How to Convert a Car into a Ute

Owning a car means experiencing convenience and accessibility. However, there will be instances when you’re no longer satisfied with the features of your car – and there are many reasons why this could happen. You might be unhappy with your car because your family grew, you started a business, or you want to have more cabin and storage space. If you see yourself in this kind of situation, consider converting your car into a ute. 

Utes are very versatile vehicles. Regardless if you’re planning to use one for personal or commercial use, utes fit the bill. This vehicle can serve different purposes to different owners, making this a smart choice for many. If you ever consider converting your car into a ute, make sure to begin by following the tips below:

Plan Ahead

Depending on the model you’re going to convert, you have to carefully plan what will be added and detached from the car. During this process, prepare markers as you’ll need to plot all the incisions you’ll make to your car. For starters, you’ll have to work on the car’s doorposts, rocker panels, and floor behind the front seat since the car impacts the overall strength of the chassis. However, if you’re converting a car with an earlier model, consider cutting away the flooring and unbolting the sheet-metal shell of the car. But regardless of the model of the car, you still need to cut the rear of the roof.

You may want or have to relocate your gasoline tank, too. Most often than not, the gasoline container might be attached to parts which you’d want to remove from your car. For example, the gasoline container might be hung too low, which can disrupt your ability to tinker in the back of your car. When planning to move your fuel storage, make sure that it will be positioned where the tank filler’s neck will emerge from the ute bed.

Most cars have a compartment designated for spare tires and several tools in the trunk. All of these supplies should be relocated too. Since cars have flooring behind the front seat, you can design a hatch in the wooden floor of the load bed in order to have access to the compartment below.

If you’re using a small car for this conversion, you might want to add ute tray that is slightly bigger than your car’s load bed. Doing this will allow you to have more storage space at the back.

Chop Shop

You can always have the option to chop several parts of your car by yourself by using a chisel and hammer, but a panel-cutting chisel or cutting torch can make this chore quicker and easier. Sheet-metal sections, such as your car’s roof, can be cut using a saber saw, while thick partitions can be cut using a dual hacksaw. Remember that sheet metals can be sharp and jagged once it’s cut, so always wear gloves during this process.

After cutting several sheet-metal sections of your car, start outlining the side panels that will be used for the ute bed. You can use 3/8 construction-grade plywood for this purpose. This should be properly shaped and sized in order to slide inside the doorposts of your car. Remember to clear your tires even when the axle is twisted or the suspension is compressed. The panels should be attached to the inner side of the doorposts, and small bolts should be used to evenly distribute the ute bed.

Each side panel of the ute bed should be reinforced with gussets made out of 2×4s or other appropriate lumber. If possible, the support should run the length of each plywood sheet, and you should also have at least one more support that would connect the chassis and horizontal brace. The planks will serve as your foundation to support the structural soundness of the removed body parts from the car.

You can use more 2×4 lumbers as the crossmembers where the ute bed will be placed. All of these supports should be connected to the side panels using cleats and to the chassis below using several bolts. The crossmember that is located at the rearmost part of your car plays the most vital role, so this should be bolted to the frame mounts where the bumper is attached.

Remember to cut these to suit the wheel wells of your ute. This makes your ute bed suitable for axle deflection and suspension travel. Use cleats and a lot of roofing nails (1 ½ inch) whenever fastening the flooring to the side panels.

Don’t throw away the pieces of wood that were cut to make room for the wheel wells. These can still be reused, along with other pieces of sandwiched wood, to build several boxes around the wells.

You’ll also need to attach a wooden structure to the wall behind the seat. All of the materials used during this process should snugly fit the doorposts of your ute. Use cleats to help the panel carry the load that was originally managed by the rear window pillars and the roof. If you’re eyeing to replace the stock front seat, take time to cut across this panel and tilt the lower section in order for this structure to take the shape of your seat’s back.

Additional Details and Finishing Touches

 Once the basic structure of the ute is finished, you can add details and finishing touches based on your preferences. You can add a plexiglass rear window to your new ute so you’ll be able to still use the inside of your rearview mirror. Taillights and bumper can also be attached in the rear crossmember. Just make sure that you’re using carriage bolts and isolators from your ute’s body mounts.

Since you’ve already removed several metal parts from your ute, expect that its load capacity will increase. However, if you still want to improve the weight-handling capability of your newly converted ute, consider using air shocks. While there are several options to serve this purpose, air shocks are affordable and adjustable.

Once your vehicle looks like a ute, you can begin hauling in your unique style. You’ll have the liberty to paint it in the color of your choice or add upgrades. Aside from being your mode of transportation, let your ute be your medium to showcase your personality!

It’s Easy When You Know How

There’s nothing really wrong if you want to convert your vehicle. If you believe this is the best option for you right now, go ahead and do it. This project might demand time and effort, but this is a cheaper option than buying a brand new vehicle. If you’re looking forward to converting your car into a ute, use this article as your reference. The tips listed here will make the process easier and faster for you!