New Guy with M101A3

John Galt

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Fort Worth, TX
Hi everyone. New here with my first trailer.... an M101A3 from GL. Paid $290 OTD. Picked it up in CA while on vacation and towed it back to Texas. The trailer appears to be in very good condition. The tires still have the teats on them. I have found a lot of good information on this site so far. Thanks for having me. More pics will be posted as things progress.

Here is a picture of my rig somewhere in New Mexico.



trailer1_zpsb58ea321.jpg

Since I have a topper and bedrug on the truck, I plan to use the trailer as my “working truck bed”.

With this hitch set up (7 hole riser plate) I can just barely open the tailgate so I don’t want to change to a taller hitch.

I figured I can drop some weight and lower it ~3.5” by swapping wheels/tires for 16” Chevy wheels and ~245/70/16 tires. I already bought some wheels off CL, just waiting to find some take off tires.

Today I pulled the military wiring and lights off. I will start running new wires and LED lights this weekend. There is a brand new TX plate sitting on the bench for it as well.

Since I don’t think I will need the surge brakes I am leaning towards removing the surge brake and welding a piece of channel to the front. I saw a few pics of similar set up on here and it seems like a good versatile solution because it sheds some tounge weight, can lower the hitch, and allows an easy swap between pintle/ball mounts.

While I had the tires off, I pulled the grease caps and cleaned out the old grease. I noticed that the brakes on both wheels will intermittingly rub. I tried to remove the two phillips head screws to get a look at the brakes but could not get them to move.

Is it prudent to take the hubs/brakes apart prior to putting the trailer into service?
 
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MWMULES

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Welcome to the site and yes service the bearings. Pulling the cap and removing old grease really does nothing. Manual is your friend and you can clean and repack with tools you have around the house.
 

DAP

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If you want to get rid of your surge hitch assembly I am interested in it for another trailer of mine. I could pay shipping from my place in NC.
 

John Galt

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Fort Worth, TX
Thanks for the welcome and information everyone.

harleyhouse, I had previously bookmarked your build threads and plan to steal a lot of ideas from you :)

This little project has reminded me how much I hate phillips head screws. It was lucky that I had a t-handle driver to remove all of the screws that held the light wires.

I guess it is time to find a larger t-handle driver and an impact gun.
 

John Galt

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Fort Worth, TX
Made a little more progress the past few days. Pulled the surge brake and lines off. There was only a few drops of fluid in the entire system. Removing the surge brake assembly definitely lightened up the tongue. When everything is done, I hope the trailer is light enough form me to move around with just man power.

Got the hub off one side. The axle and the bearings look good. After reading harleyhouse's build thread, I was hoping to remove the brakes to save some more weight but it doesn't look like that can easily be done with an A3. The plan now is to hose everything down, lube the brake mechanism, grease the bearings, then reassemble. At least the trailer will retain the use of the parking brakes.

Ordered a 6 hole piece of channel for the tongue with an extended lunnete from Croft.

Anyone know of a good weld shop in the DFW area?

I am having a hard time imbedding pictures so here is a link to a gallery if interested.

http://smu.gs/YgaKYl
 

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harleyhouse

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Progress looks good, I cut off the landing leg on my 101A2 and replaced it with an tongue jack from Harbor Freight.
it is adjustible and works but the original landing leg is better. My 116A2 I left the leg on.

You can remove the backing plates and shoe assembly as I did but it only drops about 35 pounds from each side including the drum.
I do miss my parking brake.

As for wheeling the trailer around by hand you can but don't let it get away from you My 101A2 is 1350 pounds empty and my ward has a grade to it.
Always let gravity and momentum work with you not against you.

Do you have any tech schools that offer welding? You could hit them up for the job or find a truck repair place that specializes in large work.

Keep us posted.
 

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John Galt

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Fort Worth, TX
I do plan to keep the original landing leg, seems like a good design. It will be interesting to weigh the trailer when I am done. I will swing my the local CC and see if they have a welding dept.

Did you cut the chains off your build because they would not fit with the channel? I know they will need to be extended and some smaller hooks but I like they way they are mounted and would like to keep it.
 

harleyhouse

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I replaced my chains with safety cables and snap hooks.
I cut the mounting tabs off for the correct angle on the 101A2 but like the way I did the 116A2 better
I used two short bolts and nuts on the single nose bolts, instead of the long pass through. " no need for an angled spacer."
Sold both sets of safety chains on ebay.

I mounted the safety cables on the second set of bolts on the tongue.
Drilled the hole on the side rail bigger, used a grade 8 bolt with a sleeve to pass through the thimble on the cable.
They dont rattle, Will catch the full hitch in case of an uncouple, and coil back when not stretched in a turn.
 

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John Galt

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Fort Worth, TX
Good point on not needing the spacers. I will see how things fit up once the channel is welded on.

Received the parts from Croft today. They ship fast!

34358ab4-78d1-4a9b-8ca6-a4cd54daca70_zps21377f82.jpg

The parts are inverted. I plan to leave one hole of the channel about the frame for a good weld. That will leave 5" of contact with the frame to weld and 5" hanging below. With 16" truck wheels and tires, I should be able to get the ring down to ~18".

The channel came with two gussets. Only one will fit if I want to retain the use of the original landing gear.

One thing I failed to consider is the size of the lunette ring. The original ring on the trailer is 3" ID/6" OD and the extended ring from Croft is a 2.5" ID/5" OD 10K ring. Both rings fit, the larger one just fits a lot tighter and seems like it would have less moving/clanking when towing. I guess I will have to take my pintle hook into a shop and find a ring that fits the tightest or find a new hook. The 5K hook fit the original ring well.

https://www.crofttrailer.com/croft-...h-3-extension-10-000-lb-capacity/#page=page-1

Also, this is the channel I purchased.

https://www.crofttrailer.com/6115-a...h-6-hole-sets-5-position-weld-on/#page=page-1

I am now wondering if I should have gotten a thicker one because it will be hanging 5" below a weld.

https://www.crofttrailer.com/5960-a...h-6-hole-sets-5-position-weld-on/#page=page-1
 
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harleyhouse

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Looks good,
My truck is lifted and I use the top hole for the coupler.
I like the extra length you have below so if you tow with a lower vehicle, You don't need
the TOWER OF TERROR receiver to hitch it up.

Keep us posted on the results.
Did you list your surge assembly yet?

I sold both of mine to recoup costs.
 

John Galt

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Fort Worth, TX
Have not listed the parts yet. I will probably wait until I am done then list all of the left over parts at the same time.

Another newbie question:

Are the spindle dimensions on the the M101A3 axles common (commercially) or are they special to these trailers? I ask because it seems like I should be able to pull the brakes/hub off and just replace them with new brakes and hubs with a lug pattern of my choosing.
 

harleyhouse

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The axle on the trailer should be a DEXTER youmay be able to swap the hubs out for a 6 blot toyota pattern.
Same as the 1/2 ton GM but I believe one is hub centric vs lug centric if it matters.
 

John Galt

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Location
Fort Worth, TX
Thank you. I am still trying to decide what to do.

I did decide to remove the brakes. Once I remove the two screws that hold the drum onto the hub, do I need to a press to separated the two parts? I have three screws out so far, one is partially stripped.
 

harleyhouse

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Oakmont, Pennsylvania
No, The drum sits in the center lip.
It may be seized so spray some oil and give it a couple hits on the face with a hammer.
The shoes may hold it back too. There is an access plug on the back to turn the star wheel.
Once off it will look like this.
 

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Blueegg

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One thing I failed to consider is the size of the lunette ring. The original ring on the trailer is 3" ID/6" OD and the extended ring from Croft is a 2.5" ID/5" OD 10K ring. Both rings fit, the larger one just fits a lot tighter and seems like it would have less moving/clanking when towing. I guess I will have to take my pintle hook into a shop and find a ring that fits the tightest or find a new hook. The 5K hook fit the original ring well.


How is it going?
Down this same road myself and ordered the same 2.5 in ring. It fits my hooks poorly and looks like it will be a noise maker. Ordered the 14K ring and sending the smaller one back. The 3 in is alot closer to the original ring size.
P3060539.jpg
 
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