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Old 03-22-2013, 06:10 AM   #1
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Fiberglass replica M416/M100 military trailer

Finding a good M416 or M100 military trailer at a decent price that doesn't need a ton of rust repair or restoration work is becoming increasingly difficult, so I've decided to make a replica tub in fiberglass. Two weeks ago I finished making the molds, and a few days ago I made the first set of parts in those molds. Here's a photo of the untrimmed parts set just out of the molds:



The sides and ends bolt together, although in this photo I've haven't yet bolted them, the panels are being clamped together for fittings with vise-grips. The fenders in the photos below are original NOS M416 fenders.





The tub accepts standard Jeep tailgates; shown in the photo above is a CJ drop-down tailgate. The original military trailers don't have tailgates, both end panels are solid.

Before making the full scale molds, I made a set of molds in 1/4 scale to test the concept, here's a photo (with a drawn-on a hard cover, I plan to make that out of fiberglass as well) showing what the finished tub/trailer will look like:



In the photo above, the 1/4 scale model tub is mounted on a 1/4 scale model of a Harbor Freight frame. The next step in this project is to pick up an HF trailer and mount the full size tub on it.

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Old 03-22-2013, 08:26 AM   #2
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thats really coool!

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Old 03-22-2013, 11:20 AM   #3
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I like it. Keep us posted on the progress.
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Old 03-22-2013, 11:26 AM   #4
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LOVE IT! I've been looking around for a M416 for a long time but they're so beat up and not worth getting. I'd love to get in on one of these in the future. Looks great, flawless work my friend, keep up the good work!
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:52 PM   #5
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LOVE IT! I've been looking around for a M416 for a long time but they're so beat up and not worth getting. I'd love to get in on one of these in the future. Looks great, flawless work my friend, keep up the good work!
Thanks. That's what I was thinking - the M416's often require lots of restoration work, so why not start with new parts, maybe even assemble them on a very affordable Harbor Freight frame, and build something exactly to your specs.

Even though I just build these projects as a hobby, it's likely that this military tub kit will get to market - I've been contacted by several companies already who are interested in marketing it. That's what happened to my last fiberglass trailer project, which was a Jeep-tub design - a company licensed it from me and it's now on the market:



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Old 03-22-2013, 12:54 PM   #6
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A few more photos...



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Old 03-22-2013, 05:02 PM   #7
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Nice. I added a Jeep tailgate to my m100 a few years ago.
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Old 03-22-2013, 09:15 PM   #8
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Nice. I added a Jeep tailgate to my m100 a few years ago.
Seeing how many people cut tailgates into their M416's (or want to), I figured a tailgate was a must with this kit. Since it's a modular bolt-together kit, you could assemble it with one, two or zero tailgate panels. Also, I've molded the tailgate end panel with the necessary reinforcements and strength so it won't have a tendency to bow out the way M416's cut for tailgates often do unless lots of reinforcement is added.




You might think it would be strange to have tailgates on both ends, but I've done one of my Jeep-tub trailers that way, and there are times when it comes in really handy :

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Old 03-22-2013, 11:08 PM   #9
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I watched your last thread come to reality and make it to market. If you need any "test" subjects for this military style trailer let me know. Will happily be a Guinea pig.
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Old 03-23-2013, 06:13 AM   #10
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Yet again another awesome project!!!! I always am impressed with your work and level of detail...

When it comes to market I want one!!!
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Old 03-23-2013, 07:02 AM   #11
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I watched your last thread come to reality and make it to market. If you need any "test" subjects for this military style trailer let me know. Will happily be a Guinea pig.
Thanks. Any decisions on testers would be made by whatever company decides to bring this tub kit to market. My guess is that a company would want to do some kind of tester/early adopter program during an initial production run, but I really can't say. When/if a deal is finalized with a company we'll see what they want to do.
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Old 03-23-2013, 07:06 AM   #12
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I picked up a HF trailer last summer. Planned to do the same think out if sheet metal.
Wish I could do the fiberglass like you did.

Great job.
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Old 03-23-2013, 07:06 AM   #13
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Since the tub kit is modular, I designed it so that different length tubs could be produced from the same molds. The tub I've shown so far is 72" long (same as the original military trailers), but for example, a 4' version could be produced to go on the Harbor Freight mini-trailers. These trailers are often available on sale for less than $200, so the 4' version could make a very affordable trailer for those who need extra carrying capacity but maybe don't need a full 6' tub.

Here are a few more views of the 1/4 scale models showing both the 6' and 4' versions. The 6' version is equipped with Jeep "Moab" rims and 31" tires (well, scale models of them), and the 4' version is equipped with the 12" wheel/21" tires that come with the small Harbor Freight frame, and the original frame-mounted HF fenders.





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Old 03-23-2013, 05:19 PM   #14
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I picked up a HF trailer last summer. Planned to do the same think out if sheet metal.
Wish I could do the fiberglass like you did.

Great job.
Thanks! I've covered pretty much all of the steps involved in the fiberglass work in the main build thread for this project, which is on the Trailer Adventuring Forum: Fiberglass M416/M100 Military-style Trailer Tub Kit. There are lots more details there on all aspects of this proejct.

About the HF frames, I've been working on a detailed set of plans and instructions to convert the Harbor Freight 94564 1720-lb. capacity 4x8 trailer to 40.5" x 72" to be an affordable platform for the 6' military tub. The rearrangement of the original frame parts will result in a stronger frame with a center backbone and receivers front and rear - a receiver on the front for swapping the coupler between an ordinary ball coupler and the TSC 3-Axis, and one the rear for things like bicycle carriers. This frame also has 5 - on - 4 1/2 bolt-circle hubs, which is the same as the Jeep TJ and YJ Wrangler, and the mods will enable larger tires/wheels to be supported. Both of the 1/4 scale models I pictured earlier are built on models of Harbor Freight frames...

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Old 03-26-2013, 09:29 PM   #15
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Great work! Keep us up-to-date!
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:31 PM   #16
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Great work! Keep us up-to-date!
Thanks! Will do. Updates coming soon.
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:04 PM   #17
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Project update: I'm not actually getting any real construction work done on the military trailer project this week because I'm at Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. But I did have two excellent meetings in the last two days with companies interested in bringing the tub kit to market.
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:05 PM   #18
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Recently I found a photo on the internet showing a Harbor Freight-type 4' long trailer that the owner installed a piece of diamond plate aluminum on as a deck on top of the frame:



The design of the floor flange of the fiberglass tub allows for several ways of installing the floor, one of which is mounting the tub on top of the floor, so you could do a diamond plate deck on the trailer, and then mount the tub on top of it:



And if you wanted to use the trailer as a flatbed occasionally, you could unbolt the tub, lift it off, and you've got a nice diamond plate flatbed...



The photo I found and used for this example is a 4' trailer, but of course this works for the 6' tub as well.
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:38 AM   #19
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I've been working on finalizing the design of the fiberglass hard cover, and I've decided that it should be molded in two halves. Doing it this way results in more options for how it could be installed and used.

The cover would be split into two halves right down the middle, so it would look just like the other covers I've drawn, except there would be a joint in the middle where it would be bolted together:



Both halves are identical, they'd come out of the same mold, so only one mold is required.

Here's a shot of the cover open - you can see the bolt flange in the center where the two halves are bolted together.



Also in the above drawing the cover shown has the rounded corners instead of the angled corners, I haven't yet decided which type corner I like better.

So that's the installation as a one-piece cover, but because it's in two halves, the same exact parts can be configured to open separately. Here's a shot of it installed so that each half can open separately, shown open:



Both sides could be opened, although not at the same time without some additional components. But, the cover would be secured to the tub with the latches, so you could undo all the latches and lift the cover right off.

And a shot of it hinged in the middle, but closed and latched:



Doing it this way also makes it less expensive to ship if this were ever to become a commercial product - with the cover split in two, it could be packed up to ship UPS Ground, where a one-piece cover would be large enough to require truck freight.

The split cover could open all the way to rest on the opposite side cover:



Any thoughts on the design?
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:46 AM   #20
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I like the split cover over the solid one and I like how it can open halfway...
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:22 PM   #21
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All of the fiberglass hard cover illustrations I've posted so far have shown the cover on the 6' "M72" version of the tub. Here is it on the 4' "M48" version:



Here's a cover on a trailer built with the stock HF 12" wheels/21" tires (the version above has Jeep wheels and 31" tires):



And an open view:



I've shown it as the two-piece cover (the line down the middle), but it's bolted together into one piece. I'm not sure if it's worth hinging the two halves separately on the short version of the tub, what do you think?
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:40 PM   #22
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Oh man this is nice! I'm drooling over the six foot tub with the hinged cover!!! When can I buy a kit!? The little one looks cook too, and I agree the cover probably doesn't need to be split down the middle.
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:13 PM   #23
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X2 on the kit!!!
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:04 PM   #24
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Love it! Put the M100 round fenders on it and I'll give it a great little test for ya.....

I'm a real M100 fan, and continue to be amazed at how truly useful they are. At the right price I don't see how any Wrangler operator could do without one.

And as a factory option on certain models includes trailer with folding top????.....

I'm not hot on the HF frame but it IS 'practical' and economical.

Got any prices on the kit figured out? That hinged top and front gate is inspired!
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Old 03-29-2013, 06:37 AM   #25
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Oh man this is nice! I'm drooling over the six foot tub with the hinged cover!!! When can I buy a kit!?
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X2 on the kit!!!
Thanks!

Based on the interest I've had from several companies wanting to market this kit, I think it's extremely likely that it will be available sometime this summer.

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The little one looks cool too, and I agree the cover probably doesn't need to be split down the middle.
A agree, but I'll probably make the 4' cover in two pieces anyway because I'll use the same mold masters for it as the 6' version, which I'm definitely going to make in two pieces. Those not wanting the split cover could simply bolt the two halves together. Also a 4'x4' one piece cover would probably have to ship truck freight instead of UPS ground, so that would increase the cost to the buyer.

The main question still open is should I make the two pieces open lengthwise or widthwise:

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Old 03-29-2013, 06:41 AM   #26
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Love it! Put the M100 round fenders on it and I'll give it a great little test for ya.....
M100-style round fenders are available, here's one source where you can get them for a really affordable $52.30 (per pair!): FENDER, SINGLE AXLE 13x36x20" H 1in.RAD 16GA PAIR - Single Axle Fenders - Trailer Body Components, and they're 13" wide, so you can fully cover "Jeep-sized" tires, unlike the stock M100 fenders, which just cover 6.50x16 narrow military tires.



Quote:
Originally Posted by JeeperJake View Post
I'm a real M100 fan, and continue to be amazed at how truly useful they are. At the right price I don't see how any Wrangler operator could do without one.

And as a factory option on certain models includes trailer with folding top????.....

I'm not hot on the HF frame but it IS 'practical' and economical.
The company that's most likely to bring this kit to market also offers fully welded frames, so depending on your intended usage you could either use a Harbor Freight frame or the welded frame, or you could fab up your own welded frame.

BTW, I'm working on a set of plans and instructions to convert the Harbor Freight 94564 1720-lb. capacity 4x8 trailer to 40.5" x 72" to be an affordable and strong platform for the 6' military tub. The rearrangement of the original frame parts will result in a stronger frame with a center backbone and receivers front and rear - a receiver the front for swapping the coupler between an ordinary ball coupler and the TSC 3-Axis, and one on the rear for things like bicycle carriers. This frame also has 5 - on - 4 1/2 bolt-circle hubs, which is the same as the Jeep TJ and YJ Wrangler (as well as many Ford and Chrysler vehicles), and the mods will enable larger tires/wheels to be supported.

I'll publish the complete plans and instructions as I'm building the actual frame (and can verify that my plans and instructions are correct) but for now, here's a sneak peek of the plan work in progress...



Here's a 4' trailer frame I converted in a similar way from an HF 4x8 frame, you might be surprised at how strong it is (and how affordable!). Notice it's got a center backbone from tongue to the rear crossmember; it's got a receiver up from for the coupler, one in the back for the bike rack, and it's running Jeep Moab 16" rims and 31" tires.



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Got any prices on the kit figured out? That hinged top and front gate is inspired!
The front tailgate has come in very handy on my yellow Jeep-tub trailer, but because the military tub kit is modular, you could decide to build it with only a tailgate in the back, tailtgates in both back and front, or no tailgates at all (Like the original M100/M416 trailers). It's up to the builder.

Pricing isn't my decision because I'm not the one who's going to be selling these kits, but this might give you an indication - last year I made a Jeep-tub trailer kit (check out post #5 above). That kit consists of 6 fiberglass parts - 2 ends, 2 sides, 2 inner fenders, and pricing for it can be found at Dinoot Trailers - Dinoot Jeep Trailers. This military tub kit consist of only 4 fiberglass parts (doesn't use fiberglass inner fenders), and those 4 parts are simpler to mold than the Jeep-tub kit parts. So you can draw your own conclusions about how they could possibly be priced. Of course pricing is the decision of whatever company markets these, so until a company licenses the kit and announces pricing, it's not for me to say.
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Old 03-29-2013, 06:54 PM   #27
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Thanks!

Based on the interest I've had from several companies wanting to market this kit, I think it's extremely likely that it will be available sometime this summer.

A agree, but I'll probably make the 4' cover in two pieces anyway because I'll use the same mold masters for it as the 6' version, which I'm definitely going to make in two pieces. Those not wanting the split cover could simply bolt the two halves together. Also a 4'x4' one piece cover would probably have to ship truck freight instead of UPS ground, so that would increase the cost to the buyer.

The main question still open is should I make the two pieces open lengthwise or widthwise:
Lengthwise would be my vote
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:49 AM   #28
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Thanks a TON for your inspired project and information.

The utility of the Wrangler is magnified by such a product.
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Old 04-05-2013, 05:58 AM   #29
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I've received confirmation from the tonneau cover company that they're going to make me a prototype tonneau for this tub kit.

It will be the same tonneau design that is available for the Dinoot trailers; I've got them on both of my current trailers and they're terrific:



It's a very high quality product, in all my usage with both trailers I've found it to be leak free; it fits tightly and doesn't flap at high speed. Because of the snap channel design, it's also very easy to snap it on partially open for loads that have to stick out a bit.



I'm hoping to schedule the tonneau to be made in the next two weeks. I won't have the tub on its frame and ready for the road by then, so I'll put the tub either in the back of my pickup or in my yellow trailer and take it to the tonneau company's shop for them to work on.

Here's a concept drawing simulating what the cover will look like on the military tub:



BTW this tonneau can also be adapted to an original M416 or M100.
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:46 AM   #30
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Yet again you amaze me with you handie work!!! Nice stuff...

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