not legible anyways).

Regretfully, I made the decision to remove the manual brake system as well (brake drums, brake backing plates, and parking levers). It was not until the end that I decided the weight savings was not worth losing the parking brake feature. I should have at least kept the manual brake levers in case I end up with a new electric brake axle set up with parking brakes. I will keep this in mind for the next one……



It was a PITA separating the brake drum from the hub. I should have taken that as a sign to leave it alone.





Serviced the bearings and assembled the stripped down hubs back on the mil axle with some ¼” spacers.








I found some 16” 8 lug chevy wheel on CL, painted them flat black, then added Dextero E-Rated truck tires from Walmart (~$115/tire out the door mounted and balanced).






Ran new electrical with 7 pin plug, junction box, and submersible LED lights. I re-used the mounting brackets for the mil lights.







Got a plate for it. Only took about 10 min and $60.

Ran into a bit of a road block when it came time to have the tongue welded. I was quoted over $200 by several shops just to weld the channel to the tongue bracket with gussets. Decided this was the prefect excuse to buy a welder and learn to weld.
 
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RagnarD

Adventurer
Thanks Mark. You have seen some of these pictures on SS but I keep finding more of them so there will be some new ones. No complaints with the help.
 

RagnarD

Adventurer
Convinced myself and wife that buying a welder and learning to use it would end up paying for itself…..Ended up bringing this home.



It was a good thing I had not sold the 37” tires yet because I was able to use them to build a platform to help get the welder out of the truck.



All set up and ready to roll. Had to add a 230 V plug in the garage.



My dad flew out for a visit and helped me get started welding. He also insisted on getting me a shed to make room in the garage and remove potential fuel for a fire.





Cooking with fire!









Now the trailer was rolling and with a new pintle mount plate for the truck everything was level with plenty of tailgate room and tongue length to pivot the trailer out of the way.







As you can see, I retained the mil safety chains and landing gear.


At this point the trailer tips the scale at 1260 lbs.

I found some used RKI side boxes. I and was surprised how robust they, each one weighed in at 75lbs! They are heavy but the price and size were right. It is nice having lockable storage containers and they don’t restrict access too bad. Also added some E-track inside and out.







Taped of the reflectors then, rattle canned everything in flat black (16 cans).







Made some cables to hold the tailgate level and replace the mil pins with ½” hitch pins. The mil pins and chains would move around at freeway speeds and work their way out. I made the tailgate attachment out of ¼” round bar.



 
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RagnarD

Adventurer
I was not able to locate a reasonably priced set of gates, bows, and tarp so I decided to make my own and use a plain old canvas tarp.

Trip to the steel yard



Making the stakes









This was my first unsupervised welding project.

Some close of ups my better welds.





The complete rack. Vertical stakes are 2”x2” .120 wall, corners are 2.5”x2.5” 3/16 wall, cross pieces are 2”x2” 14ga wall. Rear cross member is easily removed by pulling two pins. The rest of the rack is held together by design and bolts.



 

OppugnAll

New member
Looking good, it's funny though, I have a m416 painted black from previous owner and I'm going a lighter color, tan or green.. Everywhere I want to travel eventually can get hot and black especially so..
 

hesterj

Adventurer
Nice to see a Weatherford build. (Phillups welding and tractor supply parking lot :)

Holler if you need a extra pair of hands. I'm the guy with the ugly orange TJ and matching M416 running around town.
 

RagnarD

Adventurer
Thanks hesterj, I will keep an eye out for you around town.

Added some grommets and rigged the semi-permanent cover. The plan is to leave this tarp on while traveling.







 
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Texan

New member
What size tires are you using? I want to get some a bit smaller for mine. The only upside now is they are the same size as my Chevy HD2500.
 

Texan

New member
Thanks, from the photos they looked a lot shorter. Missed the post about the old tires being 37". The ones on mine are 30" now, match my truck, but I was hoping to lower the trailer without changing the axle. I am trying to keep the cost down, which is hard to do.:Wow1:
 

RagnarD

Adventurer
Got a chance to take the trailer out a few times. Very happy with it but came up with a few improvements.

Hauling a pretty heavy load of steel and other stuff.





Clean and loaded for its first real expedition



Handled the mud and 85 MPH on the freeway with ease.



Most important gear! I am a big fan of the AeroPress.



All set up







 

RagnarD

Adventurer
Got a chance to take it out again with a new tarp set up..... still room for improvement. I am now OF thinking making rigid awning covers that will not need poles, stakes, or lines.

I am yet to take it out and not get positive comments about it. Only issues is that people also keep asking me how much I would sell it for.......










 
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