Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)
Because the trip report is combined with the build report (
) I have a combined question: How did all of the mods & upgrades perform?
Everything worked remarkably well. I know that may sound trite, but it did. I just got out from crawling under the FJ from front to back with wet towels, cleaning everything off to see if something broke. It all looks intact.
Sleeping in the back of the FJ is just plain uncomfortable. Because I'm 6' and not a thin man, there's not much to be done but suffer with it. I've come up with a few ideas but most of them haven't worked well in the past. Jason DeMello and I were talking about this sleeping in the FJ thing this morning at his shop and he's just as miserable as I am when trying to get comfortable. I'm thinking of designing a small tent set-up that will go over the rear door and mount onto the swong-out Kaymar bumper but I don't have the bumper yet. Will there be a Scorpion Sleeper mod
? Stay tuned.
(a) Scrapes on the bottom of the rear differential.
(b) Scrapes on the BudBuilts.
(c) Scrapes on the leading edge armor for the lower control arms.
(d) Scrapes on the sliders where they ...:worried: slid. Scrapes on the slider skids (ARB slider skids)
Keep in mind that everything was scraped before this trip to some extent but I banged the armor up even more. The more disturbing was the scrapes on the bottom of the rear differential, but there's no damage and the impacts weren't as evident as the scrapes that TCAO had on his.
Flawless. I don't understand why everybody doesn't run a Donahoe suspension system. Really.
After about 15,000 miles of primarily trail driving and serious off-road abuse, the Nitto's are showing the first signs
of wear. I am absolutely sold on the Nitto TG's and the Walker Evans beadlock wheels.
(a) The front antenna that I use as a marker was ripped off by a cedar branch when I was climbing up a waterfall, overgrown with cedars. TCAO heard it shear off with a twang but I didn't. I was concentrating on making it up and he was waiting behind me.
It will be replaced by a HAM antenna (functional).
(b) The rear CB antenna (4' Firestick) sheared off in a stand of cedars near Manti, Utah after the Kokopelli Expedition. I was showing off to a friend and was going up an impossible slope that topped off in thick cedars. If I had stopped it would have been a very bad thing and so I kept going and heard the antenna snap off. Not much could be done in that situation.
I'll replace it with another Firestick. I was over-driving the rig when I lost the antenna, showing off, trying to be the "big dog", the blood was up. My fault.
(c) Aeroflow light covers that have taken a huge beating to date finally gave up the ghost. My buddy WRIGMAN picked up a new set for me (with two extra lock buttons per light cover) and they're already on the rig.
(d) Right tail light is broken (but intact under the guard). I broke it on Odessa/Doran Loop (near Calico Ghost Town, Barstow, CA) and it held together for this entire run but I need to put a new one in.
What total luxury item was a joy to have?
Do I have any total luxury items? Perhaps the Pelican Cases. I have everything organized and modularized in Pelican Cases. They are water-proof, dust-proof, take one heck of a beating and I uncinch them, pull them out of the FJ and use what I need. Sleep in the FJ and then throw them in the next morning and cinch them down. They are a luxury but I think of them as a necessity.
The Springer MPAC (rear door storage) is a luxury item but again, it is so darned functional that I don't think of it as a pink furry back-rest sort of thing.
For the broken antennas maybe a mounting point relocation is one approach because the antennas cannot take the impacts that are breaking them.
There isn't much choice as to location on the antennas. Brush grabs them and rips them off. It has to do somewhat with the style of driving and the location where I was driving and somewhat with --- ok, I'm here, I have to go there, and if something breaks off, there's not much I can do about it but cry later.
Another approach would be similar to some of the military manpacks with the antenna tilt bracket at the base of the antenna. Instead of resisting an impact the antenna mount will allow a partial breakaway.
Like the short PRC-25 antenna? The problem is that they "whip" off-road and they whip into the FJ.
Limb risers in the front and move the antenna away from the corner of the bumper or...
My marker antenna fit into the ARB bumper IMMEDIATELY behind the bull bar. I don't know what else could be done to protect it.
EDIT: Just remembered that some ham antennas have tilt mounts so that the antenna can be mounted up on a roof rack but fold over when going in a garage.
That's what I'm trying to do with that front antenna. A tilt mount behind the bull bar.
Now what did I want that I didn't have?
An electric tea kettle that plugs into the back and can heat water for a cup-o-soup/cup-o-noodles or hot chocolate without getting out the propane stove. And I bought one today for $9.00 at Target.
So often cooking is a pain in the neck. You arrive at camp near dark, you're tired, and something warm is what's called for. You wake up, it's colder than a witch's teat and you don't want to whip up a full meal, set up a table, etc.
That is my (current) solution. I can augment it if I want to, and I'll still bring a camp stove -- but -- for the most part, that's what I eat on the road and it's enough. Dry salami, crackers, cheese, things like that are good too -- you don't have to heat them or clean up afterward.
Coming Mods in the next month or two:
MAN-A-FRE aux. fuel tank (take the jerry cans off the roof)
Kaymar rear bumper from MAN-A-FRE
(I was over at Jason DeMello's shop talking to him about it today) - endoskeleton for the rear of the FJ.
Overhead lights front and rear including floods, driving lights and strobes. (from DIRTY PARTS in LA)
Aux. Battery with Fuse Block - Cruiser Larry ordered the parts yesterday
Lowrance 540c GPS - Due from Lowrance in the third week of November
ARB Snorkel (due in next week)
Products ordered from All Pro
Not now, not ever again. Caveat Emptor (let the buyer beware)