M870A1 Acquisition Thread

Castle Bravo

Hundredaire Socialite
Steel Soldiers Supporter
1,934
101
63
Location
Arizona
After several years of looking for one, I finally found and purchased a M870A1 40 ton lowboy semitrailer for my M916 tractor. I had Soni (aka M920) take it from Oklahoma to New Mexico. The trailer did not have any lights or electrical, brake components were missing and no air lines were present. The tires were in sketchy condition. I loaded up some 10R15 tires on the back of the 916 and set out for New Mexico. Its about 500 miles away and so I made the trip in about 12 hours with stops at 55 mph.

Soni had helped me round up a lot of the required parts, like the air valves and slack adjusters. Some of the ports on the valves were different sizes than what was on the original pieces, so some adapters were used. The trailer has just about 100' of 3/8" plastic air brake tubing, as well as some 1/2" and a bit of 5/8". (Which is very expensive) The rear deck over the area between the axles was removed and this made it considerably easier to access the brake components.

The trailer rear end was lifted with the FEMTT crane and set it on some jack stands so that I could work on the tires and hubs. The bearings were in good shape and the oil was too. New Stemco hubcaps were installed and filled with gear oil. I picked the most road worthy tires and cleaned all the mating surfaces on the hubs, wheels, and spacers, and the dayton wheel assemblies went together with no fuss.

Soni installed some stick on reflectors and I think that was an excellent idea. The lights were handled by the trusty wrecker light bar. Now that the trailer displayed a hint of maintenance, I felt it was up for the trip home, which was uneventful except for a dude laying on the highway that I had to drive around. (really!)

The trailer came with 16 or so tires and I purchased some others to bring me up to darn near 40 of them now in various conditions. The 10R15 tires are still out there for sale and I think I'll end up having a good set of the Michelin tires, as they seem to be the best available. The next steps are sandblasting and paint, followed by installing electrical components, and then wood decking.
 

Attachments

Castle Bravo

Hundredaire Socialite
Steel Soldiers Supporter
1,934
101
63
Location
Arizona
I didn't really do anything to the trailer that didn't need to be done to make the trip home. No brakes on a 20000 lb trailer is not okay. All in all, it took a few days to complete and everything worked correctly on the way home.
 

NDT

Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
9,180
2,912
113
Location
Camp Wood/LC, TX
Thanks for the post. I'll never understand why these trailers are always so severely cannibalized, not like the parts can't be bought at any truck parts house.
 

maddawg308

Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
10,818
502
113
Location
Front Royal, VA
Thanks for the post. I'll never understand why these trailers are always so severely cannibalized, not like the parts can't be bought at any truck parts house.
Because if you are a private in the motor pool with a good trailer on the left that's missing a few parts, and another one on the right, they will save time and paperwork and use parts from one to keep the other one going. Plus, what you're asking begs the question: if it's anything related to government, should it make sense?
 

Ferroequinologist

Resident railroad expert
4,797
622
113
Location
Liberty Hill, SC
Sweet! That trailer looks great with your m916! I guess it should as it was designed for it!

I have been watching them for years and you are right, most seem stripped out when they sell. But they still sell high!

Congrats!
 

ReoRider

Member
165
8
18
Location
Vermont
Tough trailer to find-good job in getting one to pull with the M916. How well does the winch set up work in lifting the trailer up and locking it into the 5th wheel? Always see lots of dents in the approach ramps on the tractors.

You indicated a 55mph cruising speed in driving out bobtailed. What revs does that yield with your OD transmission, and was that just a good traveling speed. On the loaded return what did you run at and how did it handle?


The 10:00 R15 tires are not too easy to find back here, I'm running them on a M172A1 behind the M916A1. Makes for a great package, but you're limited in deck space to a single piece of armor(their generally shorter). Would be fun to have all that room to load up the kitchen sink as well.

John
 

Castle Bravo

Hundredaire Socialite
Steel Soldiers Supporter
1,934
101
63
Location
Arizona
Tough trailer to find-good job in getting one to pull with the M916. How well does the winch set up work in lifting the trailer up and locking it into the 5th wheel? Always see lots of dents in the approach ramps on the tractors.

You indicated a 55mph cruising speed in driving out bobtailed. What revs does that yield with your OD transmission, and was that just a good traveling speed. On the loaded return what did you run at and how did it handle?


The 10:00 R15 tires are not too easy to find back here, I'm running them on a M172A1 behind the M916A1. Makes for a great package, but you're limited in deck space to a single piece of armor(their generally shorter). Would be fun to have all that room to load up the kitchen sink as well.

John
55 mph is pretty much 1700 rpm - Owning a HET also and driving a lot of other slow vehicles, 55 mph is just fine to me. When I first got the Allison M916, I thought it was so cool that it'd run 75 mph, but now I mostly enjoy that it'll do 55-60 mph at lower rpms. 55 is nice in that it makes a huge difference over even 50 mph in terms of how driving long distance wears you out. I did 55 - 60 on the way home. I had to stop and adjust straps on some of the tires so often that I wanted to make up some time and drove a bit faster.
 

11Echo

Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
2,214
53
48
Location
CT W. R.
I didn't really do anything to the trailer that didn't need to be done to make the trip home. No brakes on a 20000 lb trailer is not okay. All in all, it took a few days to complete and everything worked correctly on the way home.
It's a good feeling having the proper trailer for a tractor.
 

Attachments

Chief_919

Well-known member
2,079
101
48
Location
Western NC
Thanks for the post. I'll never understand why these trailers are always so severely cannibalized, not like the parts can't be bought at any truck parts house.
The system.

Everything is a budget. You have a parts budget, and you have an even smaller budget for parts that you can buy with a government credit card at local parts houses.

All government card purchases must be done only by the person who is signed for the card and has had a lot of time wasted in training on how to do the classes. And if it is over a certain dollar value then you have to get three quotes.

If you only have $2000 left in the budget and you can scavenge $1500 in parts without having to do any paperwork because the trailer is on the way out the door, that is what you do.
 

Castle Bravo

Hundredaire Socialite
Steel Soldiers Supporter
1,934
101
63
Location
Arizona
I noticed the MK cab, is there a project in your future???????

dave
Well I figured I already had the FEMTT starter kit M916, I might as well do the whole thing up right.

:D

No, its a cab for someone else, and if he uses it, I'm sure he'll post here about it.
 

ReoRider

Member
165
8
18
Location
Vermont
Couldn't agree more about 55 as a sweet speed. Certainly plenty fast on two lane black top with a load behind. Been having that as a top speed goal during years of pushing all sizes MV's up that far, usually with help from an overdrive or rear end swap. Was curious about the RPM at 55 in your OD/916 as I'm now quite happy with 1800 at 55 in the 916A1 with 14:00 X 20's. Still gives a little headroom for unplanned road quirks.
 

agazza2

Active member
478
27
28
Location
Ahwatukee, AZ
Great job with prepping the trailer for the drive back to AZ Matt. I will have to come over and see it this weekend after the car show.
 

zebedee

conceptualizer at large
Steel Soldiers Supporter
1,532
348
83
Location
Central NY
How well does the winch set up work in lifting the trailer up and locking it into the 5th wheel?
John

I was going to comment on the winch loading 'till I reread John's comment - I missed the "well" on first reading... BUT anywho... I couldn't find the TM in the 'Technical Manual' section of the forum. TM 5-2330-378-14&P - did find it online a while ago but I don't have good enough internet to upload it.

Fifth wheel ramps and roller on my M916A1 are pretty dinged up too. Side note - I welded some large pin ears on the front of my civi lowboy so I can hook on using the winch until I can do the A3 wetline mod for, and add 14" to the detachable gooseneck. (Kingpin is at ~ 40+" but fifthwheel is over 60" - looks kinda silly right now.)


Looking forward to the restoration pics Matt.
 
Top
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website like our supporting vendors. Their ads help keep Steel Soldiers going. Please consider disabling your ad blockers for the site. Thanks!

I've Disabled AdBlock
No Thanks