Well, it turns out we were on to something with the latest and greatest “expo box”. The world’s most important critic (my wife) said, “this is the first time you’ve changed it and it hasn’t got worse.” She’s also called it “dialed-in” and “so easy”.
But as you know by now, I can’t sit idly by. So the best sleeping and storage solution for the Xterra just got better. This one is basically the same thing as the last — with improvements throughout.
- Primarily built of mild steel. This one is much sturdier than the last and doesn’t move or make noise at all when loaded and driving. You can grab a leg of the shelf and shake the entire truck.
- Steel construction also allowed me to increase the space from the front seats to the shelf (more space for the dog during driving and the wife and I when sleeping), the shelf to the floor, and the shelf to the ceiling. And, the shelf dimensions are actually much larger creating a bigger platform. In summary, there’s more room inside and on the shelf.
- I moved the cooler to the driver’s side. That’s the preferred side for visibility, because the spare tire, Max Trax, and window shape already make that side pretty shitty to see out of. I put the cooler on the passenger side the first time because there’s more ceiling height and I wanted the cooler as high as possible so the shelf could be as high as possible to sleep under. But building it out of steel and removing the cooler feet — I was able to squeeze the cooler over to the driver’s side and not lose any shelf height. The one new downside is that the drain plug for the cooler faces the inside of the X when the cooler is oriented towards the “kitchen area”. Minor gripe.
- Anything that wasn’t welded, was riveted instead (slides, plywood). Corrugated roads have proven over and over that no fastener is better than they are. Rivets and welds should fix that problem.
- Plywood shelf is the dog sleeping platform by night, and table space/stove hauler by day. I was able to cut slots in the plywood that matched the stove’s footprint — and then another couple of slots to loop an NRS strap around. One more thing that we no longer have to ever set up or spend any measurable amount of time packing or unpacking.
For anyone interested, here’s the materials list (see below). If I were to do it all over again, I’d skinny up on some areas to save weight. For example, I’d go with 2-1/2″ angle in a smaller thickness.
- 3/16″ x 4″ x 10′ flat bar
- cut two 24″ lengths (uni-track mounts/feet)
- 2x 2″ x 1″ x 10′ rectangle tubing
- cut one 42-3/4″ (tailgate side)
- cut one 40-3/4″ (rear seat side)
- cut two 29-1/2″ (sides)
- cut four 14-13/16″ (legs)
- 3″ x 3″ x 3/16″ x 10′ angle
- cut two 30-1/2″ (cooler slide mounts)
- cut two more to fit your slides
- One set of heavy-duty, locking slides
- 1 x 2′ x 4′ x 1/2″ plywood
- 50x 3/16 long rivets
- 8x 3/8″ x 3/4″ bolts, washers and lock washers
- 8x 3/8″ uni-strut spring nuts