Jeep Wrangler Forum banner
  • Hey everyone! Enter your ride HERE to be a part of September's Ride of the Month Challenge!
1 - 20 of 45 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
563 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been following JScherb's Fiberglass replica M416/M100 military trailer for over a year now, and decided to finally stop drooling and get tooling! :)

I had even bought a set of wheels off Thorshammer on this forum a year ago for this :) Until now they have made a really nice cocktail table for the man-cave, but time to put them to use!

My main objective is to have a 'camping support' trailer...i.e. a kit carrier...and then continue the build out until it becomes a full blown adventure trailer.

Due to budget constraints, I won't be able to do the full build (i.e. buying the fiberglass tub he designed) for some time, but plan on doing this in phases.
Since I want to ultimately put the "M72" tub on the trailer, I am starting with his (and Dinoot's) instructions for narrowing and strengthening a Harbor Freight heavy duty trailer so it'll be the right size when I get to that point.

Until then I will be building a wooden crate/box for it to make the trailer usable until I get the mad money for the tub.

The instructions JScherb and Dinoot publish are very good, but as I am diving in, I have found that some aspects of the HF trailer have changed; There are minor variations in the manufacture which have actually simplified the build rather than complicate it :)

The first challenge I had was actually buying the trailer! I was foolish enough to think I could simply walk in to my local HF after work on Friday and pull one off the shelf. I even called to make sure, and they told me the 'computer showed two in stock"...but when I got there, there was only one, and it was the 'mostly' assembled display one. The guy there was nice enough to check the other nearby locations and call for a 'physical check'....five stores later, there were none to be found. :(

I did some calling around when I got home and found one store, 45 minutes away, which had one, but one of the boxes was broken opened. So Saturday I took the chance...armed with a printout of the parts list I headed to North Palm Beach. Luckily all parts were accounted for and I was good to go!

I spent the rest of Saturday clearing out working space in the garage and running to Lowes for drill bits and extra bolts. Sunday I got started...which means I spent an hour re-reading the instrux and building up the nerve to start cutting up the shiny new frames with my hand grinder.....

After the first cut, my confidence grew and the rest of the cuts went pretty easily, albeit not perfectly square...but close enough :) By the end of Sunday I had gotten as far as bolting the frame and spring hanger together. I did manage to snap two $12 carbide bits in the process, but that's just me being overly aggressive with the hand drill.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
563 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
HF Trailer Differences: Axle and Hubs

One of the first differences about the (same) HF trailer I got is that the axle is different. Mine came with a square axle rather than a round one as shown in the other builds.

As far as quality or durability, I cannot comment on whether the round ones or the square ones are any different, but I would assume that since the trailers are rated for 1720#, the axles should be comparable.

BUT the good thing is that the square axle does NOT have a spring seat welded to the tube, (which would have to be cut off and re-welded inboard to compensate for the narrowing of the frame). Instead, the square axle has a hole bored into it for the lug on the spring seat. This simplifies the build since all I need to do is drill new holes at the new spacing and not have to worry about finding a welding shop :)

(I'll post pics to show this).

One other bonus is that the hubs have grease zerks on them :) Not sure if the other versions of this trailer did, but certainly a nice thing to have IMHO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
563 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
HF Trailer Differences: Frame Components:

1. When putting together the side rails for the frame, the instrux from Dinoot say that the reinforced 'pocket' for the front stake slots needs to be removed...i.e. the metal box welded inside the frame rail to give a side-stake more structure. This is done by grinding out the welds and hitting it with a hammer to break it free.

I am not sure why the pocket would be removed, but I suspect it was to create clearance to the bolt on the spring hangers for the prescribed setback. I.e. the forward hanger bolt would be right where the stake pocket is located.

I found there is a pre-drilled hole about 2" back from the stake pocket in the rail, so I bolted the front of the spring hanger thru that. This saved me from cutting out the pocket, which may provide some extra stiffness to the frame; saved me from having to drill another hole, and also set the axle back an extra 2" to ensure greater tongue weight.

I did find it odd that only the front side rails have these pockets...none of the other slots for side stakes are reinforced like this.

2. When I was unclear about a step, I would refer to the OEM assembly manual. So when it came time to shorten the rear side rails to 24", I wasn't sure which half to use. I deferred to the manual for this, and used the half that had the factory end which would mate up with the rear end of the front rail.

Unfortunately, I realized after assembly that this way I have lost the rear-side stake pockets. Not a big deal if I was going straight to the tub, but may want them until I get the tub....so I guess I will disassemble the back rails and swap them. (luckily they are the same length :))
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
563 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
pics showing the axle spring seat holes (vs. welded tabs) and the spacer/adapters I purchased.

I went with 2" spacers since the JKUs have a slight wider track than TJs (around 63")
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,757 Posts
Looks like you got a great start on the trailer. I like all the work that jscherb does. He is an amazing designer and fabricator. I wish I had his skills.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,757 Posts
[/ATTACH]

Not to hi-jack your thread, but this is mine. I started with a Tractor Supply 5X8 Utility trailer as my base. I ended up using the axle, leaf springs, fenders, and the tongue. Building everything else myself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,757 Posts
About 80 miles due west of Williamsport. 20 miles north of DuBois on Rte. 219.

0III0forlife is my signature. Have had 1 form or another of a Jeep since I was 15.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
563 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Nice country up your way! Although I have been in FL for the last twenty-five years, I still have family in Hughesville, Harrisburg, Lansdale and Lehigh Valley.

Would love to get back up there with my Jeep...once my kids are old enough to tolerate a long road trip, I will most certainly pack up 'the PFC' and come home to camp!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
563 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My second solid evening of working on the trailer frame...my wife was nice enough to wrangle the kids while I sequestered myself into the man-cave.

I decided to take the time to swap out the rear side rails; not sure if I would ever need the stake pockets, but them not being there kept gnawing at me.

Next I put the tongue rails on; because of the changed geometry of the trailer, they were a little difficult to get lined up...it took one person to spread the two front ends apart while another bolted on the plate for the hitch. Took a bit of doing, but managed to get it on.

After that I started in on the back-bone. This uses all the excess pieces from reducing the frame. Simple enough...still have a few more holes to drill and bolts to crank, but plan on finishing the frame tonight and hanging the running gear. I haven't yet tried to drill into the add-on receiver or the bores for the spring seats on the axel...not sure if I will be able to do this with a hand drill or not, but my neighbor has a drill press and offered to let me do it on that if needed.

If all goes well, the rest of the weekend I plan on building the cargo box.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
563 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
About the add-on receiver, in case you haven't seen it, here's an update to the conversion instructions: Building a stronger 4'x4' frame out of a 4'x8' Harbor Freight frame
Thank you sir!! I had noticed the strap stock in a pic and was wondering about that, and was kicking the idea around last night.


I have to say, so far, this has been an easy and enjoyable project! Thanks yet again for all the R&D you put into the HF trailer mod!

Best regards,
Don
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
563 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
This weekend saw great progress on the PFC :) It is up on it's own sneakers and made it's maiden voyage to Lowe's.

Unfortunately my phone died before I could snap pics in it's road ready state, but here are some taken before I hung the lights and jack stand.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
563 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Very nice!
Thanks JScherb! again, your R&D, tips, and inspiration have absolutely facilitated this!

I added the strap-stock to the rear receiver as you pointed out...solid as a rock now!

I went with 2" spacer adapters...this sets the wheel track almost dead on to a JKU's 'stance'. :)

The only 'oops' so far is that I did not go with a receiver on the front end for interchangeable couplers.

I have a common 2" drop-3/4" rise drawbar; For the trailer to be level (and aesthetically pleasing), I flipped it so that it raises the ball which levels the trailer perfectly; unfortunately, now the spare tire hits the coupler's latch and I can't open the Jeep's tail gate :(

I think the solution to this will be to get an 18" drawbar from e-trailer :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
563 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Making Progress on 'the P.F.C.'

After two good solid evenings of work, the PFC is coming into focus!
I am now in the crate building phase.

Employing a modular approach, I am building the cargo crate so that it can be easily removed, should I decide to task the PFC with a different mission. Three cross members on the bottom act like 'skids' on a pallet, so when removed from the trailer frame, the crate will stand off the floor. These skids are what holds the crate to the frame, via six bolts through the trailer's x-members







For the box, I kinda goofed when I was drafting the plans and didn't realize until I had already cut the lumber. As it is now, the top of the box will be recessed/flush with the side panels. I should have built it so that the top will overlap the top of the side panels to make to more watertight :censored: For now I will just ensure I seal up the seams really good....or puckup some more 2x4s and ply and remake the end panels higher.....





The box sides are 24" tall. This is too deep to be able to load and unload easily from the top....on the frame the top of the box is at 52"...almost exactly the same height as the bottom edge of the Jeep's rear window vinyl.



As I was puzzling thru the direction I wanted to go with the tailgate, or access to the cargo area in general, I had a eureka moment and decided to go with a 'sideload' scheme.

I plan on rigidly attaching the passenger side panel to the top of the box; then by adding a piano hinge to the driver's side edge of the top, so that the whole top and side should open together 'gull wing' style. The front and back panels will be screwed down permanent. This will provide access to the entire length of the box from the side. This also means that I won't have to remove a bike rack or cargo basket from the rear receiver to open the tailgate. :)

To accomplish this I will have to attach the fender directly to the box, rather than on brackets to the frame. The fenders I got are a little too odd shaped....I don't like the geometry too much, so plan on cutting them down to resemble fender flares.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
563 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
it's Alive!!

After a couple of late nights last week right up until Friday night, the “P.F.C.” was road ready, albeit not completely done. I still need to paint it, and accessorize it, but it was perfectly serviceable for our Labor Day weekend getaway.







Saturday am we loaded up and drove across Alligator Alley and up I-75 to Osprey, FL (about 200 miles) where we camped out in Oscar Scherer State Park.




I had made a bunch of home-made tent poles out of ½” & ¾” EMT, (two attached directly onto the crate) so that I can use an inexpensive Harbor Freight tarp as an awning….which proved very useful when we got to the campsite because before we could get the tent put up, the sky opened up for a good forty-five minutes.







After the storm passed, we finished setting up camp, and spent the rest of the weekend roasting hotdogs, making s’moors, and playing in the Gulf of Mexico.









 

·
Registered
Joined
·
563 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·

Thanks Mr. Scherb! The trailer tows like a dream! I barely even feel it back there, and it tracks like a train on rails :)

I still need to install a cargo basket on the tongue so that I can put the cooler forward of the axle for better weight distribution; and add some leveling jacks to the back...but otherwise it is dialed in!

Kudos to the designer!!!!

Don
 
1 - 20 of 45 Posts
Top