M116A3 Build

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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby noseoil » Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:48 am

Looking good, that tank should be there to stay, once the bolts are tightened. Glad you have some heat for the winter & camping in the woods. Nice to see the evolution of this build & improvements being made!
Build log: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=60248
The time you spend planning is more important than the time you spend building.........

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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby lfhoward » Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:54 am

FeatherliteCT1 and Noseoil, thanks so much for following the build and letting me know you like what you see! It’s hard to understate how encouraging that is. Certain aspects of a build can take a long time or seem tedious, and the heater/propane aspect certainly has. I am looking forward to when that part of the build comes together! I have camping reservations in December so it really needs to! :shock:

Meanwhile, I’m happy to report a certain Christmas / Birthday present arrived yesterday. I am being a responsible customer and testing it out, LOL. Here I have it hooked up to a little 12V battery I keep on my workbench for projects. Seems to charge well enough!
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0.4 Amps is not too bad for being under trees and on a cloudy day like today. It should be able to do 5.6 amps in full sun.
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This portable 100 Watt setup can be moved so that it faces the sun and so it’s not in the shade, without having to move the trailer. I have a 140 Watt panel fixed to the roof, but most campgrounds we camp in have trees. Now that we have a fridge and a Propex heater, we will need a little more regeneration during the day than a shaded 140 Watt panel can provide.
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 » Sat Nov 21, 2020 2:17 pm

An overcast but warmish day is the perfect time to paint.

These Superstrut components will become the tank mounts.
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While things dry I’m chipping away at the loose paint and rust spots on the tank itself. I plan to get most of it off, then coat it in Ospho overnight to convert any remaining rust. Then I can paint it white tomorrow.
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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 » Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:34 pm

Cleaned up and Ospho’d.
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Rust spot after wire brushing and Ospho. Note any rust is turning black in color, oxygen being chemically replaced by phosphate. This will be paintable.
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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 » Sun Nov 22, 2020 1:59 pm

The military green mounting hardware is done.
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And the first coat of white primer is on the tank.
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Two coats of primer looks better.
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Maybe I can get the first coat of enamel on this afternoon. It gets dark at 4:30 and will rain this evening, so this job will definitely take another day.
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 featherliteCT1 » Sun Nov 22, 2020 3:40 pm

Hardware looks great and that tank looks like new! :thumbsup:
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby lfhoward » Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:02 pm

A construction crew digging a cellar hole across the street from my house accidentally severed an electrical cable today, taking out power to the neighborhood. So much for working from home!

It was a good day to run errands and put another coat of primer on the propane tank.

I also ran a bead of silicone inside my Propex heater and permanently reassembled it so that the combustion air will be completely separated from the cabin air. (Propexes come this way from the factory but I had to break the seal to repair the heater.)
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 » Fri Nov 27, 2020 9:52 am

First coat of enamel applied over 3 coats of primer.

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Luckily I’ve had some good weather (over 50°F/10°C) for applying paint in the middle of November. It takes a while for each coat to dry to the point where I can turn the tank over and paint the other side. I don’t have anything to hang the tank from that would make the painting go any faster.
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 » Fri Nov 27, 2020 4:06 pm

Made a little progress today on the heater project, along with painting the tank.

The Propex will be installed in the cubby on the right hand side in this picture.
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Here is another view from an earlier time in the trailer’s life, but that shows the cubby very well. The thermostat will go on the closet wall above, near the light switches.
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Today I made a cubby door with vents in it. The top and bottom of the door brace against the back of the cubby opening, and the tabs on the corners will clamp it in place. The lower left vent is the cold air intake, and the upper right vent is the hot air outlet. The cold air is collected from under the bed, and the hot air shoots out between the foot of the bed and the door.
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Top view. Rear of trailer is to the left.
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Rear view. The cardboard cutout is standing in for the cubby floor.
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Front view. You can see the inlet vent feeds the heater’s intake (panel with holes in it on two sides).
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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 featherliteCT1 » Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:01 pm

Oh yeah! keep going!
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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby lfhoward » Sun Nov 29, 2020 6:57 pm

Finished the sixth coat of paint on the tank today (3 primer, 3 semi gloss white enamel). What a long slog that was! It will finish drying overnight. I won’t put up yet another pic of the tank, as y’all know what it looks like by now. :lol:

The last bit will be to take the painters tape off the valve openings and touch up those edges. After that dries, I can install the new valves.

After installing on the trailer I know from my research I’ll need to get the tank purged before filling it for the first time. What does purging a tank entail?
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 » Tue Dec 01, 2020 10:44 am

Some final touch ups where the painters tape covered the valve openings.
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I did some research on what purging a propane tank means. First off, whenever a tank is open to the atmosphere, like if it were new or needed a valve replacement like mine, the air needs to be purged out before the first fill. The reason for this is that the water vapor in the air can lock up your regulator when it’s cold outside. To purge a tank, the propane tech will hook your tank up to propane gas, fill with gas and release through the bleeder about 5 times to replace all the air in the tank with propane gas. Next, the tank can be filled with liquid propane to 80% capacity as normal. Purging would not have to be done after this unless an empty tank is again open to the atmosphere.

According to Tractor Supply Company, they don’t charge for purging tanks, so I will likely get my first fill there. Other good places to fill propane tanks are U-Haul dealers. RV dealers can probably do it as well but I bet that is more expensive. Does anyone else have a favorite place for topping off your propane tanks?
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 noseoil » Wed Dec 02, 2020 7:43 am

I got a new 30# tank & had it filled at a KOA down the street from our place yesterday morning. Nice thing about the new tank (Flame King) was that it had a sticker attached which said "Vacuum purged" so it just needed to be filled for the first time like a used tank.

Any local propane dealer should be able to purge the tank for you, just make sure it's not some kid without experience. Find an "old guy" who has some time in the industry & you should be fine. Just call around & see who has someone available to take the time it needs. Shouldn't cost extra, as you're just paying for the gas it takes to fill the tank...
Build log: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=60248
The time you spend planning is more important than the time you spend building.........

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Re: M116A3 Build

Postby lfhoward » Thu Dec 03, 2020 1:25 pm

Ever had an experience like this? Today I had to visit two different Home Depot’s and a Lowe’s just to get these:

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Yes, that’s two bolts, two nuts, and some washers. The problem was I needed stainless.

These will replace some 1987-era rusty hardware bolting the skid plate to the propane tank.
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 » Sat Dec 05, 2020 4:20 pm

The valves are on! I used PTFE thread sealer to make sure there aren’t any leaks.
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To purge, I first hooked up a vacuum pump and evacuated the air from inside the tank. Next, I rigged up a propane bottle to provide gas pressure inside the tank. I’m happy to report that there are no apparent leaks. I used a spray bottle with soapy water, my ears, and my nose to make that determination. I released some propane gas through the bleeder and re-upped it from the Coleman cylinder several times to purge any residual air that could have been inside the tank.

Skid plate bolted on.
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Regulator on.
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I think it’s time to install it under my trailer! Then go get a fill!
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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