"Serenity" - My M101A2 expedition trailer build


Gorilla Wrangler

Interior lights:

Completed Mk02 interior:

The blue-white is painted-on silicone roof sealant that waterproofs & makes a nice, non-skid surface. Coated wood panels enclose the areas under the side compartments. Eventually I want to put water tanks, pump, etc. within.


Gorilla Wrangler

Forgot to mention - all tents have been "dejangled" - all zipper tabs have been removed & replaced by paracord. Got tired of everything sounding like a freaking herd of reindeer every time I went in or out of the tent. Call it vestigial military noise discipline. Or OCD...

Red = Exterior doors leading in

Glow In The Dark = Interior leading out; windows & doors

Orange = Structural (tent annex / awnings / floors)

Right hand side has them tied right-handed; left hand side has them tied left-handed. Yes, I'm one of those knot & paracord junkies. Deal with it. :wings:


Gorilla Wrangler
Shot from the hotel in Amarillo... They let me park up front. :)

Here's a shot looking forwards towards through the RTT annex and towards the front. My daughter is on the sleeping platform inside the trailer. To the right, you can see where we put our 11yo son; on a folding table. Made a great bunk.

The annex was the default multipurpose area for food prep, dressing, etc.

Even with a couple of downpours that left our site under ~2" of water, the tub of the annex never sprung a single leak.

The water drained away nearly as quickly.

Reviewing many build threads here has given me more than a little inspiration... I'm thinking of:

1. Cutting out the floors of the side compartments to allow more secured storage (all the way down to the trailer floor).
2. Water system install. Finally. Freeze resistant, too. I want to be able to process found fresh water & make it potable. Low, wide, and flat tank nestled between the wheelwells under a false floor. Refill done through an Andersen multifunction valve. Sink for washup & food prep, and a shower (portable gas heater system).
3. Giving up on using the trailer interior as a sleeping area, and instead refit it for storage & utilities.

Gotta look at the sketches again...


Gorilla Wrangler

Decided to replace the front window. If I drove through the rain, the pressure of the forward air would push water around the top of the window and leak into the interior of the trailer.


I always get nervous when I cut sheet metal. Not because of concern of harm, but rather it's only one way.


I got a Knapheide door off of eBay. Like with the side compartment doors on the topper, I filled this one with foam to provide some insulation. I even got a lock keyed the same as the locks on the other compartment doors.




Finished product. First time I used rivets for fasteners.

I'm a little concerned about the waterproofing. I'll see if the gaskets I installed will work. If not, I'll have to engineer a fix that mimics the original mounting it started out in.

Knapheide doors are counter sunk into sort of a separate frame that doesn't allow water that leaks past the gaskets to flow into the interior of the compartment... I may construct a mimic of that using thin bar stock, then silicone everything.
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Expedition Leader
Cool build, have you weighed that beast yet? Not sure my 4runner would want to pull that around here.


Gorilla Wrangler
I'd estimate - with all the hardwired electrics - it's about 1800lbs.

Yes, it's a pig, but it's bombproof and economical vs having something built to similar & lighter specs.

If money were no object I'd get one of those Ozzie Conquerers.

Aaaaaaaaaaand working on it keeps me off the streets. :)


Gorilla Wrangler
Well, I got some 1 1/2" x 1/8" bar stock and framed the hatch like Knapheide does. Who am I to question their design?

Finished product:

Rained a bunch today - we'll see if my build is validated. :)


Gorilla Wrangler
The new hatch is as water tight as a submarine door. But before I consider driving through monsoonal rains at 60 miles an hour I'm going to add an interior gasket along the entire circumference of the frame - just like the factory Knapheide compartment doors have.

Today I started cutting out the interior of the forward side compartments. This will allow for more versatile storage. When I'm done, the forward compartments will stretch from the trailer floor to the top of the present compartment. This will let me utilize seldom used space because previously it was too hard to get to.

I have a dozen of the Water Bricks & ten of the new Food Bricks; I'm sure I looked like a giant kid playing with giant Legos inside the trailer today as I fiddled around with configurations. With the reconfigured front compartments, I could conceivably fit all of them - split up evenly between left and right compartments.
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Gorilla Wrangler




Oh, look what magically appeared after I cut out the inside of the starbord side front compartment: the very raw materials I'll use to cap off the front sides of the shortened interior compartments!!!!
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Gorilla Wrangler
Thanks! The FJ pulls it as though it were on rails.

Tuned up the lights yesterday. A flat olive drab trailer on the road needs to be very visible in the dark:


The clear lights aren't on while underway. I installed those for foot injury-free navigation around trailer at night. As it turned out, I turn them all on like shown above anyway. Easy to find at night in the woods or at the KOA.
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