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To read the original full thread and post questions/comments on this topic, please go to http://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/interior-exterior-visual-tech/48432-more-room-your-fj-rear-panel-tray.html



I initially posted this in my build up (Fjamming's "Genie"). Thought it should be posted here instead.

One of the common problem with the FJ is lack of room. When you are out on the trail and packed quite a few things, the back cargo area is pretty much loaded and you have no place to sort through your things. You either have to rearrange items to the front seats or put them on the ground. If you're on mud or sand, it becomes a real hassle. So I made this little fold down tray to take care of that problem. I use it as a table when I'm rummaging through the cargo area, use it as a picnic table, or as a work area for repairs. It really is very handy.

So here were the things that i had to consider when I was drawing it up.

The tray had to be:
  • Big enough.
  • Strong enough
  • Compact enough when stored.
  • Economical.
  • Silent when vehicle is moving.
The challenge initially was to make sure that it's strong enough to hold a significant weight. What's the point of a table if I can barely put anything on it. I've tested this to 15-20lbs of static weight at the far edge of the table. It should be enough for most purposes. Big enough is easy. I think the picture shows that you gain significant amount of room. When stored, it protrudes about 1 inch. I spent about $130 for this mod. I've taken the tray through the Mojave Trail and although it did make some very soft sounds, it was not apparent. I had to listen for it. I can silence it if I want, but it's not an issue that warrant that much attention.

There have been quite a few requests for the tray. I was hoping to get it more polished before putting it to the forum, but here it is.


Unfolded






Folded


Locks into place when folded.


It fits in the fold of the rear hatch so it doesn't encroach too much in the interior space.


In the field.

As a picnic table/food prep surface.

Tool/work area.


Strength




View from inside the cargo area.




I'm really happy with how it turned out, but also looking into options in plastic trays with metal reinforcements.
 

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Re: More room for your FJ: Rear Panel Tray

So here's how I did it.

Open the rear hatch and pop the window open. Make sure the hatch is locked into place. You'll need to exert some force later.

Remove the 2 screws in upper left and right corner. Pop open the dust shield by the window. Use a flat screw driver and pop open the cap for the 3rd screw and unscrew it.


Use a flat screw driver or pry bar and carefully find a loose space somewhere in the inner edge (where the hinge meets the body) and start to pop open the retaining pins. There are about 12 or so (sorry can't remember). There are quite a few on the top portion so if it's not loose, keep trying. Be careful, those pins are fragile and can be destroyed. Lift the panel through the window when the pins have been pulled.



Be careful about the white pins. They can get get lost easily. Remove them from the panel for safe keeping.





These are the materials you'll need. I got them at Ace Hardware, but you can pretty much get them from anywhere. I got some extra screws because I was experimenting. They are 1/4 inch hex screws of various length (1", 1.5", and 2"). 2 bushings, 2 spacers (1/2"), 2 T-plates, bag of 1/4" locking washers, 2 chrome tipped screw caps for a finished look.





The hardest part is the measurement. Place a blanket or some kind of protective sheet on the table so you can protect both the panel and the table. Place the tray over the area you want to drill and carefully mark it.

Looks kind of like this when lining up.


Don't cover the hole for the screw (one that was covered by a plastic cap) with the tray. After you lined it up, drill the steel tray first (don't drill too high or it will end up where the panel curves-you don't want that. Look at my finished picture carefully for some ideas. Through the hole on the tray, mark the hole for the panel. You'll be ok as long as that hole lines up.

Here's how the backside looks. Use the 1/4 hex screws (1") for the bracing part of the T-bar. Anything longer and it'll stick too far and hit stuff inside the panel. Notice the direction of the screws. I used locking washers on both sides.




The one screw going the other way is 1/4" hex in 1.5" length.


The other side. A rubber bushing is placed over the top hex screw. This rubber bushing will provide some support for the tray when it's snugged down. The tray will hold it in place once the tray is tightened.




Now we are ready to attach the tray to the panel. With the 8 bolts, this thing isn't going anywhere!
Place a locking washer, 1/2" spacer, and the 1/4" bolt onto the 1/2" The 1/4" 1.5" hex screw. There will be a little bit of stud left over. I used a chrome bolt cap to give it a finished look.


Then simply replace the panel onto the rear hatch. You're done!





 
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