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Project CJ-7

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Jeep Project CJ-7

An ongoing Budgeted Rebuild/Build up of a Rock
Crawling Machine.

Installing 23,000 Volt Offroad Lights

Lockers, Limited Slips &
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From Basic Equipment to Well Equipped.  An extensive list guide to help you prepare your vehicle for the offroad.






Project Toyota
FJ Cruiser

28"x42" Cargo Box
with a Collapsible 72"x42"
Sleeping Platform

Going offroad into deep woods or on extended weekend trips sometimes requires a stay of overnight, or several nights.  Many times we have a cabin to sleep in.  Sometimes not.  Tents are ok but offer little protection from the 700 lb black bears that roam the mountains where we 4 wheel.  If it's possible, sleeping in an enclosed vehicle is ideal.  The FJ Cruiser has a fair amount of interior room and when you fold down the rear seats and slide the front seats forward, the area becomes even greater.  The only problem is this area is not flat. The rear seats do not fold down completely flat and the seat part of the rear seats is about 12 inch up above the rearmost floor.  The back of the rear seat becomes a ramp going up on an angle.  The only way to get a flat area is to create an elevated platform.  By elevating a platform, you can get about 72" from the back of the front seats to rear door at about 42" to 52" wide depending on where you measure.  So I set out to make a platform.


The main goals of this project were:

  • To make a sleeping area long enough to stretch out my 5"10" body.

  • Not require the removal of anything structural like the rear seats, which I want to be able to use easily.

  • Allow the platform to be quickly and easily broken down and the rear seats be brought back up.

  • The platform had to double as storage area since it will be occupying my cargo area.

  • Everything necessary to make this platform work had to be stashable back into the main section of the platform.



I sketched up several designs and look at several platforms other FJ owners had designed.  I finally came up with a simple yet very effective design that fit nicely in the rear cargo area and sat no higher than 11 inches tall, yet yielded a 72" x 42" platform and provided two lockable 28" x 20" slide out cargo drawers.  The structure also allows access to my 110V AC outlet in it's original location, is secured down tightly to the floor of the FJ, allows the rear seats to fold up unrestricted and is easily removable if desired.  On top of that, when it is completely stashed in it's compact position, it appears to be part of the FJ's structure.  Here's the details on how I made this Platform / Cargo Box:


The first thing was to decide how tall to make this platform.  I looked at the interior and decided that I did not want to be higher than the fender wells for several reasons.  One, I need head room.  Two, I didn't want to be too high for placing items on top of the cargo box nor did I want to cover my sub woofer speaker.  Three pieces of 2x10 sections at 28" long did the trick.  Three for structural integrity.  Not too heavy but strong.  28" long put it right between the forward side ramp and allowed the rear do to close.

The 110 volt AC outlet would be right behind the passenger side upright.  I thought about insetting this piece but then I'd be wasting cargo space. Instead I decided to make a cutout, accessible from the top with a hatch and down through the cargo drawer.


The other side has the stock jack storage area.  Since this storage area yielded little cargo space, I decided to forget about it and cover it up.  I carry a better bottle jack so I'll leave it in there for emergency backup.  IC an get to it if I remove the storage box.


Next step was to secure these 2x10's to 1/2" plywood top and bottom.  The plywood pieces are 28 x 42".  42" is the width from fender well to fender well.  I used 2" course thread drywall screws.
Here is a test fit of the Cargo Box.
Outlet accessibility.
After a test fit, I determined that if I rounded the corners, I would one, make it easier to put in and take out, but two it would fit better in the FJ's cargo area.  So I took a belt sander to all the edges and gave them a nice rounded edge.  This will also allow me to wrap the box more cleanly with the black carpet material later.
Below is the side that faces the seats.  A 2x3 with 15 degree angles was secured to the side, 1/2" below the surface of the plywood.  My platform will rest on and be secured to this 2x3.  I'll also use this 2x3 to secure the box down to the forward most tie-downs in the FJ using turnbuckles and eye hooks.

The rear side of the cargo box will be secured to the stock tie-down bolt holes, which I'll remove and relocated on top of the cargo box.




To secure the storage box to the floor, I put two eye hooks in the front facing 2x3.  These eye hooks will be located right above the stock tie-down in the bed of the FJ.  The rear of the storage box will be secured by drilling through the bottom piece of plywood and bolting it down into the now removed tie-down points in the floor.


To gain access to my 110V power inverter outlet, I added a hatch just above the inverter outlet in the FJ.  I already have an access opening in the side of the storage box and I will put an opening in the side of the drawer as well.  So to get to the plug, I put this handy hatch in the top.  I installed the hinge on the outlet side so it swings up and towards the passenger side. 

Below to the right shows the carved out inset in the wood for the hinge.

Further below are pictures of the simple method for stopping the door from swinging down too far.  I screwed a large washer to the corners to act as a stop for the door.  The sharp tip of the screw will get cut off.  Works like a charm.



Below is the platform folded in half.  Each piece of 1/2 plywood is 42" wide by 21 1/2" long.  A long hinge is used to secure the two pieces of plywood together.  When open in the vehicle, the one end of the plywood platform will bolt to the 2x3.  The bolts are only hand tightened to hold it in place, allowing for a quick removal.


Below is an application of semi-gloss latex paint in all the areas where the black carpet material won't cover.



Carpet Time

A trip to Home Depot and I bought a 5x7 roll of high traffic gray / black low matte carpet.  This matched the FJ's interior pretty well and was very similar to the center section of the seats.  I used 1/2" staples to secure the carpet to the plywood. 

The cut sides of the carpet got a light coating of rubber cement to keep them from fraying.  That worked out quite well. 

For the Power inverter hatch, carpeted over that, then used a sharp utility knife to cut into the gap and free up the hatch.  I then glued the carpet down to the hatch.  I also added a short strip of nylon strap and glued to the underside of the hatch so I had something to grab when I need to open the hatch.  The glue called "Goop" works really well for this as well as a large variety of other purposes.  Goop secures anything to anything else.  I always have a supply.








Securing the Storage Platform Down

The entire storage platform has to be secured to the bed of the FJ.  This was quite easy.  I took advantage of the four tie-down spots in the FJ.  The forward two on the floor, I use two turn-buckles.  For the rear two tie-down locations, I removed the tie-downs and used longer metric bolts and a washer to secure the platform.



Support For The Folding Platform

Three 6 3/4" dowel rods, three studs (wood threads on one side, 7/16" threaded on the other), three rubber feet, and three metal thread counter-sinks (or what ever you call them).  The dowel rods were attached just behind the hinge, one on center and the other two 6 inches in from the sides.  This give the necessary support for the weight of an adult on the platform.



Modifying the CB Mount for Quick Dis-Connect

My CB is installed in the passenger's lag area on the right side of the center console.  This is a very handy area for the CB to be when I use the CB, however my original method of attaching the CB did not allow it to be easily removed and re-attached.  Removal was going to be necessary when the front seats are slid completely forward to gain as much room as possible for the sleeping platform.  So I had to re-think the CB hanger.  At first I didn't want to drill a hole in the console to mount the CB but now that I've had it there for a few months, it going to remain in place.  So here goes the drilling.  I discovered that I could easily pop the transfer case shift lever's boot out to gain access to the interior of the center console.  That made it easy to drill out a hole in the right place since I can see nothing is in the way.  Now I can get a bolt in there.  With the right size bolt, one washer and nut followed by the CB bracket, a pair of wing nuts can easily be used.  Now the CB is easily removed by hand when the seat has to go fully forward.

Wing-nuts easily removed leaving just the bolts, the seat easily clears the bolts.




I Transferred the OEM tie downs to the top of the Storage Platform


Next was to put the carpet over the two pieces of 42" x 21 1/2" x 1/2" plywood.  They are already connected with the long hinge at this point and painted.  I started off with placing each side over the carpet as it lay upside down on the work bench and I traced and marked the pieces.  Then using a straight edge as a guide, cut them with a sharp utility knife.  Each side was stapled down securely.  I later did a little trimming to get a nice clean edge.  Again, all the cut sides were lightly covered with a layer of rubber cement to keep them from fraying.

Below: I had to open up the bolt holes again so I used a blow torch and heated up a 12 penny nail.  Pressing it through the hole, it melted the carpet nicely, opening up the hole.

Drawer Fabrication

The two drawers measure 28" deep x 20" wide x 9" tall, a considerable amount of storage area for the vehicle.


Drawer installed, hardware below.  


Overall thoughts after a weekend of camping and 4-wheeling.

Great Mod!  The storage is great.  All of my recover gear, tools and a portion of my supplies are stashed in these drawers with room to spare.

Sleeping in the back of the FJ was comfortable!  I had an air mattress that was the right length and not too wide as to allow me to stash my gear next to me while I slept. 

Thinking ahead, I'll probably make a few adjustments to create a multipurpose configuration to the platform that might allow me to have it setup yet be able to drive the FJ.  Maybe by adding another hinge to the forward most section of the platform.  But for now, this was great.  I could stretch out, relax and get a good night sleep while stashing my gear below.  This was the purpose of the project and it accomplished that with flying colors.


Project FJ Cruiser

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FJ Cruiser Engine and Drivetrain Specifications

Tuffy Security Console Install

Building an FJ 28"x42" Cargo Box with a
Collapsible 72"x42" Sleeping Platform

Body Mount CHOP in front wheelwells

Mud Flap Mod after the Body Mount Chop

Team Trails Black Door Handles Swap

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Toyota FJ Cruiser Photo Gallery

FJ Cruiser Press Release & Specifications

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Off-Road Lights
by LightForce Product Review / Installation.
from Off-Road Lights