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Lifted Van, Cargo Space Below
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kbeefy
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really like the syncro dai setup and will do it in the future, probably with something accessible from underneath on the other side. I also have the spare tire area to play with, I somehow need to accommodate a couple golf cart batteries and a 2-3 gallon fuel tank for my heater.
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MidwestDrifter
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This seems as good of a place as any to post my in-floor storage compartment. I was inspired by the Syncro Dai setup and decided to duplicate it for my Central America road trip.

I started by measuring the available space under the slider. I noticed that my Westy has 4 studs under the slider, presumable for mounting another propane tank?

Once I had my dimensions worked out, exchanged some technical know-how for a friends material and machine shop. The break I was using is limited to a box depth of around 4" (I managed to get a bit more by cheating) and a total bend with of 48.5" There is more room available under there if you have bigger/better tools.

A couple of hours later and a can of bedliner and we have this box.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


A thick coating of bedliner hides a multitude of crappy welds.

I test fit the box using the studs to mount the box. I marked where my cuts would be. This is pretty logical as there is a nice level area where the slider track starts, and the inboard limit is the frame rail.

I used a jig saw with a metal cutting blade, which made quick work of the floor.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The compartment extends under the rear bench, but the door stops about an inch from the from the seat.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Now we must consider the lid. I ended up using the removed floor section. A piece of good quality plywood could be made to work well.


The removed floor material is not very stiff laterally, so I welded a brace one (didn't work out as well as I hoped). I also bolted some 1"x0.125" bar stock under the floor edges to support the door/lid.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


After cleaning, coating and moutning. I used some 1/2" weatherstripping and polyurethane adhesive to seal the join between the box and floor. three hinges are mounted into the floor grooves. A piano hinge could probably be made to work.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I also hinged the flooring to allow easy access. It just barely clears the seat lip. The fire extinguisher had to be moved.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Almost invisible, great for smuggling contraband like fruits and vegetables.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The box is nearly invisible from outside the van. It hangs down almost a full inch less than the fuel tank, so no clearance is lost. I would feel comfortable adding another inch, but I do not do off-roading.
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ratherb-buggin
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get your smuggle on!! Laughing I like it!! I think it would be great for tools or spare parts... or a few pounds of weed! lol
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danfromsyr
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

or an easy access beer cooler Wink
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could make it even more stealth by not hinging the wood floor and just having a lift out section. Nicely done.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL @ "Contraband = Fruits and Veggies"
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PDXWesty wrote:
You could make it even more stealth by not hinging the wood floor and just having a lift out section. Nicely done.


X2. I would get rid of the hinges. Makes it too obvious that there is something to look for under the floor.

Nice job of easy storage.... Very Happy
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, the box mounts up from underneath and is not set in from above (i.e. not dropped in and resting/supported on the lip of the box)?
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Syncronoid wrote:
So, the box mounts up from underneath and is not set in from above (i.e. not dropped in and resting/supported on the lip of the box)?


Correct. The box slides in from below and the studs go through the flanges. It is very securely mounted. The box itself is 16 gauge hot rolled steel. It took three guys to bend it on a hand break.

Quote:
LOL @ "Contraband = Fruits and Veggies"


You laugh. But most border crossings limit, or don't allow many foodstuffs. While many don't bother to check if you say you don't have any. It can be expensive to throw out a couple hundred $$ of food every time you need to cross a border...

On a side note, I think mexico has decriminalized small amounts of most drugs... Rolling Eyes


Quote:
X2. I would get rid of the hinges. Makes it too obvious that there is something to look for under the floor.


I considered hiding the hinges. Right now the screw heads and barrels of the hinges are visible. I have a large floor mat that covers most of the floor. It is inconspicuous enough, for now at least Twisted Evil

Quote:
or an easy access beer cooler


Not a bad idea Cool , It wouldnt be to hard to add a layer of insulation, and 12oz cans fit upright with no problem... I am thinking at least 30 cans... maybe more...
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kbeefy
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice!
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'86 Syncro Westy. Stock for now.

2000 F350 7.3 CC LB 11' Northland Cabover

2006 Subbie OBXT

2002 Tacoma DoubleCab 4x4

1969 Mustang Basket Case 351c/FMX/9

http://kbeefy.blogspot.com/
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syncrodoka
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you had cross-braked the bottom you would have gained a surprising amount of rigidity in the bottom.
Looks good.
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MidwestDrifter
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

syncrodoka wrote:
If you had cross-braked the bottom you would have gained a surprising amount of rigidity in the bottom.
Looks good.


I thought about it, but due to time constraints I couldn't remove the foam and fatmat for some serious welding. Also I wanted to avoid having a lot of bracing that intruded into the compartment. Next time the van is down for maintenance, I will probably replace the lid with a piece of 1/2" plywood.
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syncrodoka
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, i was talking about the pan that you made not the lid. Embarassed
16 ga. is strong but if it was cross broke it adds rigidity.
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MidwestDrifter
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

syncrodoka wrote:
Sorry, i was talking about the pan that you made not the lid. Embarassed


Ya I see that now, my bad actually. Thought braked was a misspell of brace.

You are totally correct. Adding an X shape brace/bend would have helped a lot. The bottom is still rather stiff. Minimal flex even with me standing in it.

If a lighter gauge like 18 was used, a stiffening method would probably be a requirement.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MidwestDrifter wrote:
You laugh. But most border crossings limit, or don't allow many foodstuffs. While many don't bother to check if you say you don't have any. It can be expensive to throw out a couple hundred $$ of food every time you need to cross a border...

If you take the hinges off or otherwise "hide" the compartment, you could arguably be looking at having your vehicle seized if as a smuggling vehicle if you cross the border. On the US federal law side, it's usually hidden compartments or extra fuel bladders (more often in the plane or boat cases) that can get you in trouble. Some states have similar laws--and seizures-- for vehicles with hidden compartments.

That being said, there's a pretty good argument that those compartments aren't hidden because you could clearly see it from below (as opposed to the old false elevated floor in a pickup truck trick which isn't visible from above or below and must be cut open to get out the contraband or the sometimes cleverly hidden compartments between the b and c pillars of cars).

Declaring the compartments-- after all "expedition" or camping vehicles are expected to have extra storage-- might also minimize your exposure.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What are the rough dimensions of the box, excluding the narrowed/tapered section. I'd like to know what kind of Square Footage is available.

Thanks!
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While your are at it, why not just cover the bottom of the van between the frame and use the frame and the floor of the bus to be the other three "walls" of the cargo box?
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nemobuscaptain wrote:
While your are at it, why not just cover the bottom of the van between the frame and use the frame and the floor of the bus to be the other three "walls" of the cargo box?


After looking under my Syncro, while I like the idea, I think that would require a bit more effort to close/seal the storage compartment from the elements. The contours of the bottom area that would need to be sealed are not straightforward.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Phishman068 wrote:
What are the rough dimensions of the box, excluding the narrowed/tapered section. I'd like to know what kind of Square Footage is available.

Thanks!


My box is 48.5" by 10.375" by 5.25" deep. The offset created by the nuts welded onto the frame that the studs/bolts go through is about half an inch, so total depth is around 5.75"

The opening is smaller at 39.5x9.8"

The rough volume is around 1.3 Cubic feet. However if you have better tools and more time than I do, you could make it bigger. The length could have another 5 inches, and reversing the direction of the mounting flanges would add 1.5" to the width. Likewise depth could be increased by an inch without loosing any overall clearance. (would be below frame rails, but above gas tank.

Increasing the dimensions as above would make the volume around 2 cubic ft.

Here is a shot of what I currently have in my compartment.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Major items include, a medium sized toolbox, my Mary Kay tool bag (don't ask), jack, hammer, torque wrench small drill, mini grease gun, and some spare parts.

Since the compartment bolts up against the frame rail (on the inboard side, the outboard side floor is flat), it is necessary to seal the area where the floor corrugations? meets the rail. I used wood blocks with sealant.

Edit: A member requested some dimensions, I made a quick diagram for those interested.

A + indicates where the box could be increased in size. The increases in dimensions assume the removal or reversing (bent inside instead of outside) of the mounting flanges on the edges that are extended. For example in order to get maximum volume the flanges on A, C, and D would need to be removed or bent inwards. My flanges are around 3/4 of an inch in width.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Syncronoid wrote:
nemobuscaptain wrote:
While your are at it, why not just cover the bottom of the van between the frame and use the frame and the floor of the bus to be the other three "walls" of the cargo box?


After looking under my Syncro, while I like the idea, I think that would require a bit more effort to close/seal the storage compartment from the elements. The contours of the bottom area that would need to be sealed are not straightforward.

Just thinking out loud without looking under my bus.
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