Jump to content
4x4tographer

Jeep JL Drawer and Deck System

Recommended Posts

Inspired by @theksmith truly excellent storage/sleep platform, I decided to use my time over the holidays to create my own “super-fully-customized-ultimate-drawer-system-with-a-deck” project. Also driving this project is never-ending struggle of gear management - that one thing I need during a trail ride happens to be buried in a box under a mountain of other gear, forcing me to unload 1/2 the trunk just to get at it.

 

I’m no engineer but with some moderate planning, and shameless rip offs from @theksmith’s ideas and some installation videos I watched from Goose Gear, I think I landed on a solid idea.

 

My Project Goals: 

  • Full extension slides that will support the weight of my recovery gear, tools and trail snacks
  • Full width deck that blends into the contours of the trunk
  • Tie downs on the top of the deck for additional gear boxes, Gerry cans, etc....
  • Bedliner/sealant incase I get caught in the rain with the top off
  • Keep my existing Tuffy tailgate storage lock box

 

Materials include:

  • Plywood
  • Beadboard (used to cut as a template for mapping the Jeeps contours)
  • 500lb lock in/lock out sliders
  • Pocket screws
  • Nails
  • Wood glue
  • Kilz primer paint
  • Rattle can paint
  • Rattle can bedliner

 

Tools used:

  • Table saw
  • Jig saw
  • Router
  • Circular saw
  • Impact Driver
  • Nail gun
  • Clamps
  • Kreg jig (pocket hole jig)
  • Oscillating tool
  • Mouse sander
  • Speed square
  • Contour gauge

 

 

Edited by 4x4tographer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eager to get started, I ripped out the carpeted bed and storage cover from the back of the Jeep in order to get some good measurements.

 

Goose Gear has an excellent installation video for their plate system that goes over these steps. Additionally I took out the stock tie-down anchors. I plan to use these mount points as the place to mount a home made base plate to start building on.

 

 

E202EF40-F8AA-4A87-A623-DDC0BDDA71E9.thumb.jpeg.c496a0f65b9df09ac065e2e6f4e5b85c.jpeg

 

An additional consideration was making sure I accommodate my existing tailgate mounted Tuffy storage lock box, which also doubles as a fold out table. This will limit my maximum box/drawer depth, but also force me to offset the drawers to the left to allow the drawers to pull all the way out to their full 24” extension without hitting the lock box.

 

Edited by 4x4tographer
  • Like 1
  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here’s the rough base plate. Ended up making a cutout along the bottom lip to maintain access to the factory jack/tools.

Bolt holes were easily lined up thanks to another @theksmith idea of replacing the bolts, laying the board on top, and smacking it with a big ol’ hammer.

 

B0DC24C1-CFF4-49DA-8E26-ACA99775037F.thumb.jpeg.c6ac9debb3fe4877d020c679d4b81955.jpeg

 

I’ve built several pieces of furniture for our house and I can’t recommend a pocket hole jig enough. Easily the biggest bang-for-your-buck tool I own. Here’s the cabinet starting to come together.

05317FEE-E6F1-4071-9B6C-C99559C84746.thumb.jpeg.2a54d3c6807060288a02c7a4994a86ea.jpeg

 

I double-walled/laminated the interior wall as it will be supporting a slide and drawer on each side, and I need it to be able to take a good amount of weight from the deck when fully loaded.

A26ADB9F-7216-430A-9231-E88A2300863E.thumb.jpeg.73d149dff947af0ee43d2c1614c0e268.jpeg

 

 

Here it is during a test fit in the back of the JL!

A5A5BD49-2036-430C-ABC9-B76C0F57887E.thumb.jpeg.f41a62b58fab45fd838062dd867ce32b.jpeg

 

It was at this time I made a pretty big boo-boo. I forgot all about that big honking Tuffy tailgate lock box. I went to close the tailgate and SMACK. 😩 I realized I made the walls too long/deep. I ended up needing to jigsaw 3 inches off of the vertical walls, bringing my total storage from 30” to 27” to accommodate the tailgate box. I used my handy oscillating cutter to clean it up and a little sanding to get rid of the stray wood glue. 

Edited by 4x4tographer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rails test fitted and some hand routing around the slider latches.

B54C95A2-5920-4B7D-87CD-C1286371DD57.thumb.jpeg.8afec28ab15fc838aa441af7f0564b29.jpeg

 

Checking out the full extension of the sliders nad making some adjustments.

3D444A53-D7F3-4030-AB10-375566BF3552.thumb.jpeg.415d1df69db341146d03dcbae581de84.jpeg

 

I ended up making the drawers about 3-4mm too narrow for the pretty tight tolerance of the sliders. I ended up using some spare washers I had laying around as spacers to make up the difference. So far so good!

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks good!  Nice work.

 

Kreg jig for the win!

Edited by jgaz
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

nice job Ryan, it's beefy lookin!

 

 

On 12/30/2019 at 9:53 PM, 4x4tographer said:

I ended up making the drawers about 3-4mm too narrow for the pretty tight tolerance of the sliders. I ended up using some spare washers I had laying around as spacers to make up the difference.

 

don't feel bad, i had to use some washers/metal strips in the same way to help square up my drawer inside the hole.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/30/2019 at 9:53 PM, 4x4tographer said:

 

I ended up making the drawers about 3-4mm too narrow for the pretty tight tolerance of the sliders. I ended up using some spare washers I had laying around as spacers to make up the difference. So far so good!


Adding washers is waaaay easier than the alternative if you get the drawer to case clearance too tight.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last few days I’ve been able to primer and paint the entire project. The Kilz was great, I was able to do the entire system with just a small can and a 1/2-sized paint roller.

 

I’d also completely forgotten about maintaining access to the “super secret under-floor storage compartment”, so a grabbed the jigsaw and router and went to work. The space is accessible if I pull the drawer out, so not super convenient, but I figure I can put some emergency supplies in that compartment, or things that would be extremely rare for me to access. I’m thinking a stash of MRE’s or water bottles.

jw1De2p

 

5 coats of rattle-can Rustoleum bedliner on the top deck surface. It’s not the most beautiful paint job, but it’ll get the job done. My trunk is generally dusty as hell as I ride most of the year with the top back.

 

ejbJcDZ

 

Decided to go for a pop of color on the drawers with some Apple Red paint that I think is a pretty decent match with the exterior Firecracker Red. Here’s a shot of the drawers installed before I bolted on the top deck. I wish the slide pulls were a similar color, but I’m ok with the blue. Maybe I’ll plastidip the pulls some day.

 

BV7A77d

 

I also end up with some nice little space to the left and right of the box for some longer items, like a folding chair, cheater pipe, etc...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Got to use my New Year’s Day to finish up this project!

 

Took the factory tie down points and bolted them to the deck with some 5/8 stainless hardware and lock nuts. I might invest in a cargo net to keep back there for lighter-weight things like groceries as the trunk is a lot shallower than it used to be. 😅 Can’t have my Wonderbread and Oreos littering the highway.

tl7Qpfv

 

Due to the nature of the contours I had to cut around with the deck, it’s a pretty tight fit with maybe 5mm of left/right wiggle room. The contour gauge was awesome and made the process really easy to nail on the first try. As the fit was snug, I ended up screwing the deck down last as there was no way I’d be able to preassemble the entire unit and drop it in. I used bronze colored deck screws for the top, all countersunk.

 

This shot shows some of the flaws in my use of rattle-can bedliner. I got a little happy on the trigger on the left drawer and had some drippage. It’s really only noticeable here due to the flash on my phone. It looks a lot better in natural light. If you look hard, you’ll be able to see the deck screws running every 4” down the center and sides.

 

NNovZql

 

Total Box height is 10”, with the drawers topping out at 9” in height. Perfect for accessing tools with the rear soft top panel in place. It can be a real PITA to remove everything you want to grab something - so this will be a nice little side benefit.

 

6EdEAKg

 

I go for my first drive with it tomorrow on my commute to work. I’m interested in seeing if I get any annoying rattles or squeaking from the system, After a day or two, I’ll load up the drawers with some gear. I’ll be embarking on another adventure in organizing the drawers themselves as they are blank canvasses! Overall the drawers are larger than the Wolfpack’s (by FrontRunner) that I keep filled with gear. It’ll be interesting to see how much I can cram into them.

 

Some remaining tasks/considerations:

 

  • Cut some rubber matting to line the drawer bottoms
  • Find some organizers/dividers to cubed bags for the drawers. I might even just make some dividers/inserts out of some thin wood or acetate
  • I’m kicking around the idea of some diamond plate for the deck for extra durability. I’m positive the bedliner is going to scratch off as soon as I lash down my steel Jerry cans on them.
Edited by 4x4tographer
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the risk of this sounding like “you know what you should have done”, I’ll show you what I used for my drawer dividers.


D4A60598-CF3F-40A4-91FF-945320715ECB.thumb.jpeg.d6a5f2e2c6a2b668ff1f382d7e2d45eb.jpeg

 

My center divider is a fixed 3/4” bulkhead.  I used this for strength since my drawer sides are 1/2 material.

The rearmost, thinner, divider is full 1/4”, hardboard.  I routed matching dados that would allow it to be positioned as needed. For example, the smallest space at the rear of the drawer is sized for a .30 ammo can which also fits an oil bottle very nicely.
 

Since your drawers are assembled it wold be difficult to route a dado the full depth of the drawer.  If you wanted to go this route and don’t have a trim router I’d be glad to loan you mine.  The dado would still stop about 2? inches short of the bottom but that shouldn’t compromise the strength much at all.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...