15 SD Top

New Vinyl
Of course the Ford Logos need to be modified... why leave well enough alone?
I removed "OFF ROAD" from the FX4 logo and replaced it with "BEACH TRUCK II"
Bug Deflector
"Beach Truck II" on the Bug Deflector... both thanks to Signs by Tomorrow - Norton!

- 2015 F-350 Projects -

Auxiliary Batteries for the Eagle Cap 850
Aux Battery
   I have a 2500 watt inverter mounted in the camper, primarily for use with our electric coffee maker and our blender (Paula J's Frozen Banana Mud Slides). After a few attempts last summer, we found that even the two Trojan Deep Cycle Solar batteries wouldn't supply enough reserve to finish a full cycle of the coffee maker. We ended up using the generator to make coffee - in tight quarters, the noise of the generator was objectionable to me. I felt like I was disturbing our fellow beach campers, even though I was told the opposite. I did some reading into increasing my solar power to see if that would help give the batteries some needed help. The overwhelming opinion was to increase battery storage capacity first. I looked into larger batteries but with larger batteries comes larger size. The battery compartment on the Eagle Cap didn't have room for larger batteries. I decided I could mount a pair of identical batteries in the bed of the truck and connect them with #4 cable and a large plug.
   I already had a really strong 175 amp Anderson Power Pole plug that I had bought as a connector for the winch on the old truck but never used. There's a start! I downloaded the data sheet on my Trojan 27TMH batteries to get some dimensions. I then did some measurements in the truck bed. This will work, I thought. I picked up some 1.5" angle iron and some .75" square steel tubing at Home Depot and began to fabricate my auxiliary battery tray. After completion, I sanded everything down, cleaned and sprayed it with 2 coats of Rustoleum primer and 3 coats of Rustoleum Semi-Gloss black. I let the tray and brackets dry overnight and started fresh the next day. I was able to use the bolts from one of the factory tie-down hooks as my front mounting point and drilled a single hole in the bed for the rear point. I mounted everything and tightened it all up then called it a day.
   My friend Sean was heading up to Truck Camper Warehouse to have some minor warranty issues addressed on his new Eagle Cap 1160 so I rode up with him and got my auxiliary batteries. Sean actually bought a set too as his Diehards were almost nine years old. I brought the new units home and got them mounted and cabled before it got dark. I took the connector cables from the truck and from the camper, inside and soldered the Anderson Power Pole ends on in the comfort of my workshop, sitting down. The next morning, I went out and installed the truck connector cable and it's half of the big plug - I actually bolted it to the front of the bed so it would be easier to plug into. I then mounted the camper end, up through one of the battery box drain ports and to the outboard camper battery. I tightened all battery connections on all 4 batteries and then backed the truck back under the camper. I checked the battery voltage in the camper, disconnected the house power and I was ready. I left the camper battery compartment open so I could see any issues as I plugged the new Anderson Power Pole into the truck. Everything went together fine with no issues.
   One final test before plugging the house power back in - capacity check! I turned on all the camper inside lights and the Fantastic Fan, then loaded the coffee pot with 12 cups of water. I plugged it in, turned on the inverter and turned on the pot... 14 minutes later, the pot was brewed (just hot water - no coffee) and my battery voltage was reading 12.6 volts. That's what I wanted to see... the Solar Panel was only giving about 0.4 amps too as there was no sun! Nothing like a project that does what you had hoped it would do. Now we'll check it over the course of a few days on the beach and see if the single 140 watt solar will keep us going or if I need to add a 2nd panel. Hopefully, I'm done... that was fun! Check out the pictures below.
Aux Battery
1.5" Angle Iron with 0.75" square tubing legs, welded and test fitted. 
Aux Battery
All fits nicely... actually made cardboard dummy batteries to make sure. 
Aux Battery
Batteries in place, cabled and strapped down... 
Aux Battery
...leaving about 2.5" clearance to the camper side wall. 
Aux Battery
There's the truck half of the 175 amp Anderson Plug, bolted in place for convenience. 
Aux Battery
There's the Camper half of the connection, dropping down through one of the drain holes.
Aux Battery 
Camper in place and plugged in... double capacity!!! 
   After much thought, I added the diagonal brace above. Just before I put the camper back on, I gave the rear battery a soft kick and it shook a bit side to side. I wasn't too happy with that and was worried that on a good bump or pot hole, the batteries could bang against the side (aluminum diamond plate) of the camper and short. I pulled the truck back out and added this Sunday afternoon - it's not going anywhere. I can sleep better now!
Update - July 15, 2015
   O.K., it's been a couple of months and a few camping trips now... I have to say "It Worked"! The single 140 watt solar panel is keeping all four batteries charged very nicely. We have spent several 4 night/5 day trips on the beach and operated solely on battery power. A few of those days were pretty cloudy too... still doing the job. The batteries run all of the DC equipment as well as my 2000 watt inverter. We primarily use the inverter for the coffee pot in the morning so it's not a long term draw. The panel, on a good, sunny beach day has been showing as much as 14.6 volts and pumping 5.8 - 6.0 amps back into the batteries. I wish now that I had wired the inverter back into the AC circuitry of the camper with a switchover relay. We could have probably used it for other things besides the coffee pot. I have a simple power cord under the kitchen sink that we plug the coffee pot into. Well, that's it... hope this was interesting to someone.

- Air Compressor, 5 Gallon Tank and Shocker XL Horns -

   As was the case with my '08 F250, I decided to install a HornBlasters compressor, tank and air horns on the new truck. I was able to use a few parts from the old truck but opted for a new, higher output compressor with this installation. I also had an issue where the old horns had corroded themselves to their aluminum mounting plate. I could NOT get them off so I ordered a new set.
Tank and compressor
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