Nissan Patrol GQ Ti 4.2L EFI dual battery setup

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Post  CostasDee on Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:30 pm

Hi Guys (and girls).

I thought I'd write this up in case someone has the same drama that I had, and how I fixed it.

Some years ago, I bought a Nissan GQ (1994) Ti Patrol. I like to run spot lights and UHF radios and flood lamps and fridges etc, so rather than have the main battery run low, I opted to put a second deep cycle battery in it. I went to ARB (but they all do a similar spec product) and bought a 2nd battery tray for it and promptly went home and fitted it. I then went to a battery place and said to the saleman to give me the biggest capacity battery that I could fit in it. To my surprise (shock actually), he gave me a 60Ah and said that is the biggest that'll fit in the tray. It's then I realised that the tray would only take a 8" battery. For the GQ Ti Patrol (that's the 4.2L EFI), the biggest tray they make to fit is one that'll fit an 8" battery due to the air-con pipes.

I put up with this for many years and it was a REAL pain. If I went out and didn't start the car for one day (24hrs), as I don't have solar yet, I would find on a hot day, that the fridge had stopped working and the temp would've started rising. I'd have to start the car to give the battery some charge, to run the fridge or I would have to connect the fridge to the main battery and hope that it didn't drain it. Every extra that I put on the car, I would connect to the deep cycle battery so it would cop a bit of a flogging. I wanted a bigger battery, but it can't be fitted to the GQ Ti Patrol - or so I was told.

The following is a photo of what the setup looked like originally.

Nissan Patrol GQ Ti 4.2L EFI dual battery setup Img_0910

I looked at the Nissan Patrol 4.2L Diesel tray which sits in front of the radiator overflow bottle (opposite the main battery) but that involved moving the airbox and electical connections and so I looked at other alternatives. I then came across the Nissan Patrol 2.8L Turbo Diesel tray, which sits at the back firewall but goes along the sideguard, instead of the firewall that I had presently. This meant I could fit a bigger battery in, but why weren't the salesmen selling this instead of the one they sold me? I measured it all out and by moving the LPG converter, the coil and some small things, I calculated that it should somewhat fit. I took the plunge and ordered one. A few days later it arrived and I set underway to fit this 12" tray under the bonnet.

Firstly, I disassembled the old tray, removed all the nuts and bolts, undid all the wiring and started to work with a clean and unmessed playing field. I grabbed the tray and tried to fit it in. Of course it butted up against the coil and wouldn't get in. I unplugged the coil and it's mounting bracket and removed them from the car. Now I could sit the tray in and start to bolt it up, or so I hoped. Firstly, as this is meant for a 2.8L Turbo Diesel (with no coil of course) and mine is a Ti 4.2L EFI which has a coil, the inside skirt is marginally different. Mine has a "bump" on it to accomodate the coil base plate, I would image the 2.8L TD doesn't because now the pre-drilled tray bolt and pre-welded mounting bracket just don't line up. A few quick calculations later, I work out that the tray will still fit in, but a little more away from the guard as was intended. A few drill holes later, a slight bending of the tray's mounting bracket, an ever so slight pushing of the air-con pipes and the tray in now IN.

Next I had to reverse the coil on its mount to and after looking as to where to mount it, found that it fitted to the airbox mounting bolts, through sheer coincidence, and lined up perfectly.

Next, and probably the hardest bit of the job, to relocate the LPG converter. I had heard of another chap that had the similar Impco system to mine but instead of using a vopour hose like mine had between the converter and mixer, his converter and mixer were joined together. A couple of phone calls and brief decriptions later, I undertook the task of replicating his setup. First I needed to get a 1" to 3/4 reducing connection which was easily sourced at the plumbing shop. Next I joined the 2 together and refitted them to the car. All's good so far, but with the bumps in a 4x4, I needed to support the converter somehow or else I might find myself breathing LPG vapours out bush if the strain got too much for the reducing joint. After a bit of messing around, I noticed that there is one bolt hole on the head of the motor, almost perfectly lining up with the converter. A bit of a calculation later, some welding, some twisting and some drilling, I managed to make the following mount.

Nissan Patrol GQ Ti 4.2L EFI dual battery setup Img_0911

This fits to the 2 mounting bolt holes at the side (now base) of the model L converter and the other larger hole lines up with the spare bolt hole on the head. Pull it all apart, place some Loctite thread sealant in the joints, put it all together again, bolt it up and surprise suprise, it all looks good and feels strong. Then it's just a matter of refitting the water hoses and LPG supply line and it's all finished.

Put a new fuse block in (not necessary but just wanted to reward myself) and tidied the electical wires. Lastly I had to put a battery in, but I had just bought the 8" 60Ah about 2 months ago so I didn't want to waste it. My caravan had a 10" 80Ah battery that I had also bought about 2 months ago which really only runs the inside light and water pump (way overkill for that), so I swapped batteries between the 2. I know that I can fit a bigger 12" battery in the Patrol now, definitely a 105Ah or even maybe a 120Ah, but until one of the 2 deep cycle batteries that I already have finally die, I thought it would be wiser to not waste the money and buy a new one and then have a 2 month old battery sitting in the shed, collecting dust and deteriorating. Final product is:

Nissan Patrol GQ Ti 4.2L EFI dual battery setup Img_0912

....and they said it couldn't be done!
CostasDee
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Post  sandy2010 on Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:34 pm

Well done C/D,
I have the GQ Rx 4.2 EFI 1996 model I bought new......I ordered it without a/con(I don't like getting out of 20deg into 30deg+ and vice versa) so it looks like that was a plus because I am contemplating having another battery fitted under the bonnet......
Thanks for the informative post......and well done......patience,perseverance and persistence.

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Post  big fella on Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:02 am

G'Day CostasDee
Should have asked me,Would have lifted the bonnet on my GQ,Next thing to do (costs money) Put in a Redarc multy stage charger,never a shortage of power.
Big Fella.
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Post  CostasDee on Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:00 am

Hi Big Fella, I run a Pirahna 150A Dual Battery Management System that I've had for about 10 years now. It has served me well up to now, although I appreciate todays systems are a lot "brainier" than what I've got. I don't fully undersand what these new systems do as the Redarc for example, comes up as a DC to DC charger. When the engine is running and the alternator is spinning, it's charging both the batteries in my system, whilst making sure that the main crank battery has the priority of the charge. What advantage does over this does the Redarc offer over what I've already using?
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Post  CostasDee on Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:13 am

Sandy2010, if you're talking about running 3 batteries under the bonnet, well then I'm jealous - you just cant have enough battery backup power, even if you don't use it. My next step is to hook up a solar panel to the roofrack and get a little more charge when the car is sitting around. Cheap system, not too expensive, but should give me just a little charge.

Big move ordering a car without an air-con. I would have got it even if I didn't use it. One day in about 40 degree heat, I driving back to Melbourne from the GT and quite peckish when I remembered I had a family block of Cadbury in the back. I picked it up and took it out of the cardboard wrapper only to have it melt in it's wrapper in my hand. I turned the air-con on, slipped the slider control to screen and put the wobbly mess on the dash over the vent. 10 minutes later, the block was rock hard. I opened the foil and patiently picked the foil out of the chocolate and ate the whole block...hmmmm nice. So the moral of the story is, air-con is not just to cool you, but to cool your chocolate too.
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Post  big fella on Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:44 am

G'Day CostasDee
The system you have will probably do the same job,with mine it charges starting batt first then second batt and if i have camping trailer on it will also charge the two batteries in that also,So that is four deep cycles not a problem it is a three stage system that will put out a big charge to get started then adjust to suit, Will also work in with solar that i have on trailer with three stage charger, either one will drop out and let the other take over, the solar can charge back to the truck batts ,on the move or parked at camp,Always a cold one,Fridge frezer in truck and another in trailer,Hope this isnt too much info.
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Post  CostasDee on Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:01 am

Thanks for the info Big Fella. It does sound "brainy" and controls everything including your solar and your extra batteries. I paid over $400 for mine about 10 years ago and it hasn't failed me yet, but it doesn't have the solar addition or control 4 batteries seperately. I can still connect the main battery on one side and 2 or 3 or more aux batteries on the other side, which I do when I'm towing the caravan. My solar is controlled through a seperate regulator that stops suppling solar charge when the engine is running and resumes when the engine goes off. Presently I use a 30w foldout solar panel, but I'm pretty lazy and forget to hook it up most times and curse when the battery goes flat. Hence wanting to connect a 100w on the roofrack and leave it there permanent. So in summury, I think my system does pretty much what yours does except I am the brains behind mine, whereas your's is a set and forget that does it all for you. If mine "died", I would buy your system, but until then, I'm not sure I would get a lot of extra benefit for the 400 odd bucks I'd need to shell out.

Thanks for informing me though, as I haven't kept up and you've brought me a little up to speed of the more modern technology.


Last edited by CostasDee on Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:27 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Post  Nightjar on Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:18 am

Hi Con,
Always a good feeling when a plan comes together, know doubt you are very happy with the extra amps.
Looking at the photo you have two alligator clips clamped on battery support, obviously to power something when you are parked up? Be careful if you close the bottom with them attached to the battery, instant bonnet vent.
Maybe a flat bar strap across top of battery instead of flimsy rod would be more secure when the going gets a little rough?
What's your next project?

Cheers
Peter
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Post  CostasDee on Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:46 pm

Hi Pete,
It's only a 33% jump up in amps but it should add another 12 or more hours of run time on the fridge. Next time a battery dies, I'll replace it with the 105Ah or 125Ah and then I should notice the big jump.

You're right about the aligator clips and that's why I just left them on the side for now. They go to the solar regulator and were fine with the old battery as there was a little bit more space, but with this system now, I'm not willing to risk it. I'll get some more eyelet lugs and thicker wire and rewire and attach them properly or maybe even straight to the fuse box as it can take 30A per circuit/fuse. As far as the battery clamp, it's a margin big by about 5 millimeters and I had it slightly leaning to the passenger side initially. Of course when I closed the bonnet, it did touch slightly on the ribbing of the bonnet. Now I have it leaning slightly to the drivers side and there is no problem, plus I can trim them about 10 mil if I see that's a problem in the future. Without taking proper measuremnts though, I recon I should have about 20 mil gap betwen the top of the battery terminal top (more so on the positive) and the bonnet.

BTW you may have noticed the hole in the radiator overflow bottle, well I just received the new one that I bought from fleebay, $15+$8 postage. Not original, but except for the word "Nissan" on the old one, you wouldn't know it.
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Post  CostasDee on Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:51 pm

PS The other bonus I've been able to achieve, quite accidently, is the car starts off in the morning with a lot less cracking. The Impco LPG system has to SUCK the gas from the converter unlike the Italian systems, so removing the 14" approx of vapour hose between the converter and mixer and connecting them together, means the mixer doesn't have to suck for as long before the LPG gets into it, hence I've gone from about 5-10 seconds of cold cranking to 1-3 seconds. Pretty happy with that too.
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Post  Guest on Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:58 pm

That is very interesting !!! will put that in the head for later !! Very Happy

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Post  CostasDee on Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:57 pm

Just a quick followup after my first outing. The old 60Ah battery used to last one day with the fridge runnung on a hot day, before the battery read 10v and the fridge stopped working. With the new 80Ah battery fitted, I got 1 and 1/2 days and the voltage still read 11.4v so I would've easily got an extra 12 maybe 24 hours. VERY HAPPY with the result and with the solar that'll be fitted soon, I'll be extatic!!!
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Post  Guest on Tue Mar 05, 2013 7:28 pm

CostasDee wrote:
BTW you may have noticed the hole in the radiator overflow bottle, well I just received the new one that I bought from fleebay, $15+$8 postage. Not original, but except for the word "Nissan" on the old one, you wouldn't know it.

Certainly bloody did.

$5 says you did that playing around dropping the bigger battery in ? Laughing

Murphys law isn't it?

Good job though. cheers

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Post  CostasDee on Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:43 pm

Hey FF,
You're sort of right. It had a hole on the top front which it's had for ages. Alwys said I'd change it, but never bothered to. Then I added the hole on the top back with all this playing around so it made me actually do it rather than what I've been doing up to now which was, think about doing it.
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Post  AUoptimist on Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:32 pm

Hi CostasDee,
I have a 100 series Landcruiser diesel set-up as a one man camper, from the word go I've had a 64 watt Unisolar panel mounted on the roof racks.
This charges a 105Ah AGM deep cycle battery located on the floor behind the drivers seat through a 15Amp smart solar regulator with an LED display so I can keep track of charging and load amps.
This battery is a stand-alone unit and not connected to the Cruiser's electrical system; it runs a 68 litre EvaKool fridge/freezer, ML5000 battery charger, lights, inverter to run my laptop and charge camera batteries.
Only last week I have installed a second 80W KSolar panel that sits in a purpose-built rack that is bolted to the under-side of the Rino racks on the Cruiser, it's rubber mounted to prevent it from rattling when on the move.
This panel is set-up so that it can be slid out from its mount and placed on the ground on its fold out legs and connected to the regulator in parallel with the fixed panel on the Cruiser roof.
The Unisolar panel pumps out about 4.5 amps in good sunny conditions but could not quite keep up with the load if the sun was a bit lacking.
The advantage of the second panel is it can be moved to keep up with the sun as it tracks across the sky, given that I come back to the vehicle a couple of times while out detecting.
Being mounted under the racks it does not take up valuable space on the top of the racks, it takes but a couple of minutes to set-up and pack up at days end and adds another 5 amps in sunny conditions.
The roof mounted panel works well in winter where the vehicle can be parked in a sunny location, during the warmer months this is not always practical as there is nothing worse than coming back after a hard session detecting to a vehicle interior more like an oven.
Just a couple of considerations that you may find helpful.
Cheers, AUoptimist

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