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!

Day 2 on the M100

I got started back on the M100 this morning. I wanted to start early on my week off, but the weather wasn’t cooperating. I started this morning with a plan! I was going to remove the lunette, casting and landing leg. Then remove the drawbars. Then remove the park brake cable, and lastly, remove the running gear from the frame and tub. Then I could flip the tub over to assess  whether it would be better to remove the tub from the frame for rust repair purposes, of leave them together.

Well, everything went perfect – then I flipped the tub over (pretty light btw  – after everything is removed). There was a good bit more rust damage to the frame than I realized. The rear crossmember bottom lip is eaten away, same with the other 2 crossmembers. The tub has rust in the front and rear sections where they meet the end panels. One of the tabs that hold the front drain bracket (and the bracket) were rusted away. I managed to save the one tab. I guess I will have to fab a new one. I was able to heat up the rear drain plug bracket screws and remove them. The wiring harness was toast. I removed it and the lights. Good thing I have a new one – built for turn signals! There was a layer of undercoating that was peeling off on the whole bottom. I took the air blow nozzle and removed a good bit of this stuff to reveal that, in fact, this trailer was an Air Force trailer – beautiful strata blue on everything! I will document this for the next owner to decide whether to restore to original or not – I am painting it OD24087 to match the Jeep.

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I decided to remove the tub from the frame after seeing all this additional rust. I identified the tack welds down the side of the tub and cut them with the angle grinder – still stuck together. I found the 2 welds on each end panel and cut them – still stuck! Then, I realized that the crossmembers had tack welds every 8″ on them, so I cut them – still stuck! After a closer look, I saw that there are tack welds on the crossmembers underneath the gussets! You can’t get to these with a 4″ angle grinder. I got the Dremel tool out and put a heavy cutting wheel on it – that worked on 3 of them. Then I ran out of cutting wheels, of course! I took a pry bar to see how well I had done – the rear of the tub was STILL STUCK TOGETHER! Looking closer, there are damn tack welds every foot or so all down the side of the frame rails! I gave up and started sandblasting!

I put my tarp down so I could reclaim the media a couple of times and got my gear out. It went pretty fast because there weren’t as many coats of paint on the running gear. I removed the wheel/tires by elevating the axle on cement blocks. That way I was able to get the other side of the springs, axle and inside of the wheels. I spent about an hour and a half or so getting it cleaned up.

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I mixed up some red oxide and sprayed 2 coats on everything, flipped it, and sprayed the under side. By that time I was out of primer and exhausted from the heat. I put the wheels/tires back on and rolled it to the shop. I will have to pick up some tape and spray bomb red oxide to do the wheels tomorrow (maybe) – I have to go back to work tomorrow night. I will get some more cutting wheels also, since separating the tub and frame for rust analysis and repair will be the focus of the work next time I am off. I think the next week off is the last one before the Georgia rally.

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Coolant leak

I was out in the shop today and noticed a puddle under the Jeep. After investigating the source, it looked like it was dripping from the center of the pump where it joins the block – possibly a gasket leak. I am hoping, however, that it is actually leaking from the seal – and that driving it until warm will fix the problem. It hasn’t been driven in quite a while. If the weather cooperates I will take it for a short drive to see if that fixes it.

I haven’t done any blasting on the trailer this week off. The weather doesn’t want to cooperate. There has been a good chance of rain almost every day. Add to that the fact that it has been almost 100 deg and almost as much humidity – not much chance in doing any blasting outside! Today was the perfect temp (low 70s), but we have had a little drizzle a couple of times. I’m about 75% sure that if I would’ve started blasting, that it would’ve poured down! That happened yesterday – 90 deg and sunny all day, but as soon as I fired up the smoker and put the ribs in, it started raining! I had to put up a makeshift teepee made with a 6′ step ladder and a tarp!

Oh well, I guess I can get back to it next time off.

Started on the M100

I pulled the M100 to the shop today to get started on it.

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I was using my old 50# Speedway pressure pot blaster that I bought about 15 years ago. It is not the best in the world – it’s a pain to set up without plugging the nozzle, but once it is going, it will blast until empty – unless you get a rogue piece of large blasting media in the pot. I bought 300# of Black Beauty (a lava media that cuts very good once or twice, but turns to dust after that). I put a tarp on the ground under the trailer and started blasting. When the pot ran out, I scooped it out of the inside of the tub and recycled it twice. Before I finished the inside, I used a whole 100# bag and it had turned to dust. I had to recycle the media on the tarp until it was gone too.

Once I started blasting, I found more rust through than I was expecting! The “small” spot at the front panel seam had turned into a 2″ wide spot and a couple of places where the floor and side panel meet. A hole had also rusted through on the right side. I guess I waited too long to restore the trailer!

Rust hole can be seen on the right – can’t really see the seam rust.

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Overall, the tub is not REAL beat up, but not perfect either.

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At the rear of the tub, a previous owner had drilled holes to mount a license plate, and a hole in each corner for drains. There are also a pair of holes about 2′ forward from the rear, at the top of the side panels – I am guessing for turn signals. There was also what looked like a sheet metal screw hole in the floor.

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The data plates are on the tub, but they are repro ones – the serial # is 500 (yeah, right!). I guess it has been restored. I did find that the trailer was originally USAF issue. It had etching primer, red oxide, Strata Blue, red oxide, then OD green on the inside of the tub.

As of now, I have almost decided to cut out the easy to replace metal and patch it, but leave the bad front panel seam alone. I don’t think I have another full blown, ground up resto left in me, and this has turned into more than I had planned (my fault for waiting so long to start on it)!

I vacuumed up the media inside the tub and used the air hose to blow the seams out. I bought some Red Oxide implement primer from Tractor Supply last week for this project – didn’t know how hard it was to find Red Oxide ’til I started looking! I used a paint brush to coat the seams and rust holes and deep pitted areas (which was from the front panel back about 18″) straight from the can. Then I mixed up about half a quart and a couple ounces of mineral spirits and sprayed a couple of coats in the tub. Turned out pretty good!

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Here you can see the rusty front seam, hole on the right, and pitting a little better – I also just noticed that there are pairs of holes just like the rear in the side panels at the front.

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Here is a shot of the rear half. You can see the matching pair of holes and the drilled license plate and drain holes.

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That’s it for this week – I guess I will try to get the underside and maybe the sides blasted and primed the next time I am off. I still have some questions to ask on willysmjeeps about the tub number being an Air Force number or not.