WEIGHT GAIN

MOONIEíS CRUISER COPS A NEW CANOPY, DUAL BATTERY SYSTEM, SPARE WHEEL CARRIER AND FRIDGE SLIDE IN THE ENDLESS QUEST FOR TOURER GREATNESS.

WORDS RON & VIV MOON

THE LC79 has turned into a lesson in weight management. When I fitted the alloy tray and canopy from Boss Aluminium in Bayswater, Victoria, I was wanting a good-looking, robust canopy and tray at the lightest weight possible... but I soon realised how quickly weight adds up.

The canopy (my fourth on 4x4 vehicles Iíve owned) fits all the criteria and is a work of bloody art; itís so well designed, manufactured and finished off. However, I digress. Letís talk weight.

The canopy, with its internal shelving, framework and drawers, weighs in at 200kg; the two spare wheel holders, without the wheels, weigh 15kg each; the drop-down fridge slide, without a fridge, weighs 37kg. So thereís another 267kg on the back of the Cruiser without even blinking, and Iíve yet to put anything into it.

The canopy has been custom-built Ė like most from Boss Ė and comes complete with a robust frame, while the canopy is bolted to the tray. This, in turn, is mounted on heavy-duty steel mounts that connect the canopy firmly to the vehicle chassis.

Inside the unit is some internal shelving, which weíve fitted with a range of Oates Smart Storage Drawers from Bunnings. Weíve used these lightweight units in the Patrol for more than 10 years and found them to work well and be durable (weíve never replaced them). Thereís a fairly large pull-out drawer and a slide-out table below that, while thereís also room for a fridge at the front of the canopy, all on the passenger side of the vehicle. The driverís side is a vast open playing field at present and Iím not even sure what Iíll be putting into it. My swag and tool roll will be the start.

Thereís some great LED lights, one on each lift-up door and two along the centre-line of the roof, and they do a great job illuminating the interior. Up the front, close to where the fridge will go, is a power distribution box with light switches, 12-volt power outlets and fuses, and an auxiliary battery voltage read-out display.

On the outside rear wall, connected into the framework of the canopy, are the two spare wheel carriers. These are adjustable so they can carry any size rim and tyre up to 38-inch in diameter, but we wonít be going that big. I could have fitted a roof rack or a set of roof bars to the canopy as well, but Iíd have an access issue to my garage, so that is on the back-burner at present. Weíll see if we need one.

Back on the inside and the drop

TOYOTA LAND CRUISER 79 SERIES 4X4 SHED DATE ACQUIRED: APR 2016 PRICE: $59,000 KM THIS MONTH: 1265 AV FUEL: 13.6L/100KM 1 1 1 1 6 5 9 KM

down fridge slide is an Easy Slide from Clearview Accessories, which was also fitted by the crew at Boss. Iíve had the forerunner to this unit in my Patrol for years and it has been a beauty, so I knew what I wanted right from the start.

The Easy Slide lowers the fridge unit 290mm, making it a lot easier to get a coldie or some salad from the fridge.

Designed in Australia, the unit has been improved since my Patrolís early model, making it easier and safer to use and capable of handling up to a 180kg load.

With its safety locking mechanism and additional travel lock the unit has been crash-tested and is ADR compliant, with a 36-month warranty on moving parts.

Available in three different sizes to suit myriad portable fridge/freezers, I opted for the ES-100Plus Easy Slide, which handles an ARB 47-litre fridge easily. It also fits the Engel 40-litre or the National Luna 55 Weekender.

As soon as the canopy was fitted I was back at Outback 4WD to fit a dualbattery system. We used an Auxiliary Battery Kit from ARB, the battery box being made from 2mm powdercoated steel, with well-designed supporting and holding brackets. This ensures the heavy battery doesnít break away from the vehicleís body work when on continuous rough roads or tracks. I have seen and used lesser quality battery kits which cause nothing but trouble once off the bitumen for extended trips.

To control the charge of the second (auxiliary) battery Iíve fitted a Redarc BCDC1240D DC-DC battery charger.

This isnít the cheapest option (I have a Redarc Smart Start SBI unit in my Patrol, which has worked just fine), but the DC-DC charger was considered the best option. Not only does this unit act as an isolator for the main battery, it ensures your second battery is fully charged at all times, whether it takes power from the alternator or from any and heavy solar panels you may have connected.

Now with an extra battery in the system Iíve added, yet again, more weight on top of the bar work and winch, along with the capacity of the bigger ARB fuel tank that has already been fitted. Iíll be running the rig across a weighbridge soon and then looking at better aftermarket suspension along with an increase in GVM.

NOW I NEED TO START LOOKING AT BETTER AFTERMARKET SUSPENSION

PRODUCT INFO

Dual Battery Kit: www.arb.com.au Battery Isolator and Manager: www.redarc.com.au Boss Alloy Canopy: www.bossaluminium.com.au Fridge Slide: www.clearviewmirrors.com.au Outback 4WD: www.outback4wd.com.au