Hodakaguy's Vagabond Camper/Truck Build - Yes Again!

Hodakaguy

Adventurer
Not a lot of progress on the truck lately since I've been concentrating on getting the shop set up after the move. We did manage to install the new suspension on my 1st gen this weekend. The original suspension was completely shot...it had the limpest springs this side of a screen door! I ordered up an Old Man Emu setup with Dakar springs....these should do the trick.

Installing the new suspenders... Ignore the pickle fork, it wasn't used (I hate these things).




Assembling the new springs and struts. This is the best spring compressor I've ever used, takes the danger out of playing with springs :)






Good time to clean and re-grease the manual hubs.






Rear Dakar springs & shocks installed, extended brake lines installed and brakes bleed with fresh syn fluids. Truck drives & handles soooo much nicer with the new suspenders. Now to get it aligned.




Hope to get some work done on the camper soon.

Hodakaguy
 

lactic

New member
Can you comment on how the weight of the FWC vs the Drifter effects the driving, handling, and suspension characteristics of the Tacoma(s)?

I know you haven’t built it out completely yet but I am considering moving to the Drifter from a FWC Fleet shell on a modified 17 DCLB Tacoma. Seems like the truck might handle the combo a bit better.

Thanks!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Hodakaguy

Adventurer
Camping season is upon us...Time to get a heater installed in the Vagabond.

We purchased a Propex propane heater to install in the Vagabond, we used this heater in our Syncro build and it worked great. We were going to fabricate a custom enclosure for the heater but found a pre-made unit locally that works really well and saved us a bunch of build time. This box will also eventually house the solar charge controller and power ports.

Here's a shot of the box and the heater unit.




Drilling holes in one of the shelves, the heater will be bolted to this shelf.










Test fitting the heater in the box, along with the upper shelf. Combustion air and exhaust holes cut in the bottom of the box, the combustion air/exhaust hoses will pass through these holes then through the bed of the truck.






Outlet duct installed






Holes cut for the propane supply line along with return air holes for the heater. The return air will flow into the box and over the heater on it's way to the intake of the heater, this will help keep the heater cool when in operation. One of the return air holes allows access to the propane tubing connection to allow tightening the compression coupler.






Power and control wires, this hole will have a rubber grommet installed to protect the wiring.




The heater will be mounted in the front of the bed here, doesn't take up to much space and will be a good location for the electrical center/solar charge controller.




Now to paint all the bare edges and gather a few more supplies before mounting everything up. The propane line will run under the truck and terminate at a quick disconnect fitting at the rear of the truck. Eventually we will have a swing away bumper that will carry a small propane tank, for now we will use a portable on the ground.

More to come....

Hodakaguy
 

Hodakaguy

Adventurer
A little more progress on the heater install, been waiting for parts to show up. Sorry...crappy cell phone pics today.

Started today by adding a quick disconnect for the propane connection under the bumper. Eventually we will have a swing away tire carrier and an aluminum tank mounted on the back. For now we will set the tank on the ground behind the truck.

Here we're making a mount for the quick disconnect, it will bolt onto the factory trailer plug mount.








Mounted up.






Now to wire up the electrical connector that will tie the truck battery to the aux battery that will be installed in the bed. Using 4awg wire and an Attwood two prong trolling motor connector for the disconnect.

Plug wired and ready for install






Plug installed in the side of the bed




Setting up the intake and exhaust for the heater. We're using fire sleeve to shield the bed etc from the heat.








I used Butyl tape to fill the gaps between the bed ribs and create a tight seal around the penetrations in the bed.




And mounted in place.




More to come soon.

Hodakaguy
 

Hodakaguy

Adventurer
More work....

Fabricating a small stainless bracket to hold the exhaust in place and give plenty of clearance from the fuel tank.




Exhaust mounted in place, the 4awg wires heading to the front weren't yet wrapped in loom in this shot. The tires were lowered to get the setup into the garage :)






Propane lines completed and checking the system for any leaks...no leaks :)






Installing the Aux battery into the back of the truck. We are running a Northstar 27M battery that will power the Propex heater and an ARB fridge when camping, eventually we will tie solar into the mix as well.

Using pre-tinned marine wire for power in the camper






Thermostat mounted for the Propex, Power and control wires hidden in the built in wire chase that Vagabond provided. It's mounted within easy reach of the bed for those midnight adjustments :)






All mounted up and running good. My father camped in the setup last night to try it out and said it was very comfy :)






Now waiting on parts to finish tying the Aux battery to the truck battery, more work soon.

Hodakaguy
 

shade

Well-known member
Looks great. Your heater box looks proper.

It's easy to catch the trailer plug on a rock, and I doubt the propane connection would fare any better. Do you plan to tuck it somewhere else when you install the rear bumper?
 

Hodakaguy

Adventurer
Looks great. Your heater box looks proper.

It's easy to catch the trailer plug on a rock, and I doubt the propane connection would fare any better. Do you plan to tuck it somewhere else when you install the rear bumper?
It should be tucked up out of the way, it's higher than the electrical plug and that stays clear...time will tell :)

Hodakaguy
 

Hodakaguy

Adventurer
More work on the truck today.....

First up is to install the new Northstar battery under the hood. Here's the original 2012 battery that's being replaced.




The Northstar we purchased is a Group 27, the original is a 27F. The 27 has the posts on the front of the battery instead of the back so the cables will have to be extended to fit. We got a good deal on the 27 so it's worth messing with the cables. We're running a Northstar 31M in the rear for the Aux batt.

Removing the OEM battery ends.




Fabricating new cables










While I was setting up the wiring dad was fabricating a stainless base for the ML-ACR.




The ML-ACR mounted/welded on the factory battery hold down bracket.






Fabricating the wiring for the ACR.




And wired up. The ML-ACR will auto combine the two batteries when the engine is running and the batts are charging, it will also separate the batteries to keep the trucks battery from getting drained when a load is on the aux battery. You can manually force combine the batteries to jump start the truck from the aux battery as well, a handy feature.






In this shot you can see the Blue Sea low profile fuse on the output of the ACR to protect the 4awg wiring going back to the aux battery, there is a fuse on each battery.




I'm installing a Powerlet port on the heater box to supply power to the ARB refrigerator. The Powerlet outlets are great, they snap in place and won't wiggle loose when going down rough roads like a standard cig plug will, you don't want power to the fridge going out unexpected. I'll be installing the 90 deg fitting on the end of the ARB power cord.







Continued below.......
 

Hodakaguy

Adventurer
Continued from above.....



Now to install the USB charger and standard cig plug in the back of the drifter. They will be located in the rear aluminum panel.




I'll be using a knock out to punch the holes for the power ports, they leave nice clean holes. I'll use a Unibit to make the pilot hole then the punch to finish it off.

Pilot hole drilled.




Setting up the knock out.






Final hole, nice and clean.




Drilling the pilot hole with the Unibit for the USB charger next.




And both units mounted up and ready for use!








When the USB ports are powered the battery voltage is displayed for the rear AUX battery. You can see that the rear battery hasn't been charged yet.






And back out of the shop. Ready to stay warm when camping :)








More to come.....

Hodakaguy
 

Josh41

Adventurer
Looking great as always, really enjoy watching your builds. I have a similar battery setup in my Nissan with AT Habitat, how do you plan on securing the battery in the bed?
 

shade

Well-known member
More work on the truck today.....

First up is to install the new Northstar battery under the hood. Here's the original 2012 battery that's being replaced.




The Northstar we purchased is a Group 27, the original is a 27F. The 27 has the posts on the front of the battery instead of the back so the cables will have to be extended to fit. We got a good deal on the 27 so it's worth messing with the cables. We're running a Northstar 31M in the rear for the Aux batt.

Removing the OEM battery ends.




Fabricating new cables










While I was setting up the wiring dad was fabricating a stainless base for the ML-ACR.




The ML-ACR mounted/welded on the factory battery hold down bracket.






Fabricating the wiring for the ACR.




And wired up. The ML-ACR will auto combine the two batteries when the engine is running and the batts are charging, it will also separate the batteries to keep the trucks battery from getting drained when a load is on the aux battery. You can manually force combine the batteries to jump start the truck from the aux battery as well, a handy feature.






In this shot you can see the Blue Sea low profile fuse on the output of the ACR to protect the 4awg wiring going back to the aux battery, there is a fuse on each battery.




I'm installing a Powerlet port on the heater box to supply power to the ARB refrigerator. The Powerlet outlets are great, they snap in place and won't wiggle loose when going down rough roads like a standard cig plug will, you don't want power to the fridge going out unexpected. I'll be installing the 90 deg fitting on the end of the ARB power cord.







Continued below.......
I hadn't seen a Powerlet before. It looks like they can accept heavier cable than a Blue Sea plug, which would help me make a better cable for my fridge. Thanks for the tip.
 

Hodakaguy

Adventurer
Looking great as always, really enjoy watching your builds. I have a similar battery setup in my Nissan with AT Habitat, how do you plan on securing the battery in the bed?
Thanks, The battery box is bolted down to the floor with four 1/4" bolts, the bottom of the box has a raised ridge that the battery sits on so there is clearance for the bolt heads. I still have to make a latch for the box lid.

Hodakaguy
 

Hodakaguy

Adventurer
I hadn't seen a Powerlet before. It looks like they can accept heavier cable than a Blue Sea plug, which would help me make a better cable for my fridge. Thanks for the tip.
It propably won't support much larger wire athough they are 100% better for a secure connection. You can always make a small pig tale at the plug then jump to larger gauge wire, this will minimize voltage drop and make the small pig tale insignificant when pulling low amperage such as a fridge.

Hodakaguy
 

shade

Well-known member
It propably won't support much larger wire athough they are 100% better for a secure connection. You can always make a small pig tale at the plug then jump to larger gauge wire, this will minimize voltage drop and make the small pig tale insignificant when pulling low amperage such as a fridge.

Hodakaguy
Blue Sea plugs top out at "heavy duty 18 gauge wire", but Powerlets go to 14ga. I use a fridge slide, so minimizing voltage drop past the outlet is important. I have a longer cord that I eBayed, but it's only 18ga, and it doesn't lock in the socket. I've had it come loose a few times when someone wasn't being careful with their bag, and I'd like to avoid that again.

I'll run 14ga from the Powerlet plug to the fridge end, and make that end a pigtail to accommodate the fridge connector. Thanks again for posting about the Powerlet. You may eventually save my bacon.
 
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