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This will be a short write-up because it's already been done and posted on Youtube by Mark&Merry on Wanderlost Overland, but I did make a few tweaks (some for the better, and some not so much) and thought I'd share here my experience building this storage system. Here's the link of the very good, very detailed step-by-step instructions that I cannot do better, so why even try? Enjoy!


Now, for the changes I made and lessons I learned:

1) I extended the width to span across from wheel well to wheel well, giving me a total of 41.5" in width. NOTE: I would go 41" next time, because I just barely miss the door on the left and door frame on the right (I have about 1/8" clearance on both sides). This means I can't mount anything in the bottom half of my door if it sticks out further than the recess at the "FJ" end of the open door. If you have something mounted on the lower portion of your back door, like a MOLLE rack, take that into consideration when figuring out your width. I personally like the extra storage space and the look of the width I have better. (Again, I'd just go a half-inch less to give myself a little more room.) The extra width also meant I could not use the turnbuckles to ratchet the front down like in the video: I instead removed the tie-downs, drilled holes into the bottom of the cabinet, and bolted it directly into the body. I will use the tie-downs later by mounting them to the top of the box instead.

2) I spent the extra 5 bucks and opted for self-closing, heavy duty rails for my drawers. Don't do this! They are a little more of a hassle to deal with, but the real problem is they don't really work: the latch mechanism is too heavy for the spring on the rails to latch, so you end up having to close them yourself anyway. Not worth the money (or the little bit of hassle dealing with the mechanism).

3) I used the same depth of 27" as in the vid, but apparently bought larger turnbuckles than necessary. Measure the distance between your U-bolt and the tie down to make sure you buy the right size.

4) The strike plates part# listed is no longer available. The ones I bought work, but the opening isn't really big enough.

5) The latches that were used in the video are not the ones in the parts list (a parts list is also provided in this great vid/write-up!): these have locks and the ones he listed do not. The only difference besides the locking feature, I think, is the ones without locks have pre-drilled holes whereas the ones with locks do not (which kind of makes sense, as you would mount them differently). I have the bolts in place to secure the latches with the same type mentioned in the videos, but will probably replace them with some that are harder to remove (some special head, perhaps).

And that's pretty much it!

Here are my results:

20200328_121906.jpg 20200328_121915.jpg

Special thanks to Wanderlost Overland for the terrific video!

-Mike
 

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I also took a different approach and went for the El Naturaul look. I have another coat of finish to do and I have hood shocks and mounts to hold the lids open. I botched some spots, but the project has become a chore so I've half a$$ed some of it. It's cheap and I'm broke so ?‍♂
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