The $500 ScienceMobile build

LabRat

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Well, except for the fuel tanks that get delivered Tuesday, trip outfitting is complete.

Tires and wheels go on Wednesday.

I really was hoping to get the lift on before the trip, but the cheapo A1 auto suspension will get me through the July trip.

custom bumpers will also have to wait till after. Don’t need them for this excursion. Am about half way done with the welding.

Still chasing the takeoff clunk, but my excursion insurance covers everything, so if I’m lucky.
 

LabRat

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Go have fun, and good luck on your research
Oh, I’m gonna. No crazy off road rock climbing wrangler stuff, but gonna put around 3k miles in 21 days on Bert. Provisioned for 45 days. Have till August 2nd to be back to the labs…and still have nine weeks vacation on the books.

then two weeks in the labs, and then three weeks in the field.

now that I have Bert and the ARB Double Swag…field research is 365…

built a custom spark arrestor and installed the skid plates.

I’m finally ready-ish
 

LabRat

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Just a few days to go! The hurricane force storms gave me the chance to …”test the transmission for stress fractures…” ( brownie points if you know that quote)

as stated elsewhere, this 500$ Heep far exceeded my expectations. It’s loaded out with twice the weight I’m taking on this expedition, and it never broke a sweat.

The disaster here did expose a glaring error on my part- with OE style bulbs in my rock guards seriously affected visibility. So I just upgraded to the brightest bulbs I could find and will find out tonight if that helps.

I also discovered my reverse lights aren’t working, so going to troubleshoot and repair that today.
As I pour through this thread, I’m laughing at my self. Still things I want to do, but the last 30+ hours proved to me that Bert the ScienceMobile is good enough for now.
 

LabRat

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Load testing complete. Balanced and tied down. RainX and heavy wipers all around. Clean Socks packed. Pre trip inspection complete. Sat Coms tested. Glove box filled with beef and bison jerky.

The next post will be from the road!

Bring on the field work!
 

LabRat

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So the build continues... Returned suspension parts a while back as a certain not to be named vendor sent stuff that wasn't what they claimed it was. This also explains some of the difficulties I had with previous attempts. Shame on me for not being OCD about double checking stuff..

Anyway took a few weeks, but, over the last few days, I am the proud owner of OME springs, struts, and shocks.

Soon. Soon. Soon.
 

WheelNut

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What are the fabric hanging gear pockets you've used on the inside of the swing gate? Seems like a great addition. Looks like you riveted them in place?
 

LabRat

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What are the fabric hanging gear pockets you've used on the inside of the swing gate? Seems like a great addition. Looks like you riveted them in place?
It’s a cheapo from Amazon. Got it on a flash deal for 17$ Used self tapping screws, so can be removed for maintenance on the internals. By far the least expensive and most useful mod I’ve done.

is intended to Velcro/strap to seat backs, but was garbage when mounted that way. I kept the straps and such in it, but they are tucked away behind it and are used to secure additional gear if need be.

here’s the item:

these are the screws I used. Don’t remember the actual size as were in a jar labeled “VW speaker panel installation” on my work bench. Bout 1/2 inch total length and likely purchased from the local Ace Hardware
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LabRat

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All suspension parts are now in my possessionI’m replacing everything when I put the lift in.

both front and rear work lights are ready for install as are the front and rear extra flashers.

new CB is ready to go in at the same time I put in the new sound system.

heat wrapped the exhaust system near the CV boot and installed a proper biting boot.
 

LabRat

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Well as usual everything is behind schedule due to weather or waiting on parts…and the one I have been waiting on arrives today
Third window cabinets, exterior lights, and the remaining bits on the interior are on schedule to be finished/done at his weekend.

Betcha it rains…
 

LabRat

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And no sooner do I post and
“We’re sorry that your package is delayed…”

<rams forehead into drywall>
 

LabRat

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Pro tip:
Dawn brand dish detergent (or the store brand version) is the secret to getting cables through grommets, holes and tight spots. Unlike the products branded for pulling cable, it doesn’t dry out fast and cleans up with a damp sponge or rag. Save money and work harder not smarter!
 

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LabRat

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Another pro tip:

Solder your lighting and audio wire rather than bu.to splicing. Twist your stripped ends together and then wrap the solder around it as shown. Hit it with your soldering iro and is pro grade!
 

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LabRat

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Whew. Dang VA changed my meds again, so I’m slowed way down. Hard to get projects done in what used to be a reasonable time for me.

Got all the holes drilled in the roof and ran all the lighting wiring. Fishtape made that pert easy. Soldered and heatshrank all connections, installed properly sized waterproof grommets and filled in the two miss drilled holes I made. Oops.
Ran out of daylight, so moved indoors and and wired up the relays and fuses for the new circuits.
Cut another keyway in the left hand dash panel that holds the switches and installed the fourth switch. Switch five will have to wait as it’s for a dedicated dual USB port for the cargo area.

Tomorrow, more wiring connections and then start on rebuilding the front end. Good thing the job is just a few blocks away, as Bert ain’t gonna be on the road for a few days.

Last pic is the trick I developed to get those pesky light bracket nuts and screws installed…hold em in place with painters tape…works like a charm.
 

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LabRat

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Ran out of daylight yesterday, so spent the evening wiring up the “new” connections on the 6 gang box.

Also, forgot to mention that after new plugs, new COPs and two Techron treatments, that dang number six MIL code returned and stayed lit. Of course this indicates a sticky valve or a **** cylinder…
So on a whim, I dumped in a bottle of Marvel Mystery Oil at half a tank, topped it off with my usual ethanol free 87…and ten miles later the MIL cleared and stayed off. Smooth idle, sloppy acceleration and all has gone away. Lucky me.
 

Ohio-white-kj

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Marvel, wow. I sold that in 1970 when I worked at an auto parts store. It was an antique then. I believe it originated for use in add-on top-end oilers for Model T's or Model A's.

Most we sold were for air tool lubrication.
 
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