M416 Overland Trailer Build – Part 4

The warmer weather is gone, and the cold and snow are back again, but that didn’t stop me from spending a couple of days in the shop. I was able to get quite a bit done over the weekend.

My buddy dropped off some of the brackets I had him cut for me, so I was able to get started on the scissor jack mounts. A bunch of adjusting got them in the best spot I could find where they were accessible but out of the way. I used four, one in each corner that I can run up and down with my impact and a 3/4″ socket. It wasn’t quite as stable as I had expected, but overall it is about 80% sturdier than the old setup of tires and an old pipe jack. I just need to uninstall them for paint, then reinstall with all new bolts.

I decided to spend some time working on the tongue box. The holes and u-bolts that came with it would work, but I either had to re-drill the holes or make supports in the right spot. I decided to use some 1.5″ square I had sitting around and make some braces for underneath the box. The tongue box is just a cheapy from Harbor Freight, but it’s decent quality.

HF Tongue box and brackets to support it.

I decided to start cutting some of the holes for the tongue box electrical. I mounted two 12v cigarette lighters and one two-port USB plug on the side of the box. I will be adding two 110v receptacles with waterproof covers below them.

Two 12V plugs and one USB plug on the side of the box.

My buddy had also dropped off a 4×4′ piece of 16 gauge for me, so I decided why not start on the top for the trailer. Nothing super special yet, but I have the frame about 90% done and started skinning the top and hoping to have the rest of my skin steel next week.

I am still waiting on yet more parts. I have hinges on the way for the top. I am waiting on 4x4x1/4″ plates for the base of the rack on top. I also bought a tubing bender so I can build my own, stronger, tube fenders for the trailer. Stay tuned, should be able to get moving on this soon!

M416 Overland Trailer Build – Part 3

We had some warm weather over the weekend, so I was able to get quite a bit done. I started out cutting the new steel for the new tongue. I got the new 2×3, and 2.5×2.5 welded in, drilled for the new articulating lunette, got the chains welded on, and got it all put in place. I set the tongue box in place as well to try and get an idea of how I plan to mount it.

I started working on the tailgate again. I got the hinges attached (bolted to tailgate, welded to the frame. I made some pieces inside the tub that the tailgate can close against. It is working pretty well now. I am going to use the factory latches for the tailgate, and a lock on the top. This will keep the tailgate locked and make it easier than building a latch system for the tailgate.

Next, I need to cap off the ends of the tub where I cut it. That should clean it up a bit. I will be welding in the 1.5″ square bar that I am using to hold the sides of the bed in place since they keep wanting to bend inwards. When I cut out the tailgate piece, they moved in about an inch. Thinking I want to build a rear bumper for the trailer too instead of the hitch that is there.







M416 Overland Trailer Build – Part 2

In his second DIY article, Ryan provides us a rundown of his homebrew trailer build. Taking an old M101A2 military trailer from rundown to something functional and usable on the trails.

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Parts, Parts, & More Parts

2/20/19 – I am sort of stuck waiting on parts to arrive, so I figured I’d write a post about some of the parts I will be installing. I have been receiving gifts from UPS, Fedex, and UPS almost daily. I am still waiting on the plate steel my buddy over at Longs Metalworks is cutting for me on his CNC. I need to pick up some 2×3 and 2×2 tubing for the new tongue. I received my CJ tailgate hinges. One was pretty seized up, so I have been working on loosening that up. Waiting on brackets to mount the jacks. Pretty much just waiting, period.

It’s like Christmas around here

I got my tail light buckets in, courtesy of Ebay, so I can being fabbing those into the trailer frame soon. I should have just had my buddy cut them out too, but didn’t wanna be greedy. I got blacked out lights for them that should be pretty cool.

I am still waiting on a few electrical components to be able to start on all the electric stuff, but I did get my tongue box in, which is where they will all be housed. I plan to make a flat board that will drop into it with all the electric stuff attached so I don’t have to drill into the bottom of the box.

Tongue box courtesy El Harbor Freight

I will be using this trailer for off grid camping, as well as some local campgrounds with electric, so I decided to run a converter so the trailer can be plugged in and still run all my 12volt accessories easily. Since I really only have led lights, I didn’t need much power. I settled on 20 amp, 125 watts for the ease of use. I also got a male plug that will be mounted on the side of the tongue box to be able to be plugged in.

I decided to order a cheap set of levels since I am using a 24″ tall scissor jack on each corner to level the trailer and make it sturdy. I will be welding plates under the trailer, then bolting the jacks to the plates. This makes it easy to replace one if I smash one, although I plan to put them up fairly high, and I won’t be rck crawling with my trailer anyways.

Once I get everything done, I will seam seal everything that isn’t welded. I thought about painting it, but since the trailer is older it is somewhat banged up, and being that I am using it for overlanding, will most likely get banged up further. So I decided to do a bed line coating inside and out. It isn’t the best for looking clean, but it holds up well and will hold up to the trails well. I have used Raptor liner a few times in the past and it has worked well for me. It’s easy to spray, dries quick, and I like the finish. It’s about $100 for 4 bottles, hardener and the spray gun. I could probably do it all with one kit, but figured I’d lay a few coats so it is thick enough to handle bumping off a tree and being pelted with rocks from my tires.

M416 Overland Trailer Build – Part 1

In another great DIY article, Ryan provides us a rundown of his home brew trailer. Taking an old M101A2 military trailer from rundown to something functional and usable on the trails.

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2/16/19 – The beginning. So I wanted to build an overland camper and get the rooftop tent off my Jeep and onto a trailer. So I first purchased an M101A2. While I loved the trailer for doing stuff around the house, it was too big for what I wanted. So I sold it and picked up an older and semi-decent shape M416 for $600. The overall shape was pretty decent, but I couldn’t stand the orange paint, so I did a “QUICK” spray bomb job to turn it black to use during the hunting season.

My half-ass spray paint job.

So after a TON of sketching and designing, I finally decided on the design for my trailer. I am going to build a steel topper for it with the rack on top. The top will be hinged to open. I also acquired an old CJ tailgate to fab into it. I will also be having a couple slide our drawers as well, a tongue box with all the electronic stuff and battery. The list is long.

Some of my sketches

Disassemble Johnny Five

So starting out, I needed to remove the big tongue and standard coupler, to replace it with a custom articulating lunette that a buddy and I designed. He fabbed it up and I think it will work perfectly.

The old tongue removed.
The custom rotating lunette.

So today I removed the tub from the frame. I decided to just remake the entire tongue from scratch since it’s only four bolts that hold it on. Have to get the steel for that tomorrow.

I decided to start on the tailgate today. Was more of a pain than I thought. The tub, once I cut out the back section, sucked in nearly 3/4″. So I had to weld in a mini frame inside the back to help push the sides back out. I pretty much have everything tacked in place and lined up for the time being. I am waiting on some CJ hinges to arrive so I can attach the tailgate, then I will be able to clean it all up and start on a lath system.

Rear of tub cut away
Test fitting the CJ tail gate.Go to Part 2

DIY Fishing Rod Storage for $30

One cool thing about overland camping is the many other activities that can be done in conjunction with it — hiking, swimming, fishing, kayaking. The list is endless. And while there isn’t anything much better than camping next to a stream or lake, there isn’t anything much worse than watching fish swim back and forth and not having your fishing pole with you.

When packing for an overland trip, bringing a rod and reel, isn’t as high on the list of importance as other things. Poles are long, fragile, and hard to store easily, especially if they aren’t two piece rods. When pre-packing for an upcoming trip, I was trying to figure out how to fit a couple of rods into my Jeep Unlimited, without breaking them or having them be in the way. My favorite rods don’t break down, so I had to opt for my back up rods, which are two pieces and easier to transport. I decided to try and make a rod holder than instead of being inside the vehicle, was outside. To have a way they would be safe, and I could have them at easy reach without lots of unpacking.

I decided to start with some 3″ PVC pipe. I bought a solid end cap for one end and a threaded/screw type cap for the other end. I also picked up some PVC cement. I was only able to buy the pipe long enough in a 10′ stick, so there is enough left over to make a couple of these depending on how long you want to make yours. Total cost was about $30.

I measured my longest rod (broken down to two pieces) to get an idea of how long I wanted it to go. I can also store marshmallow cookers and my fire poker in it as well, so keep in mind for extra space, if you would like to use it for other things. It also doesn’t have to go on a roof rack. It could easily be adapted to a trailer, or even inside your rig!

I had some aluminum clamps I got off eBay for fairly cheap, sitting around, which worked perfectly for this. Drill a couple of holes in the PVC to bolt them to it. I used some 3/8″ bolts with washers. IMPORTANT!!! Remember to bolt these on before cementing the ends (like I did) which makes it very hard to tighten them up.

I scuffed the outer surface, then coated the entire thing in spray on bed liner. We will see how well it holds before having to recoat it.