26 Sep. 2012

Factor55 ProLink

Well its been a while since I posted any new developments on the rig since I've been out enjoying the great outdoors in it!

Before the FJCC 2012 Summit, I had ordered a Factor55 ProLink safety thimble to replace the hook on my winch. I had a couple of reasons for doing this; firstly stowing the hook on the winch was a PITA. It also scratched the crap out of the fine work Joel from Ellis Precision had done on the hawse. Finally hooks aren't exactly the safest recovery mechanism especially when using shackles. So with that in mind, I got the Factor55 kit.

Installation couldn't be easier.

1. Remove the split pin and retaining pin on the pre-existing winch hook, separating it completely from the line.

2. Grab a pair of circlip pliers and remove the circlip in the ProLink

3. With the circlip removed, the titanium pin will come out easily.

4. Install the rubber boot for the ProLink on the winch line, then attach the winch rope to the ProLink. Reinstall the titanium pin and circlip making sure the circlip goes back into the groove.

5. Pull the rubber boot back down over the ProLink, it has some guide points to align it and keep it in place.

6. Installed ready for use

15 Aug. 2012

Ellis Precision Coat Hooks

Another awesome product from Ellis Precision was installed this afternoon after finally arriving from Canada; machined billet coat hooks.

Like everything Joel from EP does, these are just plain awesome. I had him finish them in "stealth" the same as the shifter, transfer and hand brake bits he had done previously.

Installation couldn't be simpler:
  1. Remove the OEM coat hooks, pull down on the covering scabbard, exposing the bolt. Remove the bolt using a 10mm socket.
  2. On the back of the EP coat hook; install one of the supplied grub screws using a 3mm hex key. This grub screw is used as a locator.
  3. Drop the machine bolt through the coat hook (best to guide it by attaching to a 5mm hex key); locate the coat hook into position making sure the grub screw aligns with the untapped hole, while screwing in the machine bolt.
  4. Admire the product.
1. Pull down on the scabbard to expose the 10mm bolt head

2. OEM coat hook removed, you can see the two holes;
one tapped the other blank
3. Back of the EP coat hook; the top right hole
is tapped and takes the grub screw

4. You'll need a 3mm and 5mm hex key.

5. Grub screw installed
6. Bolted in place and ready for the Zegna ;)

16 Jul. 2012

Warn 9.5 XP-S Winch

Well after a long time, I finally got a winch!

Initially I had an Avenger Mako TDS 9.5, ready to go in, but unfortunately it didn't fit in the ARB bar. I was a little bummed as it received a great review from a 4x4 magazine comparison on winches. Fortunately the guys at Opposite Lock took it back and it was back to the drawing board for me...

I'd always wanted a synthetic rope winch to reduce additional front end weight, make it easier for the co-pilot to lug it up a hill and the ability to easily re-splice it in the event of a breakage. The trick was, finding a winch that was truly synthetic rope capable. Plenty of winches come with a synthetic rope option, but aren't built for the purpose; with the internal brake being in the drum and heating the rope up to damage point very easily when in operation.

While I was in my local ARB store a few months prior, the guys were drooling over the new offering from Warn; the 9.5 XP-S winch. Warns premier ‘extreme conditions’ winch, the 9.5 XP now retrofitted to support synthetic rope (hence the –S suffix). I took a look at the specs and having seen my mates XP series winches used and abused, I didn’t hesitate to say ‘you’d better order me in one of em’.

So 2 months later, the shipment from the US came in and I have a shiny new 9.5 XP-S fitted up. I was most surprised that the kit also included a wireless remote control, which does away with the wired hand remote (though still included). It’s a very small unit that is a godsend when driving and winching at the same time.
Another interesting development with these new series of winches; solenoids in the control box have been done away with. Replaced with a completely sealed contactor box; theoretically this should never fail, but time will tell.

The winch comes with a polished Warn hawse, which looks brilliant. Unfortunately it’s a standard hawse configuration and ARB bars require an ‘offset’ hawse, so it couldn’t be used. I did however order an offset hawse earlier in the year from Ellis Precision (same guys that did the handbrake, gear and transfer knobs) which really looks the part.

On order now is a Factor 55 ProLink Loaded kit, to replace the hook with a shackle point for greater security and connection flexibility.

All in all, a quality bit of kit I couldn't be happier in having and trusting my life with; as they say 'quality remains long after the price is forgotten'.

PS: if your a complete wally like me and skim read the instructions; you need to press and hold both buttons on the wireless remote for a couple of seconds before it becomes active. I went back to ARB today to claim the wireless unit was dead until my trusty sales guy, Pete let me in on the activation secret!
1. Wireless Controller

2. Contactor Box (no more solenoids)

3. Winch installed, Ellis Precision hawse visible.
4. Factor 55 ProLink shackle point.

29 Jun. 2012

UHF Extention Speaker

Howdy again all,

I've run into a paradox a while ago with my UHF and its internal speaker. When 4x4ing; nothing gets the blood pumping better than a good Joe Satriani solo, maybe some Steve Vai or Metallica cranked up; problem is you can barely hear your fellow 4x4ers on the radio.... Solution; add an external speaker!

Now I've been meaning to install an extention speaker for my UHF for a while now. In fact I bought the speaker unit about 2 months ago and have been to lazy (and not brave enough to go into the cold shed) to install it. Finally this evening, with a rum in hand, I braved the cold and got it done.

The unit is a GME SPK07 model as shown.

After a bit of scoping around, I found the best place to install it seemed to be in the passanger footwell under the glove box. There is a mount with two screws; I removed the foremost one and used that to mount the speaker bracket. With a bit of trimming of the spreaker bracket, it fits into the groove of the glove box mount snuggly.

After installing the speaker, it was a simple case of running the cable through a pre-existing conduit I had run, to the centre console where the UHF is.

1. GME SPK07

2. Dismantled centre console - access to the UHF radio

3. Speaker bracket installed under glove box
using pre-existing bolt

4. Speaker installed.

19 Jun. 2012

Roll Top Console

As part of a group buy at FJCC a while back, I got a 'Panamint' version of the Roll Top Consoles. These things look great, appear solid and in all honesty, look like they are OEM kit. Perhaps Toyota should talk to Industrial Forming?

The only trouble I had, was finding a day that was warm enough to install it, as the instructions dictate that the car interior should be >15 degrees C for installation. Given its winter here in Canberra, that's not such an easy task!

Panamint Roll Top Console installed.

16 Jun. 2012

Toolkit & Contents

Plenty of members at FJCC have been asking: "what do I need to carry in a toolkit". So, given I just had a new canvas carry bag made up to fit into my storage drawers for the purpose, it seemed like a good idea to give a rundown of its contents. Here's a couple of things to remember when putting together a toolkit;
  1. Make sure the contents match your rig (no point carrying tools which aren't required).
  2. Buy the best tools you can afford. This may seem strange for gear you may rarely use, but when you need them, you don't want them to fail!
  3. Know how to use all the tools in the kit.
Kit Contents:

TyreDog 1300 TPMS

I've had these on my list for a while, but never really got around to dropping the cash for them. Fortunately one of the guys over on FJCC had some he wanted to get rid of as part of a stocktake, which kinda pushed my hand a bit (thanks Daz!).

When I first opened the box I was really surprised at the size of the monitor. Measuring around 70mm x 30mm, I was expecting a lot larger but more than happy about it not taking up a heap of room.

Installation couldn't be easier; drop the batteries (supplied) into the monitor then into the sensors. They come online and beep and complain a bit until they are screwed onto the valves. I didn't bother using the locking collars, since it seems like a PITA when airing down for trail runs. Lets just hope the crackheads don't decide to steal them!

I mounted the monitor next to the Long Ranger tank gauge using the supplied suction mount. Due to the small stature of the monitor and mounting bracket, it seems like a perfect position that won't be intrusive, though time will tell.

1. TyreDog TPMS Boxed

2. Small in size, big on features ;)

3. Mounted up