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My M416 restomod/hole to throw money in


NAXJA #1499
Landenberg, PA
I found a cheap M416 with a hideous wooden box on it on craigslist last december and brought it home. I knew it was a mess, but I only paid $350 for it and I knew I could part it out for that and then some if it was really bad. So we brought it home on the trailer.

It's a 60's era trailer but no data plate. The frame plate says US ARMy. The PO cut the back off to make an enclosed wood trailer with a tailgate. He's a furniture maker, so the box is built really well, but obviously not exactly what most normal people would do.

The frame has a couple channels that need to be replaced, just from first inspection in the daylight, and there's a ton of screw holes in the tub from the box and plywood he lined the inside with.

The tub has common corner rot where the panels meet the floor. It will have to be blasted to see the extent of the repair work. Axle is in good shape, all of the handbrake components are installed and all of the military lunette pieces with the safety chains are there.

The springs are in ok shape. Tapered springs look really different than regular springs, so I thought they might need replaced, but after I got them off they were ok.

PO said it was vietnam era, which looks pretty correct. It's not a M416A1. The PO said he thought he had the part he cut off, so he's going to look for the data plate, but he's also a 60's hippie pot smoker, so I'm not getting my hopes up.
Fast forward to April. This has been sitting in my garage and it's time to get to work.

After a weekend of removing screws, this wood top built by the PO was still stuck to the trailer. I was out of ideas. The PO said it just needed the screws pulled out and it would pop off.

So out comes the sawzall.


And of course, there's hidden screws and a bunch of other stuff, so we keep on cutting.


And after about an hour of cutting through hardwood and screws, I get the damn thing to pop off.



The wood pieces that line the top of the tub are still very stuck. I ended up beating everything off with a mallet and taking all the screws out from the top, plus drilling a couple out that were fantastically stripped and removing what I thought was the whole piece.

Then I saw the real problem.


The PO screwed the first rail to the tub and then covered them up with another piece of wood that he built on top of it. No way this thing was coming off unless you destroyed it.
So I worked my way around the tub, finding all these giant sheet metal screws and finally ended up with this:


The tub is pretty rusty and it has a ton of screw holes now. The PO did a hack job on the back, so I'm going to build a tailgate rather than try and find a panel or fabricate one. I'm having it blasted and then we'll get to work fixing the mess.

A couple hours with the impact and the tub is off. I only had to cut 2 fender bolts. Everything else came off or snapped the head. What we're left with is this:


Which honestly is a big disappointment. I knew there was a rusty corner, but the metal in this thing is junk. The back crossmember was replaced with angle iron and bolted to the Swiss cheese framerail and everything else is rusty steel.

So after some careful deliberation, I decided that new was better than rusty repaired old. I spent about 4 hours busting bolts and removing all the brackets and suspension bits and ended up with this:



Everything I could take off and reuse was removed and the portaband turned the frame into a nice landfill size.

The boys and I built a small proof of concept electrolysis tank and we ran some rusty hardware through it to see how it works. Also cleans pennies really well :)







Since we know it works, we're going to build a Rubbermaid tub version and see if we can clean the lunette parts and the suspension brackets. My old blast cabinet got thrown away since HF doesn't exactly build to last. Probably pick up another one to finish these parts off for paint.
I picked up a pair of M416 tail lights in the classifieds and opened them up. They're really clean inside thanks to the o-ring. Ordered some 1156 bulbs from superbrightleds and swapped them out. The tail bulb is 200 lumens, the stop bulb is 420 lumens and the blackout bulbs are 70 lumens, which is pretty close to the candlepower ratings I read on the web.

Hooked them up to the 12v power supply and bam, they work.







My wife said they're too bright, so mission accomplished.
Yesterday after we hit the landfill from our garage cleanup, we went down to the steel supply joint to buy frame materials. 2 20 foot pieces of 2x3 .125 box tube ran us $108 and they did all the cuts for us. I had them cut an inch long on everything so I could do finish work at home.


I'm going to miter the corners and weld them, so a trip to TSC got us one of these:


Not the fanciest or best built, but I've needed one like 5 times in my life and I need this one to make about 15 cuts so no sense in spending a ton of money right now. This is costing me enough as it is.

I'm going to extend the tongue pieces from 41" to 60" and bolt them to the original lunette mount and weld them to the front crossmember for a longer tongue and more room for the tongue box.

Since I want to run the cable through the frame to the back, I needed that stuff on hand before we started building. Amazon loves me this week.

7 wire connector and junction box from Conex:


25 feet of 7 wire cable. This cable has 1 10ga, 2 12ga and 4 14ga wires in it.


2 7 wire junction boxes for the back. I'm going to run the cable down both sides of the frame. 4 wires for the lights on each side, which gives me a 10ga wire and 2 12ga wires on each side to hook accessories up to now or in the future if we decide we want a fridge or camp lights or whatever.

Plus the obligatory Chinese led lights for under the frame.


I've got a 6 switch panel with circuit breakers, USB ports and a cigarette lighter port on order that should be here today. I'm planning on 2 6v golf batteries in the tongue box wired for 12v and I ordered a RVIbrake towed vehicle charge controller to install in the box to protect the rig from melting the power wire to the 7 wire connector.
I stumbled on this first over at ExPo and was wondering if there were two "redheep" user ids. Come over here to compare locations and lookee here, the same thread. I guess that answers that question.

Cool project, although it looks like it has grown a bit in scope.

I keep looking for a used M416, and around here they all seem to be priced around $2,500. Ridiculous. I think I am going to get a sheet metal shop to bend up the sides for me and just build one from scratch. Looking at how much extra work you are having to put into yours it is making even more sense to consider starting from scratch. I am also considering having the entire thing galvanized after I put it together, hoping it will last longer that way.
As far as I know there's only one of me. That's a good thing in the eyes of a lot of folks ;)

I'm not sure what it would cost me to build a tub. But that may be a better option if you're building from scratch. Im not sure if anyone around here has a brake that will do 6 feet.

I saved myself a ton of time by just deciding to build a frame. It's only going to take me a day to cut pieces and tack it together. And it only cost me a hundy.

Fiberglass options from tubs are too expensive. Do it gets $900 for their kit with no floor. I considered just building a frame with straight sides, which is probably smarter, but I like the military look.

We're not going to mess with the tub until the frame is done, so I've got some time to think about it.
That looks like a great project Josh.

It has been over a month.

No progress on this thing?

I need something that I can at least savor vicariously so I don't have to build my own trailer.
I'm in the middle of the end of the school year, checking out of the USMC and trying to get a job. Things have been hectic for sure.

The boys have scouts all next week, so I'm hoping that in a couple of weeks we'll be laying the frame and getting the suspension parts cleaned up in the blast cabinet and put back on.

If I don't get a job soon my wife will shoot me with my own guns.
Ah. More challenges with the Committee of Ways and Means.

I understand.
So after a retirement, 2 job changes and 2 house moves, I’m making progress. Our new house in PA is about an hours drive from DL Bessinger.

So since the trailer I bought was rusted to hell, it was stripped of all the brackets and I went with a new reproduction M100 tub for $950 with fenders.


Started measuring and cutting tube for the frame.



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The m416 brackets were thrown in a tub of vinegar for about a month. Seriously impressed with how little work it takes to clean them up after the rust falls off.



Pulled the leaf spring brackets out to measure for the crossmembers. Military drawings are approximate at best and I’m using brackets made for a C channel frame on 2x3 box tube.



I centered the axle pin on the center of the fender. I have no idea if the repop factory is making them to exact spec so it’s close enough.


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Built a box.


Started mocking up the tongue with the m416 pintle fitting.


Had to cut a side out to mimic the original channel and then bolted it up.



Logan helped me check that we were in the ballpark.


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Cut metal.


Fit metal.


Welded. Yes my welds suck.


Started fitting the spring brackets.


Drilled holes on the backside for a socket.


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Bolted the brackets down.


The m416 axle is 6 inches wider than the m100 axle. I didn’t realize this was a problem until Nate and I started talking about moving spring perches.

I found a guy in GA with NOS m100 axles. Same brakes, same hubs, just 6 inches narrower.


Looks like I’ll be able to bolt it up as is. The spring brackets will be done this weekend and I just need to order new u bolts to make it a roller.

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So what’s left of the original trailer?

mac ‘oh and subscribing’ gyvr
All of the suspension brackets, the Pintle fitting and pintle, the hubs and brakes, parking brake handle, safety chains, wheels and tires, shackles, and the landing leg.

Those are the expensive parts that fetch good money on eBay.

I have a new tub, new frame, new springs, used military lights and new electrical wiring and junction boxes.

Even with the cost of the original trailer, I should be under $2k when I’m done. That’s pretty good considering commercial alternatives.

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