Lights, cargo and sound systems, oh my! Or: Advice from the Hive Mind?

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Lights, cargo and sound systems, oh my! Or: Advice from the Hive Mind?

Post by Dogan » Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:02 pm

Howdy all!

Just bought a new to me Hybrid Ford Escape yesterday. I'd like to maintain my MPG as much as possible (I work as a caregiver, VA doesn't pay mileage for the work I do) and the modifications it needs to suit me are pretty minor.

Right off the top: Lights. Gonna convert all the lights I can on it to LED including headlights. Also thinking a grill mounted LED bar will have less impact on MPG than roof mounted.

Cargo and sound: Hoping these can go hand in hand. In my Forester I just carried a big plain cooler that had my first aid, food, fire starters, survival equipment and change of clothes, with Datrex, road flares, jumper cables and snow chains all stuffed into the area below the rear cargo. As the Escape is a hybrid, that space is taken up by the battery pack, and the trunk is just small enough that my cooler would make it interesting trying to fit wheelchairs and walkers. So my ideal would be to build a box that would occlude the least used driver's side window in the trunk, both to hold most of those items but also a subwoofer. If anyone has recommendations or resources about where to start in this, that'd be awesome and most appreciated. No cargo rack, cargo box because of the negative effect on fuel economy but I plan to get one and not install it unless it's needed.

And that's about it, to be honest. It's already got the seating, ground clearance, full sized spare etc that I want out of a BOV and daily driver.
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Re: Lights, cargo and sound systems, oh my! Or: Advice from the Hive Mind?

Post by NT2C » Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:25 pm

Lighting is pretty easy as there are now DOT approved LED replacements for just about every bulb on your rig. It's just a matter of making a visit to your local parts place to pick them up. You may have some issues with the flash rate of your signals but that can be fixed one of two ways. The first is to buy LEDs with inline resistors to mimic the resistance of an incandescent bulb. The second is to replace your flasher with a heavy duty type (you may already have one if you have a factory tow package.

Headlights get a little trickier... Technically, even using DOT approved LED bulbs in a housing voids its SAE certification, which can lead to issues in states with state inspections. Your best bet then, if you want to stay legal and not be blinding other drivers, is to get DOT approved LED replacements for the whole housing. I'm not sure they even make them but they probably do since it's an Exploder errr, Explorer.

As for the light bar, where you locate it is going to depend what you're using it for. Roof mount would be the preferred location for general wide area illumination on trails & such (and the wind drag for these is pretty minimal, might cost you a half cup of fuel out of a tankful if you spent the whole tank at highway speed) and lower mounting locations for better road surface illumination (or to get under fog). Just be aware that some states will require factory covers over the lenses of such lights when the vehicle is on public roads.
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Re: Lights, cargo and sound systems, oh my! Or: Advice from the Hive Mind?

Post by raptor » Fri Jan 24, 2020 7:38 pm

You may want to reconsider consider the trailer hitch mounted cargo carrier. It is removable when not in use. The weight of the hitch of course is not removable but the carrier could be used for the wheel chairs you mentioned. Since it is behind the vehicle in the rear turbulence there should be little drag.

You said you planned on getting one anyway you may want to explore that option.

https://www.etrailer.com/Hitch-Cargo-Ca ... 18153.html

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