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Discussion Starter #41 (Edited)
Based on suggestions from the FJ CRUISER Facebook group, we poked around with a multimeter yesterday and found we had a really weak ground through the antenna mount. We removed the mount, dremeled off some more coating in a few places, but the results still weren't great. We then drilled through the locating tab, slightly into the hinge arm, and soldered up the hole so the body and the mount had a constant connection.

We tuned everything again and got a SWR of 1.55 on 1 and 40, which was a significant improvement over the 4.0 I'd managed the day before. Granted their mounts are simple and stamped, I didn't have any issues like that with the Firestik mount I used on my previous vehicle. They really should offer the Bandi mount in stainless!

Just a shot of the mess while we were still trouble-shooting... Ignore the fact that we haven't unloaded our camping gear since last year, and the helmets are still in there from when we took the ATVs out in the snow.

 

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Discussion Starter #42 (Edited)
The one thing I've always found my FJ missing when comparing it to my XJ was the back hatch. It was so handy to throw it open and step out of the sun or rain.



Today, I finally split the difference between what I wanted, and what was possible.





I'm seriously considering swapping the Hi-Lift to the driver side, the 8' awning to the passenger side, and getting my local upholstery guy to make me a corner gusset to connect the two for a "Fauxwing" setup.
 

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What is the model number for the rear awning you have shown in your picture. I know its an ARB but I cannot find one that is similar to what you have here.

Thanks,
Tony
 

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Discussion Starter #44
ARB 4x4 Accessories - ARB Awning 1250 - 814301 | 4WheelParts.com

It qualified for free shipping, plus I found a coupon code online, which knocked off the tax plus a couple bucks, so it was $172 shipped. Unlike the Smittybilt I have on the driver side, this one comes with some 10 mm bolts, but no mounting brackets of any kind.
 

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Discussion Starter #47 (Edited)
I don't know that we'll keep it, but we've got a Smittybilt Tailgate Table we're testing out. Originally we wanted to mount it inside the rear door, but the way our current modular cargo system is, there's just not enough room for it back there, plus coming up with a strong enough mounting method there would have been a challenge.







Also, we were fast approaching a milestone with our rig. Some careful calculations were made and we were able to roll it over into 6 digits while offroad!



 

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Discussion Starter #49 (Edited)
Last Weds I packed up...



Fri morning I rolled 4 hours northwest and setup...



Used a new gadget to update my wife...



Over the next couple of days, I took in a lot of scenery...



Took a bath in a river...



Drank my fill in front of a fire...



And explored a little of WV on the way home, finding this.
 

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Looks great! More pics! And more adventures! You have a Smitty Bilt RTT right?
Any regrets? Thinking of getting one very soon.

Between the Smitty and the Tuff Stuff. But the Tuff Stuff is backordered. Don't want to miss out on the good weather if it comes early :)
 

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Discussion Starter #51
I have had the Smittybilt RTT and 8' awning for almost 2 years now. Both are great! I did hit up eBay and add some USB-powered LEDs to the inside of the tent, as mine came with some battery-powered LEDs that just weren't that bright. The eBay LEDs are all the light you ever need and ran about $8, from what I remember. Other than that, the ladder is the only thing I question. My buddy in the JK has a spare Tepui telescoping ladder I'm going to try out. The stock extension ladder works fine 95% of the time, but sometimes you wind up setting up in a bit of a rut or some uneven terrain and with my lift and tires, coupled with having the RTT installed on the stock rack, sometimes the stock RTT ladder comes up a little short. There is an extension, but price-wise it's halfway to a full replacement ladder. I will take some pics and comment on compatibility when I get a chance.
 

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Nice build? Just found your build thread and thoroughly enjoyed reading through it. Well done! :clap:
 

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Sweet thanks for the information! Keep the updates coming. I'm on the fence for the XL or the smaller tent. Something tells me I may not need to get the larger one as the kids are getting older and prefer spending too much time connected to the internet.... I will always give them the option but why haul heavier when \ if I don't need to.
 

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Discussion Starter #54 (Edited)
*edit* Trying to keep it chronological. We had a couple April trips to Carova. One we took some friends who hadn't driven out there before, so letting them see the sites and horses was fun. My wife and I went back on our own a couple weeks later.




As for the RTT, having more room is always nice...except for cold weather camping when you're trying to make a microclimate. The regular tent is a castle for one and comfortably cozy for two. Some would question the wisdom of putting the XL on the stock roof rack, but between the standard RTT, the 60" Hi-Lift, an 8' awning, a 4' awning, and a folding table, I'm way over the limit anyway.
 

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I just bought the small Smittybilt not the XL. So glad I went with the smaller one. If I notice the weight around corners with the smaller tent and also the wind drag I wouldn't want anymore weight on my FJ at that height.

Also What a fantastic tent. Materials look excellent and there are all these little details like extra vents, pull straps to get into the tent.... There's a bunch of other little things that I'm sure other tents have but you would think at the lower end of price these things could have been overlooked.

Very happy with my tent purchase.
 

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Discussion Starter #56 (Edited)
I've heard that the straps and LED lights inside have changed since my version. Also, is the cover still Velcro or does it zip on?

I haven't really been anywhere or done anything in a few weeks. Went to a fund-raising gathering where there is a small offroad playground locally, but we'd had 3 days of rain and everything was straight soup. Not my kind of wheeling! Still, we saw some interesting stuff and it's always cool to see total noobs out learning the ropes.

Looking through pics, I came up with a decent comparison of having the awning on the driver side vs the passenger side. This is with the rear of the vehicle pretty much facing directly east. Definitely gives you some extra shade. On a building it wouldn't matter but on an 8' x 6' awning, you need all you can get.




Also this week we put our nephew in the RTT for the first time. I climbed up skeptically, got in, looked around, and said, "I love this! I want to buy one for the back yard!" I love that little rascal! He'll be 3 this summer. We're going to do some backyard camping starting maybe next year.



A buddy of mine gave me a new telescoping ladder for a Tepui tent. I took a look today to see what it would take to swap it over to our Smittybilt with the extension ladder. Turns out, not much. Just move one mount over one bolt-hole and drill a new 1/4" hole.






This part weirds me out a little. I think if I cinch it down I'll feel better about it. We're going to test it out a while though and see if we get used to it.
 

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Nice! I always wondered if the tepui telescopic ladder would work on the smittybilt.

Thanks for posting and I'll be ordering one.
 

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I've heard that the straps and LED lights inside have changed since my version. Also, is the cover still Velcro or does it zip on?
Still velcro. Wife has some sewing\seamstress? skills and we may throw on a couple straps and loops similar to what is already on the tent to secure it. First trip home and the velcro at the front popped open a little. Must've take a few mpg off hauling that parachute home.

Not sure about the LED's... didn't end up hooking those up but will the next time. Looked like it only came with cigarette lighter connecter. Let me know if you want a pic of it.

Bought this so we don't have to mess with the FJ battery and its got a few other things that will come in handy if we get stuck out on the forestry roads.
https://www.harborfreight.com/5-in-1-portable-power-pack-with-jump-start-62747.html
 

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Discussion Starter #59 (Edited)
We sold the Smittybilt tailgate table last week. Today we built something more like what we originally wanted. It's super simple with just a cheap continuous hinge, a few screws and rivets, about 4' of paracord, and a scrap piece of aluminum. This isn't something you're going to pound old u-joints out on, but it's great for boiling some water for coffee or to put together a PBJ on the trail.



 

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Discussion Starter #60 (Edited)
Spent a few days in the George Washington National Forest. Lots of snakes and poison ivy this time of year, but I still had a great time hiking, reading, and having a drink by the campfire. I went out Thursday by myself and waited to hear from my friends. A couple were talking about coming out to camp Friday. Another group was doing a circuitous run that ended at Meadow Knob on Saturday night, but I ended up staying put.


This time I had the awning deployed for shade rather than rain protection. It was a beautiful weekend!



This trip was very different from my previous visits in the fall and spring. Unlike the colder visits, everything was bursting with life. I spent most of the weekend trying to avoid the "leaves of three." I'm still not sure if I did a really good job, or if I was just around hog peanut or some other look-alike.



The forest being wide awake included the "locals." Fortunately all our meetings went pleasantly.



We spent most of Saturday in the river. Luckily there we were only visited by minnows and small crawfish.



Not a particularly flattering pic, but it shows what I want it to. After the swim, I setup my hammock for the first time and did some solid relaxing and quite a bit of reading.



Some day I'll run the FJ down the nearby trails, but every time I'm there I spend a ton of time exploring on foot and loving every minute of it. I grew up just a few miles outside of the Great Dismal Swamp. Off-trail it was an environment very similar to what I find in the GWNF, just without the rocks, but being out in any woods always makes me feel like a kid again.
 
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