Bantam T3-C trailer

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Bantam T3-C trailer

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Bantam T3-C trailer

Postby m3a1 » February 10th, 2018, 10:59 pm

Gents, I just traded some stuff for a rather tired Bantam T3-C. I wanted a trailer of this type and would have rather have lucked into a nice M416 but this is what came my way and the price was right. The original Fulton coupler is gone and it has a modified hitch attached to the original cast mount (that bit that joins to the tongue's A-frame). It is not done too badly and is certainly serviceable but it isn't the coupler I'm wanting on this trailer.

At the moment, I have a stripped out casting for an M416 which appears to be of a size and with bolt-holes placed in such a way that it might very well be capable of bolting right up without any modifications. The point is, I'd like to be able to tow it with a lunette but I have no suitable lunette eye for it at this time. Are these lunette eyes tough to find? Does anyone have any experience with this casting swap? If so, is it direct?

I don't have any plans to vismod this into an M100 but I do have to make some decisions as to the future of the tailgate which was FUBAR and was so objectionable that I've removed it entirely, stripped off the original angle iron frame so as to be able to straighten it. It's a mess.

The "wings" at the rear of the trailer are toast at the bottom and in my opinion would not be sufficient to keep the rear sidewalls where they belong even if repaired to original specs, simply because the trailer has seen so much use and abuse and is now somewhat jacked out of shape. The bottoms of those wings were rather scantily built. When everything was new and straight they could hold the sidewalls straight, but those wings are no longer capable of providing sufficient support to the sidewalls. The sidewalls have seen enough rough use that, at rest, the tailgate opening at the rear is fully 1" wider than the front. So, what to do about that without resorting to herculean efforts?

I'm considering building a strong angle iron frame; a "kit" that fits inside the opening of the back of the bed into which the refurbished tailgate (or its substitute) would fit. Bolted in, this would serve to draw the sidewalls up into their proper position and make no irreversible modification to the trailer.

Thoughts? (Yes! Pics are coming)

Cheers,
TJ
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Re: Bantam T3-C trailer

Postby Haas » February 10th, 2018, 11:11 pm

Lunette eyes are reproduced, that I know. As far as the M416 casting fitting, I have no idea. You might be able to find a casting for a Willys MBT, Bantam T3 or T3-C, or an M100 fairly easily and those "should" all fit without problems. As far as repairing the back, again, I don't know. I have a T3, an M100, and a couple M416s and I know body panels (and even entire bodies) are available for them, so they may be available for the T3-C as well, or you may be able to use the reproduction military panels to repair the civilian body. Can't wait for pics!
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Re: Bantam T3-C trailer

Postby m3a1 » February 10th, 2018, 11:32 pm

Well, the truth is, I don't want to pour a bunch of money into this thing. I don't want to restore it or even make it attractive. I want to stop the rust, make it serviceable and use it, warts and all. Come the day one of the local jeep fanatics comes by and has to have it, I'll be looking to replace it with an M100 or a 416.

I've cut down a set of bows from my old M35 (sold that truck and kept the bows, thank heavens) and now, they fit the trailer perfectly so I'll be able to tarp it and keep most of the rain out.

Photos tomorrow.

Cheers,
TJ
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Re: Bantam T3-C trailer

Postby Horst » February 11th, 2018, 4:01 am

I put the M416 casting on my MBT-like trailer (pulled by my M201). Apart from the fact that it apparently has the 2 receiver holes, it did fit right it, so you are good to go. I "think" it might have a slightly different angle for the A-frame but the difference is so small that it does not affect the usage.
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1972 USMC M151A2 w/ROPS and M416
1962 M201 and trailer
1966 Pontiac GTO
1987 Suzuki Samurai
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Re: Bantam T3-C trailer

Postby m3a1 » February 11th, 2018, 11:58 am

Ok, fellas, I'm going to stop right here and start again in the trailer section where this belongs. Many thanks for the input received thus far.

The following is a much later edit to this post with some information that I've come across much later in my trailer's build and it is information that might be of use to anyone who is interested in the civilian Bantam T3-C, the M100 and M416 military trailers.

First point - IF you are contemplating the purchase of the military version of these trailers and, if you are on this site reading this you probably are, the absence of a lunette drawbar eye on your intended military trailer purchase can be a real deal-breaker. I am presently watching a lunette drawbar eye on eBay which has been bid up to $400 (!!!) which, in my opinion, is a ridiculous amount of money but, it illustrates just how hard these are to come by.

A rumor has been circulating that the lunette drawbar eyes are being reproduced and it is just that - a rumor. I don't intend to discredit Haas who was certainly doing his level best to help out but I have some very good evidence that they are not actually being reproduced. A credible company with whom most of us do business claims they have exclusive rights to reproduce the lunette drawbar eyes for these trailers. They told me not only are they NOT reproducing them but also that they have no plans to do so, as the set-up costs are prohibitive. :(

If you are aware of someone who actually IS reproducing them, please come forward with the information.

Why is this so important? Well, unlike a lot of other military trailers with a fixed, hard-mounted lunette, the lunette drawbar eye on the M100/M416 trailer rotates. Hold your arm out, make a fist and then rotate your fist. That's pretty much how the drawbar eye works on these little trailers. This allows the trailer to be very much off camber from the vehicle that is towing it...particularly important when off road. This is one of the biggest reasons why these trailers are so popular with the civilian off-road crowd. A fixed drawbar eye, when attached to a pintle hitch can reach the limits of it's travel and as a result, torque the tongue of the trailer and whether civilian or military, the tongues of these trailers are just not built heavily enough to withstand torquing. Of course, a civilian hitch really spoils the 'military look' of these trailers.

If you take the time to work your way through my posts here, you will see that I have constructed a hitch that can employ a fixed drawbar eye or a regular civilian ball hitch or anything else that will stab into a normal 2" receiver. The intended use for my civilian Bantam trailer does not include going off-roading but I do want to tow it with both my former military vehicles and my civilian truck. The bottom line is, if you are contemplating the purchase of a military trailer of this type, place heavy emphasis on it having the correct lunette drawbar eye and if you buy one of these trailers without the correct lunette drawbar eye be prepared to pay a premium price for a replacement.....if you can find one.

Second point - You can easily visually modify a civilian Bantam trailer to resemble a military trailer to appear as an M100 or M416 (correct coupler notwithstanding) but the truth of the matter is, civilian Bantams are very likely to be more rare than their military counterparts. Why? Well, they aren't built quite as well and they saw far more use and abuse than the military trailers (they were an extraordinarily inexpensive trailer back in the day) and mostly, they were eventually used up and discarded by their owners.

This is not to suggest that the civilian Bantam trailers are more valuable than the military versions of these trailers. They aren't, simply because they aren't "cool enough" but, they are indeed more "rare". So, if you happen to come upon a civilian Bantam T3-C, give a lot of consideration to the direction in which you are going to take it. As a potential conservator of a piece of Bantam history, in trying to make it into something it is not, you just might be devaluing it! And by the way, remember that the civilian vehicle collectors far out-number we military vehicle aficionados so there may very well be a car buff out there who would love to have a period correct trailer to tow behind his car. So, consider that acquiring a civilian T3-C might just be a good stepping stone to one of the more expensive military trailers.

The only limitation to transforming a civilian Bantam trailer into a military-looking trailer is money. The truth of the matter is, an in-depth transformation is cost-prohibitive and if you want an M100 or a M416 you are going to be WAY ahead to pony up the dough and go buy one. However, if you are satisfied with a coat of green paint and stars on a civilian trailer and maybe a tail-light swap, then go for it! If you are curious as to why I have this particular trailer, the answer is simple - while I'd much rather have the military trailer I was not actively looking for one. This one came my way, the price was right and I jumped on it. I accept that it is a civilian trailer and I'll be doing my level best to make as few irreversible modifications as I can.

Third point - So you're driving down that county backroad and spot one of these little trailers. Do you know what the chief visual differences are between civilian Bantam trailers and their military counterparts? How can you tell what you are looking at if you can't get up close to the trailer that has caught your eye? Without going into all the tiniest mechanical details, these are the most obvious visual cues to look for so that you too can identify these elusive trailers. Got your binoculars? Here we go -

The body tub of a military trailer is bolted to the trailer frame with tabs that hang down on the outside face of the frame and they aren't large tabs but rather they are about the size of a large man's thumb. Thus, the tub can be removed in its entirety, revealing the frame and all its components. The civilian tub is welded directly to the frame at many points and the frame is integrated in this way to strengthen the tub.

The military version has no tailgate (they were designed to float) unless they were purpose-built for a specific military task or were modified (and be aware, adding a tailgate was a fairly common civilian modification to the military version of these trailers). On the military trailer, there are no struts (early civilian Bantam) or "wings" (later civilian models) at the rear of the body to stiffen the sidewalls, because there was generally no tailgate on the military trailer. The "wings" I am referring to are actually a panel of metal that hold or encompass the taillights and reflectors and do double duty as they also keep the rear sidewalls vertical. So, if you see wings (or tail-light panels) or struts whose purpose it is to stiffen the sidewalls at the rear because there is or was a tailgate, you should be thinking civilian.

The military tub has four tie-down hooks to a side whereas the civvy version has three. The military version also had two opposing tie down hooks on the front and panel and one on the rear. The military version has no stake pockets whereas the civilian has three to a side, located inside the upper vertical sidewalls so, if you see hoops or stake sides on a trailer, it probably has stake pockets which suggests a civilian provenance.

Both the M100 trailers and the civilian Bantams have round fenders and no handles at the corners. The later M416 military trailers have angled fenders and have handles.

The hitch, as I have already mentioned, has a lunette drawbar eye on a cast component (called a Draw Bar Bracket Assembly) to which the two frame members of the tongue attach. Even if the lunette drawbar has been disposed of by a civilian owner you can easily identify that cast component from afar. On the civilian version, and the M100 version the landing leg pivots from the rear of the draw bar bracket assembly and the locking pin for securing the landing leg is directly forward of the pivot bolt for the landing leg. On the M416 the locking pin is located directly above the pivot bolt and on all versions the handle for the locking pin is on the left side.

I have seen many pictures of a lunette drawbar eye having had it's ring cut away and the remaining shank was used to support a civilian ball hitch (which is usually welded on in a cobbled up mess). If you are lucky enough to have just that bit, DO consider preserving it. It is possible to carefully cut away the civilian add-ons and having a replacement eye professionally welded back onto the shank. So, even if you do not intend to use the lunette drawbar eye, you will be money ahead to offer it for sale because I can assure you there is someone out there at this very moment looking for one and who will be willing to do the work to make it happen.

By the way, if you happen to find a heavily discounted military version of these trailers, one that has perhaps lost its draw bar bracket assembly and/or even it's tongue members there seem to be quite a few M416 draw bar bracket assemblies still available for rather modest prices (which, again, would leave you looking for the elusive lunette drawbar eye) and the tongue members are just dirt simple to make or have made. Ok, enough about those...

There is an actuator lever on the front of the M100/M416 trailer that engages the parking brakes and there are several versions of that particular lever. The levers on the early M100s look more like they belong on a farm tractor (which probably isn't too far from the truth.) The civilian trailers have no brakes and so, have no brake actuator lever.

The hub grease cap on the civilian trailer is a flat disc of plate steel whereas on the military version there is a heavy domed cap. Both civilian and military use the exact same Willys front hubs and Willys wheels (though the later M416s would be found with wheels like those of the MUTTs.)

Military versions have a C-channel tongue member that is boxed to almost its full length (excluding the area where the draw bar bracket assembly bolts in) whereas civilian trailers are boxed only across about 12"; that boxing being centered below the front sidewall.

The spring hangers on the M100 and M416 have holes in them whereas the civilian Bantam has no holes. If you see flat plate steel spring shackles on the rear, you should be thinking civilian trailer.

If you can see shock absorbers or leaf springs like that of the Willys, you're probably looking at a military trailer.

Now, here's the real unicorn of the bunch....a civilian, military-style trailer. Post war, with government contracts being cancelled, Bantam had some undelivered military trailers on hand. Reportedly they sold some of these leftover military trailers as civilian trailers. They DO exist so if you are lucky enough to find one and the owner insists it's civilian through and through despite all the obvious military accoutrements, he may be absolutely right.

As I said, these aren't the only differences but they are the most obvious ones. Hope this provides some helpful information for everyone..

Cheers,
TJ
Last edited by m3a1 on March 16th, 2018, 11:39 pm, edited 16 times in total.
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Re: Bantam T3-C trailer

Postby Horst » February 11th, 2018, 12:08 pm

have Rick move it for you
Horst

1972 USMC M151A2 w/ROPS and M416
1962 M201 and trailer
1966 Pontiac GTO
1987 Suzuki Samurai
1987 911
1982 Ford E350 Cutaway Skoolie
Gone: 2xM35A2c, Unimog 404S, Hanomag AL28, DKW Munga
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Bantam T3-C trailer

Postby m3a1 » February 11th, 2018, 12:18 pm

Ok...I'm going to start this again. Not very organized today and struggling to get postimg to cooperate.

I just traded some stuff for a rather tired Bantam T3-C. I wanted a trailer of this type and would have rather have lucked into a nice M416 but this is what came my way and the price was right.

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The tailgate was such a mess, with original hinges gone and some crazy pin & barrel hinge-arrangement welded on in such a way that the tailgate was not only cockeyed but also would not lay flush with the rear of the trailer. I hated it so much I didn't even unload the Bantam from the transporting trailer. I just went straight to cutting that tailgate off. Took that wood off as well. CLEAR THE DECKS!

Mission accomplished.
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The original Fulton ball-hitch coupler is gone and it has a modified hitch attached to the original cast mount (that bit that joins to the tongue's A-frame). It is not done too badly and is certainly serviceable but it isn't the couple or the look that I'm wanting on this trailer. At the moment, I have a stripped out casting for an M416 sitting on the shelf. It appears to be of a size and with bolt-holes placed in such a way that it might very well be capable of bolting right up without any modifications. The point is, I'd like to be able to tow it with a lunette but I have no suitable lunette drawbar eye for it at this time so I'll have to hunt one of those down. (Author's note: As I would soon come to find, there would be no hunting one down....not for a reasonable price, anyway!)

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As you can see here, the tongue has had it's fair share of abuse...torqued and misshapen. There will be a lot of work ahead to sort these out but it's do-able!

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And so, we return to the issue of the tailgate. Here is the tailgate, with original framing. As you can see, some extra angle iron had been added (badly) and is now removed. The simple fact is, the civilian Bantam's tailgate was not built to withstand being stood on or having any real load placed directly upon it.

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I've a lot of hammer and dolly work to do on this. This piece of metal is badly bent, stretched and completely jacked.

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And there's all the usual use and abuse everywhere else....

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I cut down and modified some bows I had laying around. Perfect fit!

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The floor pan has seen better days. As the ribs got hammered down, the width of the floor got wider. That extra metal had to go somewhere, so it went down. and yet, the floor is still very sturdy. You might think that this trailer has seen some special abuse in its time but actually, this is a very common sight on an old Bantam.

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These are the "wings" whose purpose is to support the sidewalls at the rear. As you can see, the bottoms are shot and the sidewalls, though still stiff, really aren't kept to their true vertical position. Earlier versions of the civilian Bantam used a strut system to support the trailing ends of the sidewall. I hate this arrangement. It is unsightly and subject to further damage. I may excise the lower portions of the wings, making a cut that is parallel to the angle of the sidewall further up. Rebuilding it is really out of the question because the sidewalls are a bit jacked out of shape and even a nice original wing panel would not be of sufficient strength to support the sidewalls.

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I don't have any plans to vismod this into an M100 but I do have to make some decisions as to the future of the tailgate which was totally FUBAR and was so objectionable that I've already removed it entirely and have stripped off the original angle iron frame so as to be able to straighten it. It's quite a mess. If I can get it so that it will reframe and be sufficiently flat so as to mate to the rear of the trailer I'll reuse it. I'd rather not start with a new plate, simply because that wouldn't have the same war-weary look as the rest of the trailer.

I'm considering building a strong angle iron frame; a "kit" that fits inside the opening of the back of the bed into which the refurbished tailgate (or its substitute) would fit. Bolted in, this would serve to draw the sidewalls up into their proper position and make no irreversible modification to the trailer.

One last look!

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Cheers,
TJ
Last edited by m3a1 on April 18th, 2018, 10:15 am, edited 13 times in total.
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Re: Bantam T3-C trailer

Postby m3a1 » February 12th, 2018, 11:30 am

Here's what I look like after a full day of fun - cutting, grinding and cursing. Tired, happy and my beard all over the place.

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As some of you probably already know, once you get the plasma cutter out and set up, you end up cutting a whole bunch of other things that didn't warrant all the set up. So, with the plasma cutter up and running, I went ahead an modified the base plate of my HMMWV machine-gun pedestal so that it would fit on the risers, to go into the MUTT. Now, if you are sucking air between your teeth and getting ready to hammer me for modding an expensive pedestal just let me say that what I cut down is simply a flat circular disk with a socket (little more than a cut piece of pipe of a specific size welded to it). No big deal.

While these pedestals aren't exactly a one-to-one swap for the MUTT, they will fit and they have a neat trick that the M4 system doesn't have and that is, they are sleeved so the MG can be raised (in case Saddam has aircraft about) just by pulling a pin, or it can be removed altogether to allow for canvas.

This is one of the things I have in mind for the rear of the trailer. An angle iron frame of sorts, custom fit to the opening at the rear but, I have some concerns.

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First, I'm concerned that the bottom junction of the angle iron (where the sidewall and bed floor meet) will not be sufficiently strong to support the sidewalls and adding a gusset there would intrude upon the space of the cargo area in the worst possible way. I guess putting just the bottom and the verticals in and clamping it up would be the easiest way to find out.

Second, what to do with the taillight panel? I hate it and it looks horrible but, without it, the sidewall is nothing more than a single sheet of metal. Remember, the first idea was to keep this frame just as a bolt-up kit allowing the trailer to return to it's more original state if someone decided to go that way. I could keep the upper region of the taillight panel, cut a new hole and move the taillights up there (which would make a lot of sense). There, they would be out of the splash zone of the tires and reflectors don't even enter into the equation as I could use a composite lens (with built in reflector) or simply move the original style reflectors inboard to the tailgate panel.

Cheers,
TJ
Last edited by m3a1 on April 18th, 2018, 10:17 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Bantam T3-C trailer

Postby rickf » February 12th, 2018, 12:24 pm

You know, somewhere is a picture of me taken at work after plowing snow for many hours and it looks like we could be brothers!! Except I had hair. :twisted: :twisted: I need to find that picture and burn it!!!!!!!!!!
1964 M151A1
1984 M1008
1967 M416
04/1952 M100
12/1952 M100- Departed
AN/TSQ-114A Trailblazer- Gone
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Re: Bantam T3-C trailer

Postby m3a1 » February 12th, 2018, 5:51 pm

So, here is the result of a few hours of work and in the doing of it, I developed a new plan that is far better than that clunky frame I was thinking about..

The flange on the taillight panels is 5/8". I will attach 1/2" square steel tubing or square stock (which I think I will have a far easier time bending) on the inside of the flange, come straight down with it and turn in toward the outer face of the frame. Then I will lay in another piece of 1/2" square steel tubing up behind the diagonal cut and tie it into the vertical piece and, likely as not, the vertical face of the trailer body. That should provide all the support the sidewalls will require (now that the trailer has an owner who actually cares about it.) I also threw some paint on there just so I could get a better sense of how it all looked once I made the cuts.

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Cheers,
TJ
Last edited by m3a1 on April 18th, 2018, 10:18 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Bantam T3-C trailer

Postby rickf » February 12th, 2018, 6:04 pm

I wanna see you get the deuce out. :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
1964 M151A1
1984 M1008
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04/1952 M100
12/1952 M100- Departed
AN/TSQ-114A Trailblazer- Gone
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Re: Bantam T3-C trailer

Postby m3a1 » February 12th, 2018, 9:04 pm

Believe me, if the need arises in an emergency setting, it will make it out....easily!
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Re: Bantam T3-C trailer

Postby rickf » February 12th, 2018, 9:08 pm

Under those circumstances yes I guess it would. Then you would have all kinds of neat projects to work on.
1964 M151A1
1984 M1008
1967 M416
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12/1952 M100- Departed
AN/TSQ-114A Trailblazer- Gone
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Re: Bantam T3-C trailer

Postby m3a1 » February 13th, 2018, 1:14 am

Speaking of which, I have waited far too long getting that Jeep's front axle back together...and I have all the parts just waiting for me to get off my....
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Re: Bantam T3-C trailer

Postby m3a1 » March 3rd, 2018, 1:30 pm

Here is preparation for the new hitch, using the original casting (properly referred to as - Drawbar Bracket Assembly) with no permanent modifications. I'm trying my level best to keep the Bantam as unmodified as possible. Take note that you are looking at the original A-frame members of the tongue, now straightened after much hammering and cursing. I might have been ahead to just make new ones but you can spend time and sweat or you can spend money. Doing the work keeps the costs down. My secret weapon in sorting these out was a lovely section of railroad track.

In the second photo, you will see the two plates that lay against the outside face of each frame rail. The bottom plate is a spacer. These spacers are necessary to take up the space of the inset of the 2"x2" head of the casting. The outer plate attaches to the receiver tube. In this way, the receiver tube can be unbolted and slide off, revealing the drawbar bracket assembly in it's original state. The grade 5 fasteners you see in use here are temporary hardware which are only in use for the fabrication process.

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Here it is, appearing just a little high at the tongue but with the proper size tires and some maintenance at the spring-eyes I'm expecting that height issue to be resolved.

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Here, I'm constructing a new set-pin for securing the landing leg. It is a very simple arrangement consisting of a 3/8 rod and a 1/2" x 1-1/2" pin to hold the landing leg. The set-pin is center-bored and the 3/8 rod is welded at the head of the pin. I picked up the spring from Ace Spring Service and it is almost perfect for the job, requiring only a small brass shim.

I'm going a slightly different route than the original method of securing it. Rather than bending the 3/8" rod over to secure it as Bantam did, I elected to cross-pin it. I will weld another piece of rod on the end in a tee, which should encourage a straight pull, minimizing the risk of breaking the rod where I cross-drilled it for the retaining pin. Even if this all doesn't work out as I intended, it is a simple matter to make a new one and tack weld a washer on the 3/8" rod rather than pinning it.

I have done all this so that the rod can be unpinned and then slid out enough to allow for maintenance of the socket where the pin resides. Infrequent use of these trailers seems to be their worst enemy and I think being able to perform such maintenance will certainly have its benefits in the long run.

If you look at the casting, you may notice that there is a threaded hole meant for a screw. That hole was intended to hold a pin-stop in place. I didn't want that closed off simply because it is just another way for dirt and grime to get trapped in there, so that is another departure from the original method.

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Here, we see the support leg set-pin at full actuation, with a generous amount of support at either end.

Image

As a final point of interest, the manner and pattern in which the civilian Drawbar Bracket Assembly is bolted to the frame (i.e. the placement of the bolt holes and the length of the fasteners) are exactly the same as the M416. However, the Drawbar Bracket Assemblies are different not only in the type of drawbar/hitch they employ but also in the style of support bracket (to which bolts the support leg.) The civilian landing leg has three holes for the up (stowed) position, down and middle (kneeling) position whereas the M416 has only two positions - up, or down. I am speculating here but, I believe the reason for the difference in design was that the civilian Bantam trailer was designed to drain at the front corners thus, having a middle, kneeling position promoted drainage when not in use.

Why use a receiver tube? This allows me to quickly switch between a drawbar eye and a ball hitch. The only real danger to using a commercial drawbar eye is that it is fixed on a single plane and thus, has certain limitations where severely uneven ground is present between truck and trailer. Because I have no intention of going off-roading with this trailer, I was satisfied with those limitations.
Last edited by m3a1 on April 18th, 2018, 10:19 am, edited 4 times in total.
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