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Cowboy's Dual Battery Install

Discussion in '5th Gen 4Runners (2010+)' started by Cowboy59, Sep 8, 2021.

  1. Sep 8, 2021 at 6:24 PM
    #1
    Cowboy59

    Cowboy59 [OP] Enjoy the Adventure

    Joined:
    May 17, 2020
    Member:
    #14355
    Messages:
    588
    Gender:
    Male
    N. Florida
    Vehicle:
    2020 Off-Road Premium w/ Predator package & KDSS
    My dual battery install was completed 4 weeks ago. We just completed a 3 week trip out west and back. The dual battery performed flawlessly. Below are the details of my install.

    My reason for putting in a dual battery system was to support a 12v ICECO VL60 fridge/freezer. Here is the link to it on Amazon.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07TXG7G1Y?ie=UTF8.

    Below is a complete list of parts/suppliers I utilized. Prices were rounded up and may have changed from what I have listed below.

    Optima Yellowtop DH6 800 CCA - Advance Auto Parts $319.00
    REDARC BCDC1225D DC Battery Controller - Amazon $389.00
    Blue Sea Systems 5025 ST Blade Fuse Block - Amazon $44.00
    Blue Sea Systems 12-volt Plug with Dash Socket - Hodges Marine $19.00
    Blue Sea Systems 4366 Water Resistant Accessory Panel - Hodges Marine $81.00
    Blue Sea 7182 40 Amp Circuit Breaker Surface Mount - Hodges Marine $52.00
    Ampper Top Post Mil Spec Battery Terminals - Amazon $14.00
    Tesa's High Heat Harness Tape - Amazon $9.00
    Battery Tray - C4 Fabrication $129.00
    50ft 1/2" Split Wire Loom - Amazon $22.00
    Black Spring U-Type Clips - Amazon $10.00
    Small L Brackets - Amazon $8.00
    Add-a-Circuit pack (only needed one) - Amazon $10.00
    24x24x3/16 ABS Plastic Sheet - Amazon $15.00
    12x24x1/2 Marine Board HDPE -Amazon $35.00
    Fuse assortment (only needed one) - Amazon $9.00
    Jonard Fuse Puller (excellent for mini fuses) - Amazon $19.00

    Battery Cables from BatteryCablesUSA (they are great and fast)
    Red 4 AWG 8' (cut to 94") 1/4" (M6) connectors on both ends $16.00
    Red 4 AWG 16' 3/8" (M10) connector and 3/16 (M5) connector $28.00
    Black 4 AWG 18' (cut to 206") 3/8" (M10) connector and 3/16 (M5) connector $31.00
    Black 8 AWG (cut to 6") 3/8" (M10) connector and 1/4" (M6) connector $4.00
    1/4 inch (M6) connector $1.00
    3/8 inch (M10 connector - quantity 2 $1.00

    Total Cost of Materials - $1,265.00


    The Install

    I based my installation on the Dual Battery Install video on Youtube by Mark from Wanderlost Overland.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JkH8sH_uK0&t=906s

    Kudos to Mark for the excellent video. If you have watched his video or will watch his video, I did a couple of things different. First, Mark runs a negative cable from the negative post of the primary battery to the negative post of the secondary battery. The RedArc instructions did not show this; and I could not understand why Mark did that, since the secondary battery is grounded to the the frame. After digging through the many comments to his video, I found he answered that question. He had issues in the past with a frame ground going bad, so he ran the extra negative cable between the batteries. I opted not to do that, as I did not want to have 4 connections on the negative post of my secondary battery, and also did not want the extra negative cable.

    The second thing I did different was how I mounted my accessory plugs in the back. I initially started out to mimic Mark's design. However, I decided I would not likely add a lot of extra items, so my control panel would not be as large. I did actually make the blank that Mark made to cover the large panel opening in the back. But you will see later what I ultimately came up with.

    So let's start with the battery install. Below is a picture of where the C4 battery tray and battery will go. Following the C4 instructions, the silver bracket mounted to the top of the fender well is removed. It is not used. The large white and black harness on the left is relocated to the back of the firewall. Then the battery tray is mounted. I recommend cutting about 1" off of the bracket mounting bolts. This will make mounting the top tray mount I made from the 1/2" plastic for the RedArc controller much easier.

    Battery-location.jpg


    Below is a picture once the battery was installed. You will see that the top plate is T-shaped. I cut the plate out, routed the edges and drilled the holes for mounting the battery tray bolts.

    On the right is the Blue Sea circuit breaker which receives the positive cable from the primary battery. Make sure you mount the breaker in the correct orientation to ensure any issue with the primary battery causes the breaker to trip.

    In front of the battery to the right are the cables that were relocated as part of the battery tray install. They go behind the battery. I added the heat tape to ensure no wires would ever be exposed.

    The RedArc controller arrives with all the wires out the back in about 8" of shrink wrap. I cut all but about an inch off so that the wires could be more easily routed. I will forgo telling you how to wire the RedArc, as their instructions are quite clear. You will notice below the wire loom along the right side of the RedArc. This is where I dead ended all non-used RedArc wires. Which in my case was the orange wire (not used for my battery type). The green wire, as I chose not to install a charging indicator (it either works or it does not), and the yellow wire for a solar charger.

    BatteryInstalled.jpg


    Here is another picture showing more detail.

    BatteryInsall2.jpg


    Below you will see the 6" negative cable used for the frame ground. You will notice behind it is my rear-diff breather.

    BatteryInstall5.jpg


    Here is how I routed the positive cable from the primary battery. I used my Dremel tool to remove the corner of the positive battery cap. The cable loops down and goes behind the battery. It then comes back up and goes along the firewall (see next picture).

    BatteryInstall3.jpg


    The small wire loom you see above the positive cable is carrying the RedArc on/off wire that is put through the firewall and connected to the ignition on circuit.

    BatteryInstall4.jpg


    Below is inside the 4R under the dash on the driver side. I used a metal coat hanger to poke a hole through the nipple and then pulled the wire through, that I had attached to the Red Arc Blue wire.

    BatteyInstall7.jpg


    The red wire is then connected to an add-a circuit as shown below. I highly recommend using the fuse pliers I purchased. You do not want to damage your fuses. Also, you will need to store the fuse block cover in your glove box, as you will not be able to reattach it.

    PXL_20210908_233002042.jpg


    At this point of the install, your RedArc controller should be functioning when the ignition is on. Using the RedArc manual, you should be able to confirm the lights are properly telling you the status of the controller.

    So now phase two is to run battery cables to the back of the 4R and install a control center for switching on the power and plugging in your appliances. Because I am installing my control center in the right rear quarter panel, my slide out tray must be removed. I utilized the video below to know what had to be removed.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QH393WhO8pI

    The video is pretty good, but I augmented it with a video from Aiden James, since I purchased their refrigerator mounting panel for the slide out tray. I ran out of time to make my own prior to our trip. I also checked a couple of other videos. I won't go into all the details for doing this. Once the slide out tray is out, the rest is getting the rear floor panel off. I was able to remove everything without damaging a single clip.

    Note: be very careful removing the black plastic trim panel on the floor at the back of the 4R. As you will see in the photo below, the panel is held on with 4 white clips. Take your time so as not to damage the clips. You will need to pull somewhat hard and they will make a loud snapping noise when they unclip. I recommend working from the back of the panel (the side furthest inside the 4R, and working from one end to the other. Pull somewhat straight up and toward you, as I recall.

    BatteryIntall8.jpg


    I chose not to remove the entire interior side panel. I was able to pull it out enough such that it would stay open once it wedged against the metal frame. That afforded me enough room to work. However, I did have to remove every bolt anchoring the side panel, including the passenger seat belt bracket.

    BatteryInstall9.jpg


    At this point, you will need to go underneath and locate the rubber grommet that has wires running through it and is behind the panel. That is the grommet you will run your battery cables through. Cut a slit in the grommet to push the cables through. You will need to run the cables along the frame and secure them with large heavy duty zip ties. The only tricky part is navigating the cables around the brake line and getting them back on top of the frame. Note: Avoid the temptation to run the cables over the side of the muffler heat shield. This should not be done, as heat rises and the cables could be compromised. Here are a few pics of how I ran the cables over the frame.

    PXL_20210909_002252613.jpg

    PXL_20210909_002312174.jpg


    Since I chose to install my switch panel in the bottom of the panel, I located the fuse block in such a way that a lid could be mounted over it. The pink marks you see are wax marks I made, when I had considered mounting the large panel. They have since been washed off.

    PXL_20210810_220220151.jpg


    I then mounted the mounting clips for the switch panel.

    PXL_20210810_220241716.jpg


    The Blue Seas switch panel just fit inside my blank backing. To make the backing plate sit nearly flush, I reduced the thickness of the back edge on my sander. I think the final results turned out well. The outlet to the right of the switch is a Blue Seas cigarette lighter style plug. I cut off the male on my fridge cord and attached the Blue Seas male, as it will not wiggle loose. The next outlet has two usb plugs. As you can see below. The switch panel is receiving nearly 13 volts.

    PXL_20210810_222202086.jpg


    Mark from Wanderlost Overland put a second breaker in his control panel. It was a smart choice. However, I did not need to do that, since the Blue Sea Systems switch assembly I bought has a built in breaker in the main switch.

    During our three week trip, our refrigerator worked perfectly. Most camping days we only went one night without driving. On one occasion with camped two nights in a row without driving and the secondary battery was still supplying over 12 volts to the refrigerator. I am very satisfied with the results.

    I will provide another post on my ICECO fridge/freezer.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2022
  2. Sep 8, 2021 at 6:46 PM
    #2
    olliechristoper

    olliechristoper New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2021
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    First Name:
    Chris
    Very Nice. Thank you for the detailed install and parts list. Looks really good and well thought out!! I did something similar to my GMC Sierra for a lot of the same reasons as you. Mines not as nice though. For reference I used the Blue Sea ACR and Mechman 250 amp alternator.

    That Redarc is the real deal. For the 4Runner I think you did the very best choice for its application. YouTube is amazing for sure for great ideas and install advice. Great job Sir!! :thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
  3. Sep 8, 2021 at 7:30 PM
    #3
    JaSC

    JaSC New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2021
    Member:
    #21714
    Messages:
    288
    Gender:
    Male
    Anderson, SC
    Vehicle:
    Black 2018 4Runner TRD Off Road Premium, crawl control and MTS
    ToyTec Lift, Dual Batt Redarc. Rear safe drawer, console safe, Aux 2004 JGC fuse box, Warn bumper, 12,000lb winch
    Like how you beveled the edges on the batt platform. What screws did you use for Redarc and fuze on batt platform? wood?
     
  4. Sep 8, 2021 at 7:30 PM
    #4
    Cowboy59

    Cowboy59 [OP] Enjoy the Adventure

    Joined:
    May 17, 2020
    Member:
    #14355
    Messages:
    588
    Gender:
    Male
    N. Florida
    Vehicle:
    2020 Off-Road Premium w/ Predator package & KDSS
    Thank you for the kind comments.
     
  5. Sep 8, 2021 at 7:35 PM
    #5
    Cowboy59

    Cowboy59 [OP] Enjoy the Adventure

    Joined:
    May 17, 2020
    Member:
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    Messages:
    588
    Gender:
    Male
    N. Florida
    Vehicle:
    2020 Off-Road Premium w/ Predator package & KDSS
    You surmised correctly. Just wood screws. They work quite well in ABS plastic.
     
    olliechristoper likes this.
  6. Sep 9, 2021 at 4:19 AM
    #6
    JaSC

    JaSC New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2021
    Member:
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    Messages:
    288
    Gender:
    Male
    Anderson, SC
    Vehicle:
    Black 2018 4Runner TRD Off Road Premium, crawl control and MTS
    ToyTec Lift, Dual Batt Redarc. Rear safe drawer, console safe, Aux 2004 JGC fuse box, Warn bumper, 12,000lb winch
    Thanks for info, I over thought things when building mine. Used counter-sunk bolts as studs from bottom. Your install looks cleaner and has inspired me to redo mine. Actually was thinking of using old plastic kitchen cutting board wife was going to chunk. Thinner and feels somewhat stiffer.

    Edit: The back-end connection for fridge is well thought out. Less intrusive than other designs.
     
  7. Sep 9, 2021 at 11:04 AM
    #7
    Shnook718

    Shnook718 New Member

    Joined:
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    First Name:
    shaun
    NorCal
    Vehicle:
    4runner
    I have been looking for a walk through like this. thank you. I do have one question though i noticed you had a Redarc 1225. did you connect starter battery > 4gauge AWG > 40amp fuse > redarc Red wire > Red Arc?
     
  8. Sep 9, 2021 at 5:37 PM
    #8
    Cowboy59

    Cowboy59 [OP] Enjoy the Adventure

    Joined:
    May 17, 2020
    Member:
    #14355
    Messages:
    588
    Gender:
    Male
    N. Florida
    Vehicle:
    2020 Off-Road Premium w/ Predator package & KDSS
    I am not sure I fully understand your question. But here is my attempt to answer it. The red battery cable from the primary battery goes to the Blue Seas circuit breaker. The red wire from the RedArc connects to the other side of the breaker. The red wire supplies power to the RedArc from the primary battery. The breaker serves to save the RedArc controller if something goes wrong with primary battery/electrical system.

    The brown wire from the RedArc goes to the positive lead of the secondary battery. It is the wire that charges the secondary battery.

    The red battery cable that feeds the back of the 4R is also connected to the positive terminal of the secondary battery. Then you will have a black cable from the negative terminal of the secondary battery to the back of the 4R.

    Hope this answers your question.
     
  9. Jun 22, 2022 at 1:26 PM
    #9
    SnakeDoc

    SnakeDoc New Member

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    Eric
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    2020 4Runner Venture & 2010 tundra limited
    Awesome write-up! Thanks cowboy59
    Did something very similar. 20220524_101136.jpg 20220524_102044.jpg
     
    Cowboy59 [OP] likes this.
  10. Jun 22, 2022 at 1:53 PM
    #10
    SnakeDoc

    SnakeDoc New Member

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