We jokingly refer to last years trip to Baja as our “seven month shakedown”, but in reality you do have to spend a fair amount of time on the road, living in your van, in order to uncover all the upgrades and changes that are required/desired. After our shakedown run we had some good ideas of what needed to change.
First and foremost we wanted to address the suspension. We’ve had no problems with the Quigley 4×4 conversion, but it does have a few limitations, most importantly, the limited front axle travel before the van bottoms out on the bumpstops. Luckily there’s a solution in the form of Agile OffRoad’s Ride Improvement Package.
Working in partner with Fox Shocks, the guys a Agile OffRoad have developed custom valved shock absorbers designed for these heavy 4×4 vans. Combine that with custom progressive rate springs and you definitely get a significant ride improvement. In our case the upgrade also resulted in a little additional lift, 1.5″ in the front and 2.5″ in the rear. That added height makes Brienne look seriously bad ass.
While the van was at Agile OffRoad we decided to have them finish the Pop-Top with a coating of Raptor Liner. Not only does it look better, but the fiberglass is now also protected from the elements.
Our next major upgrade was to have a custom aluminum roof rack built and installed. We worked with the crew at Aluminess to come up with a perfect design for our application. When finished, the rack was ready for a 95 watt Go Power solar panel and Yakima Sweet Roll kayak cradles. Our Maxtraxxs needed a home too and Aluminess was able build a custom mounting system that works slick as can be. The Rotopax fuel cans mounted nicely on the rack as well. Lastly we added a ladder on the driver’s side to provide access to the rack and increase Brienne’s cool factor. The ladder and rack really completed the look that I was wanting. We finally look like a purpose built, cleanly designed and finished expedition vehicle.
I guess you could explain it this way…Brienne spent a little time in Southern California where she got a face lift, an ass lift, colored her hair, and completed her sexy new look with a new rack. Wow!
On top of all this fun, the owners of Aluminess, Dave and Diane Hoskins, invited us to stay with them in their beautiful San Diego home. We enjoyed sharing stories of the road by night and working on the van by day. We certainly look forward to seeing them again soon.