Xtrail T31 2012 DIY drawer system

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Port Elizabeth
    Thanked: 8

    Default Xtrail T31 2012 DIY drawer system

    For anyone interested in a DIY SUV drawer system, suitable for a few days' worth camping, here is my recent build detailed, in the hope that it might help others, as various drawer-system threads on the site have helped me.

    This build was done with my father, without his help it would have either taken much longer, been more skew, but most likely both of the above.

    I hope to be very much to the point but also very detailed at the same time, so apologies if it comes across as very bullet-pointed.
    The aim is to help anybody else who might be toying with the same ideas.

    My previous thread showcasing very first "packing system" for my Xtrail is here (https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/showthread.php/311144-Nissan-xtrail-camping-packing-and-capabilities?=)

    So, let's begin.

    a) Considerations and limitations:

    • Rear seating had to be available - minimum 2, ideally all 3, since I often lift friends to camping/hiking locations.
    • Possibility (for me) to sleep in the car by taking out left-side box (Xtrail is long enough to sleep full length with seats folded down, and I'm basically 180cm tall), placing box on right hand side rear seat (seat folded down, of course)
    • Rear visibility desired - mostly over my left shoulder. I check the middle mirror often.
    • Modularity - take out one, take out both, leave them in permanently, keep the base only, use for shopping, replace cooler wih fridge... you get the picture.
    • Transfer to different vehicle (by changing base only)
    • Weight
    • Cost
    • Ease of construction/modification (I have ready access to carpentry machinery, plus my father is a woodworking genius, so that was a factor)
    • Access to spare tire (underneath flooring, unfortunately)

    b) Construction (units in mm where relevant):

    • 9mm Plywood and pine (plywood mostly, pine where additional stresses expected)
    • Yes, the plywood usually has tendency to warp, but the pine sorts that out where needed, tolerances on the build are very good as far as I am concerned.
    • That being said, for version 3 I will consider 12mm ply.
    • Drawer runners - 2x 700mm and 2x 500mm (700mm purchased from Eclipse group in Walmer, Port Elizabeth, only place I could find that sold the stuff here)
    • The 700mm runners (outers) were chosen for their 90kg weight capacity (they weigh quite a bit themselves, to be honest, and they are not cheap).
    • The 500mm runners (inners) are straight from Buco, they have 45kg capacity each.
    • Wood screws (as opposed to chipboard screws)
    • Low sheen, water-based acrylic paint (Duram brand)
    • I only applied one coat of paint thus far
    • Boating carpet (bought a lot but used very little of it in the end), applied with some Genkem contact adhesive.
    • Dimensions given below are rounded up and depict external measurements, so you can see if they will fit in your car
    • Bear in mind that Xtrail has a sloping rear window, which influences the overall dimensions heavily - too high, and you have less depth and move further inward, etc etc.
    • Base: 1000d x 1090w (worst-case)
    • Taller box: 710d x 420w x 590h
    • Wider box: 710d x 450w x 420h

    c) Installation

    • The base requires cutouts, since my Xtrail came with a metal guard which bolts near bottom of the floor, these bolts are in the way of the edges of the base.
    • I do not know if these cutouts will be needed for all Xtrail models.
    • Additional "stopper" strips of plywood are screwed onto the base
    • Additional "stopper" strips of pine were screwed onto the boxes, near their tops.
    • The plywood stoppers prevent the boxes from sliding on the base
    • The pine stoppers prevent the boxes from lifting when drawers slide out, since they are tightly squeezed against the bottom of the metal guard when the boxes are in place
    • This placement will most likely change in the future, to make the system less reliant on the mesh guard, and simply fasten base to body, boxes to base
    • Carpeting and painting done easily before placing boxes into place, modularity helps a lot with this.
    • Owing to a unexpected design change, the right hand side box ended up with a open space at bottom, I am using this as additional slide out surface, which will eventually become a basin for dishwashing.

    d) Future considerations:

    • Top storage securing - currently nothing except bungee cord stopping the top stuff, this needs to be improved by placing strips of wood or similar to the top of the boxes
    • Better fastening to the vehicle (don't rely on mesh guard)
    • Anticipate using something like ammo/wolf boxes for storing stuff (or build a proper closed drawer), as opposed to basic crate currently used, lots of unused space in left box.
    • Dishwashing basin cutout (right side slideout surface)

    e) What can be packed in and around these boxes? (all in the cargo area, nothing in front)

    • 4 man tent, ground sheet, bigger than average camping chair, sleeping bag, air mattress, pump for mattress
    • Braai stuff - grid, tripod, some charcoal, heat resistant gloves, fire starting stuff, some wood (1 or 2 bags max)
    • 3kg Cadac bottle, cooker top, smaller Alva butane stove, gas kettle
    • Crockery/plates for 2 people
    • 66L cooler box (could probably replace with a 12V fridge, if I am not mistaken)
    • Water
    • Dishwashing stuff
    • Toiletry and cleaning stuff

    f) What might have to go onto rear seats (havent yet tried to fit these)

    • Dry foodstuffs
    • Clothing
    • Second chair, if packing for two.

    Anyway, if you managed to stay awake this far, thank you for reading!

    Herewith photos (hopefully they are clear)

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