Made a cargo box for my 99 X Sport | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

Made a cargo box for my 99 X Sport


May 7, 2008
Reaction score
City, State
Chilliwack, BC
Year, Model & Trim Level
'99 Sport
Hello all.

I just made a cargo box for my 99 Sport, and I would like to share it with you.

I used to have an Isuzu Rodeo, and the cargo box that I had in that had a flip-up lid, and it was a pain in the @$$, because I would have to unload anything that was on top of it, to be able to access anything. That's I why I decided to go with drawers for this project.

I built it out of 1/2" plywood, so that it would be strong enough to support my two dogs on top. I had the paint custom tinted, and then I threw a small mat on top for doggy comfort.

Here is a picture of the finished product.


Here is a shot of it with the drawers open.


The overall dimensions are 41 1/2" x 35" x 9". The 35" dimension (front to back) ended up being a tad too long, and it actually makes it a little difficult to get the rear gate closed, but I know it is secure in there, haha.

I was looking for hardware slides that would be long enough to make this work, but I had a really difficult time finding any that were long enough that didn't cost an arm and a leg, so I just ended up doing a wood-on-wood application.

The interior dimension of the actual drawers are about 18 1/2" wide by about 34 3/4" long (but my drawers ended up too long, too, I screwed up some measurement somewhere, so they actually stick out a bit past the top.)

Here is my loadout in the left drawer:


Front left - Tool bag with some basic hand tools; front right - First Aid Kit and FA blanket; back left – Rubbermaid Shoe Box with a power inverter and a small air pump; back right – a quart of oil, some other fluids, and a windshield ice scraper.

And the right drawer:


Back left – Earthquake kit (from Home Depot in Abbotsford BC), with meals for 4 (I sort of have one meal kit propped up for the picture); back right – bungy cords; middle right – ratcheting cargo straps of various lengths for use with my utility trailer or canoe; front left – spare ratchet straps; front right – some water purifying tablets for when we go camping, and a small folding shovel; and in the spare space I will probably throw some IMPs (Canadian version of MREs) in there as well.

As you can see from the last couple of pictures, the drawers are fairly deep. I built the depth to be able to hold the First Aid kit as my first priority, and everything else was able to fit nicely in that same depth.

Things I learnt:

#1 - Measure twice, cut once. Like I mentioned, it is a tad long, and will make closing the liftgate a little bit interesting. I may do some mods to the lift gate to fix this problem (it will probably be easier to change the interior trim than the box, as I pinned and glued this sucker pretty good. Actually, just writing about this, I realized that I put an extra piece of bracing plywood on the back, which is probably what makes it stick out too far. I will take it
off, and put in metal corner braces instead.)

#2 – Take measurements and save them, because I have a feeling that I will get a bunch of questions along the lines of, "how big did you make this piece?", and I won't be able to answer them easily.

So there ya go. Oh yeah, the whole project, including painting, probably took about 6 hours. Well, it would have, if my kids had not constantly interrupted, haha.



Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

Made some changes

OK, after I took those pictures, I moved some stuff around, to bring the weight a little further forward, to bring it closer to the axle. Nothing is horribly heavy, but just moved it around a bit.

I put my two trailer hitches in there as well so they are not in the small storage compartment to the right of the opening of the door. I also took the spare tire lowering rods from behind the seat, and stuck them in the same place as the jack, to the left of the door.

I also closed the gate, and popped the glass, to see where the lift hatch was bumping the box, and it turns out it was just the pull-down handle on the door. So, I just unscrewed that, and the hatch closes like a dream now. :D


nice project,very good work,now that ive seen it,i may do something kinda similar in mine,i have a 92 4dr,i carry alot of stuff in mine,all kinds of fluids,stuff for my kids,stuff for out on the trails and all

WOW that looks good! :thumbsup:


I would be inclined to say not much more than 100 lbs, maximum 200 lbs? I can pull the drawers out and carry them with ease. The cabinet is more awkward than anything else. I actually made the bottom of the cabinet just from strips of plywood, instead of a solid base, for weight reasons. When I get home this evening I will take a picture of the inside of the cabinet, so that you can get an idea of how it was constructed.

Probably the heaviest things in there are the Emergency meal packages, and those would weigh less than 3 - 5 lbs each. The tool bag is just some basic stuff (hammer, pliers, screwdrivers, duct tape, etc) more for helping to put up a light at a friend's house than vehicular repairs. It's actually mostly empty.

The ratchet straps are the kind that you can pick up at Home Depot or an automotive store, just basic homeowner's style, good for a couple hundred pounds only, so those probably just weigh a pound each, maybe a hair more. I put them in Pencil cases to keep them organized and tidy, and so I can see what I have at a glance.

I don't have a bathroom scale, I will see if I can borrow a fish scale from a friend or something like that, now you have me curious. Now you;ve peaked my curiousity.

Is there a weight rating that we should carry in the back, or are you just worried that it lowers my towing capacity, etc?

Is there a weight rating that we should carry in the back, or are you just worried that it lowers my towing capacity, etc?

The weight would be more of a factor in gas mileage/performance.

Very nice build you did; congratulations.

Then, my best bet is to get MY weight down a bit.


Here is a shot of the interior 'framework', you can see that there is not a lot of wood under there.


And, for this picture, I put the camera inside about a foot, to give a good shot of the piece at the end.


Nice job. It sure beats the plastic tub I have sliding around the back of mine.

Sorry to dredge up such an old post. I am in the process of designing something similar, what do you think the weight capacity is on top?

I want to have a storage space for the things I always have in my vehicle, but I would like to be able to load up the top for camping and I would guess my cooler can weigh close to 80-100 lbs fully loaded.

Well, we routinely put a plug-in cooler on one side and an 80lb dog on the other, with no difference on the sliding capability of the drawers.

And before our 2 older dogs passed away (both 2 years ago, it sucked), we would have both on there, no cooler. 120 lb lab and 80 lb mutt both fit up there.

The furthest any piece is unsupported is 18", the width of the drawers