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Boyink, see this converted Bantam

Discussion in 'Jeep Trailer Tech' started by Kodiak12060, Aug 11, 2006.

  1. Aug 11, 2006
    Kodiak12060

    Kodiak12060 Sponsor

    Beacon NY
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  2. Aug 11, 2006
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
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    Yep - Bob is on my Bantam trailer list too. Meant to post those pics here, it's a sweet setup.

    The soft top ran $1200, though IIRC -- a bit rich for my blood.

    I do need to build a simiar pantry for my trailer though - the chuckbox is great for all of our cooking utensils, but I need a place to store and organize all the non-cooler food like cereal, PB, etc.
     
  3. Aug 11, 2006
    speedbuggy

    speedbuggy Looking for a Jeep now

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    That thing is sweet! I am only assuming that he had the top and the bracketry made. I wonder where/who did it for him.
     
  4. Aug 11, 2006
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
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  5. Aug 11, 2006
    panzer

    panzer Super Mod Staff Member

    Columbus, OH
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    Very nice!!!
     
  6. Aug 31, 2006
    coby61

    coby61 Stupidiotic Member

    Prunedale CA
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  7. Aug 31, 2006
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
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    Just like pickup toppers, the Can-Backs are application-specific. Not sure how close to Bantam-size that would be, or how easy to cut down.
     
  8. Aug 31, 2006
    coby61

    coby61 Stupidiotic Member

    Prunedale CA
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    If you read the article he says that you will have to fab the flat mounting surface on the trailer to the Tacoma measurements and then it should fit as they are very close to the trailer measuremnts.
    Think you could go to the Wal-Mart parking lot and get some measuremnts off a Tacoma?? :)
     
  9. Sep 1, 2006
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
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    Doh - didn't go to page two, and Bill didn't post that part to the Bantam list....:oops: :oops:

    Also didn't notice he copied my hitch setup!
     
  10. Sep 1, 2006
    speedbuggy

    speedbuggy Looking for a Jeep now

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    Hey, look what I found. I was surfing for a can-back top to see prices and found the Softopper. It's about half the price of the can-back variety and looks to be a good design.

    I have an email out to them to see if they think it would hold up in a trailer application. I'll let you guys know.
     
  11. Sep 1, 2006
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
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    That'd be slicker than snot....I'd have to re-do the bike rack..but hmm..to be able to quickly uncover the whole trailer when at camp would be way cool.
     
  12. Sep 1, 2006
    speedbuggy

    speedbuggy Looking for a Jeep now

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    I liked the idea of that myself. I hope they respond quickly to my email ;)
     
  13. Sep 1, 2006
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
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    Looking again though, when the top is up you don't get much room going through the sides -- all the top bows are in the way. You pretty much have to fold it up for good access. Might kinda suck in the rain...
     
  14. Sep 1, 2006
    speedbuggy

    speedbuggy Looking for a Jeep now

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    Yes, but it's a trade off for the other benefits. Price, additional room, storage-ablilty (new word). Still seems like a good deal to me ;)
     
  15. Sep 1, 2006
    coby61

    coby61 Stupidiotic Member

    Prunedale CA
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    Mike what is the measurement of the trailer? A friend of mine has a 02' Tacoma I can measure. I am just curious if I ever find/want a trailer if it is a option.
     
  16. Sep 14, 2006
    Robert Bills

    Robert Bills Member

    Orange County CA
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    That's my trailer in the link from the original post.

    [​IMG]

    Here's the deal on Can-Back tops for Bantam trailers:

    When I first contacted Can-Back, I towed my still unrestored trailer to their shop in Azusa CA. We talked about how to best fabricate a mounting surface for their tops because the Bantam has tubular bed rails and the bottom frame for the Can-Back top is made from 1x2 rectangular tube and is designed to bolt to the flat top of a pickup's bed rails. They had no problem bending the top bows to fit the specific dimensions of the trailer because it was similar in size to their Tacoma tops for which they already had measurements. They also had no problem setting the height of the top to my specifications.

    We decided that the best way to solve the mounting issue was to fabricate a mounting surface that would emulate a standard flat pickup bed rail, after which I would return the trailer to them and they would make the top.

    I used 3" x 1/4" flat stock on the sides and 1" x 1/4" in the front. (The 3" sides would accept the 2" wide bottom piece of the Can-Back frame with an additional 1" that would take the mounting surface to the inside edge of the trailer stake pockets.) The Can-Back frame is only 1" wide at the front hence the 1" dimension there. This "U" shaped piece (really a rectangle missing one end) has 6 short pieces of 1"x2" tube welded to it at the location of each stake pocket so that the assembly sits on top of the trailer's tubular frame rails and is held in place with fasteners through the side of each stake pocket. The outside dimension of the finished assembly is 48" wide x 73" long, which takes it to the rear edge of the tub with the tailgate down. (The finished size of the top itself was 48" wide x 74" long, which takes into account the additional 1" for the tube rail at the top of the Bantam tailgate.)

    Unfortunately, when I finally finished my mounting surface (6 months after my first conversation with Can-Back), Can-Back was having some business difficulties and was not answering their telephone. I finally decided to give up on them and researched other options. I came across the Softopper top, but decided against it because the top bows wouldn't allow loading or unloading from the sides, their design at the time had a raked top rather than flat, and I doubted that the top (designed to be hidden from the wind by the pickup cab) would stand up to the wind behind an open jeep. It was also made overseas and imported for sale.

    I was about to change the design entirely and make my own bows for an aluminum top and then have a marine top shop make soft sides that could be removed (a design "borrowed" from the Chuckawalla Jeep Club of the 1960's), but I happened to be near Azusa one day and decided to stop by Can-Back's address to see if anyone knew what had happened to them. Surprize!! They were still there. It turns out that the owner had contracted with an Internet marketer to sell his product, who had hijacked his website and telephone number, took money for orders, but never forwarded the money or the orders to Can-Back. Charlie, the owner, had been financially devastated by this but was still operating by word of mouth, barely.

    Charlie is a long time offroader, and despite his woes, was still willing to make my top at the same price as his standard Tacoma top, which at the time was $850. The dimensions for my top are 48" wide x 74" long x 23" tall (23" is the same dimension as the height of the trailer from the bottom of the frame to the top of the Can-Back frame, 22" +1"). The height makes the trailer look balanced and allows me to load stuff from the side. The top is essentially the same as the Tacoma top, with a slightly different height and without windows. Charlie did a great job for me and I can't say enough good things about him.

    Charlie has since sold the company, which has relocated to Arizona. I have corresponded with them, and I understand that their Tacoma top is now being produced. I think that it would work fine on a Bantam trailer, and that a phone call to Can-Back would be in order to find out what the exact dimensions of the frame for their Tacoma top are. The design for the "U" mounting assembly that I made could easily be modified to fit those dimensions so that the Tacoma top would be essentially "bolt on."

    Hope this helps.

    Robert Bills
    Orange County CA
    '46 Bantam T3-C #9466

    Link to trailer photos:

    http://www.surfacezero.com/g503/showgallery.php?cat=924&ppuser=0
     
  17. Sep 14, 2006
    speedbuggy

    speedbuggy Looking for a Jeep now

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    I don't have stake pockets on the M416. I'm sure I could still fab something, but it may have to be a permanent attachment :(
     
  18. Sep 14, 2006
    Robert Bills

    Robert Bills Member

    Orange County CA
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    The tub of the M416 has different dimensions than the WWII MBT/T3, M100 and Bantam civilian BT3-C, which all have outside dimensions of 48"x74". I believe the M416 "cargo body" is the same length, but approximately 4" wider. (Hopefully someone with an M416 will post the actual outside dimensions and let us know.)

    I looked at the Softtopper website, which lists a dimension range for the various tops, and it appears that their top for a Tacoma stepside will fit the MBT/T3/M100/BT3C and the top for a Tacoma regular bed can be made to fit the wider M416. I don't care much for the Softopper product, and far prefer the Can-Back (even though the price is up to $975), but I think it would be worth some phone calls to get the actual dimensions of the tops both companys make.

    Another idea, which I toyed with, would be to fabricate a set of semi-permanently mounted top bows and spreaders, then rivet an aluminum cap over the framework. The sides could be canvas or Sunbrella fabric, removable for loading at at camp. Another thought would be to made hard sides that hinge down to make a work surface. This idea came from the Chuckawalla Jeep Club, active in SoCal in the 1960's. Their tops started as all canvas, and the design was improved through the years with the aluminum skin. Here is a photo of one that "Atavuss" sent me earlier this year:

    [​IMG]



    This gives you a rough idea.


    Robert Bills
     

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