Well, the weather has us holed up in the camper. 20+ mph winds with sub-zero temps and snow started causing some whiteout conditions and bad drifts. Had to dig out of drifts 5 times! So we are waiting for the weather to improve a bit. Still having fun though. Bear with me, I'm typing this up on my phone in a sleeping bag.
The trip has been great to test a few things on Das Moose and get some field insight on my build plan. First, let me update what I got done before we got out here.
1) Installed factory upper soft doors. My thoughts are they look good enough but the strap releases drive me nuts and the doors seals on the roll bar are crap. I get that they are a soft door add-on so I try to think more kindly of them but I still growl when I open or close the doors. They have inspired me to think up a clean sealing solution to get by and then work on full hard doors for winter time, either built or bought. Regardless, they are a blessing in this prairie weather and are no doubt an improvement for winter use.
2) Installed two 7" Radiator fans from Amazon MOSTPLUS Black Universal Electric Radiator Slim Fan Push/Pull 12V + Mounting Kit(7 Inch) Set of 2 https://a.co/d/4mw1Jj7
at my feet under the seat. Set them up to pull engine heat into the cab during the winter and blow cold under the seat in the summer. Did a relay and switch setup. I'm pleased as punch with this. Just enough extra heat that we stay pretty comfy in our hunting gear without sweating up. I think one fan would have been enough but i already did the deed. I have a few ideas to improve winter performance overall but I call it a win. I have no doubts that when I reverse the fans in the summer it will greatly reduce my swass when combined with the seat shield.
3) Installed a Dirt Road Fabrication bed extender. I got the extra long one with 4 pins and no extra mounts. It is friggin great! As you can see in the previous post it holds a mule deer buck quite well.
No complaints at all. Worth every single penny.
4) I also picked up a 2" receiver hoist off Amazon VEVOR Hitch Mounted Deer Hoist, 400lbs Capacity Hitch Game Hoist, 2'' Truck Hitch Deer Hoist with Winch Lift Gambrel Set, Foot Base, Adjustable Height and 360 Degrees Swivel for Hunting, Hanging https://a.co/d/9DZeB1x
Let's just say that the buck in the bed extender pushed the weight limits of the hoist.
It started to arch a little bit under load. Going to have to address that eventually. Will also be replacing some of the regular bolt nuts with wing nuts for easier assembly and take down in the field. Storage was okay next to my boy in the back but I'll need to think of something a little nicer. Also, I did need to use a receiver extension to clear the bed extension. Overall though it kept my back feeling great, let me do a hassle-free field dressing just how I like, and I just swung the buck around into the extender when I was done. It is now a regular part of the Honda Hunting kit.
5) I noticed that the @SuperATV
poly roof was leaking earlier in the rain. I installed it during the summer so figured most the seals contracted a little. I tightened all the fasteners a touch and then covered the hardware and seams with some silicone. Haven't had a leak since. I love that roof. Keeps crap off my head and still lets enough light in I feel like an open top.
6) The Super ATV flip-upfront and rear windshields are great. I've decided to leave the flip up windshield on year round. To fill the gap between the upper part and roof I just shoved in some air conditioner foam. It works pretty good and will get me through this year. I'm gonna think up a long term solution though. On the corners where the struts connect I have some gap but that's on me during installation. I'll get the windshield good a warm this summer and then re-adjust the struts and mounts. I also want to add a little weatherstripping down the sides just because. But yeah, permanent accessory now. Very pleased.
7) I built and installed my truck overhead rack to load Das Moose on my flatbed. It works great. It feels a little nerve wracking when loading and unloading but the trails here are more sketchy. Again, I want more low speed control, so I use the winch to help ease it up both ramps. With the wheel straps and heavy duty ring mounts in the flatbed the machine doesn't budge an inch. I stopped several times to check along the way to camp. I have no doubts I could roll the truck and the Honda would still be attached. The best part is my camper hitches right up with no clearance issues. On the highway, I was stable and steady the whole time even if being passed by tractor trailers. 10 hour drive here to hunting camp with no issues.
Machine performance wise I have a better understanding of what a few of you have been telling me. I love how capable this machine has been with no drivetrain or performance modifications. We are one of the only rigs getting around out here. The factory deluxe tires are impressing me beyond doubt with how well they are getting us through snow, up and down some steep inclines and finding traction in the frozen dirt. The stability and handling of the rig has been pretty great. We had a few spots where a wheel was catching air while climbing a steep spot but made it through. My boy has really learned what the "pucker factor" means.
Also the front locker is great. Honda needs to get off their tails to make it a standard option on the 500 as well. I would have loved it on my old P500.
I know I talked about tires and portals in past posts but I think I'll post my observations and desires to hear what the brain trust has...
A)I kept high centering on compacted snow and catching hidden rocks etc. We had to dig snow out under the skids several times. Once it was clear the tires got us going again. I realize that snow can always get deeper and if I could see hidden rocks maneuvering would be easy. But a little more clearance would be nice. I don't want a huge amount of lift because I like a low center of gravity but I think something needs to change.
B) I made it everywhere I wanted, literally, but I felt like I was either lugging or having to throttle hard to get it done. Especially in technical spots. Lugging makes me feel like I'm about to burn a clutch and overheat the machine. I don't like it from a wrench or driver perspective. Running hard on the throttle was cool when I was younger but I don't want to catch traction at a bad spot. Then I could either bust a drivetrain component or worse do a uncontrolled maneuver resulting in a wreck or flip with my family. Basically, I feel there was enough power generally but need more low gear to suit my driving preferences, increase control, and reduce mechanical strain.
So, is forward A arms, 4 inch portals, and bigger tires the solution? How do I get more low end and a touch more clearance without having to go too crazy? I could do just portals, and I know I'm being picky here, but portals with 26" tires is not a look I like. I feel like there needs to be more rubber stuffed in the fender. Is an IGR with A-arms and tires a better solution? Do they offer different ring gears? How about a bolt on under-drive? I know some might say to trade up to the 1000. I like the smaller size of the 700 and like I said, it has enough general power. No trade in for me.
Yes, I'm a finicky, picky, fusser. But I get things setup just how I like in the end. Plus mechanical puzzles are fun. View attachment 363474View attachment 363475View attachment 363476View attachment 363477
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