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AdventureTaco - turbodb's build and adventures

Discussion in '1st Gen. Builds (1995-2004)' started by turbodb, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. Jun 26, 2019 at 6:33 AM
    #2461
    BYJOSHCOOK

    BYJOSHCOOK Mr. Mojo Risin

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    Check Out My Build
    Actually with you it'd probably be easier just to go get the wheels dirty that way everything looks in order :rofl:
     
    turbodb [OP] likes this.
  2. Jun 27, 2019 at 9:45 AM
    #2462
    turbodb

    turbodb [OP] AdventureTaco

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    AdventureTaco
    MOAR Power, More Redundancy - Dual AGM Battery Install
    June 18, 2019.

    Well, this post is a long time in the making. In fact, I assumed this was a project I'd get taken care of in the dead of winter, since much of it would be done in the wood shop, and none of it required the truck to be outside in the rain and cold.

    But like many well-laid plans, mine got comfortable and took a six-month nap. So let's start at the beginning...

    My Battery History

    To date, I've only had to replace the battery in the truck once. I did that back in 2011 after owning the truck for 11+ years, but I've known since I got the fridge that I was always sort-of pushing my luck. I mean sure, the 50qt ARB fridge will shut off when the battery gets below a certain voltage, and sure, I had a DBPOWER Lithium Ion battery pack that could (theoretically) jumpstart the truck, but still. So, when my Toyota Truestart battery started going out on The Re-Tour in the fall of 2018, I knew the time had come to upgrade the battery system.

    [​IMG]

    My first step - of course - was to jump on a TacomaWorld group by for two, Northstar AGM 24F batteries. This was in November - the perfect time to start a winter truck project. Or - as it turned out - to exercise the UPS delivery driver. See, the first two batteries that were delivered were not size 24F, but were instead size 35 batteries. The seller was great about it however, and within a couple days the UPS driver was back to drop off two more 70 lbs batteries, and take the original ones with him.

    Unfortunately, upon opening the second batteries, I found that the posts on one of them had been crushed during shipping. Well, that was no good, but a quick set of emails to the seller and I was left impressed. While a replacement 24F was going to take a few weeks due to being on back order, everything was taken care of as quickly and professionally as I could have asked.

    [​IMG]

    Finally - in the middle of January - I had my new power packs.

    [​IMG]

    Since at that point I was running a spare battery from Mike @Digiratus in the truck, I promptly replaced that with one of the Northstar batteries and assured myself that the second wasn't far behind. And then I started contemplating where to put the second battery.

    Where to Put the New Battery

    My contemplation took months - and brings us to the present day. Nearly. See, there were a few places I could put the battery:
    1. Under the bed, where the spare tire was originally mounted. This was where I thought I wanted the battery - in a custom fabricated steel box - but I didn't love the idea of putting that weight behind the axle or having the battery in what seemed like a reasonably vulnerable - and hard to seal from the elements - location.
    2. My next attempt was above the frame just in front of the rear wheels. This was suggested to me by a couple of folks and would keep the battery further forward and be less vulnerable. It would however still have the "exposed to the elements" problem, and of course when I finally measured, it wouldn't fit.
    3. In the cab, behind the passenger seat. I originally shied away from this since I wanted to keep the inside as spacious as possible, but it would solve the problem of the elements, and keep the battery further forward. My final admittance that the truck is no longer a daily driver and is really just an adventure vehicle sealed the deal. This is where the battery would go.
    [​IMG]


    Parts - More Than Just Batteries

    At that point, I also had to gather all the other parts that go into a dual battery setup and account for just as much cost as the batteries themselves. I'll list what I used here, since it's likely to be similar for just about anyone planning to add a second battery to their Tacoma.
    I purchased everything over time - a sure way to make the cost less noticeable - and by June I was finally ready to get started with the install.

    Building a Cabinet

    I knew I needed to secure the battery well within the passenger compartment - I didn't want to have it flopping around on the trail, much less if I ever got in an accident. And, I figured that this was a good time to build a bit more than just a battery box - I could also build a place for the fuse block, and some other odds-and-ends that were previously just floating around behind the front seats on our trips.

    The problem of course was that there are essentially no 90° angles in the extended cab portion of a 1st gen Tacoma, so building a cabinet would be a bit of cut-a-piece-at-a-time affair. So, I found a scrap piece of ¾" plywood and got started.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Of course, I also needed somewhere to attach the cabinet, and my goal was to be as nondestructive as possible. As such, I hoped I could use the two captured M8 nuts that secured the small fold-open shelf, and one of the rear M10 seat belt anchors - three points that I thought would likely be enough to secure everything well.

    [​IMG]

    Eventually, I had the minimum number of prototype pieces cut and assembled to have confidence in the design and knowledge of the various angles I was working with, and I moved on to a more precise plan in Sketchup - really, just as a way to learn the 3D modelling tool that I'd never used before.

    [​IMG]

    And then, it was time to get started on the actual cabinet. I happened to have a nice piece of ¾" prefinished A1 grade maple plywood hanging around from some previous projects, so I broke out the Makita track saw and started breaking down the pieces.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    To strengthen the joints, the next step was cutting dadoes and rabbits in various locations to accept mating pieces, as well as cutting an access hole for the storage compartment that would eventually be below the cabinet (and that I still wanted to access). Then, it was time for basic assembly.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The cabinet was definitely starting to come together - the battery would sit in a compartment on the right, my small recovery and air-up kits in the bottom left cubby, the wiring and fuse block in the middle left-cubby, and then there would be two shelves on the top to store various items I take on my adventures.

    At this point, I'd planned to be done - but something was nagging at me. I realized that I can't leave a project "mostly finished" - in this case, the exposed plywood edges are just "undone." So it was back to the table saw to make some edge banding, and of course a finger-jointed, pull-out drawer - for the electronics that would be housed in the middle compartment.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Again, I planned to be done here until I realized that I was still rushing. The edge banding and a few pieces of solid maple needed finish in order to look right next to the prefinished plywood. So, a couple coats of wipe-on polyurethane were in order before calling the cabinet done.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Installing the Cabinet

    With the cabinet put together and all the necessary parts for the electronics already in hand, I had no excuse for procrastinating the actual install. But that didn't stop me! Quite the opposite - I procrastinated a good week or two, building a few bed racks for folks, and helping a friend with a 4Runner storage system on his truck. Oh, and there were wheels to be painted.

    Turns out, I can procrastinate anything! :rofl:

    Eventually though, I had an upcoming trip where I knew the truck would be sitting all day, and the fridge would benefit from a second battery - so I broke down and got started with the install.

    Up first was making sure the cabinet was secure. The two lower mounting points were easy - a couple longer M8 bolts could secure the cabinet to the captured nuts - but the upper mount, to the seat belt anchor, was going to need a custom bracket. Using some of the 3/16" aluminum I had laying around from the 4Runner roof rack, I set about making a bracket to accept a carriage bolt that would pass through the bottom of the cabinet to keep it in place.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Bracket made, it was time for cabinet installation. Were my measurements correct? Would everything line up? Or, would it be a case of measure once, try it, and measure again? I prepped the area and then moved the cabinet into place. And low and behold - everything lined up the very first time! Sweet! :bananadance:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    And Finally - the Battery!

    Cabinet installed, there was only one thing left to do - install all the electronics. I mean, that's what this whole project was about - right? The way I saw it, there were a few steps - first, removing the circuits from the Bussmann RTMR that I'd be powering off of the secondary battery, then, running the two main power wires that connected the two batteries through the Blue Sea ML-ACR, and then wiring all of the circuits up to the Blue Sea circuit breaker and 12-circuit fuse block. Oh, and of course, there was turning everything on!

    Removal of the circuits from the Bussmann was - of course - easy. That's the whole point of having a Bussmann, after all. Perhaps most rewarding was removing all of the negative wires from the ground screw I'd been using in the engine bay.

    [​IMG]

    Next, I ran the 1-0 gauge man-that's-big-cable from the starting battery, around the engine bay, through a grommet in the passenger side of the firewall, along the door threshold, and up into the cabinet. I was quite glad at this point to have use the mesh sleeving, as it made me much less nervous as I pulled the wire by and through the various crevices.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    At that point, I could start using the 16-ton hydraulic crimper to attach the lugs onto the ends of the cables as well - something I'd hesitated to do until I knew the lengths I needed, and gotten the cables through the various grommets.

    [​IMG]

    I could smell the finish line as this point. As I routed the accessory circuits for the fridge, ham radio, and CB radio to the fuse block, I was sure that I'd be done in 30 minutes. This of course was a gross underestimation, but I could definitely see the light at the end of this project. Assuming it all worked when I flipped the proverbial switch.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The only thing left to do at this point was to wire up the switch that controls the ML-ACR. this switch allows the operator to either join together - or isolate - the batteries as charging conditions change, and also allows for an automatic mode with the ML-ACR handles the connection itself.

    [​IMG]

    And with that, the electronics - at least for now - were complete, and it was time to hook everything up; hopefully not electrocuting myself or burning up the truck in the process. So, I attached all the appropriate cables to the starting battery, and did the same for the secondary battery, and then connected the two through the ML-ACR.

    And it all just seemed to work! I'm not sure it was a miracle, but I sure wasn't complaining. ::D:

    [​IMG]


    Wrapping Things Up

    With everything working, I got things cleaned up - there were still a few things to wrap up, but those would have to wait for another day - because in less than 12-hours, we were headed off on an adventure...

    ...(a few days later)...

    Wrap up is complete. A small box to hold the ML-ACR switch, and a hold-down for the secondary battery are now in place and everything is working swimmingly.

    [​IMG]

    Plus, @mrs.turbodb loves the fact that she's got a place for her bag on trips, and I like the perfectly-sized camera storage shelf atop the battery compartment. All-in-all, a successful project - assuming it works that is...

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Jun 27, 2019 at 10:21 AM
    #2463
    sawbladeduller

    sawbladeduller semi-realist

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    great work on your cabinet, dang!
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
    turbodb [OP] likes this.
  4. Jun 27, 2019 at 10:53 AM
    #2464
    Dan8906

    Dan8906 Well-Known Member

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    Not worried about the battery getting hot in that box?
     
    turbodb [OP] likes this.
  5. Jun 27, 2019 at 10:55 AM
    #2465
    Dan8906

    Dan8906 Well-Known Member

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    Also What terminals did you end up with, those look beefy and awesome!!!
     
    turbodb [OP] likes this.
  6. Jun 27, 2019 at 10:57 AM
    #2466
    Speedytech7

    Speedytech7 Toyota Cult Ombudsman

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    I've done a mod or two
    Shouldn't get any hotter than next to an engine with a hood closed. In fact it should stay optimal temp most of the time in the cab
     
    CS_AR and turbodb [OP] like this.
  7. Jun 27, 2019 at 11:24 AM
    #2467
    m3bassman

    m3bassman Well-Known Member

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    Looks nice. Really like the cubby setup.
     
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  8. Jun 27, 2019 at 12:13 PM
    #2468
    turbodb

    turbodb [OP] AdventureTaco

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    Thanks guys, appreciate it. Definitely more in my comfort zone than metalwork, hahahaha.

    Nah, not worried about the battery in there. There are holes for the wires near the top of the cubby, and really, that battery doesn't ever see much load under normal conditions. It's just powering the fridge and a few other small house loads.

    I used these terminals since I got them as part of the battery group buy (and for way less than listed on the site). Not sure I love them since they are so large; would probably get military terminals next time.
     
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  9. Jun 27, 2019 at 12:29 PM
    #2469
    Littles

    Littles Stupid is as stupid does.

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    Beautiful, clean work on this install. Nice choice on the heavy duty GP Audio terminals too. :thumbsup:I've had a set on my single and just ordered a second set for my dual battery install.
     
    turbodb [OP] likes this.
  10. Jun 27, 2019 at 12:58 PM
    #2470
    Digiratus

    Digiratus Adventurer

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    Clean. Are you going to do some sort of voltage monitor too?
     
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  11. Jun 27, 2019 at 3:13 PM
    #2471
    turbodb

    turbodb [OP] AdventureTaco

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    Lulz, when we were on our first trip, I said to @mrs.turbodb - "now that I have two batteries, I feel like I want to see their voltages."

    So, I guess the answer is "I hope not, but I probably will." :rofl: Really, I already have "system" voltage from ODBII, and that should be good enough for me...but then, look at the truck. Or @Blackdawg's red truck. We have a sickness.
     
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  12. Jun 27, 2019 at 3:18 PM
    #2472
    Blackdawg

    Blackdawg Dr. Frankenstein

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    Hmm not sure im a fan of a battery in the cab personally. But looks sweet!
     
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  13. Jun 27, 2019 at 3:23 PM
    #2473
    Speedytech7

    Speedytech7 Toyota Cult Ombudsman

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    You already have all the wiring in one place, might as well just screw a little dual meter in next to the fuse boxes. Our voltage meters have solved various issues over the years. Like montes optima that was ready to explode, loose terminals, what have you.
     
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  14. Jun 27, 2019 at 3:25 PM
    #2474
    Speedytech7

    Speedytech7 Toyota Cult Ombudsman

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    I see no issue with it if you have sealed batteries like this, if it was a wet cell it would have to have a vent to the outdoors and even then I wouldn't like it.
     
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  15. Jun 27, 2019 at 3:32 PM
    #2475
    turbodb

    turbodb [OP] AdventureTaco

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    I was a little hesitant b/c of a big weight bouncing around, but it's secured really well so I'm OK with it. Couldn't find a better place really since my engine bay is completely full and I ultimately didn't like it in the spare tire place.

    Shush you evil devil on my shoulder. I know everything you say, no need to repeat it. :p

    Yeah, my thinking as well.
     
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  16. Jun 27, 2019 at 3:37 PM
    #2476
    Speedytech7

    Speedytech7 Toyota Cult Ombudsman

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    If I was evil I'd be suggesting putting in a 52mm gauge for it with a steering column mounted gauge pod.

     
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  17. Jun 27, 2019 at 3:48 PM
    #2477
    Blackdawg

    Blackdawg Dr. Frankenstein

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    Speaking of weight, I give it a year before that wood stuff is rattling apart :p
     
  18. Jun 27, 2019 at 3:49 PM
    #2478
    Speedytech7

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    OH SNAP!
     
  19. Jun 27, 2019 at 3:52 PM
    #2479
    turbodb

    turbodb [OP] AdventureTaco

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    Clearly, you forgot that I built this - not you - and that wood is my medium. All the joints are designed to counter exactly what yours wouldn't be, just like my bed slide that you're surprised is still in one piece. :luvya:

    (Edit: I've also marked my calendar to do a review for you in 1 year. :p)
     
  20. Jun 27, 2019 at 4:40 PM
    #2480
    Blackdawg

    Blackdawg Dr. Frankenstein

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    I don't care who built it. 40lb battery + high-speed vibrations from thousands of miles of dirt roads...something's gonna give. Haha I look forward to the review :luvya:

    But yes if I built that it would never last haha and a bit more complex than the bed slide ha
     
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