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Old 08-24-2020, 04:58 PM   #1
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DIY Wheel Well Cabinets

The last couple weekends I have been working on some custom wheel well cabinets for the interior of my 2002 RB E350. In my last van build I felt the space was very under utilized so I approached this with the intent of creating lots of versatile storage. I also wanted the build to be flexible as my family just added another member and we are still sorting out exactly how to camp.

I started out by taking some measurements in the van and designing the cabinets in SolidWorks. I used 1"x1" aluminum framing with press-fit corner connectors. The extruded frame also has a 1/4" offset flange that can be used to mount panels.

I had to buy a 96 tooth blade for my chop saw to cut the stuff, which ended up working out great. Overall the assembly was pretty easy and the final product is super stable. I was impressed with the strength and stability of the frame once fully assembled. Most annoying part was cutting all the flanges at 45 degrees for the corners.
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Old 08-24-2020, 05:03 PM   #2
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Current plan is to make a removable bed platform between them and possibly a drawer slide underneath. I am going to hold off on final decisions until we use it a few times.

Dimensions ended up being 24" tall (so I can fit a refrigerator underneath), and 12" wide (based on fitting a 13gal water tank on the front driver side compartment), and 37" between them. the van goes to CCV for a pop top and floor so i am waiting to install them on the new floor.
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Old 08-24-2020, 05:18 PM   #3
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Very cool. Seems that concept allows a visual overview of which you're able to scrutinize before construction, and changes & options are made relatively easily. Good method to approach your design.
My Lego's & Erector set taught me much!
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Old 08-24-2020, 06:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twoxentrix View Post
Very cool. Seems that concept allows a visual overview of which you're able to scrutinize before construction, and changes & options are made relatively easily. Good method to approach your design.
My Lego's & Erector set taught me much!
Yeah it was actually pretty fun to put together. I thought changes would be easy, but those corners pieces are really in there. Took several full swings with a rubber mallet to get them all the way down, and the internal ridges of the 1"x1" actually scrape of the plastic as it goes in. Much harder to get apart than I had thought. I made a couple mistakes and had to scrap the parts after taking them apart due to gripping them with a vise so hard.

Last thing to sort out is what material I want to do the panels with. Thinking some 1/4" thick black textured HDPE could look good but would be pricey.
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Old 08-24-2020, 06:36 PM   #5
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I've never seen that material before and it looks like it will work great for the intended purpose. So one side has a 1/4" offset - I'll guess that the other side has a 5/8" offset for using a thicker panel? I look forward to seeing how you end up attaching the doors and drawer slides to the frame.
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Old 08-24-2020, 07:55 PM   #6
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Sweet! When are you offering a kit for sale?!?

I haven't seen this product before, can you provide a link or name? What do you think you spent approximately on materials?

I am planning to build something similar, but had been looking at 80/20. This looks like it might be easier to work with and hopefully less expensive!
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Old 08-24-2020, 09:12 PM   #7
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BenJJ, where are you sourcing the aluminum extrusion and corner connectors from? I still need to do some cabinets in my van and while leaning towards wood frames due to simplicity of connection points, I like aluminum if the price is right b/c of the weight savings. I was considering 80-20 but that's just too expensive.



Also - how to you plan on mounting the frame you make to the body panels and floor? obviously you need some solid bolt on mounts to keep things together when offroading. I put in wood studs bolted into the sheet metal through out my van walls for mounting wall paneling and my cabinet frames which I have built are bolted to either those studs or the body panel as well depending on the amount of weight the cabinets are designed for.



Also - after the frames are made and you start making the cabinet walls, how will you attach door latches, hinges, drawer glides, etc?



Sorry for so many questions but being in the thick of cabinet making right now, these are all the challenges I'm currently figuring out myself
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Old 08-24-2020, 11:45 PM   #8
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Very nice! Iím building something very similar out of 80/20. Aluminum is a lovely thing, isnít it?

Thanks for posting and good luck with your build. Youíre gonna love that CCV top!
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Old 08-25-2020, 03:03 AM   #9
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I'm with the other comments, it looks great.

I'd also ask where you are sourcing the materials.

Thanks.
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Old 08-25-2020, 06:37 AM   #10
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I am planning something similar also out of 80/20 and hooking to floor tracks
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