It has been a while since the last post. Part of the reason was because we were on a three week road trip to the Eastern Cape to test some of the changes we had made to the vehicle and also how we pack it. You can read about the trip here : http://www.raybyn4.blogspot.com
Most of the things we have changed work but we seem to have come back with even more things to do. A lot of the way we do things while on the road is okay for a short period but definitely not for 5 – 6 months. There are also a few small things that need changing.
One of the big things I want to do is move the second battery into the engine bay. It will make more space available in the back. Fortunately someone on the 4×4 community forum has done it in his Colt and was kind enough to provide a detailed explanation and photos of the process.
We have decided that we will remove the rear seat and backrest to utilize the extra space and then we will make some sort of shelving system. Coupled with that will be a more elevated charging station. The 220 volt inverter lives under the front passenger seat and that is where the multi-plug is. Trying to plug and unplug chargers with the back seat packed is a total pain so the inverter will stay where it is but the multi-plug will move to a console in the back. I am also fitting an accessible on/off switch for the inverter as even when there is nothing plugged in the inverter still draws current off the battery so we want to be able to easily switch it off when not required.
Staying with the electrics, I want to reroute the charging cable for the GPS so that it runs behind the dash and then permanently connect it instead of relying on the cigarette lighter plug connection. After driving on bumpy roads for a while it keeps disconnecting. We have a portable automotive inspection light which we use for around the campsite and in the tent which I want to change from fluorescent to LED, preferably a yellow colour to try and reduce the attraction for moths and other bugs. LED also uses way less current than fluorescent light.
Then there is outstanding work that I did not get to due to time. We would like to fit a snorkel which would be mounted on the drivers side. That means the awning would have to go on the passenger side of the roof rack. The roof top tent opens that side. Can you see where this is going? We are going to have to turn the tent around. Not as simple as it sounds. We did a water crossing on our recent trip and got water over the bonnet so I think a snorkel is long overdue. Not that we should be crossing too many rivers but it will definitely help with the dust.
Mounting the awning is also a bit of an ambitious project as the one I got is two and a half metres long and is not normally mounted on a double cab. My roof rack is also a little short to provide effective mounting for it. Oh dear. What have I got myself into?
It does not stop there. Storage space in the front of the vehicle is also limited so Lesley has talked me into putting up an overhead console so we have more places to put things.
A few minor things to do right at the back like a better air breather for the water tank and some sort of water level monitor as well as a shelf hanging off the canopy roof to store chairs and tables and we should be sorted. The uv light water filter did not last the trip. The glass tube into which the bulb is inserted broke while travelling over a mountain on a 4×4 trail. It is not a very practical design and I was sceptical of it working right from the beginning. It is not designed to be placed in the back of a bouncing bakkie rather under a counter top. The problem is the glass tube is only supported at one end in a steel cylinder. I want to give it another go if I can get a replacement one by applying silicone to the other end and getting it to stick to the wall of the steel cylinder. That way the glass tube will be supported at both ends.