I am well overdue for writing up my trailer build, so here it goes!
After trading in my Dodge Dakota pickup for a Jeep at the end of 2013, it quickly became obvious that I needed to figure out a way to haul stuff for family and scout camping trips. Just a wee bit of research online led to the M416 trailer as an ideal option to pull behind the Jeep.
On Valentine’s Day in 2014 I found this on Craigslist:
I felt very fortunate to find one with a tub that was in pretty good shape, the main damage was a dent where it had been jack-knifed at some point and the rear of the tub that had rusted and broken through where a spare tire had been mounted. Other than that, it was in really great shape!
The earlier research that led to the selection of the M416 also provided many examples of what a fully converted trailer could look like. Grand plans of a roof top tent, lid with gas springs, and electrical system were all swimming around my head.
The original M416 is a sealed tub with two closeable drains in the bottom. This keeps the tub sealed during water crossings, allowing the trailer to float. So the debate was to either put in the tailgate or repair the tub to return it to watertight status. Three things led to the tailgate option:
1. Tailgates are useful. Great table space and a way into the trailer without lifting the lid (once the lid is added).
2. Everything should be in it’s own water and dust proof storage box
3. I really don’t want the trailer to start floating on a water crossing, I have visions of working my way across a river and having the trailer decide to self-jackknife in the middle when it starts to float. No thanks.
When I found a Tailgate Opening Surround for a CJ 5 to go with the reproduction tailgate, I knew it would make the process easy. With the help of a welder friend, he made quick work of the install.
Add in a tarp and I used it like this for quite a while…