After 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.
- 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
Download a copy of my Four Wheel Drive (4WD) Storage Drawers plans:
To view this file you will need to download Google Sketchup.
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.
- 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
- 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
- Frame for the fridge bench
- Frame for the drawers
- Paint frame
- Paint wood
- Carpet surfaces
- Attach hasps and locks
- 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
- Locks and hasps
- Welding sticks
- Blades and grinding wheels
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
- 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
- Plan for 4wd Storage Drawers | Woodworking Forums
- Rear drawer system – home made | 4WD Action Forums
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