Frame off of the trailer tub

As you recall, my next project was to remove the frame from the M100 tub so that I can replace the tub floor.

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I finally got around to doing that a couple of weeks ago. I used my plasma cutter to quickly cut the remaining spot welds loose. I am glad that I had it, because there were A LOT more welds than I thought! Also, some of the welds that I cut loose with the cutoff tool weren’t completely loose either. I basically just cut, then pried to find the next weld – and so on, and so on until the frame came loose.

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You can see in the picture above that some of the frame rails will have to be replaced because of rust. There is a metal shop a few miles down the road that might be able to make those for me.

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You can see the rust through where the front lip of the frame overlapped the tub. Over the years, water and debris packed in behind this lip and held water, resulting in the holes. There are holes in both front corners where someone drilled 1/2″ holes for drainage and didn’t seal the holes (I guess) – then the rust started and ate metal away from there. The floor on the inside is pitted and the metal is thin with a few pinholes. I am starting to think that repairing these places is the way to go. I have heard that the floor and side edges were rolled together for a water tight seal. Looking at mine, you can tell that they are separate instead of rolled. I thought about trying to find the spot welds and cut them out to remove the floor, but I couldn’t identify them – that might be a problem!

I cleaned the rest of the undercoating from the floor. You can see all of the spots that I had to cut to remove the frame – I think I counted 50 of them! If I repair the floor, I will have to weld up all of those holes in it.

 

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You can see in the last pic that the floor is bent down between the frame cross members – that would be another reason to replace the floor I guess – if I can come up with an easier way to do it. Maybe cut the original floor out and leave a 1/4″ lip around the edge, then cut the new floor lip off so that it will just fit inside the sides of the tub. Then I could use epoxy panel adhesive to bond it to the 1/4″ lip. I will still have to replace the rusted metal on the front panel lip.

 

Pintle hook addition

I picked up a new production M151 chain plate for the Jeep at the Georgia rally the other week. I figured that would be safer than not using the chains, and for $10, a LOT cheaper than buying the WW2 eye bolts, not to mention more period correct. I painted the plate last week and installed it on Friday.

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Notice my plate sticker! Good thing I haven’t been driving it since April, because that’s when it expired (MUCH – I did drive it down the road after I got it running the other week). I paid the taxes, I just can’t find the registration or sticker.

Look at the puddle under the rear end – I need to do something about that too!

Today I had to use the Jeep to jump start the deuce. I had changed the secondary fuel filters and ran the batteries down after 2 – 15 second attempts at starting (yeah, I guess those batteries are going bad). I had to pull the Jeep down a hill and park it there to reach the deuces battery box. Once hooked up, she fired right off! The Jeep saves the day AGAIN (I had to jump the deuce right after I bought it).

Got her running and driving again

I decided to see if the batteries were dead in the ‘a1 this afternoon. I turned on the ignition, pulled the choke out and hit the starter. She turned over pretty good, so I kept going. After about 2 minutes of trying different things, she fired off! A couple more tries and she was running. I checked the water pump for leaks, and there weren’t any! I checked the antifreeze level and added a little water (maybe a quart) to top it off. After she warmed up, I took her for a little ride up and down the driveway and around the field. By that time, everything was lined out and blown out, so I went back to the house and got my wallet and phone. I drove around for about 15 minutes to charge the batteries back up. The parking brake was annoying as hell – I definitely have to fix that! I also need to adjust the valve again – it sounds like 1 or 2 valves are loose and pretty loud. Other than that, she just needs a bath.

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M100 resto

I went to home depot to get the parts to repair the water line this morning. I checked the hardware section while I was there – no nuts there. I went to Tractor Supply – no luck. Finally, I went to a old, large hardware store that has everything – EXCEPT for slotted hex nuts. I have one other place to check around here before I have to order them.

Okay, so I got my water line fixed and doors painted this morning and had a little time to work on the trailer parts. I assembled the drawbars to the casting using some stainless, coarse thread bolts and nuts (of the correct size and length) that I had laying around. Only 1 of the original bolts was good – and ALL of the slotted nuts were rusted away, so I can’t use them. I stuck the big bolt through without the chains to hold it in place. I haven’t cleaned the chains up yet. I assembled the landing leg and casting, then attached it to the main casting with the other large bolt and (pitted up) slotted nut. Then after everything was balanced, I installed the lunette. Looking good! Now, if I could just get the frame and tub separated so I can decide on whether to replace the floor or patch the holes.

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I FINALLY received an email from MD Juan today with the answers I was looking for – most of the answers anyway!

Dear sir,

Here the answers to you questions:

1. Metal thickness of our trailer floor panels – 1.5mm

2. dimensions of our floor panel 96cm x 183 cm

3. flange to flange measurement of the floor panel 96cm x 183cm

 

I measured the wrong piece on the trailer the other day – I measured the drain plug flange, which measures .075″ (14g). Today I measured a different place on the pan itself – .06″ (16g), so they ARE using the correct gauge metal AND it has the correct dimensions. Now, to decide how in depth to go with this resto!

M100 resto – Day 6

Well, I still haven’t been able to get an answer out of MD Juan about the floor pan thickness and dimensions. I measured mine to be made of 14g sheet and  the dimensions are 38″ x 72″, or 96 x 183cm. I made up a list of hardware that I will need to put the trailer back together also. A lot of the bolt heads and nuts were very pitted or partially rusted away, so I will replace them. Pretty much all of the slotted hex nuts were pretty pitted up, so I will replace them. I took the measurements for the frame cross members so that I can see if I can find a fabricator to bend them up for me – they are pretty simple. They are made of 14g sheet metal bent into a c channel. They are all made the same with the rear being slightly different in hole pattern. They are only held to the outside frame rails by 2 rivets and 2 extra tack welds (the rear is welded up at the seam though. Might as well replace these while I have the tub off since it won’t be that much more trouble!

I won an auction for a pair of M100 drain plugs on eBay yesterday for slightly more than I paid for a pair 15 years ago. Yes, I bought a pair of them back then – but they were misplaced! If you could see my shop you would understand. I figured that most places are selling them for $28 ea + shipping, so $39 delivered was a good deal, and they are something I would have to have to finish this resto. BTW, I paid $17 ea + shipping 15 yrs ago!

While I was out in the shop yesterday, I decided to pull the new wiring harness out of the box to check everything out. I actually had 2 harnesses in there. I have a late style harness wired for turn signals, and an early one with Douglas connectors and not wired for signals. Weird thing is – it has a FEMALE plug that goes into the front right frame opening. Looking at my other trailers, I think it should be a MALE plug. I also have the single end, wired, late style intervehicular cable and a 6′ double ended (male and female), early style intervehicular cable. While I was looking for the intervehicular cable, guess what I ran across? The 2 drain plugs that I bought 15 yrs ago – still in the NOS box! I guess I will try to RE sell the ones I just bought on eBay.

I was going to cut the last welds to set the tub free today. I bought the fiber reinforced cut off disks last week. I got everything together and ran the drop cord – plugged up the Dremel and – NOTHING! Beat on it everywhere, tried other receptacles – NOTHING! That’s weird, because it was working fine last week when I was off. Oh well, on to other things.

So, I scuffed the primer down on all of my small parts (so far), and mixed up a little OD24087 for the touch up gun. I took them outside since it was such a nice day, and laid them out on the overturned M100 tub. 2 coats and let them sit – not 1 bug in all of the parts! While they were drying, I installed the wheels/tires back on the running gear. When I was putting the lug nuts on, I noticed something weird – F marked bolts in the hubs on both sides! Also something that I never realized – you know that military vehicles have left hand threads on the left side, right? Well, the trailers do too, of course! TIP: An easy way to tell a left hand thread nut is the flats have little indentions on them. And, of course, the left hand thread studs have an L stamped into the end of them.

 

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Almost time for some new shoes!

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Ready for assembly after they dry. Nice dirty 4 wheeler used as a prop.

 

I had a little time left before dark, so I cleaned up some of the GOOD hardware and painted them.

Here’s an easy way to paint nuts/bolts/washers. Wrap one wrap of bailing wire around a bolt, leave an inch between them. Make sure you leave enough wire for a handle (more than I did – notice my OD fingers!). If you want to paint the ends of the bolts, thread the nut on until it is even with the bolt end.

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Easy way to paint bolts and nuts

That’s probably all I will get done this week. I have doors to paint (2nd coat – 5 doors), and a water line at the well to fix (broke this afternoon) tomorrow.

M100 resto – Days 4 and 5

Day 4

After the first 2 days that I was off  being rainy, I was finally able to get outside yesterday and do a little work on the trailer. I went to Home Depot on Wednesday to buy some paint for the house (doors), and while I was there I picked up some Scotch Brite pads. I wanted the red ones like the auto body shop uses because that is what I have always used to prep for paint on the Jeep and everything else. They didn’t have the red, but the girl found some green “scouring pads” on the cleaning isle. They looked like they were a little more course (for lack of a better word), but I bought them anyway since my only other option was sand paper – I hate using sand paper! Only $2.99 for 9 of them – worth a try.

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So yesterday I went outside and it was drizzling – I went to the shop anyway. I scuffed the wheels down inside and out. The green Scotch Brite pads gave just as fine of a finish as the red ones. By that time it had cleared up. I went outside and scuffed the axle and springs too. I took the wheels outside and wiped them down with mineral spirits before I got the Gillespie OD24087 spray bomb. I ran across a full case of this spray paint a couple of years ago on Steel Soldiers for $32 shipped. That’s less than half the price of a case before shipping from the distributors! Anyway, I used the spray cans to paint the wheels and running gear. I also has a few small parts ready for paint at the same time, so I sprayed them too.

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While I was putting the second coat on the running gear, it started to drizzle AGAIN! I stopped painting and threw a tarp over it – and waited. After being clear for about 10 minutes (and 1 beer later), I uncovered it and finished the second coat.

Day 5

This afternoon I was able to get back to the trailer parts. I tore the casting and landing leg assembly down. It was pretty bad! All of the crown nuts and cotter pins were rusted together, and most of the crown nuts were rusted away! I was able to cut the cotter pins off on both sides of the nut and drive them out with a drift punch. The nuts came off with some Aero Kroil – no heat needed! If you’ve never used this stuff, you ought to try it – good stuff. PB Blaster is another one of my favorites. Anyway, the main 1″ bolt holding the pivot casting in place did not want to come out after I got the nut off. I tried hitting it with a hammer – nothing. Next, I thought it might be threaded in there. So I put the impact on it and loosened. It moved some, but bound up. So I sprayed some more Kroil and went backwards and forward until it spun freely – it WASN’T threaded after all! I took a hammer and old bolt and drove it out. It was covered with 60 years worth of mud!

After everything was apart, I wire brushed, scraped and SANDED until it was ready for primer. I brushed on a coat of Rust Metal Primer (by Rustoleum). Then I focused on the drawbars. They were in pretty good condition with a few rust spots and multiple layers of paint. So I went through the same process of wire brushing, scraping and sanding. I brushed on some Rusty Metal Primer. I cleaned up the lunette, spring, washers and crown nut and just sprayed some Rustoleum primer on these parts since they weren’t pitted (except for the crown nut, which will get replaced!). These small pieces are VERY time consuming!

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You can see the pile in the front still needs cleaning and priming compared to the small amount that has been done!

That was the extent of my trailer work for the past 2 days. Tomorrow will be the last day I get to work on it on this week off because it is supposed to rain Mon-Wed, and I go back to work on Thurs. Tomorrow, I plan on getting the frame and tub separated and maybe get the rest of the hardware (that I can save and reuse), light brackets and handbrake cleaned up and primed. I will have to source new hardware. I don’t know if Tractor Supply has what I need – I might end up ordering some of this stuff.

I finally got a response from Rommel Juan (of MD Juan) on G503 forums. He acted like he was going to answer my questions about the reproduction floor pans they make. If it is a close enough reproduction, I might spend the money and buy one.

 

M100 resto – day 3

The other day after I had finished with the running gear of the trailer, I was worn out. I left everything outside, planning on getting back to it yesterday. Remember, I blasted the wheels, but didn’t get them primed? Guess what? We had a monsoon that night! Hard rain for about 2 hrs!

This morning I went out and found exactly what I thought I would – RUSTY wheels!

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What could I do except shrug it off and start again. I pulled the wheels off and sanded them down with 100 grit. I blew them off with air, then wiped them down with mineral spirits. Then, I sprayed rust converter on all of the seams and other areas that I couldn’t get to.

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After that, I used 2″ masking tape and taped up the tires, then wiped them down with mineral spirits again (the rust converter dries pretty fast). I took them outside for primer. I didn’t tape them completely up because I will be replacing the tires. I just didn’t want heavy primer and paint on them – I might have to use the trailer before I actually get those new tires!

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I sprayed 3 light coats of red oxide on them just to make sure everything was covered. I found out that I have an early and a late wheel – you can barely see the flat on the dish of the wheel on the right (at 11 o’clock) in the pictures above and below.

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I will leave them taped up until I get them painted – no reason to waste another hour taping them back up for no good reason!