Bed Wood

Wood on the M37

The M37 that I purchased no longer had the troop seats, side racks, or bows installed.   I suspect that they had been removed by the Volunteer Fire Department that owned the truck, but they may also have been removed by the farmer from whom I purchased the truck.  In any event, shortly after I purchased the truck I attended the Thomson rally and rode in the back of one with the troop seats installed.  I really enjoyed the ride (it is a lot smoother than you would think) and decided to replace mine, especially as I had visions of being able to haul the younger generation around when visiting the beach or the mountains.

I purchased a set of hardware for the seats and side rails (seat backs) from a friend in Ocala, Florida.  I purchased wood from a local building supply mega store.   Although a lot of folks will debate what the best wood for the beds actually is, I decided to go with fir.  It is cheap, and I figured that since I would be coating it with a water seal and a coat of paint that I really didn't care what it was, and that I could always replace it.  I started by bolting the metal seat brackets into the truck's bed using 5/16" bolts, the brackets for the side rails where placed in their bed pockets.  I then used dimensions sent to me with the metal hardware and cut the wood down to correct length with a handsaw and clamped the pieces to the metal brackets.   After drilling the holes in the wood, I attached the wood to the brackets using 5/16"x1.5" carraige bolts.  I had noticed that the wood in the parts truck's jump seat was attached to the bracket using elevator bolts, but caraige bolts where lot easier for me to get, and the only difference is that the heads are a bit smaller in diameter.  Once I had the wood installed, I had to trim the seat lenght about an inch to allow for clearance on the tailgate.  I then sealled the wood with Thompson's Water Sealer.  A month later, I broke down and painted the wood the same Lusterless Forest Green as the rest of the truck during a full repaint of the bed.

Dimensions for the seats and side boards are:

upper board, 2 each side 2.75"x77" (use 1"x3"x8' boards and cut to length )
headache rack, 2.75"x?? (use 1"x3"x6' boards and cut to length)
seat, driver side are 3.5"x77" (use 1"x4"x8' boards and cut to length)
seat, passenger side with rumble seat are 3.5"x61.5" (use 1"x4"x6') otherwise use same dimensions as used on the left side.

seat, passenger side jump are 3.5"x?? (use 1"x4"x6' board and cut to lengths)

After toying with the truck for a couple of years, I purchased a set of bed bow corners from another individual, and a set of the corner clips and leather straps that are fastened to the bow corneres in order to secure the sides of the canvas cover when it is rolled up.  When I got around to fabricating the wood for the bows, I realized that I had mistakenly purchased bow corners for the M101 series of trailers (3/4 ton trailer).   I sent an email to my budy in Ocala and had a set of the corect corners sent to me and set off to the same building supply outlet for some more wood.  A visit to a local friend resulted in his ripping down a bunch of fir 2"x4" stock into bed bows in return for my hauling some furniture around for him.  When we went to fit the bows into the pockets provided by the seat back brackets, we found that the brackets where sufficienlty out of square that we ended up putting a mild taper into the bow uprights.   The wood for the bows was attached with 1/4"x2.5" carraige bolts.   The wood was given the same water proofing and paint treatment as the seats.

Canvas for the bed was ordered from New Life Resource Management and is discussed on the canvas page.

The dimensions of the wood peices for the bows was sent to me by a member of the BigElectric M37 forum and a reproduced verbatim below: 

The uprights are 21-1/4" long, 1-9/16" wide and 1-1/8" deep. There are three 5/16 holes drilled into the 1-1/8" wide surface. The first is 3/4" from the end, the next is 2-3/4" from the end, and the third is 15-7/8 from the SECOND hole or 18-5/8" from the far end (this sets the proper height - or you could make it ). The double holes are for the corners bow corners and the single hole is so it can be bolted into the bed stake.

The horizontal bows are 55-1/4" long. The horizontal width is 1-9/16". The vertical side is 1-1/8". There are four 5/16" holes in the vertical side to mate to the metal bow corners. These match the pattern of the uprights, which are one hole 3/4" from the
end, and the second hole 2-3/4" from the end; repeat for the other end. Flip the bow 90 degrees and on the wide flat you drill two 1/4" holes, each 1-5/8" from the middle of the bow (which is 27-5/8" from each end). Double checking, these two holes should be 3-1/4" apart. After drilling, they need to have a recess of 3/4" diameter by 3/16" deep to clear the bolt head. These two holes and bolts hold the ridge pole in place via brackets.

All corners are to be rounded. Suggest using a router. All holes are to be drilled on the centerline of the wood. These diminsions were taken from an NOS set of bows. All measurements for the holes are to the center of the hole.

Be sure you are using M37 corners and not M101 corners. M37 corners have the bolts on the SIDES of the corner, whereas M101 bows have the bolts coming in on the face that touches the canvas. The M37 corners have straps that hold the cargo tarp in place when rolled up. There is no provision for that on an M101 corner or tarp.

Wood on the M101 series of trailers.

While we are talking wood...   I went out and measured the wood on my M101A1 so that I could make up a new set of bows for my M101 and so that another M101 owner could replace all the wood on his...

For the bows:
Uprights are 1 5/8" x 1 1/8" x 14"
There are a pair of metal plates at the bottom on each side where they fit into the pockets on the sides. Clip is 5 1/4" x 1 5/8" x 1/32" I've seen enough trailers without these metal pieces that you can comfortably skip them...
Horizontal wood in bows are same cross section as uprights but are 57 3/4" long.
Slide the wood fully into the corners and then mark and drill the holes...

For the side racks:
3/4" x 3 1/4" x 63 1/2" (three, go inside the pieces that make up the sides).
3/4" x 3 1/4" x 96" (three per side)
3/4" x 3 1/4" x 31 1/2" (six, end toward center of tailgate is flush with metal edge, other end is offset away from the hinge pins).