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Peabody's latest adventure: Dual batteries with an isolator... #1042377 02/21/12 06:45 AM
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 326
Peabody Offline OP
Mudrunner
I've been preparing to install my winch (Smittybilt X2O 8) and have decided to go with a dual-battery setup. I've heard that you don't really need an auxiliary battery to run the winch unless you are doing some serious pulls. And to be honest, I don't intend to get myself in that situation (ah, but do we ever?!? <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shiner.gif" alt="" />). However, the auxiliary battery can also come in handy when camping, like for powering a cooler, lights, etc, as well as giving you a second battery for a self-jump start. All of that sounds good to me...

So here's my plan, which I have just put into action this weekend (work in-progress): I'm going with 2 Optima batteries (one red top for the main, one yellow for the aux). Because the space is way-too tight under the hood, I'm going to move both batteries to the rear and install the battery isolator in the stock battery tray, along with a 500 amp battery isolator relay. For those not familiar, the isolator will allow the batteries to discharge independent of each other (so you won't kill both batteries with the winch), but will manage the charging of both by the alternator. Some people run dual batteries in parallel without isolation, some use a high-current switch to control the battery configuration manually, while others use relays alone to isolate the batteries. From what I've gathered, the diode-type isolators are the only means for automatic control of charging while still isolating the batteries. And that's what I wanted. The relay will be used to cut power to the winch when it's not in use and to keep people from playing with it when I'm not around... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/mrt.gif" alt="" /> And it adds a mechanism for cutting power quickly, should an emergency arise (runaway winch or the like). This is where the solenoid can shine, because it will be controlled by an arm/disarm switch inside the cab. Most people install manual switches under the hood. But you can't get to anything under the hood quickly (enough) when you're in the middle of a pull. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/zombie.gif" alt="" /> With the solenoid, you just flip the switch...

Mounting batteries in the rear: After spending a few hours measuring and staring (I tell my wife I'm "visualizing"), I decided the most efficient way to relocate the batteries was to send them to the back of the bus - by cutting out the factory jack's "hidey-hole" and building a dual-battery box that sits under the body, between the rear axle and the cross-brace behind the rear bumper. Basically, I'm just making the jack's storage-box deeper so it will hold 2 group 34/78 batteries side-by-side. I started that part today. The box has been cut out and a new mounting frame has been mocked up using 1/8" steel angle (a mix of 1.5" and 2" because that's what I had laying around the garage). The batteries will fit comfortably in the new box. And the box will ride at a safe-height between the axle and rear cross-brace (low risk of getting bashed). I will post some photos soon...

The last bit of trivia that applies to moving the batteries to the rear (or installing a winch, in general) is wiring. My winch is spec'd to pull 410 amps when under full-load. That's a lot of juice (and that's why I bought a 500 amp relay). The power cables that come with a winch are always bigger than stock battery cables. However, if you're running the power over a longer distance (battery under the hood vs battery in the "trunk"), you need even bigger cables. How big? That seems to be point of debate. By electrical specs, I would need at least 3/0 gauge wires for the winch circuit, with 4/0 being preferred. I've read of others running 1/0 or 2/0 without a problem, even 2 gauge for some. I decided to air on the side of caution and go with 4/0, just in case. This is partly because I'm a wuss and fear getting myself into a situation that I couldn't get out of because I chose to skimp on the pennies and fried my winch circuit pulling myself out of the Taco Bell drive-thru <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/baby.gif" alt="" />... and partly because I was able to get bigger cables for less than what my local welding supply-shops quoted for smaller-gauge cables, simply by shopping online (no tax and free shipping too). <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/kewl.gif" alt="" />

OK, let's sum up the blah-blah-blah:

1 red top Optima battery (main for starting)
1 yellow top Optima battery (deep cycle for aux/winch)
1 500 amp relay (power-interrupt for winch)
1 200 amp battery isolator (allows me to move up to a 140 amp alternator one day... though the 140 amp isolator would have worked just as good, costs about $10 less and will fit in the stock battery tray <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif" alt="" />)
4/0 gauge wire for the winch's pos and neg power cables (to solenoid) and the main battery's ground cable
1/0 gauge wire for the main batt-to-starter cable (starter doesn't pull the same load as the winch, so I can save some pennies there)
2 gauge wire for the charging circuit (isolator to batteries, with each battery having it's own wire)
A variety of cable lugs and switches (small taters, in the scope of things)...

Yep, that's where I'm going next!!! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/zombie.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/zombie.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/zombie.gif" alt="" />


1997 Sportage 4x4, auto-trans, Warn manual hubs, 4" UPYOURKIA front lift, TJ 106AA rear springs, 2-5/8" body lift, 31x10.50 treads, SmittyBilt SRC front and XRC rear bumper, swing-out tire mount, OBX LSD front diff, Track Finder rear locker, 5.38 R&Ps and... really crappy gas mileage! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shiner.gif" alt="" />
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Re: Peabody's latest adventure: Dual batteries with an isolator... [Re: Peabody] #1042378 02/21/12 03:56 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 387
4
4runnernomore Offline
Mudrunner
Hi Peabody,

sounds great. Was looking into the same thing when I was going to SAS my Sporty a few years ago but unfortunately it fell through (wish I did it now) only I was going to put a yellow top and a compressor in the same spot.

if you get a good deal on the yellow top why don't you buy two. Have run two yellow tops in both my old 4runner and my 80 series dual cab I use to have.

Just a thought?

Cheers, Chris


97 Sporty, snorkel, K&N filter,chipped, ext forks, 40mm Dob Springs, KYB struts, 35mm Jeep TJ Springs, RAV 4 OME shocks, Kaiser Locker 5.38 R&P's, 1&3/8 body lift, 245/75 R16 D674's Sports steering wheel, bullbar, extractors & 2 1/4 exhaust engineered.
Re: Peabody's latest adventure: Dual batteries with an isolator... [Re: 4runnernomore] #1042379 02/22/12 06:03 AM
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 326
Peabody Offline OP
Mudrunner
Hi Chris,

I hadn't really thought of running 2 yellow tops. Seems most of the setups I studied via Google ran a red top for the main and a yellow for the aux. But it makes sense that 2 yellows would work fine as well. Being that the batteries will be isolated and the winch will only pull from the yellow top in my configuration, running a yellow for the main wouldn't matter. If both batteries would be used to power the winch, then 2 yellows would definitely have an advantage. Funny thing is that both batteries were priced the same. So I could have gone either way, had I thought of it...


Here are a few photos of the battery box (still in-progress). But you should get an idea of how I'm modding the rear storage box to hold the dual batts...


The stock-box, unaware of what lies ahead... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/evil.gif" alt="" />

From inside...

[Linked Image]

And below...

[Linked Image]

After peeling back the carpet and laying down some fiberglass welding blankets... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/scared.gif" alt="" />

[Linked Image]


And with the bottom of the box cut away...

[Linked Image]


The beginning of the battery box - a frame made from steel angle...

[Linked Image]


The frame set in place (testing the fit) - the top view...

[Linked Image]



And from below - so you can get and idea of how much clearance the new box will have. Hey, my Sporty will have two 12V testicles! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/butwiggle.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/notooth.gif" alt="" />

[Linked Image]


That's all for now. More to come...

<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" />


1997 Sportage 4x4, auto-trans, Warn manual hubs, 4" UPYOURKIA front lift, TJ 106AA rear springs, 2-5/8" body lift, 31x10.50 treads, SmittyBilt SRC front and XRC rear bumper, swing-out tire mount, OBX LSD front diff, Track Finder rear locker, 5.38 R&Ps and... really crappy gas mileage! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shiner.gif" alt="" />
Re: Peabody's latest adventure: Dual batteries with an isolator... [Re: Peabody] #1042380 05/30/12 05:50 AM
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 326
Peabody Offline OP
Mudrunner
Yep, it's been a while since I've posted an update on the dual batts. I've been making progress in small increments and finally have "enough" to provide a status report. But I'm not done yet...


Here's the battery box in it's almost-finished state. I coated it with a spray-on undercoating, drilled some holes for the cables (5 on the front side, 2 on the rear) and installed a 150 amp breaker for the starting battery...

[Linked Image]


Since I had some undercoating left in the can, I decided to clean up the stock battery tray, where the Noco isolator and the winch's power interrupt solenoid will be installed...

[Linked Image]


Here are some "thumbs" of the mounting bracket for the isolator and solenoid (click on them to see the full-size photos)...

[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]


And here's the mount with the isolator and solenoid installed...

[Linked Image]


The cables I'm using are quite beefy and heavy. So I opted to run them through non-metallic flex conduit to protect them while mounted beneath the body...

[Linked Image]


Some thumbs of the cables mounted on the "belly of the beast"... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/evil.gif" alt="" />

[Linked Image][Linked Image][img]http://i999.photobucket.com/albums/af117/peabody1986/Sportage/th_DSC01407.jpg[/img]


A pic of the batteries in the box... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/kewl.gif" alt="" /> Also, I used some expanding foam sealant for landscape-applications to seal the gaps between the box and the body. You can see the excess that expanded through the edges (black blobs). I will clean up the excess once I'm ready to button it all up...

[img]http://i999.photobucket.com/albums/af117/peabody1986/Sportage/DSC01417.jpg[/img]


The isolator/solenoid assembly mounted in position, with cables attached...

[img]http://i999.photobucket.com/albums/af117/peabody1986/Sportage/DSC01422.jpg[/img]


And the lid I made for the battery box: I made it using 1/2" plywood and the "repurposed" hinges from the original lid that covered the "jack well"...

[img]http://i999.photobucket.com/albums/af117/peabody1986/Sportage/DSC01418.jpg[/img]


I have hooked up the batteries and have power to the vehicle. However, I still can't get the starter to function (same problem I had prior to starting this project). I'm going through the wiring on the passenger-side floor board because my Sporty had a leak in the heater core prior to my buying it. And this is how one of the previous owners decided to "fix" the corrosion in the cable connectors. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/angry.gif" alt="" />

[img]http://i999.photobucket.com/albums/af117/peabody1986/Sportage/th_DSC01420.jpg[/img][img]http://i999.photobucket.com/albums/af117/peabody1986/Sportage/th_DSC01421.jpg[/img]


So... I'm going through and soldering all of the twist-n-tape splices and checking the non-spliced connections for corrosion. This is a very tedious process, to say the least. And I suspect I'll still be busting out the multimeter to locate the bug in the starting circuit... after I'm done cleaning up the bird's nest... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/baby.gif" alt="" />

More to follow... soon?!? <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/zombie.gif" alt="" />

<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" />


1997 Sportage 4x4, auto-trans, Warn manual hubs, 4" UPYOURKIA front lift, TJ 106AA rear springs, 2-5/8" body lift, 31x10.50 treads, SmittyBilt SRC front and XRC rear bumper, swing-out tire mount, OBX LSD front diff, Track Finder rear locker, 5.38 R&Ps and... really crappy gas mileage! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shiner.gif" alt="" />
Re: Peabody's latest adventure: Dual batteries with an isolator... [Re: Peabody] #1042381 06/02/12 07:05 AM
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 326
Peabody Offline OP
Mudrunner
Here's a quick update on my issues with the starter...

I worked on the Sporty all day trying to find the bug in the starting circuit. I began by tracing the circuit from the ignition switch and found a few potential-causes with the wiring of the car alarm (came with my Sporty - the starter-kill circuit being a culprit). I cleaned those up and finished soldering and heat-shrinking all of the spliced wires at the passenger-side kick panel (the latter being a major pain in the <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/ignore.gif" alt="" />). Then I hooked up the power and nothing happened when I tried to start the engine. So I measured the voltage at the S-terminal connector on the solenoid. It read 10.5-11.5 volts, with the values coming up slowly. I have 12.6 volts from the starting battery, even at the starting wire under the dash board. And the starter and solenoid are both good (had them tested again today). Thus, I'm suspecting the problem is either a poor connection at the terminal or corrosion in the starting wire... maybe both, but likely the latter. I know that a reduced-voltage at the S-terminal can fail to trigger the solenoid. But "how low is too low" can be a tough question to answer. Regardless, I think that is the problem - not enough juice to pop the solenoid (I don't even hear a click when I turn the key).

I've looked at the wiring diagram to see where I can splice or bypass the starting wire. The suspect-leg of the circuit comes from the transmission's shift position sensor (auto trans), which is a safety feature that limits starting to 'park' and 'neutral'. The connection at the sensor (right side of tranny) is tight. So splicing there is not favorable. And I can't break that part of the circuit because it splits off to the instrument panel (if I recall correctly). I might be able to tap into the wire and run a new leg directly to the solenoid, leaving the original terminal capped off and the rest of the run uninterrupted. Or I can try cutting back the existing wire at the solenoid and extending it with fresh wire, if needed. A third option is to use the starting wire to power a small relay to switch power from a tap directly from the starting battery at the isolator (sitting in the original battery tray under the hood). I'll let you know how things go. But don't be afraid to chime in...

<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" />


1997 Sportage 4x4, auto-trans, Warn manual hubs, 4" UPYOURKIA front lift, TJ 106AA rear springs, 2-5/8" body lift, 31x10.50 treads, SmittyBilt SRC front and XRC rear bumper, swing-out tire mount, OBX LSD front diff, Track Finder rear locker, 5.38 R&Ps and... really crappy gas mileage! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shiner.gif" alt="" />
Re: Peabody's latest adventure: Dual batteries with an isolator... [Re: Peabody] #1042382 06/02/12 11:46 AM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 387
4
4runnernomore Offline
Mudrunner
WOW Peabody <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/kewl.gif" alt="" />

that is a fantastic job. Presume the holes in the battery box are for the cables to come in? Will they have cable glands or some type of waterproofing to prevent water coming in?

Where abouts are you planning to place a jack now? ?i presume the switch in between the batteries is some sort of kill switch?


I hope you sort the the starting issue soon.

Can't wait to see more. Keep up the great work.

cheers, Chris <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cheers.gif" alt="" />


97 Sporty, snorkel, K&N filter,chipped, ext forks, 40mm Dob Springs, KYB struts, 35mm Jeep TJ Springs, RAV 4 OME shocks, Kaiser Locker 5.38 R&P's, 1&3/8 body lift, 245/75 R16 D674's Sports steering wheel, bullbar, extractors & 2 1/4 exhaust engineered.
Re: Peabody's latest adventure: Dual batteries with an isolator... [Re: 4runnernomore] #1042383 06/02/12 03:57 PM
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 326
Peabody Offline OP
Mudrunner
Howdy Chris - Yes, all of the holes are for the cables. I will post a photo of the box with cables installed soon. There are 5 holes for the 5 cables running to the front of the vehicle: 1 shared ground cable that connects at the starter/trans/engine (4/0), 1 aux battery cable that runs to the power interrupt mounted by the isolator (4/0, for the winch), 1 main battery cable (1/0) that runs directly to the starter (B terminal), and 2 charging cables (2 gauge) that run from the isolator to each battery. The charging cables are smaller diameter. So I ran them through 3/4" conduit. The larger cables required 1" conduit. I also have 2 holes in the rear of the box. I'm planning to install a quick-connect terminal at the rear bumper (area), which will draw from the aux battery. That will provide access to power at the rear for running a cooler, compressor or giving someone a jump start. Lastly, the box between the batteries is a 150 amp circuit breaker for the main battery. That will act as a fuse on the main, should something go awry. But I like the idea using a breaker, being that you can reset it and go instead of hunting for a spare fuse... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/kewl.gif" alt="" />

Regarding the jack, I have a Hi-Lift jack that will be mounted on the rear bumper. The factory jack won't reach the frame unless I boost it with some blocks. So a farm-style jack mounted outside will have to suffice... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/evil.gif" alt="" />


1997 Sportage 4x4, auto-trans, Warn manual hubs, 4" UPYOURKIA front lift, TJ 106AA rear springs, 2-5/8" body lift, 31x10.50 treads, SmittyBilt SRC front and XRC rear bumper, swing-out tire mount, OBX LSD front diff, Track Finder rear locker, 5.38 R&Ps and... really crappy gas mileage! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shiner.gif" alt="" />
Re: Peabody's latest adventure: Dual batteries with an isolator... [Re: Peabody] #1042384 06/03/12 08:21 AM
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 326
Peabody Offline OP
Mudrunner
Quick update - It's alive! Alive!!! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/kewl.gif" alt="" /> I chose to install a 30 amp relay (Bosch type), using the ignition wire to operate the relay and power for the solenoid coming directly off the battery at the isolator. After cutting the wire directly behind the S-terminal connector, I found the copper was in good shape. So it appears the problem was in the connector. However, I think the starting circuit will be more reliable with the ignition powering a low-current relay instead of the starter solenoid. I will post pictures very soon... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cheers.gif" alt="" />

<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" />


1997 Sportage 4x4, auto-trans, Warn manual hubs, 4" UPYOURKIA front lift, TJ 106AA rear springs, 2-5/8" body lift, 31x10.50 treads, SmittyBilt SRC front and XRC rear bumper, swing-out tire mount, OBX LSD front diff, Track Finder rear locker, 5.38 R&Ps and... really crappy gas mileage! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shiner.gif" alt="" />
Re: Peabody's latest adventure: Dual batteries with an isolator... [Re: Peabody] #1042385 06/03/12 09:23 PM
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 326
Peabody Offline OP
Mudrunner
Here are some pics of the build, to date...


The dual batteries in the box, with everything wired up. The conduits all have sealing rings to help keep the box water-tight. But I left the bottom corners of the box open do allow drainage, should water find it's way in...

[Linked Image]


And a close-up...

[Linked Image]


The cables & conduits run along the passenger side of the vehicle and terminate at the engine compartment. The cables running to the isolator (with conduit) run up past the wheel well, whereas the starter and ground cables' conduits end at the passenger floorboard...

[Linked Image]


The "bird's nest" of wiring cleaned up with solder and heat-shrink tubing. It's still a nest. But the connections are clean and reliable (some of the twist-n-tape splices came apart when I pulled on them <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/zombie.gif" alt="" />). I also cleaned the connectors with Deoxit contact cleaner and protectant...

[Linked Image]


To install the isolator, I had to move the charging cable from the alternator (fuse box terminus) to the center lug of the isolator. The stock cable was old and tiny. So I bypassed it altogether by installing a 4 gauge cable, which runs along the top of the fire wall to the isolator. Here's a shot of the connection at the alternator, with the stock wire capped off with red Rescue Tape (this stuff rocks!!!)...

[Linked Image]


As noted in my previous update, I decided to install a relay to allow the solenoid (S-terminal) to pull power directly from the battery while still being controlled by the transmission's shift position sensor. The mod was very easy. I just cut of the connector on the S-terminal wire (ignition), extended the wire with a butt connector (sealed in rescue tape - all connections and lugs were insulated and sealed with rescue tape... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/kewl.gif" alt="" />) and ran it up to the one of the 30 amp relay's control terminals, with the other being connected to ground. Then I ran a line from the main battery's lug on the isolator (closest to the fire wall) to the switched input on the relay, followed by a line down to the solenoid. Again, all connectors were insulated, butt connections sealed, and the wires protected with sheathing. All wires used were 10 gauge and an 25 amp in-line fuse (ATO type) was added to line between the battery and relay...

[Linked Image][Linked Image]


And here's a photo of the 2 rear-facing holes in the box to be used for quick-connect to the aux battery...

[Linked Image]


All that noted, my Sporty runs again! And once I had it on the road for a few miles, it seemed to run better than ever (which I attribute to cleaning up the wiring). I'm not done yet. I'm going to seal the lid to the battery box with some weather stripping, level the rear deck with the lid using plywood, clean everything up and remount the seats. And I still have the winch to install. But everything is in place for that now... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/kewl.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cheers.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/kewl.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cheers.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/kewl.gif" alt="" />


<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" />


1997 Sportage 4x4, auto-trans, Warn manual hubs, 4" UPYOURKIA front lift, TJ 106AA rear springs, 2-5/8" body lift, 31x10.50 treads, SmittyBilt SRC front and XRC rear bumper, swing-out tire mount, OBX LSD front diff, Track Finder rear locker, 5.38 R&Ps and... really crappy gas mileage! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shiner.gif" alt="" />
Re: Peabody's latest adventure: Dual batteries with an isolator... [Re: Peabody] #1042386 06/04/12 02:26 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 316
H
homerdog Offline
Mudrunner
Good to hear the starting problem is solved, and a pretty impressive job on the battery relocation project. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />


2001 Sportage, TJ 106's, Everet spacers and bumpstops, Bilstein shocks on the rear, cone filter, Crager wheels, 235-75-15 Goodyear tires. Custom front winch bumper by Dave Scott. Currently DOA, but it is a work in progress.
2011 Kia Forte EX
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