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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of the biggest problems with camping in the back of my xterra is choosing between fitting two people comfortably, or carrying a fridge and only fitting one person. As a result, I've been considering various options for mounting the fridge outside the truck. It recently struck me that the entire chuckbox could be built as a hitch attachment, making it not only external, but hot-swappable between vehicles.

This design is based around a Kuat Pivot 2 swing-away hitch extension and a hitch cargo carrier. the packed dimensions should be approximately 60" x 20" x 30".

Rectangle Font Parallel Signage Slope


Tentative component list:
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Unsolved Problems:
  • Best way to secure lid of fridge in transit?
  • What to build central box out of?
  • How to secure fridge/sink/ fold/slide outs during transit?
  • Weatherproofing in transit (custom cover made from tarps?)
  • Weatherproofing in situ (Does it need an awning?)
  • Power source?
    • Add 7 pin trailer accessory port, and pull accessory power
    • Add outdoor AC outlet (ala sand & snow inverter install)
    • Add outdoor DC outlet
    • Keep battery on trailer
    • Route power cable through hatch
  • Theft deterrent necessary?
  • Soft-slam for slide-out workspace? Some sort of catch or clasp to hold position?
  • Should I try to add a propane water heater for showers/dishes?
  • Should I prioritize more water over propane?

Have any of you made something similar? any thoughts about what I might be doing wrong, or where I might run into trouble? If I get this working well, I'd be happy to share schematics and full build instructions.
 

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That is a lot of weight so far behind the axle. Also, IMHO... the fridge needs its own source of power such as an aux battery or power box like a jackery. Do not connect it to your main battery. The fridge al;so want to have air circulation, as the compressor does need cooling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I am a bit concerned about the weight distribution, but the swing out arm claims to have a 500lb capacity, and the fold-down trailer jack should take at least half the weight, when expanded. It may help that my receiver isn't the poorly engineered towing package. I'm using an off-road rear bumper with an inline 2" receiver, so it is much better supported.


The fridge should draw around 12V 5A peak, so I figure I'll probably start by routing power through the weatherstripping on the rear hatch and swap between connecting to the rear 12v accessory jack when the car is running (60W should be nothing to the alternator) and my 1200WH battery pack, when the car isn't running.
 

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Tow capacity of an Xterra is an easy number to find. (5000lbs)
However, the hitch capacity should also be considered when installing a slide in cargo carrier.

There are cargo carriers which are rated for 500+lbs, but the hitch/ tongue weight may only be 350lbs.
In addition, a number of factors go into a recommended tongue weight including a vehicles weight and wheelbase.

Yes a custom bumper with an integrated hitch may support the weight you wish to carry, however it dont negate the fact were driving a vehicle with a short wheel base.

Depending on the weight you plan to carry from your hitch you may run into problems with handling, sag in the rear suspension and ground clearance if the trails you plan to drive upon are less than flat.

A cargo carrier is an excellent item to have at hand, but I would load it down with weight for a trial run before investing any time or cash in building upon it to fit your needs.
 
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