Back in January, I was lucky enough to find my Unicorn. It was something I've always heard of, seen in media, but never in person... you know, a unicorn! My unicorn was the Military M416 trailer.
I always thought that it would be the perfect companion for a Jeep. Since my Jeep JK purchase in Nov 2010, I've been searching for the right one. Either it had to be close to perfect and I would spend up to $1,000 or "needs a little TLC" and I would offer up $600.
My search ended early January 2012. You can read more about it on my original post listed below.
Monday: I invested in some air tools and a friend loaned me his 30gal 7.5hp vertical compressor.
Wednesday: We spent several hours installing the compressor and updating it with a new air filter, air regulator, and an oiler.
Thursday (last night) @ 6pm, I wheeled the M416 trailer into the garage and got to work. My dad joined me in the fun and we started to tear down things so we can separate the tub from the frame and inspect the electrical.
The lens is removed by loosening the 6 visible screws. The screws don't come all the way out of the lens. They are retained by a little crush washer. The seam was stuck because the lights were painted over. A razor blade solved that problem.
One of my lens covers were cracked. Both of them had bad seals, and moisture got in. The bottom bulb held some water and corroded the contacts. The front lens portion is also plastic. Probably not worth salvaging. I can buy new ones for about $15 each. The rear housing is plastic. I think I can take it all apart, wire brush the metal components and/or put them into a vibrating tumbler filled with sand, and restore them.
The license plate holder w/ light can't be original. It was pretty garfed up. I pulled it off and straightened up the bent areas. The light was another story. Pretty corroded and the plastic lens was milky white. I did find a replacement for $15.00. This part is going into the trash.
The two jerry can holders were in decent shape. One had a bent in corner. My dad fixed it with a hammer.
The tires were pretty seized up on the hub. After removing the tire lugs, I had to use a crow bar to break them free.
Next came the fenders. Normally there are 5 bolts that hold the fender in place. The bottom two on each side were missing. Strangely, the 6 bolts that were present, most of them were different sizes and lengths. That's not a good sign. I may need to replace every serviceable bolt to keep them consistent.
Once the fenders were removed, there are only 8 bolts left to remove the tub from the frame. There are 3 in the back and one on each side towards the front. They are quite visible, as the tub had mounting tabs. On the underside, there are suppose to be 3 more bolts that attach the tub to the cross-members for the frame. They were not present.
Years of debris, two coats of military and forestry service paint, made removing the tub quite difficult. In a perfect world, it should lift straight up. Darn thing was stuck. So, I broke out the rubber mallet and started banging on every seam and connection of the tub to the frame. Then, I sprayed those areas with WD-40. After 15 minutes, I climbed to the front of the trailer, stood on top of the landing leg, gripped the tub and dead-lifted the sucker.
Note: There is only 2 ways to get the tub off. Pull the tub straight up with equal pressure, or jerk the front like I did, then jerk up the rear, insert several blocks/spacer to get the tub mounting tabs to clear the frame, and slide the whole thing forward to clear the frame's lip... then up.
It's was now midnight and my arms feel like soggy noodles. Friday after work I will get started again.