ROTW - Manrigdude

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by ManrigDude, Jan 22, 2006.

  1. ManrigDude

    ManrigDude

    Joined:
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    I’ll start with why I built this thing. I have a Chevy Suburban that’s my wife’s daily driver. I’ve installed some lights, dual batteries, and have a multi-mount winch setup for off road use. However, every time I got ready to go on a fly fishing trip, I had to unload all the kid stuff out of the Suburban (car seats, toys, empty Poptart wrappers, the works). Then, I’d have to put all that stuff back in when I got back (minus perhaps the Poptart wrappers). Then, the bitchin’ would really start on Monday morning when my wife got in to go to work. “My car smells like cigars” “why is there empty .22 brass all over the floor of my car?” You know, the typical complaints. So, I decided I needed a “Man Rig” (hence the user name) for my activities that I could modify without constraints of a daily driver.

    So, I started my search for the ultimate “Man Rig”. Reliablitity and durability were most important given that I would often be WAY off the beaten path. Then came off-road capability and ability to carry a lot of cargo for extended trips. I researched Jeeps (Cherokees), Land Rovers (Range Rovers), and finally settled on a Land Cruiser based largely on reading this forum.

    I began trying to find a locked 94-97 80 series. I eventually found one at a great price up in Seattle. I think the reason the price was so reasonable was: 1) it had 205K miles which I’m sure scares a lot of people 2) the “check engine” light was on which I’m sure scares other people 3) the previous owner smoked like a chimney and the whole inside was covered in a nasty smoke film. None of that really bothered me (given what I planned to do with it) so the project began!
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  2. ManrigDude

    ManrigDude

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    I spent a whole day cleaning out the smoke funk from the inside. Sure, I planned to get the inside plenty nasty with dust, cigars, etc. but somehow a strangers funk is different and that had to go immediately. I unhooked the battery cable and the “ckeck engine” light went off and hasn’t been seen since.

    Since the rig had highway tires on it when purchased, I’m sure it was never taken off-road. However, gaining comfort with the high mileage took a little effort. Given the mileage and unknown service history, the first step was a complete baselining of all fluids and the following PM replacements: water pump, thermostat, all belts and hoses, fuel filter, battery, alternator, spark plugs, plug wires, starter contacts, KN air filter, and anything else that looked iffy.

    I found that it also needed brakes so I ordered a DBA kit (with 4000 series slotted rotors) and PBR pads from Man-a-fre. The kit also came with extended stainless steel brake lines which I would need later anyway for the lift. I noticed a big increase in stopping power with this kit.

    Then the accessorizing began (a dark day for the checkbook).

    I had a local Land Cruiser shop (Land Cruiser Northwest) install a 3” OME lift with 850/863 heavy springs and L shocks, castor correction bushings, and an OME steering stabilizer. I was comfortable doing most of the work for this project myself but I wanted the lift done by the pros (especially the castor correction bushings which I understand can be a bear to get installed correctly).
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  3. ManrigDude

    ManrigDude

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    For tires and wheels I chose 16” Rock Crawler steel wheels (from 4 wheel parts) and 33” 285/75 16 BF Goodrich MT’s (from Costco). I ordered 6 of everything since I eventually wanted to mount 2 spares. (Notice how high the rear end sits before the roof rack, sliders, and drawer system goes on).
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  4. ManrigDude

    ManrigDude

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    The ARB in the front has a 12,000 lb Warn winch and 2 Hella Rallye 4000 euro beams. I wired the Hellas through relays to work with the high beam headlights. This is critical because it lets you actually USE your auxilary lights when the there is other traffic. When just wired through a separate switch, you end up having to hurry and reach over to flip the switch on and off every time you pass an oncoming car (for fear of burning out their retinas and sending them into a ditch). With this setup, you just use the high beam dimmer as usual.
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  5. ManrigDude

    ManrigDude

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    For the roof rack I chose a Wilderness rack. It’s not as heavy duty (or as heavy) as an ARB or some of the other racks but all of the mounts/accessories were easily available and it ships disassembled so it doesn’t cost a fortune for shipping. The rack holds: 2nd spare tire, pull pal winch anchor, shovel, axe, 6’ heavy pry bar, Hi Lift jack, 5 gal NATO fuel can (not shown in pic), 2 48” bridging ladders, 4 Hella Rallye 4000 Compact lights in front (w/ 100w bulbs), and 2 Hella work lamps in back (w/ 2 55 watt bulbs each).
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  6. ManrigDude

    ManrigDude

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    I routed the wiring for the lights from the relays in the engine compartment, through the firewall in the drivers footwell, up through the windshield pillar, and through a hole I drilled in the roof. It is sealed with a rubber grommet and some silicone sealant on the inside (no leaks yet!)

    I wired the backup / work lights with a 3 way switch so you can have them 1) off 2) on automatically when you shift into reverse or 3) manual on. They work great for backing out of a dead-end at night, setting up camp, backing a boat trailer at night, etc.
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  7. ManrigDude

    ManrigDude

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    It’s great to have the Pull Pal when you need it but DANG they can be a storage problem. The Wilderness Pull Pal mount works great but you need longer bolts if you have the larger anchor like mine because the mount is really meant for the small size anchor. It looks like I probably need to hit this thing with a rattle can.
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  8. ManrigDude

    ManrigDude

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    The rear bumper is a Kaymar tow bumper with spare tire carrier. I have mounted an external power outlet below the bumper to power my multi-mount winch (from the Suburban), jumper cables, inverter, and air compressor (discussed later).
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  9. ManrigDude

    ManrigDude

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    Other exterior armor is from Slee including slider steps, A/C dryer skid plate, and transfer case skid plate. I also installed the Slee bump-stop extension blocks and swarbar drop brackets to keep the rig from tearing itself apart during articulation.
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  10. ManrigDude

    ManrigDude

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    I have installed a dual battery system using an Optima Blue top and a Hellroaring automatic isolator (top of firewall PS). The water bottle relocation kit from Slee was a huge fabrication time-saver and highly recommeded.
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  11. ManrigDude

    ManrigDude

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    The Hellroaring isolator is the only way to go in my opinion. It’s totally automatic (isolates automatically when a heavy load is present ie. winching, then returns to “combined” status when the load disappears) or you can combine/isolate manually with the switch . The l.e.d. status light on the dash also warns you of alternator trouble or whenever your battery draw is exceeding your alternator output.

    The accessory fuse block (for the front lights, front rack lights, rear rack lights, and rear power outlets) is mounted along with the light relays near the top of the firewall DS. In retrospect, I wish I had used a more waterproof fuse block with a cover but maybe I’ll swap that out someday. Below the fuse panel is the filter for the differential breather extensions (just completed last weekend).
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  12. ManrigDude

    ManrigDude

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    Internal modifications / accessories include a Garmin 60CS GPS with external antenna and hard-wired power. You can also see the switches / LED’s for the lights, winch solenoid, and dual battery system.

    I have installed an XM satellite radio receiver in the top of the center console. It is hard wired for power, cassette tape adapter to stereo, and antenna (mounted PS by the windshield wiper). This location is perfect since it’s easy to access but out of the way.
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  13. ManrigDude

    ManrigDude

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    The CB radio mounts to the back of the center console. I only install it for club runs so the power is not hard-wired. I just run the power and antenna cables under the rear floor mat to the rear power outlet and out the rear sliding window for the antenna (Wilson magnet mount).
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  14. ManrigDude

    ManrigDude

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    The rear drawer system holds all my recovery hardware, tools, and emergency gear. This keeps it accessible when all the other gear is loaded on top. Also, it gives me a good place to secure my fridge (Engel 35), the rear winch, and tie-downs for any other gear. The lockable drawers feature full-extension slides with approx 250lb per drawer capacity and spring loaded handles.

    On the driver’s side of the box I have mounted a 1,500 watt power inverter. To use it, I just pull out the power cable with Warn quick connect plug and plug it into the winch power outlet down below under the bumper. Then I’ve got 110v power for a small electric chainsaw, Dremel tool, florescent work / camp light (all in the drawers along with a 100’ extension cord). Other possible uses include: blender, charger for laptop computer, whatever!

    On the PS of the box I have additional storage for long items such as a large crowbar, tarp, bundle of rope, and a small brush axe.
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  15. ManrigDude

    ManrigDude

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    The PS drawer carries all my recovery gear (winch extension cable, snatch blocks, chain, straps, winch remote, gloves, etc), a tire repair kit, and an Extremeaire compressor. I installed a Warn quick connect to the power cord so I just run the cord down to the winch power outlet, flip the switch in the cab, and off it goes with plenty of juice. Works AWESOME for blowing up float tubes not to mention airing back up after wheeling.
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  16. ManrigDude

    ManrigDude

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    The DS drawer carries tools, jumper cables (with Warn quick connect), first aid kit, repair manual, and tons of other survival gear. I could put together a complete inventory if anybody is interested but that’s probably a whole other thread.
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  17. ManrigDude

    ManrigDude

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    I wired 3 power outlets in the back for the fridge, CB radio, and one extra. The power comes directly from the auxilary fuse block in the engine bay.
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  18. ManrigDude

    ManrigDude

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    I mounted a fire extinguisher on the rear pillar using the seat belt bolt as well as a couple of other screws into the sheet metal. It seems very secure and reasonable accessible if needed (at least it won’t be buried with other gear).

    The rear winch gets strapped down to the top of the drawer system (don’t want THAT thing ending up in the front seat!
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  19. photogod

    photogod

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    It's greaat to see the transformation from a grocery getter to a real road worthy rig. Very nice job!. It gives me things to think about for the remainder of my needed mods. very very cool.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2006
  20. ManrigDude

    ManrigDude

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    Upcoming projects include PHH hose replacement (I’ve had the parts on my workbench for months but never seem to find the motivation for this PITA) as well as center diff lock switch / Pin 7 mod. The fender flares will probably eventually have to go as well since they have nearly been ripped off on rocks several times already.

    So, here’s the current state of this project. I think it’s just about perfect for what I wanted and I couldn’t be happier with its performance so far. I know I’m not the first to do any of these modifications and I got most of the ideas from this forum so thanks to everyone who unknowingly helped. Let me know if you have any questions on any of these mods and I’ll be happy to help.
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