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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

As some of you have heard me mention in the past, I've been working on an idea for a Security Deck/Enclosure for the Jeep. I love the Jeep Backbone and others, but don't much care for the flexibility (or lack thereof) that most of them provide. Once in-place, access to the compartment is mostly ONLY through the tailgate, and they're not easily removable for carrying large items....not to mention they're pretty expensive....

sooooo.....I decided to design my own....

As an architect I figured I would challenge my design/building skills and see what I could do....my criteria was as follows:

Top panel must be lockable with vehicle power locks – this provides security while parked, but also holds lid in-place during driving.
• Access to compartment from rear of vehicle through window (tailgate closed)
• Access to compartment from interior of vehicle from back seat (seat up)
• Top panel/lid must be completely removable without any tools and must be able to be folded/left in the open position while in-place.
• Top panel/lid must be at least 40" wide to match minimum width of cargo compartment/tailgate
• Back panels (behind seats) need fold to match 60/40 seats to allow either of rear seats to be folded and locked when seats are up and must be completely removable without any tools
• Top deck must have tie-downs
• Trunk enclosure must have lights that are linked to vehicle’s dome lights
• All must mount to existing holes in Jeep, no drilling, and must be 100% removable in about 30 minutes or so.
• All must appear OEM-ish

Easy right?? :jawdrop:

sooo...after an embarrassing number of hours scratching my head and sketching, here's what I came up with.....

Probably the hardest part was just figuring out the geometry and sizes of the top lids....the rear lid has an arched back edge to match the tailgate so that complicated things a bit....and they both needed to open and clear the rear seats without interference....

Power lock mechanism was actually quite easy...wired directly into the wiring harness as it passed by the passenger side rear door. Also tapped in there for the tape lights.

Total cost was somewhere around $125-$130 or so...

Breakdown of items used:
  • (1) 4x8 sheet of Advantech (3/4") - Lowes - $27
  • LED tape light - Amazon - $11.50
  • (2) Flush Ring pulls - Amazon - $8.20
  • (6) Tie Down Rings - Amazon - $11.99
  • (2) Power Door Actuators - Amazon - $9.57
  • 3 rolls automotive carpet - Autozone - $27
  • misc screws, hinges, latches, etc....+/- $30
  • misc aluminum for latches/power lock mechanism, etc...(I had this on hand already from previous projects).
....anyhow...it's now 99% done...I still haven't put in the little infill blocks on the inside of the roll bar penetrations, but other than that it's done. Power locks all work well, hold the top closed/secure as expected. LED lights are great.

It's certainly not as secure as some of the Tuffy or Backbone enclosures as it is plywood and could be pried apart if somebody wanted in, but it's WAY better than nothing at all, and is certainly a visual deterrent.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the results...the carpet is almost an exact match to the OEM, and it ties in/looks like it's supposed to be there. Love the security aspect of it, and the flexibility of putting gear on top of the deck.

Best of all, it does not limit my cargo capacity at all....if I want to carry something big/tall, I just remove the top panel (it just sits freely on aluminum tracks) and set it inside the cargo area...load in big box and go. Long items go in just as before with seats folded down...

Here are a few photos...I also have a video of the power locks working if anyone is interested in seeing how it functions....link to the video is here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_VEiHtvjU9kdlNEbVo3Z0VrUHc/view?usp=sharing

Let me know if anyone has any questions....as always - comments are welcome.

Thanks guys.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
more photos here:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Very nice execution! I have been thinking about making a deck for a long time. I think this is enough inspiration to finally get started.

How did you determine the measurements of the outer curvatures? And do you feel like the locking mechanism is secure enough?
Thanks...I templated the whole thing with cardboard (roughly cut) and bolted the cardboard in place..then traced the curb from on the underside - subtracted about 1" or so to provide some overlap and , transferred to the pattern to the Advantech.

If you look closely at the cardboard in this photo you can see the bolt holes and the outline of the jeep's side (pencil line). Also, here's a shot of the deck installed after cutting/routing, but before carpet so you can see the "setback" of the edge.

As for "secure enough" I guess time will tell...the aluminum is about 3/32" thick, so it's pretty strong, but you certainly could bust it off if motivated to do so...

If you want to increase the strength, go to steel of similar size, and through-bolt all of the attachments....I suspect the latches would no longer be the weak point...

...honestly, I don't keep things of value in the Jeep, so I was not THAT concerned about REAL security...if they want in, they're getting in - be it through the plywood, or breaking the latch, or window of a hardtop....

also added a photo of it lit up at night with the LED tape light....
 

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Congrats on the build. I have wanted to do this since I got my JKU in 2014. Are you planning on selling a version of this or plans to make it? Does it work with a hardtop?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Congrats on the build. I have wanted to do this since I got my JKU in 2014. Are you planning on selling a version of this or plans to make it? Does it work with a hardtop?


Pretty sure it won't work with a hard top as it mounts WHERE the hard top would sit, but I don't have one so I can't say for sure.

I haven't really decided if I'm interested in selling them, or plans..but if there is enough interest perhaps I would do one or the other...


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2017 JKUWW - Granite Crystal, 24W, Auto, Premium Top, Alpine, LED Lights, Teraflex Leveling Kit, Ace Rock Sliders
 

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I want to do something just like this but want it to work with my hard top and soft top without having to remove it and reinstall when I swap tops.


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Congrats on the project. Fit n finish looks good. Can you still put the top down? Looks like you may have to use a soft top boot to do so....
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Congrats on the project. Fit n finish looks good. Can you still put the top down? Looks like you may have to use a soft top boot to do so....
Thanks. Soft top works just as it did with no issues. It does sit 1-2" higher when folded as the material does not drop behind the gate as before, but other than that it functions normally. No boot required. Everything folds and stays in place (Premium soft top)

Access to trunk is of course limited with top down as you can't get to the back lid, so you have to use the tailgate OR front portion of the lid.


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2017 JKUWW - Granite Crystal, 24W, Auto, Premium Top, Alpine, LED Lights, Teraflex Leveling Kit, Ace Rock Sliders
 

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Awesome job. Sometimes projects like this are more expensive then what you can buy, but well worth it when you consider it has all the features you want and that feeling you get when you created something awesome.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Awesome job. Sometimes projects like this are more expensive then what you can buy, but well worth it when you consider it has all the features you want and that feeling you get when you created something awesome.


Ha. Yeah...if I had to consider my $185/hour billable rate I would guess this cost me about $13,482 of R&D...not including materials of course. Good thing I own the firm or I may be fired..Ha ha.

Seriously though, it certainly did "cost" a lot in time, but I enjoy these challenging project and learn something with each one.

This one I figured would be easer/faster than my 3D printed brake light...I was wrong. ;)



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2017 JKUWW - Granite Crystal, 24W, Auto, Premium Top, Alpine, LED Lights, Teraflex Leveling Kit, Ace Rock Sliders
 

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Almost the exact specs I want on a custom install, expect I'd need it to mount with the hard top on and wouldn't need the back seat access fold. I think if it was just a little smaller at the edges it could fit with the hard top. See the VT emblem you in VA somewhere, I'm in Maryland? Would love to get/work on one of these

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Yeah..not sure how it would work with a hard top, but I'm sure there's a way.

I'm in Virginia Beach btw...you?


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Just outside of DC. Would be very interested in dimensions, some good CAD files would be a great thing to get out into the public.

I'd love to turn them into an inventor file and edit them depending on peoples wants and needs. Could print large​ format templates for people.

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I made the same type of rear enclosure out of 5/8" treated plywood. Originally made the template to come to the outer edge of the rails and worked great with the softtop.
When i put the hardtop on, the enclosure wouldn't fit (too thick to leave under the hardtop), so had to trim about 3/4" total from each side which allowed it to sit on top of the hardtop lip. Got 6 longer bolts and it works great with the hard or soft top.

Mine is just 2 pieces....I really like the center openings you did! May have to start over (plywood is cheap). Mines a 2014 with the sub on the side...wish i had the floor sub.
 
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