Building Storage For Overlanding

After spending a lot of time searching online for storage methods for the bed of my truck, I decided it was time to just go for it. I went for simple storage compartments over the wheel arches and a tray that could be be pulled out to make loading easier, it could also double as a table when camping. It ended up being a very cheap project! So far.

First things first, I worked out what materials i would need.

  • A couple boards of plywood
  • Batons for the frame
  • Wood screws
  • Self tapping screws to secure the frame to truck bed
  • Bed liner paint for a tough finish
  • Wood filler
  • Silicon sealant to make the bed watertight.
With everything gathered it was time to start figuring things out…

First I went around the bed and used the silicon sealant to fill any places in the bed where water could get in.

Once this was done I grabbed a piece of cardboard and started to draw out a design that would fit my bed. I decided that two storage compartments over each wheel arch would be sufficient, with the side rails of the bed still accessible. And then a sliding tray in the center.

Time to measure and draw a basic design.

Once I was vaguely happy with the design I decided to jump straight into building it. The first thing I did was to measure out 6 identical lengths of baton that would become the main frame. I secured two to the floor of the truck bed using two large self tapping screws for each, to ensure a sturdy base. I then decided to secure a baton to the bed liner on the side of the bed with screws. I figured by building the base of the frame in this way it should be sturdy enough for daily abuse.

The framework in process.

Once I had the base batons secured to the bed, I measured and built a simple framework. Then measured, measured again, and cut the plywood to cover the frame. I cut two large holes cut in the top board for doors to the storage compartments, I then cut two slightly larger rectangular boards to become the lids, once the compartments were finished.

Covering the frame in plywood.

And now on to the sliding tray.

This turned out to be a lot easier than I imagined. I had plastic inserts in the bed floor C-channels, so I cut one of the inserts into two foot-long sections. These were screwed to the ends of two batons the same length as the storage compartments. They then slid into the C-channels easily. Once they were fully pushed into the bed I measured and cut a large piece of plywood and simply screwed it into the batons. I then capped both ends of he tray with sections of baton. This also meant that the tray could only be pulled out a certain distance before the plastic inserts, screwed onto the batons, hit the tailgate. So there we have it. A sliding tray. Simple.

The simple sliding tray.

Once everything was in place I was pretty proud of it, but the gaps between the plywood sections were very visible. Wood filler time! I filled in all the gaps and even covered the screws where I had secured the plywood to the frame, waited for it to dry and gave it a good sanding. Once I was finally happy with it, it was time for paint.

Time for paint!

I decided to go with a cheap bed liner paint that was about £10 per spray can. It was pretty durable and the same paint I used for my sidesteps. Unfortunately Halfords have now stopped selling it, bummer, I’ll have to find something else next time. Luckily I had enough to cover the whole bed. The plywood also gave it a kind of camouflage pattern so it looked pretty cool.

So there we are finished! It turned out to be a fairly cheap addition to the truck, it will keep all spares and tools nicely organised when we are on the road now.

Finished! With the slide out.
And with the slide in.
I’ve even started putting accessories on already. Look at that fire extinguisher placement!

There’s still a few things to do. I need to paint the lids and attach them once I’ve found the correct hardware., like hinges, handles, support for the table, etc.

I’ll do another post when I have added more things, like the lids!

Chasing Squeaks (Part 2)

This follows my misery from Chasing Squeaks (A guide on how not to problem solve). So go check that out if you haven’t yet.

After the last attempt at trying to quieten the truck, I had another go. This time went much more successfully.

This time I decided to do things more strategically, first things first, I dismantled the entire front right suspension system, I was certain it was coming from in there somewhere.

It went smoothly enough, everything came apart easily. Well other than breaking a ball joint separator trying to get the lower control arm free. I ended up having to use a hammer to knock the ball joint out. The lower control arm bushings were almost completely destroyed. I also found that the lower ball joint was cut up and rattling, the ball joints in the sway bar link had also gone, and the ball joint on the end of the tie rod had had it. No wonder there were so many squeaks and rattles!

Just some of the damage I found.

So time to order new parts! Milner Off Road help! I ended up ordering a new tie rod end, various new bolts and a new sway bar link (oh and a new ball joint separator!) . so yet again the truck was left for a week on axle stands whilst waiting for my parts. Once they arrived, (I act like a kid at Christmas when new parts arrive, tearing them open frantically), it was time for assembly.

Weirdly everything went back together with no issue. It only took me about two hours before the wheels were back on and on the ground!

Once everything was back together and on the ground the truck looked a little weird… It was pigeon toed. The front right wheel was straight, but the front right was turning left slightly. Changed the tie rod end – messed up the alignment.

So carefully I drove it to a local garage to get the alignment sorted. It only took about 20 minutes and cost about £40. Now the truck drives nicely and guess what!

IT STOPPED SQUEAKING!

The truck was silent once again! (well apart from a knocking on the other side, which is due to the other sway bar link being bad, but that’s an easy job for another day).

Happy with how the truck was driving I decided to get my new BF Goodrich AT KO2’s fitted (Finally!)

I took the truck to a tyre garage tucked away in an industrial estate and it’s fair to say I took it to the right place.

They changed the tyres over in about half hour. But the place was surrounded by 4×4’s and I had to park the truck next to a lifted Jeep Cherokee. So I was quite happy walking around looking at the other vehicles whilst my tyres were changed.

So now the truck no longer squeaks and it has a nice new set of tyres on it. Successful week!

Well it was, but now the back left door doesn’t close properly and rattles… One noise after another…

So in brief (adding to what I had learnt before):

  1. Do not use a hammer to remove the driveshaft from the hub assembly.
  2. Make sure you know exactly where the noise originates before buying and changing parts.
  3. If bushings don’t need to be changed, DON’T CHANGE THEM.
  4. Milner Off Road have next day delivery.
  5. Use the right tool for removing oil filters.
  6. If you are changing the oil, get a new oil filter.
  7. Use drainage piping of sorts to guide dripping oil away from skid plate.
  8. Polyurethane bushings are super easy to install.
  9. If you are unsure what the problem is, investigate, you might find other problems.
  10. Ball joint separator tools are very easy to break.
  11. Ball joints all seem to break at once.
  12. Milner Off Road have really useful parts.
  13. Getting the alignment done is cheap and painless.
  14. Liquid spanner and a torque wrench seem to fix everything.