View Full Version : Cargo and tailgate panel fabrication

01-27-2011, 06:32 AM
The cargo area of my 60 needs a bit of attention. I have ripped out the old floor carpet and the tailgate and side carpet needs to go as well.

While browsing the web for ideas i came across this site.

These panels seems like what I'd want on my 60. But the price tag isn't within my grasp currently. New tires and suspension are more important. Then I got to wondering if I could fabricate my own. I have some fairly large sections of 1/8" ABS plastic I can experiment with.

Doing more searching I found a local supplier for plastic sheeting in Louisville.
Colorado plastics will do custom cuts. So I figured I might bring in one of my side panels and see what they'd charge to cut me a new piece of ABS.

My goal is to replace the push and pull tabs with screws. A simple foam or rubber seal around the edges would keep out dust. I also would probably cover them with carpeting.

Just new panels would be great. But I'd like to see if I could rig up some hinges for quick access.

Has anyone ever done anything similar? Any tips or advice?

01-27-2011, 08:53 AM
Have you checked out Wagongear's site? He has done some excellent work in the area of cargo and tailgate storage, you might get some ideas http://www.wagongear.com/Side_Panels.html

01-27-2011, 09:09 AM
Tim his link above was for the wagon gear stuff.:o

Kevin's work on that stuff is 1st class but $$$. I'd think you could make your own for much less if you got the skill and tooling.

01-27-2011, 09:24 AM
Tim his link above was for the wagon gear stuff.:o

Kevin's work on that stuff is 1st class but $$$. I'd think you could make your own for much less if you got the skill and tooling.

Oh I see that now.. :doh: :o

01-27-2011, 10:11 AM
I have the waggongear lid for my 60 if you want to check it out. Just shoot me a PM. I'll be in town this weekend.

01-27-2011, 11:15 AM
I too have the WagonGear tailgate lid and built my own side panels out of 1/2" plywood. It was pretty easy. Took the stock panels out, traced them on a piece of plywood, cut the plywood into shape. Since I couldn't use the little plugs, I put short bolts in the plug holes, drilled holes into the plywood, put the plywood in place and used nylon nuts to hold it in place. Not sure any of that makes sense, but i can take a few pictures and post.

01-27-2011, 12:09 PM
Here are the pics of my side panels. For me, it didn't make sense to hinge them as Kevin does with his WagonGear panels because the back of my rig is often full of camping gear and accessing the side panels for tools, an air compressor, etc. would be a chore if I had coolers, tents, dogs, etc. back there. I also recessed my speakers and put a fancy aluminum cover in front of them for protection from bouncing shovels, wrenches, whatever. Once I black out the nuts, I'll be done.
Happy to answer any questions you may have.

01-27-2011, 12:19 PM
Happy to answer any questions you may have.

How did you get your hand back there to hold the screw while you tightened the nylon nuts? :confused:

01-27-2011, 12:59 PM
I took bolts with hex heads on them, put a washer and lock washer behind the head, fed it through the hole, then put another washer and bolt through it. I tightened that set up, so the bolt was securely pinched against the metal of the truck (if that makes sense) and was tight enough that it would not spin once the nylon lock washer was used. Then, I took the plywood and on the backside I drilled them out a third of the way through the plywood with a slightly larger bit. That way, the plywood would still sit flush and the bolt assembly would be recessed behind the panel. When I then put the plywood panels on, the bolt hardly stuck out. I was able to put a washer and barely thread the nylon nuts on. Once on, I cranked them down and since there were in a sense, two sets of nuts holding the bolt in place, it didn't move at all, enabling me to crank the nylon nuts down and secure everything. It's held up very well, none of the bolts have worked lose because they are really tightened down behind the plywood and the nylon nut only secures the plywood.

01-27-2011, 01:24 PM
that makes perfect sense, well done! :bowdown:

01-27-2011, 03:05 PM
hey Tim,
Coming from you, the McGyver of Land Cruiser ingenuity I take that as a real complement.

Rock Dog
01-27-2011, 06:08 PM
hey Tim,
Coming from you, the McGyver of Land Cruiser ingenuity I take that as a real complement.

NakGyver.... :lmao::lmao:

01-27-2011, 06:55 PM
I have the waggongear lid for my 60 if you want to check it out. Just shoot me a PM. I'll be in town this weekend.

I think that's the part I'm interested in the most.

What I really need first is a cargo box. Going to pick up some materials tomorrow and start this weekend. A place to keep all my crap out of sight and organized will be great.

I'm pretty much going to copy this design verbatim.
Only I'll have one slide out drawer. The other side will be a lidded compartment where I can slide things like my Hi-lift or rifles. It will be a 2 piece design. The initial box will fit with the seat up. Later on I'll make a second box for when the seat is down.

01-27-2011, 10:04 PM

I'm planning on buying a sheet or two of ABS plastic to make new panels for The Guzzler (tm). I've got a friend in NM who made some for his BJ-74, and they looked great, so I'm going to give it a go for the 60 this next week.

I'll keep you posted, hopefully. I've got other jobs to do first (front axle rebuild, plus finish the body of the 40, and pull the engine from the 40...), but I'm hoping at least...


01-29-2011, 07:01 PM
Started my cargo box today. It is 3/4" plywood. I'm using a lot of 1 1/2" corner braces.

Braced up the back with some corner braces. The plywood had some slight bends so I moved it after each screw.


I used 1 1/2" SPAX torx screws. The best IMHO. No stripping like a phillips.


Attaching the back piece was the trickiest.


The back is done. I'm shooting for total overkill on the construction.


Back braced to high heaven.


1st side on.


All 3 sides on.


Sides and middle screwed and braced.


Hit it with some Thompson's Water Seal. Tomorrow I'll install the drawer slides and make the drawer and top, time permitting.


01-30-2011, 11:32 AM
Looking good. :thumb:

What are you going use for drawer slides (and where did you source them)?

01-30-2011, 12:58 PM
Looking good. :thumb:

What are you going use for drawer slides (and where did you source them)?

I got some 24" 100# slides from Home Depot. $16.50 for the set.

01-30-2011, 07:04 PM
First item of business this morning was installing the drawer slides. An easy task if you skip measuring and such. I just set them on my level and screwed them in. I used a beefier screw than what they came with.


Both slides in.


Drawer needs to be about this wide.


No table saw, so I make a line 1 1/4" in (the width between the blade and guide) and clamp some scrap even with it.


Back and one side on. I put an extra piece on the back for reinforcement.


Finished drawer. My drawer ended up being 1/4" too narrow. In order to get the slides fitting correctly I shimmed them with two 1/4" washers on each side. Slides perfect.


Fits my tool box.


Made a front for the drawer.


With the top on. Can't screw it down yet. I'm waiting for a large piece of felt to line the inside with.


Inside. I ripped that nasty carpet crap off the tailgate soon after this picture.


Put in the piece I was going to use to cover the wheel wells. There is no way to get a piece the correct width inside. The only way would be to have a split piece with a piano hinge. That way you could insert it bent. I figure that is too much trouble. I'll just make an open sided box for the front. I've run out of ambition.


Going to use a slide bolt to lock the two drawers. This way one padlock will secure both compartments. Still need carpet, mounts for the turnbuckles, a few bits of aluminum angle. The box is fairly heavy so I'm considering adding some handles or those recessed loops to make carrying easier.

03-01-2011, 09:37 PM
I like your drawer set up, that looks nice.

Marco mentioned you were thinking about doing this, as was he, so...

I got motivated and went to Colorado Plastics and picked up two sheets of 1/8" ABS. One sheet is enough to do the side panels and the tailgate easily, with enough left over to make rear door panels. If you want to do the rear seat in it as well, you need the second sheet (of course the rear seat has to be more than 4' wide...)

Really pretty easy to work with. Jigsaw and a drill, that's all it took. $55 a sheet, they gave me the two for $50 each.



I used clips from B-D company. That place is awesome. I can easily afford to trash these clips if I have to pull the panels out, and I like having the smoother button heads than had I bolted it.

I'm going to try to get the rear door panels done tomorrow before the meeting. If you still want to do it, you can carry the sheet(s) inside the 60, but you have to fold the backseat down and snake it up and down a bit to get it to fit.


03-01-2011, 10:51 PM
Very nice! Did Colorado Plastics have the Seaboard? I was looking at a 1/4" sheet (http://www.eplastics.com/Plastic/Marine_Board-SEABOARD/Black-Textured-SEABOARD-HDPE-Marine-Board-UV-Resistant-SEABOARDSEABOARDBLK0-250TEX54X72) that is 54"X72". Enough to do 2 sets of cargo panels.

I was trying to think of a way to put a door on the drivers side. I'll probably end up having my rear speakers exposed and also have a couple 12v sockets on that side.

I removed the wood panels one of the PO's used for mounting speakers. Discovered that he drilled one of them into the vapor separator. :eek: :confused:

The duct tape is my temporary fix. It might be best to just get a new unit.



03-01-2011, 11:01 PM
In other news I got the sleeping panel done. My attachment idea didn't work so I'll just put a strip of plywood on the back of the main box to hold it up. Been debating just removing the rear seats.




Ran out of carpet. I should have more arriving before the weekend so I can cover the drawer.

I also sent my sunvisors back home. The foam and vinyl was trashed. My mom volunteered to make me some new ones. I picked out some upholstery fabric and they'll have leather on the other side with a double layer of reflectix inside. I'll be getting the door panels done also.

03-01-2011, 11:49 PM
Real nice. Very similar to the setup I have had for 6 years. Work great. Sleeping platforms are great too.

03-02-2011, 12:34 AM
Very nice! Did Colorado Plastics have the Seaboard? I was looking at a 1/4" sheet (http://www.eplastics.com/Plastic/Marine_Board-SEABOARD/Black-Textured-SEABOARD-HDPE-Marine-Board-UV-Resistant-SEABOARDSEABOARDBLK0-250TEX54X72) that is 54"X72". Enough to do 2 sets of cargo panels.

I didn't ask. I just asked about ABS plastic (it's the 2nd cheapest plastic they sell, according to the price list on the counter), and asked about 1/8 and 3/16." the 3/16" was like $94 a sheet or somesuch. Naturally i went with the 1/8" I did put some second skin on the back sides of the panels, and it definitely quiets them down a bit. It doesn't feel flimsy at all in the truck.

I didn't put a door, but I did put a removable panel on the passenger's side. Really I cut the panel with the hole for the washer reservoir, and then realized that I didn't pay attention to the texture, and the panel fit the right side perfectly, but had that hole in it. So I decided that instead of cutting a whole new panel, to just make a removable plate to cover it (and I enlarged the hole) so that I could put some power sockets, or a light or something in it, and have easy access if I wanted to modify it at a later date. I'm not doing to be storing anything in there, so removing 6 screws isn't too bad.

Looks great with the carpet! If I were going to keep the platform in there all the time, I'd just remove the seat entirely. But please, come up with a brilliant idea so that I can steal it when I decide to do something similar on our 60. :thumb:


03-02-2011, 09:12 AM
Wow those panels look sweet!

04-23-2011, 05:33 PM
Marco went ahead and had 4 pieces of 3/16" Seaboard cut for our rear cargo panels. Colorado Plastics cut them to size at no charge.

Passenger side half screwed down. Used stainless self tapping sheet metal screws. Not going to store much on that side.


I used the old panels as templates to drill the mounting holes. Used my Dremel and a Rotozip bit to cut them to size.


Drilled out the spot welds in order to remove the supports.


Bottom right mounting hole needs a bit of grinding for the nutsert to fit. I had to return to Lowe's to pick up the threaded nutserts. The nutserts pictured do not work. The bolt/screw whatever needs to go in straight and this type forces it on an angle.


Put a layer of Reflectix on the back of the panel.


Storage for spare fluids and assorted emergency crap.


I used some 1/4" thumbscrews and bonded neoprene washers to hold it down.


04-24-2011, 10:10 AM
Very nice! Looks good back there with the plastic huh? I hope I'm not the only one who now wants to replace every last little panel in the truck with the textured plastic that I can now. ;)


04-29-2011, 01:13 PM
Im not sure if you ever got your tailgate done but, I picked up some cutting board material and replaced the carpet on my 100.

04-29-2011, 06:45 PM
Im not sure if you ever got your tailgate done but, I picked up some cutting board material and replaced the carpet on my 100.

I haven't decided what to do with the tailgate yet. Might go with a Wagongear lid for it.

The cutting board material is nice. When I had my Tacoma I wanted to make a skidplate out of it. Got the idea from someone that used it on a Lexus.

Just got a prototype MPAC rack from Springtail Solutions. It's a side rack for an FJ Cruiser. Going to mount it on the passenger side this weekend.

04-30-2011, 10:33 AM
Im not sure if you ever got your tailgate done but, I picked up some cutting board material and replaced the carpet on my 100.

I like that. The stock carpet is useless for anything except trapping stains....