Tech article by Brandon Freking (Original77)

I'm always looking for more lockable space in my Bronco. The space behind the rear seat in an early Bronco does afford some area, but you can be limited by the rear fender wheel wells and roll bars if you have them. I found that the diamond-plate side mount pickup box, offered for full size pick-ups, fit quite nicely in the rear of my Bronco after a bit of modification. I chose the "Husky" brand box, offered at my local Home Depot. Many auto parts stores and home improvement warehouses, sell a "side mount box", that mounts in full size pick-ups. This is the 48 inch sidemount box, that sits up on the box rail of full size pick-ups.

A = 48" B = 13" C = 7" D = 12 1/4" E = 8" F = 48 3/4" G = 13 1/4"

This box is pretty much 48" x 13" x 13" (minus the cutout). It fit perfectly in the rear of my Bronco, right in between my Smittybuilt standard rear roll bar legs. The "cutout" on the diamond plate box (the part that's supposed to rest on the pickup box rails) fit quite nicely up on the rear fender wheel wells. But, the hinged lid was on backwards for my purposes, and the handle was up against the rear seat with no access. So the box wasn't going to work, or was it?

After looking at the box, I realized that if I could reverse the lid and have it open from the other side, it would work exactly how I wanted. The box is of very good construction with complete welded seams, a full length hinge, weather gasket strip and rivets holding the name badge, latch mechanism and the bottom hinge of the lid to the main box. The lid can be reversed.

Now this will only work if the bottom portion of the hinge is riveted to the main box. The top portion of the hinge that connects to the lid is welded. The portion that connects to the box is riveted. Also, it's a good idea to buy the box and make a "dry" fit in your application before really "buying it" and performing the operation.

To perform this modification you will need a 3/16 and ½ inch drill bit and drill, 3/16 inch rivets (1/2 inch long) and a riveter, a few small wrench's ½ inch I believe, a jigsaw or saws-all and a C-clamp or two, these aren't necessary if you have a couple extra hands.Begin by removing the shock arms from either end of the box, remove them with the ½ inch wrench. After the shock arms are off and dangling free, the box lid will be able to open further. Here you will see the rivet heads that you need to drill out. Use the 3/16 drill bit, or start smaller, and drill each one out, I had seven that needed to be removed. Don't go too big, you'll want to save as much material on the hinge as possible.

After drilling out those hinge rivets, the lid can be removed and repositioned 180 degrees. Notice the placement of the holes that you just drilled on the other side and mark them on the new side. Use the hinge as a template for hole placement. Use a sharpie marker to mark your holes, you know how the saying goes "measure twice, drill once", (use the c-clamps or the extra set of hands here). Once you have the holes drilled, use the 3/16 inch rivets and rivet gun to rivet the lid onto its "new" side. Once this is completed, the box should open and close perfectly on its new side.

Moving the latch is pretty easy too. Use the 3/16 drill bit to drill out each rivet in the corner of the latch and remove the latch. I used a scrape of diamond plate that I had lying around to cover the old latch hole. Measure the old hole where the latch was and transpose your measurements to the new side of the box. Measure carefully. The box that I bought has an offset latch. Mark your template to cut and use the ½ inch drill bit to drill out the corners. Use the jigsaw or saws-all to complete the cut. Drill the four holes for the new latch, position the latch and rivet it into place.

You can either choose to reposition the gas shocks or not. They aren't required I guess. I chose to reposition. I found some 1 ½ inch metal box stock worked well for new mounts. I measured where the old mounts connected and moved my measurements to the other side. I had to mount the metal stock diagonally due to the bottom portion of the shock needing to pivot when the box lid opens and closes. It worked out well. I also riveted the steel box stock to the diamond plate plate box. I then connected the shocks.

After this modification I have a lot more lockable storage space, and it fits well. The door isn't able to open fully, but you could mount it off the floor 3 or 4 inches to gain a little bit more there. Overall I'm very satisfied with the upgrade. I used four ½ inch by 1 ½ inch bolts to secure it to the rear floor. To gain access to the latch, you will have to open your tailgate.

Time and Cost:
  • "Husky" brand side mount "full-size truck" side box (PN 020027219964) = $157.00
  • 3/16 inch by ½ inch rivets-aluminum (box of 30) = $2.00
  • 4 hours time