K9 Transporter

Don K9SARK

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2019 Limited MAX, 4WD, Heavy Duty Tow Package, Trailer Assist.
KMC 20" Wheels
BF Goodrich TA KO2s
Readylift 3" Front 2" Rear Kit
Travall Dog Guard
Troy Products Square-Hole Hatch Window Screen
DeWalt 20V Fan
AVS Ventvisor Deflectors
DeeZee DZ6535P Poly Plastic Storage Chest

My primary use is long distance travel, transporting my two search dogs on paved roads. The truck does see some off road, from snow covered farm roads in the Mid-West to dessert in the South-West.

There ride is still great with the lift and eight ply tires. 4Wheel Parts did the lift install and after 2000 miles, it's been trouble free. I hardwired in a Garmin RV GPS mounted on a Built Right F150 dash mount, and use a Pro-Clip IPhone mount. Trailer towing has been trouble free, except I needed to get a hitch with a 10" drop.

The DeeZee box fits perfect between the middle seats and still allows the back seat passengers to make any climate and sound system adjustments.

I get a lot of positive comments from other Search and Rescue personnel, Law Enforcement, and as one of my younger neighbors said "Pretty fly for an old guy!". So far (25000+ miles) the only issue I have is that the Apple Car Play doesn't work every time. I found that if I drive a while stop the truck and plug it in again, it works fine.

The combination of DeWalt fan, rear window open with square hole hatch, and windows cracked with AVS Ventvisor Deflectors, keeps my rolling kennel very comfortable for the dogs. I'm ordering a second Dewalt fan, just in case.

The GSDs are Honey - Air scent wilderness, and Odin - Cadaver. FYI this is their truck, I'm just the chauffer!

Do any of you have experience or recommendations for heavy duty roof rack bars/system or a roof rack mounted awning? I'm also looking additional off road lighting options / recommendations.

We are a no-charge, all volunteer, non-profit organization. I'm looking for best bang for the buck. Thanks!
 
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Don K9SARK

Don K9SARK

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I never plan to drive on the road with the rear hatch open. I have repositioned the truck with the rear window open, so it's been up to a maximum of about 5mph in a parking area.

I have the rear hatch opened when the truck is off and parked, the front four windows lowered and now, two DeWalt 20V fans blowing, when the dogs are in the back.

So far the outside temperature has been a high of 75 degrees, and with the single fan the rear area stayed comfortable. I'm going to install a thermometer in the back so I can better monitor the condition in the back of the truck.

Weather and security conditions permitting, I'm also going to see how much better the airflow is with the sunroof opened.
 

X expat

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Gorgeous GSDs.

We had the same setup for our easy going male GSD. Our girl now though is too high strung. One of our 1st rides with her, I came back to the car to find her sitting in the driver's seat after she'd escaped the barrier. She now rides in her strapped down crate facing us.
Our GSDs are the reason we need an SUV rather than a truck.
Nice set up though. You must have just vacuumed up all the shed hair! ;)
 
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Don K9SARK

Don K9SARK

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Since my last post, I've added a second 20V Dewalt fan and a 20V leaf blower. The leaf blower helps me keep the dog hair under control.

To better keep track of the temperature in the truck, I carry a Waggle temperature monitor.

The Expedition has made two round trips from Kansas to southern New Mexico. The ride is still great and I averaged about 19 mpg with 3 passengers, 3 GSDs, and a 12' enclosed trailer. The lift and BF Goodrich TA KO2s kept me out of trouble in the New Mexico desert and a heavy snowstorm we drove through.

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I even managed to get it into a car show at a local Ford dealership.1640551759421.png
Standing in the Rio Grande with Odin, after successfully completing the NAPWDA HRD certification testing.
 
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Adieu

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This seems counterintuitive

How can a dog that's supposed to be trained for search and rescue be so badly disciplined it needs a truck refitted high security prisoner transport style?

Why not just train them to ride in the back like regular folk with regular pets seem to manage just fine?

Also... you're a non-profit driving around with a $80k company truck with max options??? There is something SERIOUSLY wrong with our tax code
 
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Don K9SARK

Don K9SARK

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I'm certain Adieu's feels the tax code is SERIOUSLY wrong. I lived in California for years. Loved the weather and the people. Hated the taxes!

My organization is a 501c3 non-profit. I am retired and chose to spend my retirement time and money on what I want. You may want to argue the logic of spending your own money to provide a service free of charge to the public, but that's one place where I'm happy to do my part for the community. Start saving for your retirement and someday maybe you can spend your money how you want, like a $80k+ truck with max options, and upgrades to do volunteer work.

The truck is mine. I bought it with my funds, and I own it 100%. The members of K9SARK supply their own dogs, gear, vehicles, uniforms, and fuel. We pay for all our own training, and evaluations, except for the training conducted by NASAR training certified members of our organization.

My dogs are not like regular pets. They are both 80lbs+ of highly trained, highly motivated, tested and certified search and rescue, and HRD dogs. I'm certain that you know how important drive is in a search dog, and why they aren't trained to behave like regular pets with regular folks.

My truck is set up as a rolling dog kennel, not a high security prisoner transport. The truck can be parked, and the dogs have a safe, secure, temperature controlled, and comfortable place to rest or stage for when we are deployed on a search. The rear cage is there so it can be opened for the dog's comfort when parked, when weather conditions allow. The center divider is to keep the dogs from interfering with the driver and climbing on the passengers. It also keeps them out the front of the truck when they return from training or a search, wet or covered in muck. I have found that my dogs have a lot more room and they seem enjoy each other's company far better than transporting them in traditional travel kennels. They also have a spill resistant water dish in the back that I keep filled.

I'm certain you knew all this and were just giving me an opportunity to expand on my volunteer work and a chance to further brag about my POV. Please feel free to further enlighten me with your extraordinary insight.

I'm still trying to make my mind up on a good roof rack, roof basket, side awning, and ancillary lighting that won't howl when driving.

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This is the dash with ProClip phone mount and Garmin RV GPS mounted to a Builtright mount. The second GPS gives a lot of good information and continues to work when deployed to areas without cell coverage. I hardwired it in, so it automatically comes on when the truck is powered up. Between Ford navigation, Google maps, and Garmin GPS, I have been able to locate every address. I absolutely love the Apple car play interface, especially how it reads text messages, and converts voice to text.

It can't be seen, but just in front of the rear-view mirror and in the back window, Ford installed front and rear cameras set up for loop recording. You come across some strange things when driving to a search area.

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Once again, my beautiful babies.
 
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