MR RUM's 2013 Extra-Cab HiLux

Mr Rum

4x4 Earth Legend
G'day all.

I joined the 4x4 Earth forum at least two years ago now, and until recently I was almost completely inactive.
I was initially drawn to the site because of the tracks map, but now it's the generally friendly discussions on the forum, and the welcoming nature of the members I met at a recent gathering that have me logging on almost every day.

I know that the forum has a separate section for member introductions, but I consider my ute to be an extension of myself, so I'm just going to combine my intro with this build thread.
These first posts are doozies, so I suggest grabbing yourself a drink before you read on.

To get started, I thought I'd share the backstory leading up to the purchase of my first HiLux.

I'd driven nothing but VU Holden Utes for more than a decade leading up to last August. The first of which was a VUII Storm I bought new when I was 19.
As much as I loved it, I always yearned for that little bit more, and that's why as soon as I was old enough for affordable insurance, the Mrs took the Storm, and I upgraded to a VUII SS.


Both utes had many facelifts over the years.


You don't always need a 4x4 to have fun in the mud.


A full day of detailing later.

I had a blast with the SS over the years, but when the annual mechanical repairs began to cost more than the vehicle's value, I decided it was time to move on. Intermittent gearbox trouble on our way home from a weekend in Burnett Heads was the final straw, and I started doing my research the very next day.
Our type of travel has changed quite a bit over the last few years, and as a result, we found ourselves quite often leaving the ute at home, opting to take the Mrs' Captiva for its superior ground clearance........ I know I know, that's probably never been said before, but compared to a lowered Commodore, it's true.


The Captiva actually performs quite well in sand.

Anyway, add the fact I couldn't fathom owning anything without a tray or tub to this need for more height, and we were instantly drawn to the HiLux range. The proven history, wide range of accessories, and parts availability in remote areas were the main draw cards for us.
Of the available variations, the Extra Cab seemed the obvious choice. The internal tub dimensions aren't terribly different from that of a VU, and the additional cab space and seating seemed like features I could certainly benefit from.
Convincing the other half that the extra cab was more suitable than a dual cab was as easy as getting her to sit in one. First thing she did was look over her shoulder and say "That's plenty of space for the dogs." Then she looks to me and asks, "So how do we buy it?"


We have two extremely spoilt Border Collies. And yeah, the chocolate one's a bit spesh'.

The HiLux we ended up with is a (Feb) 2013 5 speed D4D SR5 Extra Cab in silver, and was in excellent shape when we picked it up. It had around 70000 on the clock, and being less than three years old, still had the balance of its new car warranty.
I was originally hoping to find one in white, but this one was just too good to pass up, and now I can't imagine it any other colour.

Saying goodbye to the old Holden was a bit of a sad moment. For years I've been known as "the bloke with the gold ute", and many people, including some of my closest friends, had never known me to drive anything different. Since trading it on the HiLux though, we've never looked back. It was the easiest transition ever, and I didn't, and still don't, feel like I've had to compromise on anything. Well, that is until we come across mountain roads full of tight bends. The turbo diesel doesn't give quite the same thrill the V8 did, but then again, I've somewhat outgrown the need to "Feel the Gs".

So now we had the blank canvas, it was time to make it ours.
Rather than jump in and go crazy straight away, I wanted to take my time deciding exactly what I wanted the HiLux to become, and even more time working out exactly how I wanted to go about making it happen.
This didn't leave me with much time to implement everything though, so many late nights were needed to get everything ready before our fast approaching deadline.

See, years ago my fiancée and I decided to do the Canning Stock Route as our honeymoon, but as we didn't have an appropriate vehicle back then, we've just continued to put our wedding off till we did. This meant that the very moment we drove away in our new (to us) 4x4, I was blindsided with a "So does this mean we can get married now?"...
I wasn't prepared for that, and just replied with, "Well, yeah, I suppose it does."
After explaining that there was a fair bit of preparation involved, and that it would depend on my holidays falling during the right season, we started working out if it was possible to manage next (this) year.
A few weeks later my holidays were allocated, and everything just sort of fell into place. The only concern I had was how much we had to organise, and how little time we had to do it.

Okay, now that that's out of the way, let's move on to the build.
Best grab another couple of drinks too I reckon.
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Mr Rum

4x4 Earth Legend
We were already committed to a trip away with friends the week after we picked up the HiLux, so the first two things I did to it when I got it home was install the old GME 3400 UHF I'd pulled out of the Commodore, and then wire up a couple of Hella Rallye 4000s I had sitting on a shelf.
I decided to squeeze the face of the UHF in where the ash tray slot goes, the main unit up under the dash above the glovebox, and an external speaker under the dash on the drivers side near the fuse panel.
I tried a couple of the aerials I had lying around in the garage, and I went with a four foot 6.6db GME unit. I also have a six foot 8.1db whip I can put on when out in the sticks, but it's impractical and unsuitable for use almost everywhere else.
At this point I hadn't decided what I wanted to do about the microphone, so I just left it on the to do list for the time being.
As for the lights, I had two pencil and two spread beams sitting here. With only enough room for two, I opted to go with the spreads. Some mightn't agree, but I've found when it comes to vision at night, it's much more important to have a wide range, than long range.

The first thing I said when I drove away from the dealership was "The ugly as f@&k bullbar has to go!", but after a few weeks, it grew on me. So unless it begins to get in the way, it'll probably be staying.
The second thing I said was "I need window tint. It feels like I'm driving around in a fish bowl." This didn't grow on me, so at the first opportunity, I had the windows tinted nice and dark. I didn't go as dark as on previous vehicles though, as I used to have to wind down my windows to use the side mirrors for reversing at night. This was especially annoying when it was raining.


As we tend to do a lot of solo driving, a winch seemed like the logical accessory to start with. After much research, I decided to order a 9000lb Superwinch, along with everything I needed to install it from Toyota.
The moment I received everything, a friend of mine informs me he could've ordered it all at trade price, potentially saving me a couple of hundred dollars. I wasn't really bothered by this as I thought the price I paid was very reasonable, but I did get him to come with me to ARB when I placed an order for a bunch of items including a Safari snorkel, Under Vehicle Protection, and Old Man Emu suspension components. He managed to saved me over $400 this time.

Now that I had everything together, I organised an afternoon with a few mates to help me install the heavy items that I didn't fancy tackling by myself. By the end of the night, we had the suspension sorted, winch operational, and UVP on.
The springs I chose are designed to perform optimally with payloads up around the 500kg mark. I went for them after working out roughly how much we'd be carrying on our outback trips, and so far so good. It does mean the rear end has next to no articulation when unloaded, and can act like a pogo stick over speed bumps, but considering I'm more often than not carrying enough weight when it matters, I'm happy.


I had planned on installing the snorkel myself, but after pricing the required items I didn't already own, it worked out to be almost the same as the $220 ARB wanted for installation. I decided to bite the bullet, and I booked it in.

During one of my few trips to ARB, I grabbed a shorter one foot 2.1db whip for my aerial for use around town. There's a few underground car parks near home that I just didn't fit through with the four footer on. Well I fit, but I was damaging the tip on light fittings and exit signs. At one particular location, the aerial scraped the lining off the ceiling of the carpark for about twenty meters, leaving a tonne of crap all over the outside of the ute. This should put an end to that nonsense. I refer to it as my "drive thru aerial".


Externally, I don't expect much to change from here on. One day I'll no doubt crush the side steps and need to replace them with something stronger. Same goes for the rear step bar. Until then though, this will do me just fine.

The following items all went in together over a period of weeks. Hesitant to regret any decisions about where I mounted additional accessories, I waited until I had it all worked out in my head before proceeding. I kind of installed all of the components for each system one at a time, and then wired them all up on the same day. This made it easy to keep the wiring nice and tidy, and also meant I only had to dismantle the whole interior just the once.

In an attempt to reduce the chances of a failure, I decided to install an oil catch can, and diesel/water separator. I went with a Provent 200 PCV separator, and a Water Watch water in fuel warning system.
The Provent 200 install was quite straightforward, and I'm super happy with how it blends into the engine bay.
Over the last 20000km it's removed roughly 100ml of oil from my intake. And I'm super happy with it.


A word of warning.
There's a valve in the Provent 200 that makes a small amount of noise as it opens and closes. It's like a little hum (at around 1000-1300rpm in my HiLux). It's not that loud really, and I hardly notice it any more, but it did cause me to worry for a day or so trying to work out if something was loose or rubbing.

The Water Watch system was also quite simple to install. The instructions that came in the kit were comprehensive, and easy to understand. The kit included a HiLux specific mounting bracket, and everything else required to make it work. Apart from a few holes in the factory fuel filter bracket, it went in using existing nuts and bolts.


The only trouble I had was deciding where to fit the warning light and buzzer in the cab.
At first I put the light down in the switch panel near the power window controls, with the buzzer secured in behind, but as soon as I sat in the drivers seat, I realised I would never be able to see the light down there, and then I questioned whether I'd hear the buzzer clearly from behind the dash.
After days of pondering, I came up with what seemed like the perfect solution. I put the light in the panel next to the stereo, and the buzzer through the side of the AC vent. I was too tired to be making this kind of decision when I did it though, because I did have trouble with clearance around the buzzer when I tried to put it all back together again. A couple of four letter words later, and I made the necessary alterations to put everything back together.


For anyone that's thinking of installing a Water Watch system, I am of the opinion that you could put the buzzer anywhere in your cab and still hear it.
It. Is. LOUD!
On one hand this is awesome news if it ever goes off.
On the other hand, it gets a little annoying during its "test". It does this every time your turn the key to accessories. The light and buzzer come on for a couple of seconds, indicating that everything is operational.
This is something I haven't gotten used to, and I'm considering placing something over the end of the buzzer in an attempt to muffle it a little.
If I was to do this again, I would just cable tie the buzzer to something behind the dash.

Up until this point I had considered everything to be essential, but now it was time to indulge a little.
In the past, if we wanted a hot shower, we would boil a saucepan/billy, mix it with cold water in a bucket to get the desired temperature, drop one of those cheap 12V submersible shower pumps in the bucket, and enjoy. At $20 each, we would use the pumps till the motors died, and then buy another.
The last of these failed on me in January, and ever since, I've been looking around at alternative options. I finally decided that a heat exchange system was the way to go, and chose the Glind Original kit to fit to my ute.
My reasons for choosing this type of system came down to a couple of factors.
The first being that I don't need to find room for it when packing. True, the hoses need a home, but they are flexible and fit just about anywhere. The other options I considered took up a lot of space, and added more weight which I'm always trying to avoid.
The second is that I don't need to find space for another fuel source. I read a comment somewhere on the web that diesel is too precious on remote trips to be using for shower water. I don't really agree with this, but even if I ended up in a situation where I believed this to be the case, I could still throw a billy on the fire, and just use the system without using my engine for heating. Besides, if you warm your water when you first pull up, you are using the heat you've already gathered in your engine. A few minutes of running the engine at idle is hardly going to make a huge difference in the grand scheme of things.
A negative I've read is that it's just one more thing to fail. This could be true, and is why I didn't just opt for the cheapest one I could find. I looked around, and bought the one I believed would survive. If it does happen to leak for some reason, it would only take a moment to plumb the engine back up to bypass the heat exchanger. For this reason, it hasn't got me worried in the slightest. Only time will tell for sure though, and I'll be sure to pass on any bad experiences if I have them.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to claim that a heat exchange shower is the best thing around, or that they would suit everyone, just that it suits me.
Installation was very straightforward once I worked out where I wanted the pump and heat exchange to go.
A fair bit of time was spent crawling over and under the engine bay, followed by a visit to a local steel supplier to grab an offcut of 2mm sheet, and then I got to fabricating.
Thanks to the Water Watch's mounting bracket, I was able to come up with a bracket for the FloJet water pump that required no holes to be drilled in the engine bay. I pissed off my neighbours a little when I didn't realise it was almost 10PM and I was still using my grinder. So a quick apology later and I got on to painting.
I'm pretty pleased with how this turned out too.


Back when we bolted on the UVP, I was concerned by the remaining gap between the bullbar and the first of the bash plates. It seemed a little to inviting to things like stones, sticks, and spinifex seeds for my liking, so I made a stone guard that would double as my heat exchanger mount. As I have no easy means to make bends in large sheet, I cut everything to size, then popped back into the joint I bought the steel from where they made the required bends for me. A bit of paint to finish, and it was ready for mounting. I designed it to go on using existing bolts too, so it was an absolute breeze to install.


I was a little concerned that the restricted airflow this would cause may result in higher engine temps, but after 20000km including desert driving, nothing seems to have changed.
Since installing my stone guard, I've also noticed that ARB bars don't have any such gap, and though the TJM versions have vent holes, they have way less openings above the winch than I do, so I was probably worrying about nothing.
With both the pump and heat exchange installed, I plumbed everything up, and am happy with how easy it all works. I used garden hose fittings on the inlet and outlet hoses so I can easily hook up to a number of different water sources, and parts will be available just about anywhere. The inlet and outlet connections were just tucked in behind the bullbar at first, but I've had to tie them up with a bit of cord to stop them falling out on the rough stuff. This was always intended to be a temporary measure, but I still haven't worked out exactly what I want to do, so they're still like this today.
EDIT: The hoses stay put now. I reinforced them with an old wire coat hanger, MacGyver style.




Next on the list was to extend the factory diff, gearbox, and transfer case breathers. I had bought an ARB kit back when I ordered all the other goodies, and thought that four breathers would have everything covered, but then I learnt of the ADD breather. The easiest way to overcome this oversight was to run the front diff, gearbox, transfer case, and ADD breathers to the ARB kit, and the rear diff to a separate filter behind the tail light assembly. After I'd fitted everything of course, I then learnt of another location for a breather on the transfer case, but as I didn't have the parts on hand, I left that job for another day. I intend to just join it to the existing transfer case breather via a T-connector. I can't see the small volume of them both combined causing any sort of problem.
I attached the ARB filter to the back of my shower pump bracket, cable tied the rear one to a small hole I drilled as high as I could manage in behind a taillight, and then hooked everything up.
Another satisfying moment.



After the water pump and breathers were attached to my bracket, there was still enough room to mount a relay and fuse block to power my growing list of accessories.
Luckily there isn't any more that needs to be installed under the bonnet, because I'm pretty much out of usable space at this point.


While hunting around for a couple of extra spare wheels, I came across a full set of the same TRD rims my HiLux came with on Gumtree. The ad was listed by a wheel shop for $900, and I wasn't sure how solid they were on their price. I offered them $500, and to my surprise, they accepted. One of the wheels has a bit of nasty gutter rash, but otherwise I'm stoked.
After much investigation into what tyres I wanted, I ended up wrapping these wheels with a fresh set of the same 265/65 17 Yokohama Geolandar all terrains that were already on the ute, and so far I haven't regretted the decision.

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Mr Rum

4x4 Earth Legend
The choice to install a long range fuel tank was an easy one. Depending on the make and model I chose, it could save me having to carry up to four jerry cans. I looked into, and contacted, all the manufacturers I could find, and after considering everything, went with a 145L tank from Long Range Automotive. I had to order it a bit in advance due to there already being a few on back order. They didn't recommend attempting the installation without a hoist, so I booked myself in to have it fitted by Artarmon Automotive once everything was ready.

It only took them half a day to fit, and I'm really happy with it.

All the manufacturers claim that their tanks don't change your ground clearance, but I have a feeling they are just saying that they don't hang lower than the bottom of your diff. My tank does hang slightly lower than the old one, but I don't see this causing me any issues with the type of driving I expect to be doing.





Around the same time I ordered the LRA tank, I also purchased a sat phone with car kit. The car kit was too cheap to pass up, but I had no idea how I was going to go about installing it. The phone cradle is rather bulky, and there was also the mic, speaker, module, and antennae to contend with. I started with the antennae, as it seemed like the easiest decision to make, and after again testing my fabrication skills, I managed to devise a way to mount it to the top of my sports bars. I took the bars off and drilled holes for the wiring to pass through, and while I had everything apart, I ran a bit of polish over the aluminium, which came up all pretty like.
Right before I bolted the bars back to the ute, I tied a small weight to the end of some fishing line, dropped the weight through the top hole where the antennae would end up, and with a bit of shaking, managed to get it to fall out the bottom hole. I secured both ends of the fishing line, and left it ready to pull the wiring through when I got around to it. As I was too busy to finish the job at the time, I drove around with it like this for over a week.
With this addition, my overall height comes up to 1.95m.


I thought I knew what I was doing with the phone cradle, but I was never 100% convinced, but after seeing a photo somewhere, of something totally unrelated, I had a brainwave!
Out came my ever shrinking steel offcut again. I made some measurements, and was soon cutting and bending. After convincing myself that nothing would end up in the way of the airbag, I gave everything a couple of coats of paint, and bolted it into place.
It's possibly a little over engineered, but at least I can be certain that no amount of corrugations will ever shake it loose.




As bulky as it all is, it doesn't look too out of place now it's mounted.

I stated earlier that the transition from my lowered SS ute to the HiLux was easy. Well I lied a little. The fact that entire vehicles can hide behind the HiLux's tailgate has taken some getting used to. This isn't a problem for future me to worry about though, because I invested in a Carbon Car Systems reverse camera, and it has completely transformed the ease of navigating tight parking spaces. I really wish I had of done it sooner.


My first visit to the shops with my reverse camera fitted.


The view from inside.

If there are any 2005-2015 HiLux owners out there that have a compatible head unit and are interested in adding a reverse camera, you can read the installation instructions online to see if it's what you're after.
It is without doubt the easiest install I've done so far.

I suggest if you do buy one of these kits though, before you do anything else, pull the two screws out of the mounting bracket and put some Loctite on them. I lost one of them almost instantly due to it vibrating out, and it was a size screw that I didn't have many of. In fact, of all the bolts and screws that I have hoarded over the years (I basically never throw them out), I only had one the right size and thread. After an hour of searching through the garage with no luck, I ended up finding one upstairs amongst my computer spares.

While running the wires for the reverse camera, I thought I should also hook up the rest of the sat phones car kit. This was all too easy now that all the hard work had already been completed, and the fishing line made pulling the wires through to the antennae an absolute breeze. The speaker went under the dash near the one for the UHF, and there was just enough cord on the microphone to put it up next to the sunnies holder in the roof. I screwed the module to the floor under the drivers seat, plugged everything in, and the job was finally done. When I chose to put the module under the seat, I was convinced that I'd never be stupid enough to flood my ute, but it turns out I was wrong. I did find myself in a bog, I did have water come in, and it did come just high enough to submerge the module. Suffice to say, the car kit now malfunctions...oops.
I'll deal with this little problem when I find the time.

If I'm absolutely certain I won't change my mind, I don't have a problem drilling holes in my dash. So with my mind finally made up, I mounted the UHF mic holder below the sat phone cradle, and my comms were finally sorted.

Another find thanks to the Internet was a dual USB charge point from Solid Kit. I originally ordered and installed one with blue LEDs in it, but I found them absolutely annoying after dark. I reordered a set without the LEDs and now I'm super happy with them.


Sat phone, UHF mic, and USB ports done!

While on the Solid Kit site, I also bought myself a dual battery volt meter to complement the 120Ah auxiliary battery that was about to go in.
I thought of having a custom battery bracket made to go under the tub behind the drivers side rear wheel, but this idea has been scrapped for the time being. For now at least, the battery has been installed in the tub, bolted down in front of the drivers side wheel arch. This means I've lost some space I'd like to get back if possible, but it'll do for now. I intend to make a protective cover for the battery out of the remaining 2mm sheet, but it's not a problem I've tackled yet.
It's charged with the help of a Redarc BCDC charger that's fixed under the rear seat.
I wired the dual volt meters to come on with the ignition, or at the flick of a switch. I intend to swap the switch for a push button later on, but either works.
Below is a wiring diagram of how I went about it.




The main reason for such a large auxiliary battery is to power the fridges. We usually only travel with one 32L Engel, but for our big trip we took a second to use as a freezer. Now that we're back to just the one fridge, we have enough power to keep it running for days before needing to fire up the engine. Bonus!
Not willing to trust a regular cigarette lighter socket on corrugations, I grabbed a couple of the screw type Engel sockets to put in the back of the cab.
Unfortunately, I had another one of those too tired moments when I decided where to put them. This led to a few different solution being tested, the last of which working well enough for me to go ahead with.
After my silly mistake with the buzzer earlier, I made many measurements to be sure there was plenty of clearance for everything. Problem was, I failed to make sure I could get the panels on and off with them in place. It wasn't the end of the world though, as they still ended up out of sight, and functional, which is what I was aiming for.
Now I just needed to run the cables, and plug in the fridges.


After reading around the net, I'm fully aware that trays are the more popular option for touring, but I tend to prefer a tub. I can totally understand that there are circumstances where trays would be a much better choice, but for now, I'll be sticking with what I'm used to.
I purchased some tub lighting while at a recent camping show that should make rummaging around in the back a little easier at night. I also grabbed the optional remote control unit that gives you the ability to control both power, and the built in dimmer from a distance. I had a similar set up to this in my last ute, and found it very handy.
Installation wasn't as straightforward as I would've liked though. The length of wire between each light cluster didn't really work with the available spaces under the lip of the tub, so I cut the wires and grafted in extensions where needed. It was a very time consuming job, but the end result made it absolutely worth it in my opinion.
The whole lot only cost me a little over $100, which represents great value in my opinion.


Dimmed to their lowest level.


Turned up all the way.

And here's what they look like in action...

The only item left on my to-do list at this point was the L2 ADD mod that is popular with many '05-'15 SR5 HiLux owners. I grabbed a relay and switch I had left over from a previous project, and I had the job done in no time at all. This should mean no more complaining about the painfully high gear ratio of reverse while backing the boat and caravan. Woo bloody hoo!

For anyone wanting to know more about the ADD mod, here's a link to how it's done.

Well, I think that's about it.

For now.
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Well-Known Member
Excellent and thoughtful work you done mate in your Hi Lux to suit your needs and usage .
Quality work that should last :)
You are obviously good with doing electrical work in modern cars , which would be a bonus.

Mr Rum

4x4 Earth Legend
For anyone that's thinking of installing a Water Watch system...
...It. Is. LOUD!

This is something I haven't gotten used to, and I'm considering placing something over the end of the buzzer in an attempt to muffle it a little.
I finally got around to muffling the Water Watch's buzzer last night. A couple of bits of kitchen sponge torn off and shoved into the end of the buzzer did the job perfectly.
It's still plenty loud enough to hear, but it doesn't make me cringe when I turn the key any more.
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You've put great thought into setting up your lux mate and executed all the mods very well and should provide you great service for yrs to come. Id be very happy with a set up like that, well done.

Mr Rum

4x4 Earth Legend
Great write up mate and I suppose congratulations are in order?
Firstly, thank you, and then I'm assuming you're referring to the wedding? If so, thanks again.
After eleven years together, I guess it was about time we got it out of the way.

You've put great thought into setting up your lux mate and executed all the mods very well and should provide you great service for yrs to come. Id be very happy with a set up like that, well done.
There were many sleepless nights in the planning of how I was going to tackle this project. The hardest part was trying to keep it simple. It's so easy to get caught up in the excitement and go overboard when you have a new toy, but I'm pretty happy with everything for now.
To Mr. and now Mrs. Rum, Congratulations on the wedding and sharing what you did to the Hilux- truly amazing and very neat indeed. BTW. That $220 you spent getting the snorkel fitted was probably the best money you spent. I fitted my own and after buying more tools including a nibbler, and countless hours of swearing, under the guards and in the engine bay, it worked out about $1 an hour in labour I was putting in - NEVER again. I even had to cut down the radiator overflow storage container and re-fibreglass that up. Have also enjoyed building up my Triton with most of the stuff you have and done it all myself and everything works like a dream. Luckily I am retired and time to do it, saves running my grinder at 10:00 pm at night. Saw your personilised plates, must be a good story 'bout that and I know it is not Bundy. Can't believe you got all that flash clothes and a wedding dress out there without it being a brown sandy colour, was figuring you must have got it flown in !!!!. Thanks for sharing so much - Mini


Mr Rum

4x4 Earth Legend
I haven't made any more modifications to the HiLux at this point, but I thought I'd share how I secure my fridge/s.

How to secure Engel into Extra-Cab HiLux.

When I first did this, I considered it just a temporary solution, but after comtemplating all manner of complex tie downs, I've decided to stick with what is possibly the simplest fridge restraint out there.

With the cushion off the rear seat (unclips in the Extra-Cab), the flat surface underneath is just big enough to support the feet on my 32L Engel.
I then pull the seatbelt all the way out, and thread it up through one of the fridge's handles. It isn't long enough to feed through the second handle, so I "borrowed" a dog restraint from the wife's car to use as an extension.
I plug the extension in to the seatbelt buckle, thread it through the other fridge handle, and then clip it to the end of the seat belt.
Then it's just a matter of pulling the loose seatbelt tight around the fridge, and letting it retract until it locks tight.
Job done.

This photo should illustrate what I'm on about..

The best part is, removing the fridge if you need to use the seat is a piece of piss.
You just unclip the belt buckle, remove the extension, unthread the seatbelt, lift out the fridge, and clip down the cushion.

Less than a minute to install, and less than a minute to reverse.

You can fit an Engel on both sides this way too. Getting the second one in is a little bit fiddley, but doesnt really take that much longer.


Well-Known Member
I didn't even bother taking the seat cushion out. I also use the seatbelt ( bought an extension piece ) and just clip it up. Works a treat. With the Engel behind the passenger seat. I can ( with difficulty ) reach over for a coldie on the fly.......
I have just the one fridge, a 55 litre Evakool from Kickass. We run it as a freezer on the big volume side and control air to the smaller fridge side. We also have a small esky thingo to put the frozen food to thaw out during the day. Mine is stored on the back floor of the dual cab. I have seat back and cushion completely removed, then a ply floor covers the whole back area, completely dead flat and secured through existing seat hardware and seat belt mounts. Have screwed handles where I need to tie down stuff. On the back seat is the fridge freezer, my AGM battery, folding solar panel storage, track treads, 3 extra cigarette outlets for USB chargers and re-charging phones and LED lamps on the run. All heavy stuff like fridge and battery connections are all Anderson plugs including solar. Have a voltage device as well as a wireless fridge device so can check all electrics and freezer temperate so from my drivers seat. Also have a Inawise TPMS which is bloody fantastic, it is the system with the sensors in the wheel, not on the valve streams. Have an electronic isolater (Enerdrive) that works well as my alternator is of the older variety and not a variable voltage type like yours which drops voltage and will force the relay open. Luckily you were onto this when you installed the Redarc BCDC system. As well, as soon as I come home from a trip away, I connect my aux. battery to my smart charger to completely top it up. This is good practice for everyone. Mr. Rum, when I get some time I will add a few photos from home to this site, am currently on my iPad at the moment?
My Triton used to have a hard top tonneau cover and removed it for a Caddy Canopy which is great as it has two (2) lifting side windows for easy access. I built a table for the back in two parts so it can come out ( with some difficulty though) and I use the lower part for heavy objects like second spare wheel, 6 merriest that fit perfectly between the wheel arches and is a tight fit. Wife made a bridle thing to remove the first Jerry, after that, the others come freely. Then there is camp ovens, swag (KULKYNE KAMPER) barbecue and water containers. Upper deck is a light draw and cupboard setup at the upper canopy hatch and behind that are the removable plastic boxes of food and cooking gear. The gap between the rows, conceals the grog shop, a couple of cartons of beer and rough reds to disguise my bad cooking. Everyone is different (that's what makes us so interesting) and we would not change a damn thing. Can't wait to hit the dirt again on 3rd May and meet new friends.

BTW, the spare wheel is hard mounted to the tub ply, ingenious device with welded nuts to a steel plate, I know about EVERYTHING to be secured to the floor.

Mr Rum

4x4 Earth Legend
With the Engel behind the passenger seat. I can ( with difficulty ) reach over for a coldie on the fly.......
We don't need a third seat very often, but I keep the fridge behind the drivers seat simply because it allows easier access for a passenger.
I'm also lucky to be tall enough that I can easily reach around for a cold drink with it directly behind me.:)
We don't need a third seat very often, but I keep the fridge behind the drivers seat simply because it allows easier access for a passenger.
I'm also lucky to be tall enough that I can easily reach around for a cold drink with it directly behind me.:)
Is the third seat for the Border Collies to share?. My fridge also sits behind the driver. Fridge is mounted with access from the rear door, not like the Engel, mounting is on the long side which suits us fine. We always re- stock the fridge in the mornings when the temperature is cooler with more beers, maybe a litre of milk or jar of salsa, remove meat for that nights dinner to other esky as well as swap over the ice bricks. It is now just a habit to minimise fridge freezer openings. Only need to use the if staying put for more than two days. My battery monitor is good to two decimal places. Mr. Rum, tell me more about the Sat. phone type and plan or call costs, I keep borrowing one, would be nice to have my own. Mini

Mr Rum

4x4 Earth Legend
tell me more about the Sat. phone type and plan or call costs, I keep borrowing one, would be nice to have my own.
We used to hire a sat phone phone for around a hundred dollars a week plus calls, but when we were going to be away for over five weeks we thought we'd have a look at buying.
I came across and saw that they had reconditioned units really cheap. I gave them a call to see if they had any car kits to go with them, but they didn't at the time. They did however have some ex-demo stock with brand new car kits for $650, so I bought one.

It included a twelve months subscription to the satellite service that is worth $20 per month (no included calls).
Outgoing calls are $1/minute.
Unlike the phones we had hired previously, incoming calls are free.
Standard Australian mobile number, so when someone calls it, it only costs them whatever it would to ring a regular mobile.
No SMS on this particular handset if that matters.

They're currently going for $589.

The car kit is $499 on its own (I know this because I drowned the first one), so it's a pretty good deal if it suits what you want/need.
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