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177 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
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basic carcase built of cabinet grade plywood.

drawers (3) built and fitted.

Top fitted and set

remove back two tie downs and use a longer bolt to hold down the back,
the front is held down with 2 turnbuckles attached to the stock front tie
down loops.

Unfinished drawers and top.

Glued down heavy vinyl to top/deck install some flush wood handles
and painted a semi-gloss back.

516 Posts
Rear Cargo Storage: Compilation of solutions

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First off I'd like to thank a few guys who inspired me to go forward w/ this project. LandCruiserSteve and Corey. Thanks a lot guys. It was your projects that inspired my own.

Here's the completed box. I went w/ a box only 7'' tall and the drawers are 5.25" tall. Mainly because I have a 130lb American Bulldog I haul around w/ me and I wanted to give him plenty of room.

The front portion has a carpet that goes over it, but it got wet in the rain. I'll update a picture later.

Last one. I moved the tie down points to the top of the box and used the original holes to fasten the box down to the truck body.

This is the false floor that covers the folded down seats. It's easy to remove when I have additional folks to ride in the back.

A side profile of it. The foot on the right is what levels the floor area.

One of two Footmans loops to attach the floor to the box. Compliments to Steve. I had never heard of one of these prior to his build. This was the hardest to track down of all the hardware. Try a Sail Boat specialty shop.

The back of the box. This shows the ledge again and the footmans loops. You'll notice I removed altogether the angled piece of plastic that sits between the cargo area and the seats.

A beauty shot. The drawers are 29" deep

Just another shot showing the drawer slides ((Blum Slides))

And another

Drawers Completed
Top Shelf


Air Tools and Tire Kit

And one of the many reasons for the build.

If anyone has questions about measurements or anything at all feel free to inquire. I'll be happy to post plans for it.



3,175 Posts
Rear Cargo Storage: Compilation of solutions

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I wanted to balance sleep area with storage space for adequate head room etc. So here goes nothin:

Here is the napkin stage:

I started with the 2X4 cross piece attachment to the truck. Turned out to be plenty of holding power:

Made a notch so as to fit flush:

Then I cut and assembled as per plans:

The side panels were the only parts that took some time to trial and error, cut and paste. I have a template that I would be happy to trace and send to anyone who might want to try this project.

I used overlapping piano hinges here (one screw through 2 hing holes, then into the 2x4):

Forgot to get a pic of the rear section by itself but here it is added onto the forward section by a single hinge:

Next, the indoor/outdoor carpeting:

Get some help from a buddy to lift the unit in from the rear:

It works for me. I use a twin air mattress and sleeping bag and I sleep better than at home!

The Laughing Member
9,124 Posts
REAR CARGO STORAGE SOLUTIONS: Compilation of different members' builds

To read the original full thread and post questions/comments on this topic, please go to and

I began planning this project about a month before I even bought my FJ. And, it was about two months in the designing and actual building stage (a lot of hit & miss) when time permitted.

I wanted a rear storage unit that would meet this criteria:

Cost under $200 total. (I was too cheap to go out and buy something already built. Plus, there were no aftermarket systems that provided exactly what I wanted and needed.)

Be a modular system that could either be used as a rear cargo area storage box only, or a full-length system that could occupy the back seat area as well. (Since I had no use for the back seats, I removed them completely shortly after the FJ’s purchase. However, the cargo area only module could be used for those wishing to retain their back seats.)

Be sturdy enough to carry anything from off-road recovery equipment, to tools and parts, to camping gear, to miscellaneous supplies and gadgetry.

Be completely removable and returned to stock configuration if desired.

Use existing OEM bolt and mounting holes without any cutting, drilling or otherwise molesting the FJ’s original state.

Follow the contours of the FJ’s interior design.

Be professionally-built looking (even though I’m not a professional, nor do I play one on TV).

Supplies required:

Two 4x8 sheets of ¾” plywood.

About 40 feet of ¾” aluminum angle.

2 sets of 24” heavy-duty drawer sliders.

One and a half 6’ x 8’ rolls of gray indoor/outdoor carpeting (from Home Depot @$15.95 a roll).

Carpet adhesive.

Miscellaneous hardware and screws.

I began by building the rear drawer storage box with a center divider and pre-installed the drawer sliders. The box was carpeted prior to installation in the truck. Aluminum angle iron was installed along all edge surfaces and filed smooth. (I used 3" L-brackets to set up the shape of the box until the actual 2" wood screws were installed from the outside.)

I removed the rear tie-down hooks and used their holes as the rear attachment points for the box. (I installed the previously removed tie-down hooks on the forward section of the box to secure it with a pair of turnbuckles to the other set of tie-down hooks.)

Two drawers were built, carpeted, and aluminum angled.

The forward module was created by first cutting to size a base platform that slid snugly up against the rear divider wedge. To level the platform perfectly, I attached pedestal shims along its front base.

The sides of the forward module were installed to meet the height of the rear box, and the front face panel was attached. Upon completion of the structure, I removed the entire forward module to carpet and aluminum angle the edges.

The forward module was re-installed and secured to the side bolt holes that were previously occupied by the back seat attach points. The front of the forward module was secured to existing bolt holes under where the back seats once were. (Eventually, a pair of filler panels were built to fill the spaces between the rear and forward storage boxes.)

The forward module top surface area was measured and a top was created, notched for contour, carpeted and aluminum angled.

The open-able top was attached to the face of the rear storage box with a 45” heavy-duty continuous “piano hinge.” (I’m awaiting the arrival of a flush-mounted lockable latch handle for securing the forward lid when closed, and a pair of hatch struts to hold the lid open when in use.)

(Continued in next post.)

The Laughing Member
9,124 Posts
Re: "The BOX" . . . . full-length modular storage system for the FJ.

But, wait . . . . there’s more!!

Here’s something to sleep on . . . . .

With the front seats all the way forward, there’s an additional 19” of space that could easily be filled by an additional panel. So, I did.

I attached a pair of footman loops to the front section of the forward module, and fabricated a pair of aluminum L-brackets / slot-hooks to the rear of the additional panel. And, attached a pair of ½” threaded female pipe flanges to the front of the panel.
Screwed into the flanges are a pair of painted steel “legs” that provide forward support for the panel. (Rubber cushion tips for the bottom of the legs.)

Now I have a 72” long sleep surface that (snugly) accommodates an inflatable full-size bed air mattress and allows the rear door to close.

Edit: Correction . . . turns out this is a queen-size mattress. See Post #30.

When the sleep panel is not in service, the legs remove and clip to the bottom of the panel. And, the panel itself stores perfectly into the base of the forward module box.

I’m 6’ 4” and 250 pounds, and the bed fits me quite nicely, with plenty of room to spare.

Well, that’s it. During the course of building, a few scuffs found their way to the interior plastic. However, I came in well under budget. And, the storage boxes and drawers do exactly what I had envisioned.

Time for a rest . . . . . :zzz::zzz:

Part 2 of this project continues in:

The Laughing Member
9,124 Posts
Re: "The BOX" . . . . full-length modular storage system for the FJ.

Here are the basic dimensions of the entire set-up:

Disclaimer: The following measurements were for the unit that I built for my particular FJ. The actual size may vary for yours. And, the thickness of the carpet, the angle aluminum and your individual construction style may have an effect on dimensions as well.

So, I suggest that you just use the above dimensions as a base reference only. As they say, "measure twice / cut once."

All wood is (true) 3/4" plywood

Rear drawer box (exterior dimensions)
42"w x 10 1/4"h x 27 1/4"d (with a 3/4" thick divider mounted dead center).

Drawers x2 (exterior dimensions)
19"w x 8 1/4"h x 25 1/2"d, with the face panel being 1" taller to allow 1/2" overlap at the top and bottom of the the front of the drawer.
Note: Drawers must have exactly 1/2" clearance on each side to accomodate the thickness of the sliders. And, you'll probably have to notch the 1" front aluminum facing over the center divider to allow clearance of the drawers and sliders opening.

Forward storage box
Base platform: 45"w x 20 1/2"d.
Side panels x2: 6"h x 19"d (with a 1" 45 degree notch at the lower rear).
Front-to-rear filler panels x2: 6"h x 11"d.
Front panel: 45"w x 10 3/4"h.
Top / lid: 45" w x 24"d (with 2" 45 degree notches at the rear).

Sleep Platform
40 1/2" w x 18 1/2" d.
Total leg height (including mounting flange and cushion tip) from bottom of panel to floor: 18 1/4"h.

To be on the safe side, I highly suggest that you tape off any areas of your plastic interior that may come in contact with the units during installation. (I learned the hard way by putting a couple of nasty nicks above the rear interior wheel wells.)

Also, shims may be required for precision alignment and height adjustment of the front and rear storage areas.

Good luck. And, if you have any questions or get stumped along the way, feel free ask away.

The Laughing Member
9,124 Posts

The Laughing Member
9,124 Posts
Re: "The BOX" . . . . full-length modular storage system for the FJ.

Okay, a final wrap-up of a few more things that has now completed the "BOX" project.

I initially tried a hatch/window strut to keep the forward storage box lid open, but even the lightest-duty strut I could find was overkill and popped that sucker open like a catapult. So, I went with a pair of Stanley adjustable-friction chest lid prop supports. ($5.95 each. Mounting location template is included with the supports.)

I installed a rounded low-profile handle for the forward lid, and added a flush-mounted key lock (1 1/8" long cylinder to account for the 3/4" lid thickness, carpeting and lower hardware).

For additional hold-down support, I fabricated a pair of 1" aluminum brackets that attach to the bottom of the forward storage box and bolt onto the exisiting previous rear seat mounting holes.

I added four FJC tie-down hooks to the top of the rear storage area (ice chest, additional storage boxes, etc.). A small notch had to be cut on the rear panel of the two drawers to permit opening/closing with the slightly protruding underside hardware of the tie-downs.

And, to answer the numerous PM inquires about the contraption mounted on the front of the forward storage box, it's an electrical remote-activated shotgun lock/rack system.

A disguised button on/near the dash releases the spring-loaded lock and allows quick removal of the weapon. (Supplied keys can also open the lock manually.) They're about $90-$130 from most law enforcement supply companies (i.e, Gall's).

Again, if you're undertaking this project (or something similar to it), please feel free to ask any questions you might have. Thank you again for your appreciation of this little endevour.

For the version of this thread that includes all readers' questions and comments, go to and

Premium Member
5,235 Posts
REAR CARGO STORAGE SOLUTIONS: Compilation of different members' builds

To read the original full thread of Corey's Build-Up and to post questions/comments on this topic, please go to

Back around August of 2001 I had a Boeing carpenter measure the cargobay of my '91 4Runner for a cargobox.
In the last picture below you can see the dimensions of it.

After taking delivery of the FJ Cruiser back in July of '06, the next day I put the cargobox in it.
It was a pretty close fit, and it suits the rig fine.

If I was having another one made, I would have it built to fill out the sides and rear a little more to provide more room in the box, but it works out great as you will see in the pictures below.

I like to carry a lot of tools with me such as a socket set, a set of screwdrivers, a Craftsman heavy duty impact wrench, impact sockets, ratchet wrenches, you get the idea, I like to be prepared for emergency repairs.

The carbobox also is a home base for my Powertank and one of my fire extinguishers, and also the Engle Slide-Loc that holds the ARB fridge/freezer for now.
Eventually I want to move the Slide-Loc to the rear left seatback, or take the seat out entirely to put the fridge to free up some space back aft.


68 Posts
REAR CARGO STORAGE SOLUTIONS: Compilation of different members' builds

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Well first, let me start of by saying this is my first ever project of this magnitude.
I first did all my research here at which was pretty help full
and also got good advice from LandCruiserSteve and Tubig, thanks guys for the
pointers. And to everyone else that had there own home grown rear gear boxes
which gave me plenty of ideas to go off of.

So here's what i did, i pretty much planed it out and drew out my ideas.
But of course that went over to smooth, so i wasn't surprised when later
i found my plans on my son's art desk, colored, and pretty much unreadable.
so that's when i pretty much wing it and just cut and see what happens.

day one: i planed out my plans, drew the blue prints, (then my son added red,
green, yellow, more blue, glue and food crumbs)

day two: bought the wood, paint, nails, carpet, screws, and everything else
got home and drew the base board lines out on the wood.

day three: cut, cut, and cut some more.

day four: attempted to put the pieces together, and when they weren't lining up
accordingly, i cut some more,

day five: prime time then slap on some paint.

day six: time to lay down some carpet! i think that was the easiest part of this project.
and put together in my FJ Negro

day seven: all was good, so i rested.

My make shift work bench

First fit test

Fit test with rails, and outlet cut out

Burning the midnight oil trying to build the drawers

Drawers, done, 2:30 am

Prime time, drawers.

Prime time, Gear Box.

Slapping on the paint

Final fit test.

Holding it down.

This box is bolted.

MY Rear Gear Box!!

Drawers carpeted.

Drawers with Heavy duty rails, Profile shot.

It is Finished.....

so there you have it, it may not be perfect, but it serves its purpose for me.

579 Posts
REAR CARGO STORAGE SOLUTIONS: Compilation of different members' builds

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The idea of this box came from LandCruiserSteve’s design of his original “Box”. This one is basically a single storage box that has a space under the roll out drawer for the sleeping platform to fold up and be stored in. Does not require removal of the back seat. Basically butts right up to the back seats when they are folded up. Uses similar hardware as Steve’s original “Box”. It has two storage trays. One behind the roll out (will accommodate a rifle with a 20” barrel or air compressor) and one inside the rear of the roll out (will accommodate a pistol grip shot gun or tire chains). The sleeping trays fold into each other via a piano hinge (one is slightly smaller than the other). The legs unscrew from the pipe flange base and store within the tray when it is closed. The top lid of the storage box then opens from the top via another piano hinge, drawer rolls out and the platform then slides under the roll out for storage. When used as a sleeping platform the two trays have a reinforcing steel plate on the interior/bottom sides. This plate spans the gap between the two trays where the piano hinge to add rigidity. All materials are made out of 12 gauge (1/8) alum. All trays/sleeping platforms are formed boxes built with a press for strength. Roll out slides are rated for 300 lbs and lock. Top surface will be checker plate for traction and the rest is smooth alum, all will be painted gray to match the interior. Calculated weight is around 96 lbs. Construction starts this weekend. Locking mechanism is the only thing left to figure out. So far I’m leaning towards a simple padlocks. Thoughts appreciated :)

Ok we got started on it today. About 3/4's of the way there. Still need to add the dividers in the roll out, finish the trim on the front of the roll out to cover up the gaps, rivet in the piano hinge, and fab up the sleeping platform etc. After all is said and done I put all the materials on the scale & the box with sleeping platform weighed in at 101 lbs. Decided to go with 12 gauge smooth aluminum for everything. 300 lb locking drawers so there is zero shake or movement. The interior will be lined with ¼” high density foam. The box will be silent. You can see the blue tab that locks and unlocks the drawer. Kind of a nifty slider, it locks half way as well if you want. The locking mechanism is still leaning towards a simple padlock type set up. Unless any one has a better idea? Turned out to have 6’4” of sleeping surface. The extra weight in the back is exactly what the OME Heavies needed. Any way I should have more pics coming up once it finished. Maybe Wednesday. Here is were it's at for now:

What it will look like open:

You can see the locking mechanism blue tab on the right side of the roll out:

Here is a example how it would store a 20" barrelled rifle (extra room is for foam):

My box measurements were made with seats pushed fully forward, bottoms removed, seat backs laid fully forward and a air mattress in the back which puts you level with were the seat bottoms would have protruded into your sleeping area. You then get about four more inches of head room.

I'm restricted to steel or aluminum, plywood is nice but you lose the interior space and I'm worried about the legalities. It's tough to build a box that is secure but yet light. One big reason why I went with 1/8th formed alum. over plywood. Just enough room for ammo box, 20" rifle or air compressor etc. My experience with plywood is poor. On my old BJ42 Land Cruiser I built a plywood box (I used the best 3/4" 100 % Douglas Fir...yes it was a long wait to get it) with wood screws nails etc....basically a way overbuilt box and with four tire chains bouncing around it came apart. It took years of beating but after time it fell apart. This may of been because it had no top a lot of the time and moisture weekend it, but for the price of plywood these days alum. was my choice. In my opinion if you want to carry tire chains 12 months out of the year (and I do) you need steel or alum. Simply because they bounce & beat the s$&t out of your box. My old plywood box had high density foam glued to the top, bottom & sides which was not very noisy but the logging roads and the bounce took its toll on the box.

Premium Member
234 Posts
REAR CARGO STORAGE SOLUTIONS: Compilation of different members' builds

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I think this is more like a bed frame..

The requirement:

We want to be able to sleep inside the truck when we dont feel like setting up tent. The FJ lacks storage compartment, and I need some to haul all my stuff, the plastic tub I used in previous truck doesnt have enough room anymore. Oh and we want to sleep with the door closed...

I didnt want to remove the back seat completely because I might have to haul co-workers/people in the back seat when needed. The compromise: remove just the seat bottoms and leave the seat back & fold them down.

First I build a "ghetto box" for the cargo area to store my stuff:

Now you know why I call it the ghetto box.. two tubs as drawers because I cant cut things into right size and have no skill making any sort of container that has any hope of fitting into those slots:

pull out:

small section of the box top opens up:

The frame is made with something like 15/32" plywood. It holds me and my husband pretty well.. and I stand on the edge of the frame when I need to get/put stuff on the roof rack too. It seems to hold..

The folded seat back is a problem area. I didnt really want to put any weight on it directly, so I figured I will just run some "beams" across and find something out front to sit the beams on.

The board on the right hand side uses the seat bottom holes (4 bolts & nuts) and seemed to be pretty sturdy.

Another reason to do it this way is I dont want to be driving a bed frame around, it will probably make a lot of noise...

I later carpeted the front board so it does not look as ghetto..

then to hold the board vertically up so we can have a flat surface area:

Originally I used nylon strap but velcro works just as well. I like velcros..

Then the cross beams:

This is the second revision, the original version I used 2x4s ... they were bulky and I have no place to carry it.. the Thule load bar comes in handy.. I got a pair of 78" bar (cheapest per inch) and cut them in halves.. plasti-dip the ends so I dont have to file them.. It's not pretty but it works..

The bars are just sitting on the wood block screwed onto the cargo frame.

to make sure they dont slide I tie them with bungee cords. I have no picture for that.

Then two boards to form the platform:

and we have our platform:

with sleeping pads and bags (and pillows!)

to stow it:

stacking the two boards:

Instead of the two section boards I can probably use a bigger single board, but then I couldnt store it in the mid section of the truck. This way I got a flat spot to put my stuff..

One of the challenges I have when making this is we have sloped drive way, so it took me a few tries to sort of leveled this thing..

We tested this out last weekend camping in Yosemite. It does not wiggle & hold both me and my husband pretty well. Although being the taller one (6') my husband cant really move much inside besides "getting into the sleeping bag". It doesnt feel cramped (much) and we both were able to have a good night of sleep.. so this sort of worked.

Emeritus Moderator
6,484 Posts
REAR CARGO STORAGE SOLUTIONS: Compilation of different members' builds

I thought I would post up some pic's of my "system". I have been drawing it out and designing it for over a year now. I came to the point after getting my Engel Fridge/Freezer to go ahead and build it. I wanted the fridge close to the driver so I didn't have to exit the vehicle and go to the rear in bad weather.

I also wanted a place to house my on board air system. I had planned on getting the VIAIR system, but at the last minute decided to go with an upgraded compressor with the WARN SPI. It's large enough to run any air tool or air the tires up straight from the compressor. It hasn't come in yet, but it will go in the rear right hand side on the box in it's own compartment. I installed the gauge and air hose conector, but still have to install the regulator and on/off switch.

I also wanted a drawer system for my tools instead of hatches. With hatches, you would have to remove anything that was stored on top of the box in order to get to it. I didn't like that idea myself. With the drawers, I made two different sizes, one is 5.5" deep the other is 3.5" deep. The top drawer will house all my wrenches, sockets and screw drivers. The bottom drawer is incomplete as of yet. I still need to make dividers inside and a top section to house pliers, impacts, etc.

The front compartment will house all my camping gear such as BBQ, chairs, sleeping pad, cook wear, etc. This area also is not finished, it will get dividers also. Behind the fridge will be my (2) 2.5 gal Scepter water cans. I prefer the smaller ones instead of having one bulky 5 gal can.

Anyways, I thought I would post the progress so far, when the compressor comes in, I'll post up the rest of the finished project. :)

Well, If anything, I hope I gave some of you some ideas for your system. :)


Premium Member
1,588 Posts
Re: Unique Mods.. Post your pix here

My old storage box, I just never posted pics of it...

Here are pics of just the Main Rear Box in the Truck:

Driver Seat with Passenger Box:

Passenger Box:

All Boxes:

Driver Box:

Driver Box with Passenger Seat:

Pics of the entire setup...

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