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Old 02-01-2012, 04:33 PM   #1
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Dual Battery Install

Finally. I got my dual battery system installed. Thank you Hilldwellar for your input on the battery choice.

The battery plate is made by Benchmark Designs (I did not use his system, just the plate). It's well made, strong, and easy enough to install, except Kurt (Cruiser Outfitters here in Utah) had to fab up a plate to sit the intelligent solenoid on. The difficulty was in removing the factory battery tray.

The kit is made by National Luna, and comes highly recommended by everyone I spoke with. It has an *intelligent solenoid* that:
1) charges the dedicated charge battery for 5 minutes upon start up
then
2) opens up so the secondary battery can also be charged.

The kit comes with a control monitor. With it, you can pair both batteries (for winching or jump starting another vehicle.
You can jump start your own dedicated start battery with your auxiliary battery
You monitor the status of both batteries with the control monitor.

The intelligent solenoid is called *intelligent* because it decides what needs charging, and does it.

Hopefully now, I won't have a repeat of the incident I had last spring with my other vehicle... battery died... no back up battery, no cell phone coverage, snowing, and several miles from help. Fortunately for me, I had set up camp, driven back within cell range, and had given a friend that was meeting me there, exact directions... to join me the next day.

The installation is super clean. I highly recommend Kurt at Cruiser Outfitters for any work like this you may be contemplating.

I realize this is not for most folks. But as I spend lots of time in the back country camping - and overland traveling (for work and for fun), I feel it is a necessary addition to my outfit.
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:49 PM   #2
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I'm shocked that they could pack all that in there. At first glance, you think, "Not even two MOTORCYCLE batteries will fit in that space."

Looks like it would provide power for your neighborhood.

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Old 02-01-2012, 06:01 PM   #3
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Thanks so very much...

....for your continued input to this Forum (especially your detail)! I have gleaned so much from you, kbwwolf and Jimbox, that I shall never be able to pay you back inkind!

If only, only, I could take pictures like you and kbwwolf. So clear, perfect lighting and attention to detail

In my younger days I ran with an extremely busy volunteer Rescue Squad for 10-yrs and ALL our vehicles had the double battery systems. So, I know 1st hand what a life-saver they can be.

On the otherhand, the cost is prohibitive for most of us Long drive for VA to Uhah for the system install, but U never know

Thanks again!

P.S.: I agree with the Wolfman, do not know how they got that gear in the engine-bay
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:27 PM   #4
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kbbwolf and Willie.... ya.... tight fit. But it fits.

Willie..... to take pics like these... all it takes is an iPhone lol! And I'm certain there are folks out your way that would be able to do an install if you ever felt the need. It is costly for sure, even so. But twice last spring I was stranded. Not to the point of desperation, but enough to make this a viable option.

I recently looked into volunteering for the mountain rescue (through the local sheriff's dept. here) but unfortunately you have to commit to year round... and I'm only here half the year. The other half is spent in SoCal and Mexico. I would have loved to take the training course and try to get on. Good for you.

I'm stoked to have been able to help you... however, I'm just a barney, learning as I go... I've done a lot of overlanding and camping (for over 50 years now), but my wrangler is for sure opening up new territory for me. And man, do I love driving it/looking at it/thinking about the next trip in it...
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:01 PM   #5
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If you don’t mind could you give a breakdown of cost?
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:05 PM   #6
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But twice last spring I was stranded. Not to the point of desperation, but enough to make this a viable option.
Shouldn't have to worry about that anymore. You definitely have a one-of-a-kind Jeep.
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:24 PM   #7
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Ken.
Battery tray by Benchmark Designs: Two and change. Don't have the exact number handy.
Batteries: Depends on the batteries you choose.
National Luna Kit: 375
Labor: Depends where you get it done. Typical for a landcruiser is 250-350. This was not typical because the JKU battery tray was so difficult to remove. It runs down under many more parts, that need to be moved, then moved back. And he had to fab up a plate for the solenoid. About 10 hours of work. I'd rather not say the amount, as we worked out a *fair price* due to the unexpected extra time involved.

kbbwolf.... really, not so one of a kind. I attended an Overland workshop in Hollister State Park... many vehicles were outfitted similar to mine. Many also had refrigerators and roof top tents. I'll pass. Because of the weight of the fridge, and the tent... I'd rather sleep in my jeep, or have a ground tent set up. That way, I don't have to disassemble the tent to go work (think photography)... I can just drive away, morning, noon or night... get what I want, and return to my tent.

I do have an ARB awning. I'm having brackets fabbed as I type... and will be mounting it to my roof rack. Will take photos when it's up.

All good fun I love my job. It's the best excuse to go camping that I can think of
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:30 PM   #8
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[QUOTE=CG3;1984754]Ken.
Battery tray by Benchmark Designs: Two and change. Don't have the exact number handy.
Batteries: Depends on the batteries you choose.
National Luna Kit: 375
Labor: Depends where you get it done. Typical for a landcruiser is 250-350. This was not typical because the JKU battery tray was so difficult to remove. It runs down under many more parts, that need to be moved, then moved back. And he had to fab up a plate for the solenoid. About 10 hours of work. I'd rather not say the amount, as we worked out a *fair price* due to the unexpected extra time involved.

Ouch, don't think I will be starting this one any time soon. May look at the batter box, might be able to fab one in my shop if I ever get it together, Thanks
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Old 02-01-2012, 08:18 PM   #9
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Very nice set up Carolyn! On another subject did you have your Teraflex flaps welded on, or bolted? I'm think of going that route at least during the winter. thanks
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Old 02-01-2012, 08:26 PM   #10
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Very nice set up Carolyn! On another subject did you have your Teraflex flaps welded on, or bolted? I'm think of going that route at least during the winter. thanks
Thanks! Gawd I love my jeep

Had the flaps welded on. They did it at TeraFlex Plus right here in Utah. That's what they recommended, so I went with it. All I have to do is pull the pin... voile' they come right off. They don't keep the jeep perfectly clear of the road salt slurry, but about 95% better. Huge difference.
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Old 02-01-2012, 08:56 PM   #11
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Thanks! Gawd I love my jeep

Had the flaps welded on. They did it at TeraFlex Plus right here in Utah. That's what they recommended, so I went with it. All I have to do is pull the pin... voile' they come right off. They don't keep the jeep perfectly clear of the road salt slurry, but about 95% better. Huge difference.
Thanks these are on my short list now
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:06 PM   #12
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Will this work on 2012s? Last time I researched, the opinions varied.
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:18 PM   #13
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TWO GRAND for one additional battery?????? I have some potential ocean side property in Arizona I would like to sell to some of you people.....
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:19 PM   #14
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x2 - very interested in 2012. It looks like you have two yellow top Optimas installed? Did you purchase those at the same time (ie, consecutive serial numbers)? What was the approx damage on those?

Btw - awesome rig!
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:34 PM   #15
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Will this work on 2012s? Last time I researched, the opinions varied.
I don't think the plate fits the 12's. You could call Benchmade and ask him.
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:40 PM   #16
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TWO GRAND for one additional battery?????? I have some potential ocean side property in Arizona I would like to sell to some of you people.....
Look Sparky. Being rude is totally uncalled for. I need this for work. Just because you don't need nor want something like this, gives you no reason to act like a know it all. I actually USE my jeep. I actually make my LIVING using my jeep. And need to take care of myself. And if I spend MY money to do so - that's my choice and my business. Just trying to share and maybe help others here. Don't need your negative comments.
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:40 PM   #17
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The JK battery tray runs from the battery to the air box. Removal looks daunting, but it's really a snap. A dual battery kit was one of the easier of the mods I have done.
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:42 PM   #18
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Look Sparky. Being rude is totally uncalled for. I need this for work. Just because you don't need nor want something like this, gives you no reason to act like a know it all. I actually USE my jeep. I actually make my LIVING using my jeep. And need to take care of myself. And if I spend MY money to do so - that's my choice and my business. Just trying to share and maybe help others here. Don't need your negative comments.

Haters gotta hate.

It ties in with, "It's a Jeep thing, you wouldn't understand." Apparantly, it still applies with Jeep owners as well.
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:44 PM   #19
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x2 - very interested in 2012. It looks like you have two yellow top Optimas installed? Did you purchase those at the same time (ie, consecutive serial numbers)? What was the approx damage on those?

Btw - awesome rig!
Hey, thanks. Yes, bought them together. They were both made 12/2011. I'm thinking they were about $220 each. I went back and forth between the yellow tops and the Diehard platinum's, but Hilldweller gave me information, that led me to choose the Optima batteries.
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:47 PM   #20
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Haters gotta hate.

It ties in with, "It's a Jeep thing, you wouldn't understand." Apparantly, it still applies with Jeep owners as well.
I just don't get why some folks get off on trying to belittle others

C'est La Vie
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:50 PM   #21
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I like this..... sure do miss having the duals I had on the old rig. Just might check this out
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:56 PM   #22
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Hey CG3, how did you manage to get a Benchmark tray? I was lucky when I ordered my kit, but all I read about on all the forums is how angry people are with Benchmark and the non delivery of products.
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:01 PM   #23
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There's more than one way (obviously) to tie the batteries together, but I think National Luna has an edge because not only of the smart solenoid, but coupled with their control module, that shows whats going on, lets you pair, isolate, jump start yourself, or whatever... has alarms (lights and sounds) that you can disarm or use... that keeps everything working properly, or alerts you what isn't and why.
The plates can be fabbed... and save money... but fit is crucial, as there is just not much room.
Batteries... well... that's a big one. AGM, Gel... or? Deep cycle or?
If anyone is interested, I could email you the pdf file for installation of the plate... A couple of other sites (JKO for one) has step by step guides posted by those that have done this themselves.
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:07 PM   #24
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I just don't get why some folks get off on trying to belittle others

C'est La Vie
I agree totally ...in fact one of the main reasons I support this forum is because there is a lot less of it here than the other forums.
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:13 PM   #25
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Hey CG3, how did you manage to get a Benchmark tray? I was lucky when I ordered my kit, but all I read about on all the forums is how angry people are with Benchmark and the non delivery of products.
I called him. Spoke with him directly, and gave him my credit card number. I believe he's on his own building these - and I don't know this for a fact, but it may not be his only job. Fellows that have looked at my plate (and Kurt that installed it) said it is the best one on the market. Wish I had your know-how to attempt this kind of thing myself.
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Old 02-02-2012, 07:45 AM   #26
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I called him. Spoke with him directly, and gave him my credit card number. I believe he's on his own building these - and I don't know this for a fact, but it may not be his only job. Fellows that have looked at my plate (and Kurt that installed it) said it is the best one on the market. Wish I had your know-how to attempt this kind of thing myself.
LOL Thanks, but it's more like, "Just try it. The worse thing is you go to the dealer and buy a new part." Pretty much all you need to do is remove the stock battery. Unclamp the Air box from the the 2 tubes to the engine. Pull up the air box to remove it from it's holder. Unbolt the fusebox and move it over. Un bolt the battery/fusebox/air box tray. Cut the tray. Install new battery/fusebox tray. Reinstall old airbox tray. Install and wire new batteries. The hardest part is lifting the heavy batteries and installing them without denting your rig.

I like the rubber/plastic cap on the Intelligent Solenoid. The Benchmark system comes with a Cole Hersee Smart solenoid which is similar but not all the bells and whistles of a controller. The conections aren't covered and I learned the hard way that you can short ir out if you aren't careful. I'm goint to look into maybe heat wrapping mine for extra protection.
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:47 PM   #27
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Lightbulb Thanks folks.....

................ I have bookmarked this thread, as it contains such detail, and with retirement weeks away and planning to stay in the Mtn's as much as possible, I may well copy CG3's system. Her post here is invaluable and I have enjoyed her willingness to share her personal purchases with us. Remember, she did not have to spend her time sharing and answering our questions, but she DID

CG3 is family, so pick on her and you ruffel her FAMILY

As I said earlier, I have 10-yrs experience with vehicles using dual-battery systems and thay can be life saving in an emergency!

Anyone, that earns a living in the outdoors, many times in the middle-of-nowhere, would do well to install this system as CG3 has done!

Like an O2 bottle, trauma-dressing or AED, use it one time and it has paid for itself! Same applies to your Hi-lift jack or winch, use it one time, its paid for itself! I havem and pray I never have to use em!

My 2-cents!
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:58 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bc3_Jeep View Post
TWO GRAND for one additional battery?????? I have some potential ocean side property in Arizona I would like to sell to some of you people.....
If you don't want or need this mod why even bother to post, if this the best you can come up with.
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:48 PM   #29
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Personally I LOVE reading about this stuff.

I designed and built surveillance vehicles and equipment "back in the day" and love seeing the state of the art power management setups and what they are capable of.
I used to do larger more complex vans with 4 additional 8D batteries to run various on board systems. (We were just using solid state isolators, nothing as cool as this.)

Heck, if it wasn't for someone cool spending the cash and putting in a system like this and THEN taking photos and sharing the information, we'd all be a little less informed and possibly a little more likely to make a mistake with our own rigs!

Thanks for posting this! It's a great read and looks like some great work there too!
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:53 PM   #30
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Personally I LOVE reading about this stuff.

I designed and built surveillance vehicles and equipment "back in the day" and love seeing the state of the art power management setups and what they are capable of.
I used to do larger more complex vans with 4 additional 8D batteries to run various on board systems. (We were just using solid state isolators, nothing as cool as this.)

Heck, if it wasn't for someone cool spending the cash and putting in a system like this and THEN taking photos and sharing the information, we'd all be a little less informed and possibly a little more likely to make a mistake with our own rigs!

Thanks for posting this! It's a great read and looks like some great work there too!
I'd blow myself up. Electricity hates me.

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