After around 11 installments, it's hard to believe we're finally just about finished with our overland-style project. One area we've wanted to cover since the beginning was the charging system. This truck has never had a problem, but we did add a big stereo, LED lighting, an alarm, and a USB charging station in the bed area, so we really had to upgrade the truck.
Properly adding a dual battery kit requires a bit more than a second battery. You need to mount that second battery, run cables to it, and have a way to isolate it from the other battery. That's the real benefit here: being able to power the truck throughout the day or night when you're out on the trail and still have a fresh battery to start it when needed. There are simple isolators on the market that are simpler than what we were planning, but when we threw a high-amperage alternator into the mix, it rendered them obsolete—they can't handle power!
So, while our final parts list was bigger than we planned, we were confident we were doing the job right. For the two new batteries, we looked to Odyssey for a couple matching Extreme Series 78-PC1500s that would fit into both the stock location and the factory-style auxiliary battery tray we picked up off eBay for a few bucks. Then we called up Powermaster Performance, because we knew it carried a 220-amp alternator that bolted right into the stock location and had the correct plug and pulley. To make it all work, we discussed our needs with Painless Performance, who recommended its weatherproof dual-battery control system, which consists of an extreme-duty solenoid and three-way switch along with all the other connections. Finally, Painless added 16-foot lengths of 1-gauge cable to cover all the cable we were adding or replacing. We completed the job in a couple afternoons and were soon enjoying the fruits of our labor, feeling confident this truck is one giant step closer to being the reliable off-road cruiser we envisioned form the beginning. Follow along and check out next month for what we think will be the final installment of Project Over/Under.