Wish me luck next week (Post #176) 5/7/2010

We are going after one of these. Its an M101A1 3/4 ton trailer. I have thought about getting a trailer for a couple of years, as you regular readers know. I have looked at all manner of trailers, every thing from Sankey to M105s to M334 ammo trailers.

I have recently been trolling the GOVLIQUIDATION.COM website again for a trailer. Long gone are the days were you see a M416 on the site. Seemingly everything on earth is available via surplus from our government. I have dreamed about buying all manner of things from the site. I would love to have a Boston whaler. Or perhaps even a 26 foot whaler. How cool would that be tooling around the lakes of OKLAHOMA in such a craft?

Pretty damn cool, I’ll tell ya.

Look through the site. There are a million things on there. Some have a really high cool factor. I know if you are like me you can imagine buying the stuff and just “playing with it”. If I ever do choose to get a boat you know I’ll be looking at those Boston whalers first and hoping I can get one with a weapon’s ring already mounted.

Today though, we are talking about trailers. Specifically an expedition quality trailer we can outfit for family camping. So lets get on to the candidates.

You can be sure that as the U.S. military begins to phase out its use of the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, also and better known as the Hummer, you will begin to see these gems come up for sale.

Behold the HMMWV trailer.

That is sexy. No really, that is very, very cool. I don’t have to tell you how sweet that would look being pulled behind the Range Rover. It will be interesting to see how much these bad boys go for at auction the first couple of years they begin being available. Pitfalls? Other than cost, they might be too wide. As you know if you have ever been in or near a Hummer, they are wide. Really, really wide. The trailers are no exception. You will not have trouble finding it in your mirrors as you plod along. If you are wondering if there is a version with tarps, yep they got those too.

Okay back to reality, what are our options. What are the pros and cons as I see it.

The Sankey trailer is obviously perfect for my situation. First, it is British. It would look great behind my Defender (well when I get one). But the problems with it are 45 mph top towing speed and they are EXPENSIVE. Try more than a thousand dollars (US) expensive. And lastly, they are rare in the United States.

Along those lines we have the Jeep trailers. These, as you might imagine, are more or less plentiful. There have been three basic versions of this trailer over the years. (From WikiPedia) The first trailer was called the “Trailer, 1/4-ton, 2W, cargo, Amphibian”. The second version which was built for the M38 jeep, was called the M100 trailer, and the third version, for the M151 MUTT was called the M416 trailer.

I remember the M416 from my Marine Corps days in the early 1980s. They will float, it is light weight, and it would be perfect for my needs. But the set backs are similar to the Sankey. In good condition they are expensive. I saw one at a State of Oklahoma surplus auction that eventually sold for 250$(US). It was beat up and in terrible condition. It would have taken three to four hundred dollars to get it right. It is not uncommon to see a trailer in this good condition  top two thousand dollars (US).

The next logical candidate would seemingly be the M332 Ammo Trailer. Hey, its the right size. It looks sturdy. It has a lovely storage box already built into the tongue. They are fairly plentiful in the United States. What could possibly be wrong with these? Well I’ll tell ya. First they weight a ton. No, seriously, they weigh a little over ton. This trailer is capable of carrying 1.5 tons of ammo over rough ground. It was built to take the punishment and as you can see it is beefy. As far as costs go, these are cheap. You can get them starting around 300$(US). I thought about getting one and at the time of this post there is one on eBay in Central Alabama for 250$(US). It would cost me 250 dollars just to fetch it home so I’m looking closer to my hacienda for a trailer.¬†

At first I thought about getting one of these and taking some weight off of it. You could change the springs and loose the stand on the tongue and yeah…never mind. I don’t know that I could get it down to an acceptable weight. Next!

There are a couple of options when we start talking about this style. They have different nomenclatures M103A2, M116A2, etc. They are mostly used with generators. I saw a few of these in OKC at ARS. He wanted 450$(US) for them. At the time that was my entire budget. They did have a bunch of jerry can mounts on them. That was a plus. And if you get the ones with metal tarp frames the options open up pretty well for roof tents or what have you. There are a few negatives. They are rare. They don’t have sides. I talked to the fellow who uses this one with his classic Toyota FJ. He loves it and had big plans for fitting it expedition style.

There is one more I felt like mentioning. The tool trailer. On the M116 platform they placed a tool box and boom shaka laka you have pure genius. The first time I saw this I thought, “I have to have it.” Perfect for what I want to do. I had all kinds of ideas for it. Flip out or slide out kitchen, television, lockable storage, seriously it would be great. There are a few set backs though. One of the uses I have for the trailer project is utilitarian. I intend to haul stuff in my trailer when it is not out fitted for camping. I don’t have a pickup truck any longer and I miss having a bed to haul dirt and lumber and firewood and appliances and all the stuff you use a pickup for. So while the tool trailer would be perfect for camping it is not so much for all the other things I want to use the trailer for.¬†

I had a few problems with the tool trailer I felt I had to mention. They are rare. There was an government auction in Missouri a year or so ago. They had a few dozen of these. Since then I haven’t seen but one or two available. A fellow out in Binger, Oklahoma who has a few military vehicles for sale had a couple parked out there on his makeshift lot. He wanted 600$(US) and told me they go quick and are hard to get. I don’t know how much salesman talk that was or how much fact that was. They stand a little too tall. I know with regular size Rover wheels and perhaps a different spring setup they would ride lower but those are modifications that cost money. And at the time 600 dollars was way over my budget.

This all brings us to the last two candidates. The M105 and the M101.

The M105 is the big brother to the M101. With the major difference being the capacity. The M105 is capable of hauling 1.5 tons and the M101 has a 3/4 ton capacity. So with that you can imagine the construction of each trailer is built for those tasks. The M105 unloaded weighs
2,650 lbs. The M101 unloaded weighs 1,340 lbs. So you can see the major difference right there.

My friend JagGuy has been building bobbed M35 trucks of late. I believe he is on his third one. He uses the M105 bed to replace the ginormous bed that comes with the M35. It and the removal of a set of axles that give the M35 the bobbed look that is so popular today.

The M105 is perhaps the most plentiful trailer on the market today. Prices range all over from 200$(US) for a beater to past a thousand for a nice one. Any price close to 600$ is fair and what you might expect to pay for one.

The M101 is also a plentiful trailer. But my research does make them as plentiful as the M105. I think the hauling weight and the overall weight along with the price I hope to pay at auction, make this TODAY my ideal of a trailer for the combined hauling of camp gear and work around the house.

If my finances in the future allow me to have another trailer I would look strongly at the tool trailer again. It has more of the features I was hoping to have in an expedition trailer.

At one time I entertained ideas to build a trailer. I have lots of ideas floating around in my gray matter but I really don’t have the funds or space to build right now. I have to also say that camping is new to my family. We have never been camping together, not in this century any way. I am a historical reenactor and have camped in many centuries through my hobby. That style of camping does not appeal to my wife in the least. So with that being said we may or may not even like camping as a hobby.

My children are getting older as well. This camping thing evolved from a thought that my wife and I might like to begin RVing. But I imagine myself a more rugged individual. I thought I would like camping out in the wilderness more than on a concrete pad in an RV park.

Camping recharges my batteries. I’m not sure it would recharge me as much if I have to deal with Billy Joe Redneck next door to me listening to Lynard Skynard all day and night and his Rottweiler chained to the nearest tree while his 3 kids run around terrorizing the area. So I’m looking toward the west. I’m thinking off the beaten path. Hell I’m pulling whatever trailer I outfit with a bloody Land Rover. I SHOULD be off the beaten path. The spirit of Solihull demands it!

Wish me luck, thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.