Oh boy. -NOW a build thread

deminimis

Explorer
Thanks. Trying to decide where to go next. I have a laundry list of must-dos, but not an unlimited budget. Do I spend the $2k+ for tunes and exhaust (improved mileage, no DEF, no Pemex worries), diesel generator, air bags and on-board air, or??? I'll probably go the cheapest route next and do the air bags and air. To clarify, I'm talking helper air springs, not a full-on air ride suspension. I like air ride (had it on a former rig), but if there's a failure, you are dead in the water. No bueno when at the bottom of Baja.
 

back woods

Observer
Get the deletes first. Get rid of the DPF, DEF, and egr. Have heard horror stories about DPF/DEF sensors going bunk and shutting the whole show down. If you plan on never going back you can sell the OEM exhaust system for a good chunk of change also.
 

deminimis

Explorer
I've only heard of real problems w/ Ford 6.4s using Pemex. Have yet to hear if an issue with any DEF rig. If you know of a newer Ram that's had an issue, please share because I'd sure like to know. Bags are definitely needed, so I need to check that off the list next.
 

back woods

Observer
I've only heard of real problems w/ Ford 6.4s using Pemex. Have yet to hear if an issue with any DEF rig. If you know of a newer Ram that's had an issue, please share because I'd sure like to know. Bags are definitely needed, so I need to check that off the list next.
It comes down to basic sensors that can go bad and strand the truck. The entire system can be running at 100% and one sensor goes out or you get some dirty DEF stranding the vehicle completely. Problem is it cannot be over rode unless you fix the problem. Sure it is a good system that works but look at all the BS involved. Lots of wires and delicate expensive parts that don't belong under a work truck.

 

deminimis

Explorer
Oh, I agree it needs to go. My former Silverado saw a real world 33% increase in fuel mileage when I redid the system. Just don't have the eggs in the basket right now (and losing warranty on a rig with only 10k miles on it is a bit scary too).
 

deminimis

Explorer
Upgraded the dinette slide awning (did the other side last year). Gave me an opportunity to finally finish cleaning up the factory caulking and replace with marine adhesive/caulking.
 

deminimis

Explorer
Well, at a cross road with this damn thing. I really want a diesel generator so I don't have to carry another fuel on board and I can run off my tanks. Also want quiet and efficient (my LP generator satisfies neither). Problem is, there are only 2 small diesel ones (3,000-3200kw) that I'd be interested in that are available. They are single cyl and air cooled. I would be okay with that, but they are far and few between when it comes to used. So, looks like I will get a Onan 6000kw RV QD generator next week. I will never need more than 3000kw, but such is life. Problem is fitting it. Really only two options. First, redo my lower boxes by moving them forward 2" and up approx 4" (was planned anyway). Then build the mount for the genny and driver side box (which will require I cut away much of the back and bottom of the driver side lower box). Idea is to fit most of the box around the generator space. Will take a fair amount of work to the box and I'll lose nearly all storage in that box (will probably have enough room left over for a couple of air compressor pumps at best). Bottom of the generator will be at roughly the same location of the boxes as they currently sit (lower than I would like). Option two is to replace the driver side upper 72" box with a 60" version. That would allow me, with some minor tweaks, to mount the generator in front of the box, on the flatbed, lengthwise. I would need to replace the 1/4 rubber mat I'm using with 1" stock trailer mats to raise the camper up (needed clearance) and likely move the front camper tie downs. I would also build a matchign alumn cover for the generator so it dowsn't lool so out of place and limits possible generator thieves. However, dropping $600+ for a new box and having the old one just sitting in my shop, unused, is a bitter pill. What to do, what to do....
 
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deminimis

Explorer
For those following along at home, I decided not to buy the 6000 watt diesel generator. Price was great, so it was hard to pass up. Wife didn't like the plan and it was going to be a nightmare to fit. I'll hold off for the right diesel genny for our needs (if ever). With that, it's time to beef up our electrical. Going to do it in stages. New 160 watt panel arriving tomorrow. That will bring me to 270watts. I'll add a third later for a total of 430 (if needed). Going to add a pure sine wave interver (either 2000 or 3000, haven't decided) and two additional batts once I decide where to put them (for a total of 420 amp/hrs). Eventually, I'll tie in the inverter with a 30 amp auto switch at the panel and increase my 45 amp converter/Charge Wizard to their 70amp version, as the final step. I'm going to snag a Honda 2000 generator in case we run things down and it's night or the snow is falling (fingers crossed), despite the fact that I really didn't want to carry another fuel on board. We have a barely used 2500 LP genny on board, but it's noisy and sucks down the propane, so it's just not a good option.

Unrelated to electrical, I'm installing air bags on the rear axle (if they ever show up).
 

bdj238

New member
Question for you. I'm also looking to up my electrical in the future, ideally in stages, and am trying to decide which to do first. I was considering beefing up my battery bank and then adding solar, rather than adding solar and then batteries. Any reason you went in the order that you did? Anything you would do differently on you electrical upgrades?

Also I don't have a generator either and hope to keep it that way! :)
 

deminimis

Explorer
Already had a 110 panel. Their new panels are 160. Amazon had a new return (damaged box) of the panel I wanted ( about $200 less than normal and it's a complete install kit and not just another expansion panel). So I snagged it (arrived today and it's perfectly brand new and the box damage was minimal). Also, the batt upgrade was going to take some thinking. Figured it out today. Going to buy another battery tray compartment, same as came with the rig. Spoke withe the mfr today, and it's reasonably priced, so will order up Monday, with two more batts and some 4/0 cable. Will have to wait until next month for the inverter, switch and bigger converter. Thought I'd do the inverter first, but the batt stuff is coming together quicker than planned. Wouldn't do anything different. I like the Go Power panels, inverter and switch and the Progressive Dynamics converter w/ Charge Wizard. I like GP's 30 amp controller (good for up to 480 watts), for a cheap simple install. Installed a new one in the Spring (and now have a new one in the box). Should I ever go to four panels, I'll have to go to a bigger controller and I'll go with a MPPT controller (Moringstar,most likely)
 
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deminimis

Explorer
A pic from last Spring in Baja (at Coco's). The battery box/door is the clean, vented, door on the dinette slide. Just ordered up the same from the OEM supplier. Will install it in place of the little compartment door towards the rear of the slide (I only use it to store straps and extension cords, so no real loss). We'll see how it looks once installed, but guessing I'll just remove all of the grey swish as it goes over the front batt box. I checked the volt drop due to the distance. If using 4/0, the voltage drop is de minimis at best.





I'm using Group 31 batts, so the cheapie slideout tray show above gets round-filed so the batts fit. If weather holds and I don't get bugged too much, rear bags go on the truck tomorrow. I plan to pull new solar wire to my controller (my orig setup uses the outdated MC3 connectors, so new wire with MC4 connectors) and install the second panel, if time allows. If the camper gods really smile upon me, perhaps I'll find the time to install a Wave 6 heater as skiing is just around the corner.
 
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deminimis

Explorer
Pulled new solar wire to the controller. Nice and clean with no butt connections like before. Discovered my old panel was hard wired directly to the controller. Rewired the panel so it now has the current MC4 connectors. Hot wire in the solar junction box was a bit loose, and both were undersize, so good thing I tackled that little project. Installed my new panel, but don't have the wire to connect it now (used one of my two mc4 extension cables for the old panel wiring).
 

deminimis

Explorer
Olympian Wave 6 plumbed and working. Currently using it as a portable until I fab up a semi-permanent mount in front of the kitchen sink rear window. Ordered a Blue Sea sub panel in preparation for the eventual inverter install. Need to get after the new batt box install, but it's a short camper work day.
 

deminimis

Explorer
My latest solar install was bugging me, so removed the panel (by removing the difficult to get to bolts/nuts that attach the panel to the z brackets, as opposed to removing the z brackets from the roof) and installed four additional z brackets that tie into the roof structure better. Was a pain and could have been avoided by doing it right the first time, but now it's done and it isn't going anywhere.

Replaced the orig automatic transfer switch (ATS) with a new one and wired up a second, matching, ATS for the the eventual inverter install. To install the second one, I had to do some rearranging, but it's now mounted with lots of 10/2 coming out of it (main panel or inverter feeds through this ATS to the sub panel (outlets and microwave only)). Thus hook up should be a breeze. I have to pull wire from the ATS to the other side (where the inverter will be located, but just didn't feel like screwing with that today). I'll wire up the sub panel in the AM perhaps while I'm waiting for it to warm up a bit outside.



I could not put it off any longer. Made a big hole in the side of the camper for the second battery box. Nothing too unexpected and it's coming together nicely. The small factory compartment hole (where I'm installing the box) was way bigger than it needed to be and considerably wider than I need in the middle. I've filled the hole (and then some) with 1/2 poplar that I laminated for strength. Just got it covered in plastic before the sun dropped. Heater going so the glue will cure overnight. Tomorrow, I'll start covering the filler with remnant sheathing and fill seams with Marine Tex. The battery box door covers nearly all of it anyway, but I'd rather it look right. Once all done, it will get a new swoosh to tie it all together.





Got the sub wired in (30amp branch from main to second ATS and then to sub). Out of the way, but easily accessible. Now everything is on its own circuit (microwave, galley outlets, cabin outlets from sub, and converter/charger, fridge, AC, WH, and Sub from main). Much better layout.



Finished up the battery hole for the most part. Glued stripes of exterior skin that I scavenged from enlarging the hole vertically, to cover the too wide former hole sides. Filled the voids with Marine Tex and have heat on it for 24hrs+ (loose bag on the outside with heater from the inside directed at the area). I'll have to install the box this afternoon and any Marine Tex touch-ups, if any, will have to wait until Spring and decent temps (hasn't been above freezing for days). They screwed up my batt order, so I'll snag the correct batts tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be able to wrap up the second batt bank install, along with the inverter install, this weekend, but we'll see. I do hate crawling around in that basement area. Once my wallet cools down in a month or so, I'll add two more panels and a 45 amp mppt controller.
 
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deminimis

Explorer
The second batt box is in for now. At 23 degrees, it's just too damn cold to mess with it. I need to lower it 1/8" so it matches the other and to make me happy. One of those who would notice kinda deals, but it bugs me. I also need to use less butyl tape when I redo it (too cold for it to squish out, so can't get the box flange to seat flush with the wall). Could be worse I suppose. My kingdom for a Sunday with sun, 40 degree temps and no wind.

 
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