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    Choosing a trailer for a build

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    Gryphon

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    Choosing a trailer for a build

    Post by Gryphon on Wed May 07, 2014 9:23 am

    Hello,

    To date, I've been mainly a weekend wheeler.  I've become more interested in Overlanding and Back Country adventures.

    As my rig is fairly capable, I'm looking into picking up a trailer to build out for Overlanding and Back Country adventures.

    In SE PA my options for acquiring a trailer are limited to Harbor Freight, Craig's List, and Government liquidation sites.  So far the best selection of trailers seems to be US M101 from Government liquidation sites.  As this trailer is what I would refer to as full size, I'd like to here anyone's opinion on using a US M101 as an expedition trailer.

    Based on the trailer and Wrangler specs (see below) , I think the trailer would track well behind my rig.  Would be happy to hear your opinions.

    M-101 Trailer, Cargo, 3/4 ton Specifications
    Length, overall 147 inches
    Length, cargo box 100 inches
    Width, overall 73.5 inches
    Height, overall, empty, with cover 83 inches
    Height, cargo box 19.64 inches
    Ground clearance 14 inches
    Fording depth 30 inches
    Weight, empty 1,340 lbs
    Payload, cross country 1,500 lbs
    Payload, highway 2,250 lbs
    Note: Dimenstions are for the M101A2 variant, from TM 9-2320-202-14&P, May 1997.

    Jeep Rubicon Unlimited
    Overall Body Width 73.7"
    Overall Height - With Hardtop 70.9"
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    MtnClimber
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    Re: Choosing a trailer for a build

    Post by MtnClimber on Wed May 07, 2014 10:31 am

    I'd think the overall weight and size would be the deal breaker. Mine barely weighs 600 lbs w/the RTT but no cargo. And it's 71" x 41" inside dimensions.
    My fording depth & clearance are relative to tire size, currently 33x10.5x15
    The current axle is relative to the track width of a Cherokee or Wrangler, actually almost exactly the same. Also with the current axle, I can also utilize the same tire AND rim as the Cherokee. I would have to use wheel adapters to run Toyota rims however.

    Here are my trailer specs:

    Length, overall  117 inches
    Length, cargo box 71 inches
    Width, overall  71 inches
    Width, cargo 41 inches
    Height, overall, empty, w/out RTT bars 44 inches (48" w/RTT bars)
    Height, cargo box 20.5 inches
    Ground clearance 14 inches
    Fording depth, 24 inches (bottom of floor)
    Weight, empty 350 lbs +/-
    Payload, 1,500 lbs +/-


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    Gryphon

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    Re: Choosing a trailer for a build

    Post by Gryphon on Wed May 07, 2014 11:50 am

    I've read that removing the pintle hitch and surge brakes can greatly reduce weight. I would hope that swapping out the military axle to a 3,500 lb axle and putting on some LT Tires would also reduce weight.

    I really appreciate your comments. I'll keep researching.

    Someone once told me that learning from the experience of others is the first step towards wisdom.... Then again, I've been called impetuous more than one.
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    FJ Boozah
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    Re: Choosing a trailer for a build

    Post by FJ Boozah on Wed May 07, 2014 12:42 pm

    Jarebs trailer is a great rig and definitely holds up well to the elements.  It's been through some pretty tough times and still came out great and thats basically all you can ask for in a trailer.  Only issue that I foresee is cost.  The original owner, who is a member here, passed on the savings for sure as he was able to build the trailer for a fraction of what it normally would end up costing a laymen.  

    I say this simply because my trailer is arguably less durable, although Ive never had any issue with it holding up to the abuse that Ive put it up against, mostly in and around the house.  It has had several days up on nasty washboard roads and came out relatively unstaved except for some minor paint removal from the rear tires of my old Jeep kicking up dirt, but the shell is made of durable fiberglass and the frame I hand built out of 3/8's 2x2 steel tubing.

    My build thread is on here in the trailer section.  The company name that I used is called a Dinoot.  Its a DIY build kit thats sent in the mail.


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    Gryphon

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    Re: Choosing a trailer for a build

    Post by Gryphon on Fri May 09, 2014 10:22 am

    I believe there are options for putting this thing on a diet. Can't change the length. Do you think the extra 30" would be a problem on a run like VOT or Moose on the Loose?

    This trailer is being built to make it easier for my son and I to go camping, but also to make it more comfortable and appealing to my wife and daughters. Right now I can't suggest we all camp together as my gear leaves room for 3 in my Jeep.
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    Barrows

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    Re: Choosing a trailer for a build

    Post by Barrows on Fri May 09, 2014 11:00 am

    Personally, I think that trailer is way too big. It has a height that is almost double of most trailers. It also way longer and even if you swap the axle it will set too tall. I know you are looking for a budget version, so I am sharing this trailer for ideas not for purchasing....http://www.manleyorv.com/trailers/morv-explore.html

    http://www.manleyorv.com/files/spec_sheet.pdf

    Have you looked into modifying a small trailer? Something like this would make a great base.

    http://www.lowes.com/pd_253168-15476-3.5X5LSHS_4294641556__?productId=3680952&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1¤tURL=%3FNs%3Dp_product_qty_sales_dollar%7C1&facetInfo=
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    Gryphon

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    Re: Choosing a trailer for a build

    Post by Gryphon on Fri May 09, 2014 2:25 pm

    Barrows wrote:Personally, I think that trailer is way too big. It has a height that is almost double of most trailers. It also way longer and even if you swap the axle it will set too tall. I know you are looking for a budget version, so I am sharing this trailer for ideas not for purchasing....http://www.manleyorv.com/trailers/morv-explore.html

    http://www.manleyorv.com/files/spec_sheet.pdf

    Have you looked into modifying a small trailer? Something like this would make a great base.

    http://www.lowes.com/pd_253168-15476-3.5X5LSHS_4294641556__?productId=3680952&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1¤tURL=%3FNs%3Dp_product_qty_sales_dollar%7C1&facetInfo=

    Thanks for the feedback.  I very much appreciate the links.  

    In addition to being able to support a family of 5, I'd like to be able to put a full sized piece of plywood, so my minimal internal dimensions is going to be at least 48" x 6'.  I figure it can hang over the back.

    I've got a budget in mind, but function is going to be the driver for this project.  If something costs more, I'll just wait a little longer and continue saving for it.

    Regarding the height, the US M101 comes with bows and a canvas cover.  Neither would be used while the trailer was in motion. I would probably sell them to fund other aspects of the build.
    [url= photo picofm101.jpg[/url]

    another picture with out the rails and bows


    I believe the height of the tub is ~48" off the ground, which would put the bottom of the tub around 28" off the ground.  The back of my Jeep is 32" off the ground, so I feel like that is an OK height.  It may be difficult to get to the center of the tub while reaching in over the tub wall, but I have some ideas for that.

    I'm trying to understand why the length is considered problematic.  The total length is shorter than my Jeep by 26".  Is this a consideration for trails with tight turns?
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    Re: Choosing a trailer for a build

    Post by Barrows on Sat May 10, 2014 12:00 am

    In many of the tighter trails the length would a really problem when paired with your long wheelbase. It sounds like maybe you need two trailers? A utility trailer for the plywood etc. and a smaller expo trailer? Or maybe a lumber rack that you can add when needed.
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    muffinman

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    Re: Choosing a trailer for a build

    Post by muffinman on Sat May 10, 2014 9:31 pm

    i would have to say is to build the trailer to your needs and if it don't work then change it. I think we all can agree that we try different stuff out wheeling or camping from the way we pack our rig to what we bring so if u think it will work for u then try it
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    Gryphon

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    Re: Choosing a trailer for a build

    Post by Gryphon on Mon May 12, 2014 7:42 am

    Looking for some opinions. What would be the optimal max width and max length of an expo trailer for NE?
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    Barrows

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    Re: Choosing a trailer for a build

    Post by Barrows on Tue May 20, 2014 11:51 am

    Are you looking for overall length with tongue included? Are you planning on running a multi axis hitch?
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    booth9c1ss

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    Re: Choosing a trailer for a build

    Post by booth9c1ss on Tue May 20, 2014 5:40 pm

    When designing or buying a trailer, be absolutely sure that the length from the trailer ball/pivot attachment point to the trailer axle is longer than the length from your towing vehicle rear axle to the hitch.  Otherwise you will have a very hard time backing it.  If those two lengths are equal, it would be a 1:1 ratio.

    The longer the tongue (attachment point to trailer axle) length, the easier it will be to back.  Tractor trailer trucks has the pivot directly above the rear axle (0'), and the 53' trailer is around 45' from the pivot to the rear axle (45') making the ratio 0:45 (Yes, I know this is a mathematical impossible ratio).  They back very well... but they have to take really wide turns going forward.

    But... the shorter the tongue length is (getting closer to 1:1 above), the better it will be to follow you on the trail (going forward).

    I personally find a 1:2 ration nice.


    Last edited by booth9c1ss on Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Gryphon

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    Re: Choosing a trailer for a build

    Post by Gryphon on Wed May 21, 2014 10:20 pm

    Barrows wrote:Are you looking for overall length with tongue included? Are you planning on running a multi axis hitch?

    I am planning on running a multi axis hitch, based on what I have been able to research, its the best solution long term.

    My thought is that the overall length could be a limiting factor on switch backs or tight turns. I don't want to be holding anyone else up while needing to jack knife the trailer to make a sharp turn.
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    Re: Choosing a trailer for a build

    Post by Gryphon on Wed May 21, 2014 10:22 pm

    booth9c1ss wrote:When designing or buying a trailer, be absolutely sure that the length from the trailer ball/pivot attachment point to the trailer axle is longer than the length from your towing vehicle rear axle to the hitch.  Otherwise you will have a very hard time backing it.  If those two lengths are equal, it would be a 1:1 ratio.

    The longer the tongue (attachment point to trailer axle) length, the easier it will be to back.  Tractor trailer trucks hah the pivot directly above the rear axle (0'), and the 53' trail it around 45' from the pivot to the rear axle (45') making the ratio 0:45.  They back very well... but they have to take really wide turns going forward.

    But... the shorter the tongue length is (getting closer to 1:1 above), the better it will be to follow you on the trail (going forward).

    Thank you! Light bulb is now on.
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    Re: Choosing a trailer for a build

    Post by Barrows on Wed May 21, 2014 10:39 pm

    I think if you go too long on the trailer/tongue combo you might run into a ground clearance problem. What Steve is saying about trailer is true for the road, however I think it should be different off-road.

    This trailer Scott built has a short tongue and 33's and it still has a clearance problem. I know this pic's is posed, but he did it because it was a problem you can and will encounter on the trail.

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    Re: Choosing a trailer for a build

    Post by Gryphon on Wed May 21, 2014 10:58 pm

    Just measured my Axle to rear hitch around 50", from the specs I can find M101A2/3 is 100" from axle to front of pintle. Which I believe puts this trailer in the easy to back up, wide turn category. I know I can reduce some length by removing the pintle and going multi-axis, not sure how much. I'll look into this further. Thanks for the info and especially the picture.

    So the solution isn't a bigger lift and tires?  sawzall welder 
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    Re: Choosing a trailer for a build

    Post by Barrows on Wed May 21, 2014 11:00 pm

    That is a solution 90% of the time...... lol! 
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    Re: Choosing a trailer for a build

    Post by booth9c1ss on Thu May 22, 2014 7:12 am

    Barrows wrote:I think if you go too long on the trailer/tongue combo you might run into a ground clearance problem. What Steve is saying about trailer is true for the road, however I think it should be different off-road.

    This trailer Scott built has a short tongue and 33's and it still has a clearance problem. I know this pic's is posed, but he did it because it was a problem you can and will encounter on the trail.


    Isn't this the very same trailer that Jareb now owns and pulled through every inch of VOT with his lifted XJ?
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    Re: Choosing a trailer for a build

    Post by Barrows on Thu May 22, 2014 7:44 am

    Yes it is, I was using it as an example of how the tongue can drag off-road. I am not questioning the capability of the trailer. My example was to show how the tongue length can factor into off-road obstacles.
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    Re: Choosing a trailer for a build

    Post by MtnClimber on Thu May 22, 2014 8:29 am

    In that picture scenario, it wouldn't matter how long/short the tongue is, it would've dragged. If the tongue was a wee bit shorter it may not have dragged in the sand as much, BUT the tongue was designed so if the trailer jack-knifed it would not hit the side of the vehicle; in this case, the Wrangler. (Correct me on the build length idea if I'm wrong Scott)
    The short wheelbase Wranglers were dropping their rear into the dip sooner than the longer wheelbased Cherokee's. A taller lift and/or tires on both rig & trailer may have helped, but since I've owned it and trailered it behind my Cherokee w/33's, the tongue length has not been a problem and tracks/back-ups/turns just fine!  Very Happy 
    Basically if your bumper is going to drag, your trailer tongue is going to as well.



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    Re: Choosing a trailer for a build

    Post by Barrows on Thu May 22, 2014 8:50 am

    Again, I am not questioning the capability of the trailer, I was using that picture to show why it would be important to pay attention to the tongue length. I wish I used a different picture of a trailer we are not as familiar with.....

    A longer tongue, with a longer wheelbase.



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    Barrows

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    Re: Choosing a trailer for a build

    Post by Barrows on Thu May 22, 2014 9:02 am

    Just to show how big the M101 trailer is....

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    Re: Choosing a trailer for a build

    Post by booth9c1ss on Thu May 22, 2014 10:13 am

    I'll use my experience... My ZR2 trailer.  this is the back half of of a ZR2 pickup.

    Tow vehicle: Rear axle to hitch ball is 4' (48")

    Trailer: Hitch to axle is 7'8" (92")

    The axle follows the track of the towing rig (also a ZR2) perfectly.  This means that I can take a tight corner around a tree and if the Blazer misses it, the trailer will too.  My ratio is close to 2:1 (actually 92:48 = 23:12).  The 100" wheelbase of the Blazer makes backing okay too... or, if things get too gnarly, I'll just disconnect the trailer.

    the big disadvantage of my trailer, and I suspect that this is also true of the M101, is that it's heavy.

    My setup can be viewed this weekend.
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    Re: Choosing a trailer for a build

    Post by wntrcmpr on Thu May 22, 2014 3:00 pm

    MtnClimber wrote:In that picture scenario, it wouldn't matter how long/short the tongue is, it would've dragged. If the tongue was a wee bit shorter it may not have dragged in the sand as much, BUT the tongue was designed so if the trailer jack-knifed it would not hit the side of the vehicle; in this case, the Wrangler. (Correct me on the build length idea if I'm wrong Scott)
    The short wheelbase Wranglers were dropping their rear into the dip sooner than the longer wheelbased Cherokee's. A taller lift and/or tires on both rig & trailer may have helped, but since I've owned it and trailered it behind my Cherokee w/33's, the tongue length has not been a problem and tracks/back-ups/turns just fine!  Very Happy 
    Basically if your bumper is going to drag, your trailer tongue is going to as well.

    You are correct... that is what I based my tongue length on

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