Hodakaguy's Vagabond Camper/Truck Build....Yes Again!

Discussion in 'Camping Toys' started by Hodakaguy, Dec 21, 2018.

  1. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider Supporter

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    Noooo...I have to finish it before I can do that lol.

    Hodakaguy
    #61
  2. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider Supporter

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    Camping season is upon us...Time to get a heater installed in the Vagabond.

    We purchased a Propex propane heater to install in the Vagabond, we used this heater in our Syncro build and it worked great. We were going to fabricate a custom enclosure for the heater but found a pre-made unit locally that works really well and saved us a bunch of build time. This box will also eventually house the solar charge controller and power ports.

    Here's a shot of the box and the heater unit.

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    Drilling holes in one of the shelves, the heater will be bolted to this shelf.

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    Test fitting the heater in the box, along with the upper shelf. Combustion air and exhaust holes cut in the bottom of the box, the combustion air/exhaust hoses will pass through these holes then through the bed of the truck.

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    Outlet duct installed

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    Holes cut for the propane supply line along with return air holes for the heater. The return air will flow into the box and over the heater on it's way to the intake of the heater, this will help keep the heater cool when in operation. One of the return air holes allows access to the propane tubing connection to allow tightening the compression coupler.

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    Power and control wires, this hole will have a rubber grommet installed to protect the wiring.

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    The heater will be mounted in the front of the bed here, doesn't take up to much space and will be a good location for the electrical center/solar charge controller.

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    Now to paint all the bare edges and gather a few more supplies before mounting everything up. The propane line will run under the truck and terminate at a quick disconnect fitting at the rear of the truck. Eventually we will have a swing away bumper that will carry a small propane tank, for now we will use a portable on the ground.

    More to come....

    Hodakaguy
    #62
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  3. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider Supporter

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    A little more progress on the heater install, been waiting for parts to show up. Sorry...crappy cell phone pics today.

    Started today by adding a quick disconnect for the propane connection under the bumper. Eventually we will have a swing away tire carrier and an aluminum tank mounted on the back. For now we will set the tank on the ground behind the truck.

    Here we're making a mount for the quick disconnect, it will bolt onto the factory trailer plug mount.

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    Mounted up.

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    Now to wire up the electrical connector that will tie the truck battery to the aux battery that will be installed in the bed. Using 4awg wire and an Attwood two prong trolling motor connector for the disconnect.

    Plug wired and ready for install

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    Plug installed in the side of the bed

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    Setting up the intake and exhaust for the heater. We're using fire sleeve to shield the bed etc from the heat.

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    I used Butyl tape to fill the gaps between the bed ribs and create a tight seal around the penetrations in the bed.

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    And mounted in place.

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    More to come soon.

    Hodakaguy
    #63
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  4. MYT1

    MYT1 Been here awhile

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    Or, you could’ve bought a Heater Buddy.

    They work great and they’re portable.
    #64
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  5. motogoat

    motogoat Adventurer

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    Except that without the intake and exhaust outside the truck, CO poisoning, or worse, could become an issue.
    #65
    local1 likes this.
  6. TwilightZone

    TwilightZone Long timer Supporter

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    HeatBuddy will 'go out' before the CO level is dangerous.
    The product has been around for awhile... and I haven't heard any reports
    of people dying from HeatBuddy use. (?)

    But... I dunno if I'd want one going in a pickup camper.
    #66
  7. Mr. Fisherman

    Mr. Fisherman Back in Black!

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    What about the van?
    #67
  8. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider Supporter

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    I actually already own one and used it for a while in our past Syncro. I personally don't like the smell of these inside the living space or the extra moisture they introduce into the interior. A heater with a thermostat, a large volume of fuel and externally vented exhaust is much nicer IMHO.

    Hodakaguy
    #68
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  9. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider Supporter

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    Been driving it a lot but haven't done much else to it yet....watering my money tree and trying to nurse it back to health after the purchase :-)

    Hodakaguy
    #69
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  10. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider Supporter

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    More work....

    Fabricating a small stainless bracket to hold the exhaust in place and give plenty of clearance from the fuel tank.

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    Exhaust mounted in place, the 4awg wires heading to the front weren't yet wrapped in loom in this shot. The tires were lowered to get the setup into the garage :)

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    Propane lines completed and checking the system for any leaks...no leaks :)

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    Installing the Aux battery into the back of the truck. We are running a Northstar 27M battery that will power the Propex heater and an ARB fridge when camping, eventually we will tie solar into the mix as well.

    Using pre-tinned marine wire for power in the camper

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    Thermostat mounted for the Propex, Power and control wires hidden in the built in wire chase that Vagabond provided. It's mounted within easy reach of the bed for those midnight adjustments :)

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    All mounted up and running good. My father camped in the setup last night to try it out and said it was very comfy :)

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    Now waiting on parts to finish tying the Aux battery to the truck battery, more work soon.

    Hodakaguy
    #70
  11. Weekend_warrior

    Weekend_warrior Been here awhile

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    Not much for the heater.... can you put AC in it? ...... Signed TX.... ;-)
    #71
  12. boardrider247

    boardrider247 Weekend Anarchist

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    I'm stealing this propane setup for my van.
    I couldn't come up with a way to mount a propane tank that I liked. This will be perfect
    Thanks for the idea!!!!!:beer
    #72
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  13. katbeanz

    katbeanz earthbound misfit, I Supporter

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    Still liking the vagabond better than any of the other offerings. I did run across these the other day..

    https://www.leentu.com/

    The carbon one is uber expensive and maybe discontinued, but check out the cab spoiler. :deal The aluminum sunzal utility popup doesn't look bad, but I like how the lower part of the drifter is built. :thumb
    #73
    Hodakaguy likes this.
  14. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider Supporter

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    I'm sure you could :super
    #74
  15. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider Supporter

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    More work on the truck today.....

    First up is to install the new Northstar battery under the hood. Here's the original 2012 battery that's being replaced.

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    The Northstar we purchased is a Group 27, the original is a 27F. The 27 has the posts on the front of the battery instead of the back so the cables will have to be extended to fit. We got a good deal on the 27 so it's worth messing with the cables. We're running a Northstar 31M in the rear for the Aux batt.

    Removing the OEM battery ends.

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    Fabricating new cables

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    While I was setting up the wiring dad was fabricating a stainless base for the ML-ACR.

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    The ML-ACR mounted/welded on the factory battery hold down bracket.

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    Fabricating the wiring for the ACR.

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    And wired up. The ML-ACR will auto combine the two batteries when the engine is running and the batts are charging, it will also separate the batteries to keep the trucks battery from getting drained when a load is on the aux battery. You can manually force combine the batteries to jump start the truck from the aux battery as well, a handy feature.

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    In this shot you can see the Blue Sea low profile fuse on the output of the ACR to protect the 4awg wiring going back to the aux battery, there is a fuse on each battery.

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    I'm installing a Powerlet port on the heater box to supply power to the ARB refrigerator. The Powerlet outlets are great, they snap in place and won't wiggle loose when going down rough roads like a standard cig plug will, you don't want power to the fridge going out unexpected. I'll be installing the 90 deg fitting on the end of the ARB power cord.

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    Now to install the USB charger and standard cig plug in the back of the drifter. They will be located in the rear aluminum panel.

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    I'll be using a knock out to punch the holes for the power ports, they leave nice clean holes. I'll use a Unibit to make the pilot hole then the punch to finish it off.

    Pilot hole drilled.

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    Setting up the knock out.

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    Final hole, nice and clean.

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    Drilling the pilot hole with the Unibit for the USB charger next.

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    And both units mounted up and ready for use!

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    When the USB ports are powered the battery voltage is displayed for the rear AUX battery. You can see that the rear battery hasn't been charged yet.

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    And back out of the shop. Ready to stay warm when camping :)

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    More to come.....

    Hodakaguy
    #75
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  16. nevermind

    nevermind Wrong Again

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    duh?
    Are ya gonna get some red tape and put a couple of wraps around the black cables on the positive side of that battery?
    #76
  17. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider Supporter

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    It will have a section of red heat shrink to Mark the positive cables, I’m currently out of red in that size. Good catch!

    Hodakaguy
    #77
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  18. Arkansasrider

    Arkansasrider LOST Supporter

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    I bought a 3rd gen after owning 6Toyota pu's thru the years. After driving from ARK to MINn on I35, i came home and traded it. The damn thing is gutless below 3500 rpm and the trans downshifts on every uphill grade. I now own a 2019 Frontier and while the design is basically 2004, it has plenty of torque and is a good solid truck.
    #78
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  19. Weekend_warrior

    Weekend_warrior Been here awhile

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    Come on man.... How am I supposed to buy it later if not equipped for the heat? ;-)
    #79
  20. jersey jim

    jersey jim Long timer

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    How did I miss this thread? Subscribed.

    Interesting to see that you sold those two slick 3rd gen builds in favor of some older Tacomas. I sometimes miss my 2015 TRD Sport myself.

    There's a hell of a lot I like about my 3rd Gen Tacoma, but the 3.5 otto/atkinson V6 isn't really one of those things. It's adequate, is the best I can say about it. It does pull pretty nice when you get the revs up, but is a little disappointing down low, at least I don't have the 6 speed auto issues, as I went with the 6 speed manual. Fuel mileage is not the best either. Considering the OVTune if I keep it.

    The 4.0 and 5 speed auto combination in my 2nd gen was a very satisfying combo. Didn't make spectacular numbers, but it never felt lacking in power. It just worked great. I've also thought of moving back to a 2nd gen, but I'd miss all the nifty goodies and honestly the looks of the 3rd gen. I think I'll wait and see what Toyota does with the next generation Tundra in a year or two.
    #80