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 Storage Solutions

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Assassin
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PostSubject: Storage Solutions   Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:07 pm

While there are many good commercial storage solutions for expedition and off road vehicles, at a price of course, and usually a high price, what other cheap options are there; i will list some of mine and hope others will share theirs for the benefit of everyone.

Tools are a necessity as most vehicles come with nothing more than enough to change a wheel, for these i devised and built a number of underbonnet storage compartments to house most tools needed for a trip, they are nothing more than light steel boxes with dividers in for different sized tools. They fit onto the inner wing or bulkhead depending on the vehicle and the available space, and mount on the bobbin type rubber mounts to suppress vibrations and noise; they can house a considerable number of spanners, screwdrivers, pliers, etc, but need constructing for each vehicle.

Long items such as high lift jacks can be stored inside aftermarket winch bumpers as most are formed steel U sections, all that is needed is to make a hinged plate which forms the U section into a box section. The ends of such bumpers can also receive this treatment for spares storage of smaller spares such as drive belts, bridles, and strops.

Chassis members make ideal storage solutions for little uses spares such as shock absorbers which may be carried, mountings need making for the inside faces of the chassis rails to mount such items on, if underbody protection is used it offers considerable protection, but things will need wrapping properly to keep them clean and dry.

Many water tanks are available, but a new type is now on the market, this is a flat plastic tank which fits onto the boot floor, being flat means it takes up little height but still carries a considerable quantity of water for a trip, and these can have up to 300Kg of weight stood on top of them. They come with a water indicator and a 12 volt water pump to pump water in or out via a two way switch.

These keep the weight of heavier equipment lower down, thus increasing the stability of the vehicle.

Clothing can be carried on one or more of the excellent vacuum bags, you fill the bag and seal the end, then you put the vacuum cleaner onto the nozzle and suck all the air out, it compacts the clothing so it takes up much less space, these bags come in a variety of sizes and styles.

Just a few ideas to begin the discussion.
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PostSubject: Re: Storage Solutions   Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:06 am


Good topic,

Ive seen quite a fue pick up owners who have used 3-4mm aluminium checquer plate in the backs of their pick ups even the hardtops myself. So i imagine that the aluminium would be reasonably light comparedt to wooden storage systems?
Ive found a company in a 4x4 mag who specialise in bespoke aluminium products: http://www.njaluminiumlinings.co.uk/

I would be tempted to have a go my self but ive only just got the grasp of welding and from what ive herd, welding aluminium is not easy. I cant comment on the price but aluminium is lighter than steel so you could in theory make evrything out of it, aux fuel tank, water tank, skid plates, even roo bars / winch bumpers?. It wouls certainly be lighter, look quite good - especialy painted black!

I like the idea of the clothes and vacume sealing them. Ive often thought of ways to store my clothes when touring/camping. I took a idea from caravans by having celing corner storage cupboards, not very wide but about 1 meter long, this could hold 1-2 weeks worth of basic clothes + ablutions etc.



I was thinking of one storage unit either side of the boot. The other thought was of doing a basic box design but instead of lockable front doors like in the pic there would be just detatchable cargo netting. - This would save weight and still hold you clothes.

Could be just nonsence but your clothing would have a place.

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PostSubject: Re: Storage Solutions   Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:03 am

Chequer plate inside an overland vehicle has some disadvantages. A couple includes that it is a PITA to clean and things slide around too easily on top of it.

Also the units can weigh quite a bit as well.

Some comments I put elsewhere


Here are a few photos/measurements/prices etc. Apologise about the poor quality of the photos NoDosh (condensation on lens in very cold lockup)







Bottom left, green high lid wolf box, size 450x340x270, vol 41 litres 3.1 kg no longer readily available in the UK

Top left, black low lid wolf box, size 450 x 340 x 200, vol 30 litres 3.3 kg Cost £28-30

In my opinion the green ones are better quality looking at the way spills cut off, minor warping etc

Bottom right, ali box 560 x 410 x 370, vol 73 litres weight 5.3 kg cost about £140

Top right, ali box 370 x 340 x 270, vol 29 litres, weights 3.1 kg cost about £99

No holes in the ali box, and rubber seal makes it reasonably water/dust proof

The two bottom ones are those I use

More boxes








Left hand box is Mobile storage chest 890 x 440 x 223, vol 74 litres, weight 15.3 kg, cost about £210

Right hand box ali box 790 x 380 x 330, vol 81 litres, weight, 5.5 kg, cost about £146

MSS has one top access lock so is probably not as dust proof as the two catches on the ali box which are on the front. If strapping extra boxes to the MSS chest it is a good idea to change lid for the twin lock version

The ali boxes come in various sizes including one which is 880 x 480 x 370 at 134 litres for about £170



There are many different solutions out there. Hope the above helps


Brendan
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PostSubject: Re: Storage Solutions   Mon Jan 24, 2011 5:10 am

Aluminium is difficult to weld, although it can be welded with MIG it requires what is called a powered torch to weld successfully, powered torches contain two drive rollers to pull the wire through the torch instead of the normal drive rollers which push it through. Without a powered torch the soft wire just birds nests as it enters the liner.

The only successful way to weld aluminium alloys is AC TIG, and yes i have an AC / DC TIG machine and many years of welding obscure materials, these are complex to set up correctly as they have many more controls and functions than a normal MIG or DC TIG, and experience is crucial to set them up. You need different tungstens, argon gas instead of argon CO2 mixes, and total cleanliness. Alloys have a very high propensity to distorting, particularly thinner plates or sheets, so require clamping; so unless you are a proficient TIG welder, leave it to the experts.

Fitting alloys to mild steel highlights another problem called "electrolytic reaction" which is where the less noble metal (steel) excessively corrodes when electricity is passed through it, so they have to be totally isolated from each other by insulators, not much of a problem in itself as there are many rubber isolators available, and plastic fasteners. It is something to consider though.
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PostSubject: Re: Storage Solutions   Mon Jan 24, 2011 5:17 am

One of my favourite storage solutions for light, but bulky items which are regularly needed, such as sleeping bags, is a simple cargo net, these are predominantly used by parcel carriers and general carriers to throw over pallets of loose goods in the backs of vans to stop them sliding off the pallet, some are rigid while others are elasticated.

Installing is easy, look at the top corner of the vehicle where the roof meets the sides of the vehicle, many have all sorts of tapped holes for many fittings, grab handles being the most common. Remove two of these each side and screw in an eye, attach a bungee from side to side of the vehicle which is threaded through the side of the cargo net. Do the same with the other bungee, you will have a cargo net suspended across the roof of the vehicle, you simply throw your light and bulky items in them and the tension pulls them tight to the roof and stops them rattling round inside the vehicle.

It frees up floor space for heavier items, but still makes any items stored in them very accessible.
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PostSubject: Re: Storage Solutions   Mon Jan 24, 2011 11:56 am

In the RRC ambulance to expedition camper conversion I am toying with the idea of making a false floor with a sliding drawer by the back door, plus opening hatches nearer the driver's cab. I can only do this however when I sort out some kind of expanding roof for at present it isn't possible to stand up inside. Losing another 6 inches would be a lot without sorting out the roof. I will start another post about this roof.

Why a false floor at all? It seems to me to be the perfect place for keeping heavy stuff such as Hi-Lift jack, tools, parts such as propshaft UJ's / ball joints, etc. It's good for the centre of gravity plus any heavy gear can be distributed evenly throughout the vehicle between the axles.

Is there a flaw in my cunning plan?

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PostSubject: Re: Storage Solutions   Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:20 pm

One cunning trick we used to use was very simple Tom, instead of raising the floor why not lower it, with a body on chassis construction you have the height between the chassis rails + the height of the chassis rail itself which often equates to more than 6". You will need to check everything carefully for fouling of gearbox / transmission case, and the ultimate movement of the rear propshaft, as well as any permanent mounted fixtures such as fuel tanks, etc. This could give a potentially large area for storage for not too much work if you are a proficient welder/fabricator, or have easy access to such trades.

This would negate the need to potentially lose any original floor height if headroom is tight, yet you will stall have considerably more storage space; cutting the original floor out and hinging with substantial hinges, and possibly adding a reinforcing crossmember would be the only work required internally.

Consideration needs giving to access, particularly items such as fuel delivery and return lines, brake pipes, and any external wiring which may possibly be chassis mounted; and clearance between the now lowered underfloor storage and any underbody protection.

Just a suggestion which could be adapted to any form of body on chassis construction to provide additional low level storage.
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PostSubject: Re: Storage Solutions   Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:17 pm

Like many things it is all about compromises

In the passenger compartment only allow soft items to be loose. All hard items must be secured down. A pillow around the back of the head when things go tits up is one thing, can of baked beans/lump hammer/fire extinguisher is a different matter.

Cargo barriers give a handy place to secure first aid boxes etc using bungees/cinch strap

Cargo nets high up are great for sleeping bags etc.

Water storage can be a problem. If going to places where you need a lot of water then choices are fixed tanks, jerry cans or bladders. Fixed tanks take up room (we have a 70 litre one in middle footwell) problem is getting water into a fixed tank, jerry cans do take up room as well.

I like the 20 litre water bladders. Tough, bladder will take an Aussie road train going over it, but the tap might not survive. affraid Guess how I know Embarassed When empty you will get 4/5 say a 100 litre capacity in the same volume as one 20 litre jerry can.


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PostSubject: Re: Storage Solutions   Mon Jan 24, 2011 11:10 pm

I cut my teeth over-landing in the 70,s so I,m old school, all my of-road kit, spares, and other dirty smelly, s**t is outside, I sleep in the truck (on in a bed, no rickety ladder up to a wobbly canvas clad sleeping platform for me) (joke) and also keep food, clothes, with other clean stuff, stowed in the truck, in the 88 conversions I,v done you get a full 6'6'' bed, but back to storage there are various ideas on my photo page.
http://gs136.photobucket.com/groups/q176/P3MU9QIL52/
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PostSubject: Re: Storage Solutions   Mon Jan 24, 2011 11:34 pm



everything apart from the fridge is in these 2 homemade to measure ali boxes.
the cargo net is for coats ( have learnt that sleeping bags get dusty /damp up there).
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PostSubject: Re: Storage Solutions   Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:36 am

Assassin wrote:
One cunning trick we used to use was very simple Tom, instead of raising the floor why not lower it,
Makes good sense. Shame it can't be lowered enough so you can stand up in it (6 ft) but then again I might by using a 'fold down' system. Highly unlikely I realise as there would still be cross members in the way, but who knows? Perhaps this may be possible just down near the cooker so I wouldn't lose any more storage space and importantly could ditch the expensive extending roof? All guesswork until I start, but it's certainly an idea; nice one.

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PostSubject: Re: Storage Solutions   Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:11 pm

4x4overlander wrote:


I like the 20 litre water bladders. Tough, bladder will take an Aussie road train going over it, but the tap might not survive. affraid Guess how I know Embarassed When empty you will get 4/5 say a 100 litre capacity in the same volume as one 20 litre jerry can.


Brendan

They are good, but they do rub through though as a friend found going across the Madigan Line. He had his in the rear footwell, wrapped in old carpet, but it still managed to rub on something and spring a leak, luckily after the most remote part of the trip was over.

The rear footwell is a great place for a tank, and as you say can take a tank of 70ish litres. When our kids were little, we had one there. Filling is a pain though and I have had to resort to a bucket in the river and then funnel into said tank Very Happy There is always a solution, because you can't always be near a tap with a hose.

Another thing that worked well years ago (not so easy to get hold of these days) are the old cardboard apple boxes. You can easily fit 4 of these in the back of most 4x4's and if lined with a large plastic bag will keep stuff dust free. When the trip is over and they are a bit tatty throw them away and get fresh ones next time Very Happy
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PostSubject: Cheap B&Q Box   Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:02 am

When we go camping we have four of these on a Defender 90 roof rack:

B&Q Core Storage Chest Grey Large EAN: 0000003624944

They hold clothes, bedding and personal bits and bobs for my wife and I plus two daughters.

They do not have waterproofing seals, but I found they were pretty good, if you tape up the little grills under the handles at the end. On the way to the ferry to Ireland, we drove 200 miles on a motorway through a rainstorm and there was no water inside at all. Two weeks of camping in standard Irish weather and they held up well., though we did put sleeping bags and clothes in thick plastic bags as insurance, because there is little worse than sleeping in a wet sleeping bag.

In the tent they do well as temporary larders, seats and tables etc.

I fix each one to the roof rack with a ratchet strap cut to size which loops over and back with the ratchet in reach on the top.

Clearly they are not that secure, but for thirty quid each, they are worth a thought.

If you are going for these, do check the ones in the shop carefully. I have seen plenty with cracks, bent hinges, lids that don't fit etc, but the good ones will last well.

I have no connection with B&Q etc other than as a satisfied customer.

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PostSubject: Re: Storage Solutions   Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:13 pm

RichardAllen wrote:
If you are going for these, do check the ones in the shop carefully. I have seen plenty with cracks, bent hinges, lids that don't fit etc, but the good ones will last well.
I have to say that I'm very wary of buying anything that has a damaged example sitting on the shelf, it doesn't bode well for the durability of what you're about to buy.

As it happens I must go back to B & Q as they used to sell what they called an 'indestructable box' - a large clear polythene storage box that was a bit more flexible than the usual everyday boxes. The latter tend to get very brittle, especially overnight in the motor when temperatures plummet.

I'll also check out your Core Storage Chest Grey Large EAN: 0000003624944 when I'm there.

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PostSubject: B&Q Chests   Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:37 pm

I was surprised in that they proved tougher than I would have expected, but probably not for Africa though.

The important bit is to make sure the lid fits perfectly all the way round when the metal catches are done up. The lid makes the whole box a bit stiffer. They are nowhere near as rugged a wolf boxes, but then more easily available and much cheaper.

On a 90, I can get two of these chests down each side of the roofrack, leaving a gap down the middle for chairs and table (the kind that fold up into a tube shaped bag and so fit neatly in the middle and are easily strapped in).

Since SWMBO is not yet keen on roof tents, the Vango (also no connection), goes on the back of the roofrack, so easily accessible. With a water tank (see other post), large WAECO fridge in the back and twin cooker built into the rear door, I can still get two forward facing seats in so that 4 of us can camp comfortably out of a 90. My daughters are 2 and 4 which helps.

When they get older the plan is to move to a 110.

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PostSubject: Re: Storage Solutions   Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:33 pm

in my experiance, having too many boxes soon becomes a chore when it comes to packing and unpacking, many of our clients completely rethink about what they really need after a trip with us and on their next visit are carrying far less and enjoy their journey far more.
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PostSubject: Re: Storage Solutions   Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:02 pm

I bought a fairly big box from B&Q around 10 years ago that looked like a treasure chest and has been so far indestructible - but can't find one like it anywhere else. It looks liek the Action Packers that you can get in the US but it isn't quite the same. I did find something of almost identical dimensions and shape but it was a lot thinner, though so far hasn't broke - these two fit nicely in between the footwells on the 90 and will hold most of our gear quite well. We do have a couple of Wolf boxes too - one is the kitchen stuff nad the other is the overnight box so whe n we pull up we can grab one box that has the bits and pieces we need for a quick overnight stop.

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PostSubject: Re: Storage Solutions   Sat Feb 19, 2011 1:37 am

Hillbilly Raider wrote:
in my experiance, having too many boxes soon becomes a chore when it comes to packing and unpacking, many of our clients completely rethink about what they really need after a trip with us and on their next visit are carrying far less and enjoy their journey far more.
Absolutely, we all take far too much! It's all that 'just in case stuff' that bulks it out. Mind you, what a client takes and what an organiser takes are two very different things. As you are only too aware, when you're running tours if you haven't got something particular on board when you need it, you can be accused of being unprofessional.

Take a compressor for example. I will always carry one (a decent TMax type, not a piddly plastic version which takes forever to inflate 4x4 tyres and breaks within no time), but a my mate says they are a "waste of space". According to him, touring around Europe you're never more than 5 minutes from a tyre inflator. I think he's totally wrong, as you can be miles from a garage with the spare tyre already fitted (Sod's Law states that punctures always come in twos), they can be closed if you can limp there, and even if they are open, knowing your luck the air-line will be out of order anyway!

Like 101 other items, a compressor needs to be stowed away ... hence the space required and the additional weight. Where do you stop?

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PostSubject: Re: Storage Solutions   Sat Feb 19, 2011 5:40 am

If your mate is never more then 5 minutes away from a tyre inflator he has never seen the 'real' Europe. Or there again he might mean his mate has a compressor and he is never more then 5 minutes away from his mate.

Compressor? Get an engine mounted compressor, an underslung 9 litre tank and your airline on cargo barrier. Much much faster then any electric compressor. No need to dig it out from the back where it is buried, plug it in etc etc Laughing


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PostSubject: Re: Storage Solutions   Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:39 am

I like my Wolff Pakks. Just the right size. Three accoss the back and two deep in my Defender. Will go three high if necessary. We use them as bedside tables in the tent. Handy for lifting youself up each morning. Each of ours are numbered. With the manifest copy in my notebook things are easy to find.

I have two other ally boxes. Made for me. They go in the space between the Wolff Pakks and the body side. Both hold spares.

I also have a locker on each sidse of my Defender just like the series three's have. oils on one side and spare in the other. Yes you can make a locker areond the fuel filler pipe.

No need for me to did my tyre pump out. It sits in that huge locker under the drivers seat with my recovery gear.

mike
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