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Discussion Starter #162 (Edited)
Hi y'all, been a while.

Wanted to let you guys know about some changes for me and the family. As of last November I’m now the Sr. Mechanical Engineer for the Keck Observatory where I've been working on this:




It's one of two 10m telescopes at the top of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii. I'd often half joked that I didn't want to die in CA (I'd lived in various parts of the state since I was seven) so now I get to prove the point.

So yeah, why haven't I been posting? We've been busy frying other fish.

New roads ahead. And here's a couple of them.







Anyways, it’s rad over here. I’ve having a ton of fun, work is good, the family is settling in well and there are so many places to explore. I’m back into working on my FJ40 (it came with) and have a bunch of catching up on posting to do. If there are any other peeps on the Big Island please say hello.

Aloha!
Joel
 

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Wow, that’s awesome! And congratulations! Glad the 40 was able to make the move with you. Look forward to seeing adventures on the island.
 

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Discussion Starter #164
Thanks... We do like it here a lot.

So what’s involved in moving to an island? Basically a crap ton of logistics. Keck gave me a bucket of money based on a set formula (X people, Y distance) and I got to figure it out from there. Some folks take the money burn/sell/give away everything and just show up with suitcases. That doesn’t work so well when you have tools and one non running FJ40, so we ended up renting the biggest shipping container available. More on that in second.

What do you do first? Well, first you purge, then purge some more. We were trying to sell our house in SoCal and every realtor we spoke to told us the same story. Great place, you need half the stuff to stage this well… Three weeks later we had about half the stuff (inside anyways). Sold a ton of stuff on eBay. I think there were 15 runs to the Salvation Army.






Then you list your house for sale with your chosen realtor. We went with the version that had the most bells whistles, (3D fly around, landscaping etc). On the plus side the listing looked rad and I was stoked that they used my engine block coffee table in the staging.




Listing is here if anyone cares…
https://www.redfin.com/CA/Tustin/14931-Bridgeport-Rd-92780/home/4616710

One single open house later and we sold the home (really nice young family that was stoked on the deck and some of the backyard work I’d done).




While escrow was going down I was working like a dog packing. I quit my job Oct 18 with the new one scheduled to start Nov 5. The challenge: A standard shipping container is 40’ x 8’ x 8’6” tall. If you rent a 45’ high cube, it comes in at 45’ x 8’ x 9’6”.

It also normally is delivered to your house on a chassis on wheels. You don’t get a ramp… How the F do you get a non running Land Cruiser 4’ in the air? How about a 1000 lb welding table or giant steel cabinets, or any of my other myriad of heavy stuff? Answer: you have to hire heavy equipment movers. You can either have them load or be like me and have them set the entire container on the ground (after verifying that they can pick it back up loaded of course)

Give away some more stuff. That solid carbon fiber truck bed I had went to a friend of a friend and unfortunately probably burned down in the Paradise fire up in NorCal.




I also did a CAD layout of all my bits and pieces to help ensure I’d played tetris as best I could (with relatively evenly distributed loads).

I borrowed race car scaled from my friend Ash (thanks amigo!). Turns out my FJ40 currently weighs 4639 lbs with almost all of its parts inside (had a few extras, plus a few missing bits).








I can also say I hauled home 13,000 lbs of metal back when. :)

To be continued…
 

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Discussion Starter #165
In case you missed it, the Land Cruiser got at least mostly shot in primer since I was moving somewhere wetter… Preview of my tailgate too. I’m sealing between stitch welds for future rust avoidance.




And it was the first thing loaded since it was about the last thing I’d need access to. Looks lonely back there.




I ended up building 3x raised decks inside the container so I could put things on top of things (covered hood etc).








One of my best and oldest friends came down from NorCal, so between he and the 6 day laborers I hired from in front of Home Depot, we moved the heaviest stuff: metal carts, weld table, compressor, and stronghold cabinets. That got us here:






Then the wife and I left on a 5 day cruise we’d won in a raffle the year before and had pre-booked 6 months back before we knew any of this was going down. We’ve got time, right?

 

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Discussion Starter #167
All I can say is this isn’t the update I was expecting but I sure am enjoying it!!
Haha. Glad to hear it. Figured the long silence was worth explanation.

Continuing on...

Got back from the cruise well rested so we hit it hard again. I’m gonna let the pics do most of the talking in this post.



The aisle in the above is so I could lie down in the gap and bench press a king sized mattress toward the rear 6 inches at a time.

The mattress ended up on the roof of the cruiser (followed by bikes and surf boards), then a second level of crates went in, followed by plastic tarps.

Fun fact, humidity differences inside a container can make it rain inside nightly. There was only about 4 inches clear to the roof by the time we were done.








Buddy doing the pull-up is another of my best and oldest friends who also drove way too damn far to help me (and yes that’s the engine block coffee table behind him, it came too). Ralph was the one who joined me on the road trip to pick up the Cruiser up in Washington originally.

Kids got in on the monkey bar action.




Getting there:




Managed to carve some pumpkins on the appropriate day (island for the win), otherwise did nothing but hard physical labor for a solid week.








We closed the doors at 5:30 in the morning the night before the heavy equipment movers showed up. The last slog was something like 23 hours straight. I couldn’t believe my father in law was still standing to take this pic. What a rockstar…

Getting closer to wrapping up this tale. For now, may you have a blessed Easter celebrating the things that are important with the ones you love…

Regards all,
-Joel
 

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Discussion Starter #168 (Edited)
Friend on another forum pointed out that we probably should have bought bulk desiccant. https://www.uline.com/Product/Detail/S-14045/Desiccants/Container-Dri-II-Desiccants-Cargo-Bag?pricode=WB0787&gadtype=pla&id=S-14045&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIjePd3qrj4QIVdiCtBh38yQHJEAQYAyABEgIl7fD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

We ended up OK (maybe partly because we didn't have much free air at the roof) but it just goes to show as much research as you can put into something like this there were always ways to improve.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


So the 50,000 lb forklift shows up to pick up the container. It goes for lift…




And promptly pops a nose wheelie. They have to bring a separate forklift with a massive counterweight to increase the capacity.




At this point I’m kinda freaking out at how heavy the container is... Although the container is rated at 67,000 lbs gross, DOT regulations in CA you’re only allowed to haul 44,000 lbs on the highway. If this gets flagged we’re screwed. I’m beat up... Running on no sleep and my head is exploding with all the ways this could go wrong.

Well, with the added counterweight, Dunkel Bros (the heavy equipment guys) get it picked up and hauled back to their yard. We had 3 semi trucks/trailers in our little culdesac…






However, when they put it on their uncertified scales and it comes in at 52,000 lbs. CRAP!!! But then the driver from Matson sea freight lines shows up to drive it to the port, doesn’t ask questions and just grabs and goes. Turns out, since the container hadn’t been “officially” weighed yet, he wasn’t “officially” restricted in driving it.

The port accepts shipment and we’re off to the races.
 

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Discussion Starter #170
Effin win right there! Sounds like that couldn’t have gone any better.
I was so relieved. Just getting to some of the legitimately heavy stuff I maybe could have ditched would have been a nightmare. Like undo and then redo a week's worth of work... and do it all while it is sitting at the port? I don't even know what would have happened at that point.

It was an answer to several rather frantic prayers. I don't recommend this approach, but it all worked out, and for that I'm extraordinarily thankful.
 

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Discussion Starter #171 (Edited)
With the container away and nothing left but suitcases, it was time to say goodbye to our home. Pretty tough on the kids.




Hell, I choked up big time while taking this next shot and comparing how much their little hands had grown since we poured this concrete.




Hopefully I can pull off a bigger better garage someday, but this one was pretty sweet.






I had even managed to finish closing out all the gaps around the edges with stained boards sometime the month or so prior.








Man there was a lot of work into that attic…






Lil throwback to slinging 21' long 2x10's back when... Same daughter in the blue shirt above. Man, it goes fast...

 

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Discussion Starter #172
SoCal gave us a killer sunset on the way to the airport.




We actually spent the night at the LAX Hilton to be sure we were rested and to be able to land in daylight so the girls could get their first view of an island.




When you plan to live out of suitcases for 3 weeks in an otherwise unfinished rental home, you end up traveling a little heavy.




But then this view greets you:




And a buddy is waiting at the airport for you to help shuttle the bags and presents you with leis.






And you get to start work on a maintain top




And life is good.
 

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Discussion Starter #173 (Edited)
Moving in from the container 2 weeks later was the reverse of out with the exception that you have to pay for all profession labor since you only know one guy on the island. Conen’s Freight Transport does have a bad ass device that’s actually made for setting containers on ground (Hamer Lift).




Big ass compressor goes in the closet under the stairs.




Metal to the backyard to be tarped for later.




After all that our only casualty was a busted TV. It may have even been cracked during packing rather than transit. Oh yeah, we caught it just in time for Black Friday.



It probably helped that every last dresser got wrapped in cardboard and saran wrap to keep things from chaffing against each other. My buddy Ander built me something like 7 wood crates for saws and heavy tools. I also used a metric ton of plastic banding wrap. This stuff is SOOO good!
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004OR1CR0/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It turns out Hawaiian sunsets are pretty good too.



So that’s how you move to Hawaii… By the way, apparently I set some sort of all-time record for Keck regarding heaviest container. Conen Freight Transport (who did the unload) said it was the densest packed container they’d ever seen!

Aloha from the Paynes!




Our three running vehicles (XJ, RX7, and a family hauler Mazda5) all shipped loose via barge. It costs about $1100 per vehicle to ship one out of Long Beach. Not too bad and since cars are more expense here, we brought them all.

And… here we are in the new digs. Time to get back to work.

 

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Discussion Starter #174 (Edited)
Little flavor of Hawaiian wheeling. I've hooked up with the Big Island Jeep Club and started running with them. Solid folks and seems like a good place for me relative to the crazy/controlled spectrum of 4x4'ers.

This run was up on Mana Rd which wraps around Mauna Kea (mountain with telescopes) on the green side. I headed up putting kids to bed Friday night for a weekend of camping at Ranger station bunk house.

Drove up in the dark and first time I'd been on this road (but man what a road!).




Only minor issue was a loose radiator cap on arrival (that's what I get for topping of fluids in the dark right before I left). Thankfully I got spotted a gallon on arrival and I was good to go.

Night wheeling was rad.










Next morning and yep, I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact I'm going to have mud in places I'll never get out. At least not without hours and hours of detailing. I'm calling it a Hawaiian rig and moving on...




Good group albeit I was the only XJ representing. Apparently there's one more in the club but I haven't meet them yet.




I did manage to rip off my cool muffler bearing though. Working theory is that I lost the bolt then the exhaust bounced hard enough to snap the mount. Bailing wire for the win.




I can't even get over how much fun the terrain is around here. The hill climb we were queue up for was rad (if quite the slip 'n slide)




By the end of day two, you couldn't tell what color my rig is.




The stoke is real.
-Joel
 

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Discussion Starter #175 (Edited)
Few more pics...

Another shot of that slip 'n slide...




If your underside got too dirty, you could always go rinse off.




A few folks decided to drive the remainder of Mana Rd (~40 miles) to try to catch the sunset from the Mauna Kea summit. I warned folks the rangers might not let us up with muddy vehicles but apparently we'd rattled enough off on the way over (it transitions back to dry side in route) that they let us up.

View from the top was good but kinda cloudy.




Then suddenly the sun breaks through and the world turned insanely red. Like "Eye of Mordor" the world is on fire red...




Camera couldn't keep up with the color above, but this pic might give you a better idea.








So neat! Back at camp, much fireball was drunk, much meat was BBQ'ed. Let me tell you that a big Hawaiian man playing Adele's "Someone Like You" on a ukulele while folks sing along at the top of their lungs in the middle of nowhere? Yeah, good times indeed.

Maybe you had to be there but it was fun, I promise.




I'll close this round with a few shots of the main Mana Rd from the way back into town.






This island is rad.
-Joel
 

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Discussion Starter #177
Awesome day trip. Wheeling in Hawaii is on my bucket list for sure
Thanks! I'll get back to build in a second but I'm finding all kinds of things worth noting as I wheel in the Jeep and I figure posting is better than letting this thread sit idle.

____________________

Arriving home from Mana Rd, I found I apparently wheeled hard enough to jam some wood in between a couple of my tire beads. I only dropped down to 18 psi or so, but there's a lot of throttle involved when you go wheeling deep in the woods. ;-)





Thought I got it all but actually managed to give myself a leak so I got to pull the tire and clean more thoroughly.




I also had a heck of filthy rig that I didn't want to just take a wash cloth to and scratch the hell out of everything so I also started researching pressure washers (duh!). Once upon a time a harbor freight "1400 psi" unit that died, but having been spoiled by a friend's big gas powered Dewalt while in SoCal I wanted something better--while staying electric for size and simplicity. Turns out there are metric ton of options, half of them look identical but perform differently, how you set them up matters (IE nozzle flow sizes), and ratings are only marginally meaningful since how manufacturers rate these things varies widely.

Don't know about you guys but with tools, I'd rather over-research and be sure I'm getting the right thing.

Findings:

If you really want to understand pressure washers the best resource I found was Obsessed Garage. They tested 50 some units to validate flow and pressure. You need both criteria to be effective. Here's the massive playlist.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLG_BGdABDC9s97iOZTLJVO3TF-K3fx99g

Obsessed Garage then sells upgrades for every common type of pressure washer to get max effectiveness out of any given unit.
https://www.obsessedgarage.com/collections/pressure-washing

Brass tacks... I ordered the Greenworks 2000 psi variation sold via Lowes.
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Greenworks-2000-PSI-1-2-GPM-Cold-Water-Electric-Pressure-Washer/1000731276





Here's a shortcut to the review of this specific machine.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNPzIFBW5sI&list=PLG_BGdABDC9s97iOZTLJVO3TF-K3fx99g&index=5&t=469s

I like that the unit has a stainless steel wand, a quality hose, uses generic interfaces (as opposed to proprietary versions), and generally punches above it's weight. I did not want the built in hose real as apparently those all suck. I did buy bigger 3.0 nozzles per G.O.'s recommendation but skipped the foam cannon and all the other adapter options.

A few other purchase recommendations:

I really dig the option to washer undercarriages so this was a big help and adapts fine to the end of the Greenworks wand.
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07K22DGRY/

Pressure washer specific soap. (Two "loads" per water tank gets a happy level of foamy IMHO)
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01BMB48X0/

Pump protector (apparently a typical reason why washers fail)
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01CNRSUJK/


So all that said, a week later and I was in business. It all works. My girls think it's a big game and are asking to use the thing.






...and here we are back to "boulevard" status for a run to the beach.




Anyways, hope the research helps some other folks.

Cheers y'all,
Joel
 

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Discussion Starter #178
I’ve been building stuff for the Cruiser (I promise), so time to get back to that.

I’m trying to lock down my big interfaces such that I can fit things around them. One of the ones I left as work in progress when moving was the fuel tank/rear seat interface. As a reminder, in the search for capacity I went a little crazy on making my tank use every iota of space available.



There’s also a secondary skid plate that’s intended to support the rear of the tank.




Up front was a bit of a problem since I can’t strap across the tank easily given where the links need to reside. For purposes of shipping everything over to the island, I c-clamped some wood to the frame rails.




That actually worked pretty well so I set about making something more permanent. The vertical walls shown are to support rubber and ensuring it can’t run away. Triangular cross section because I like triangles and they are strong in bending. I’ll both seal any unwelded seams and be sure it has water drain paths before I’m done.




Planning rubber pucks and using some of my mountain of bulb seal edge trim. I’m started by trying good old fashioned rubber cement to see if it’s enough to hold them down.




Final configuration (with the side mounts burned in):




I’m trying to seal all the way around the tank so that it doesn’t have a path in for rocks/mud from above. Someone made the point prior that if I get gravel in between my tank and the skid, a shot to the skid could still try to poke the tank… Having gotten a flavor for how dirty Hawaiian wheeling can be I’m doing the best I can. I did get to weld a couple extensions on the tank to be sure I had good engagement of the bulb seal.




Kinda hard to see but the tank feels really solid in there when squeezed down among the trim and rubber bits. It’s GOOD.




I’m planning to clamp this down from the topside partly using the floorboards/firewall (TBD) with some heavier straps built in.

Anyone have thoughts on firewalls above a tank? NHRA general specs for firewalls are 0.024" Steel or Ti or 0.030" aluminum (at least that runs up through most of the normal classes). Still, those guys have safety peeps that can be on scene momentarily. I'm planning on this bolting down my firewall from above with stiffener ribs and maybe some bead rolling. I already have some 0.060" aluminum laying around so I'm thinking that might be appropriate.

Next up final fitment and more mods to the rear seat (while leaving sufficient clearance for the floorboards)
-Joel
 

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Discussion Starter #179 (Edited)
Realized I skipped something so excuse the out of order pics. I burned in my seat side brackets a while back. I had them mocked up here:




I went back and forth a few times about whether I needed the weight but I did like the fact that the full length version also serves to reinforce my frame notch for the shocks.




Got them heavily tacked in only to discover that one side had pulled over by a 3/32” or so. I was tempted to let it go but dammit, I’d know and it would bug me, so I fixed it. If I ever sell this damn thing, I want the buyer to know I made it as perfect as I could.






Like working in a jungle gym…




The seat interface is a welded flange nut I sunk into the face and welded upside down to be sure I’d have plenty of threads.

Fast forward past welding these fully (and primer) and I was ready to weld in the interfaces to the seat frame.

Except I wasn’t.

Turns out my rubber isolation for the fuel tank is driving the tank up every so slightly higher than intended. That was making it a bitch to try to get the rear of the seat to land since the seat back risers are almost rubbing on the rear shock diagonals. I’d already trimmed these to fit as you may recall.



The only way to go up on the seat frame was also to shift forward, but I’d already locked in this interfaces as well. Simplest solution was to both raise the fronts and slide the seat frame forward. I made some Nike “swooshes” to get ‘er done.




Since I was making that mod, I realized I could kill two birds with one stone. I still had a problem that I needed a middle support point for harness lap belts. The outboard side is planned to tie to the side supports I welded in prior. While I could go back to the center upright on the tailgate that meant I’d have seat belt webbing running from far aft and not quite at the correct angles.

It would sure be convenient if I could attach to the seat frame itself in the middle but the cross bar isn’t up to it. I debated sleeving the bar more tube cut in half, but it’d be a ton of work and ends up with all kinds of stress risers and what not…




The bar also wasn’t especially straight.




Eventually I just said “screw it” and decided to replace the whole damn bar with some upsized DOM (it really is nice having your own mini metal mart, I recommend it).

 

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Discussion Starter #180 (Edited)
Having already cut out the middle of the bar, I got a little creative with a new tubing notcher (Baileigh TN-250, I like it a lot!).




Well that was easy...




And burned in all the support bits that I cut off the old tube with a spot weld cutter.




Good news! The side support vs shock diagonal tube clearance is bang on!








Side note: Why do I look at the above and in my head some British voice is saying “make the noise”? Anyways, the cardboard under the bar is to account for the eventual floorboards/firewall so I think I’m in good shape.

I was planning on two bungs for lap bar support points so I turned some bar I had lying around (making sure it was low alloy steel this time, having learned that lesson the hard way on my jeep at one point).







Note to self, I should have also used the lathe to at least start the tap. Tapping deep holes by hand meant that the threads are a touch lopsided on the back side. I thought it would track the hole better but maybe now. I used the better of the two bungs and decided on a single point interface that I’ll stack the lap belt connectors on.
 
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