Modifying a 1998 Mitsubishi Montero Winter Package for Overland Adventuring
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Necessity being the mother that it is, the Hi-Lift Jack had to go somewhere else other than on the Franklin rack. I think it soiled itself when I lifted it up for a test fit. The next more likely spot was on the brush guard.
I drilled a hole through the cross members of two u-bolts, 5/16ths, stainless, through which I inserted the bolt and mounted the assembly to the crossbar of the brush guard. I then slipped a QuickFist clamp on each bolt, fitted the Hi-Lift jack and cinched it down with stainless wing nuts. I added a strap to keep the jack handle from vibrating.
But the drag knocks a mile-per-gallon off the Monty's mileage. I drive 700 miles a week traversing the great State of Utah for my commute and need every MPG I can get.
And I've always had an issue with how high the rack rides on the stock roof rails (though I should note stability was never an issue) and with how tall the rack itself is. So on my last commute back to the Wasatch I came up with a plan. It's that damn tinker gene.
I started by reducing the height of the Apex Rack, knocking it down by and inch and a quarter.
I cut that much off each vertical upright keeping the necessary mounting dimensions I needs for both ARB awnings. I used a brass pipe cutter that worked as precisely as I needed.
Once cut, I deburred each upright, reassembled them with the stock Apex hardware and installed.
This gave me a platform to work with in mocking up a gutter …
If you've been reading along on this build you know that there was a dog deck and a folding utility shelf installed, neither of which worked as well as I would have liked. Add to that one of the reasons I went with this 2.5 is its room to create a sleeping platform, and I decided to do a do-over, making this Interior Modification, Part 2, combining a platform with a drawer system.
I studied a number of DYI systems on Expo and other build threads, making decisions on materials and dimensions, but keeping all this driven by our overland history of what has worked and what we wish we had. The driving need here for us was to have the ability to pull over, level out, roll out pads and bags and go to sleep.
We've done the RTT route and have a Kodiak ground tent, both with pros and cons. Being able to sleep in the Monty seems to be the best compromise for us; easy set-up and access, great weather protection and climate control, off the ground away from critters and more of a chall…
You might recall the roof rack hack on the Apex cargo basket where I cut some length out of the risers to lower the rack and hopefully reduce drag.
The mod worked well and supported our recovery and camp gear without issue.
But I wasn't ever pleased that the rack wasn't full length, leaving the last eighteen inches of the side awning unsupported and putting the off-road lights too far back on the roof just ahead of the sunroof opening, losing the bottom half of their beams and creating a lot of noise.
To remedy these issues I picked up another Apex rack to modify to fit in the space left by the existing rack after it's repositioned at the front of the Nomad's roofline.
With the original rack in place forward on the roof, I measured the distance from the end of the rack to the end of the roofline and came up with 29.5" of length. That meant cutting the new rack down from 62.5 inches. The rack ships in four pieces that, two halves of the bottom basket and two of th…