Apr 2024

Tyler Cates, known as @tylercatesphotos on Instagram has built himself a purpose ready truck that allows him to take the trails deep into the desert where he shoots photos of the most off-road ready vehicles in Southern California.

His 2020 Ford Ranger XLT may have started out as a stock vehicle, but over time has built it up to be very capable of hitting the whoops of Johnson Valley or the trails of Big Bear.  Let’s get into what makes his Ranger one of the more unique builds on the trails today, and how he has incorporated sPOD to power his accessories.

Starting with the engine bay, Tyler runs a Mountune Intercooler with Charge Pipes, Turbosmart BOV, Mishimoto Intake, and AWE Performance Exhaust. Moving to the interior of the truck some unique products used in there are custom seats, carbon fiber oem style steering wheel, carbon fiber interior dash pieces, an sPOD HD 8 Switch, Rugged Radios M1, and an Ultimate 9 throttle controller!

Front of white truck in the desert with rocks in front.

For lighting, Tyler has outfitted his Ranger with a fill assortment of the latest Rigid Industries lights. On the A-Pillar are the Adapt XP extremes, while on the front bumper is a series of the Rigid 360 6-inch round lights along with the D-series hung under the bumper for total coverage in any situation.

Tyler uses 37 x 12.5 x 17 General Grabber ATX tires on 17-inch KMC wheels Grenade Desert beadlocks. This bulletproof combination allows him to tackle any terrain when chasing race vehicles out in the desert. He installed larger fender flairs from ADV Fiberglass to conceal the large General Grabbers from kicking up any rocks or debris, RKSport V1 Ranger Hood, and the Prerunner Style Bumper giving the truck that aggressive look he was looking for.  For suspension, he is running a custom +3 Ranger Mid Travel kit with custom tig welded sleeved tie-rods, King Shocks 2.5″ x 8″ king coilovers with 2.5″ x 8″ triple bypass up front and Icon 2.0 smooth body shock and a custom leaf pack from Alcon out back.

To power all of his lights and accessories, Tyler Is utilizing the sPOD BantamX/HD Smart Controller 8-channel system for ease of usability. Keeping access to his accessories at his fingertips at all times is essential while on night time photo shoots. Keeping his dash clean, he decided on mounting his HD controller on the door of the sunglass holder on the upper console, giving that sleek and hidden look.

“This product has made wiring such a breeze and cuts out a lot of the extra unnecessary wiring or drilling holes for several switches on my dash. I wanted to keep my dash as clean as I could so the sPOD was the perfect product to help achieve that goal.”

“Its the perfect truck to jump in and drive down the road to work or even plan a weekend getaway to the desert and know it won’t have any issues tackling the terrain.” , Tyler explains of his build. “ Its been a pleasure building this truck with so many great brands such as sPOD and I couldn’t have asked for better partners”

sPOD System used in Tyler Cates' Ford Ranger XLT:

Bantam X Specs:

• Fully programmable, digital controlled system
• 8 circuits rated at 30 amps at 12.5 VDC per circuit
• 16-position terminal block (easily attach accessories)
• 2 controller ports (RJ45) for Ethernet cables
• Integrated low voltage cutoff (LVCO) battery protection w/ optional override
• One ATM mini-style fuse for LVCO protection & reset
• Failsafe self-healing fault protection system (from 1.5 to 30amps)
• Current-sensing MOSFETs controlled by a microprocessor (no fuses & relays)
• 100amp in-line fuse
• Nylon braided battery cables are hi-strand crosslinked copper wire with a silicone jacket
• Operates on 12VDC or 24VDC
• 8-position input terminal block for controlling outputs
• Built-in Bluetooth capabilities for remote control
• Protection against: overheating, over-current, shorts, reverse polarity & field collapse
• Ignition control and safety lock-out for switches 1 and 2 (optional)
• On-demand wireless software updates/upgrades