Drawers with tanksAfter checking out the prices of four wheel drive drawers online with some prices up to AU$2500, I was encouraged to start building my own. I spent a few weeks of spare time measuring up and designing a drawer set on google sketchup. Google sketchup is a very simplistic, very easy to use, Computer Aided Drawing (CAD) program. I was very surprised how quickly I was able to catch on to using the software.

Requirements

  • Lots of storage space
  • Access to wheel arch areas
  • Mount and slide out a 40L Engel Fridge
  • Contain room for a 60L wedge water tank
  • Very strong – needs to be able to stand never-ending road corrugations
  • Must be anchored to the floor

Design

Download a copy of my Four Wheel Drive (4WD) Storage Drawers plans:

To view this file you will need to download Google Sketchup.

Restrictions

I purchased the metal from MetaLand and had it all cut to length. Like many other raw material retailers, you buy lengths of the materials so a lot of decisions were made based on the lengths that were provided by MetaLand.

We only have an arc welder. I purchased some offcut 25mm square gall pipe with a wall thickness of about 2mm for practice. I had a lot of trouble trying to weld this metal. I couldn’t seem to get a good amperage to get a nice bead. It was especially difficult as I had never welded before. When I actually purchased the metal I purchased 3mm wall instead which gave me a much better weld but made it a lot heavier.

Benefits

  • Storage space
    • Rear panels even angle with the cargo barrier
  • Using rollers makes the weight capacity much higher than heavy duty drawer slides.
  • Built to fit MY situation, not a generic solution

Disadantages

  • Narrow access to left side of boot space
  • Drawers don’t extend as far as they would with slides
  • Too tall to see out back effectively
  • Heavy

Construction order

  1. Frame for the fridge bench
  2. Frame for the drawers
  3. Drawers
  4. Paint frame
  5. Paint wood
  6. Carpet surfaces
  7. Attach hasps and locks

Costs

  • Metal and Cold Galv Paint from MetaLand: $250
  • Roller Bearings from SKF: $135
  • 2mx2m Felt Carpet from Clark Rubber:$55
  • Wood from Mister Ply and Wood: $115
  • Miscellaneous Bunnings expenses: $325
    • Fittings
    • Fasteners
    • Locks and hasps
    • Welding sticks
    • Blades and grinding wheels
    • etc.

Total: $880
This actually surprised me just now on how much it all cost. I was trying to convince myself it had cost a lot less. It probably should have. I think I could have made the generic horizontal drawers for a lot less but it wouldn’t have really fit with my water tank wedge.

Total + incidentals

Reversing into parked car: $330
Reversing camera to stop that happening ever again: $120

My total costs because I’m an idiot: $1330

Finished Product

See my pictures on flickr

Lessons learned

  • Although I learned a lot making the drawers I wouldn’t do it again. I don’t think it was worth the time I put into it, especially at a time where I barely had any to spare.
  • After getting the slides for the fridge, I realised that it would have been worth sacrificing some weight capacity for more drawer slides. With the rollers at $7 each, its not much more to pay for the drawers to come out a whole lot further.
  • The height is bordering inappropriate. It is so high that I have problems looking out the back. I advise that you buy a reversing camera or parking camera to tackle this problem. eBay has a few cheap options.
  • Take care installing the fridge slide, because if its out of parallel by a few millimetres, you could easily have an issue with extending the slides.
  • Carpet at Bunnings is MUCH cheaper than Clark Rubber. Marine carpet was half price but I’d already purchased from Clark Rubber
  • Raw materials from Bunnings are much more expensive than their suppliers
  • Buying all of your raw materials at once will probably make it cheaper
  • It is very hard to cut metal straight.

Four wheel drive Drawer Storage Helpful Links

http://www.clarkrubber.com.au/

4 Responses to “Four Wheel Drive Drawer Storage”

  1. Denis
    28. October 2011 um 22:48

    Great drawers but check the safety factor of storing gas bottles on their side. Best stored upright.

  2. bobby
    8. January 2012 um 13:42

    Great guide,

    Thanks heaps especially for the sketchup plans im using them (slightly modified)

  3. Chris
    8. January 2012 um 14:06

    Hi Denis,

    I did end up storing them upright on the right of my fridge for my trip. I tied them down with a quick tie, which worked fine. I ended up putting all of my cooking gear under the fridge.

    Bobby, nice to know you are using the plans. If you like, I could post your changes up here as an alternate plan.

    Chris

  4. Ken
    18. February 2012 um 20:33

    Hi mate, great effort, sorry to hear about you reversing mishap.

    If you are ever welding anything galvinised again, grind the zinc coating off mate.
    You always want to weld onto raw steel, no galv, paint, oil or rust.
    It will give you a better weld as the zinc (and other crap)will not be contaminating your weld pool.
    Also there will be A LOT less fumes and smoke, which isn’t good for you health.

    Cheers
    Ken

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