Adding a Race Battery Box to Your 4x4

Project Toyota FJ40 Cruiser

Aug. 06, 2009 By Jaime Hernandez

Keeping things secure on the trail can be tricky, especially when you bash and slam your rig. One way to make sure you don’t lose the juice is by adding a heavy-duty race battery box. Older battery hold-downs will eventually fail and can cause some serious damage to your vehicle. 

off-road race battery box
Race Battery Box from Off-Road Warehouse

Race battery boxes are used and required by most rock-crawling and desert-race sanctioning bodies. It’s not just another rule, but rather a proven safety feature that can save your machine and its passengers on rough trails. Let's face it, trashing around 30 pounds of dead weight under your hood or inside the cockpit can hurt if you get it in the kisser.

We talked to our friends at Off-Road Warehouse (ORW) about the battery project for our Toyota Land Cruiser.  ORW offers different size and style race battery boxes that will hold down Odyssey and Optima Batteries. We already had a RedTop Optima Battery waiting back at the garage, so that helped the ORW staff narrow down our search.

off-road race battery box
Precision TIG welds and dimple-die cut outs help make this race battery box strong and worthy of an Optima Battery.

The hand-built 16-gauge race battery box from ORW is made of cold drawn steel featuring beautiful precision TIG welds and 1-3/4-inch dimple-die cut outs for added strength and weight reduction. The battery box fully encloses and secures the Optima 34/78  RedTop battery with a 1-inch lip on the sides and tapered flaps on the front/back sides that go the entire height of the battery.

Optima Battery WHY OPTIMA? We really like Optima Batteries because of their performance. The Red Top Optima is a popular choice for off-road use thanks to its 1,000 Cranking Amps, fully sealed design and ability to withstand 15 times the vibration of a traditional battery—all part of their Spiralcell technology. In other words, they can deliver and take a beating on the trail.

We began by taking off the factory battery tray on our Land Cruiser to see what we had to work with underneath. To our great surprise, we found a beefy bracket that would work perfect as the foundation to our new heavy-duty race battery box.

battery-tray battery-tray battery-tray
The rusty old battery tray on our Toyota Land Cruiser had seen better days. The battery hold-down bolts and top bar were long gone. It was time to fix up this old girl with a race battery box and new battery.

After some measurements and test fitment, we decided that the original battery tray bracket attached to the frame would work perfect as a base for our race battery box. We were able to close the hood without any problems and had plenty of clearance from the engine. All we needed to do was weld on some tabs and drill some new holes to be able and fasten our race battery box.

welding tabs
Welding flat tabs to the existing battery tray bracket will give our new race battery box a solid foundation.

We removed as much of the rust as possible with our power grinder and a circular wire brush. Down to the metal, we then proceeded to weld two ProtoFab flat tabs that widen our battery bracket and accommodate the mounting holes machined on the bottom of our race battery box.

drilling fab

Next was drilling some new 10mm holes on the battery bracket plate to complete our four fastening points for the new heavy-duty race battery box.

To finish off the fab job, we sprayed some KRYLON Rust Tough Enamel on to the battery tray bracket and newly welded tabs. Ready to secure the race battery box—it’s bolt time!

Dremel EZ Lock Cuting Set The race battery box is secured to the Toyota with four heat-treated alloy steel M10 counter-sunk flat-head screws that exceed Grade 8 specs.

The race battery box has countersunk holes machined into the bottom. This design is intended to keep a flush surface for the battery to sit on.  In order to take full advantage of this design, you need to use flat-head bolts. 

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t easy finding these special bolts. We went to three autopart stores in town looking for them and had no luck. We finally were able to source them through FASTENAL.

off-road race battery box

Once the bolts and race battery box were fastened down using nylon lock nuts and washers, we were ready to drop in our Optima Battery. It fit snuggly in the box—just the way we wanted. 

The race battery box from Off-Road Warehouse worked great for our Toyota Land Cruiser battery project. The heavy-duty construction and race-inspired design really sets off our engine bay. At around $50, this race-ready battery box is a good choice.

The race battery box from Off-Road Warehouse is universal, so it can easily be fitted to any vehicle with some slight modification. The raw metal finish does require maintenance but can easily be powder coated or painted.

All in all, this is a very nice piece that is both functional and will add safety to any serious off-road vehicle on the trail.

race battery box with optima
Even if our Land Cruiser gets turned upside down, this battery is staying put thanks to our race battery box.


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