DIY Cabinet on one side of the 4wd

Submitted: Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 20:16
ThreadID: 84145 Views:4176 Replies:7 FollowUps:5
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We are planning to travel around oz for 9 months in our Land Cruiser with our 4 kids. This means we need to use one of the back seats for 1 of our kids, leaving the other side for our 80lt Engel.

I have a fridge slide that will just fit but I'd like to make the most of the space in the car. To try and use the space above the fridge i was thinking of building a plywood frame to encompass the fridge with drawers on top.

Questions about this approach inlude:
- How do I ensure the cabinet is stable if the cabinet is only on one side of the car?
- Assuming I need to attach the cabinet to the roof - how do it do this most effectively?

We had considered raising the fridge and putting drawers underneath (with a drop slide) but are concerned about the raised heavy fridge next to the child.

Has anybody done this before or has any tips or ideas I could consider?

Are there another ways that people have made use of the space above their fridge?


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Reply By: Member - John - Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 20:35

Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 20:35
G'day, have made a wire mesh frame to go over fridge from the floor to the side and to the cargo barrier at the front, sort of encases the fridge, this alllows items on top and along side the fridge with out restricting fridge movement or air flow. Also possible to have the mesh go from floor to roof as well as over fridge. Hope that helps a little..................:-)

John and Jan

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AnswerID: 444342

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 20:53

Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 20:53
If he has one kid in the back he wont be legally able to install a cargo barrier which is dangerous to have the kid beside a fridge that heavy and also for the people in front of it.

Is a bit of an awkward one to say the least
FollowupID: 716473

Reply By: Alan S (WA) - Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 20:59

Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 20:59

I think either way you will have an issue with a child next to it, but I would have thought a propersolid construction down low, with the fridge on a slide, will be better that having to construction something that will be stable above the fridge.

With drawers below and fridge on top on a proper slide at least the load is restrained down low.

AnswerID: 444343

Reply By: dereki - Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 21:59

Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 21:59
I have a prado and have tried to solve the same situation. If the landcruiser has the same side flip seats that the 120 prado does this is what I would do.

Cut a full side base board with holes in it for the seat anchors etc. Full size meaning the whole of the cargo area. Get good quality marine ply. Some of the ply I have got hold of is cheap rubbish. The seat should be able to be put down over the board and lock in through the holes. Remove the anchor D rings and drill holes in your ply where they bolts go, use big washers and bolt it down.

Now you can build a drawer and fridge slide on top of the board. I would go drawer and drop slide. I tried the other way, with the fridge at the bottom and the space was very clostrophobic and there was a nice hard bit of wood for the passenger to bang their head on.

Saftey... not sure. You can make your own mind up on that.

In a perfect world, I would have the fridge and batteries in a camper trailer with the kitchen, setup with charging system from the car.

AnswerID: 444351

Reply By: Wilko - Sunday, Feb 06, 2011 at 06:01

Sunday, Feb 06, 2011 at 06:01
Hi John,

Ive put my 40lt engel on a board on the rear seat of my Pajero and I've also done it in a Commodore, I use the seat belt socket with an adaptor to allow a rachet strap to keep the fridge in one place.

Ive never done it with a child next to it though but use your common sense and youll be ok.

Cheers Wilko
AnswerID: 444369

Reply By: john & fi - Sunday, Feb 06, 2011 at 07:34

Sunday, Feb 06, 2011 at 07:34
Thanks for all,

Seems that the first decision I need to make whether I put the drawers above or below the fridge.

I think a full 80lt Engel will weigh a lot more than the stuff I could put in the drawers - and from a safety aspect I want to keep the load as low as possible. So I am leaning towards fridge on the floor and then some sort of drawer structure above.

The mesh around the fridge could also work as I could just strap bags on top instead of building a drawer system.

I lalso like the full floor ply base idea - it should provide great stability

I apprciate all the feedback.


AnswerID: 444371

Follow Up By: Member - Johny boy (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 06, 2011 at 08:42

Sunday, Feb 06, 2011 at 08:42
Hi john,
I have made up a double draw setup in my 100 ser with the fridge on top of the draws on the left,I bought a fridge slide and was able to weld a 20mm X 20mm box tube frame to suit the cage I then covered the sides and back in mesh and put a ply top on it so I coud do the same as you and store soft stuff like sleeping bags jackets towles ,I think at the end of the day that stuff has to come with us and be stored somewhere so why not there? I can also remove the draws on the right as it comes in 2 halves and put a seat back in,I also agree that a cargo barrier is not safe when a passenger is in the back so either put in a half barrier or just make the cage as I did ,one other thing my Engel is only a 40ltr wich leaves me alott of room above Im not sure with yours and if I built draws again I might have mounted the fridge on the floor as well because my wife and I a little bit height challenged LOL! we just came back from a 10 month trip and it all worked well so just have a good think and do what you are doing now ( getting ideas before building) and Im sure it will all come together .

Regards John.
FollowupID: 716504

Reply By: dereki - Monday, Feb 07, 2011 at 08:16

Monday, Feb 07, 2011 at 08:16
The other aspect to think about is how much visibility will be lost to the child in the back. When everyone else is looking out th right hand side of the car... they will be totally left out if the stuff is piled up too high. Depends on how old they are I guess.

AnswerID: 444481

Follow Up By: Member - Johny boy (NSW) - Monday, Feb 07, 2011 at 09:04

Monday, Feb 07, 2011 at 09:04
Hey Dereki, these days the only direction they look is up at the overhead LCD ,the back of the headrest in front of them or at there IPOD/gameboy LOL!

Not like the old days of I spy HMMM! LOL!!
FollowupID: 716627

Reply By: Dr Hook - Monday, Feb 07, 2011 at 17:49

Monday, Feb 07, 2011 at 17:49
Buy a trailer: then your child will have a safe and tolerable trip as well.
AnswerID: 444528

Follow Up By: john & fi - Monday, Feb 07, 2011 at 18:51

Monday, Feb 07, 2011 at 18:51

We already are planning to have a campertrailer (with boatcarrier for extra storage) plus also a roof rack on the car.

9 months on the road with 4 kids (and associated school stuff, clothing, food, camping stuff, etc) does mean we need to make the most of all the space we have.

But then that is also the point of the trip - seeing what we can leave behind / live without.

A lot of the planning is trying to determine what are essentials... It is actually a fun process to go through as you slowly realise that many things are not essential.
FollowupID: 716674

Follow Up By: Dr Hook - Wednesday, Feb 09, 2011 at 13:39

Wednesday, Feb 09, 2011 at 13:39
If any of the opffspring are around 13 or so, you might want to "leave behind / live without. "
;) (heh, heh)
FollowupID: 716896

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