Storage Drawers - with power system


I know, I know......... drawers have been done to death but have a read anyway, I'm pretty sure you'll pick up some new ideas :)

There were a few things I wanted to do to set the Jack up for day trips and camping, my wish list looked something like this.
- dual battery system
- Alternator charging
- Solar charging
- storage drawers
- 240V power
- able to sleep onboard (for quick overnighters)
- maybe build in the portable compressor (because I'm lazy :rolleyes: )
- do it all on a tight budget

SO............ looking around at what was available........... F@#$ ME........ certainly nothing that I could afford. I put the whole idea on the back burner and decide to just sort out the extra battery and power system.

I already had a 100ah AGM in a portable box and a pair of folding solar panels, I just needed to figure out a nice way to fit the battery and some sort of on board charging system. After a fair bit of research on dual battery systems, I realised that it would be better for my AGM battery to live in the back rather than under the hood but the last thing I wanted, was a battery stuck in the back with wires everywhere so I decided that it was time to get creative and entertain that old saying......... "if you want it done properly, then DIY"

A picture's worth a thousand words, so I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story :cool:

The Black strips on top are Uni Trax 1000 Tie Down Tracks which I rebated into the top surface for a flush finish. Power panel on the right, drawers are different widths to meet my specific needs and that little white thing on the left is a four way remote control switch (its just sticking to the carpet with velcro) currently it is only being used to turn the compressor on/off when I'm crouching at the tyres, but the other three switches may come in handy for lights etc.

The Power panel.......... (top to bottom) 600W/1200W inverter, Dual USB sockets (left) and Merit socket (right), Dual standard accessory sockets, Solar Panel input (red anderson plug), combination Volt and Amp meter (shows both charge and discharge amps), Dual 50amp anderson plugs (the grey ones). The vertical row of red buttons on the left are all circuit breakers, I couldn't find a nice place to mount a fuse box so I went with breakers which also eliminates the need to carry extra fuses. The black thing next to the grey anderson's is a quick release air line fitting, just plug in the air hose and switch on and off with the remote.

looking from the other end, with the rear seats folded up so we can see. The compressor is bolted down to the base panel, the black dot just forward of the right side of the compressor plate is one of 5 high tensile countersunk bolts which hold the two boxes down to the original tie down points (the fifth is in the centre child restraint point)

on the drivers side is where the battery lives, the red knob is the main isolator switch, it switches off everything at the power panel but leaves the charging circuit operational, the red anderson is for linking in an extra battery if needed. (if its cloudy and the portable battery needs power, then it can be linked in for charging off the alternator or it can just be linked in to double the on-board capacity)

back to the business end, one thing I hate on a day trip is not having somewhere to make lunch or put a cooker, so I made up hinged bench tops for both drawers. Instant table or bench and one less thing that I need to pack. Drawer runners are heavy duty self locking type and yes, I can stand in the drawer when it's fully extended.

both drawers out with the tables lifted and that's a lot of storage space. Internal measurements - The large drawer is 820x520x240 and the small drawer is 710x340x240. (the small drawer is shorter because the battery is wider than the compressor)

Under the right side wing. I decided to box in over the wheel arch, it was a bit fiddly shaping around the extra row seat mounts etc, but it meant that I had a nice way to mount the inverter and the Ctek 250S Dual. All the wiring was done below the fill-in panel and incorporated into the unit. (that means that I can undo 5 bolts + 1 earth cable + one power cable and the whole lot can be removed in two pieces in about 10 minutes)

Under the left wing. thats the problem with doing one side all pretty, you feel compelled to make the other side look nice too :eek: So once again, boxed over the wheel arch but this time I stopped at the end of the arch, leaving a full depth cavity which made a perfect pocket for the first aid kit and still allows full access to the original bottle jack and tools.

A closer look at the Uni Tax 1000 tie down system. Simple and bloody strong. According to the manufacturer, when tested to destruction, the track fails first at 2000Lb so that gives me a safe working load of over 300Kg per tie down point !!!!!!

The Portable (campsite) battery, strapped in and linked in for charging and/or added capacity - (Who me...... power hungry.......... Noooooo :rolleyes: )

Right then....... back to the check list....... what have I forgotten.......
Oh yes, the ability to sleep on-board...... OK, I didn't really forget, this was the part of the requirement that determined the exact height of the storage unit. You see, the rear seats shorten the storage area when they are folded up but if you just fold the backrest down, they are incredibly strong and will hold a lot of load stacked directly on top. Thats where these extra four panels come in to the game. (they store away in the large drawer when not in use.

with a little bit of planing and some careful routing, keyhole fittings (the kind used for hanging cabinets on walls) do the job of locking the four panels together

All locked in, it only takes a couple of minutes to convert to a full flat bed and the perfect size for a double mattress. So why did I split the extension panels into four separate panels? and why are they different sizes?
Well firstly, I wanted them to fit in the drawer so that they were always onboard when needed and secondly................

sometimes, you need an extra seat

and sometimes you need an extra two seats ;)

A bit of careful design and now the storage space can be configured to suit simply by removing two of the four extension panels to allow for extra seating.

Ok, so that's my DIY storage unit and triple battery system. It was a fun project and yes, I did all the work myself. I hope you have picked up some ideas for your own vehicle or at least enjoyed the post :)


hoges 126

Top setup. I'm in the process of planning a DIY job for the back of mine, certainly a few good ideas that I'm going to pinch. Hopefully mine turns out half as good as yours :D


Thanks guys,

its all wood (construction ply) 17mm for most parts. 12mm for the base panel and the boxing in under the wings. All joints screwed and glued.

For glue, I can highly recommend "SikaBond - TechGrip" it's a polyurethane glue that expands into the wood as at dries. Screws hold everything in place and under compression while the glue dries, but on a test joint, I actually removed the screws and tried to break the joint. when it did finally break, it was the ply that broke, not the joint. That really gave me confidence in this glue, especially as butt joining ply is not considered a very strong joint as 50% of the ply thickness will be end grain.

Anyone on or near the Gold Coast is welcome to take a closer look or see me for ideas on their own project.

Yes, lots of planning, especially when it came to making the most of the space. I tried to draw up plans but in the end I downloaded a free 3D drawing package called "Sketchup", the free version is all you need, I spent about an hour working through the online tutorials and then designed the whole thing on computer.

It was a huge advantage and being able to draw things exactly to size also meant that there was no doubt once I started cutting panels.

Here's what I designed in Sketchup
Screen Shot 2013-09-01 at 5.18.52 pm.jpg

you can get it at SketchUp | 3D for Everyone and it's available for both Windows and Mac :D

next project for me will be the suspension :cool:


New Member
That is a seriously sweet setup, great thinking, planning and execution.

I'll drop my Jackaroo off next Wednesday and the Patrol the following week ok? :D


make sure they are full of beer and cover my wages then I'll even take the time off work to get them done :)

Kevs GU

That is the best DIY set of draws I have seen, great craftsmanship and detail I take my hat (Akubra) of to you well done.
Cheers Kev.


Active Member
Really Amazing Draws, Great Job Craig.
Hope You Don't Mind If I Steel Some Of Your Ideas Mate, Great Idea Putting Lids On
The Draws - Makes A Great Bench.

Cheers Michael


thanks everyone for the compliments.

no, I don't mind if you use my ideas, I shared in the hopes that it would benefit the community :)

hints/tips, ummm lets see, "measure twice, cut once" LOL
Ive already recommended the glue and ply that I used, I can tell you where to get the tiedown tracks from in Australia at a very fair price.

Carpet was the budget $20/meter stuff from bunnings. I think its called "cabin carpet", I chose it because it is a bit thinner than marine carpet which meant it was easier to fold around corners and edges. Contact glue is a *****.......... but I used a product called "Parfix Fast Grip contact adhesive". I chose this over the regular selleys brand because the Parfix has a good reputation and is both heat and water resistant (only time will tell)

As I said in a previous post, I highly recommend drawing p a scale 3d model of your project in Sketchup. The time you spend learning to use it and creating the 3D computer model is well worth the effort.

I am happy to post the file of my model, but you will need to install sketch up to use my file. The advantage of looking at my file is that you will be able to see how I rebated drawer runners to minimise wasted space. for example, drawer runners are about 20mm thick so one each side and you lose 40mm of usable space inside your drawer width, but with a little thought and a router, you can easily get 32mm of that back, simply rebate the runners 8mm into the cabinet sides and 8mm into the drawer sides, that still leaves you 9mm of ply thickness to fix the runners to, for greater fastening strength, I used countersunk head bolts with "t nuts" since these pull flush into the ply. I also used the same (bolt/tnut) fastening for my battery tray and compressor.

So, 3D model available if anyone wants it and I can do closeup photos of anything that anyone has questions on. I'f you're on or near the Gold Coast QLD, then your also welcome to come and have a look.

Thanks for the interest in my project


gday mate

awesome post and even better drawers. very neat set up im jealous haha ive been starting to plan and measure up everything to start on my drawer designs i just hope that mine will come up as shmick as yours



Best set of drawers ever. So well planned. Good on ya for taking the time to post em up and answer everyone's questions. Top bloke.


New Member
Very impressive mate. Whilst I don't have a wagon, I'm a big believer of D.I.Y and I'm sure I can steal some of your ideas for other applications! Great work.


New Member
Think i just cum in my pants :p:p , what an AWESUM set up.I hope you dont mind,but im gonna steal your setup design and build the same for my Jackeroo :D