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Old 06-13-2008, 05:30 PM   #1
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Default Dual Battery Installation in 4Runner

4Runner Dual Battery Installation by Bulldog

After installing my fridge and drawer it was time to install a dual battery system in the 4Runner to run the fridge and other accessories without fear of running down the main battery. It will also be useful in the future when I get a winch (still waiting for a front bumper though ).

The biggest choices to make when installing a dual battery system is:

* Which battery
* Which separator/isolator
* Where to mount both

Firstly I chose to mount the second battery behind the airbox of the V8, as I wanted to mount an ARB compressor by the power steering reservoir later. The space there is tight and you also have to watch for access to the engine and transmission dipsticks. Therefore I chose to get an Odyssey 925 battery, which is compact and lightweight yet still provide a lot of power. More on this later.

I also wanted to get a separator that will automatically connect the second battery to the main system to charge, but also disconnect it automatically to prevent draining both batteries when the engine is not running. It must also provide an override switch to connect both batteries on demand for starting (if the main is drained) or winching. The two choices were either the TJM IBS system or the Surepower system (also sold by ARB). I chose the Surepower as it was half the price of the TJM system. It automatically connects both batteries once the main battery gets to 13.2V, thus allowing the main to charge first. It then automatically disconnects when the main battery gets to 12.8V to prevent the auxiliary system from draining both batteries. I used the Uni-Directional system as only the altenator will be charging the system. You can also get a Bi-directional system, which works with systems that can charge from both directions (mostly RVs).

So here are the components I got with the links where I bought them, and some specs on the links.

Firstly the battery was the Odyssey PC925MJT, which is a sealed unit and allows for more deep cycle use than even the Optima Yellow top. It can even be used upside down and weighs only 26 lbs. The MJT stands for metal jacket for additional protection and has SAE terminals for connection. Full specifications. I ordered it from Battery Mart as they had the best price ($125 including shipping). The other thing that is nice is you can order a very nice “hold down” bracket from the Odyssey site ($60 with shipping), just call them part number HDW 925. Below a picture of the battery in the bracket. The bracket is unpainted so treat and paint it before using it.




Second on the list was to get the separator. Surepower lists it on their site as part number 1314-200 ( I chose the 200A over the 100A model. I however had some difficulty locating a dealer than actually sells this. I finally found Wrangler NW Power Products that sells it under their own brand as part number 17-MBS200 ($150 with shipping). Installation instructions for the separator can be found here. Below a picture of the separator.

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Old 06-13-2008, 05:37 PM   #2
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Now to complete the installation a lot of cable, lugs, switches and fuseboxes/distribution is required. I found eBay a good source for some of the battery connectors, cables and fuseboxes. They are sold for audio addicts in autos and is reasonable in price and pretty good quality. Look under eBay home / Consumer Electronics / Car Electronics / Installation products. I bought Audiopipe products for battery connectors, fuse holders and distribution block. You don’t need it, but I wanted to put a nice power center by my drawers (detail to follow later). I also bought the rest of the cable, lugs, connectors from WiringProducts.com. Here is a nice site for power rating for different cable sizes.

My list of goodies:

* One positive and one negative battery terminal connectors, get the ones with multiple wire inputs and plastic covers
* 20 ft red 2 gauge wire to interconnect batteries and separator (you can probably get away with 4 guage and 14 feet)
* 4 ft black 2 gauge wire for beefing up main battery earth connection and earth for second battery (2 ft 4 gauge should be fine)
* 20 ft red 4 gauge wire to run power to the rear distribution box ( only needed if you want power at rear, also 6 or 8 gauge is fine pending your needs)
* 6 ft black 4 gauge wire for earth to rear distribution box
* 15 ft 14gauge multi strand wire in red, black and green (15ft each) for interconnects of switches and distribution box.
* 6 2gauge lugs for earths and batteries (again change pending cable size used)
* 2 4guage lugs for earth for distribution box (change on cable size used)
* 30 or more 1/4” 14 AWG female fully insulated push-on wire terminals for all the interconnections and isolating freestanding terminals
* 20 ft 3/4” wire loom for the 2 gauge cable, again change on cable size used (1/2” works great with 4 gauge cable)
* 20 ft 1/2” wire loom for 4 gauge cable
* 5 ft of red and 5 ft black 3/4” shrink tubing and 4ft red and black 1/2” shrink tubing, depends on the wire size you use
* bunch of cable ties
* As crimpers for battery lugs are super expensive I got a hammer style one for the big lugs and it worked really well, from Wiring products ($30 ex shipping), for the normal push-on terminals a cheap hardware store unit works well.
* One earth distribution block on eBay
* One high capacity fuse box of eBay
* One high capacity fuse holder and fuses for rear power and connection
* 15V Voltmeter from here, but you can get it at many places (I just didn’t like what Radioshack and Fry’s had)
* Rocker switch for battery connection from this website
* Couple of 12V switches with lights from Kragen
* Couple of lighter sockets from Kragen
* 800W Colemen Inverter for rear
* One push Button switch for rear Voltmeter
* One box to mount everything for the rear power distribution. I got a steel box, but next time I will get a plastic one as it is easier to cut holes and work with. Will also be more solid for the switches and lighter plugs

Everything cost about $500-600, and will greatly depend on what you get and where. If you skip the rear distribution box and power, the cost is greatly reduced. Below some pictures of some of the items. But you will get the idea on the Wiring products site and eBay section.

Battery Terminals


Earth Distribution block


Maxi Fuse Box
No need to get the one with voltmeter. I used an 80A fuse for the inverter and 30A maxi fuses for each lighter plug


Bought this fuse holder with a 150A fuse


Battery lug crimper than can be used with hammer
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Old 06-13-2008, 05:41 PM   #3
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Installation:

Fit the battery and bracket.

I painted the bracket black after treating it with zinc coating. I then pounded the passenger side fender up a bit to make space for larger tires in the future as I didn’t feel like removing the battery and bracket in the future to do it. I used a rubber mallet for it. I then used one existing hole and drilled 3 extra holes in the inner fender. I mounted the bracket in place with the “wings” facing side to side. Then install the battery with the terminals closest to the fender. This way the terminals is out of the way of the airbox clips and dipsticks. The battery will be tilted towards the cabin and nicely tucked away. Pic of complete mounting below and cables already fitted.


Fit the battery separator

Behind the fuse box in the engine compartment there are 2 holes in the fender with nuts already fitted. They take 8mm thread bolts. I used a piece of aluminum strip and made 2 1.5” extension for the separator mounting. This allows the separator to be mounted a bit lower and also aligns the bracket on the separator better to the distance between the holes. It is important to mount the separator lower than these holes as the gas strut for the hood will come down above the separator. Pic below of separator mounted.


Wire up batteries and separator
Make the cables as required to connect the main battery to the separator and second battery to the separator. Remember to run cables in passages first to get distance. Then cut the cables, run in wiring and cut to length, fit the lugs and put shrink tubing on. I used a wind resistant BBQ lighter to shrink the tubing. Then use cable ties to secure wiring loom. To connect the second battery to the separator I ran the cable under the plastic cover by the radiator. Be careful to make sure loom does not touch the radiator and secure with cable ties along the way. From the above pictures you can see where I ran the main battery to separator cable. Remember to connect the earths as well. DO NOT CONNECT any positive battery terminal yet. Now run the smaller cables from the separator to the switch inside the cabin, as per the wiring diagram in this document. The switch I used requires an earth for the light in the switch to work. The diagram is supplied with the switch itself. To fit the switch you have to remove one of the blanks and cut the plastic in the dash on the side a bit (don’t worry it is not visible and does not affect the blanks mounting in the future). Run the wires through the rubber plug in the firewall and cover with wire loom in the engine bay. Again secure loom with cable ties. Also put one female plug on the indicator light terminal on the separator.

Now first connect the ground of the separator. Then connect the main battery, the solenoid will probably kick in for a while. Then connect the second battery. Finally connect the switch wires.

Test the setup by using a multimeter and check that you have battery voltages at each end of the separator. They will probably be different as each battery will have a different charge. Validate all wires and connections are secure and there is no probability of short circuits. As a short on these cables and direct connections to the battery, can cause a fire, so double check everything. Now push the swtich and see if the solenoid kicks in and connects the batteries. Check voltages with voltmeter on separator terminals to see that they are equal now. See if switch light works. Turn switch off. The solenoid should disengage now. Now start engine and the solenoid should connect again once the main battery reaches 13.2V (a couple of seconds). Validate with a voltmeter. Shut engine off and monitor main battery voltage. Once it reaches 12.8V the solenoid should disengage again. This can take time as both batteries are connected, giving more capacity, you can speed it up by turning on the headlights.

Yes it sounds Greek, but once you read the documents and have the stuff in your hand it will make more sense. Pics below.
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Old 06-13-2008, 05:42 PM   #4
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Build and wire rear distribution box

After the previous steps you will have a fully functional dual battery system. The rest might not be of interest to you so just ignore.

For the rear distribution box you first need to cut the holes for the switches, voltmeter and cigarette lighter sockets in the box. Mount them and mount the distribution block and fuse box in the box. I connected a piece 5 ft of 4 gauge red wire as main feed to the fuse box and 6 ft of earth wire to the distribution block. Route them through holes out the box. I used an 80 amp fuse for the inverter and 30A each for the lighter sockets. Wire it up (sorry no wiring diagram, but you can figure out how you want to do it). Then wire up the Voltmeter with the push to make switch to the distribution block and fuse box. Mount to side of cargo system. Mount the fuse holder to the side of cargo system and connect red wire to one side of it. Test for shorts in the distribution box and also to make sure all connections work. Connect the inverter wires (8 gauge) to the distribution block and fuse box. Then connect to inverter.

Now run a piece of 4 gauge wire from the second battery to the cargo distribution box (DO NOT CONNECT TO BATTERY YET). The passenger side has a similar rubber plug in firewall. Make sure to cut an adequate hole for wire and cover portion in engine compartment with wire loom. Unfortunately there was not enough space to cover inside passenger compartment with wire loom, but it is well protected there. Run wire in the side floor by the factory wiring. There is nice clips and protection. Just pop the floor plastic piece by the door wells and the plastic trimming by the footwell n the passenger side. I drilled a hole in the rear plastic wheelwell cover to bring the wire out. Now connect the wire to the other side of the fuse holder. Test for shorts on this wire to the ground. Now connect wire to battery. Put fuse in and test to see if you have power with the mounted voltmeter. Plug in fridge or load in and test by turning on the switches. Also test the inverter.

Enjoy you have now got lots of power with no fear of running down the main battery.

I used my Engel 45 fridge on the Odyssey battery for more than 15 hours starting it from warm without the engine running. It had nothing in it so holding a temperature was difficult. The battery voltage went down from 12.6V to 11.9V. SO the battery will have adequate capacity to run the fridge for quite some time without a recharge and also some other loads. Will only really know after some real field testing. At least it is easy to check the condition with the voltmeter in the back.
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