SoDak's M101A2 build

SoDakSooner

Adventurer
Mostly a lurker here, post a little bit, but I was able to pick up this M101A2 in Texas on a GovPlanet auction. Not a bad deal for $300. I actually sold another really tiny Northern Equipment trailer to offset the cost of this one, bought some temporary trailer lighting, and with fuel to pick it up, all in, net I am at $325 at this point. I can't complain.

So major worries when picking up as I had a 4.5 hour drive to get back:
1. Surge brakes locked up-ok, but actually don't work at all. Will not lock up in reverse,which was fine.
2. tires shot-they are, but held up. Held air well, and no hot spots on the way home.
3. Axles overheating and burning everything down.-I took a laser thermometer with me and initial readings on the hubs got to 150 degrees, but finally settled in at about 120. No worries
4. Lighting-Fixed with $25 Tractor Supply trailer light kit.

Plans.

1. Just clean it up. Get rid of all the stakes.
2. New axle- 5 on 5 hubs with electric brakes to match the jeep.
3. New hitch. Torn here on what do do, but want to drop all the surge brake hardware with it's added weight.
4. Lighten it up in general. Get rid of all the non-essential "stuff"
5. Figure out a finish for it.
6. Seal up all the holes. It was a Comm trailer, so lots of electrical equipment must have been mounted inside.
7. put my welder to use and get a rack built for my RTT.

That's it for now. Just want to make it serviceable. Maybe eventually add pull outs, and enclose it, or make a topper for it. I have gathered way too many ideas on here and now am confused as there are so many things I like. I guess that is the fun part, figuring it all out.

I actually didn't expect to pick one up so soon, but gotta strike when the iron is hot, even when you don't necessarily have a plan yet.
 

Attachments

dstock

Explorer
I was in the exact same boat, when you see one for the right price, gotta go for it!

It's great fun, I refer to mine as a "work in progress" as I am constantly coming up with refinements, additions etc. Enjoy!
 
These trailers are a lot of fun to build! I spent a few months really figuring out what I wanted and how I was going to make it happen. I am now wrapping up all my electronics and figuring out how I am going to paint this beast. Here are a few ideas for you on the tongue of the trailer. Here is what I did for mine, its not as long as it looks in the pictures but I wanted it far enough back that the tire carrier on my jeep would clear it.



 

SoDakSooner

Adventurer
These trailers are a lot of fun to build! I spent a few months really figuring out what I wanted and how I was going to make it happen. I am now wrapping up all my electronics and figuring out how I am going to paint this beast. Here are a few ideas for you on the tongue of the trailer. Here is what I did for mine, its not as long as it looks in the pictures but I wanted it far enough back that the tire carrier on my jeep would clear it.



Oh heck yeah, Love that, and the rack too!!! That is kind of how my hitch set up looks in my head.
 

SoDakSooner

Adventurer
So I did a little bit of teardown last night. Got the stakes out(I don't think they had ever been off. and pulled the lights.

Wiring is pretty bad on the tail lights, but I want to reuse the housings. Has anyone ever gutted these and completely rewired them for 12 volt? I don't need the convoy lights or blackouts, just want the standard stuff. Would like to use LED's. I don't think it will be that difficult, but don't want to reinvent the wheel.

Didn't really have time to do much else. The parking brakes do work and the tires are still holding air. Pins holding the tailgate are so rusted I can't get them out. Sprayed them down with some penetrant so will try tonight.

Going to blatantly steal Hitchcrack's tongue idea.
 

Attachments

dstock

Explorer
I went the same route leaving enough room for the JK tailgate to clear the tongue box and the brake-away battery on the front. A pic from early in my build:



Hang on to those parking brakes as they can be made to work with Dexter parking brakes with a little ingenuity. Mine were trashed and trying to find a good replacement is $$$

While there will always be refinements, try to plan for some of the major ones ahead of time so you don't have to go back and re-do things. I always planned a hard cover for mine, even though I used a tarp for the first year, so I made sure my rack would accommodate it from the get go:



Have fun, lots of pics in my build thread which is linked in my sig.
 

SoDakSooner

Adventurer
I went the same route leaving enough room for the JK tailgate to clear the tongue box and the brake-away battery on the front. A pic from early in my build:



Hang on to those parking brakes as they can be made to work with Dexter parking brakes with a little ingenuity. Mine were trashed and trying to find a good replacement is $$$

While there will always be refinements, try to plan for some of the major ones ahead of time so you don't have to go back and re-do things. I always planned a hard cover for mine, even though I used a tarp for the first year, so I made sure my rack would accommodate it from the get go:



Have fun, lots of pics in my build thread which is linked in my sig.
I have read through your entire build too. I love that lid. Don't know if I'll go all the way with the linear actuators, but like the thought process behind your rack too.

Trying to decide how I want to mount my tent (CVT McKinley). kind of like the thought of going off the back and having a "porch" up front. Also thought about going off the side and building a flip up "porch for the other side.

Lots of ideas going through my mind right now. Kind of have the jeep where I want it, and now on to a new project.
 

dstock

Explorer
I have read through your entire build too. I love that lid. Don't know if I'll go all the way with the linear actuators, but like the thought process behind your rack too.

Trying to decide how I want to mount my tent (CVT McKinley). kind of like the thought of going off the back and having a "porch" up front. Also thought about going off the side and building a flip up "porch for the other side.

Lots of ideas going through my mind right now. Kind of have the jeep where I want it, and now on to a new project.
I hear you, the brain spins with ideas on these things. After a couple uses, you will get even more ideas!

We use the tailgate as our "Kitchen", I'm actually about to add a wood surface to it to make it more user friendly as my tailgate is a bit beat up. It makes for a nice kitchen area as you don't have to unload much out of the trailer to prepare food.

Have fun!
 

SoDakSooner

Adventurer
So, got a little bit done on Saturday.
Removed the non-functional(and bulky/ugly) surge brake system and lunette.
My son drilled out all the rivets and pulled all the nomenclature tags(After the trailer is cleaned up they will go back on)
Started cutting out the 24 volt wiring system that was shot.
Started filling in holes with the welder.
Measured for new hitch
Picked up a 24" receiver tube at Northern Tool. After measuring the height of my hitch on the jeep,it turns out that welding it on top of the remaining baseplate for the surge brakes is nearly perfect height wise. Should give me 18" or so sticking out from the front of the trailer.
we were laying a few beads on the plate, not intending to re use it...showing my son some welding basics, so ended up having to grind all the beads off....lol. I put him to work.
BTW...Me teaching welding is definitely the blind leading the blind.
Found a nose jack at Harbor freight for $44, side wind, weld on. Will pick that up this week.
I just threw the spare on the tongue to get it out of the way. Will probably end up with a tongue box there. Welded a pc of bar stock to stabilize the tongue anticipating removal of the hitch base. Since it will now stay, that is no longer needed.
 

Attachments

SoDakSooner

Adventurer
Well, after a few weeks off working on it, I was able to scare up a little time on Sunday morning to get a bit of work done. Picked up weld on jack(not pictured) rated for 3500 lbs, with a 20% off coupon at harbor freight, for about $40. Seems to be a solid pc for the money and gets decent reviews.

Not looking at sinking big $$ into this at least right away.

Got the bottom of the nose piece cut out. Used up all of my cutoff wheels so had to make a run to the store. Cut the front off(also not pictured) so I can inset the receiver tubing. I mocked it up to get an idea of the length. Should work for me. Initially will just use a ball hitch but now will have the option to go to one of the "off-road" couplers.

Also stopped by the local steel supplier on Friday. They sell trailer parts as well. They have a pre-made axle at 58", with electric brakes for $230, including springs(which I don't need..too short anyway)...and it is 5 on 5 already, so with a 2" spacer on each side, that would get me to 62". Might be too short, however, they have all the components to build my own if needed, so that is another option down the road. Will run what I have for now.

Once I get this hitch coupler complete, will start working on the rack. Hope to free up some time this week to get it all welded up.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Ovrlnd Rd

Adventurer
Military LEDs are available for those buckets so hang on to them if you want to reuse or you can replace with entire units and still keep the original look.
 
Top