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                   Tuesday, March 10, 2009 - 11:53AM

Event vehicle reconfiguration, continued (part 3)

By DAN ROBINSON
Editor/Photographer
25 Years of Storm Observing
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Safety lights update: I've run into a problem that makes "strike two" for the strobe system.

On my 2000 Ranger and on my Freestyle, the clear shells on the backup lights were textured, so that you couldn't see what was behind them, and so the strobe bulbs didn't need any special mounting. On the 2009 Ranger, the clear backup-light sections are not only very small, but completely transparent, meaning that there is no way to visibly hide the strobe bulb and base. Particularly so if there is an amber gel over the strobe bulb. I'd have to drill a new socket into the taillight housings to make it look presentable, and drilling is a major mod I want to avoid.

So, that issue along with the fact that neatly wiring the strobe system (totally concealed) will be difficult, makes it less likely that I will get these installed anytime soon. Legally (in WV at least) I can still put the strobes in the red part of the taillights (rear-facing flashers can be amber, clear or red), but I'm wary of anything that makes me look like I'm with fire and rescue. Since the whole purpose of these lights is safety/visibility, I want to stick with ambers since they are the proven best color for the application.

I've been searching online for an alternative, namely something with suction cups that I can put up in the rear window only when I need it. That would keep things uncluttered and still serve the purpose. Nothing I've seen so far meets my criteria (either that or is too expensive). I've thought about just making my own using the strobe bulbs, but anything like that is unlikely to be very presentable.

Alarm system: I got a good deal on an alarm system at Barracks here in Charleston, $230 installed this morning. That's less than the other two systems I had installed at Circuit City (on the old Ranger and the Freestyle). So that's one major task out of the way.

So it's down to the the Jotto desk, the safety lights and a storage/organizer. Once I get those figured out, I'll be finished with the setup! At least the essentials are functional now in case of an expedition event (dashcam, WxWorx and inverter power).

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