Home made rooftop tent for XJ

AFSOC

Explorer
Wow! I love this kind of creativity and inovation. I can't wait for the next installment. My favorite builds on this site are just that...builds. Anyone can buy it and bolt it, it's folks like you who devise it and develop it who really inspire.
 

MHead

Adventurer
AFSOC said:
By the way...is that a Pith Helmet?
Yes it is! Dr. Livingston I presume? Well, maybe not pith actually. It's a straw weave I think impregnated with a resin. But it looks just like one.

Purchased in Mexical Hat at a shop just where the highway crosses the river. Really good for heat. The weave is loose enough to let the air pass thru, there's an internal band that holds the hat away from your head, it comes down low on all sides for sun protection, and it's heavy enough not to blow off in normal winds.

My favorite hat.

Thanks for the 'builds' comment. Bolting on is a noble pursuit as well. It's just fun to modify and to create no mater how it is done. I'm just fortunate to have a good set of tools and a vehicle I can dedicate to a specific purpose.
 

AFSOC

Explorer
Yes, no slight to the bolt on bunch...at my best, I am one too. I just meant that I value those who forge new ground.
 

MHead

Adventurer
Refrigeration!

I've added a Engel refrigerator and improved the canopy.

First picture shows the canopy improvement, which is to add 'wings' from canopy down to tail lights. These will block wind and showers if jeep is parked pointed into wind. Just gives a little more enclosed space without any sacrifice in set up time. The canopy tended to blow upwards in the wind, these give it more stability. Also shown is the new Engel refrigerator.

Second picture shows a closer view of refrigerator and rear shelf with propane burner. Setup and ready for coffee.

Third picture shows new, second battery, mounted in jeep. The refrigerator takes electrical power. I need reliability for starting and normal starting batteries aren't designed for deep discharge cycles so I added a Optima battery. Not visible due to it's being mounted on the battery bracket, is a Hell Roaring Tech battery switch. This electronic gadget connects the two batteries together when it senses 13.5 Volts or more on the starting battery thus charging the Optima when engine runs and disconnecting it when engine is stopped. Optima is wired to Engel refrig so when engine is stopped refrig only draws down Optima bat.

Fourth picture shows solar cells. The Optima will run refrig for a day or so but for longer periods some means of charging Optima is needed. One way of course is to run the vehicle but if parked for several days it's convenient to provide solar power. Solar cells shown are from BP Solar and can give 40 Watts power in bright sun. In between the panels and difficult to see is a small electronic regulator that is designed to charge 12 V lead-acid batteries. This panel has wires to light-duty battery clips and so can be used independently of jeep to charge any 12 V lead-acid battery. Cells connect to Optima by raising the hood and cliping to battery terminals. There's a zippered bag at top to contain the wires.

Fifth picture shows storage for the canopy (longer tan bag) and solar cells (shorter tan bag at left below). The solar cell bag zips shut and holds 15' wire and battery clips. There's a vertical, velcroed strap to retain the solar cells and two straps to retain the canopy. Oh yeah...picture in the jeep rear window is Monument Valley. Although it looks like a poster, I actually took that picture and had it printed. What a day that was!

Sixth picture shows rack that solar cells slide into beneath the main cargo rack.

Solar cell supports and solar cell rack are all aluminum to keep the weight down.

Tried this system in California's Sierra Nevada mountains this past weekend. Ideal conditions due to brillant full-day sun and cold night time temperatures. Plenty of charging power and little need to refrigerate at night. Optima discharged into the 12.5 V range (not much discharge) overnight and became fully charged after only an hour or perhaps two of sun. I'm expecting a more demanding situation this winter in the desert with hot days and nights. Stay tuned...

Last picture is jeep loaded for travel. 4 people X 3 nights fully self contained. Taken in front of Tom's Place just below Mammoth Lakes, CA. One of my favorite places.
 
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stick

Adventurer
Simply amazing. Great work on the cargo system in the rear of the XJ and very nice work on the tent. :safari-rig:
 

OverlandZJ

Expedition Leader
So cool... :punk03:

But i gotta say... of all people i figured you for the guy who would BUILD his own Fridge/Freezer.
 

highlandercj-7

Explorer
Nice work, It's hard to beat a good XJ. They provide a huge bang for your buck. It's amazing what they can do with a simple 3" lift and 31's:)
 

MHead

Adventurer
OverlandXJ said:
So cool... :punk03:

But i gotta say... of all people i figured you for the guy who would BUILD his own Fridge/Freezer.
Well... I actually did start that way. I purchased a used electric refrig from an RV dealer for $100 and ripped (literally) it to shreds without damaging the electronics or heat exchangers. I figured I'd put the cold exchanger into my cooler and attach the pump/motor and hot exchager on the outside back. But subsequently to my delight I discovered an Engel model that just exactly replaced the cooler so no mods were required. I also discovered that the Engel consumed much less power than the old junk I had and that sealed the deal. Too much money but after I got over that part everything went smoothly.

Yes, in 'bang for buck' XJ is one of the best if not the best. They are tough, there's a good aftermarket supply of add-ons, they run forever, easy to work on, and they are cheap. I am resisting a lift beyond the 1" I've got. All the stuff on top raises the center of gravity enough without lifting the moter and body another 3". XJ's main failing is that if they roll over the window pillars are bent and can't be repaired and the vehicle must go get junked or maybe have an extreme top chop. I know. Lost one this way. The reason to lift is for larger tires to get axle clearance and the ability to roll over lager obstacles. But my objective is remote camping and I've found that there are many places at the end of even smooth dirt roads that no one visits.

By the way, if you are reallly into XJ I just tried installing a bored and stroked motor. Without success I'm afraid to admit. But man that motor really made the old, overloaded, XJ jump. There's a saga at

http://www.naxja.org/forum/showthread.php?t=939290

Mike
 
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highlandercj-7

Explorer
Yeah I been wanting to do a 4.7L stroker for my XJ, but I was waiting till the orginal got tired. 187K and she's still not tired lol.. I wanted a street sleeper. Have someone pull beside me in a BMW ute and spank em with the old grocery gitter. Nutting like smoking a 50K machine with aa 4k one lol...
 

MHead

Adventurer
highlandercj-7 said:
Yeah I been wanting to do a 4.7L stroker for my XJ, but I was waiting till the orginal got tired. 187K and she's still not tired lol.. I wanted a street sleeper. Have someone pull beside me in a BMW ute and spank em with the old grocery gitter. Nutting like smoking a 50K machine with aa 4k one lol...

Too bad... you've got a while to wait at 187K for a 4.0 to wear out. They just run and run and run. When the time comes though, get a spare motor, build it locally with a shop you trust, and then do a swap. My XJ was down for nearly 6 months with the stroker attempt. Don't let it happen to you.

But it really jumped when it was 4.6. Now it's back to 4.0 and it does OK save when the hills come. Guess that's all I really need. After 6 months of no camping I'm just happy to get there, even if slowly.

Oh yeah, expect to buy at least 89 octane gas if not 91 for a stroked motor. But you might actually get a slight bit better gas mileage if you don't drive too crazy. Overall it will be more expensive to operate. But it is fabulous not having to shift down to 3rd at the slightest hill and great to be off the front at the traffic signals...
 

arjp

New member
MHead:

Very nice job!

Reminds of my own rooftop (bought 10 years ago and modified for 30seconds setup and 2min or less to be packed and stowed! )
I also built an interior setup (Jeep XJ) that sleeps two plus gear (but it's for a two-door model and the front seats have to fold forward).
On the stroker, my 4.7L runs on 87 Oct. These things need to be properly built, there's no question about it.

Nice pictures too (must be DSLR). Oh, and then you got that CA outdoors advantage... no 95/95 (95F at 95 percent humidity, --which makes the outdoors miserable during July/August many places east of you) :)

I didn't read the whole thing, but your rear leafs may be happier if assisted with those air levelers (usually for heavy trailer use), and this would be the perfect application.

AR.
 

sdjeep

Adventurer
I must say, very impressive build! I need to get organized like that with my LJ.

On a side note, were the pics in the first post taken in a side canyon just though the narrow part of Canyon Sin Nombre? I swear i have been there before....
 
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