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Mods and Maintenance: Electrical System (12v)

My Alternator Failed

Worn out brushes in an alternator. A $15 part, and a 45 minute service - in the comfort of your garage - can mean the difference between completing a trip and being completely stranded.

TL;DR - the alternator failed as I was about 90 minutes from home, and it was because the brushes had worn out. Luckily, I was carrying a spare set and swapped them in about an hour, completely fixing the issue.

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My Bussmann Melted (Replaced)

TL;DR - I've replaced my Bussmann fuse/relay box because the old one melted around some of the connectors. This issue has been ongoing for a while, but initially I didn't understand what was going on. Initially, I thought that I was having a problem with my HID-modified Hellas (see previous rig reviews) and so I contacted the manufacturer to see about replacement ballasts, and verified that all the pins were properly seated in the back of the Bussmann. After reseating a couple pins, I tried replacing the relay that was powering the Hella's, and that seemed to solve the problem...…

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Adding Electrical to the 4Runner Storage Area

The plan with the 4Runner was always to keep it a little bit more tame than the Tacoma. After all, it's our family adventure vehicle - used mostly for home-base-style camping, and less for prolonged driving adventures. But, some systems need to work in both vehicles - and the fridge is a great example. The Backstory Up until this summer, when we ventured over to Washington's Olympic Peninsula, I'd always just nursed the fridge along - running it as we drove to camp, and then turning it off once we reached our destination. There were a few reasons for that…


Infinite Free Power - Adding Solar to the Tacoma

I just got done camping in one spot for three days. Temps were in the high 80's, the ARB 50qt fridge was set to 35ºF, and the 175W inverter was running much of the time charging various electronic devices. The whole time, I didn't start the truck once. A couple weeks ago, my dual battery system would have been hosed by the end of this trip - probably wouldn't have even lasted the entire time - but when we pulled out of camp this time, the batteries were topped off and had power to spare. This my friends, is the…


Is There a Problem with My Second (House) Battery?

On our last trip to the Eastern Mojave, one of the things I noted early in the trip - actually, before the trip even started really - was that the battery in the cab seemed low. I chalked it up to an error on my side and figured that the long 20-hour drive from home to our first hike would be enough to get it back up and kicking. It sort of did, but the battery seemed weak the entire trip, dropping below 12V reasonably quickly - much more quickly than it has in the past. Initially I figured that…


Winter Weight Loss for the Tacoma

It's not natural. It's uncomfortable. It's hard. And, I know it's the right thing to do - I want to find a way to cut some weight off of the Tacoma. When I purchased the truck, Toyota listed the curb weight of a 4WD SR5 V6 Xtracab at something right around 3,500 lbs, and the gross weight (GVWR) at something near 5100 lbs. Or at least, that's what I can find on the internet in 2019, since I wasn't at all interested or concerned with those numbers at the time. Unfortunately for me - and the truck - when I…


MOAR Power, More Redundancy - Dual AGM Battery Install

Well, this post is a long time in the making. In fact, I assumed this was a project I'd get taken care of in the dead of winter, since much of it would be done in the wood shop, and none of it required the truck to be outside in the rain and cold. But like many well-laid plans, mine got comfortable and took a six-month nap. So let's start at the beginning... My Battery History To date, I've only had to replace the battery in the truck once. I did that back in 2011 after owning the truck for…


Bussmann RTMR installation

April 2017. Wires everywhere. That’s how it’s starting to feel with the various accessories that I’ve added to the truck. Sure, I tuck them away here, and zip-tie them away there to try to clean things up, but in the end I still have several pair of wires running from various fuses and relays in the engine compartment to accessories and switches on the truck. As someone who likes organization, it’s always bothered me. Luckily, there are solutions out there for those of us who like order. There are pre-made fuse boxes from folks like Blue Sea Systems, and there…

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Winch (and jumper) quick connect

October 9, 2016. When the winch was installed, it was obviously wired right up to the battery - this made a lot of sense, since it was easy, allowed us to get it spooled up, and is of course the way Warn recommends installing it. But I wanted something better. Or at least more flexible. I wanted to have a way to disconnect the winch from the battery when it wasn't in use (just so I don't have a bunch of #2 AWG wire hot to the winch all the time, and I wanted a way to quickly hook up…