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Old 10-14-2015, 08:01 AM   #1
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Installing toolbox on TT tongue - couple of questions

There are several posts here on installing a truck toolbox or other similar contraption on the TT tongue to increase outside storage. I'm about to embark on this adventure as well and have a few questions.

My plan:
1. Picking up today (used off Craigslist) a Kobalt aluminum toolbox 60" L x 12" W x 13" D box. Will fit nicely w/o having to move anything on the tongue other than the battery (see below). Fairly light at 30# so not much impact on tongue weight. Will cut a piece of 1/2 or 3/4 plywood to line/reinforce bottom of box.
2. Removing battery/battery box.
3. Installing toolbox between front of TT and the propane tanks/WDH.
4. Re-installing battery inside the toolbox.
5. Moving a bunch of dirty, unorganized stuff (chocks, power cord, water hoses, Anderson levelers, etc) from front pass-through storage to the new toolbox, then reorganizing what remains in the front pass-through storage area so I can actually find stuff.
6. Constantly reminding my wife, my kids, and me to put stuff back where it belongs. . .probably the hardest part of the whole project!

Now for my questions:
1. Bottom reinforcement - should plywood go inside the box or underneath it? I'm assuming inside to protect it and for aesthetics, but maybe there are advantages to putting it underneath???
2. When I re-install the battery inside the toolbox, should I install it inside the existing plastic battery box or just use an automotive fastening clamp to secure it?
3. Venting for the battery - I'm planning on two 2-3 inch louvered vents. I'd planned on placing them to the rear of the toolbox to prevent water/dirt from entering the box. Sound OK?
4. Battery cut-off switch is currently mounted in the side of the plastic battery box. Should I leave it there, or should I mount it to the toolbox for easier access?
5. Any advice on U-bolt size/specs to secure the toolbox to the tongue frame?
6. Finally, the toolbox is bright aluminum. In a perfect world, I'd have gotten a black box but being the tightwad I am, I couldn't pass up the deal on the used box from CL. Any thoughts/advise on possibly spray painting the aluminum black?

Thanks in advance for your input. Once I get started I'll post pictures of before, during, after.

Brian
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Old 10-14-2015, 03:58 PM   #2
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I just did this upgrade a few weeks ago. I purchased a Kobalt toolbox from Lowes (69" x 12" x 13"). It weighs 24 lbs. so not a big addition to the tongue weight. I did keep my "transferred" items lightweight (chocks, blocks, etc.) This did allow me to get rid of one tub inside the trailer :-). I used square 4" x 5" u-bolts from Tractor Supply. The bolts cross under the frame at an angle to increase contact surface. I did not use a plywood floor for support. We drove the length of Alabama and back and have not had any issues. For the battery, I reused the plastic box and secured it to the floor of the truck box using screws, fender washers and Nyloc nuts. I also drilled drain holes from the battery box through the truck box floor. For wiring, I drilled a 1" hole in the back face of the truck box (faces the front of the trailer) and used a PVC pipe elbow and threaded adapter to create a pass-thru and chaffing guard. My truck box is polished aluminum where as my trailer has bronze colored. I don't have an issue with the color difference so I will leave it for now. My fit was tight so I had to shift the propane tanks and cover forward 3/4". The truck box lid was touching the front of the trailer when it was open so I added some foam bumpers at the corners to prevent scratching. I can post pics if you like.
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Old 10-14-2015, 04:19 PM   #3
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Sure post up some pic's if you can I would like to see them...I'm considering this mod.
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Old 10-14-2015, 04:44 PM   #4
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Just asking, would a 1/4 inch aluminum plate cut to match the box be lighter than plywood?

I would mount the battery in a box of some type to prevent corrosion problems, I see no issue with using the one you now have.

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Old 10-14-2015, 06:47 PM   #5
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Thanks Mudy! Pics would be great if you have time. Did you do any other holes for venting battery gasses?

Idaho-the spray you put the link in for - have you had good experience with it on aluminum?

Sounds like I may go without plywood unless it feels unstable/weak once I install it.

Thanks all!
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Old 10-14-2015, 06:55 PM   #6
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I have only used it on steel.

If properly prepped it should bond well to aluminum.
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Old 10-14-2015, 08:15 PM   #7
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I would weld up an angle iron frame to sit it on and use a thin sheet of plywood inside to sit the batteries on an protect the bottom.
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Old 10-15-2015, 08:02 AM   #8
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I just installed a medium Kobalt tool box on our a-frame. Also had one on our previous TT. The box already has vents on both sides of the box. No need for plywood under box. I used the exisiting battery box. Drilled hole on bottom of box for +/- cables and rubber grommet. Used Rust-oleum Rubberized Undercoating on inside bottom of box. Spray painted entie box flat black. I had to replace the hardcover propane tanks cover with a soft cover.
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Old 10-15-2015, 02:17 PM   #9
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Here are the pictures I promised.
1) Installed box
2) Foam dots
3) Battery box
4) Square U-bolt
5) Washer plate & Nuts, battery cable ingress
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Old 10-15-2015, 02:43 PM   #10
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Nice job. Well done.
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