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Starting the Next Mod: New Tongue Box

Placed an order today at the Big Orange Box store for a 60"-wide Delta Champion aluminum truck tool box #350000, which will replace the T@G factory tongue box... 12cu.ft. of lockable storage, plenty of room for multiple batteries 'n' stuff. This should be interesting, making a pattern to cut holes in the back of the new box that match the clearance holes in the OEM box for the battery switch & propane regulator and transplanting the propane tank bracket over to the new Delta box (hello, Mr. TIG welder!).


To be continued...

Dave in Michigan
'21 T@G XL
"If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there." ~ The Cheshire Cat (Alice in Wonderland)

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    rasras Member Posts: 177

    Don't forget a vent for propane.

    RV 2016 T@G 5W
    TV 2019 Outback or 2011 4Runner

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    The_RiggerThe_Rigger Member Posts: 129

    Of course. Every hole in the OEM box will be duplicated in the replacement. I'm actually toying with the idea of louvering the bottom of the new box, in between the frame rails.

    Dave in Michigan
    '21 T@G XL
    "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there." ~ The Cheshire Cat (Alice in Wonderland)

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    rasras Member Posts: 177

    I cut a couple of rectangular holes the size of the floor registers in my house in the rear of the box and installed metal register covers over them with pop rivets.

    RV 2016 T@G 5W
    TV 2019 Outback or 2011 4Runner

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    The_RiggerThe_Rigger Member Posts: 129
    edited March 1

    I thought about doing that, too. I'll have to see where the other cut-outs end up; if I do that I'd want to put the registers as low as possible, since propane is heavier than air - that's why I was thinking of louvering the bottom of the box, rather than a side panel.


    Curious how there's really no venting for propane in the factory T@G tongue box, isn't it...

    Dave in Michigan
    '21 T@G XL
    "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there." ~ The Cheshire Cat (Alice in Wonderland)

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    ZombiecatZombiecat Member Posts: 10

    I’m less handy and infinitely more lazy, so I purchased a set of custom fabricated storage boxes from Sea Biscuit Metal Designs, Johnson City, TN. Both my center box and truck will now be less cluttered, as I’ll store the wheel chocks, leveler, power cord, water hose, etc. in these bins. Sea Biscuit did a nice job in making them match the existing aesthetic of the trailer.

    They’re easy to install, but a few hints if you go this route:

    1) Position them far enough forward on the platform that you can fully open the lid without the hinged edge scratching your trailer surface. I lined up the front of the new boxes with the existing tongue box and it worked fine, plus looks uniform.



    2) I chose to mount the carriage bolts from the bottom up so that the lock nut protrudes inside the box. This makes it difficult for a thief to simply unscrew them from the bottom and walk away with the entire box. I will be adding an exterior lock to each box.

    3) I replaced the provided carriage bolts with a shorter version (¾ “ long) . As the bolt/nut protrudes from the bottom of the box, I made a wooden “platform” for the bottom of the box. I drilled holes to accommodate the protruding bolts and finished it with marine polyurethane (and a bit of thin carpet).

    4) You’ll notice the rear washer isn’t the ones supplied by Sea Biscuit, which are cut from the same diamond plate metal as the box. Due to the location of the holes on the T@g platform, I had to position the holes closer to the rear wall of the box, so these were a bit too large in diameter. I substituted with a couple of 2” fender washers.

    I’d caution against moving either the propane, battery or any fuel to these boxes, as there’s no ventilation.

    I’m happy with the results. Looking forward to testing them next month!

    "Improvement makes strait roads, but the crooked roads without Improvement, are roads of Genius."

    • William Blake

    2021 T@g XL Boondock

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    The_RiggerThe_Rigger Member Posts: 129
    edited March 8

    I thought briefly about getting the Seabiscuit boxes, but my camper doesn't have the tongue platform to support them, and adding the platform along with a pair of side boxes would've been three times the cost of the Delta box, if not more (I paid just under $600 at Home Depot). Plus my preference is for one bloody-great box that I can stash two or three milk crates inside for sorting things into, along with the propane tank and a battery or two.

    I will definitely say the Seabiscuit stuff looks very nice, though.

    Dave in Michigan
    '21 T@G XL
    "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there." ~ The Cheshire Cat (Alice in Wonderland)

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    The_RiggerThe_Rigger Member Posts: 129
    edited May 11
    So I had a day off from work today, and wonder of wonders, it actually wasn't raining or muggy & hotter than blue blazes. so I went ahead and spent a few hours of Quality Time upgrading my T@G's tongue storage capacity.
    Here's where we start:
    Step One was removing the OEM tongue box, which only required pullling four 1/4" self-tapping screws with my little impact gun. I'd also picked up a couple of 1" square 1/8"-wall aluminum tubes from a local metal supplier to serve as floor supports for the new box, and those got attached to the trailer tongue with new self-tappers.
    Next maneuver was to place the new box roughly in position and figure out where to cut clearance holes in the back wall for the propane regulator and battery shut-off switch. I traced the holes in the OEM nüCamp box onto a piece of cardboard and cut them out to use as a pattern. A few minutes with a jigsaw and a bit of love with a file to smooth the edges of the cuts, and all is ready.
    Now I could place the box in it's final position and drill pilot holes through the floor of the box into the support tubes, then drive seven more 1/4" self-tappers into place, securing the box to the trailer.

    Using my Dremel tool with a thin cutting disc, I next cut the welds holding the propane tank bracket inside the nüCamp box and secured it in place in the new Delta box with self-tappers, to determine where I'd punch holes for propane venting. A few quick holes with a 1" step-drill bit in the floor of the box and all's ready to reinstall.
    The end result is perfect. I've got room enough for two standard milk crates for organizing campsite stuff - levelers, shore power cables, water hose, &c. - plus a couple of spaces I've reserved for attaching a pair of Rotopax jerrycans; one for generator fuel, one for some extra potable water.
    I'll eventually have the propane tank bracket either riveted or TIG welded to the box floor, to get rid of the self-tappers currently holding it. I also still need to pop a 1" hole into a spot on the box and install the auxillary solar socket, but I'm still contemplating where I want to do that.
    All in all, I'm very pleased with the day's work. The only net loss in my opinion is I can't keep using the bracket I'd attached to the tongue jack for storing the spare tire. I'll keep pondering how I can make that work; I can tell you for certain that there ain't no way it's going back under the camper.

    Dave in Michigan
    '21 T@G XL
    "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there." ~ The Cheshire Cat (Alice in Wonderland)

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    JamesDowJamesDow Member Posts: 642
    Looks like a great modification. What would you guess as the final overall cost?

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    The_RiggerThe_Rigger Member Posts: 129
    edited May 11
    JamesDow said:
    Looks like a great modification. What would you guess as the final overall cost?
    The box ran around $600 with sales tax, add another $50 or so for the square tube and a dozen 1/4" self-tapping screws, plus around three and a half to four hours of my time. The milk crates were free (shhhhhhh...), and I'm fortunate that I already possess all the tools and skills necessary... All in, I'd call it about $750 in round numbers.
    I probably could've done it in less time, but I kept coming up with niggling little details in a non-logical progression - ain't that always the way? - so I wound up taking things apart and putting them back together more times than I care to admit.
    I also could've spent more money on the box. We'll see how this one does; it's not Delta's finest. If it's not up to the task, there are similar-sized heavyweight contenders from WeatherGuard, USW, and DeeZee.

    Dave in Michigan
    '21 T@G XL
    "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there." ~ The Cheshire Cat (Alice in Wonderland)

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    The_RiggerThe_Rigger Member Posts: 129
    edited May 12
    The Adventure Continues...
    When last we met, I had finished mounting the new truck box for tongue storage, but hadn't quite gotten the electrics sorted, aside from mounting the battery box and more-or-less figuring out how I wanted what to go where. Today was a good day to finish off what I'd started.
    First things first: Using a 1" step-drill bit, I punched a hole dead-center in the front wall of the box and mounted the auxiliary solar input socket with some stainless hex-head cap screws and Nylock nuts. This was the last bit of wiring that needed to be installed before cleaning up and rewiring all the DC electrics.
    I stuck some self-adhesive cable tie pads to the inside of the box and used them to bundle & anchor all the DC wiring to. It required a lot of butt-splicing and heat-shrinking, but the wiring is *much* more neat and organized than before, plus you can fit the battery box lid on without having to wrestle a load of excess 10ga. copper. I still may jacket everything with plastic split-loom, but that decision has yet to be made. (For the sharp-eyed who may be curious why I have four positive wires but only three negative ones, the fourth B+ wire goes to the electric tongue jack, which is grounded through the trailer chassis.)
    Having finished up the wiring, my next idea is to mount a pair of Rotopax jerrycans, for carrying extra drinking water and generator fuel for those off-grid trips. The sides of the new box are just about perfect fit for the Gen2 two-gallon containers. About a half-hour of measuring and head-scratching, followed by four 1/4" holes, and the PackMount is in place. I put 1/4" nylon spacers between the mounts and the box sides to allow for the boilerplate texture.

    ...And that pretty much completes the project. It'll get it's first shakedown test in about four weeks, when I get some time off of work and head up north for a week in a state park campground in the western end of Michigan's Upper Penninsula.

    Dave in Michigan
    '21 T@G XL
    "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there." ~ The Cheshire Cat (Alice in Wonderland)

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    rasras Member Posts: 177
    Very nice.  Very similar to mine minus the rotapax cans.    I really like your vent solution.   I cut rectangular holes and used floor vent heat covers   I added a 4 in plastic pipe with screw-on ends in the space between the box and the front of the trailer to store support poles 

    RV 2016 T@G 5W
    TV 2019 Outback or 2011 4Runner

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    The_RiggerThe_Rigger Member Posts: 129
    edited May 15
    ras said:
    Very nice.  Very similar to mine minus the rotapax cans.    I really like your vent solution.   I cut rectangular holes and used floor vent heat covers   I added a 4 in plastic pipe with screw-on ends in the space between the box and the front of the trailer to store support poles 
    Thanks. I thought about using your vent method, but when I pulled the OEM box off the trailer and took a good look at the holes in the floor of it, the idea just struck me to blast a grid of holes into the box with my step-drill. Seemed like a good idea at the time....

    One thing I did that I didn't mention earlier: I noticed on the second day of working on the project that I got a little drip of water into the box through the battery switch & regulator holes when it rains. I've spaced the back of the box about 5/8" away from the front of the camper body, so I cut a 1" wedge out of a 4' length of a pool noodle and stuffed it down into the gap between the box and the camper. Now any rain that runs down the body just runs off the ends of the "gutter" instead of dripping inside the box.

    I may borrow your idea about the PVC storage pipe for carrying stuff. I'm a ham radio operator and often take a portable rig & antenna system along for doing "Parks On The Air" activations. I think your support pole carrier would be perfect for carrying my fiberglass aerial poles.

    Dave in Michigan
    '21 T@G XL
    "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there." ~ The Cheshire Cat (Alice in Wonderland)

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    PCD3PCD3 Member Posts: 1
    Consider raising the entire tool box 6 to 10 inches to just below the bottom of the window then build an elevated platform beneath the tool box to slide in under the tool box oversized camp chairs, folding tables and other awkward size and shape items   etc.
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    The_RiggerThe_Rigger Member Posts: 129
    That stuff goes in the back of the tow vehicle. Since I solo camp, I'm not carrying all that much extra furniture.
    I see your plan for space, but to be honest the top of the box is at a perfect height for me right where it is. Too much higher and it'd be a PITA getting stuff in & out.  

    Dave in Michigan
    '21 T@G XL
    "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there." ~ The Cheshire Cat (Alice in Wonderland)

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