Thursday, July 12, 2012

RTV Mounted Long-Handled Tool Carrier

I've mentioned this project a couple of times before, so thought it was finally time I wrote a post about it. One of the annoyances I've found with the RTV, as would be the case with any Utility Vehicle, is with hauling long-handled tools, such as shovels, hoes, rakes, etc. As long as I'm not hauling anything else, I can simply lay the tool(s) diagonally across the bed, with the handle sticking out past the roll cage on the passenger side of the vehicle. This doesn't work when the bed is full of dirt, gravel, mulch, etc, however. Also there is the problem of the handle catching on obstacles when driving through a narrow area, similar to what happened with my weedeater recently. I've had to stop and back out of the shed more than a few times when trying to park without remembering that I had a shovel or other long-handled tool in the bed.

My solution isn't a particularly inventive one. I actually saw two landscape trucks on my way home from the office yesterday with similar setups on the trailer they were towing. The idea to use this solution on the RTV actually came from my Dad, so I want to give him credit for that. I wish that I had his creative ability to come up with ways of addressing problems such as this.

The basic solution to my problem was to vertically mount a piece of pipe to the roll cage, so that the tool could be slid down into the pipe, handle first. This allows the tools to be hauled without taking up valuable bed space. After giving the project some thought, I came up with the following list of needed materials:

  • A 5' length of 2" PVC drain pipe
  • 2 caps to fit on the ends of the 2" pipe
  • A pack of 18" zip ties
I bought all of the materials in black, so they would better match the roll cage of the RTV. Clearly this isn't a necessity, but I thought it would look better if it didn't stand out a lot. 

The first step in putting everything together was to cut the pipe in the middle using a hack saw. Of course if using a different length of pipe, or mounting on a different vehicle, the idea length of the pipe segments might be different. Next I glued the caps onto the ends of pipe. I glued them onto the uncut ends, so that I didn't have to worry about cleaning up the cut ends as well. Putting the caps on the cut ends, though, would result in a more finished looking product. I had some all purpose cement for PVC on hand, so used that to glue the caps on. After completing the project I realized that I forgot to drill drainage holes in the cap before mounting everything. I'll have to go back and do that later, but it would have been much easier to do before mounting. The purpose of the drainage holes is to provide water a way to drain in case of rain getting into the pipes. After gluing on the caps, the last step was to mount the pipes to the roll bars using the zip ties. I had taken measurements and determined that the distance around the roll bar and pipe was nearly 12 inches, so I bought 18" zip ties to be sure they were long enough. After cinching them up tight, I cut off the excess. I ended up using 5 zip ties for each pipe, as I wanted to make sure they were mounted securely. I'm sure that it would have been fine to use fewer, but I like to play it safe. 

After finishing the project, I put a shovel in one of the pipes and a hoe in the other and drove down the driveway and back to see how it was going to work out. Overall I'm happy with the result, but the shovel does make quite a bit of noise as it bounces around. Because the handle is shorter than the other tools, the metal part of the shovel bangs against the roll bar. I will probably deal with this by using a bungee strap to hold it tight against the roll bar. The hoe didn't have this problem, as the longer handle put the metal end of the tool above the roll cage.

I spent around $15 on the materials for this project. Had I bought a piece of used pipe at the Re-Store, and found an alternative for capping off the bottom and attaching to the roll bar I could probably have done it for less than $5. I think, though, that I will get enough benefit from this project to justify the $15 and the hour I spent putting it all together. 

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