Sunday, 2 February 2014

The Making of Ruby - Part 3

The Making of Ruby- Part 3

A lot of thought and planning went into the outside of Ruby to make her fit our needs, but just as important for a touring setup was the interior of the car. These are the modifications that make the most difference to a cars usability, when it is going to be lived out of for a year or more.   

As Ruby is a 76 series Landcruiser the interior is already fairly simple and functional, however there were a few key things that we decided to do in order to improve storage functionality and space.  Top of the list was a set of roller storage draws in the back.  When looking into this we had a couple of key requirements.  We wanted a drawer set that sat flush across the entire cargo area of the car, this meant that as well as a set of draws, the storage system would also need to incorporate inserts on the sides to fill the odd shaped spaces left by square sided draws.  Secondly we would need the draws to incorporate some type of fridge slide, to enable easy access to our Engel fridges, and finally we wanted to include a cargo barrier at the back of the draws to separate the luggage area of the car from the rest of the cabin.
Outback drawers
There were several brands of draws that would have met all of these requirements; however there were a couple of things that led us to choose Outback brand draws in the end.  Firstly the latches and handles on the draws were the best quality we saw.  The handles are large and strong, and after 2 years in the back of the car we have not had any issues with dirt and dust making them stick or hard to use.

Fridge slide built into the drawers on the right and the MSA fridge slide on the left

 Secondly we could include a roller top on the draws, this meant that we could have a fridge slide but still keep the top of the draws flat as a storage area when we don’t have the fridge in the back.  However as we started to plan for this trip it soon because apparent that one 40L fridge would not be enough cold space.  Unfortunately when we asked Outback if we could simply install a second roller top in place of the original fixed draw top, we were informed that we could not without buying a whole new draw unit (which would have cost over $1000 all up).  As a result we installed a MSA fridge slide for the second fridge.  This unit has worked well so far, but we have noticed that it is prone to becoming hard to slide when it gets a bit of dirt and dust in it and requires constant cleaning to keep it working.  

The outback until also incorporates an easy to install half height cargo barrier that has made both the rear and central storage areas easier to use.
Outback cargo barrier

In the rear passengers area of the car it soon became obvious that the rear seats were taking up valuable space and were unwanted weight.  After confirming QLD Transports rules on the removal or rear seats (you can temporarily remove seats from a vehicle in QLD as long as the change is not permanent.  We were also advised to keep the seat belts mounted and to carry the relevant QLD transport guideline with us in case we were questions by Transport Authorities or Police) it was a simple matter of removing 2 bolts and un-clipping the seats to take it out in one piece.  This has given us heaps more space and removed approximately 40kg of unwanted weight from the rear of the vehicle.   We also added a piece of rubber matting cut to shape to protect the carpet in the rear passenger area.
Rubber matting on the back floor

Closer up of rubber matting - the seat belts are still installed
In the front of the car there were also a couple of things we decided to do to make the car more user friendly.  Firstly we installed a top shelf from Outback interiors.  This has been one of the best modifications we have made to Ruby.  It makes use of otherwise useless space in the car, and allows for items such as mobile phones and wallets to be put up out of the way, where they wont accidentally fall out of the car.  The shelf also incorporates 2 very good LED map lights that have proved handy when trying to find items in the car at night. 

Front seat interior

Outback roof shelf

Lastly we added a set of Genuine Toyota canvas seat covers and Sandgrabba floor mats.  We have had these in our vehicles previously and have been impressed with their durability.  The seat covers give a snug fit on the seats and look good. There are other more heavy duty canvas seat covers available, but we have found that the Toyota ones have a softer material and are not as slippery, making them better for long days sitting in the seats.
The Sandgrabba mats have been great for protecting the carpets in Ruby and making cleaning the footwells out a breeze.  Sandgrabba make floor mats to fit specific vehicle modes as snugly as possible. Ours have withstood many camping trips and days out 4X4ing and still come up looking like new after they have been vacuumed and wiped over.  Our only issue with these is that they would be better if they had a deeper dish in them to catch a little more dirt and mud, but as long as you empty them regularly they will last for years and keep your carpet's looking like new underneath!
Sandgrabba Floor Mats and Toyota canvas seat covers
Other than a few electronic additions and gadgets (which we will cover in a later post) this concludes our alterations to Ruby’s interior. 
Posted by Mat

No comments:

Post a Comment