Ken’s 2000 AWD Astro Tiger GT

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Re: Ken’s 2000 AWD Astro Tiger GT

Postby Ken2.7 [OP] » January 16th 2019, 4:59am

Irgebhardt, I’ve been searching this site for years and posts such as the one on the repair of the ABS module and the power window motor have saved me a ton of grief and money. Astrowill had mentioned twice to me that I should do a build thread and I should have contributed something long ago. BTW at the bottom his post is a link to a lot of great Astro information.
I look forward to learning more about your Tiger, it looks great. You just need two more like Astrowill!
Original Poster [OP]
Ken2.7
Firing on 2 Cylinders (L1)
Firing on 2 Cylinders (L1)
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Extra Info: AWD Provan Tiger GT

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Re: Ken’s 2000 AWD Astro Tiger GT

Postby lrgebhardt » January 16th 2019, 5:46am

Thanks, and I sure am learning a lot from your thread. You did some great stuff!
lrgebhardt
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Re: Ken’s 2000 AWD Astro Tiger GT

Postby Ken2.7 [OP] » January 16th 2019, 6:53am

On our first long trip we found the side door to the “house” allowed too much wind noise. To survive we pulled the curtain across between the cab and the house while driving. When I got home I removed the window of the side door and found it was thin single strength 1/8” glass which was not acceptable. I called a few sign shops and found one with a scrap box of plexiglass (not free, but still cheap). I bought a piece of 1/4” thick smoked plexiglass which was easy to cut with a fine tooth jig saw. The inside window frame flange was now 1/8” too large but was easy to sand to fit. To reseal the window to the door I used 3M soft strip caulk I bought at an automotive paint store that supplies body shops.
Items in the drawers made a racket on rough roads. I cut a pattern out of paper and transferred it to a yoga mat. A few staples around the top hold the soft mat in place and it is amazing how quiet the cabinet and drawers are.
On an excessively windy drive I rode in the back to locate other sources of noise. I found the window frame on one side would move/slide slightly against the interior wall. I loosened the screws holding the interior frame and inserted a 1/2” wide black felt strip between the frame and the wall stopping the friction.
Finally I put soft weatherstripping around the RV door frame in 3 places to seal it better and then tried several kinds on the Astro cab doors with great results with one kind. The last picture in this post shows the one that sealed out noise best without extra pressure on the door.
The ride is so quiet now that pulling the curtain across makes no difference in sound reduction but it’s still louder than a typical passenger car. A work in progress.
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Original Poster [OP]
Ken2.7
Firing on 2 Cylinders (L1)
Firing on 2 Cylinders (L1)
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Extra Info: AWD Provan Tiger GT

Re: Ken’s 2000 AWD Astro Tiger GT

Postby Ken2.7 [OP] » January 16th 2019, 5:55pm

My neighbor, the hod rod builder/GM mechanic stopped by while I was working on the Tiger and we discussed my recent alternator failure and the new AD244 I just put in. He said he saw more alternator failure in vans than pickups or cars and attributed it to less airflow through the engine compartment and therefore a hotter alternator. I wonder if by placing the transmission cooler on the same side of the radiator I caused less airflow or at least warmer air to reach the old alternator that died. I think I will move the transmission cooler to the drivers side and see if there is anything else I can do to help the alternator get air. He suggested an electric fan since it has the ability to continue to operate after the engine is turned off. I will have to revisit those threads and go visit the salvage yard again. Dang
Original Poster [OP]
Ken2.7
Firing on 2 Cylinders (L1)
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Re: Ken’s 2000 AWD Astro Tiger GT

Postby Ken2.7 [OP] » January 16th 2019, 8:32pm

My Tiger was in pretty good shape but had some scratches on the body. My local PPG auto paint store used my build code on the passenger door to mix up a rattle can of matching paint. I sanded first to smooth the edges and then tried to find a reasonable stopping area for the masking so the new area painted wouldn’t stand out. The results were very good.
I thought the decals were overdone so I used a crafting heat gun to carefully loosen and remove most of the lower decal stripe. I was missing some of the rubber trim around the outside RV doors so when I bought new rubber trim I picked white. The craft gun worked well to soften the trim to make it fit around the curves and I used white Latasil caulk inside the trim to help secure it. My daughter may never get the gun back.
She has a stencil cutting machine and has added her touch with a new “TIGER” decal on the front and the words “OFF ROAD” in the middle of the large gray stripe.
The pictures below show before/after of the side of the Tiger, the heat gun, the seam sealer (Seam Grip) which I used on the threads where the windows are stitched to the canvas, a tube of the Latasil Laticrete caulk (outstanding flexible caulk but very expensive $16) that I have also used where the canvas meets the body and in the bathroom to seal the shower. Also shown is the custom mix rattle can of matching paint, and my preference of easy to apply “wax” that seems to really stay on a long time. I learned about it from a boat owner who swore it stayed on below waterline for a long time.
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Original Poster [OP]
Ken2.7
Firing on 2 Cylinders (L1)
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Extra Info: AWD Provan Tiger GT

Re: Ken’s 2000 AWD Astro Tiger GT

Postby Ken2.7 [OP] » January 16th 2019, 11:27pm

Looking at my last post I realized I left off a canvas cleaner which really worked well on the Tiger top. I tried several cleaners and was not happy with any of them until I tried Surf City Garage Convertible Top Cleaner. The “canvas” actually has more of of a thick ripstock feel to it and the top is actually two layers of “canvas” with a thin foam insulation in between.
I used a brush on the top and scrubbed some and it rinsed off nice and clean. I’m sure it takes the wax off the body below so plan on using this first before any detailing you do.
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Original Poster [OP]
Ken2.7
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Re: Ken’s 2000 AWD Astro Tiger GT

Postby Ken2.7 [OP] » January 17th 2019, 12:20am

Irgebhardt, that storage box and the tail lights mounted up high on your Tiger look great. Was it that way when you got it; did you build the box; metal or wood? Don’t hold out on us, your Tiger looks great and I am going to start looking for rear leaf springs before summer.
Original Poster [OP]
Ken2.7
Firing on 2 Cylinders (L1)
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Re: Ken’s 2000 AWD Astro Tiger GT

Postby Ken2.7 [OP] » January 18th 2019, 7:15pm

The pop-up top allows me to put my Tiger in the garage which is why I searched for the GT model. The Tiger XL is the same Astro based unit with a fiberglass top and when I would like to “stealth” camp in an urban area I think it would be better to have. Of course we can keep the top down and sleep on the fold out couch but it’s not as large or comfortable for two people.
I searched through pickup poptop camper forums as well as contacting a former owner with a strut lifted GT and I found the length I needed was 36” and the recommended brand was Suspa. I ordered four 36” Suspa 40 pound struts and eight “Prop Lift Offset 10mm Ball Mounts,” they must be offset. That was 5 years ago and with time the 40# struts aren’t as strong as they were (or we’re weaker).
I ordered 4 more struts a year ago in the same brand but 60 pound lift strength (they don’t make a 50# strut). They turned out to be too strong as it was difficult to bring the roof down. On a whim I decided to try one 40# and one 60# both in front and back and that worked well. Both 60# struts are on the drivers side and both 40# struts are on the passenger side. Rather strange but it works.
I’m not convinced Suspa is better than any other brand so doing it all over I would find 50# struts of another brand.
The installation was easy. With the top up I positioned the fully extended struts where I wanted them and I fastened the ball mounts to the roof and body. I drilled 1/8” pilot holes where needed and used #10x1/2” stainless screws (I was able to use several existing screws along the roof edge).
In the back I placed my lower ball mounts against each other so they helped offset pressure going down. I have two roof securing latches in the front which prevented me from putting the struts there. I also placed them so the gas/spring assembly was on the upper side so water couldn’t get inside the struts very easily.
This may be too much trouble for many owners as lifting the roof isn’t too bad anyway. Also solar or other items on the roof might require different strength struts.
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Original Poster [OP]
Ken2.7
Firing on 2 Cylinders (L1)
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Extra Info: AWD Provan Tiger GT

Re: Ken’s 2000 AWD Astro Tiger GT

Postby Ken2.7 [OP] » January 19th 2019, 1:51am

I’ll get this wrapped up soon I promise.
Probably my favorite alteration of the Tiger was removing the old shower unit and putting in a new Rosin Thermostatic Shower body. There are two knobs, the first one with the red button is turned to the temperature you want and you never need to touch it again. The red button must be depressed if you want to set the knob to a higher than recommended temperature. We have ours set higher than recommended and never touch it; I suppose it is a scald control for little kids. The second knob just turns on the water and controls the flow. We have a 3 gallon water heater and we used to constantly change the cold and hot knobs trying to keep a decent temperature. Now we have a constant temp. and we use less water. It works so well that in the evening when we park I turn on only the pilot light of the water heater. By morning we have enough warm water in the tank to take two showers. Of course if we she wants to wash her hair in the evening or take an evening shower then I turn on the water heater rather than just it’s pilot light.
The flow control knob has a set screw holding in that assembly allowing it to be removed so I positioned the shower body at a 45 degree angle so I can easily drain it during the winter. I put the knob assembly and set screw in a plastic baggy and place it in a drawer until spring when we are ready to play like gypsies again.
The shower plumbing comes through a small closet and since I was changing the shower to set at a 45 degree angle I had to add some copper fitting to extend the existing pipes. The last pictures show those fittings on the back side of the shower.
If I ever do another bathroom remodel in our house I will put in a thermostatic shower.
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Original Poster [OP]
Ken2.7
Firing on 2 Cylinders (L1)
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Extra Info: AWD Provan Tiger GT

Re: Ken’s 2000 AWD Astro Tiger GT

Postby Ken2.7 [OP] » January 22nd 2019, 7:40pm

We wanted a deadbolt for the camper door and after measuring the keyless models I bought the smallest I could find which was the Schlage BE375 Century 619 in Satin Nickel. When the code is entered it does not pull back the deadbolt but instead disengages the knob so you can turn it. This saves considerably on battery life.
To install it I used a 2 1/8” hole saw in the face of the door and a 1” drill in the edge as directed. The screen door barely cleared the interior knob so consider that when installing.
My wife especially likes the convenience of not having to carry a key if we are out separately and when we park she can easily turn and twist the interior knob to lock the door. The last pic is one posted earlier which shows the deadbolt installed and painted to match the door.
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Ken2.7
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Re: Ken’s 2000 AWD Astro Tiger GT

Postby Ken2.7 [OP] » January 22nd 2019, 9:03pm

My fresh water tank is 19 gallons and I have made several modification. The original water fill was not lockable so a new locking door with filler cap was purchased at Camping World. I used an oscilaling saw to cut the aluminum outer surface for the new door.
I had read a few horror stories about the interior of water tanks so I bought a 6” Inspection Deck Plate and cut a hole for it. I was pleasantly surprised to find the inside of the tank was very clean. It has been handy to remove remaining water when I winterize.
It was difficult to see how much water was in my tank so I tapped into the overflow vent as well as the bottom line and ran clear plastic tubing to create a water column out in the living space so I could see the tank water level.
The tank had a drain line to the exterior which was difficult to access. I removed the old line and put in a new flexible hose and carried it all the way to the lower part of my bumper where I added a small brass ball valve. Now I can easily turn on the water at that location and I have a small squeeze bottle of soap there to wash my hands outside after draining my waste tanks.
Besides the 19 gallon water tank there are 3 gallons in the water heater, I carry 4 gallons in a portable jug fastened to the outside rear ladder and we put 4 frozen quart containers in the frig to serve as drinking water as they melt.
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Ken2.7
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Re: Ken’s 2000 AWD Astro Tiger GT

Postby Ken2.7 [OP] » January 22nd 2019, 10:30pm

In an earlier post I showed the thermostatic shower mixing valve. Since I wanted it oriented down at a 45 degree angle that left me with a wall with a hole in it. I bought Fiberglass Reinforced Pastic (FRP) wall board and after sanding and cleaning the original luan walls I made cardboard templates and cut the FRP to shape. I used a recommended FRP adhesive and cut some wood to hold the panels in place as the adhesive cured.
The bathroom had a back window which I didn’t want so I cut and secured a panel over the window before putting on the FRP panel.
The original latex/silicone caulk I put in the corners didn’t hold well so after getting it out I used white Latasil caulk made by Laticrete and it has remained watertight.
The door to the shower wasn’t as watertight as I wanted so I bought a length of garage door side weather seal and attached it across the bottom of the door and on the wall where the door closes.
While doing the remodel I decided to get rid of the vent stack that exited through the roof. Since the top lifts up the vent stack was a poorly fitting sliding affair. I had noticed newer Tiger GT’s had the vent exit on the side so I cut a hole in the side of the Tiger and ran my PVC to it. Where the pipe exited I put in a threaded connection and made a threaded cap with slots. The slots in the cap are angled so air passing by creates a vacuum that draws out fumes. When I dump my waste tanks I remove the cap and flush water down the vent cleaning my tank and the drain slinky.
The last picture in the group shows the adhesive I used, just be sure what you choose works on FRP. Also I filed and sanded the threads on my vent cap to make it easier to spin off and on and I oriented the cap so the slots point toward the back. I also included a picture of a hose in the vent tube. When using waste stations they typically have a hose dedicated for washing out the slinky.
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Original Poster [OP]
Ken2.7
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Re: Ken’s 2000 AWD Astro Tiger GT

Postby beneng_jr » January 23rd 2019, 3:45am

Nice!

I put 235/75/15 BFG All Terrains on mine, however... that was after converting my 1990 GT to a 4x4. Since the donor vehicle we used was a 1994 we stuck with the 200hp CPI motor instead of the old 160hp TBI motor. In 2wd I get 13-14mpg, whereas with the old 2wd/TBI setup with 215/75/15 BFG AT's I got 16-17.
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Re: Ken’s 2000 AWD Astro Tiger GT

Postby AstroWill » January 23rd 2019, 4:20pm

Loving this build thread!

Trolls take away from productive work, best to starve the troll of attention by ignoring it and going about your business.
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Re: Ken’s 2000 AWD Astro Tiger GT

Postby icebrrg3rd » January 23rd 2019, 7:26pm

Same here. Makes me want a Tiger...

-Andrew
81 Yamaha Maxim 650XJ 650cc 68k mi
91 Chevy Astro 5L 5-speed, Ford 9" 261k mi
02 Yamaha Road Star 1600cc 27k mi
02 Chrysler Sebring Conv. 2.7L 5-speed 213k mi
10 Chrysler Town & Country 3.8L 180k mi

To her it's all dollars and no sense--Wimpazz
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Re: Ken’s 2000 AWD Astro Tiger GT

Postby sixsix » January 23rd 2019, 9:01pm

Nice work - thanks for sharing... again.
And a pleasure to see good clear well thought out photos.

The care in all aspects of your work and the presentation is really a throwback anymore.

How old is your van again...? LOL



Mike
Last edited by sixsix on January 23rd 2019, 10:16pm, edited 1 time in total.
Well, after all... what would Banacek say ?... “AOC - her astonishing matryoshka-like ignorance, like the rest of The Squad is surpassed only by the relentless idiocy of the democrats, antifa & it’s attendant mass media, mayors & governors.”


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Re: Ken’s 2000 AWD Astro Tiger GT

Postby Ken2.7 [OP] » January 23rd 2019, 10:03pm

Thanks for the comments and Beneng maybe your post explains the difference in reported mpg by Tiger owners. My Tiger is a 2000 Astro model and I have had it 5 years. In 2000 they also made a pickup based version called the CX which had the full fiberglass top and in the Astro you could get the collapsing top GT like mine or the fiberglass top XL. They made a very very few collapsing top pickup versions and don’t know their letter designation. I have seen only two.
The electrical part of my Tiger has been an education. We mostly stay in city, county, or state parks as well as BLM and Forest Service campgrounds and out east the Corps of Engineers have some good places. But we stopped late one night at a huge RV park full of giant motor homes. The AC units were really humming and I believe a low voltage situation may have taken out my ancient power converter. I always test park power poles for correct continuity but I had not been checking voltage.
I bought a Progressive Dynamics PD4100 converter because it had enough 12v fuses and 120v circuit breakers to meet my needs and I liked the charge and maintain cycle it provided to maintain my battery when parked.
The new converter was smaller and since it had a cooling fan (which I have never heard kick on) I made a new wooden insert to fill the space and I added vents on the left side. The silver grill on the far left side of the pic is the furnace.
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Often mentioned with power converters are surge protectors. I decided to buy the Progressive Industries EMS-PT30c “portable” unit which protects from both high and low voltages. I really didn’t want it outside by the power pole where it is exposed so I found an empty space to the left of the furnace. That space also is directly below the power cord storage box and when I ran the furnace I found the space did not get hot. It is also next to the closet so I added some venting from the closet in case the surge protector put off heat but it seems to only get mildly warm. The readout cycles constantly to show voltage, hertz cycle, amps (shows 0 amps in the pic), and a code which will tell you the problem or cause if ever it shuts off.
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To access the space I used an oscillating saw and cut out a door. I also cut a hole in the door so I could read what the surge protector was showing for voltage and amps. The readout was so bright I eventually put some smoked plexiglass on the backside of the new cutout door.
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This month I replaced my alternator with an AD244 220 amp from Top Street Performace. I also upgraded both the ground and hot wires referred to as “the Big Three” and in particular I added a new ground wire from the back of the alternator bracket to the suspension immediately beside it and a new ground wire from the front of the alternator bracket all the way to a new extended length negative battery post. It has been mentioned that people doing that upgrade thought their headlights were brighter. It sure looks to me like that is the case. Even on dim and at idle they are extremely bright.
The new alternator case is larger in diameter but still fastens with the original bolts and in the same location. However since it is larger the pulley sits higher and will require a slightly larger belt. I made measurements in every direction of the centerpoint of my Tensioning Pulley before removing the old alternator. Then using the info provided by others in the thread I have listed below I ordered Continental serpentine belt #4060970 from Rockauto. It fit perfect based on the tension measurement I took before. No quarantee others will be as lucky. If I find problems in the future I will make note of it in this Build thread and the thread that provided me the info I needed.
https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.php?f=76&t=108218
To get maximum benefit from the increased amperage of the alternator I am running 0 gauge welding cable to the deep cycle RV house battery and I have removed the old ammonia propane refrigerator and will be installing a drawer style frig which has a small freezer. It is a 12v Danfoss type compressor frig I bought from Truckfrig while passing through Kentucky. Most of their sales are for units placed in sleeper cabs and I think the size and amp requirements will work for us.
In the picture you can also see the round inserts above the frig where we put our ladder for climbing into the overhead bed. When traveling the ladder is stored behind the spare tire. The last picture shows the ladder and the old frig which is now removed. It had a stainless door insert which I trimmed to fit after I removed it from a junked dishwasher. The new drawer frig has a center latch and the passenger in the cab will be able to reach back and open it. It is smaller so some space around and behind the new frig will be converted to much needed storage.
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Last edited by Ken2.7 on January 24th 2019, 12:44am, edited 1 time in total.
Original Poster [OP]
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Re: Ken’s 2000 AWD Astro Tiger GT

Postby AstroWill » January 23rd 2019, 11:49pm

Ken2.7 wrote:This month I replaced my alternator with an AD244 220 amp from Top Street Performace. I also upgraded both the ground and hot wires referred to as “the Big Three” and in particular I added a new ground wire from the back of the alternator bracket to the suspension immediately beside it and a new ground wire from the front of the alternator bracket all the way to a new extended length negative battery post. It has been mentioned that people doing that upgrade thought their headlights were brighter. It sure looks to me like that is the case. Even on dim and at idle they are extremely bright.
To get maximum benefit from the increased amperage of the alternator I am running 0 gauge welding cable to the deep cycle RV house battery and I have removed the old ammonia propane refrigerator and will be installing a drawer style frig which has a small freezer. It is a 12v Danfoss type compressor frig I bought from Truckfrig while passing through Kentucky. Most of their sales are for units placed in sleeper cabs and I think the size and amp requirements will work for us.


The AD244 is definitely a great upgrade and puts out a lot more at idle. I think you may have mentioned elsewhere which belt you used with your new alternator, but I don't remember where it was posted.

Trolls take away from productive work, best to starve the troll of attention by ignoring it and going about your business.
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Re: Ken’s 2000 AWD Astro Tiger GT

Postby Ken2.7 [OP] » January 24th 2019, 12:47am

Thanks AstroWill that was a good point, I edited the post to include the serpentine belt information.
Also I noticed in my earlier post with the picture of the cutout in the water tank, the plywood you see immediately behind the water tank covers my small air compressor. I couldn't go back and edit that post but I am mentioning it here in case a Tiger owner wonders where I found room for the compressor.
Original Poster [OP]
Ken2.7
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Years of Membership: Ken2.7 has been a member for 7 full yearsKen2.7 has been a member for 7 full yearsKen2.7 has been a member for 7 full yearsKen2.7 has been a member for 7 full yearsKen2.7 has been a member for 7 full yearsKen2.7 has been a member for 7 full yearsKen2.7 has been a member for 7 full years
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Re: Ken’s 2000 AWD Astro Tiger GT

Postby Ken2.7 [OP] » January 24th 2019, 8:25pm

jI’ll finish this by mentioning a few accessories we’ve added that make extended trips nicer. We decided a TV/DVD would be good so I read recommendations from over the road truckers and learned the 19” Sceptre was excellent from any angle and endured rough roads. We found the volume wasn’t what we wanted but everything else was excellent. A small external speaker solved the sound issue.
We removed the exhaust vent located above the stove because we usually just opened the window behind the stove and the roof fan could be reversed to blow air down which forced heat from the stove out. Without the vent we now had a place to hang the tv.
I used a door hinge to attach the tv to an overhang I added to the shelf above the stove. When using the stove we flip the TV up so it is above and out of the way. When traveling we swing the tv down and up against the bottom of the shelf where we have a pin to hold it. What I didn’t consider was that when the TV was released from the shelf to drop down it didn’t hang vertical. So I added a swing arm to hold the TV where we wanted it. When we take off for an extended time we can use Redbox but mostly we take some DVD’s from the local library.
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We were given a Mohu Leaf antenna to try and found reception was great if within about 60 miles (the booster that came with it made reception worse). There are several of these antenna for sale and I have no idea which one it is. I bought an expanding golf ball retriever pole and converted it to hold the antenna. When parked I extend and place the pole outside the passenger window and can adjust the antenna for best reception.
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We replaced the overhead fan with a MaxxFan 4500K with a remote control. The outside cover sits lower and if it begins to rain it closes. We can set it to turn off and close at a temperature we choose. At the head and foot of the overhead bed are flaps we open and the fan pulls in the air to keep it cool. We don’t have AC but also don’t travel in the southern states in the summer.
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We always have our bikes on a platform rack which keeps them from swinging. However on some steep approaches off-road the rack was close to dragging. I bought a dual hitch extender from Harbor Frieght but had to buy and return 3 before finding one where the upper receiver was parallel to the one below and allowed my bike rack to sit level.
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That raised my bike but with it sticking out farther I found the bikes were bouncing. I took a long hitch receiver that I already had and put an old bicycle fork upside down in it. The fork spindle went through the hole where the trailer ball would normally go. The forks were cut off and a piece of tubing was welded on for the rack to rest on. The nuts on the fork could be adjusted up and down to raise the assembly to fit snug against the bike rack. I later added a short piece of angle iron to keep the rack from sliding side to side.
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I bolted a chrome towel bar to my bike rack and attached lights and sometimes I place the license plate back there as I have read in some small towns you can get a ticket for an obstructed plate (Ohio?). I haven’t put a light on for the license plate but so far no problems. It is surprising how many times I am asked where I bought the light bar and it irritates me when they throw up their hands like they could never make one.
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The bag on the back carries two folding chairs and extra clothes in zip lock bags. The top of the bag has a pocket where I store leveling blocks. The bag was designed for use on an ATV but we put it on a rear luggage rack of a small convertible we used for camping trips back when the ground was softer. I made a metal frame for it that slides over the spare tire support.
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Everybody builds their units to do what they are most interested in. We seldom stay two nights in the same place, don’t carry a lot of food with us so the frig is often used for drinks and left over pizza, we have a small microwave in the cabinet below the stove but rarely use it because it requires 120v and we have no generator (pizza reheated in a skillet is better anyway), we rarely turn on the radio. I added a skid plate which is not as thick as rock crawlers would want but it works for me.
https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=124898
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I also added a front hitch which I have used only a few times to carry extra bikes.
https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=94306
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The “house” behind the cab is made of aluminum tubing and covered with sheet aluminum thus making it a little lighter. I stopped in Columbia SC a few years ago and the Provan Company that makes Tigers was very willing to show their workshop.
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I imagine something in this Build thread will be useful just like other build threads have been for me. BTW, I have a line on a 233NP.
Last edited by Ken2.7 on January 24th 2019, 11:37pm, edited 1 time in total.
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