Ford Everest Build – final fitout and weigh

While COVID recently put an end to our planned trip to the Big Red Bash, the silver lining was that the looming event gave us the prod we needed to finish our build of the Everest.  In the final stage of the build, we added a snorkel, long range tank (which necessitated relocating the battery), and under vehicle armour.

I’d had the Smartbar Under Vehicle Armour for some time before installing it, but held off because one of the key mounting points for the armour was being used by the custom plate that had been installed for our second battery.

With the original bash plates, fuel tank, and custom battery plate. (Yes I needed to weed the driveway!)

I chose to use the Smartbar Under Vehicle Armour because it is lightweight but strong, both things that were important to me in keeping the weight down on the Everest (more on that later).

The challenge that immediately presented itself with the planned upgrades was that the second battery was using space under the vehicle that the long range tank would need.  This necessitated the removal of the plate and relocation of the battery somewhere else.

Given this, the first part of the update was getting the battery relocated and electrical work done, followed by the long range tank install, and then the under vehicle armour.

With the lack of space under the bonnet in the Ford Everest (and the fact that Lithium batteries can’t stay in hot areas like an engine bay), the only place left to move the battery to was the rear of the vehicle.  This took me back to the original plan I had of putting a removable battery box in behind the second row seats. 

The battery was fitted into a battery box and mounted behind the second row seats, in line with the fridge. While screwed down, it can be easily removed if I need.

It needed to be fixed into the floor, but also able to be removed easily.  With the appropriate grade Anderson connectors, I could unplug and remove the box if I needed the space to hold boxes or similar for events.  It seemed like the most practical solution, so we went with it.  Luckily the box could also hold the Bluetooth shunt, allowing me to track battery health via my smartphone.

Another shot of the battery box

In the end, the battery box was installed in behind the Dometic Fridge Setup, because that was kind of dead space anyway.  This meant no real loss of space in the cargo area.

Once the battery system was sorted (the 40A charger sits under the second row seats, with the inverter under the front passenger seat, and the cel-fi Go under the driver seat), the standard tank was replaced with a Brown Davis Long Range Tank (125L, with 120L useable).  We chose the Brown Davis Tank because it claimed it didn’t reduce underbody clearance and it was baffled which would avoid fuel slosh.  The other option would have been the ARB Frontier plastic long range tank, and we will give that a go on the Raptor shortly as a bit of a comparison. 

In reality, clearance has been reduced in some areas as the tank fills out some of the space under the vehicle, although it doesn’t drop lower than the lowest points of the vehicle

As you can see, it does sit a bit lower at the front than it did before, although the tapering works well with the Smartbar Under Vehicle Armour which sits a bit lower than the lip, at least preventing the tank from catching on anything.

The other great thing about the Brown Davis tank was it could use the original fuel sender.  I expected the fuel gauge to now stay at full until 80L were left in the tank, but I’ve found that so far the fuel gauge moves akin with the usage of the 120L which was a nice surprise.

With the install of the long range tank complete, it was time to install the under vehicle armour.  The kit (made by Smartbar) consists of 3 separate panels, plus mounts and a steel cross member for strength, which sits at the back of the second panel.

From the front

I had tried installing the armour previously, but found that I couldn’t install the cross member without modifications to the battery plate under the vehicle.  With the battery and steel plate now gone, this wasn’t a problem and the under vehicle protection was installed easily.  The only downside to the install was that the rear most armour plate would no longer fit the vehicle given the extra space the long range fuel tank now took up.

Another view of the UVA from underneath, which fits nicely with the Brown Davis Long Range Tank.

Having looked further into the Brown Davis Tank, they consider it strong enough in build to not require any further protection.  The good news is that the front of the tank sits slightly higher than the under vehicle armour and then angles smoothly rearwards, which will help prevent the vehicle getting hung up if I run out of clearance.

Finally, the snorkel went on.  For simplicity I went with the Safari V-Spec snorkel – a tried and true option, which seals brilliantly and looks good too.

The snorkel increases noise with the window down, although the change is negligible with the window up. Most importantly, the engine feels like it breathes so much better!

With these modifications, all work we intended to do to the Everest (other than minor tweaks in load carrying) is complete.  The build is done and I’m confident that we’ve turned it into a very capable off-road tourer.

The only thing remaining is to talk weight.  Unfortunately the Everest currently doesn’t have a GVM upgrade kit available, which means we are limited to the 3100KG GVM.  With it weighing about  2400KG (kerb weight) from the factory with tow bar , we had 700KG to play with.

For a Wagon, this is actually a lot.  If it is compared to a 200 series Landcruiser GXL, they have a 610KG Payload. 

Even with 700Kg of payload, it has been largely eaten up with the mods we’ve done which are pretty common for those using their fourby for how it was intended:

  • Opposite Lock Bullbar
  • Bush ranger Revo Winch with Synthetic rope
  • Ultravision Nitro 180 Driving Lights
  • Bigger tyres – Toyo Open Country ATII Xtreme (285/65/17) on Method Con 6 Black Wheels (within legal increase limits)
  • 2” Tough Dog adjustable suspension upgrade – 0-300KG in rear
  • 100AH Revolution Lithium Battery
  • Redarc 1240D BCDC Charger
  • Redarc 1000W Invertor
  • Cel-Fi Go! Mobile repeater
  • Oricom Dual receive CB Radio
  • Safari Snorkel
  • Brown Davis Long Range Tank (125L)
  • Smartbar Under Vehicle Armour
  • Dometic CFX-3 45L Fridge
  • Ford Electric Brake Controller
  • Tow bar
  • Rhino-Rack Backbone Roof Platform
  • Rhino-Rack Batwing Awning
  • Bushranger Diggar Shovel
  • 1x Pair Tred GT recovery Tracks
  • Scangauge II
  • Hema Hx-1
  • Bushranger Sand Flag

So what’s the current weight?

I was keen to find out, so once I filled up the larger tank, I took the vehicle over the weighbridge and found myself at just over 2800KG.  This is likely due to weight of the fuel tank being somewhat offset by the previous steel plate, and the fact that I took out some of the gear I had sitting in the car (tools and recovery gear) to get a ‘base’ weight.

I really don’t want to add anything else, and will need to consider what goes in the vehicle when I tow our Tvan to make sure that I stay under GVM.  Ideally another 150-200KG of payload would be perfect to give me comfort with how we use the Everest. The good news is that I suspect that with the growing acceptance and popularity of this vehicle it is only a matter of time before an upgrade becomes available.

We’ve now got over 50,000km on the clock, and I can hand on heart say that this is the most comfortable 4X4 I’ve ever driven (apart maybe from the Ranger Raptor), and I’ve found it surprisingly capable off-road, especially with the typical ‘off-road touring’ enhancements we’ve made.

Even at the current weight I can still manage 10-10.5L/100km if I’m sensible with the throttle, which means I can push nigh on 1000km on one tank!

Now its time to really get off the grid and explore – hope to catch you out there…


A capable tourer!

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Comments 17

  1. I had the gvm upgraded on my 2015 Everest trend. I can load it up to 3400kg now. It was the ARB OME suspension kit with +40mm lift and +300kg gvm.

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  2. DCS do lithium batteries that are warranted for under bonnet use. Been running their duel under bonnet system for over 2 years without issue, love it and recommend it.

  3. Once you add 2 people at say 75kg each that leaves only a payload 150kg.
    Now pack your car fridge, air compressor, recovery gear and hitch up your camper trailer and I suggest you will exceed GVM.
    Will you need a tent and accessories for those off road excursions where you can’t take the trailer?

    After upgrading my Pajero several years ago to a tare of 2600Kg I was left with a payload of 430 Kg and found that towing my caravan with a tow ball download of 180kg was ok. However, to get to places such as the Bungle Bungles I started taking an OZ tent and full camping kit plus a water bladder with 50 kg and third in car battery. I was then 100kg over on the rear axle max load and started wearing out tyres after 15000Km.

    I now go either go Camping or caravanning but not both or really scimp on off road overnight excursions.

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      It’s tough Grahamme! I can stay under GVM but it requires careful consideration and planning, and it also means there are trips where the awning and other things may have to be left behind!

  4. G’day Aiden,
    Can you let us know the weight distribution over the axels. I’m assuming the front axle limit is similar to the Ranger, that being 1480kg. It’s also one of the highest out of the dual cab options. I would suspect given examples I’ve seen, with your front end options you would probably be over, and that’s without any passengers up front??

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        1. G’day Aiden,
          Thanks for letting us know. Is that without passengers up front? On average you can easily add another 100kg with 2 adults. The body manual will give accurate % breakdown but it’s 55% for the Ranger.
          As you can see if your limit is 1480kg your actually over it when driving.

  5. Does the 2800kg include you the driver? 300kg isn’t a lot to play with when you add passengers, gear and a tow ball weight from trailer. I think GVM is one of the biggest struggles that most people face.

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      No it doesn’t David, but it includes basic recovery gear and the fridge and a full tank of fuel. Not a lot spare which requires careful consideration for a trip given the family and I weigh a combined 180KG. To keep under GVM with a trailer nothing goes in the back of the car. And I need to carefully manage a trip without it, at least when the family comes too!

  6. Dont forget to add the Tvan towball weight when hooked up.
    If its 130kg then take that off your 300kg you only have 170kg left foe passengers and luggage.
    Nice set up though.

    1. Sean, I have 275/65 R18 on my 2020 trend. Legal limit is a 50mm increase in overall diameter, and this size comes in at slightly less that that compared to the standard 265/60 R18 so is fine for legality.
      I have no suspension lift and the tyres clear OK, slight scrubbing on the front when I hit a bump with steering on full lock is all, only noticed it a couple of times.

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