One thing that this Jeep can use is more storage space.
I've seen several examples of under the rear seat storage, both custom made
examples and those that can be catalog bought.
I thought I could come up with a pretty cool design here and
make it out of materials I had on hand. Not to mention I could save a few
bucks and get some much needed parts.
So I did some sketching and took
some measurements and came up with a rear seat modification that not only added
several cubic feet of storage but also incorporated a trunk-like chamber that
produced some great base for the sound system. The following section to
the project write-up details how this rear seat modification was
One of the first
things I had to do was decide what this storage box would be constructed
from. I have a large selection of lumber so I decided to use 1 inch thick
oak for the main reason that it's strong. The seat belt assembly would
still be secured to the tub floor using steel hardware (not to the wood) so
safety wasn't an issue. But it still had to be strong.
The seat was a non-folding factory seat with factory hardware brackets. The
front brackets were removed but the rear bracket that ran across the rear and
held the seat belt bolts was left on and used in the project.
Height was a factor. I didn't want to raise the passengers too high so I
decided on the height by raising the rear seat and sitting in it. I found
that 4 inches was acceptable (under the roll bar) and actually increased the
height towards the front which gave a more relaxed seat and more storage AND
made room for the 6x9 speakers which was a priority.
Four pieces were cut. A front, a rear and two sides. The dimensions
were approximately as follows (measure your own tub as it may be different than
- Front: 36" x 7" (measure your tub
- Rear: 36" x 4"
- Sides: 24" tapered from 4"
(rear) to 7" (front), the rear was cut square
while the front was cut at a 7 degree angle. Also when ripping the wood in the
table saw, I angled the blade to 7 degrees so the top was angled into the sides.
The four sides were pre-tapped and screwed together using 3" wood screws
forming the main box. The floor of the box is a sheet of aluminum tacked
to the bottom. Pioneer 6x9 speakers were purchased earlier and carefully
measured to locate the speaker holes which were then cut out using a jigsaw.
Mounting the Seat - Hinges and lock-down
A few more requirements were that the seat had to hinge forward so the space
under the seat could be accessed. It also had to be able to secure down in the
rear safely. That required the rear of the seat belt bracket to firmly secured
to the Jeep tub and not rely on the wood structure for the latch-down to the
Here's what I came up with:
Hinge located at the Front of the Seat
The seat's brackets up front were removed leaving four threaded holes.
A Stainless steel 1¼" x 36" x ¼" piece of steel was
cut, the length of the top of the wooden box. The seat was slightly narrower
than the box. Two heavy duty steel door hinges were fastened to each end
of the steel bar. The 36" bar was then secured to the seat. As
you can see to the right, the hinges were offset from the bolts that go into the
seat, which also helped to make clearance for the speakers. I also ended
up cutting the inside corner off the hinge to make room for the speakers leaving
3 holes to anchor the hinge to the box. The seat was then flipped
over and secured to the wooden box.
Rear Bracket bolt down
The seats rear bracket that ran the width of the stock seat was left on to
utilize the seatbelt anchors that are part of this stock mounting bracket.
When the seat closes down over the box, this rear bracket actually hangs to the
rear of the box (see picture below). When closed this bracket was now 2
inches above the floor of the tub. This gap was bridged using three 2 inch
pieces of steel square stock. The square stock was attached to the box in the
locations of the three stock floor holes so that they lined up with the holes in
the stock seatbelt bracket.
|The rear bracket was retained to both anchor the seatbelts and
act as a location to secure the seat down when it was closed using bolt that
were fixed to the square stock. When the seat is closed the bolt goes up
through the seatbelt bracket and a wing-nut is used to secure it down. In
turn when the storage box is secured down to the tub, the square stock is what
is actually secured down. By using this square stock to bridge the gap down to
the tub floor, the wood is never bearing any load in the event that the
seatbelts are needed.
Mounting the Speakers
A lot of planning went into the location and size of the speakers. I
wanted to use the largest speakers possible without raising the seat too
high. What I ended up using was a pair of 6x9 Pioneers. Once the
speakers were decided upon, the storage box was basically build around the
When the holes were cut into the storage box, they were cut, not oval to
expose the whole speaker but a smaller (narrower) opening to keep as much
wood as possible above and below the opening for strength. The speakers would be
mounted inside the cabinet.
Once the cabinet was built and assembled, it was then taken apart and
painted. The pictures below were taken when it was being re-assembled.
The storage cabinet's job is to store stuff. Tools and spare parts
bouncing around inside the cabinet aren't too friendly with speakers so I had to
come up with a way to protect the speakers. Two things were used, metal
screening and aluminum coil.
The screening was stapled to the wood, covering the speakers. The
aluminum coil was then tacked in to act as a barrier. later silicone was used to
secure the aluminum to the floor of the box and sides to reduce vibration caused
by the speakers (I figured this out later when the speakers were in use). See
|This was a bad idea. Thinking that mud or rain or whatever could
splash in on my speakers, Using silicone I glued plastic wrap over the speakers
opening. Not a good idea for sound quality. Good thing it came off
Thinking I may someday need to tie-down something to the seat like an ice chest,
I installed a military surplus tie-down between the speakers and used large
washers to prevent the bolts from pulling through the wood.
the Storage Box
to the Tub Floor
Front - For the front a simple piece of
angled steel was used. It was bent on the same angle as the front of the
box. I actually took a piece of steel that originally was 90° and
lessened the angle using a 5 pound sledge and a railroad tie, pounding the steel
to reduce the angle. The steel was about 2 inch by 2 inch and something
like 16 gauge.
When planning the size of the box, I took into account the ORIGINAL seat
mounting holes on the floor. This bracket would use the front mounting holes on
|Rear - For the
rear, as detailed above, 2x2 inch square stock was used. The square stock was
secured to the storage box at the location of the original floor and seat
mounting holes. Then with the seat closed down, the holes in the original
seatbelt bracket were marked onto the 2x2 pieces and drilled. Then the bolts
were installed to stick up through the stock seatbelt bracket, which was still
mounted to the seat. When the seat is closed these bolts will come up
through the bracket and secured down using wing-nuts.
|For the speaker covers, they were mounted outside
the box, and over the lower mounting bracket.
This picture also demonstrates why the corner of the hinges were cut off.
Picture of the Seat mounted to the box, speakers
installed. For the most part, it is completed. Later four stainless
steel kick protection bars were installed over each speaker to prevent damage.
Later, these speaker guards were made from some stainless steel
rods. I bent then into a u shape, drilled holes in the wood and pressed
the rod ends into the wood. Works great to protect the speakers from feet
and it looks good.
Location of speaker wires outlet
Above and left, a few interior pictures.
So how did it turn out? Great! Here's what I gained:
Lots of storage space (still not enough though). It's enough to
store extra tools, a spare rear drive shaft, extra fluids like oil, power
steering fluid, brake fluid, an extra ignition module, a tarp, a DC powered
spotlight, and other stuff.
Tunes! The 6x9 speakers sound great. To get good sound out
of speakers you need a chamber to resonate the sound waves. The problem
with Jeeps is there really is no stock place to get that. With cars, you
use the trunk, with trucks, it usually the door panels. The storage space
also doubles as a resonating chamber giving the radio/CD/MP3 player really good
base and a place to install larger speakers without loosing any space.
By angling the seat back a little, it actually made it more
comfortable. Head room is still good and still below the roll bar. Plus by
raising the seat a little, passengers get a great view of the trail, better then
before. The rear seat is now actually at the same height as the new Bestop
front seats, not lower as before.
The project didn't take too much time to make and used
relatively cheap parts and supplies. Based on what was gained makes this one of
better interior modifications on this Jeep.