M116A3 Build

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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby lfhoward » Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:32 am

Some photos of the new hardware.

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My off-road camper build on an M116A3 military chassis:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581
Tow vehicle: 2008 Jeep Liberty with a 4 inch lift.
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby S. Heisley » Fri Feb 07, 2020 7:45 pm

:thumbsup: Beautiful!
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby lfhoward » Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:29 pm

In preparation for some winter camping without electricity, I decided to insulate the windows!

I had just enough 3/4" foam board insulation left over from insulating the trailer walls. I taped the edges with clear shipping tape, and made some "tabs" out of tape so that I could remove the foam inserts easily when I wanted to.

The three smaller windows (2 front, 1 rear) are fixed, single pane glass. They tend to get condensation and/or ice on them when it's cold out. Hopefully not anymore!

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The two side windows have screens and crank out at the bottoms. I cut a notch out of each insert to go around the knobs.

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Here's what they look like from the outside.

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And of course, ventilation is the key to staying alive and healthy. That's what the roof vent is for!

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One of the side windows can be cracked open slightly to provide airflow if needed. My next problem to solve is do I get a little buddy heater to warm things up before bed, or during the night?

https://www.walmart.com/ip/MH4B-Little-Buddy-Heater/20925178

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My off-road camper build on an M116A3 military chassis:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581
Tow vehicle: 2008 Jeep Liberty with a 4 inch lift.
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby lfhoward » Mon Feb 17, 2020 4:11 pm

The trailer wheel is happy again courtesy of J&J Auto & Truck Repair in Warminster. :thumbsup:

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Also picked up one of these to replace a finicky valve stem core that loses about a pound of pressure a day.
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My off-road camper build on an M116A3 military chassis:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581
Tow vehicle: 2008 Jeep Liberty with a 4 inch lift.
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby lfhoward » Mon Feb 17, 2020 4:40 pm

Jeep and Trailer at the end of the day. Jeepy got an oil change and passed inspection. Trailer got a new hub.

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My off-road camper build on an M116A3 military chassis:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581
Tow vehicle: 2008 Jeep Liberty with a 4 inch lift.
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby S. Heisley » Mon Feb 17, 2020 8:16 pm

:applause: Lookin' Good! My Jeep just got an oil change and tire rotation. Last week, somebody's door put a crease down one side. (I suspect I have a wind gust to thank.)

Yes, if I were going out in the woods in snow and near zero temperatures, I'd get a Little Buddy Heater. I'd want to use it in the morning, before I slip out of that comfy bed and warm bed covers! :snowstorm:
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby lfhoward » Thu Feb 20, 2020 7:12 pm

Hi Sharon! Thanks for watching my build even after all these years. It never really is done.

I got a Little Buddy heater! I haven’t had a chance to camp with it yet, but I tested it out, and boy does it crank out the heat! I suspect that I won’t need to have it on for long in order to make it nice and toasty inside the trailer. Hopefully my trailer’s insulation will retain that heat so I don’t have to keep warming up the space every 15 minutes. I want to be able to warm it up then crawl under a bunch of blankets and fall asleep before the temp goes back down.

Because the heater is going to take up one corner of the trailer that used to have a shelf and some clothes hooks, I am thinking about making more usable space under the bed. 1/2 of the under bed space is taken up by the spare tire, so finding a solution for that is the next thing.

I’d like to build a mount for the tire underneath the trailer. Being a military trailer, there is a ton of clearance and plenty of room potentially. (The original tires were 37’s so mounting one underneath would not have worked for the Army. I’m running 31’s now.)

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In my sketch, I’m envisioning using a pickup truck tire carrier, which is readily available on EBay. The Ford F-250 version has symmetrical wings that should make it easy to mount. (Some other winch models are designed to fit into unique spaces and aren’t suitable for a DIY installation.) I’m thinking the winch will sit on top of a frame that will support it as well as provide a flat surface for the tire to draw up against. Right now I’m thinking of building the frame out of galvanized Superstrut, which is available at the local Home Depot or Lowe’s. It’s like a grown up version of an erector set. :lol:

The trailer frame is made of thick C-channel, which would be an easy place to mount the tire support frame to. Here is a photo of a similar trailer to mine from a different forum:

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Right now I’m planning on keeping the rear support leg in place and mounting the spare tire carrier ahead of the axle. (Underneath the same location it’s in now under the bed.) But, with the load of batteries I have on the tongue, I bet mounting the spare tire in the rear would not hurt the fore/aft weight ratio, and may actually improve things. If I did go with a rear spare tire mounting solution, the support leg would need to be removed. I like having it because it stabilizes the trailer for climbing in or out, since the door is right above it. Maybe I could find a second support leg and mount them both in the rear, to the right and left of the tire?

I thought I’d put the ideas out there and see what people think. Where would you put the spare? Do you see any weaknesses in the plan? Is Superstrut/Unistrut ok for this kind of installation or should I be looking at something beefier? Thanks for your feedback!
My off-road camper build on an M116A3 military chassis:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581
Tow vehicle: 2008 Jeep Liberty with a 4 inch lift.
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby S. Heisley » Thu Feb 20, 2020 8:22 pm

As you know, the ratio of weigh, front to back, should be somewhere around 60% to 40%. So, if you're happy with your trailer weight the way it is now, I say don't tempt fate nor add extra work by moving the tire to the back. ...just my 2 cents worth of opinion.
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby lfhoward » Thu Feb 20, 2020 9:00 pm

S. Heisley wrote:As you know, the ratio of weigh, front to back, should be somewhere around 60% to 40%. So, if you're happy with your trailer weight the way it is now, I say don't tempt fate nor add extra work by moving the tire to the back. ...just my 2 cents worth of opinion.

You have a very good point Sharon. I certainly don’t want any trailer sway issues. However, I think in its current configuration the trailer is very tongue-heavy. There are 3 batteries in the tongue box, which probably adds 150 lbs right there. I can’t lift the tongue right now without help from the jack, so I suspect the tongue weight is over 300 lbs at the moment. I’m thinking if I put the tire in back, it would actually help matters. The tire is about 48 lbs plus the weight of the rim, maybe an additional 30.

*Edit: I can always test this out by placing the tire inside the trailer near the back door! Then I’ll know for sure if it causes any issues before it would be mounted under the floor. ;)
My off-road camper build on an M116A3 military chassis:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581
Tow vehicle: 2008 Jeep Liberty with a 4 inch lift.
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby S. Heisley » Fri Feb 21, 2020 6:59 pm

I can’t lift the tongue right now without help from the jack, so I suspect the tongue weight is over 300 lbs at the moment.


Ouch!
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby lfhoward » Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:13 pm

Yesterday I had a couple of hours after work so I started to cut the interlocking gym mats I have on the floor of the trailer to the right size. I have enough mat pieces for two full layers, each about 1/3 of an inch high. That should insulate the metal floor really well and also prevent any condensation down there when camping in cold weather.

I neglected to take photos, but I got about halfway done (one layer). Next time I’ll try to remember to document my process. I used a tape measure, a square, and a razor blade to measure and cut the sections.

In other news, the camping/work trip I had scheduled for tomorrow is off. Coronavirus looks like it’s taking off in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties and many businesses and universities are being shut down. I was going to meet up with some scientists at a potential study area for my ecological research during our spring breaks, but our universities are prohibiting travel on official business due to the pandemic. This of course prevents spread and transmission of the Coronavirus, so I agree with their decisions. I will just miss being able to camp and hike and meet up with friends. :( It looks like I will be teaching my classes online for the foreseeable future as well.

Hope you and yours all stay healthy as we weather the storm.
My off-road camper build on an M116A3 military chassis:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581
Tow vehicle: 2008 Jeep Liberty with a 4 inch lift.
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby lfhoward » Thu Jun 04, 2020 9:35 pm

Wow, I haven’t made a trailer related post since March 12! The coronavirus seems to have stolen 3 months of good camping! (I am very supportive of keeping us all healthy and limiting the spread of this virus, so please take that last sentence with a bit of humor that was intended.)

I visited my trailer a couple of times. There are no leaks to report. And the solar panel is keeping the batteries topped off. What more could you ask for?

My Pennsylvania state inspection is due this month. Got to get that scheduled on the calendar.

I also made the decision to purchase an ‘88-99 Chevy C/K pickup truck spare tire winch from EBay. Once installed, it will get the spare tire out from under our bed and move it where it should belong under the trailer. This will free up a lot of interior space. More on this project when the parts arrive, sometime near the end of next week.

Joy and I have decided we want to boondock sometime this summer, in keeping with social distancing. That means no campground shower houses and toilets for us. We are looking at dispersed camping options in national forests and in the Green Ridge state forest in Maryland. There are a lot of nice secluded locales to explore.

To be able to camp bathhouse free, I needed a different option that would pass the family test. We used our REI dividend and kicked in some additional funds to get a shower/bathroom tent, luggable loo (toilet seat for a bucket), and a Nemo pressurized shower that you pump with your foot. This should keep things both private and sanitary! No pics yet of that setup, since some items are on back order. No rush though.

Something else we are looking at is getting an awning for the passengers side of the trailer, and an awning room to go with it. Setting up tarps and ropes works but takes time and planning. An attached awning could be up and sheltering us in less than a minute. I looked seriously at ARB and similar vehicle awnings, but concluded that my trailer is too tall for the ARB awning room. Instead, we are looking at getting a ShadeMaker classic bag awning. The ShadeMaker has several advantages. It’s made in Chicago, which I like. It slides into an aluminum track (awning rail) attached to the side of the camper. Thus, it is lower profile and no rain can leak between the awning and the camper. It is also made for taller RV’s, so our camper is no problem. They can special order the awning room to match our 89” height (The standard RV height is 99”). The awning will go nicely over our kitchen area (6’ wide, 7’ extension). The awning room will make that space weather and bug resistant and we can also have our early teenage god-children camp with us and it can be their tent.

So, stay tuned for adventures maybe in late June or July. Looking forward to getting into the woods again. :vroom:
Last edited by lfhoward on Fri Jul 03, 2020 9:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
My off-road camper build on an M116A3 military chassis:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581
Tow vehicle: 2008 Jeep Liberty with a 4 inch lift.
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby lfhoward » Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:06 pm

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The spare tire will be moving under the trailer soon!
My off-road camper build on an M116A3 military chassis:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581
Tow vehicle: 2008 Jeep Liberty with a 4 inch lift.
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lfhoward
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby S. Heisley » Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:46 pm

To be able to camp bathhouse free, I needed a different option that would pass the family test. We used our REI dividend and kicked in some additional funds to get a shower/bathroom tent, luggable loo (toilet seat for a bucket), and a Nemo pressurized shower that you pump with your foot. This should keep things both private and sanitary! No pics yet of that setup, since some items are on back order. No rush though.


Be aware that some campgrounds won't let you camp unless you are self-contained, meaning a bathroom with black and grey tanks within your RV; so, call ahead to be certain.
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby lfhoward » Mon Jun 08, 2020 9:22 pm

Thank you Sharon, good to know. I think we will be staying away from campgrounds but if we decide to go to one, we will definitely check. We have our eye on dispersed camping at national forests. No concrete plans yet but I have some work to do on the trailer first.
My off-road camper build on an M116A3 military chassis:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581
Tow vehicle: 2008 Jeep Liberty with a 4 inch lift.
User avatar
lfhoward
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Posts: 641
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Location: Philadelphia, PA
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