Adventure trailer build thread. | Page 29 | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

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Intro:
This is not a common build here on this forum, but this build is part of another long term build, that has been going on for 10 years now. I feel it is fitting to share this build here, since so much of it's companion is documented on EF. This thread is as detailed as my patience has allowed. I want to be able to help others that might be searching for methods/ideas, and "how to" for much of the build. I do belong to other Overland forums, and will link this thread from them, to share with others.

About:
This trailer is a short compact, stout, capable, high clearance, Swiss army knife of a camper. It is not a popup camper, nor is it a sleep in hard shell camper. It will offer all the creature comforts those do, but in a little different fashion. This style trailer, makes you enjoy the outdoors. You cook/dine, lounge & hot shower outside, but you sleep inside a roomy insulated roof top tent, 78" off the ground.

The tow rig:

The Black Hole

The entire build for the tow rig, has always been with this build in mind, and it has been extremely difficult to keep that to myself, and why it was built the way it was. It is a purpose build, with a specific objective.

The Objective:
To be the living quarters and storage, for off the beaten path journeys yet to come.
To have everything needed to sustain myself, and a few others, out in the middle of nowhere, only accessible by unpaved trails, such as old mining roads. Hauling all the boondocking gear behind, instead of overloading the vehicle's suspension. To minimize setup and tear down times for camping, and have camping items readily accessible, whenever needed.

The trailer needs to be capable of following wherever the tow rig goes. Matching tires, axle width, and the same, if not more height clearance as the tow rig. Sleeping & shelter for 4 comfortably, sustainable cold food storage, food prep space, gas powered cooking, AC/DC power supply, and hot showers for days at a time, are all the requirements for this build.

Goal:

This is the other half of that long term build plan. I am slow at the building and fabricating process, and this will take about a year to complete. Updates will happen as the build progresses. I have entered the 7th month of the build, and expect another 3-4 months left to get it road worthy at the least. Just like anything I have done, it never ends, and improvements will happen, as I gain experience & knowledge with what works best for me.

Baby steps:

This is the first time I have ever attempted anything like this. I am bound to make mistakes, and corrections/improvements are all but a guarantee. I do have a final vision for what I want this to be, as it has been a thought process for many many years now. Please bear with me as this thread goes. Some items won't make sense until it comes to be. I am not going to tell you how things should be done. I am just sharing how I did things on this build. Agree/disagree, like it or leave it, it's mostly a learning experience by mixing what I know, and what I had to learn, to get things as I want them. Definitely not for everybody. Heck, I know I will change things down the road, as I find ways to improve on it. That is part of the fun!



Why am I building this?
I'm Tired of ground tent camping all my life. Tired of the time it takes to set up & tear down. Tired of all the tedious packing, unpacking, moving things from place to place after every trip. Plus, I don't want a motor home that can't leave the roads.
I plan on getting lost a few times, venturing out to places unknown and unseen. We live in a large, beautifully gifted geographical location on the planet. Our own back yard is filled with amazing spectacles. Places that can only be seen on dirt trails, off the beaten paths, not by roads covered in pavement, and delivery trucks. Exploring into the dark hours of the night, and setting camp in the middle of nowhere, instead of heading back. We can traverse a lot of ground this way.

Kudos:

A few friends helped with this build, and I couldn't have got as far as it is without them. Special thanks to James, Matt, Kurt, Ryan, & Jacob. You guys rock!

A warning from the author:

This thread contains: Long drawn out boring tedious explanations, Dry humor, embarrassing anecdotes, speech in the 3rd person, countless pictures, and some content is for Mature audiences. There is a little for everybody here, but be warned, this is not your typical build thread, and not from your typical builder. I am not responsible for your emotional mood swings, due to reading this material. ;)

Edit: Progress pics as of 10/15/18. Getting closer every day!

Dr washed.jpg

RTT on front pass side full view.jpg


First real use!

Camp set 1.jpg

Camp set 2.jpg

Bat wing awning up.jpg



Current specs:
Main Frame- 12'.5"L x 48"W
Whopping 25" of ground clearance with 35" tires
Fenders- 72" Long x 14.00" Wide tapered to 0.00" in front
Cabin- 48"W x 72"L x 36"H
Overall Width - 76"
Overall Height - 68" Roof Rack lowered - 78" Roof Rack lifted
Overall Height- 80" With RTT stowed - 140" RTT open & rack lifted
Dry weight- 2300#'s

2"x3"x3/16" Steel Tube Frame, with 1 pc center tongue beam from front to rear.
3500 Lb Timbren Axleless Independent suspension
10" Electric brakes
35"x12.5" Goodyear MTR's w/kevlar & matching spare
15"x10" Mickey Thompson black satin aluminum wheels
Lock N Roll off road articulating Hitch
14 Ga steel cabin walls & roof
3/4" Ply floor, stained, sealed, & 5 topcoats of acrylic gloss clear
Commercial 60 Mil Waterproof TPO membrane under belly skin
12 Ga steel Fenders on Sq frame & 2" x 3/16" Round slider tubes
Spare tire mount on cabin front
16 Ga swing out 4'W x 2'D x 24"H Tapered Tongue box
16 Ga Side boxes with Tapered front compartments
Telescoping Roof rack (12") with scissor jack actuation
Two rear 31" BAL C leveling jacks & swivel plate base
Dual 5K swivel weld ring flat plate base Tongue jacks
ARK dual wheel offroad 750 HD Tongue jack
Slider system for hidden Solar panel storage
Dual 11 lb Propane tank storage mounts
Quick Disconnect Water supply
All Stainless & Aluminum hardware, where applicable

Interior:
Front compartment 48"Wx24"Lx36"H
Two side doors, and upper 12 ga shelf with expanded metal rear wall
Rear Compartment 48"Wx48"Lx36"H
3/4" PT wood flooring, custom finish, clear satin marine topcoats.
Tie downs on frame tubes
1-60W Led rear cabin, 3-10w Led front cabin
Wiring plumbed with flex and hard conduit
Split cabin with full rear cabin deck, tie down racks

Power:
Dual Group 31 MAGM deep cycle 110 AH batteries
110 shore
100W Renogy Solar
Charge:
NOCO Marine 110v 20 amp onboard Dual smart charger
30 amp Renogy MPPT Solar charger
140 amp traveling vehicle charge, via smart charger
Soon to come: 40 amp-500 watt DC-DC charger from alternator
Portable Valence 80Ah Lifepo4 Solar Gen w/inverter

Accessories:
4 season 23Zero 73" Walkabout RTT W/ large Annex room - telescopic ladder w/rung pads- Ext shoe bags-Led lights- 3" thick x Ca King mattress w/anti condensation mat.
Oversized high density 3" thick 56" x 96" mattress. Cold weather cover, additional secondary rain fly.
Rhino Rack 8.5' Bat Wing 270* Wrap around Awning (2019 version)
5Liter - 1.5 gpm - On demand instant hot water heater
ARB/ViAir 150 psi onboard air system
Ready Welder II
Slide out Kitchen/storage- 1/2" Baltic Birch, sealed/stained/clear coats 350# slides
ICECO VL45 portable fridge/freezer - AC/DC
Custom powder coated locking Fridge slide out.
Wireless controlled winch (upper roof rack storage, rear bumper hitch receiver)
Rear door interior fold down table
Dual 11 lb propane tanks (rear fender mounted)
Marine control panel, rocker switches w/circuit breakers, 12v battery meter, Aux outlets
30 gallon fresh water tank & 3.0 gpm instant on pump w/ inline filter
Trailer Harness Connection lock box
First Aid field kit (large)
Dual Fire Extinguisher's

LED Lighting:
Front- 2-45w dual pods w/amber fogs
Sides- 4-18w pods
Rock- 4-10w blue IP 67
Cabin- 1-60w 3 setting round rear compartment ceiling fixture, 3-10w pods front compartment
Tails/brakes/turns- 30w 6" oval
Reverse- 30w 6" oval
Markers- 3w red & amber
7 pin RV trailer harness & J box

Tongue box build:
Full box tube frame & 16 ga sheet, w/plate and tube gussets
Dual battery mount tray
Red oak Shelf for Noco dual 20 amp charger, 20amp solar charger, 12v systems (3) circuit breakers, fuse panel, main power cutoff switch
3 space divider walls & front storage shelf
Gas lift struts, 2"x 3/16" thick Aluminum lid hinge
Dual SS locking paddle latch handles
Dual 4" SS louvered vents w/bug screens
Pass thru power cord outlet with weatherproof door hatch
NOCO 110v wall power plug w/ weatherproof cover
2k locking latch to frame, & dual 7/16" clevis pins to frame
5/8" spindle for swivel action, for spare tire removal/security

Paint:
Frame- Chassis saver gloss black
Cabin Exterior- Acid etch primer & Single stage Gloss Black automotive 2k urethane
Cabin Interior- SW DTM Gloss White
Side & T boxes, All doors- Urethane Epoxy primer & Single stage Gloss Black 2k Urethane
Roof rack- Chassis saver gloss black
Fenders-Acid etch primer underneath & Urethane base topside, Black Raptor liner w/grip additive

Trim: Aluminum



Lots to add to that list up there, and I will as the build progresses. :)

I hope you enjoy the thread, as much as I have enjoyed the build itself.
 



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410Fortune

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ooooh I like that case, but I have no use....as soon as Hank is put away on the pegboard he comes back out again, dewalt 20V impacts have basically eliminated the need for air hoses around here unless we are inflating tires, doing bodywork or blowing away dust..... and even then I have a Dewalt 20V jobsite blower that has replaced my broom and dustpan :)

Started getting into diesel trucks a few years back now and heavy equipment....dozers, excavators, one ton Fords..... HANK!!!!!!!!!!!!!! saves my body so many aches. Hank has 3 settings, 1 is for normal stuff like explorer bolts, 2 is for torquing 8 lug wheels and 3 will rip the lug right out of the spindle and split the nut in half...rusted exhaust bolts? As long as you can get a socket on there it will come off...........12mm 12 point rear driveshaft bolts stuck? Not anymore! Tired of trying to get to 220 ft lbs on those wheel bearings? use setting 2................. there is not much that stops this thing, been seriously impressed with this tool...My hank is older, not even brushless nor flexvolt, just regular old 20V batteries and he is still a total badass.
Thinking of starting a thread on here to show off my most used and abused tools, not because I want to show off how cool we are here, but to show everyone how they can save themselves ALOT of headaches

<----------------school of hard knocks
 



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CDW6212R

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Me too, an air compressor isn't a must have tool for most people. I ordered that case, it will help me organize things a little better.

I haven't used my Milwaukee 12v impact wrench yet, it is bulky for a sideways type ratchet tool. If it takes the spindle caliper bolts out, I'll love it. It should be great for any tighter spots with about 3.5" of room to work in.
 






gmanpaint

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Being that I am not a full time mechanic, and only work on my own junk once in a while, the gen 4 Ridgid 1/2" impact I have does most everything I need it for. Once in a while I need to break out the big air impacts, that will do major stuff, but that is rare.

Since I already have $$ invested into the Ridgid lithium batteries, and chargers, I will stick with that brand if I ever need a replacement impact. Entire reason I went with Ridgid is the lifetime battery warranties. Once they are registered, I can simply trade them in for a new unit. The costs of batteries these days are crazy high, so to me it just made sense. I only buy new batteries during the holidays, when they have the BOGO sales.

I would like to find an affordable 3:1 Torque multiplier, for the torque wrench tho. Those aren't cheap, and something I would rarely use, but would be handy to have for instances such as these trailing arm replacements. Hard to justify the costs on that, as the juice isn't worth the squeeze for me right now.

Doesn't look like I will get a chance to use this trailer again until next spring. Going to take the RTT off and store it hanging from the rafters over the winter. Makes it so I can pull it in/out of the shop without deflating the tires to 3# psi. LOL
 






gmanpaint

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So..... It's me again......Hello Me!

Took the trailer to the truck scales fully loaded with all the gear I take on a trip. Only thing not loaded was food & drink.

Turns out loaded, this thing is a big ole PIG! 🤪

3160 lbs was the loaded weigh in. I figure around 850 lbs of gear & bolt on accessories (spare tire, batteries, tent, awning, camp box, tools, winch etc...).
so 2300 lbs (or less) for the trailer alone.

Loaded It weighed in about 500 lbs more than I had anticipated. 😟

Oh well, looks like I need more Ponies than I thought, with the tow rig for this thing!
 






Rick

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It's amazing how easy it is to pile on weight without realizing... On both vehicles and humans ;)
 






CDW6212R

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That's tough, fat, but tough news.

Here's a wild, should have thought of this before idea. How about an electric motor and make space for some batteries, an electric drive system tied to the truck's throttle and tongue force sensor? Then it would not be a drag on the tow vehicle while accelerating. I'm sorry I don't have a better suggestion, a different and stronger engine would be the best idea, but that's way more expensive.
 






gmanpaint

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Well, without everything I have on & in it, it is right at 2300 lbs dry (stripped of all the extras). Yeah, 500 more than I thought. I could do away with some of the gear I guess, but that's no fun. lol

Do I really need a full welding setup? Probably not.

Do I need a full kitchen with sink? Probably not.

Do I need dual group 31 AGM batteries? I could swap to a nice sized Lithium, for 3 times as much I suppose.

Do I need a full on board air system? Probably not.

Do I need a CB radio setup? Probably not.

Do I need massive awning? Probably not.

Does it have to have matching tires to the rig? Probably not.

Do I want all these things? Probably..... wait, most definitely so.

Do I think I need to upgrade the 3500 axles to the bigger 3500HD (6k spindles, bigger arms, 6 lug) now I know it's true weight? Most definitely so. Can I afford it right now? Most definitely not.
 






gmanpaint

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Well, I spoke too soon about the Ridgid tool battery. I just had a 4.0 kick the bucket. I went to my Ridgid account, to do a warranty trade for it. Turns out that the BOGO deals on them during the holiday sales season, are only covered for 3 years. :( Sneaky bastages!

I checked the batteries I got outside of the BOGO deals, (paid full price), and they are lifetime coverage. What the actual hell man.

Overshare time:

I made a parts list for the HD 6000lb spindle axle swap, and got the pricing for everything. I figure I can sell everything removed in a kit, to help cover those costs. Problem is the initial hit for everything is just too big, to get it done this winter, and will most likely have to wait until next summer, after work is back to full swing. Unless something happens this fall, and a big job falls in my lap, to cover it all.
Hubs, electric brakes, and wheels cost just as much as the new axles, and all have to be changed too. 10" to 12" setup, and 5-0n-4.5" lugs, to 6-On-5.5" lugs. I will have to go from a 10" wide wheel to an 8" wide too. Will have to lower the new axles on the frame, to add tire clearance to the fenders (more articulation), resulting in more trailer lift. Sheesh....

For now, I am going to try to get the new trailer arms, with beefier pivot bushings installed. Thinking of going to an Overland meet at an off road park for 3 days a few hundred miles away next month. I will most likely be the only Explorer there in a land of Lexus, Toyoda's, and Jeeps, but..... I'm betting this trailer will offset all the Ford haters while parked. Then the hate will return, after I wheel circles around some of them on the trails. :D
 






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Sneaky is right. That's messed up.

Where is the overlanding meet being held at?
 






gmanpaint

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It's going down at SMORR.

They have held a few of them there over the last couple of years. Some rent the entire park and its closed to the public. All from different organizations. This meet is being ran from a group from Ozark Overlanders (AR), & Show Me State Overland (MO).

Now to decide if I want a power camp site, or just primitive?
 






gmanpaint

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Had some time this afternoon to work on the new trailing arm swap. It was a good day. I learned stuffs. :)

No instructions given with these arms, couldn't find anything on the Timbren site, so I just went at it.

Talked to the same Timbren rep the other day, about some beefier compression springs, to help with the weight of this thing. I was thinking I'm going to need them, and might as well do it when the arms are torn apart. He wants to see how these new bushings work first. I figure well, if he is willing to ship them to me for free, I'm not going to argue! lol

I was like, well man, I guess I will just have to tear it apart again I guess. He assured me it's a simple 30 min job to both of them. Explained how it's done, and he was right, it's simple.

Ok, reason I bring that up, is because I thought about how he explained that compression spring swap. I put that info into today's task.

To remove these heavy 3/8" thick plate arms to service them, ( yes, another hair brain write up coming up), I suggest doing one side at a time fully. There is a left & a right, even tho they look identical. One side has a gusset that goes to the inside of the trailer. You can see the gusset next to the red bushing, in this picture below. That hole right above the bushing, is where the grease zerk is hiding.

gusset side of arm.jpg


The main tools used to get the pivot bolt off. Old arm has the orange bushing, new has the red.

tools for arm swap.jpg


1) Remove the entire spindle, with hub & brakes still attached. ( I used a 5 gal bucket to sit this assembly in, so I could leave the electric brake wire on)

hub in bucket.jpg


2) Use a floor jack and lift on the end of the trailing arm ( to the rear) until the main compression spring stops collapsing.

3) Remove the single bolt holding the smaller rebound spring, and pry it out of the arm.

4) Lower the floor jack, (lowers the trailing arm more now) and the compression spring can be pulled out.

Both springs. Compression on the left, rebound on the right

Timbren compression & rebound springs loose.jpg

5) Remove the 1" thick pivot bolt & capture nut, using a 1.5" socket & wrench. I used a long breaker bar to free it up a smidge, then the impact gun on the capture nut. Remove the big washer with the pin on it. Apply a little upward pressure on the arm, tap the big bolt out, and carefully lower the trailing arm straight down, until free. Do not tilt it when doing this. There is a huge steel cylinder inside the poly bushings. It might slide out if at an angle, and can dent an edge if it lands on a hard surface, such as concrete. If you do drop/dent it, smooth the rough off nice and slick. (No I didn't drop mine, as I got lucky, and seen it as I lowered it).

What it should look like at this point (you dig my cardboard creeper?)

Timbren frame bracket.jpg


6) If the cylinder is tight, and doesn't slide out easily, place it in a vice, or hold it upright firmly, and tap it out either side with a rubber mallet. I tick marked my new bushing on it's side, relevant to the bracket, where the little pin hole (for the washer), before removing it. You will thank me later for this ;)

Metal sleeve removed. (Lighter for size comparison, note that small hole on it's side)

orange bushing & metal sleeve.jpg


This is the washer with the pin on it, that slides into that small hole.

Metal sleeve and pin washer.jpg


7) Remove the bushings by tapping them out from the opposite side of the hole. There is 2 of them, Each have a protruded lip edge on the outside, and there is a small 3/8" gap between them, you can use a tool to bite on, as you tap away. I did not have to do this, as I have brand new arms, with the upgraded preinstalled red poly bushings.

Ok, now to install them back on the frame brackets:

1) Apply a little bearing grease to the new bushings and tap them in with a rubber mallet, or dead blow hammer. Grease the big heavy metal cylinder for the pivot bolt. Slide it back into the arm bushings. Make sure to have the side with the hole on the edge, go to the inside of the arm. Using that mark on the bushing ( step 6 above), line up that small hole with the mark, and keep it there.

New arm with metal sleeve.jpg


2) I found it best to lay under the frame bracket facing up to install this back on. Slide the arm back into the bracket straight up, and at full droop, then slide in the pivot bolt. Your hole in the cylinder should be close to the hole in the bracket bolt ear. If not, use a punch ( or something similar) to line the holes up. Slide the big washer with the pin into the holes, until the washer is flush with the tab. Install the Nut, torque with two grunts & a fart, (475# is standard for a 1" bolt) or vise versa.

3) Place the larger compression spring in place, making sure the 2 knobs are in the lower holes, then lift up on the back end of it, until the big pin in the bracket fits into the top of the spring. The front lower knob, should still be in the hole, and the rear knob is now out of it's hole. No worries! I learned the hard way, this works best. Jack the arm back up until the spring hits the top, and tap the spring forward, until the last knob slips into the lower hole. Continue lifting the arm, until the spring stops compressing. Insert the smaller rebound spring. This will take some finesse. Remember I said to PRY it out? Yeah, the spring is taller than the gap. With the threaded insert facing down, hold it in place, and tap it in. I used a solid plastic mallet. Once it starts, you just keep tapping it in, and line up the threaded insert to the brackets boat hoe. Replace the bolt, and snug it down tight (no specs known by me). Lower & remove the floor jack.

Both springs back in

springs installed in arm.jpg



4) Install the spindle/brake assembly to the arm with the four 1/2" bolts. These weigh about 40 lbs or so, and since the bolts come up from the bottom, it's a hassle alone. I used a motorcycle floor jack to hold it in place, while I got the bolts started. Made this task, not a task. lol Remember your camber shims, if you used any.

hub assembly on jack 1.jpg


5) Grease the bushings with any kind of bearing grease you have handy for a grease gun. There is a zerk fitting underneath. Look into the window hole under the bushing area, you will find it.

Your done!


It should look like this now. (good time to wash the wheel wells with the tires off)

back together.jpg


Well, ok, I know this isn't helpful to anybody following this thread, but I hope this helps somebody out there searching the googles, for information on doing this job. I didn't find anything that really helped when I looked. Momma said, if I want good things to happen in life, I must do good things first. :)

Happy trails ya filthy animals!!
 






BKennedy

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If I ever build a trailer, this will be my go-to thread. The last picture, can you run the brake wiring along the side of the arms and then to the body so its better protected?
 






gmanpaint

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Funny you ask that. After working on these, that is something I'm thinking thru.

I have them on a spring to keep them from flopping around now. But they do splay out into the open, and could be snagged by brush or something.

I need some longer spindle to arm bolts for my idea of tucking them against the arms. I can add a 2nd nut, and use P clamps for this.

Arms are powder coated, so really don't feel like welding a bracket to them. If someone didn't mind doing that, then it would be pretty easy to add a few of them to these, and run the lines tightly to the arms.
 


















gmanpaint

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Been getting this ready for next weekends trip. Almost done with it. Couple things left that involves a big drill, a 5/8" bit, & 2" metal hole saw. (scary)

Made my rounds a few days ago, gathering things for this trailer. 3 stores later...

Electric & propane heaters. Fold flat (1.5") outdoor 30" table. 5k jack.

20201028_143117.jpg


Replaced the easy up 2k jack, with another 5k jack to match the other 5k.

Can't wait to share some real pictures of this thing all setup, and being used as intended. Heck, I just want to use the dang thing!

Now to get that big drill going.
 






gmanpaint

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Drill got going today.

Installed the weatherproof NoCo 15 amp 110v reverse plug, for the fridge.

Now the fridge can switch back & forth from AC/DC, depending on the given source when camped, or pre-cool at home before a trip. Cool part is this fridge senses 110v, and automatically switches to it. I can leave both style cords plugged in 100% of the time. Well, I could have done all this before, but had to have the door open for the cord, or remove the fridge. LOL

Drilling big holes like this into the painted walls, has always made me nervous. This 2" hole was no exception. 1/8" pilot hole, then the 1/4" arbor bit on the 2" hole saw. I learned to put the drill on the last clutch setting, so when it bites hard, it doesn't break my arm/wrist/ribs/face.

Placing tape on the backside of the surface, helps keep paint from chipping, or cracking, while cutting threw it. Going slow on the speed, helps control the cut, but not too slow, or it will take a week on 14 ga mild steel. Once cut, the raw edges need filed smooth. Three 1/8" pilot holes was then drilled for the gadgets mounting screws. I used automotive touch up paint, to coat the newly exposed metal edge on the holes.

The corner this was placed, is also where other electrical items are located. This got busier than I realized. I am thinking of making a panel for all this in that corner. Be a nice winter job for me.



Inside directly after the cut

Noco 1.jpg



Outside showing the tape

Noco 2.jpg


Inside after edge cleanup, and NoCo installed. (Searching for some vac caps to cover the screws)

Noco 3.jpg


Outside with plug cover pulled.

Noco 4.jpg


And weatherproof plug cover back on.

Noco 5.jpg


This concludes today's install process of the NoCo reverse plug. Please seek professional help, if this post caused any undo stress to your current mood. The OP is not responsible for anything that resulted from your time spent here. Seriously, Nada. Period.
 






gmanpaint

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The new bushings have made some difference.

Same alignment shims was added when the arms was put back on. The negative camber is at 2* fully loaded.

Before it was at 5*. Taking it to a meet this weekend, so we shall see how they hold up after 500 miles of use.
 






gmanpaint

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Overland meet in the Ozarks, was a successful trip. A long weekend away from home was good for the soul, with all the ugly happening these days. :)

After 3 years, I finally get to make a trip report with this thing. Granted it wasn't used off road, and only used as a base camp while we went wheeling, but none the less it is the trailers first real use.

@KurtECV & I rolled into the off road park after dark on Friday. We had to find a camp spot, setup, make dinner, and try to make a night run happen.

First thing upon arrival, I attempted to fill the water tank at the RV station, but quickly realized I had packed the safety air vent valve area so tight, I couldn't reach it. I tried to fill it, but after about a gallon, water pressure changed it from going in, to coming out the fill spout. lol Oh well, no storage water this trip, so didn't set up the water heater, the sink, or the shower tent.

Well, we took our time setting up the RTT, and the Annex room. I never installed that Annex yet, so it was a learning experience for us both. Took way longer than I figured, but next time will be a breeze, now I know what the heck to do with it. Made dinner, then realized it was already late, and both of us tired from a long day, we decided to hang back at camp, and make a nice camp fire. Felt good to relax. Was like after 1am before we called it. Set up the Buddy heater in the annex room where Kurt had his cot setup. The penthouse got the rising heat, and with the annex room vented, and the upper vented, there was a good fresh air source for the heater. Got toasty in there with it on the lowest setting!

Morning came abruptly with some jackass setting off his car alarm, while he was in a coma, at 6am. 20 mins went by before it was shut down. Quickly made some coffee to help wake up, chowed some sweet baked bfast goodies, and off we went wheeling.

We joined a group that had already left ( we was late, or they left early) out on the trails. Wheeled until lunch time, then ate a ginormous sub sammich lunch. Back out on the trails an hour later, we hit up some decent level 3's, with the Overland group. This group we was with (many groups that day) was lead by one of the event organizer's in his modified Toyota something or another (Lexus, Toyota, all look the same to me).

We started out with 15 rigs in the morning, then about 8 rigs in the afternoon. They had multiple guides, each doing different trails/levels, and people just got in line and made groups on the fly. Some groups was too big, and ended up splitting off. There was about 65 rigs, and about 150 people attending. The park has close to 200 miles of trails, with levels from 2-6. The main road around the park that gets to the trail heads is a level 1/2/3, depending what part of the park your on. Some sections of it are harder than some of the actual trails! No working 4wd, no getting out w/o a tow.

After another 4 hours on the trails, we head back to make a big steak dinner, and get ready for the events raffle. Park has a giant pavillion for group events, and we found a table to join in. Each prize had it's own ticket bucket. I had my eyes set on a nice new Warn winch, so 80% of my tickets went in that selection. Nope, didn't win jack all. lol

Went and checked out the vendors that was setup. A brand new OPUS Lite trailer was on display, and the guy talked my ear off for about 30 mins. We missed the group for the night run! So we headed out in hopes to catch up to one of them, but in the dark wooded area, it was all but impossible. We hung out a popular hill climb, and watched some crazy people for a bit. Headed back to camp, and built another big fire to chill with, and view the stars in peace. Midnight hit before we realized, and called it a day.

Sunday morning Breakfast was a must. A real Bfast too. Bacon & sausage on the griddle, with fried eggs, was a nice treat to wash down with OJ and hot coffee.

The new fridge worked awesome in the trailer. Ran on the house batteries the entire weekend, and only used .5V, with no charging done. I used a Yeti knock off cooler with the cooler chill ice bags as well. For the travel time, the fridge gets put in the rig, and runs off it until we get to camp. Works out well that way.

We packed up camp, and rolled out around 1pm. I made it back home by 7:30pm. Was a long day, and I was beat. I left the fridge running in the rig overnight. lol

So there are two items never shown in this thread, and was supposed to be shared on the Colorado trip. Well, since the trailer never made it there, due to the rig having issues, and this trailer being dropped off in Bum Fudge KS.

#1 is the Annex room, and #2 is the new Rhino Rack Batwing 270* Awning.

Now I know how to install the annex, it should only take about 5 mins. The Batwing takes about 30 seconds! Thing is sick! lol I want to eventually get the side walls made for it, to make another enclosed room, for shelter on weather days.

Camp set up. Annex room doubles the tent's SF area. A cot, table, heater, and more fits inside it easily. Has screens & doors on all sides. I left the windows overhang canopies shut, as I really didn't need them opened up, since it wasn't raining, and was chilly at night. It would look a lot bigger with all of them opened up. The picture below shows the dark brown rain fly. With the window canopies opened, the right side would match the left side in shape, to give you an idea just how much bigger.



Camp set 1.jpg



I left slack on the annex walls when staking them down. I didn't want to make a mistake and make them too tight, then make the rookie mistake of breaking the dang thing the first time using it. When the wind blew hard, the walls hit the table & cot inside.


Camp set 2.jpg


That wind also made me realize, that the awning needs staked as well. lol The telescopic poles have bases, that has angled pass thru's for 2 stakes each. Works fantastic. Has Guy ropes too, but didn't need them. Again, for the first use, I left some slack in this as well. Next setup, I will tighten it up more, now I know what to expect from it.

Bat wing awning up.jpg


65k BTU camp stove lost it's cherry with some Piggy!

Makin da bacon.jpg


Camp broke, and ready to head out.

Overland hitched 1.jpg

Overland hitched 2.jpg


Thanks for joining me Kurt! Was great to hangout again, and I appreciated the company, & help!

I feel like I accomplished something by turning a pile of metal, into a weekend of fun. I learned a few things to do, and not to do. A couple of changes too. lol
 



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