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Thread: Troopy build-up details

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    68

    Default Troopy build-up details

    Hello all,

    I wanted to document the build-up of our troopy. I'll do it sections at a time, when time permits.

    We bought it in October 2002. I spent quite some time in Sydney looking for a good Troopy. All the kitted out ones were too expensive, all the 78 series ones were too expensive, the cheap ones were beat up, yaddy ya.

    Finally, I found one down near Canberra, with Victoria plates. The Victoria plates turned out to be lucky as they can be renewed without an inspection - you only need an inspection when transferring ownership - I can renew the rego online. It had no rust, only 70k kilometers, and all maintenance records. It was pretty bare bones - not even the back seats. It included two diesel tanks, 90 liters each, a snorkel and, inside, a cargo barrier, which turned out to be great.

    Back in Sydney, we rented a house for the month, with a garage, and I spent a few weeks kitting it out, with occasional trips into the bush to test things out. I went to various 4wd shows and got "show prices" on almost all the gear, which really made things a lot cheaper.

    Let me start with the outside.

    I added a front bull bar, with a Warn winch. Tabs were welded on for the lights - one fog and one driving light - and the lights were spot-welded on, to avoid theft.





    I bought a Kaymar rear bumper, with dual swing-away tire carriers. A lot of folks have had rear door hinge trouble when they keep the tire on the door. Plus having two spares is pretty crucial for way outback Australia and Namibia. The tires can be locked onto the carrier. Also, I had a small tab welded onto the tire carrier so that I can lock the left-hand tire carrier - this means the rear door cannot be opened. Since the cargo barrier separates the front of the troopy from the rear, locking the rear door this way makes the back very secure.









    You can see from that last photo that I have the Hi-Lift tucked underneath. I have not been very happy with that decision. It does keep the weight low, but it gets really caked with dust and getting it out is a real PITA. The holding pins sheared off and now it is held in by spit and bailing wire. Dumb. I have been meaning to move it somewhere else, but just haven't around to it. One day, I'll get stuck butt-deep in mud and that will be my payback for delaying that move.

    Up top, I got a full-length roof-rack, which is designed for use with a roof-top tent - there are railings along the front half but not the back half:





    The roof-rack has a full-length gutter rail, with four clamps on each side. I have had no problems with it at all, but I wish I had paid for anodized (??) rather than painted. Others have had trouble with this same model and had to weld repair.

    The plastic box on top is for storing light stuff, like sleeping bags, tent, tarps, hammock, etc.

    The roof-top tent is a Howling Moon 1.4 Deluxe, which was simply fantastic for 2 people, in Australia and Africa. It sets up in just a few minutes. The foam mattress is 2.5 inches think and very firm and comfy. You can close it up with sheets, pillows, and a reasonably thick blanket. When open, it covers our cooking area from sun or rain. If windy, we can wrap tarps around the cooking area. In Africa, it is nice to be high enough that only elephants can mess with you. We have had no trouble with ours, except when my Mom drove into a tree branch. Yes, it does make it top-heavy but that is a price I am willing to pay for a comfy place to sleep.



    One downside is that it does not do well in high winds - above 20 mph wind and you have trouble sleeping, above 40 mph and it is time to sleep elsewhere. The rain fly on our older model pretty much sucks - it flaps around in the slightest breeze, and I often remove it when the chance of rain is low. (The newer models have a much better design.)

    Another downside is that they really are more appropriate for desert travel. If it is wet when you pack it up, all the bedding will get a bit damp - not terrible, but not all that much fun day after day. You need to get it dry every few days. The rainy season in eastern Africa was not a big problem because it seemed to rain hard and then clear up quickly. But here in Seattle, where it can be damp/wet for days, it could be a drag.

    Finally, underneath, I put on much beefier springs both front and back and added an ARB locker to the rear.





    Originally, I put on BFG ATs, which lasted all the way through Australia and many months in Africa. They were incredibly chipped by the end and totally blew out when they finally went. BFGs were too expensive in Namibia, so I got some Dunlop Road Grippers, which lasted quite a while, but really sucked in mud. I will go back to BGFs now that I can get them at US prices.

    That's enough for now. More later...
    Last edited by cweight; 05-19-2013 at 02:49 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Eugene, OR. USA
    Posts
    1,834
    Quote Originally Posted by cweight View Post
    Hello all,




    That's enough for now. More later...
    I would not want to dig that jack out of the mud or sand/silt.....easy to put it on the Bull Bar! Buried down to the doors I would be more then kicking my butt for sticking the hi lift there! You're just putting us on right? The only time I ever put one there was decades ago when I broke a body mount on a cj5.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    350
    HI great truck very had to kill .
    Only thing that let us down was the fuseable link on the battery.
    Service it often and you will never have too many problems.
    Check wheel bearings.
    Get a Kaymar HI-lift jack holder which goes on your spare wheel,we used one for about 10 years great idea now it lives on our camper trailer.
    ARB i think do one on to go on the roof rack but they are too heavy to be up there lifting it on and off.
    And where you have your Hilift jak now is a great spot for a water tank , you can fit about 65L tank in there.
    Rotate wheels every 10k.

    Pete and Kel

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    177

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Denton, TX
    Posts
    4,650
    Nice truck. An interesting and notable thing that I like is your placement of the Hi-Lift jack. Most of us only use ours for "bling" purposes anyways, but travel in the regions you have means you need to keep it somewhat hidden. Note taken!
    Scott Brown- Overland Guide and Photographer
    1995 Montero SR--
    1988 FJ62 Landcruiser (project)--1987 4Runner(sold)--1997 Honda XR650L--


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    68
    No, I am not joking about the Hi-Lift being underneath - hey, pictures don't lie. The suggestion came from someone in Australia, where you are more likely to get stuck in sand than mud. With a winch as the primary extraction device, the Hi-Lift is a back-up in case of needing to pull backwards or sideways or in case of winch or winch battery failure, so it isn't quite as bad as it looks. I don't want it up on the roof-rack. On a rear tire, it would be in the way. On the top of the bullbar would be the easiest, but is illegal in some places. I may weld up something to hold it between the bull bar and the front grill - that would just a bit more discrete than up top of the bull bar. Yea, that's the ticket...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    68

    Default Next up... the engine compartment

    I have kept this troopy as stock as possible. Besides tagging into the electrical system, the only things I have changed in the engine compartment is to add a second battery, and a shower water heater.





    The primary starting battery is used only for starting, and a couple of the overhead interior lights that I couldn't be bothered to rewire. Everything else, winch, fridge, inverter, stereo, 12V cigarette-style power points, etc, runs off the secondary battery.

    That blue box on the front of the battery tray 1) is an isolator; 2) favors charging the primary battery (when the engine starts, it first checks that the primary battery is okay, and once it verifies that, starts charging the secondary); 3) only provides juice to the winch if engine is running and you flip a switch (inside); 4) does not charge secondary battery when winching (the theory being that the extreme draw of a winch can fool some charging systems into delivering too much juice, thus damaging the alternator - I have always been curious about whether this really is a problem...).

    I have gone through quite a few secondary batteries on this trip. The first one, which was supposed to be very high quality, lasted less than one year - probably beaten to death on the Gibbs River Road (Oz). The next one lasted a few years, but when it died in Africa, I could only find total junk and I have gone through two more since then (one, purchased in Nairobi, died after one month - the very first time I tried to do a test winch!). The secondary battery I settled on this time is Sears Platinum, which turns out to be identical to the Odyssey, but much cheaper.

    I have had little trouble with the starting battery, except that the one time it died, I was deep in the Okavango Delta and suddenly it would not start. I think this is because with a diesel, it takes quite a bit of juice to overcome the high compression - so it turns over just fine once you get over that hump. But the day that voltage drops to below where it can turn over, you are stuck. A quick jump across from the secondary started it right up. I installed a voltage meter on the dash, with which I can check voltage on either battery. I now carefully watch the voltages and particularly the voltage drop on starting.

    Another reason for dual batteries is for bush welding. Two batteries in series gives you 24 volts, which is just barely enough to stick weld, but three batteries at 36 volts is pretty good. I carry a couple of welding sticks and the glass from a welding helmet - choose the most macho cardboard box you have on board, cut a hole and tape the glass into the hole. We did need this on the Canning Stock Route - our buddies got a crack in their front spring mounts - we stopped and spent the afternoon drinking and welding. The weld was ugly but got us another couple hundred kilometers to the next town.



    Back on the firewall is the shower water heater. The engine coolant circulates through there, all the time. The pump is between the battery and engine (blue cap). I run a short hose down to a bucket full of cold water and another hose to a shower head mounted on a pole tied to the front bumper. If the engine is hot, you get a hot shower, if warm, then a warm shower.

    I haven't used this shower as much as expected. Most of this trip has been where it is pretty warm, so hot water has not been a priority. The few times we have used it, it has been nice, but thus far not worth the expense. I'll reserve judgment until I have traveled more in temperate climates.

    One final note on wiring. I ran massively oversized 12V hot AND ground power lines to various places in the vehicle, when I was first building it out. I prefer to ground directly to the battery, not to the body. At each power point, I added a small fuse box, with quite a few extra fuses slots - that turned out great, as I added a number of things later.

    Next up... the interior.
    Last edited by cweight; 05-19-2013 at 02:52 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Denton, TX
    Posts
    4,650
    Good stuff. Cant wait to see what else a real overlander has done to his truck.
    Scott Brown- Overland Guide and Photographer
    1995 Montero SR--
    1988 FJ62 Landcruiser (project)--1987 4Runner(sold)--1997 Honda XR650L--


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    68

    Default bush weld photos

    Ah, I finally found the bush weld photos...



    We found a metal post lying around.



    The 'finished' piece and the beer welding helmet.



    Repaired!
    Last edited by cweight; 05-19-2013 at 02:53 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Sandy, Utah
    Posts
    1,500
    Quote Originally Posted by cweight View Post
    Ah, I finally found the bush weld photos...


    We found a metal post lying around.



    The 'finished' piece and the beer welding helmet.


    Repaired!
    Awesome. Way to go!
    Mr. Moody-KF7ULD.
    The history teacher...


    Toyota 100 series cruiser.

    www.utahadventure.net

    http://www.springbar.com

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