drivendaily Reader
Jan. 10, 2018 12:02 a.m.

Oh man, a lot has happened since the last update here. We finally scrapped the murdervan-themed overhead door.

We replaced it with some steel-framed swinging doors, which are mostly-good. I didn't realize that this latch was designed to be per-door, not shared across the two. It works for now, but I really need to add a second set of lights. I'll probably add a ridge around the edges of it though. One of the best things about it is that the doors swing ALL the way open (270 degrees) to sit flush with the sides of the box. Pretty snazzy, I'd say.

Swapping the doors negated the need for the overhead door tracks, which negated the need for the murdervan-themed plywood lining the insides. I removed one of them so far, and have started reorganizing a bit.

One of the headlights died too, so I decided it was time to upgrade to LEDs. Definitely a worthwhile investment.

Finally, the interior dome light had died at some point, and it was time to replace it. Rather than installing a new mouse-graveyard though, I thought 1/4amp worth of LEDs would be more reasonable.

The result: I could probably skip having headlights now. It's pretty sweet. I'll have some more updates coming over the next month or so, but the more chatter that happens on here the more I'll remember to post. I can't wait for the 2018 race season, and really want to have my support vehicle 110% situated for it.

Recon1342 Reader
Jan. 10, 2018 2:25 a.m.

LED’s are the only way to go. They make quite a difference, don’t they?

the box looks a ton better with all the plywood gone. Are you planning on insulating or paneling the inside of it?

drivendaily Reader
Jan. 10, 2018 9:26 a.m.

Yeah, that's the plan. I haven't decided which type of insulation I'd like to use yet. I'm certainly open to suggestions, but I'm willing to sacrifice rvalue if it doesn't take up additional floorspace (around 1/2" thickness or so) and stays lightweight. The second concern I have is reducing condensation; I'd like to be able to hang a hammock in here without getting soaked overnight.

I'll probably add protective panels on top of that as well, but again haven't decide on what to use. I'm not generally a fan of wood.

java230 SuperDork
Jan. 10, 2018 9:31 a.m.

Id use XPS foam (the blue or pink stuff) and FRP over it if you dont like ply. You definitely want something as you will dent the aluminum skin from the inside with stuff.

 

As to condensation, insulation will help a little, but really you need air flow. The moisture has to get out. Look at Maxxfans, get the one with the remote..... I wish I had spent the extra on it.

drivendaily Reader
Jan. 10, 2018 12:33 p.m.

So ... leave the aluminum skin exposed and keep hitting it with tools to make speedholes for better ventilation. This problem will solve itself naturally laugh

XPS looks ideal, but I'll have to have a look at weight. While the box truck is capable of hauling ungodly amounts of weight, I'd like to be diligent about where I use that weight capacity. I'd much rather have extra tools and spare parts than insulation along the walls and roof (which exacerbate rollover problems).

The fan suggestion reminds me that I need to draw up a wiring diagram for all the accessories I want to be able to run on 12v batteries. So far, the accessories I want (on my current 10-gang fuse box) are:

  1. Small 12v air pump (for tires)
  2. Box ceiling lighting
  3. Box ceiling fan
  4. USB charging bank (10 ports)
  5. External canopy lighting
  6. Laptop
  7. ???
  8. ???
  9. ???
  10. ???

I'd like to avoid running an inverter, since getting one with decent capacity and efficiency is prohibitively expensive. 12v should power just about anything I could want, anyway. Suggestions as to what else I should plan to have on here?

java230 SuperDork
Jan. 10, 2018 3:23 p.m.

Insulation is really light. Spec sheet I found from Owens Corning says 120-130lbs per 1000 sq ft at 1" thick. The FRP/ply etc will be much more.

 

12V outlets should be added. External lights at the back door? 12V fridge?

drivendaily Reader
Jan. 12, 2018 10:24 a.m.

I replaced the main under-hood battery, and decided to use the old battery as a second auxiliary battery. I welded together a double-battery holder for group 65 size batteries that can live under the box for race events. This is it around halfway done (I'll have to post another of it finished later).

It should be quite an upgrade as compared to the OEM aux battery holder.

I also (finally) mounted up the tow hitch. I bolted it in, then welded it, then primed the whole section of the chassis.

Insulation will have to happen soon, and I'll have to figure out how I actually want to cover it. For 12v outlets, I'm standardizing on XT60 plugs (commonly used for RC plane batteries). They're really robust, portable, and easy to solder ... but they aren't waterproof. I'm OK with that limitation, and if I really want to get picky I can make bullet-style sleeves to cover them.

A fridge may happen at some point, but that'll have to be after plumbing propane. 12v fridges that I've tried are really basic thermocouple designs and are underwhelming at best. If I'm going to run a fridge, it'll be a propane-powered compressor style. It's not a high priority, since we're just camping for 3 days at most events, and we typically bring nonperishibles.

As for external lights, I'm going to add a couple light bars to the inside surface of the doors. They swing ALL the way out, so those lights should light up the whole area behind the truck. I have a canopy as well, and a strip of LEDs will give us some light for servicing the car. I've been considering putting LED strips on the inside surfaces of my jack stands too, so we'll have under-car lighting for service.

Lots of projects, and so little time. I'm really happy to be making progress, though!

drivendaily Reader
Jan. 14, 2018 12:41 a.m.

Today, the Datsun got most of my attention, but the box truck saw a couple small upgrades. I needed somewhere handy to store the tire pressure gauge, so I played around with the sheet metal brake/shear/roller a bit.

I also went through the first couple of steps to replace the auxiliary batteries, but the tray still needs a little love. I'm going to have to make/buy a crossover cable as well.

Finally, kind of a one-off thing ... I got really tired of not being able to find the MIG pliers at the Makerspace, so I made a holster for them.

java230 SuperDork
Jan. 14, 2018 3:35 p.m.

I hate propane fridges. Get a proper 12v compressor fridge. Norcold, Engle, Dometic, edgestar, isotherm, Arb etc all make chest style ones. I like xt60 connectors, but a standard cigarette plug or two will be handy, they are the defacto standard for little 12v gadgets 

drivendaily Reader
Jan. 14, 2018 8:15 p.m.
java230 said:

I hate propane fridges. Get a proper 12v compressor fridge. Norcold, Engle, Dometic, edgestar, isotherm, Arb etc all make chest style ones. I like xt60 connectors, but a standard cigarette plug or two will be handy, they are the defacto standard for little 12v gadgets 

Yeah, I have a small gang of round 12v plugs ... connected to my battery bank(s) by xt-60 connectors. Basically, every battery should have an xt-60 on it, and I can toss whatever adapters I want after that part of the chain. They're just the universal standard for non-watertight on/off connections.

I haven't really started looking at fridges yet, other than enjoying some super-hipster overlanding videos on youtube. They all seem to be hyperfocused on gear, and act like their lives revolve around the quality of stuff they throw into a Jeep/Toyota. As such, the only fridges they talk about are above the $500 mark, and I just can't justify that for something that's effectively a luxury. I'll have a look through those brands though, and see if I can find something a bit more reasonable.

I spent some more time working on my box truck today, and removed the remaining murderwall plywood then reorganized, straightened, and bolted down everything else back there. The etrack on the floor will probably end up on my trailer, but it could make its way to the walls after I've insulated and recovered them. We'll see how it plays out, but either way I love that stuff.



The driver's seat is finally getting replaced. I don't know if I already mentioned it, but the roofing tar in this thing got EVERYWHERE. The seat was disgusting. My favorite caption I've seen so far:
 

Driver's seat before and after blowing a brake line.

java230 SuperDork
Jan. 14, 2018 10:04 p.m.

Yeah the true 12v compressor fridges are $$$. I have had good luck with older Norcold's off CL. ~$200 ish

onemanarmy
onemanarmy New Reader
Jan. 15, 2018 8:46 a.m.

When are you going to be wanting to use the fridge?  Just when parked at the racetrack?

Get a cheap 120v mini fridge and a 2000 watt Predator generator from Harbor Freight. Both of those can be had for $500 total. The generator can be used for all sorts of extra stuff too...high powered lights, charging tool batteries, electric impacts, air compressors, running a TV or radio, microwave...along with the fridge.

drivendaily Reader
Jan. 15, 2018 10:41 a.m.
onemanarmy said:

When are you going to be wanting to use the fridge?  Just when parked at the racetrack?

Get a cheap 120v mini fridge and a 2000 watt Predator generator from Harbor Freight. Both of those can be had for $500 total. The generator can be used for all sorts of extra stuff too...high powered lights, charging tool batteries, electric impacts, air compressors, running a TV or radio, microwave...along with the fridge.

I have a 750w Earthquake generator that's been great to me, but generators are pretty loud and annoying. When I'm in a State Park, I want to hear racecars and nature and nothing else. 12v can certainly power everything I need, much more efficiently than inverted 120v can. I've drawn up a design for a 12v charging station with ports for all my commonly-used batteries, but haven't built it yet. It'll end up on the very back of the truck, just inside the doors so it's easy to grab a new power brick when one dies.

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