Living out of the Nomad


Moving the Nomad's Build Blog

All the content from this blog has been migrated to a new home at TheNomadBuild . Follow the site to stay updated on new mods, upgrades and maintenance work. Thanks for following and for your comments. -e

Rear Work Lamps

Rounding out the illumination modifications on the Nomad is a pair of three-inch, 12W LED work lamps mounted on the rear Surco roof rack stanchions. Although the interior cargo lamp has been converted to LED, I needed more light on the food prep area along with a bit more illumination rearward, though the LED reverse light upgrade puts out great coverage.  The work lamps are wired from the control panel I built into the platform.  I pulled a hot lead with a ground from the Blue Sea Blade fuse block to the rear of the platform and wired the circuit through the voltmeter, to the 12V marine socket, to the USB, to the switch and terminated at the lamps. Twelve watts is just right, not overpowering, spotting the work area and the storage drawer and when we're not cooking we can bounce them off the awning for a soft indirect light.

Auxiliary Lighting

With the roof rack finally where I want it to be, I pulled the trigger on new off-road combo lamps on the bull bar, and finally wired up the trail lights on the roof rack.  It all begins with the addition of a Blue Sea Blade Fuse block and a 100 amp breaker.  Blue Sea Systems make a variety of marine and automotive application 12v fuse blocks. The ST Blade box comes in 6 and 12 circuits with or without a negative bus. I won't be adding many accessories so I opted for the six circuit ST Blade with the negative bus to make grounding something I won't have to troubleshoot.  Both the fuse block and the breaker are mounted atop the fuse box cover and the relays are mounted on the driver side fender wall.  The Blue Sea circuit is wired with a jumper from the positive terminal of the battery to the breaker and then a second jumper to the positive terminal of the fuse block. The block is grounded to the rig. Two circuit relays are grounded at the same spot with positive lead

Roof Rack Hack 2.0

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 bott

Blue Ridge Overland Gear

  When sorting out the 2.5 I transferred some gear from the H3 build including this  Blue Ridge Overland Gear . They're a company out of Virginia who make high quality MOLLE, hoop and loop, pouches and accessories for most any storage application in an adventure vehicle. Some of their stock is custom made to upgrade existing gear like fridges and store Goal Zero battery packs, and that's what caught my attention. I have neither, but I could see how I could adapt their products to my needs and get things where they belong. Blue Ridge makes an eight-inch headrest panel of loop material on the backside and a smooth, blank panel on the front. It creates a foundation to configure pouches for storage needs of items kept readily at hand. I added their Goal Zero 10 Battery Charger pouch to hold handheld comms and a 4x8x1 Medium VELCRO front zip pouch to the headrest panel. They both take up most of the loop real estate but provide ample room for smaller adventure necessities

Over Drive Switch Swap

One of the perils of not consulting the FSM on any job is taking a risk that might disable a perfectly good working function, like the over drive switch. When I replaced the transfer case shifter my initial thought was that the gear selector knob would have to come off in order to get the rest of the console below it out. That's what I had to do with my Gen III, so my reasoning was the same would apply with the 2.5. It doesn't. I discovered that when I removed the stock over drive switch which had little slack, and when exploring inside the housing for the switch for some kind of release screw, one of the soldered contacts snapped off the switch, disabling the Montero's ability to go into over drive. Damn. The stock switch is embedded in a plastic housing through which the wires are soldered into a small circuit board. I tried to solder the broken red wire but lacked the finesse and tools for such a tiny connection. I lived without OD for awhile during the summer, b