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Old 05-30-2013, 01:04 AM   #1
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Default Sliding cargo box with bike rack

We often take bikes with us on a rear hitch mounted bike rack. The recent discussions about the Nicova Combo swing away cargo box with bike carrier (link: http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...php?f=9&t=2253 had me thinking that it would be really nice to have both the bikes and a cargo box.

I had just about enough unused / unneeded / left over parts and bits and pieces from past projects to make my own sliding cargo box with bike rack. I needed to buy a 1/4 sheet of plywood and some washers - total $20 new money spent

The parts I had on hand included a Lund DIY cargo frame, a Plano XXL black cargo box, a dual hitch receiver and heavy duty 22" Accuride slides. These slides are rated for 150 lbs when mounted flat.

The project started by trimming down my Lund DIY cargo frame to fit between my bike rack and the van. The cargo frame is installed on a dual hitch receiver. This only pushes the bike rack back by 10 inches measured hitch pin to hitch pin even though the Plano brand cargo box is 38" long x 18" wide x 14".

Lund DIY cargo frame


Dual receiver hitch extension


I double stacked and mirrored the Accuride slides so that the cargo box can slide either to the left or to the right so that I can open either rear door of the van.

Accuride slides


I had a piece of 1" plywood that I used as the base after cutting a 1/2 inch deep channel in it to allow it the sit over the dual hitch receiver.

1" plywood


Basically it is slides in between two pieces of painted plywood.



I can slide it to the left and open the passenger side rear door and while that door is open I can slide it to the right and open the driver side rear door. I don't open the driver side rear door often but I still did not want to lose access to that area.

Slide it to the left



Slide it to the right



I can position the bikes on the rack so that I still have rear door access or I can slide them closer. I'll try it both ways. I can access the cargo box with the bikes on the bike rack.

Overall i think it improves the appearance of the rear of my van. The rear window type air conditioner doesn't stand out as much.



My plan is to use this on every trip this summer to see how I like something permanent on the rear of the van. Then I'll know if it is worth buying something better.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg sliding cargo box bike carrier 01.JPG (102.9 KB, 4605 views)
File Type: jpg sliding cargo box bike carrier 04.JPG (77.1 KB, 4587 views)
File Type: jpg sliding cargo box bike carrier 06.JPG (314.5 KB, 4586 views)
File Type: jpg sliding cargo box bike carrier 03.JPG (52.1 KB, 4581 views)
File Type: jpg sliding cargo box bike carrier 10.JPG (191.7 KB, 4588 views)
File Type: jpg sliding cargo box bike carrier 07.JPG (122.6 KB, 4586 views)
File Type: jpg sliding cargo box bike carrier 08.JPG (108.5 KB, 4588 views)
File Type: jpg sliding cargo box bike carrier 11.JPG (159.5 KB, 4595 views)
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Old 05-30-2013, 03:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: Sliding cargo box with bike rack

Nice work! The sliding box by Let's Go Aero sure costs a bit more than yours!

I used a Plano XXL on a StowAway rack and found the top to be a bit soft (hint - don't sit or stand on it). I solved that by installing some aluminum struts inside the lid.

What's the box hanging on the rear window?

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Old 05-30-2013, 01:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: Sliding cargo box with bike rack

Thanks Dan - The square shaped box on the drivers side rear door is a fiberglass cover for an Air Conditioner link: http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...hp?f=12&t=2156

How did you reinforce the Plano XXL box top? Was it angled aluminum? Glued? I was thinking the flat surface might be a useful surface for carrying something but I wouldn't want to damage the box.
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Old 05-30-2013, 03:49 PM   #4
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Default Re: Sliding cargo box with bike rack

I used some flat aluminum bar stock; 1/4" x 3/4" if I recall correctly. I bent the ends to fit the inside surface of the lid and drilled holes to bolt them in place - the only thing showing from the outside are the bolt heads. For a box of that size, four such struts were plenty - I don't stand on the box, but it doesn't give when you put something on top.

BTW, I also glued weather-stripping around the channel where the lid sits to help prevent rain from getting inside.
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Old 06-01-2013, 01:56 AM   #5
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Default Re: Sliding cargo box with bike rack

Thanks for the info Dan.

One thing I noticed with my homemade setup was the amount of play in the hitch. I think it gets magnified because there is a hitch extension in the van hitch receiver. I eliminated the slop completely today using some parts I had.



The hitch tightener on the right was bought retail years ago. I use it to tighten the bike rack. I mount it with the knob down and tighten it as much as I can. It does a good job eliminating the play so the bikes aren't wobbly.

I made two like the one on the left in the photo today. It works the same as the store bought one in that it pulls "down" on the 2" square tube to stop side to side and up and down play or slop. The 2" square u-bolt goes over the 2" bar. The two small nuts on bolts are there to create a hook of sorts over the bottom lip of the receiver tube. The metal bar is a piece of steel I cut. It is 1/8" steel 1"x2" tube.

It all worked better than anticipated. There is no play or slop now.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg eliminate hitch play.JPG (300.9 KB, 4407 views)
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Old 06-01-2013, 02:32 PM   #6
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Default Re: Sliding cargo box with bike rack

I keep coming back to look at this one, Marco! While we are not cargo box folks (at least not yet), I really like the way you did it while allowing access to both doors. I think the only downside would be having to reach over it to get stuff in and out of the back.For me, it would, because I put my folding mountain bike (about a 30# Montague) in under the drivers side bed, and it is pretty awkward sometimes.

Just musing, without much real thought, but what do you think would happen if you replaced the slides with a hinge on each end of your box? Similar to a typical swing out, but so you could do it from either end. You could probably still do your shuttle both ways to have both doors open at the same time. The benefit would be you would only have the two hinge supports sticking up on each end, so you could be clear up the van rear.
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Old 06-01-2013, 04:52 PM   #7
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Default Re: Sliding cargo box with bike rack

Quote:
Originally Posted by booster
........... While we are not cargo box folks (at least not yet)................
I'd rather not have anything on the rear too but I also want all my stuff................ another classic Class B compromise.
I put stuff in the box last night. BBQ, Coleman stove, 6 x 1lb propane bottles, site occupied cones, short water hose and outdoor mat with room left over for my 15 amp RV electrical cord. That freed up space just inside the rear doors for two chairs and hiking boots which in turn freed up under bunk space the screen room and tool bag, bike helmets with leftover space for laundry bag etc. Off to the weigh scales next week.

Two years ago I tried this:



Used it one trip - just didn't like it at all All the same parts (minus the slides) as used in the current setup.

My new setup is as close to the rear of the van as you can get. Only 1/2 inch from the bumper and 2 1/4 inch from the rear doors. Just enough so that the box lid stays upright on its own. The box, with the bike rack removed, is approx. 18 inches out from the rear bumper but only about 12 inches out from my air conditioner.

The box does occupy 38" of space across the rear of the van. The platform is smaller at 30" so either 19" or 15" blocked per door depending on the box position.
You could minimize the blockage by sizing the platform closer to the slide size. My slides are 22". You'd only need 19" of sideways movement so that a 38" box can slide far enough over to clear the door.



You still have that access even with bikes on the rear. You just have to open the Chevy doors more than 90 degrees.

I'm not sure I understand the double hinge idea. Something like a double pivot maybe? It seems simpler than the slides and would reduce the blocked area.



I like that. It could come out and also away. The idea being to keep all bars as short as possible because as the bikes swing farther away from the center the load would become greater.

For bikes and cargo I still like the Nicova Combo 101. I don't think I'd have space to swing it away from the van in my garage because of a shelving unit I have in the garage. There is enough space in my garage to keep my homemade setup assembled and ready to go with bikes on the rack and still have access to the rear doors.

I wish the box was a little more robust and that I used aluminum sheet instead of plywood because this might just become a permanent fixture on my van.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg didn\'t like this.jpg (148.2 KB, 4353 views)
File Type: jpg access to rear of van.JPG (194.1 KB, 4352 views)
File Type: jpg double pivot.JPG (134.0 KB, 4351 views)
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Old 06-08-2013, 01:05 PM   #8
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Default Re: Sliding cargo box with bike rack

i had thought of something like this but was thinking about a strong locking box (hidden inside facing the van lock) that would open backwards to house extra items .
As many know some things that aren't locked down in some area's are stolen quickly . and i was thinking of keeping them safer .
but i like your idea .
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Old 06-08-2013, 02:41 PM   #9
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Default Re: Sliding cargo box with bike rack

I would love to have back porch storage but had figured it wouldn't be practical on my unit where the primary access is in the rear (no side doors other than front driver & passenger doors). Then spare tire and retractable steps also complicate matters.

After seeing your sliding box design, though, I'm thinking maybe I could do a half platform with a sliding box that would block the door when driving but would slide out the way to the passenger side when parked. I would lose the use of the retractable steps but could incorporate some fold down steps into the platform. I need to bounce the idea off my brother-in-law who has his own truck repair business who builds custom equipment onto vehicles all the time.
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File Type: jpg rear door.jpg (308.1 KB, 4215 views)
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Old 06-09-2013, 12:17 AM   #10
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Default Re: Sliding cargo box with bike rack

You could have a smaller box (meaning not too heavy) extended back a bit and have it swing out and around to the left behind the spare tire when you are parked. That way it might not interfere with your door steps.

Something like this motion:



----------------------------------

I used the box this week. I must like it because I'm already looking at slightly bigger aluminum boxes



It is roughly the same size (36" wide) but has 1.7 cu ft more capacity because of the very square shape of the sides, the top and the bottom. They also have it in black which I'd prefer because of the black a/c box.

Re: locks - mine has two padlocks to prevent opportunists from walking away with something. Not much to stop a determined person though when the box is plastic. There is just relatively low value items in there. The box has 6 bolts and nuts with larger "fender" washers securing it to the plywood.

Bikes on back with the sliding box:

Attached Images
File Type: gif swingout gen carrier on yahoo group.gif (243.4 KB, 4229 views)
File Type: jpg 037.JPG (137.7 KB, 4230 views)
File Type: jpg delta box.JPG (20.9 KB, 4223 views)
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Old 06-13-2013, 01:32 PM   #11
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Default Re: Sliding cargo box with bike rack

Amcruiser's narrow single door suggests a design like the slide out hitch rack at letsgoaero.com. This is just a mount that pulls away from the back, although I'd be careful about too much load when pulled out stressing the hitch receiver. The remedy for that problem might be a form of 'landing gear' trailer wheel which swings down for support when you pull the rack out.

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Old 08-22-2013, 12:13 AM   #12
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Default Re: Sliding cargo box with bike rack

Marco,

How does the sliding cargo box slide both ways, when the sliders go only one way.

I notice in a photo you have a swing out generator carrier on yahoo group on a Dodge Sprinter. Where can a swing out such as this but swing out to the right be purchased?

Reason I ask for it to swing to the right is because of the rear spare tire on my 2010 RoadTrek 190 Popular. Swinging out to the left would be nice if it cleared the spare tire without laying the spare tire down.

By the way how can I stop the swing out motion in the photo?

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Old 08-22-2013, 01:01 AM   #13
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Default Re: Sliding cargo box with bike rack

Quote:
How does the sliding cargo box slide both ways, when the sliders go only one way.
Think of it like an open book on a table with a left page and a right page.
Lay two slides down on your workbench side by side with the larger flat sides down. Both slides oriented the same, a left one and a right one.
Then, like you'd close the book, "fold" the slides together. Like a mirror image. You have to bolt them together like that. Two slides bolted together become one slide that can move both ways. I used 4 slides for the job which made 2 x 2 way slides.
I had the slides on hand salvaged from another project. They might be kind of expensive to buy to start a project from scratch.

The tricky part was getting sufficient bolts through the top and bottom pieces of wood. I think I got six through on each (total of 24) I had to drill an approximate 5/8" hole through the mirrored skinny slide near the end so that I could fit a socket through the hole to tighten some bolts.

I made two ways to stop the box from sliding to be doubly sure it would never accidentally slide either way when driving.

Quote:
I notice in a photo you have a swing out generator carrier on yahoo group on a Dodge Sprinter. Where can a swing out such as this but swing out to the right be purchased?
That guy had it made I think. I got a local quote for $165 but did not pursue that idea.

Quote:
By the way how can I stop the swing out motion in the photo?
You can't stop the animation but the original photos are here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Honda_...tart=1&dir=asc They are not animated.

I think you've worked with Accuride slides on a project or two and, if I recall correctly, you had a Lund DIY hitch rack so you'll have a good idea what I'm talking about.

I wanted to be able to carry our bicycles in addition to the cargo box so the left/right slide works well for that. If I didn't want to carry bikes then a swing-away type cargo box would be better.
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Old 08-22-2013, 01:39 AM   #14
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Default Re: Sliding cargo box with bike rack

I will try to do that with the slides, what concerns me is the rear tire, I have worked with Accuride slides on projects on the RT, and yes I do have a Lund DIY Hitch Rack, good memory Marco.

Wish I could get a local quote on a swing away carrier, wish I could order one on line, do not know of any company that makes them.

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Old 08-22-2013, 02:23 AM   #15
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Default Re: Sliding cargo box with bike rack

These two topics might help Ron. The first has a lot of good info about the main brands. I think it even gets into hitch extensions to clear the spare tire if needed. It starts slow but there is five pages of info.

#1 covers nearly all of the brands like Stowaway, Rola, Lets-Go-Aero, etc.: http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi....php?f=9&t=379

#2 newer one, very pricey but it is for cargo and bikes: http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...php?f=9&t=2253
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Old 08-22-2013, 08:22 PM   #16
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Default Re: Sliding cargo box with bike rack

Marco, bought 4 slides from Home Depot, did what you said to do, slides work good, BUT.

Can not do it, reason being the spare tire does not allow the cargo box to move towards the spare tire very far, the cargo box hits the spare tire bracket.

Have to resort to a swing away, no one carries/makes the swing away I would like to have as the one you have pictured that I questioned.

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Old 08-22-2013, 11:26 PM   #17
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Default Re: Sliding cargo box with bike rack

Ron - take a look at this swing away unit:

just the swing away http://www.etrailer.com/Accessories-and ... AL105.html (price is good if you could attach a small cargo box somehow)

or complete unit http://www.etrailer.com/Hitch-Cargo-Car ... AL105.html (I don't know if it would interfere with the tire carrier)

and Booster - check out this hinged design patented by Thule http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6745926.html



I haven't seen that on any commercially available boxes.
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File Type: jpg accordian style.jpg (153.4 KB, 1293 views)
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Old 08-23-2013, 12:54 AM   #18
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Default Re: Sliding cargo box with bike rack

Thanks Marco, will check out the info you sent me.

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Old 08-23-2013, 03:03 AM   #19
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Default Re: Sliding cargo box with bike rack

Marco's slide to the side carrier has been very interesting to me from the beginning. A lot of the interest is because we looked at making our spare tire carrier swing away, rather than hinge down, when we first got our Chevy Roadtrek. It got obvious quickly that if I wanted it strong enough to pivot without sagging, not bounce and make noise, and lock down tightly but be easy to release, it would be pretty complex and quite heavy. Sliding seems so much easier.

The bike and kayak carrier I posted pics of earlier was different in a way I hadn't seen before, in that it went up and over the spare tire and carrier, instead of behind and/or under it.

Combining the two--what would happen if a track were mounted across the back of the van above the rear doors? Kind of like a sliding barn door track, or even super sized drawer slides (I have used them on projects at work). That way you wouldn't have to have a lot of weight handling structure in front of the doors as it would be up and out of the way. The bottom could be just guided and clamped to the hitch when moving. It might be a good alternative for bikes, kayaks, etc. Similar to what was posted, but less straps, pads, pivots, etc, and hopefully easier to use.
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Old 08-24-2013, 01:07 AM   #20
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Default Re: Sliding cargo box with bike rack

Seems like that would work to me. You'd have to get it to slide away far enough.

I saw a new Pleasure-Way Plateau Sprinter come through a campground we were in. It had two long kayaks on the roof, one on either side of the a/c. It was my impression that it probably had some sort of davit / winch system for loading and unloading the kayaks. It all looked well done but I never saw it again to take a photo.
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