DIY Slide-out drawer for the VW T5/T6 California Ocean

One of the most useful additions to our cali is the slide-out drawer fort he luggage compartment of the van. It allows you to make use of the space very efficiently and makes it easier to reach all your gear.

There are several different commercially sold drawers, ranging from 500 euros up to 700 euros or more. There are however, also quite some Cali owners who build one themselves. I did as well.

I started by creating a model in Sketchup. You’ll find the model here (compressed in a .zip file) in case you’d want to use it to copy my design. For Autocad-users feel free to use the DWG-file.

The model, exact dimensions in mm, made in Sketchup…

The second step was ordering aluminium L-profiles. There are several online shops that will cut them to your desired dimensions and ship them to you. I ended up using www.aluminiumshop.nl.

Materials

Below you’ll find the list of profiles I ordered, in case you would want to build the drawer for yourself.:

Frame:

1x 80x40x5mm 1000mm long
2x 80x40x5mm 750mm long
1x Strip 40x5mm 1000mm long


Drawer:

2x 80x30x3 740mm long
2x 80x30x3 951mm long

Both the frame and the drawer are made out of L-profiles .

The entire construction is made up out of two parts:

  1. The ‘frame’, made of 3 aluminium L-profiles and a aluminium strip (5mm thick) , which are connected to the Cali’s floor rails with bolts.
  2. The drawer, made of 4 L-profiles (3mm thick) and a multiplex bottom plate (9mm thick). Both are joined together with pop nails/ rivets.
The frame (5mm) and the drawer (3mm). Joined together by pop rivets and drawer slides, which are connected to both the farme and the drawer with bolts.

The frame and drawer are connected to each other by using strong drawer slides, which I orderd from a German website: Teleskopschienen24.de. They can carry up to 130 KG. They turned out to be a very good quality drawer slides and the website’s service was good. There’s even a very clear instruction manual in PDF on their website and a very useful explainer video on Youtube.

The multiplex board is made of 9mm water resistent multiplex. I also added some cheap anti slip material that helps prevent things from sliding.

Cost

The aluminium (cut to size and delivered) cost 108,33 euros. De drawer slides cost 79 euros. De special bolts to attach the frame to the Cali rails cost 27 euros, but in hindsight they could have been any M8 T-shaped bolts. So you could save on cost. De board cost 32 euros, but I ended up using less then half of it. So there’s another opportunity to spare on costs. A couple of bolts, pop rivets. Al in all I spend less then 250 euros.

A bit more info for those who asked

Since I wrote this article, many people have contacted me to let me know that they build the drawer based on this article. That’s really nice to hear. I appreciate the feedback very much.

Some have also asked for more detailed photo’s of how the different aluminium parts go together. So to accommodate those people, please find below a more detaild description (with photos) of how the alu parts go together.

What goes where?

The whole thing is made up out of a frame and a drawer, connected by drawer slides. 

Photo number 1: 

You can see here that the two side parts of the frame (A & B) rest in the back part of the frame (C) and on the front part of the frame (D). Where the parts meet (1 & 2), I used pop rivets to connect the parts together. Basically that’s the frame. Later on you have to make 2 holes in C to connect the frame to the van’s 2 rails, using a T-bolt.

Photo number 2: 

Here you can see again how the frame is made. Before riveting the frame together at 1 & 2) , it’s smart to place it into the van first to see if it fits. Keep in mind that the bolt fasteners used on the bolts that connect the drawer slides to the frame, will be on the outside of the frame. So don’t make the frame full width. Leave room between the outside of the frame and the van wall for the bolt fasteners on the outside of the frame.  

Photo number 3: 

Here you can see that the sides of the drawer rest on/in the back and front parts of the drawer at 3 & 3 and 3a & 3a and that the drawer slides are bolted on to the drawer at 4 & 4. You can use shorter bolts than I did. Mine are a bit too long, but there aren’t in the way.  

Photo number 4: 

At 5 & 5 you can see that the drawer slides are connected to the frame with bolts as well. It’s these bolts that you need to reserve a bit of space for when measuring the frame inside the van. 

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9 Comments

  1. Marco Ansaldo

    Hi, many thanks for sharing your project!

  2. Thank you very much for putting the DIY drawer online.
    My bus is a VW 6.1 Ocean and so I will probably have to shorten the 750 mm dimension to 710 mm because the available space in the back has changed with the new model when the seat is in the back position.
    From the pictures you posted it’s difficult for me to see exactly how you put all the pieces together. If possible, could you send detailed pictures by email of all the metal connections?
    This would be a big help.
    Paul

    • Admin

      Hi Paul, sure no problem. Let me know which e-mail to send it to.

  3. Jules van Wesemael

    Zou je mij de betreffende foto’s ook willen sturen?
    Vast hartelijk dank

  4. Jamie Zelichowski

    Hi
    As Paul asked i am keen to see how this goes together.
    Could you send some pictures please.

  5. any chance you could send details please. cracking job.

    Cheers,

    Kenny

  6. What kind of details are you looking for Kenny? I believe all the information needed is in the article.

  7. Tony Weeks

    Many thanks for all of this information – very generous of you.
    Ive just purchased a 6.1 and i’m going to build this.
    Could you possibly send me the detailed plans please.
    Tony

    • Tony Weeks

      Actually, I can see all the info I need from what you have already posted. Just need to make the adjustments for the ‘smaller’ 6.1 boot space.
      Thanks

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