teardrop camper

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tamnalan
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teardrop camper

Post by tamnalan » Fri Mar 23, 2012 5:52 pm

I'm doing the AC-12 trip this summer, but don't want to live in a tent for a month and am too poor to stay in hotels. I hit on the idea of building my M-100 into a camper, but it's too short! (I'm over 6' 1") but the M-100 is only 6 feet long.

Anyway, I have this trailer:

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But I want something like this:

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I started by playing around with some cardboard mockups to get a sense of what it might be:

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Last edited by tamnalan on Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Alan W. Johnson
_______________
MB, 201453, "Lt Bob"
M-100, Sep 1951
MB-TD, Mar 2012
Ford 91C, 1939

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Re: teardrop camper

Post by tamnalan » Fri Mar 23, 2012 5:54 pm

So I whipped up some plans like this:

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and this:

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and then bought this:

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Alan W. Johnson
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MB, 201453, "Lt Bob"
M-100, Sep 1951
MB-TD, Mar 2012
Ford 91C, 1939

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Re: teardrop camper

Post by tamnalan » Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:04 pm

I found that there's a fanatic teardrop crowd, just like us Gee posters. Here's a great forum that taught me a lot: http://www.tnttt.com/

The plans use the tongue, axle, and fenders from my M-100 -- all of which unbolt without damaging the trailer. I don't want to mess with any M-100 modifications. I then bought 3 sheets of 3/4" MDO plywood and a bunch of poplar 1" x 2" strips. I also got a 4' x 12' sheet of 0.04" 5052 aluminum sheet for the roof, and several sheets of luaun 4mm plywood for the interior ceiling and hatch cover. The MDO forms the floor and sides. I used some 2" x 2" x 1/8" aluminum angle to join the plywood sheets together.

Here's how I did the tongue - frame interface:

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The finished frame:

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Last edited by tamnalan on Sun Aug 14, 2016 8:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
Alan W. Johnson
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MB, 201453, "Lt Bob"
M-100, Sep 1951
MB-TD, Mar 2012
Ford 91C, 1939

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Re: teardrop camper

Post by tamnalan » Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:09 pm

The body coming together. Its structural integrity doesn't depend on the trailer frame. I use nine 1/4" stainless carriage bolts to fasten the body to the frame.

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Last edited by tamnalan on Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Alan W. Johnson
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MB, 201453, "Lt Bob"
M-100, Sep 1951
MB-TD, Mar 2012
Ford 91C, 1939

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Re: teardrop camper

Post by tamnalan » Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:14 pm

Some door details. I read in http://www.tnttt.com/ of a guy who made a neat double door seal, so I copied it. It took some trial and error to get it all to fit. I bought the window, T-moulding and the rain diverter above the window, off the internet. Most of the aluminum trim is standard stock I found at the local bigbox hardware store. This trim will need to be heated and annealed before it will easily bend with a rubber mallet. (An oxy torch works great to do this. Use the oxy without oxygen to create a smoky flame. Soot up the aluminum trim. Then put the torch in a clean flame and gently burn off the soot. Beware! Aluminum won't change color before it starts to melt, the way steel does.) The door hinges are "liftoff" type - easy to remove the door, but the double seal arrangement is thick enough to keep the door in place when shut.

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Last edited by tamnalan on Sun Aug 14, 2016 8:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
Alan W. Johnson
_______________
MB, 201453, "Lt Bob"
M-100, Sep 1951
MB-TD, Mar 2012
Ford 91C, 1939


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Re: teardrop camper

Post by tamnalan » Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:34 pm

The hatch was the toughest piece for me to build. My first try failed because it wouldn't hold the bend I wanted when I added the plywood and aluminum covering. I doubled the spars on each side for the second try, which worked fine. It took about a month to build it.

Image

Image

Image
Alan W. Johnson
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MB, 201453, "Lt Bob"
M-100, Sep 1951
MB-TD, Mar 2012
Ford 91C, 1939

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Re: teardrop camper

Post by tamnalan » Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:42 pm

The interior is pretty simple. I wired in a 110 volt outlet with GFCI protection. I didn't put any interior lights in - darkness shouldn't be a problem in summertime northern Canada! I'm thinking of adding a solar panel and 12volt lawnmower battery for some interior light and maybe a ceiling fan in the future. The hatch opens up to a kitchen area, which is really just a shelf. I'll use a Mermite can for my refrigerator and a coleman fuel backpacking stove to cook on. There's some storage on a shelf in the front part of the trailer.

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Those yellow foam pieces are each about 4" thick - gives a sense of how roomy the sleeping part is, which is not a whole lot.

Image
Alan W. Johnson
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MB, 201453, "Lt Bob"
M-100, Sep 1951
MB-TD, Mar 2012
Ford 91C, 1939

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Re: teardrop camper

Post by tamnalan » Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:58 pm

Here's how it came out. It weighs about 800lb. A guy with a good back can pretty easily pick up the lunette and move the trailer around. It seems to pull fine with my MB and doesn't affect the braking as much as I thought it would.

I spent about $1800 in materials and 7 months of nights and weekends. The single most expensive item was the aluminum sheet - $250. The local hardware stores offer a military discount which helped a lot. I consider myself more of an automotive person than woodworker, but it wasn't that tough to build it. I treated myself to a nice belt sander and jigsaw before I started. They made the cuts and finishing pretty easy - particularly the curved hatch and door cuts. I just cut everything a bit oversize and and then used the belt sander to zero in on the dimensions I wanted. I never used a router. Stainless fasteners (bought by the bag at the local Fastenall store) and countless tubes of PL Premium polyurethane adhesive hold it all together. I used 3 tubes of 3M 4200 adhesive/sealant for the aluminum sheeting and trim. It is very expensive stuff (about $20 per tube) and cures fast, but works really well. Opened tubes store pretty well in the freezer, which my wife didn't like so much.

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Last edited by tamnalan on Sun Aug 14, 2016 8:19 am, edited 4 times in total.
Alan W. Johnson
_______________
MB, 201453, "Lt Bob"
M-100, Sep 1951
MB-TD, Mar 2012
Ford 91C, 1939

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Re: teardrop camper

Post by Jon » Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:06 pm

Excellent work Alan...and I really mean that.....but is it bear proof ?

Oh. if you have the plans I could put them up on JeepDraw and we could see a whole swag of these things out here in Oz.. I love em'.

JR.
Jon Rogers
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Re: teardrop camper

Post by tamnalan » Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:26 pm

Thanks Jon, I'll get a better scan and send them to you. The frame drawing is pretty much as-built, but the side drawing is dated. I didn't keep a careful bill of materials but the nice thing about these trailers is that they can be built a lot of different ways. The teardrop forum crowd says that if a guy can stomach building a second one, he'll change it and they are absolutely right. I would make it at least 6" longer to provide more storage - maybe by extending the roof curve down the front.

Bear proof? Heck no, but those 3/4" MDO walls sure beat tent canvas! :lol:
Alan W. Johnson
_______________
MB, 201453, "Lt Bob"
M-100, Sep 1951
MB-TD, Mar 2012
Ford 91C, 1939

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Jon
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Re: teardrop camper

Post by Jon » Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:50 pm

Thanks Alan......do you have my email address ?
I think you're right, the bears prefer their lunch in the plastic wrapper

JR
Jon Rogers
AUSTRALIA


http://jeepdraw.com JeepDraw Home Page & Drawings
Parts Colours Page http://jeepdraw.com/PART_COLOURS.htm
1944 GPW195611 20531384 ACM-2 17781
1942 MBT 19433W

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Re: teardrop camper

Post by tamnalan » Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:55 pm

Yep - my friend Mac McClusky is sleeping in a covered cot thingie. I figure I'll just setup everynight somewhere not too far from him, and sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top of his covered cot before I turn in. :D
Alan W. Johnson
_______________
MB, 201453, "Lt Bob"
M-100, Sep 1951
MB-TD, Mar 2012
Ford 91C, 1939

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Re: teardrop camper

Post by yez216 » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:12 pm

Nice work, I like the Vette in the background.
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Re: teardrop camper

Post by artificer » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:58 pm

Excellent work Alan & looks really period type equipment...next for the double bunk version.
If I was hanging on to my Jeep, what a good way to go....& keep the missus @ bay ....but alas age wearies us all, who did survive.
John GIBBINS Member Institute of Automotive Mechanical Engineers [Ret], ASE Master Medium/Heavy Truck & Auto Technician USA -2002 Licensed Motor Mech NSW MVIC 49593 Current 2015
TO DIAGNOSE, TROUBLESHOOT OR FAULT FIND ANY AUTO SYSTEM....
Understand how system parts interact with one another. GOOD parts can then be established & the NOT GOOD problem/s part/s isolated for repair or replacement.

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Re: teardrop camper

Post by wjohn » Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:18 am

Alan,

what great work! I could see a few of these being built and turning up all over the world.

The styling is very complimentary to the towing vehicle and I am sure it will be a major talking point on your trip.

I'd like to see a small Canvas Fly of the back of the trailer, just to keep the rain off your gourmet meals I am sure you will be able to prepare. Fitting a some LED fittings with SLA batteries and Solar panel would be a nice touch. You could also look at float charging from the MB when you are cruising down the track.
GPW 204556
USA 20536862

MB371922
ACM2 Tub 23298

MB130849
ARN: 79731
DOD 26 Mar 1942

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