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M116A3 off-road camper build
http://www.lostjeeps.com/forum/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=72&t=77997
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Author:  lfhoward [ Sun Feb 05, 2017 11:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: M116A3 off-road camper build

I am testing it out as I write this. Doing some overnight camping in the driveway!

So far it's even better than I hoped. Nice and toasty warm and an even heat throughout the trailer. I have the windows cracked open 3/4 inch or so at the bottom, but the ceiling vent is closed. I put up black out curtains over the windows and that helps with insulation as well. Outdoors it will be going down to 31°F tonight. Not so inside. I think it must be about 65° inside the trailer and the thermostat isn't even set very high.

Author:  PALiftedKK [ Mon Feb 06, 2017 7:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: M116A3 off-road camper build

lfhoward wrote:
I am testing it out as I write this. Doing some overnight camping in the driveway!

So far it's even better than I hoped. Nice and toasty warm and an even heat throughout the trailer. I have the windows cracked open 3/4 inch or so at the bottom, but the ceiling vent is closed. I put up black out curtains over the windows and that helps with insulation as well. Outdoors it will be going down to 31°F tonight. Not so inside. I think it must be about 65° inside the trailer and the thermostat isn't even set very high.



Lauren, I know you installed heaters already but check out this device!

http://westyventures.com/propex.html

Author:  lfhoward [ Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: M116A3 off-road camper build

That's a pretty sweet heater! If I had converted a large toy hauler trailer into a camper instead of my military 6x8, this would be perfect. :-) Its got a lot of heat output for a small unit and because it's not electric, it would be better for boondocking. There's always the next build!

Author:  lfhoward [ Thu Feb 09, 2017 11:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: M116A3 off-road camper build

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I camped in the trailer last night, again to test it to make sure everything works before my 4 day trip at the end of the month. Last night was a good night for a field test because some weather blew in around midnight. First we had rain, which turned to sleet as the temperature dropped, and then later became snow. By the morning there were 3-4 inches of snow on top of the trailer!

In terms of outcomes:
1. I was nice and toasty warm all night. The new heater plus the curtains were a great combination.
2. The wall and ceiling insulation work well. The snow accumulated on top instead of melting off and forming icicles. It's about 65-70 degrees inside the trailer as I took this photo.
3. With the windows open about 1" on both sides, I didn't need to have the roof vent open all night long for fresh air. Opening it even a little sucks the heat out of the trailer quickly (and refreshes the air as new cold air is drawn in from the windows). I did that once in the night, but not sure I really had to.
4. Condensation on the ceiling and walls was not an issue, probably because of the insulation and having the windows open a bit for ventilation. The only place with minor condensation was on the front windows, right above where I was breathing humid air on them all night.
5. I need a bathroom solution for the trailer for nights like this! Here's what I ordered (the basic model): http://www.piddlepail.com Laugh if you must! But leaving the warm trailer in the middle of the night in a snowstorm is not my first choice! Lol.

Author:  lfhoward [ Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: M116A3 off-road camper build

Starting to look a little more like home.

Towel rack.
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It folds out when needing to hang up towels. Actually it can hold towels above the heater so they can get nice and warm.
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Clothes hooks for both sides.
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They can fold out or lay flat against the wall.
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Author:  lfhoward [ Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: M116A3 off-road camper build

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Got some Rock Tamers to protect the front of my trailer from stones and other debris that my lifted Jeep kicks up on the highway.

Author:  lfhoward [ Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: M116A3 off-road camper build

After a long pause in working on the trailer, I found some time to work on it today. I've not been able to finish the interior walls and ceiling because I didn't have all the wiring in place, specifically the wiring for the solar panel. Today I started to do something about that by installing the cable glands / wiring pass thru in the roof. I have been putting this off for quite a while because frankly drilling holes in my perfectly watertight roof made me nervous. But today I got up the courage to proceed, and tonight I have a watertight seal where the pass through attaches.

This is the pass thru with cable glands that I'm referencing above.
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And the underside...
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I used two layers of butyl tape to fill up the bottom grooves on the plastic housing and seemed to compress well against the roof.

In the process I also installed and ran my solar panel wiring through pre-drilled holes in the ceiling spars and front wall beams. Down in the compartment by the solar charge controller I wired a 35A switch into the + wire so that I will be able to turn off the solar panel's electrical current to the battery system if I need to.

The panel feet are next in line to install, and they will require more holes! But I think I have regained my confidence and it shouldn't be too much of an issue. :D

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I am planning to use butyl tape under this as well, just like the edge moldings on my trailer. It seems to work well. I have 6 bolts with T-nuts in interior beams to hold this on (3 per side). If that's not enough I can always sink some screws into the beams as well.

For those of you who may be wondering why I am mounting my solar panel on the roof instead of making it portable and movable, here is why:

Non mounted Pros: Can move it periodically and so get maximum sun exposure throughout the day, and maximum charging. Cons: Takes up interior space when not deployed. Not bolted down so it could potentially "walk". Would worry it could be stolen, so would have to put it away if I am gone from camp during the day, so I wouldn't be charging the batteries.

Roof mounted Pros: Once bolted on, is pretty low maintenance. In order to increase sun exposure my mounting system can be manually tilted forward or back. If the trailer is parked in a north-south orientation, this can increase charging efficiency. More trouble to try and steal it because it is 7 feet in the air. I can be away from the trailer during the day and I don't have to put it away. Cons: not much charging possible if parked under trees. More wind resistance on the highway (although it is already like a brick towing a brick).

Author:  lfhoward [ Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: M116A3 off-road camper build

The solar panel was sitting on the roof today and cranking out free electricity: The panel sent low amps but at 40+ volts. The MPPT controller converted that into 7+ amps of charge at 14.5 volts (which slowed down to 1.2 amps at 13.5 volts as the battery bank reached full capacity). It's a good system. The battery was sitting at 12.9 volts after dark.

Author:  lfhoward [ Sat Sep 02, 2017 1:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: M116A3 off-road camper build

NOTE 9/17: Because Photobucket blocked forum access to pics, none of the pics in here work anymore. I've fixed the broken links in my Teardrops n Tiny Travel Trailers (tnttt.com) build thread, which is 90% the same as here. Please visit that build thread for pics of my trailer. http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581 Thanks!! :CAMPING:

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Author:  tommudd [ Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: M116A3 off-road camper build

lfhoward wrote:
NOTE 9/17: Because Photobucket blocked forum access to pics, none of the pics in here work anymore. I've fixed the broken links in my Teardrops n Tiny Travel Trailers (tnttt.com) build thread, which is 90% the same as here. Please visit that build thread for pics of my trailer. http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581 Thanks!! :CAMPING:

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Any updates ?
Still following............

Author:  lfhoward [ Wed Oct 18, 2017 3:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: M116A3 off-road camper build

Hi Tom! A couple of updates. The solar panel mounts are permanently attached now, so the trailer tends and charges its own batteries. I don’t have to remember to plug in the charger anymore, which is handy.

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I have a few inexpensive maintenance items on my list, like installing aluminum visors over the side windows and weatherproofing all the exterior screw holes. After that, I can keep working on the interior as time and weather allow.

The big roadblock is that the wheel bearings are almost shot and I need new ones prior to passing inspection in PA. They also want the brakes working before passing inspection, which is another expense. Bearings and brake parts are going to set me back $500, which I don’t have at the moment. So, the trailer sits for now. I totally agree with the inspection shop that these things are needed for safety so I’m not complaining about them.. Wish I had the $$$ to make some forward progress! The fall weather is beautiful for camping and I’m missing it!

Author:  lfhoward [ Sat Apr 28, 2018 11:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: M116A3 off-road camper build

Spring is finally here in Philadelphia and summer break will soon be here for those of us who are educators! That’s not to say there is no work to do, but I do have a lot more flexibility when classes are not in session. And so I have been thinking about resuming work on my trailer that has been in hibernation all winter.

Just brainstorming here, but here is a list of some of the tasks ahead (generally in order of how I will do them):

To get it road-worthy:
Refurbish surge brakes (using the parts I bought in January)
Wheel bearings (have parts)
Install ID light bar on top rear of trailer
PA inspection

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Exterior work that requires Sika-Flex:
Remove wood screws, squirt in fresh sealant, reinstall
Install drip caps over side windows
Install door catch for rear door
Replace rear door weatherstripping
Install rain diverter on roof over rear door
Install vinyl strip inserts on corner/edge moldings

Interior work:
Cut interlocking gym mats to shape for the floor (2 layers)
Install the rest of the cedar planking on walls
Install birch plywood ceiling panels
Repair cracked wooden trim ring for front window
Finish interior of side storage cabinets, including floor insulation

Someday:
Cut out aluminum for side cargo doors, assemble doors, install doors
New tires (Goodyear Duratracs to match the Jeep)
Electrical improvements: replace 3 deep cycle batteries with 2 sealed gel batteries, move inverter to tongue box to be closer to batteries (reducing current loss); install master DC kill switch

Author:  lfhoward [ Tue May 08, 2018 12:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: M116A3 off-road camper build

Bearings, Brakes, and PA inspection appointment scheduled for Thursday. Fingers crossed!

Author:  PALiftedKK [ Wed May 16, 2018 5:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: M116A3 off-road camper build

lfhoward wrote:

Someday:
Cut out aluminum for side cargo doors, assemble doors, install doors
New tires (Goodyear Duratracs to match the Jeep)
Electrical improvements: replace 3 deep cycle batteries with 2 sealed gel batteries, move inverter to tongue box to be closer to batteries (reducing current loss); install master DC kill switch


Lauren, check out this very helpful link!!

https://www.batterystuff.com/kb/tools/calculator-sizing-a-battery-to-a-load.html

I have already bought a battery with this aid and has proven it is reliable!

Author:  lfhoward [ Wed May 16, 2018 7:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: M116A3 off-road camper build

Thanks for the link! I have a 240 AH setup now (3, group 24, deep cycle batteries) which seems to be overkill. :shock: I built that to last a week of boondocking between recharges, but now that I have a solar panel, that stretches it out a lot. If I were to go down to 2 batteries, I could put the inverter in the tongue box with them (it's vented, so it should be ok), which eliminates about 6' of 2 AWG cable and about 3-10% voltage drop. Image

I haven't gone back through this thread to fix all the broken links to photos, but I did that on my tnttt.com build thread. Here's the link: http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62581. I think I'll keep both threads updated going forward, but if you need to look up any old photos from my build, go there.

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