Before I update here I wanted to let the few of you that have already seen the first post, titled NEW MEMBER / NEW INTERESTS / NEW MODS / SAME TOYOTA that yes, I changed the name of my thread. Since I actuallly plan to document this years build, I thought I might give it a title more represetative of what will be found within.
Without further chatter lets get to the update.
I've gotten myself wrapped up in quite a project. Since my last update no less than 30 hours have been sunken into this beast. I'm beat, and nowhere near where I need to be in one weeks time. This making room for the girls and lowering the center of gravity stuff has created a chain reaction of changes to the vehicle that I can't seem to stop. One decision impacts something else, then that solution impacts something else and so on. First it was make room for a rear seat so both girls can ride along. To do that I have to move the spare, the icechests, and the tools. All must be relocated, all in locations that contribute to the secondary goal of lowering the center of gravity. First, I moved the spare off the toolbox in the back to a swing away setup. In the position the tire is in and it's size, it actually adds some rollover protection to the back as long as it is super secure. I didn't think the DeStacto clamp that came with the EMS kit met the definition of 'super secure', so I used a push button pin I got from MSC Industrial to through pin the crossbar that is the foundation of the mount.
Not cheap. $70 with shipping. Ouch. I looked long and hard at that DeStacto clamp but just didn't see it holding a 36" tire secure enough for me to sign off on it.
Heres a shot of it in place. Works pretty good, could still be better. Need some hard rubber for the bottom of the "C" mount. I imagine I'll tweek on it more but for now I'm moving on. Too much more to get too before the Jamboree...
I feel pretty good about the holding power of the pin through that heavy steel. Still have to beef up the tire mount inself to insure it will carry the weight of the spare under all conditions, but I'll get to that this week..
I posted earlier about a chuck box idea I had for the back of that swing away tire carrier and I've made a discovery. It won't work there. I simply can't make it big enough to hold all my kitchen essentials. Period. Might be perfect for a expeditionary watering hole though... So I gave up on that for the time being and started on the tool tray.
There is a nice space under the bed that equates to about 2.5 cubic feet. Its 30" X 18" X 8". Its right next to the fuel tank, between the frame rails, under the bed. Low weight. Only problem is that it's on top of the muffler.
I see this as a perfect spot for tools and recovery gear. Easy outside the rig access, good weight to have down low my kit is at least 150 pounds, and tools can handle some heat. So I got to work. I started with something I already had, this ATV cargo carrier from our favorite importers of disposable tools, Harbor Freight...
When I saw this thing I thought.... I can butcher that right up. Actually I bought it last year thinking I'd make a different rack out of it, but it's going to work great for this. At least I think it will. Its super lightweight steel. Like .055 wall. your typical Harbor Freight Chinese junk but I'm reinforcing it a bit to be sure it holds. I started by laying it out on my welding table..
I marked out equal amounts from each side to section the two halves, then cut them with the Porta-band.
Then I cut some short sections of small 1/2"X1/2" box tubing to slide inside the almost 3/4" x almost 3/4" Chinese imitation steel the Cargo carrier was made out of and welded them in one side first.
You may notice the holes drilled in the cargo carrier bars. Those are only in the cargo carrier tubing, not the insert tubes. By drilling holes in the tubing and not the inner tubes, I create an extra weld point for a little more strength. That thin-*** metal is super hard weld, especially since I suck at welding. Its been a while, and it always takes me a good couple sessions to get dialed in again. Good thing I'm pretty good at grinding.
Once I had it all welded up (and ground back down ), I clamped it into location to see how it all fit. I didn't get the best photo of that at the time, but you can see the toolboxes under the bed in this photo..
This shot shows the toolboxes and recovery gear that I intend to carry here. You'll also notice in this pic that I have a battery box in the tray as well. This is where I decided to mount the auxilliary battery for the fridge and lighting.
I love the idea of having another 70 to 100 pounds under the bed, low weight again. But this spot is going to get hot, it's 2" above the muffler. Batteries don't like heat. Hear that? Yep, that there's a time vacuum that just ate another weekend day. I decided that the battery under the bed was worth shielding the heat and got to fabbing up a series of heat shields to protect the contents of the tool tray, primarily the battery that is going to cost a small fortune.