#JimThePrius Overland Conversion in the making.

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by Minima Domum, Apr 8, 2020.

  1. Minima Domum

    Minima Domum Member

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    On the first leg of my road trip I had the stalling and red triangle of death problem again going up a steep hill, I eventually realised it was the engine starving for fuel under heavy load and high throttle use, so didn't happen if I kept my foot light.

    At the first stop I put a bottle of injector cleaner in, which didn't make a noticeable difference. At the second stop I filled up with premium fuel which seems to have solved the problem, 200km later and I can floor it with no adverse affects and the red triangle is gone.

    I'll keep an eye on it over the next few tanks and try different fuels out to see if i can find a pattern.

    In the mean time I've pulled the rear end all apart again...
    IMG_20200513_150732_912.jpg
     
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  2. ice9

    ice9 Active Member

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    I wonder if anyone here has any suggestions as to what might be causing this.

    Fuel pump / Fuel filter?
     
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  3. Minima Domum

    Minima Domum Member

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    Well that didn't last long, I've already cut it up and made a new square frame similar to the hitch racks a lot of people on here have.

    It still takes 10 seconds to slide into the hitch receiver, but now has the added bonus of being very versatile for anything I need to carry rather than just a spare wheel like I had before.
    IMG_20200513_154445.jpg

    I still need to get some steel mesh for the top, and some eye bolts for around the edges to strap things to, then paint.
    IMG_20200513_171602.jpg

    I also need to remove and paint the towbar, and run the wiring for trailer lights while the bumper is off. I may even put some lights or reflectors on the hitch carrier also, in case I put something too big on and cover the tail lights.
    IMG_20200513_154459.jpg
     
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  4. ice9

    ice9 Active Member

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    I've been thinking about doing the same with my trailer hitch /w carrier. However, I am still investing this to see if it can be done without interfering with my bicycle rack + bike.

    The problem with using the hitch carrier with heavy loads is that the trailer hitch and the vehicle structure that it is mounted to it not rated for high torque - so you have to be careful how much weight is put on it. You may have a problem when you put both the tire and (I am assuming) a 10 gallon fuel container on it, esp when the container is filled.

    U-haul does something with their Class I Curt hitch that points to a possible solution to the torque problem. They provide a strap that attaches to the upper hatch edge and provides extra support for the hitch in order to meet Class I load requirements. A similar but more robust device could be used to augment the hitch for even higher loads.
     
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  5. Kaptainkid1

    Kaptainkid1 Active Member

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    So a big problem with high mileage Prius's is low oil caused by oil burning. Low oil on a steep hill will further exacerbate this condition in your engine staving your engine of correct oil pump levels. To correctly fill your Prius oil. The oil should be topped off at the highest dimple on the dipstick. That's 4 quarts. I bet you, your Prius is probably down 2-3 quarts now if you haven't changed your oil since the steep mountain trip. Prius's oil burning problems of the Prius is a known issue. It can be fixed and I would look into on the forum.
    Secondly those round floods look cool but I'm sure its killing your miles too outside of your larger wheels. Changing your headlights to LED H4 bulbs will help with lighting and I would get rid of the flood lights and put in a 24 inch LED lightbar behind your lowerair dam. Another problem with Prius is the gets too cold in Cold weather and blocking the lower air duct with a small light bar will fix the air flow issue and give you more light too.
    Like your project so far go overland.
    Here is my 12 mpg overland rig when I need to do some hardcore dirt trails.


    SM-J737T1 ?
     
    #45 Kaptainkid1, May 14, 2020
    Last edited: May 14, 2020
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  6. Kaptainkid1

    Kaptainkid1 Active Member

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    Here she it. IMG_20200512_115348.jpg

    SM-J737T1 ?
     
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  7. Minima Domum

    Minima Domum Member

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    This wheel and full fuel can are probably under 100lbs together and my hitch is much more robust than the CURT ones as it uses the factory bumper reinforcement mounts as well as the tow hook mounts they use.

    I will keep an eye on load weights though, regardless of tow hitch strength having that much weigh sticking out way behind the rear axle is no good for handling.

    Thanks, il give the oil a look.

    Those 'cool looking flood lights' are high end spot beams and are a lot brighter/more efficient than almost any 24" LED bar on the market, also mounting it in the lower grille is much too low for good distance, even where they are is too low but I didn't have much choice, they are tucked into the body quite well so shouldn't make a noticeable difference on fuel, especially compared to the other mods.

    The stock halogen headlight reflectors are not designed for LED bulbs and as such I would end up with worse lighting by just swapping the bulbs, instead I will be retrofitting good quality bi-zenon HID projectors.

    Cold weather isn't too much of a problem here in Australia, but I will be covering the lower grill with a new metal bash plate once I've decided on a design that allows better clearance and protection off road while not spoiling the aerodynamics too much
     
    #47 Minima Domum, May 15, 2020
    Last edited: May 15, 2020
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  8. ice9

    ice9 Active Member

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    You're right. That was a WAG on my part and I didn't do the numbers. I would've thought 10 gallons of gas would weigh more... ...go figure.:cool:

    In any case, I believe the CURT hitch is rated at 200 lbs weight on the tongue and 2000 lbs overall. However the structure it mounts to (w/o reinforcement) is less than 200.

    That's static load. A dynamic load could be even more of a problem with the Prius, which might be why Toyota is reluctant to do anything, except cover their you-know-what, when it comes to installing a hitch.

    I still want to see what I can do with mine. Let us know if you run into any problems down the road - esp if you go off-road. Let us know how it holds up.
     
    #48 ice9, May 15, 2020
    Last edited: May 15, 2020
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  9. Minima Domum

    Minima Domum Member

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    I just did the conversion and my jerry can is only 5gal, so your weight guess wasn't so far off.

    I will definitely be keeping an eye on it, especially when off roading.
     
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  10. Minima Domum

    Minima Domum Member

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    Next on the list was restoring and fitting my LED fog lights, they are just a cheap spot beam LED pod that I got many years ago but they're quite efficient and have never let me down over countless cars and recently I found out that various covers are still available so they live to fight another day.
    IMG_20200514_131145.jpg

    They're quite well designed with a big rubber seal inside which is still in perfect condition
    IMG_20200514_131514.jpg

    They used to be painted black but I think il leave them polished to match the big Livid spot lights
    IMG_20200514_140829.jpg

    Still a lot of work to do but I couldn't help test fitting them after cutting out the factory fog pods in the bumper
    IMG_20200514_155842.jpg

    With yellow covers on, I'm very interested to see how they go in dust/fog/rain because I've never used yellow lights before.
    IMG_20200514_170253.jpg
     
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  11. Minima Domum

    Minima Domum Member

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    Hey guys,

    Been a while since an update, not much going on except driving for the last few weeks.

    Im still having intermittent fuel problems, "premium" fuel seemed to help the engine run more smoothly and powerfully than the cheap stuff but I still get P0171 'system too lean' and P3190 'poor engine power' every few days if I reset the codes.

    I've borrowed an "engine data scan" computer from my dad which allows me to check and reset codes (basically a cheap scan gauge imitation). Unfortunately the gauge part doesn't work the way I expect it should and seems to randomly turn on and off whenever it likes rather than anything to do with the key or engine being on or running. I still want to get a proper Bluetooth module so I can use the Prius apps.

    I've now finished, painted and mounted my tow bar, and used it to tow a 6x4 trailer with furniture without any issues.
    IMG_20200601_102117_171.jpg

    IMG_20200613_060819_504.jpg

    I have also mostly completed my rear carrier ready for my next road trip which will start tommorow.
    IMG_20200617_182153_774.jpg

    My current project is some corflute window covers made from old election signs for insulation and privacy while camping, I need to get some reflectix to cover the outside and some nice looking material to make the inside a bit more cozy.
    IMG_20200621_212759_766.jpg

    That's all for now
     
  12. Minima Domum

    Minima Domum Member

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    Well my next road trip was certainly eventful!

    Halfway through the 12 hour voyage to the High Country I decided to do some exploring on the back streets and wound up running out of gravel road as it turned to clay very quickly.
    IMG_20200625_000340.jpg

    After many hours of digging the sticky clay out from the rear wheel arches to allow the wheels to turn again, only to have them clog back up within a few metres the sun came up.
    IMG_20200625_070516.jpg

    After many more hours of digging and skidding and dragging the clogged rear end along, a friendly farmer came by and helped me out with his tractor.
    IMG_20200625_111648.jpg

    The second half of the trip was less eventful, and despite 15 hours of muddy hell and running the heater to keep out of the freezing outside temperatures I still managed 34mpg on this tank lol.

    It turns out camping with 2 people requires a lot more gear than just one, I certainly need better rear suspension and a lift kit (my Rising Tuning kit still hasn't arrived). The rear carrier proved itself very handy for my highlift jack, spare tyre, jerry can and TRED recover boards (which helped a lot in the mud)
    IMG_20200626_132820.jpg

    Another eventful journey took us from my partners house to the campsite, rough dirt roads, lots of rocks and the early sunset in the middle of winter made for some white knuckle moments, but Jim The Prius just kept on chugging and got us there safe and sound.
    IMG_20200629_121755.jpg

    The solar panels worked well to keep the music running and devices charging all weekend, after the sun went down I used ready mode to warm my bed inside which was very luxurious. A quick plunge in the icy river followed by some gourmet food and great company was the icing on the cake.
    IMG_20200702_102403_499.jpg

    IMG_20200702_134943_169.jpg

    I even managed to convince my girlfriend to film some of the journey!


    That's all for now, the journey back home start tomorrow.
     
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  13. Minima Domum

    Minima Domum Member

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    Oooh I almost forgot to mention that I will be doing some aerodynamic testing on the way home tommorow, I've found a nice straight flat road that goes for 100+ miles at 65mph so I can get a good average consumption at cruising speed and compare windows up/down, mirrors folded in/out, and the front bumper on/off to get a base line for my bash guard and under floor panel build.

    First I needed to remove the broken factory undertray.
    IMG_20200702_153347.jpg

    Lots of things that need protecting from mud/rocks in the future.
    IMG_20200702_153954.jpg

    Stay tuned
     
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  14. ice9

    ice9 Active Member

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    NIce... ...I'm glad you learned about the clay build-up in the wheel wells and not me! That's good to know. We have some places around here like that.

    The river crossings and gravel roads would making me think seriously about getting a lift kit.
     
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  15. ski.dive

    ski.dive Active Member

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    Why not just buy a cheap 4x4 vehicle that can tackle the mud with no issues?
     
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  16. AzusaPrius

    AzusaPrius Active Member

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    Great stuff, it is cool to see a prius evolve from the minds of the owners.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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  17. Minima Domum

    Minima Domum Member

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    I didn't mean to go in the mud, it was the middle of the night and I didn't see the smooth gravel road change to soft clay until it was too late.

    Also there aren't many 4x4 vehicles that can do 50mpg on the highway and 34mpg in the mud
     
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  18. ice9

    ice9 Active Member

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    Yeah. I just though of a fix for that tho. Cut plastic garbage bag liners to fit inside the the wheel wells and then install a layer of 3 or 4 in each wheel well. When the clay builds up, you just stop and peel off a layer and move on.
     
  19. ice9

    ice9 Active Member

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    Also, you can't run the ac at night in a 4x4 without running out of gas.
     
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  20. Minima Domum

    Minima Domum Member

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    Now that I'm back home and locked in quarantine again (due to travelling interstate I have to stay home for 14 days) I decided to pull the car apart, get rid of the remaining mud and start planning my new off road bumper.
    IMG_20200706_135056.jpg

    First I removed the factory bumper and the last few bits of extraneous plastic that were in the way.
    IMG_20200706_124529.jpg

    Then got to work with the beers, chin scratching and CAD (cardboard aided design).
    IMG_20200706_160825.jpg

    I also decided after the recent trip that more lights are necessary after all, the livids are amazing on the highway but much too focussed for twisty country roads and tight offroad tracks.
    IMG_20200706_160853.jpg

    I'm yet to decide between steel and aluminium construction (I can weld steel myself but would have to outsource aluminium) but this should provide more than enough ground clearance and strength for any wayward small animals, rocks or tree branches.

    I still need to add holes to allow room for a winch and fog lights later on but my favourite part of this design is that the factory plastic bumper fits over the top so I can keep the aerodynamics and somewhat stealthy look around town and on the highway, then remove it for offroading.

    Next stage is to fill up the massive holes left by removing the plastic undertray.
    IMG_20200706_162122.jpg
     
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