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South America 2008 Truck Preparation

Written by Robin on Sunday, March 2, 2008

As Raenelle pointed out in yesterday’s post, my responsibilities for our South America 2008 expedition include preparing the truck and dealing with our technological concerns. I thought it might be useful to talk about what I’m doing to the truck and related equipment to get ready.

    Here’s a basic list:

    • Fuel: I want to have greater range – currently we have about 600 km’s with a 90 L tank. I can get two more 45-50 L tanks installed under the truck, one beneath the driver and one beneath the front passenger. This should give us around 1200 km’s (750 miles).
    • Auxilliary Driving Lights: I haven’t decided which ones yet, but we need better lighting in the dark.
    • Auxillary Battery System: In the past all our accessories ran off our main truck starter battery while we were stopped. Now we’re installing a secondary 24 volt deep cycle system (the truck alternator is 24 Volts). We will have a 24-12V converter and a 120 V inverter as well as a battery isolator to keep the starting and accessory systems electrically isolated. We will have over 100 amp-hours of energy.
    • Fridge: We’ve just purchased a Norcold 60 Litre fridge (it’s sitting at my sister’s house in Seattle). This will operate for at least 3 days on our auxillary system at desert temperatures, and more where it is cooler.
    • Storage: the rear seats will be removed and a complete storage system built through-out the back of the truck. Features will include a full 4 foot slider that will come out the back as a food prep area, hidden shelving for clothing not in use, easy access to clothing boxes in-use, books and electronics shelving separated for dust and dirt, and a full flat area on top. We need the ability to sleep inside the truck on a temporary basis – while the roof tent is very capable, sometimes crazy storms are no fun!
    • Better Roof-Rack: The current rack is too small, and too difficult to tie down to. A heavier duty rack set a bit higher off the roof will solve that.
    • Various Mechanical Issues: ball joints, axle bearing, brakes…there’s a long list of maintenance items that I’ll be attending to over the next four months.

    Update, June 15 2008:

    Since we made that original list, we’ve added:

    • Turbo charger: Actually our new AXT Turbo is installed – just finished it now, in the morning I’ll start it up once the gasket goo has hardened.
    • Modify exhaust: to go along with the new turbo. 2.5″ pipe, hopefully no muffler required if the turbo does what it’s supposed to do.
    • Better tire carrier: the one we have is a little flimsy and sometimes makes a bit of noise and rattling. Need something sturdier.
    • Modify front end: To accomodate the auxilliary system we need to cut the front fenders and make the hood larger. That will give us precious room in the engine bay to mount our new electrics and batteries.

    That’s a lot!

    Further Reading on South America 2008:
    Comment by Chris Scott
    March 3, 2008 @ 11:53 pm

    R and R,

    Don’t overload man! Be interesting to see the rig. That HJ I called you about fell through: frame too rusted for me to deal with. I lack the expertise and time. Now looking at a US FZJ 80, with a view to putting a 1hdT in it when available from a donor. In truth, though, i’ll end up with a motorized skateboard…good luck!

    July 5, 2008 @ 8:55 pm

    Don’t bother with the fuel-range in South America. Maybe you’ll have to wait sometimes to get fuel, but there will be stations wide spread. It’s not like Africa.

    Comment by Josh
    August 21, 2008 @ 9:16 pm

    Still reading through your site… that’s so cool I see you guys are from Victoria too! (so am I!) Good call on the turbo you WILL be thanking yourself in the Andes. Without it you would end up missing many things by planning your route away from mountains.
    The fuel storage is important IMO. Sure you can find fuel everywhere, but if you want to go exploring offroad in the desert or elsewhere for a few days you’ll be needing some jerry cans if you don’t have built in aux fuel storage options. As for your aux lights… some nice fog lights and then some MASSIVE lights for buses and jerks who blind you with theirs down here would be MY dream.
    Love the sound of the slide out kitchen, and yes sleeping inside is sometimes a need. I really hope to run into you guys somewhere down here in South America… your cruiser sounds way too cool!

    Josh Lambert

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