Truck Update 9/16/18

  • Started habitat lift and scheduling
  • Purchased furniture dollies for moving habitat in shop
  • Coordinated with local crane company about habitat lift
  • Jacked up habitat and laced it on caster dollies
  • Moved habitat box to opposite side of shop
  • Started preparing for habitat lift
  • Lifted habitat onto subframe
  • Aligned, bonded, and bolted habitat to subframe
  • Installed
    • Rock guards
    • Rear fenders
    • Sand ladders
    • Passenger jerry can mount
    • Rear pintal
    • Shovel on roof rack
  • Removed protective film from outside of habitat
  • Installed spare tire on rear frame

Habitat Lift

Today was a big day for the project. We crane lifted our @totalcomposites habitat box onto our U1300L this evening. The habitat is temporarily sitting on wooden blocks, so it’s sitting about 4” higher than it will. We will be re-positioning and securing it to the torsion free subframe in the next few days.

Prep for Lift
Prep for Lift
Prep for Lift
Prep for Lift
Habitat Sitting on Our Truck for the First Time!
Habitat Sitting on Our Truck for the First Time!

Truck Update 9/9/18

  • Installed roof hatch spoiler
  • Adjusted door captures on habitat
  • Made templates for melamine on back wall of cab
  • Received grip tape and VHB
  • Laid out and cut melamine acoustic insulation for cab using templates
  • Applied grip tape to access ladders and steps
  • Melamine acoustic insulation bond test
  • Prepped and painted passenger side jerry can mount
  • Bonded melamine foam to rear cab wall
  • Truck cleaning session
  • Temporarily reinstalled driver seat
  • Reinstalled front grill
  • Prepped and coated tail lights with spar urethane

Truck Update 8/26/18

  • Installed shovel mounts on front of roof rack
  • Installed bike enclosure aluminum plate on roof rack
  • Installed silicone bumpers between bike enclosure and cargo box
  • Looked for candidate locations for additional small fuel tank
  • Cleaned cab roof
  • Reinstalled roof hatch
  • Reinstalled roof rack
  • Met with Erik from Spin Imaging about vinyl graphics options
  • Machined aluminum spacers to level roof rack
  • Seam sealed roof rack joints
  • Final installed roof rack with thread sealer
  • Installed roof rack support struts
  • Sealed and riveted open holes in roof rack box lid
  • Installed roof rack boxes
  • Measured and laid out roof rack access ladders
  • Purchased steel for cab ladders
  • Cut steel for cab ladders
  • Sheared and rolled steel for upper ladder corners
  • Rotary table milled plate for upper ladder corners
  • Welded ladder corners into ring and cut into 4 pieces
  • Welded ladders
  • Fit checked ladders
  • Fabricated lower mount for ladders
  • Purchased paint for ladders
  • Fabricated passenger side ladder mount shim
  • Seam sealed ladder joints
  • Made RTV gaskets for ladder mounts
  • Made hardware kit for mounting ladders
  • Match drilled ladder mount holes into truck and roof rack
  • Installed door lock into habitat
  • Cab cleanup
  • Evaluated ergonomics of ladders while temporarily mounted to cab
  • Increased step area of lower 2 ladder rungs
  • Prepped, primed, and painted ladders
  • Mounted ladders

Truck Update 8/19/18

  • Welded shortened roof rack brackets
  • Opened up roof rack mount holes from 5/16″ to 3/8″
  • Drilled drain holes in roof rack rails
  • Fabricated diagonal roof rack braces
  • Fit checked roof rack mount brackets
  • Test fit diagonal roof rack braces
  • Laid out and cut expanded metal for side and back of bike enclosure cage
  • Received marker lights
  • Received auxiliary fuel tank locking filler neck
  • Received candidate gray water tank
  • Welded expanded metal to side and back of bike enclosure cage
  • Prepped, primed, and painted roof rack support struts
  • Prepped, primed, and painted roof rack mounting brakcets
  • Made hardware kits for mounting the roof rack
  • Final test fit folding bikes in roof rack
  • Removed roof hatch from cab
  • Looked at locations for candidate gray water tank
  • Cleaned, prepped, and painted roof hatch
  • Made hardware kit for mounting roof storage boxes
  • Ordered rubber shovel mounts for roof rack
  • Researched alternate heater fuel tanks
  • Received Seagull IV X-1F drinking water purifier
  • Received Planar 2D-12 diesel heater and accessories from Total Composites
  • Fabricated aluminum large area washers for roof rack box mount
  • Cut replacement fiber board insulation backing disc for roof hatch
  • Cut melamine acoustic foam for roof hatch insulation
  • Painted roof hatch backing board
  • Machined and weld prepped bike tie down tangs
  • Machined and weld prepped shovel attach plates
  • Assembled refurbished roof hatch
  • Added additional weather stripping seal around roof hatch edge
  • Finished all welding on roof rack
  • Ordered P clamps for bike enclosure
  • Fabricated aluminum plate for bike enclosure
  • Prepped, primed, and painted aluminum plate for bike enclosure
  • Prepped, primed, and painted roof rack

Truck Update 8/12/18

  • Ordered and received folding bikes
    • Funny enough, after all the consideration, we placed an order for 2 Dahon Speed Uno folding bikes. We received one Dahon Speed Uno and one Dahon Speed P8.
  • Re-positioned habitat support foam blocks in preparation for future box lift
  • Preliminary planning for auxiliary fuel tank vent line
  • Took measurements for roof rack access ladders
  • Removed roof rack
  • Ordered and received shower floor (Thanks MK and FR!)
  • Purchased “prospector” tools
    • Shovel
    • Hatchet
    • Pruning Saw
  • Inspected roof hatch
  • Preliminary planning for next 2 months
  • Ordered Planar 2D-12 diesel heater and accessories from Total Composites
  • Made hardware kit for entry ladder mount bracket
  • Bolted entry ladder mount bracket to subframe
  • Blew hangar dust off of habitat and truck
  • Bonded raw wood test pieces with Korapop 225
  • Ordered auxiliary fuel tank locking filler neck
  • Ordered and received infrared pyrometer for portal axles
  • Ordered and received NPT weld on bungs for auxiliary fuel tank
  • Ordered candidate gray water tank
  • Ordered 2 additional marker lights
  • Ordered and received EGT gauge (SYL-1813-24) and K type thermocouple (TC-KEGT) from Auber Instruments
  • Ordered and received aluminum to mount Räskog cabinets
  • Researched water filtration options
  • Sealed final exterior habitat joints using Korapop 225
  • Ordered Seagull IV X-1F drinking water purifier
  • Created preliminary roof rack layout
  • Started fabricating new roof rack components
  • Laid out storage box mounting locations on roof rack
  • Removed roof rack brackets from U1300L cab roof
  • Removed hatch translation arm from U1300L cab
  • Rough cleaned U1300L cab roof
  • Cut down height of roof rack brackets by 2 1/2″
  • Removed unneeded steel from roof rack
  • Removed paint from roof rack for weld prep
  • Milled adjustment slots in roof rack brackets
  • Enlarged bolt holes from 5/16″ to 3/8″ in roof rack brackets
  • Fabricated roof rack support strut bracket
  • Fabricated tie down loop bracket plates
  • Fabricated ladder mount plates
  • Cut steel for storage box support structure
  • Purchased additional steel and paint for roof rack
  • Cut steel for bike enclosure cage
  • Fabricated, tacked, and TIG welded preliminary bike enclosure frame on roof rack
  • Match drilled cargo boxes to roof rack

Secondary Transportation Options

We have debated for a long time about what kind of secondary transportation we would like. We decided early on that we did not want to tow our Jeep Wrangler behind us as we felt that the addition of a towed vehicle would really negatively influence our overall traveling enjoyment. That being said, we have always felt that having a secondary means of transportation was really important in the event of mechanical issues or even just the day to day benefit of being able to leave without having to break down camp just to run into “town” for groceries, sight-seeing, or to go on a nearby hike.

Suzuki 200

We spent a lot of time researching full size motorcycles like the Suzuki 200 and thinking about how we might take one with us on the truck. As you may have noted, the back of our truck is pretty well taken up by the large 365/80R20 spare tire, ladder, and sand ladders. We are also very conscious of the weight distribution of the vehicle, and we don’t want to overload the rear axle with the addition of a motorcycle supported on the rear hitch. We seriously considered mounting a motorcycle to the front hitch, but as we already have a large winch in the middle of the front bumper, the setup started looking pretty unrealistic when we got into the details.


In an attempt to lighten the load, we also considered older Honda Trail 70 and Trail 90 motorbikes. These classic smaller motorbikes were tempting, but were too small for 2 people and weren’t small enough to have 2 bikes on our truck.

We also considered electric assist bicycles, like the Unimoke, Super 73, or Buzzraw, as they are smaller than a gas powered motorbike and potentially give extended range when compared to a standard bicycle. They are very cool options and we were really tempted, but in the end, we decided that we didn’t want to deal with the added complexity of charging them. They may not do as well being stored outside and had similar storage / mounting issues to a gas powered motorbike. Realistically, they were probably too small for the 2 of us to comfortably ride any distance.

We circled back around to just wanting bicycles. We have been mountain bike people for years, but didn’t really like the idea of storing mountain bikes on the dusty, rear side of the truck. Having 2 size mountain bikes on the front of the truck just seemed like a claptrap we didn’t want to deal with. We opted to look into folding bikes that will be stored on our roof rack above the cab. Hopefully the roof rack will give them a bit of a cleaner environment that is out of harms way and potentially a little more theft resistant.

Dahon D7

We considered many brands and asked for advice from a lot of acquaintances that use folding bikes. We looked at Brompton, Dahon, and other Dahon knock-offs. We went and test rode several Dahon folding bikes and liked them quite a bit, but we felt that the cables of the multi-speed Dahon were very fiddly when folded and susceptible to being caught when we placed the bikes up on the roof rack. Having multiple speeds is without a doubt a huge performance benefit, but it comes with a little bit of complexity with a folding bike. Through this whole process, we were focused on simple, robust solutions.

Dahon Uno

We decided to go with very simple single speed Dahon Uno. They are small, light, and should handle being stored on the roof rack in the elements. They are certainly not as high performance as all of the above options, but they should hopefully meet our basic needs in a simple and reliable way.