One of the best things about being an adventurer or explorer is building gear to suit your needs. These build projects are fun to take on. They are entertaining and inspirational for others looking to create their own purpose built projects. Below is the chronicle of a storage drawer build for the owners Toyota project.
Land Cruiser / 1994 FJ80 / Rear Drawer Build
I wanted to have a rear drawer system in my fj80 like I’ve seen in overland builds. My criteria was to be able to cook out of the back, sleeping platform, carry 20L + water jerry cans and any other cooking camping gear. I couldn’t afford the price of a new one, so I decided to try and build my own! I have limited building skills but I’m not afraid to try. I do know how to use circular saws, drills, routers, table saws and jig saws but learned during this project to use them a little better. First, I scoured the internet for pictures, builds, options etc until I had it narrowed down to what I thought I wanted. I took some initial measurements in the rear of the land cruiser for the length, width and height of the drawers. I bought some graph paper and started drawing a sketch of what I wanted. I ended up with about 8 different designs. Each design was dependent on types of drawer sliders, width of drawers, depth of drawers, sleeping platform, table, etc. After going back and fourth for about a week, I wound up going with the first initial design.
I started looking for the different hardware and material for the drawers. Here is my material list.
3 drawer handles 8 d-rings
2 24” 100# drawer sliders 6 cans black matte spray paint
1 6×8 roll indoor/outdoor carpet 2 4×8 sheets 3/4” plywood
2 4×8 sheets 5/8 plywood 6 strips hdpe plastic strips
2 boxes 5/8” wood deck screws 4 3” L brackets
2 2” L brackets 3 48” piano hinges
2 2” strap hinges 1 bottle Gorilla wood glue
1 tube liquid nails 3 72” strips stair edging
1 1 7/8”x75’ Max grip carpet tape
I decided to do the structure of the box with 3/4” plywood and the drawers with 5/8” plywood to help with weight just a little. I decided on 2 sets of 100# drawer sliders since they would only be supporting the cook prep area and cook stove, I decided not to do the 300-400# drawer slides because of the cost ($200-$300) per set of slides. For the drawers I opted for HDPE plastic for sliders which slide very smooth, loaded or not. These allow for a bit more space in the drawer, more space anywhere you can find is always nice! As far as the rest of the materials it is preference of what you want and style, to paint the drawers or not, style of D-rings, locking handles or just pulls, carpet, rhino liner etc.
Here’s how I decided to build mine. I wanted 3 drawers, the left drawers are both 24” wide, the top is 3” deep and the bottom is 8” deep. I also added two removable dividers in the bottom left drawer if needed to separate gear. The right bottom drawer is 20” wide and 5 3/4” deep. The drawers were spray painted with matte black on the interior of them and black rustoleum bedliner spray can on the fronts for a little more durability. Instead of drawer slides I used HDPE for plastic slides. I cut the HDPE plastic into 1” strips and used liquid nails to glue them down. I was going to put some on the bottom of the drawers as well but they slid so smooth I only put it under the drawers. I used Medium tension drawer pulls for the handles.
Next I wanted a slide cook area with a fold out top. Each section slides out on 24” 100# drawer slides. The first slide is a prep area with a folding top for more room and the second slide is where the cook stove is kept along with 2 propane bottles and a small hinged cutting board to place cooking utensils. I sprayed the tops of these with rustoleum bed liner spray can for better wear.
I wanted a sleeping platform that was easy to set up and didn’t take up much room. The extended platform area is 44” wide and 30” long to give a total of 6’ of sleeping space and is hinged in the middle so it can fold in half along with it being carpeted. On the back of the box I made a lip that the sleeping platform rests on and I recline the front seats to lock it in.The platform just rests on the backs of the rear seats while they are folded there won’t be as much weight on this end it’ll just be our legs.
A storage access in the rear of the box that is easily accessible from the both rear doors. This box is 44” long 11” wide 14” deep. The interior of this box was painted with just a matte black spray can. There are two lids for this so you can access it from each side of the vehicle. The lids are attached with piano hinges with carpet over them to give a clean look.
I installed D-rings on top to tie down gear. I used four for each side so I can store on both sides. The D-rings were recessed into the top to give it a flush look and then the whole top of the box was carpeted.
The wings on the side will fold up and a accomadate a 20L water jerry can or a 12L jerry can with the top folded down. I used piano hinges and L brackets to support them and used rustoleum bedliner to paint them.
Here are some pics of it all together! Thanks for looking at my build.
Contributor: Cody Wilkins
Photo Credit: Daylene Wilson Photography (great pics by the way!)
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