Driving Central America & South America.

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Truck Rigging - 'El Buscador'

Tcat Left 2
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Tcat Right 2
Burlynomad's picture
Joined: Jan 6 2009

Hello Everyone,
I'm already on the road and finally have some free time so I figured I would post a few pics of my truck. It's a '91 Pathfinder with 210,000 miles on her. I've done all the preventative maintenance on her and made some repairs, so we'll see how she does.
It's just me and the dog so I ended up removing all the seats and seat belts except mine. I then added a box in the back between the wheel wells for some 'secure' storage. For the top of the box I left the sheet of 3/4 plywood the full width of 4' to cover the wheel wells and extended the box right up to the back of the front seat. Now I basically have a 4x6' deck in the back. The box is wood glued at and screwed at every seem and joint and can only be accessed from the back with the gate up. By building the box, I've lost some headroom but so far it seems to be worth it. It's not very tall, only about 5.5" inside height. My guitar in a soft case just barely squeezes in, which is actually what determined what height I built. Although I have to tilt my head while sitting on the deck, sleeping and organization are much better. I also have storage underneath the box where the backseats used to be.
After the first box was completed I wasn't satisfied with the spot where the front seat used to be. The floor was very uneven with humps and ridges and thats where the truck's cpu is mounted. So I built another box. It was a real pain. After trying to cut a carboard template it was just hours of jigsawing and see how it fit. In the end I think it came out pretty good. It created a little more semi-secure storage and gave my dog, Sola, another nice litte spot to sit. I've also been telling her to get in the back from time to time so I can access the box and it's also come in handy as a table to lay maps, the labtop and everything else you're fiddling with while gettin down the road.
Acting on the advice of some friends, I also had the truck tinted. I went with 5% limo all around with a big fat strip on the windshield. The strip ended up being a little too fat so I went back and had it shortened a bit. Advise - when planning how big to make the front strip, make sure the end doesn't cut through your main viewing area. The edge of the tint was right where I was viewing traffic so it was half dark and half light. My eyes didn't know what was going on. After trimming it up a few inches it's perfect. I also added reflective tint on the sunroof that blocks 80% of the heat. I'm enjoying the tint job so far very dark inside but I can still see very clearly.
I already had thule racks on top. Since I'm hauling a kayak with gear stowed inside (heavy) and a long and short board inside a heavy boardbag I decide to add some more eyes for attaching ratchet straps to. It was pretty painless. Drilled some holes, stainless bolts, silicone, big fender washers inside with lock nuts. It worked out good. I now have two regular kayak/surf straps and two ratchet straps attached to the thules and two more ratchet straps attached to the eyes bolted directly to the roof. So far, the extra piece of mind has been well worth the little bit of work that was put in.
I've just noticed that I don't have my most recent pics with me I'll have to take a few more and post when I get to the next coffee house. I've just started my trek (only half way across NC) but I'll be sure to let everyone know how I feel about the truck rig, pros/cons and what I'd do differently once I've gained some experience with it.

admin's picture
Joined: Feb 11 2009

Sweet truck!! Man that thing

Sweet truck!! Man that thing is awesome. I'd love to see some more photos during the day inside and out.

I had a jeep a few years back, and I took the back seats out and did a similar thing, made an area where I could store things under and on top of. Good work, and keep us updated!

Djip's picture
Joined: Jul 1 2009

Travelling with a Dog

I noticed you mentioned brigning your dog with you. How did that go? Where were you going and did you have problems entering certain central american countries? We are planning to drive down to Costa Rica this winter with our two dogs.

Thanks!