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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, our new dogmobile is almost finished. We went from an '06 Touring to an '11 Touring Elite- we purchased both of them solely for our dogs. My husband had built a crate in the '06 and learned a lot from doing it so he had new things in mind for the next version. We both came from 'fun' cars- him a souped up S4, myself- Camaros and an STi. So buying a minivan really sucked.

I have been in an accident with a dog before. She was loose in a backseat. It was horrible. Not only can your dog become injured or die, but they could easily kill you. (mine are all between 57-65 lbs, hefty missiles in a crash). I know nothing is perfect, and every collision is different, but we wanted to do the best we could. Traditional metal crates are very noisy and it is tough to get 4 large ones in.

Each dog has his/her own space, plenty of room for them to stretch out and stand, turn, etc. He also installed a water tank with a line to each of their buckets so we can just turn a valve to fill each bucket. There are also LED's inside that we have on a remote control so if we ever want to check on them at night we can. The hardest part of the project (for me) was finding beds to fit perfectly. I think the dimensions are about 40x24 in each crate.

We still have access to the spare, a challenge that wasn't present in the '06 because we had no spare.

There is plenty of cargo space- we have the space behind the driver/passenger seats, the top of the crate, and in one of the back crates there is a trap door giving us access to where the third row of seats used to be.

It's been a long project, many test runs listening for rattles, and it still isn't done (he has to refinish some of the latches since he had trouble with them). He is not a professional welder - not even close- he's self taught since starting the crate. I think he's done a fine job :)
 

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Amazing! I can see dog paw prints in the third photo. LOL.

:DD
 

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Nice work, what is the metal fence like piece between the ceiling and the cage behind the front seat for?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Nice work, what is the metal fence like piece between the ceiling and the cage behind the front seat for?
He welded/bolted that in to keep stuff from flying into the front seat when we hit the brakes. We also need to find a grippy top to put on the roof of the crate so stuff doesn't slide around. For now, bungees are doing the job.
 

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So did you remove the crates from the '06 and adapt them for your '11 or did you build new crates from scratch?

:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So did you remove the crates from the '06 and adapt them for your '11 or did you build new crates from scratch?

:)

Removed them and will probably sell to a scrapyard. The old crate wasn't as pretty, wasn't powdercoated, and only held three dogs. We just added a fourth in January. So he is partially to blame. He's lucky he's cute.
 

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Very cool! I'm trying to figure out some way of safeling traveling with 1 dog and 2 children--but sadly have no welding skills!

I'm also curious about how it is held in place.

As for what to put on top; we had a mat in our Passat wagon called a Monster Matt (I think that's a VW thing)--anyway, it was very tough and came with 4 L shaped pieces of heavy duty plastic, each of which had velcro on the underside of the "L." You can see a picture (although not a good one) here: http://drivergear.vw.com/vw08/SKUDetailsVW08F3C9061166H.asp

Anyway, you could buy something like that, glue the mat (or some carpet that Velcro will stick to) to the top of the crate, and then use wooden or plastic L's with velcro to hold things in place--and of course move them around as needed. VW does just sell the "organizer blocks": http://drivergear.vw.com/vw08/SKUDetailsVW08F3C9061166H.asp
So, you could buy them, then take them too a carpet store, find carpet that they stick to, and then buy enough of the carpet (a remnant maybe) to glue onto the top of your crate, and you're good to go!
 

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How do the dogs like the ultra widescreen. What movies do they like?
 

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Awesome! You could probably sell a lot of those.
 

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Very interesting project.

And if you're a little short on cash now and again you could moonlight transporting criminals from the jail to the courthouse.....:tongue:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
PhillyTim, thanks so much for the suggestions! I sent him the links. You rock!

The bottom of the crate is bolted to where the 2nd row seats used to go. There is a separate frame on the bottom (the whole thing is three or four huge pieces, I can't remember right now). The last crate in the '06 was one huge piece, and a beast to get in and out.

As for why an Elite- pretty much every option other than the RES appealed to us. I do not solely rely on them, but the left/right indicators are very helpful when I can't get a good look and we are packed to the gills- with stuff on top, the rearview mirror is also useless so the backup camera has been great too- which would have been on a Touring as well. I have horrible night vision so the HIDs really sold me- of course I drove an Elite at night before an EX-L and I couldn't believe the difference, so I was sold on the Elite from first drive (yes, I know you can do HIDs aftermarket).
We actually took delivery of ours fairly quick in October and got a decent price on it which was hard to believe at the time. If we had to do it over I'd still make the same decision. We are really happy with it, aside from the low battery indicator which plagued us for a few weeks but (knock on wood) it has been gone for a while now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Awesome! You could probably sell a lot of those.
We could! I was just at a dog agility trial today and it was a gorgeous day so I had the doors/hatch open and I probably could have taken a dozen orders. There is a company in Texas that builds similar crates custom order- and they charge plenty!
Problem is, it took him a while. It was his winter project which is still ongoing.... the watering system went fairly quick but now he wants to tweak the latches so.. I'm not sure when it will ever be officially done. We have so much other stuff going on and his 'real job' is crazy busy. Maybe when he retires ;)
 

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Just wanted to say it looks great. I'll be starting to build on very soon to hold 3 large dogs behind the 2nd row of seats. Any tips or suggestions from your two car crates?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just wanted to say it looks great. I'll be starting to build on very soon to hold 3 large dogs behind the 2nd row of seats. Any tips or suggestions from your two car crates?

Well, in our 2006, we took out the paneling so we had more room to make the crate larger. I would never mess with that again, we had a lot of road noise from it even though we used some sound dampening. We left it in in the 2011 and it is very quiet.

Making your own is the way to go if you don't want to listen to rattling crate doors, etc. It is time consuming though.

Not sure if you're leaving in the third row or removing it. If you never have plans to use it and your crate will be permanent for the most part, you might as well take it out for the weight savings. We have a 'trap door' in the back crate so we can access that empty space where the seats used to be. We haven't really needed it, there is plenty of room- but it is nice to know we have more space down there if needed.

I just asked him if he had any tips. He said to make a mock crate out of cardboard or PVC first- it will help nail down the size you want. Figure out how and where you are going to attach it to the floor, if you are attaching it. He didn't plan for that up front and it was a challenge.

He offered his email address if you want to send any questions his way... just shoot me a PM and I'll get it to you. He is happy to help!
 

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Absolutely awesome!

One thing that I've kind of been disappointed with our 2012 TE is the lack of cargo tie downs in the cargo hold area. We crate our 65lb English Bulldog in the car whever we go and use the tie downs in our Audi Wagon to secure the travel crate. I'm sure there's a way to make that work in the van, but I haven't seen an easy solution yet.

You guys have done an awesome job here and I personally think you should think about selling them.

Lastly, for what it's worth... I think a lot of pet owners are ignorant to the dangers of travellign with their animals unsecured in their vehicles. You are spot on correct that the dog can get hurt but ALSO that you and your passengers can get hurt too. I hate to think the kind of kinetic energy that my Bullie would deliver on a passenger if he were loose in a high speed crash. He'd get killed and I have to believe that he'd seriously hurt or kill someone too. So thanks for taking care of your dogs but also thanks for taking care of yourselves.

Happy and safe motoring!
 

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In my next life, I wanna be a dog so I can watch the ultrawide RES screen and dolby surround.
 

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Well, in our 2006, we took out the paneling so we had more room to make the crate larger. I would never mess with that again, we had a lot of road noise from it even though we used some sound dampening. We left it in in the 2011 and it is very quiet.

Making your own is the way to go if you don't want to listen to rattling crate doors, etc. It is time consuming though.

Not sure if you're leaving in the third row or removing it. If you never have plans to use it and your crate will be permanent for the most part, you might as well take it out for the weight savings. We have a 'trap door' in the back crate so we can access that empty space where the seats used to be. We haven't really needed it, there is plenty of room- but it is nice to know we have more space down there if needed.

I just asked him if he had any tips. He said to make a mock crate out of cardboard or PVC first- it will help nail down the size you want. Figure out how and where you are going to attach it to the floor, if you are attaching it. He didn't plan for that up front and it was a challenge.

He offered his email address if you want to send any questions his way... just shoot me a PM and I'll get it to you. He is happy to help!
Thanks a lot! I'd be interested in how you have the crate affixed to the car. I'll be leaving the 3 row in. There are times when I'll take the crate out of the car. I'll be making it relatively easily removeable.
 
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