Sunday, June 14, 2015

Fridge and Water Filtration Mounts

After much research on the pros and cons of on-platform refrigerator/freezer solutions, hardiness, power consumption, ease of use and general satisfaction, I settled upon the ARB product line. While I favored the Engel hardiness and reputation, I was most interested in power consumption and the ARB products appeared to have been designed with this in mind. Because of the amount of time we plan to spend overlanding, I went with the 82 quart solution. It fits nicely onto my Slee installed internal drawer/slider system and uses the secondary battery wiring harness they ran from the engine bay back to rear of the truck. My buddy and I purchased some 1200lb max load tie-downs from Menards, measured and mounted in short order. I had ordered the proper ARB tie-down harness off Amazon it simply didn't show up in a timely manner. So we went with ratchet straps instead. Works. Happy. Moving onto the next project.

At the same time, based upon prior experiences overseas, I anticipate various scenarios including potable, non-potable and no access to water. So after much research on water filtration solutions including TED Talks, Non-Governmental Organization solutions, trips to sporting/hiking stores and the like, I ended up spending a bit more to get a water filtration jerry can from LifeSaver. You can do your own research of course. However, the conversation for me came down to alignment to international and auditable filtered water standards, flowrate, number of uses between filter replacement and particularly, filtration type and efficiency. While I'm not in the situation, and do not have the need, to test the filtration system as the inventor does in the Ted Talk, I'm comfortable taking a chance on this company and technology based upon the research, comparisons and technological approach used by this company.

I knew I didn't want this jerry can mounted outside the platform in the event of theft or damage, and given the side panels of the Slee installed drawer system come up and off for side storage compartments and securely lock into place when done, we were able to mount the jerry can to one of the side panels without any drilling. We did customize a ratchet strap a wee bit as you can see, but overall, fits like a glove. Will have to see how the can itself, as well as, the strapping solution, holds up under road wear. Am pleased. Simple. Clean. Done.

Brush and Tree Guards

I decided to put some brush cables on the truck in order to save the windscreen from angry trees and branches. I originally purchased the brush cable package from Front Runner given it was pre-made and would theoretically be simple to install. As it is in life, plans and reality often look different.

The Front Runner solution came and ended up being about two feet two short to extend from the top of the luggage rack, as they recommend, down to the bull bar. I wasn't willing to drill holes in the truck itself or the bull bars for this effort. Solution fail.

After spending a bunch of time considering options, I ended up purchasing some existing mounts from Fourtreks because I like the clean look and the practical application. Since they didn't seem to have anything that immediately screamed, "these are designed for that", I purchased their CB antennae mount which I used a wee bit different than they designed or perhaps intended. Of course time will tell if my own design is good at version 1.0 or needs to be evolved. For now, thanks to the help of my ex-race car racing buddy, we fashioned a solution that will serve as the baseline until such time as we need to uprev the design.

Components included:

  • One (1) roll of 50' 3/16" diameter stainless steel cable that we cut down to 8' sections
  • Two (2) turn-buckles
  • Two (2) brass clips
  • Eight (8) wire rope clips
  • Four (4) thimbles

I also purchased crimping sleeves, but ended up not using them for now. Didn't seem to make sense. I may change my mind later. I'm still thinking on that one.

I cut up an inner-tube and placed it on the bull-bar prior to mounting the Fourtreks mounts. We attached both ends, hand-tightened the turn-buckles taut and took it for a drive. Worked fine. I'll only put them on when going off-road onto various trail types. They seem to work well, look good and I'm happy. Was a good problem to think through and I had fun building them out with my buddy.

NITTO Tires Rock

I'm using NITTO Trail Grappler M/T 285/75R16 on this platform. I recently took it out onto Grade B / farm class roads composed of mud/clay mixes with 2-4 inches of sludge on top, onto an unkempt forest trail composed of logs, grasses, mud and ruts at incline, as well as, an ATV trail that was pretty much narrow ruts, deep puddles and mud between trees. Many times I could run without straight 4x4 behavior without the need for air lockers. Occasionally, I run the rear locker and sometimes both front and rear. These tires are so far magnificent.

The tires always kept moving, the platform continued to move up the inclines and through the slog without every giving ground. In fact, given the short-wheel base of this platform, coupled with 4x4 and locker ability and these tires, I am duly impressed. These tires are likely the best purchase I've made to the platform to date. Of course the other bells and whistles are nice. However, these tires seemed to clean themselves out well and I could dependably trust that they are a solid, dependable aspect of this platform.

They have been fine on pavement, dry and wet. They are great on gravel so far. However, grass, ruts, inclines and mud? Worth every penny.