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Rockhound Installs Dual Batteries & IBS Relay in Our Old Ford

Charged Up

Harry WagnerPhotographer, Writer

We installed dual Odyssey batteries when we rewired our 1977 Ford F-150, Raymond, years ago thinking that was all we needed to power the 460 in our truck (“Wire Transfer,” Dec. 2014; bit.ly/2KJVK4w). The two batteries were placed under the expansive hood in aftermarket battery boxes and linked together to act as one huge battery. Years of hard use off-road, including a 2,300-mile road trip in Baja revealed that there was room for improvement (“Bajajaja,” Oct. 2017; bit.ly/2AA4Qwb).

We brought the truck to Rockhound Off Road for some suspension work and said to owner Chris Sparks, “There’s an electric draw somewhere. Can you find it?” Sparks found more than a draw though. It turns out that one of our Odyssey battery had cracked after repeatedly pounding into a bolt protruding from the battery box.

This sent us back to the drawing board with a few new goals in mind. First, we wanted to set up our batteries so that they would be isolated, with one dedicated to starting the truck and the other available for winching and powering our fridge. But we also wanted to be able to link the batteries if the starting battery went dead. Slee Off Road is a premier Land Cruiser outfitter that we have worked with on past Toyota projects and knew exactly what we needed. Slee set us up with an Intelligent Battery System (IBS) dual battery relay.

The second goal of our battery rewiring was to transfer weight from the front of our truck rearward to provide a better ride over rough terrain. A 460 engine, a pipe bumper, and a huge Warn 16.5ti hanging off the front of the truck don’t exactly do it any favors, but moving 100 pounds of battery to the bed did help our weight balance. It also freed up space under the hood for us to add a cannister-style air cleaner that will do a better job of keeping our 460 engine healthy in the silt and sand we frequent.

Rockhound was able to fabricate custom parts and get the entire system installed in one long day, despite spending hours rerouting and terminating all of the wiring for the system. Even though Raymond has been “done” for the past year, whenever we use it on the trail we find more ways to improve its performance and functionality. This latest upgrade does exactly that.