Mighty Mo and Friends

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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 is as purchased Fall 2001

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.

If you are interested in Bantam trailers then check out the Mike Boyink's excellent web site and you might consider joining the Bantam email list. Click in the links to find out more.

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 Spring 2002

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.

Front View

Left rear

Left rear tailgate

Right rear

Full on rear

Right fender mounting

Spring to axle mounting

Left front spring hanger

Left front spring hanger & tongue mount

Left rear spring hanger

Left front tub & frame

Left rear tub & frame

Right front tub & frame

Right rear tub & frame

Original coupler & landing leg

Coupler mounting

Pieces ready for sandblaster

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Summer through winter 2002

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.

Here it is assembled to check for the inevitable "got-cha's"

Rear full on

Data plate goes here

Front tub mounting tab

Tub rear mounting tab

Rear tub mounting tab

New Fulton coupler

Gate hook and "rub block"

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Spring 2003

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.

Frame parts hanging from main welded frame on lift

I lowered the lift to get at the other side of the parts

Here are the parts ready for assembly

Here are the parts ready for assembly again

Here are the left side parts ready for assembly (remember the frame us upside down)

Here are the right side parts ready for assembly (remember the frame us upside down)

Axle bolts will need to be cut off for "trail clearance"

Cut-off wheel makes short work of the bolts

Now that looks much better.

Painted after assembly

Other side

This shows the electrical box.

I used 1/2" plastic electrical tubing for the wire runs

Close up of the electric box on the tongue.

Waterproof tee.

Turned the frame over and painted the top

Right front

Left front

Left rear

Right rear

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Late Spring 2003

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.

Finally found time to put some color on the tub. The inside will bw finished after assembly.

Fenders are really regular fenders from TSC. With a little modification the fit well.

Original tailgate still has plenty of 'beauty marks'.

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Summer 2003

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 he is with that huge spare tire.

Those are 31 x 9 Goodyear Trackers

I installed a second tail light on the right side.

This is the results of Rust-Oleum Raod Warrior. I used about 1/2 the kit.

This shows the water tight connection to the tail light.

Notice the tab to bolt the tub on.

This is a little better shot of the tub mounting tab.

Water tight electrical connection and rear tub mounting tab.

Intervehicle connection with water tight connection also.

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 Finally Ready for the Road! - Summer 2003

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.

Here is Willy towing the Bantam

Here is another shot of the two together.

This is the intervehicle cable.

 

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