Preparations to July 31, 2008

Truck work

I have sanded off the signwriting on the truck body. Once the weather is a bit more reliable and I can get into the garage (that’s a story all on its own) I will get the sides and back repainted.

Congo Trailers (they bought our factory some time back, after renting it off us) fitted a heavy duty towbar to the truck. For additional safety we will be using a 70mm ball and coupling. They are rated to 4.5tonne, even though the van comes in at about 3t. They also manufactured some aluminium loading ramps so the Suzi Sierra we have bought can be easily loaded into the back of the truck.

With the truck running on 24 volts and the caravan on 12 volts, I had a few decisions to make on how to get the two working together. The internet, mates and a few phone calls all helped me to sort it all out.

Caravan lights are all these new multi-voltage LED lights, so they are OK. Just got to wire up the socket. Into the truck I am adding 2 extra deep-cycle ‘house’ batteries to power a portable fridge and a 60amp 24V to 12V reducer. A dual battery isolator will sit between the start batteries and the house batteries. The reducer will supply 13.8 volts to the caravan and also to the electric brake controller in the truck cabin.

I chose GSL gear for the reducer and the dual battery isolator and also bought a 4-stage 240V to 24V/12V volt battery charger from them. This gear could have been either Redarc or GSL. I went with the GSL because it is more advanced – it will automatically cutoff batteries so that I do not flatten the truck start batteries and will disconnect the reducer before the caravan draws too much out of the truck house batteries. Another deciding factor was I could get GSL gear at very good pricing through an old business acquaintance. The GSL 60amp reducer came in well under the best deal I could do on a Redarc 40amp charge equaliser.

Just today I got to use the new battery charger, as the truck had flat batteries. Something has gone faulty in the last week or so and is draining the the truck start batteries down quicker than usual. I suspect the alarm system or its reducer is on the blink – just another job on the list. Very impressed with the charger but!

I have ordered a Tekonsha P3 Brake controller. That’s another wiring job to be done, once it arrives.

Earlier this week I picked up a 820 litre water tank to go in the back of the truck. The 12 volt water pump arrived this morning, it will be powered by the reducer. Thank goodness for the internet when you are a bit isolated from a capital city!

I am currently putting together a list of cable, fuses, etc to wire all this up.

Doing a job on Suzi.

We have owned a few different 4WDs. The GU Patrol ute was the best, but I still remember the fun Rod and I had with our first one, a Suzuki Stockman Ute. It was pretty cramped with him and me in the cabin but we did a lot of trips out the back of Moruya in it and it never missed a beat.

Space and weight dictated that something about the Suzuki size was on our shopping list. I managed to pick up a 1992 Sierra Hardtop just down the road for the right price.

Suzi - we look a bit like ma & pa in her, but she'll take us anywhere we want to go !

Our Suzi - we look a bit like ma & pa in her, but she'll take us anywhere we want to go !

A mate, Greg C, did a great job of fixing a bit of rust around the windscreen. I would like to put on a snorkel, bigger AT tyres and maybe extractors and do a suspension lift on Suzi. Otherwise she is running fine. At just on 1 tonne the truck won’t even know she’s in the back.

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