Ram Promaster Forum banner
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,542 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Some of you know that my van was pretty much turned into scrap metal in Sept 2021 by a pick up truck running a light ~ 50 mph.

For a variety of reasons, I have not been able to obtain a replacement van as a daily driver, so instead I have this Explorer - at least for now.

My youngest son is home this summer and we are having some fun doing a few mods on it to make it easier to do a few trips and some portable work.

I hope that you don't mind a few photos of what we are up to.

My oldest daughter and son in law were instrumental in obtaining it and getting it into viable driving condition while I was recovering.

I will add a photo of it after a slight bit of editing.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,542 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
My original plan was to remove the existing factory roof rack completely, and cover the top with solar panels.

The goal was ~ 300 watts.

In practice, after 25+ years, the bolts holding the roof rack are fused to the vehicle, so that option is out.

Instead we needed to find a way to use the existing cross bars.

You might think that -- just go buy some cross bar mounts for roof top items, but locally most places were out of stock. On line, the prices for pieces were simply ridiculous. (something like $50 / mount x 4, plus various adapters.

I spent more time that I care to admit -- originally planning out a replacement roof rack to get 300 watts on top, and then trying to find a viable way to mount just one panel at a reasonable price.

Instead, we used some 8020 parts that I had at the shop already. These are 15 series, triple T nuts. We drilled out the thread on the black one, and the clear T nut is factory threaded M8.

It makes a sort of clamp - the black piece goes under the cross bar, and the clear threaded piece acts as a combination long washer and nut in the panel C framework.

Nickel Gas Cylinder Electric blue Compass
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,542 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
The panel mounted up using the 4 mounting clamps.

The wires go in via the wire gland (McMaster part).

I still need to do a little bit of wire management under the panel, but you can get the general idea of the setup.

This is a solarland 24 volt panel that I had already. It is only 140 watt, but since it is poly, it works to produce some power even when it is overcast - which is the main challenge when relying primarily on solar. It is a commercial grade solar panel, but typical RV 26 x 59 inch size.

At some point I might replace it with a higher wattage panel, but for now, it is a matter of using what I have. It is actually not a low cost panel at all.

This Explorer has a sub 100 amp alternator, so only a nominal amount of power can be pulled from it.




Daytime Hood Motor vehicle Automotive design Automotive tire
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,542 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This was a test fit of the idea (before being mounted with the clamps) but it shows roughly what it looks like.

The roof to panel distance is ~ 4 inches - not much that can be done as that factory roof setup is not going to change.

In the summer heat, the roof area under the panel is most definitely shaded and using my hand as a sensor - much cooler than the part in full sun.

At some point, we will add a shape to the front and rear to reduce drag - but won't run any testing.

Composite material Gas Automotive exterior Grille Mesh
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top