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Old 02-15-2015, 04:37 PM   #1
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Default Bikes and Cargo box on rear of van

There are several ideas on how to carry bikes and a cargo box on the rear of a van. Some that I know of are:

Wincrasher's add a bike to a Stowaway here: http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...hp?f=12&t=3422

My sliding cargo box with bike rack here: http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...hp?f=12&t=2616

The swing away bikes and cargo box Velo Combo from Nicova http://nicova.ca/en/

The slide out bikes and cargo in same box from http://www.letsgoaero.com

The Blue Devil Steel Basket Cargo Carrier & Bike Rack http://www.discountramps.com/hitch-carg ... /BCCB-BDX/

The attach the bikes to the rear doors idea here: http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...hp?f=12&t=3453 You could attached a small cargo box to an unused door or keep the cargo box under the bottom of the doors like a 8" or 10" high box for example.

They all give access to the rear cargo doors on the van. Slide out, slide across, swing away or unload the cargo tray. There are pros and cons associated with all as well.

Things to consider:

Stability
Weight
Effect of a hitch extension - bottom of this page: http://www.visualsc.com/hitch_calc.htm
Blocking license plate
Blocking van lights
Appearance
Security
Effect on van handling
Ground clearance
Ease of use
Ease of installation and removal
Parking and/or overall vehicle length
Area needed for slide out or swing away

You can put bikes in the rear on some extended sprinter conversions but might have to unload the bikes to get to other gear. You can put bikes in any camper van if you don't mind interfering with the living space.

There are front hitches and folding bikes to consider also.

I've decided to put together a slide away cargo box with bikes on top using off-the-shelf components - no welding needed etc.

Here's what is needed for my van and needs:

Large enough to fit my specific gear.
Aluminum box with rear access not top access. (bikes on top)
Slide away needing less than four feet of space behind van for full operation. (fit and use in my garage)
Van lights not blocked - no additional lights needed.
Van license plate not blocked or minimally blocked - no relocating license plate needed. (leave the box and or bikes in the garage easily)
Stable with two steel support tubes not one center steel support tube. (no wobble)
Make it as light as possible. (aluminum box for example)
Keep it as close to the rear of the van as possible. (2 feet or less addition to overall van length)
High enough ground clearance. (both for appearance and function)

I'll detail the parts that I've purchased or going to purchase and the assembly in followup posts.
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Old 02-21-2015, 04:05 AM   #2
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Default Re: Bikes and Cargo box on rear of van

other factors to consider:

total length for parking restrictions- S/O ran into this street parking in Culver City last week...21' or ticket.

also length limitation or fee differential at parking lots

Ferrys- some charge by length.

thanks for write up- these are things I've been mulling over

Mike
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Old 02-21-2015, 12:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: Bikes and Cargo box on rear of van

Folding bikes stored inside the van could be best for some Class B owners if length factors in. Here's an interesting topic on that: http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...php?f=9&t=2622 - I tried inexpensive small wheel folding bikes but didn't find them as enjoyable as a full size bike. Full size wheels would be better as noted in that topic. Booster's folding bike has 26" wheels and jrobe converted a regular frame into a collapsible frame.

There's no space for folding bikes in my van.

Added length also affects weight on both front and rear axles also. It can lighten the front while making the rear loading greater.

Results from the first time I took my van to the scales (not loaded):

Front: 4020 lbs
Rear: 3860 lbs
Total 7880 lbs

Next weigh scale visit after many modifications and fully loaded including bikes and cargo on rear:

Front: 4040 lbs
Rear: 4780 lbs
Total 8820 lbs

It's not easy to add "weight" to the front.
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Old 02-21-2015, 12:32 PM   #4
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Default Re: Bikes and Cargo box on rear of van

The folding bikes with full size wheels (26" or 700c) fold up to about 27" square by 13", so two of them would be a 27" cube and weigh about 65# plus whatever box or bag they would fit it. A single would be half that. If boxed, they could probably go on a van door or sit on top of a cargo box, but you would still have the block license plate thing to worry about. I did see one that was in a lockable hard case, where the case itself was totally weatherproof, reinforced, and had a place to put a big cable lock through it. The article said the guy traveled a lot, including camping, and wanted to be able to leave the bike sometimes without the bike in his very small car. That setup would probably work OK in a B, also, as they could ride in the aisle (like the full size bikes do in some of the newer style b's) or on the bed/couch, when moving and outside when camped, regardless of weather.
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Old 02-22-2015, 11:12 PM   #5
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Default Re: Bikes and Cargo box on rear of van

I'm $200 into this project and still not 100% sure I'll do it

With the box the van will be a smidge over 22 feet long. The Chevy/GMC rear doors opening arc require that I set the box back a bit more than I'd like. I have to create approx 27" clearance when the box is slid back so the doors can fully open. That's for a 60" wide box.

I want a different box now than the one with a top drawer.



That's a 24x24x48 in the photo. I think I'd like the 18" x 18" x 60" model. It weighs 77 lbs with the smooth aluminum finish. The bikes should look a bit better on top of a 60" wide box.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg barn door.JPG (39.4 KB, 893 views)
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Old 02-22-2015, 11:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: Bikes and Cargo box on rear of van

I'd use two of these to support the box:



4 slides in total, one on each side of each hitch riser. Slides are rate 500lb per pair.

Two hitch risers - don't know what else to call them - approx 3 feet apart.



Class V hitch rated 750 lbs (tongue weight, not towing)
2 x hitch receivers 350 lbs rating each - I think.
2 x 500 lbs rated hitch carriers tubes.

I think it'll all be OK if I keep the the box, bikes and gear at around 300 lbs.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg cargo box support 1.JPG (63.9 KB, 863 views)
File Type: jpg steel tube riser.JPG (112.3 KB, 859 views)
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Old 05-08-2015, 10:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: Bikes and Cargo box on rear of van

I'm going ahead with this project but decided to compromise on the box. I really wanted an aluminum box but ended up buying a the same brand in steel for approx $520 less! I went with a 48"x18"x18" box with drop down door and two locks.



The Rola bike carriers will be bolted to the top of the underbody style box.
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File Type: jpg 1702310.jpg (4.4 KB, 781 views)
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Old 05-09-2015, 01:16 PM   #8
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Default Re: Bikes and Cargo box on rear of van

I'm sure it's a solid box. What is the weight difference? Are you going to do anything for rust prevention?
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Old 05-09-2015, 10:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: Bikes and Cargo box on rear of van

We think alike Rust & weight - the two reason I went back and forth on this for long time.

It's about 40lbs heavier than the aluminum box I wanted. Empty box & all mounting hardware and bikes will probably weigh 200 lbs.

It's a truck box so hopefully it won't rust out. One thing that will help tremendously is that my van is kept in a garage. I'll spray the underside with the same Rust Check product I use on the car and the van.
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Old 05-09-2015, 10:54 PM   #10
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Default Re: Bikes and Cargo box on rear of van

I wonder if that would be a good candidate for some rhino lining or similar product?
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Old 05-10-2015, 06:33 PM   #11
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Default Re: Bikes and Cargo box on rear of van

Quote:
Originally Posted by wincrasher
I wonder if that would be a good candidate for some rhino lining or similar product?
That's exactly what I thought when I saw the box.
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Old 05-10-2015, 07:26 PM   #12
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Default Re: Bikes and Cargo box on rear of van

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
We think alike Rust & weight - the two reason I went back and forth on this for long time.

It's about 40lbs heavier than the aluminum box I wanted. Empty box & all mounting hardware and bikes will probably weigh 200 lbs.

It's a truck box so hopefully it won't rust out. One thing that will help tremendously is that my van is kept in a garage. I'll spray the underside with the same Rust Check product I use on the car and the van.
it will be interesting to see if you notice the 200# (plus what you put in it!) in stability. At least you have the big diesel to help down the front end
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Old 05-24-2015, 12:54 AM   #13
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Default Re: Bikes and Cargo box on rear of van

Maybe I'll need wheelie bars!

I started working on this yesterday. The cargo box / bike carrier combo will have two support arms attached to the hitch. I'm using 4 slides, 2 on each support arm. Here are some photos of one of the support arms:







I had to make some shims for the receiver add-on:



It fits very tight. I had to use a jack to push it into position as it was too tight to push in place by hand.



The box and bikes will be clear the open van rear doors when pushed away on the slides. It will be interesting to see how the 4 slides handle the weight when extended. If it all starts to sag too much when extended I could add some support from the center hitch receiver.

Hopefully I'll be able to finish the second support arm and fit the box on tomorrow. Getting it all square might take some time. I have a movers dolly that I'll add a wooden frame to sit the cargo box on when it is not needed on the van. That should make it easy to install or remove the box.

The project is coming together a little better than I had hoped.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg sliding hitch cargo box 3.JPG (150.7 KB, 191 views)
File Type: jpg sliding hitch cargo box 1.JPG (125.7 KB, 190 views)
File Type: jpg sliding hitch cargo box 2.JPG (116.2 KB, 187 views)
File Type: jpg sliding hitch cargo box 4.JPG (139.1 KB, 187 views)
File Type: jpg sliding hitch cargo box 5.JPG (129.5 KB, 187 views)
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Old 05-26-2015, 01:02 AM   #14
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Default Re: Bikes and Cargo box on rear of van

Both hitch riser / slide combo thingys are assembled and installed. The slides were a bit longer than the hitch riser so I cut a piece of 2" tube to add to the end to make it look better. The red end caps will snap into that.



There is no movement at all when installed in the receiver. Two shims in each eliminated any play - one on the side and one on top. I made the shims from 14 gauge steel. The large hole is for the hitch pin.



They are parallel with each other, measuring exactly the same at the front or rear. They measure exactly the same off the bumper also.



Next, I'll attach the box then work on adding the bike carriers and a shelf in the box.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg cargo box and bikes on van 2.JPG (87.7 KB, 125 views)
File Type: jpg cargo box and bikes on van 3.JPG (91.0 KB, 124 views)
File Type: jpg cargo box and bikes on van 1.JPG (122.5 KB, 126 views)
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Old 06-01-2015, 11:58 AM   #15
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Default Re: Bikes and Cargo box on rear of van

I'm waiting for some parts to make a custom rack on the the top of the box to arrive. Originally, I planned to attach the Rola tracks right to the top of the box but mounting them on a rack will allow adjustment for different bikes, allow the tracks to be removed if desired and make it easier to make the top of the box waterproof.

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File Type: jpg new cargo box on van.JPG (242.8 KB, 91 views)
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Old 06-11-2015, 12:10 AM   #16
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I'm still waiting for the six rail shaft supports to arrive. They're described as "25mm Bore Linear Rail Shaft Support for Milling Machine" but I think they'll work great for my application which is to make a custom rack.

Linear Rail Shaft Support.jpg

I bought an 8' length of 1" diameter aluminum tube with 3/32" wall thickness. I'll cut one 18" piece and two 21" (or so) pieces. The plan for the two longer pieces is to use them to support the unattached front wheels. One will be used in conjuction with the 18" piece to support the Rola bike carriers. The box is 18" deep. One front wheel will sit between the two bikes - cradled by the two longer parallel tubes. The extra 3" (or so) length will be used to cradle the other front wheel between the van and the box.
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Old 06-11-2015, 01:01 AM   #17
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Smart move to get the shaft supports! At my previous life (working), we used to use them all the time for all kinds of things. They are great for making handles, hanger bars, hand rails, hand grips, you name it, and they are easy to get in lots of sizes.

Where did you find yours?
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Old 06-11-2015, 01:21 AM   #18
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I ordered them through a seller on Amazon.ca - approx $8 each - seemed like a good price after looking at lots of other hand rail & grab rail type fittings. They're on eBay also.

It does look like a handy fitting to have on hand - I was tempted to order more than I needed because it's the type of thing that I'm sure I'd find other uses for. They're available in lots of different sizes.
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Old 06-13-2015, 01:15 AM   #19
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The shaft supports arrived today

This should give an idea of their size. That's 1" diameter pipe that I ended up deciding to cut three 22" lengths from.

25mm shaft supports.JPG

And here's an idea where it goes on the top of the cargo box. Note that inserting 1" pipe into the 25mm hole took some effort even with two wedges. I ended up using a hammer!

new rack for cargo box.JPG
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Old 06-13-2015, 01:29 AM   #20
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These are the bike racks I'll use. The box is 18" and I made the pieces of pipe 22". That still leaves 1" clearance to open the rear doors of the van.

new rack for cargo box 1.JPG

new rack for cargo box 2.JPG

The pipe is longer so that it can cradle one front wheel. The other front wheel should fit in the same "cradle" in between the two bikes.

new rack for cargo box 3.JPG

new rack for cargo box 4.JPG

The overhang from the third 22" pipe will come in handy for keeping cords or hoses off the ground at campsites.

new rack for cargo box 5.JPG

Everything is just loosely in place right now. I'll double check all clearances etc. tomorrow before I drill the holes.
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