Sturdy construction of drawers
is very important due to the rough and jarring ride that will occur off-road and the heavy loads that may be carried. Most cargo drawers
for 4WDs are constructed from materials that are tough, relatively inexpensive and preferably light in weight. The list below explains the advantages of the various materials used by manufacturers in constructing cargo drawers
. Each manufacturer will have their own preferred material. Shop
around to choose the system that best suits your needs and budget.
The main advantage of using galvanised steel is: it’s not expensive, easy to work with, commonly found and it comes in a large variety of shapes and forms. Galvanised sheets usually come in 0.9mm, 1.2mm and 1.6mm and can be easily bent into box shapes or channels using a pan brake or a hydra bend machine. Strengtheners may also be used such as: “U” channel and “top hat”. Galvanised steel is usually used in the framework of the cargo drawers
, either spot
or MIG welded (much stronger) or bolted with nylock nuts.
Aluminium is quite light and relatively soft when compared to galvanised steel; however, it’s much more expensive. Aluminium can be very strong when it’s used with strong framing concepts and utilising strengtheners such as: rectangle hollow, “top hat” or “T” bar. Some manufacturers are utilizing both extruded and folded aluminium, which provides great strength (around 120kg per drawer), without weighing in as excess baggage. Storage drawers
purely constructed in aluminium can result in up to 60% reduction in weight when compared to other materials on the market. This will obviously provide lighter overall vehicle weight and thus lead to better fuel economy.
Plywood was the very first type of engineered wood and it is made up of a number of layers of veneer, each layer glued at right angles to the adjacent layers. These layers are bonded under heat and pressure with strong adhesives such as phenol formaldehyde resin. Plywood is known to resist cracking, shrinkage, twisting or warping and it is generally quite high in strength. 4WD storage drawers
that are made with timber are usually made with marine grade plywood, with highly stressed areas being re-enforced with steel bracing or truss rods. When this method of construction is implemented and used with heavy duty rollers, great strength can be achieved with drawer loadings of over 200kg.
Things to look at when it comes to quality components that feature in storage drawers
• Stainless fittings: Are the drawers
made with high grade stainless steel fittings or are they made with galvanised fittings?
• Flush mounted latches: Do they have quality flush mounted ‘T’ latches?
• Do they use quality stainless steel screws, bolts and nylock nuts throughout?
• Are they fully sealed heavy duty roller bearings and are rated at high loads?
• Are these bearings designed to be dust proof?
• Are they finished with premium automotive carpet or industrial carpet?
Drawer Customisation and DIY KitsDrawers
can either be fitted by a professional using their own 4WD templates or fitted by yourself using their kits. DIY kits are designed to fit your make of vehicle and may come to you in flat packs where you put the pieces together at home. These have been professionally designed and they carefully follow the contours of the rear compartment. The drawers
are usually designed as wide as possible with the drawer roller assemblies as compact as possible. All aspects of the design have been calculated for the optimum use of space including the space behind the wheel arches, which can also be utilised for storage.
Drawer Safety and Security
Safety for you and your family must be paramount! Some things to consider when looking into a storage drawer system is:
• Use heavy duty “tie downs” and make sure the tie down points provide extra load security in rough terrain.
• Check the situation for using child restraints. Are anchorage points still accessible or can they be installed in the unit?
• Check whether or not the system complies with Australian Design standard
• Cargo barriers should be installed in all vehicles that carry rear loads. Check to see what options are available with your chosen system. Some systems are designed to suit the popular makes of cargo barrier in either half or full sizes.
• A key-lock is a good feature in storage drawers
if you believe you’ll be leaving gear in your vehicle when it’s unattended. There are occurrences where a vehicle has been broken into, yet all recovery gear stored in one drawer was not stolen as the drawer was locked. Thieves usually take what is easily obtainable and a lock provides a simple deterrent.