Mighty Mo and Friends
A Restoration Project
As Purchased - Fall 2001
Tear down - Spring 2002
Repair and reengineering - Summer to Winter 2002
Painting & assembly of the frame - Spring 2003
Painting & assembly of the tub - Late Spring 2003
Going Back together nicely - Summer 2003
Ready for the road - Summer 2003
This page is dedicated to my Bantam trailer. It is a 1950 BT3-C. The C means it is a civilian model. Bantam made trailers during WWII for the military and after the war they capitalized on their experience with the BT3-C. I will be restoring / repairing this to tow behind my Willys Jeeps.
One of the differences between the civilian and military models is the hitch. The civilian uses a ball hitch and the military uses a pintle hitch. The ball hitch is much quieter while the pintle hitch is more suited for off road. I have a ball on one of my Jeeps and a pintle on the other. This will require a custom mount to work with both types.
I acquired this trailer in the fall of 2001 and don't know when I will start to work on it.
Well, it's spring 2002 and I decided to disassemble the trailer. I turned the trailer over and started removing the parts. It really helps to know where you started so, I took lots of documentation photos. Here are the teardown pictures. Click on the thumbnail for a larger view and use the back button to return.
I have been working on the trailer most of the summer. I had it sandblasted and bought an new floor from JeePanels. I had the frame sandblasted and decided I needed to replace it. A local fabrication shop bent me some 14 gauge sheet metal and I welded it together. I think it turned out quite well. I have been filling spare holes the POs decided were necessary. I am far from a good welder but, I am getting better with practice. The plan is to fully assemble the trailer prior to paint of any kind. Then any last minute "engineering changes" will be easier to deal with.
I decided to leave the painting till spring. It costs me almost $5 per hour to heat the barn during the winter and 20 hours would cost me about $100. I figured that would be better spent on Willys parts, so I bought a Warn 8250 winch and mounted it on Mighty Mo. I also put a rear seat in him, but that is off topic for this page.
Once the weather broke, I started the painting process. After much thought I decided not to use POR15. I went with Rust-Oleum for the whole trailer. This is partly for cost reasons but more importantly POR15 requires a tie coat to be applied while it is tacky and then the final top coat while the tie coat is tacky. I didn't believe I would be able to do that and not mess up on the timing.
Anyway, I took apart the assembled trailer and started the paint process. First all the frame pieces were primed with Rust-Oleum Clean Metal Primer and painted with Rust-Oleum Gloss Black. Then assembled with the bottom up. Repainted the bottom, turned the frame over and repainted the top side.
One of the problems with Rust-Oleum is the drying time. While it is 'dry' in 24 hours, it takes a month or so to become hard enough to resist the scratches from assembly of the tub. After painting, I parked it in another barn while I worked on the tub.
Well the frame is done and it's time to work on the tub. I first primed and painted the bottom, then turned it over and started on the top. First with primer and putty to fill some of the minor discrepancies. I don't believe in filling big discrepancies with filler. The discrepancies I filled are weld seams and such. I also will use this trailer and a perfect 1950 tub might reduce my desire to actually use it.
Ok, here we are in the 95 degree heat, perspiration dripping in my eyes, bolting the tub back on. The tub fit perfectly. It should have because I had put the it all together last spring prior to painting. Fenders are bolted on with chrome carriage bolts and the bolts holding the tub and tailgate on will be painted yellow to match the outside of the tub.
Tires and wheels are donated from Ole' Blue. The white spoke wheels will eventually be painted the same color as Willy's wheels. That is when I finish the frame off rebuild of Willy. Willy will conform to the Yellow body and black frame scheme, I don't know when this project will begin. ... So many projects so little time (and money)!
I bought rubber lamp cord for the wiring. I used 14 gauge 4 conductor for the feed from the vehicle and 2 - 18 gauge 3 conductor from the junction box in the front through the conduit to the rear. I used 1 lamp cord for each side and the only connections are in the sealed junction box and at the tail lights. I planned to use 3 conductor automotive quick connections at the tail lights. However I decided that I can do that at a later time. For now all connections at the tail lights are crimp on butt connections as they permit some movement. If course good old Scott electrical tape to cover the connections. The conduit entrance and exit points are watertight rubber connections.
The inside of the bed and tailgate are covered with Rust-Oleum Road Warrior. This goes up the sides just below the rolled top edge, leaving the top edge with a smooth surface. Hopefully the smooth gunwale will prevent wear on the tarp.
Here is the Bantam BT3-C hooked up to Willy. He sure does need some prettying up. Maybe the frame off rebuild will be sooner that I thought. The intervehicle cable is 4 conductor lamp cord. It is very flexible and water tight. It enters through a waterproof connection and all wiring is totally inside plastic electrical conduit, making it water tight.
Visitors since December 15, 2002