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LJ rear storage

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After living with my LJ for 3+ years I wanted to make a few changes to the rear storage area to better accommodate how Ive been using the Jeep.

First, I wanted to raise the cargo basket that I installed when I came to AZ 3 years ago. I also wanted to move it rearward so I could recline the seats further. This will be the “Mark 3”edition. The first two versions are detailed here:




I completely scraped the angle iron I was using in the first two versions to mount the basket to the tub. This time I used 1” aluminum square tube clamped to the roll bars. Much lighter, and hopefully easier to remove and reinstall, if desired.



I wanted to keep the square tubing parallel with the side window so I used two different methods to clamp the tube to the roll bars. The clamps are reshaped chain link fence brackets that I lined with a tough silicone rubber.





To keep from crushing the aluminum, I pressed inserts of “mother nature’s composite”, aka wood, into the ends of the tube. These pictures were taken were during construction. Since then the bolts have been shortened and protective caps have been added to keep blood letting to a minimum. The hose clamps you may see below the roll bar clamps are there just to locate the bar clamps so I only needed to measure one time while I was putting this all together.


In case anyone is curious I used 1/4” structural rivets to mount the aluminum angle to the square tubing. I stink at welding aluminum and don’t have the capacity to do it at home anyway.



This was the first step. Part 2 to follow. I don’t want to push my luck trying to post these pics full size.





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Part 2

This past hiking season, (something below 90*), I did a lot of off trail hiking while searching hill tops for Indian ruins. The LJ became a 4wd taxi that got us into a number of areas in the Tonto National Forest where we could begin our off trail hikes. This meant leaving the Jeep along side the trail or backed into the brush while we were gone for the next few hours. I also often leave it at trail heads all over the valley while I hike.


Because of these facts I wanted something in the Jeep to keep the usual off road gear somewhat more secure and at least out of sight. My solution is far from perfect but at least gear is not just tied down in the back.


I also tried to build in some functions in case I want to camp out of the Jeep. I do admit I use my pick up to camp way more than the Jeep since the truck is way more comfortable on the ride home after a few days of volunteer patrols up at the Canyon.


I started with a 3/4” Baltic Birch plywood base board to make it easier to mount various things.



I removed the rear seat brackets and center seat belt anchor but kept the rear carpet. The bottom of the base board has 1” spacer blocks in strategic locations so that the board is just barely resting on the carpet. The base board is fastened to the tub in 7 locations using the factory threaded inserts so no new holes had to be drilled.



This is the drawer box and drawer I built for the right side.



The center divider in the drawer is fixed for added strength. The rear divider is adjustable and removable. The latch isn’t locking since most of the security of the drawer comes from the fact that even once someone has broken into the Jeep they still need to get the tailgate open. Hope I never have to test that theory. I didn’t use drawer slides for reasons of cost, and loss of usable width in the drawer. There are two 1/8” hardboard runners on the drawer bottom that act as slides. These are lubed with a dry spray lubricant. So far the drawer moves quite nicely even when fully loaded. All of my normal off road tools and gear fit nicely in drawer.


Here is the completed system so far shown with the fridge slide I scored off of the Overland Expo for sale site. I haven’t used the fridge in the Jeep yet but figured I would plan for it. Other camping gear would be secured in the cargo basket and with the tie down tracks seen in the first picture.



In some of the above pics you can see the tie down loops I added to the sides of the drawer box. These can be installed in different places to allow things to be tied on the top of the drawer box if necessary while camping.


I still may drill a series of 1” holes in the baseboard so that rollercam straps could be threaded thru these holes in order to tie down things if the fridge slide wasn’t installed.



I may still build a carrier that will hold a MWC forward of the drawer box. Still thinking about this one.






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Wow Jim, you do really NICE work!!

smiles, karen

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Looks GREAT Jim !!!

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very nice Jim. definitely some ideas in there to steal as i'm about to also embark on a "v2" rear cargo area configuration!


is that a commercially available fridge slide or someone's personal creation?

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Thanks everybody! The mahogany drawer front is overkill but I had a piece laying around just begging to be used.


Kris, The slide was made by DFG off-road.



It’s all aluminum, riveted construction. I about choked when I saw the prices on their web site. The person I purchased mine from must have really wanted it gone! I’m not sure how much you have in yours but I bet you’re $ ahead.


It’s longer than my Engel fridge by quite a bit. In fact, I had to add two xmbrs so the fridge is supported on its rubber feet.

I share your dislike of rattles so I also added beefed up bumpers and slightly modified the latch to keep things quiet while traveling.


All things considered I’m very happy with it considering the price I paid.


Edit: Looking at the DFG site I realized I should clarify that the reason it’s longer than needed for my fridge is because it wasn’t really designed for the 37? Engel. Therefore maybe my experience isn’t typical for their products. All part of the experience when buying used.

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I was cleaning out the shed and wanted to use some plywood offcuts instead of pitching them. I decided to make a carrier for my MWC.




The carrier bolts to my baseboard and the water can is retained using a 1” strap. The strap is threaded thru a couple of 1 1/4” holes that I drilled in the baseboard.

The strap seems much easier to use than the tie down tracks I previously installed. I’ll leave the tracks in place for tying down things when the water can holder isn’t used.




Simple, cheap, and effective. My kinda project.



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Looks GREAT Jim ! But knowing how much of a perfectionist you are with cabinetry, I'm not surprised... ;)

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