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Chevy Astro Camper Van Build: Tool Box

Chevy Astro Camper Van Build Phase 19 – Tool Box

Tools & Materials


Aluminum Tool Box
Angle Aluminum


Dewalt Cordless Impact Driver
1/4″ Drive Quick Release Bit Extension
Craftsman 3/8 Drive Drill
Craftsman Socket Set
Drill Bit Set
Tape Measure

Video – Chevy Astro Camper Van Build: Tool Box


Project Overview: Tool Box

I’ll be installing an aluminum tool box on top of the van for extra storage. I came up with a mounting system that involves a single piece of angle aluminum and a couple of nuts & bolts.

Choosing The Right Size Tool Box

I wanted to keep the height of the tool box lower, and have the box fit mostly beneath the top of the roof rack. Of course, if the tool box weren’t higher than the roof rack, it would only be 5 inches tall. My van already scrapes the bottom of the garage door when pulling it into a standard garage, so no matter what size tool box I go with, the van will either need to be parked outside or I will need to remove the tool box if I want to park it inside a garage. The dimension of the tool box I bought are 39″Lx13″Wx10″H.

Tool Box Mounting System

I want to mount the tool box on top of the roof rack, but the tool box is only supported by one of the rack’s bars. There is nothing underneath the tool box where it butts up against the side of the roof rack. So, I decide to use angle aluminum for this. I’ll bolt a piece of angle aluminum to the roof rack, and the bottom part of the angle aluminum’s L shape will face towards the middle of the van. This provides the support for the tool box to sit on top of, and for the tool box to be bolted into.

Sheet metal screws through bottom of tool box into the roof rack rail below

The tool box is also mounted to the one roof rack rail that runs underneath it. I’ll just drill a hole through the tool box and into the rail, and use some sheet metal screws to secure it.

Using The Tool Box

I use the tool box mostly to to things I should carry in the van (like jacks, tow straps, etc) but don’t want cluttering up the inside of the van. The flip side is that these things can be heavy, and you don’t want too much weight on the roof of the van, making it top heavy. Probably less of an issue in an Astro van compared to the high profile vans like the Sprinter and Promaster. Either way, I do try to be conscious of the weight I put up there. Also, too much bulk in the tool box forces the lid up on the sides a little, and it’s possible for rain to get inside if the lid is forced up too high.

To get inside the tool box, I stand on the floor of the van’s side door entry. This gives me enough height to see inside.

I have taken the tool box off multiple times, so I could store it inside a standard garage. I have to remove everything inside, but it’s not too bad. It’s a 10 minute job.

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