The Toyota FJ Cruiser. By far, one of the best cars I've ever owned. A versatile little workhorse that gets us just about anywhere. Being the proud owners of two young bird dogs, we opted to buy a kennel for each dog specifically for our rigs. Not only did we do this for safety's sake in the unthinkable event of a crash, but they also keep down the amount of nose prints on the windows, sand in the seats, and drool on the dash. With the cargo area of the FJ being somewhat limited anyway, putting the kennels in it really infringed on storage capacity. So after poking around on the internet for FJ Cruiser cargo storage solutions, I came up with a relatively simple idea of just elevating both kennels on a platform that sits on top of the rear ledges.
Since this has been installed, both of the dogs have personally expressed how much better their ride experience has been now that they have a window view.
|The rear view of the FJ with the rear seats in the down position.|
|Because of the multiple angles along the walls of the cargo area, I used a piece of cardboard to make a template that I could lay on the plywood and trace the design.|
|After tracing the design on the 3/4" plywood, I used a jigsaw to easily cut the variety of angles.|
|To make the platform look a little cleaner and the ride quieter, I bought some indoor/outdoor carpet to cover the plywood. Using a staple gun and spray adhesive, the carpet was easily applied.|
|For the front and rear edges of the platform, I had an idea that these were going to be high wear vulnerabilities. So to protect the edges of the carpet, we found this 10' aluminum channel piece at the local hardware store.|
|The aluminum channel came with a smooth surface that in time was easily going to show scratches and wear marks. My husband, being a fabricator, came up with the idea to use the orbital sander to create a unique and uniform design.|
|After drilling a hole through the aluminum and a small pilot hole in the plywood, I used 3/4" wood screws to help secure the aluminum channel. I used three screws for each edge.|
|Because I did not want the aluminum scratching the rear ledges of the interior, I left the carpet exposed on the very ends.|
|After installing the aluminum channel on the two edges, I again used the spray adhesive and staple gun to fold over and secure the carpet end flaps.|
|I purposely made the ends long so that the underside of the platform would have carpet to act as a pad that would rest on the ledges of the cargo area without beating up the interior.|
|I attached four of these D-ring type tie down anchors to go on top and in the corners of platform. If necessary, I can use a small cargo net to secure items when the kennels are not in the car.|
|All four of the D-ring tie down anchors attached.|
|The platform sits perfectly on the ledges.|
|To better secure the kennels from shifting around while driving, I found these tie downs.|
|The FJ's cargo area is equipped with two of its own D-ring anchors. This is where I attached the cargo straps.|
|Two more D-rings anchors are located just behind the rear seats.|
|Since I am more comfortable traveling with my "JIC" boxes ("DON'T GET YOUR PANTIES IN A WAD - JIC BOX FOR YOUR RIG") gear with me, I was able to find two plastic totes that fit perfectly under the platform. The platform was also cut just deep enough so that the rear seats could be raised and used without removing the platform.|
There is now room for the kennels and storage.
Check out the new addition to the storage platform..a stowaway work table! "LAY IT ALL ON THE TABLE - A NEW ADDITION TO THE FJ CRUISER CARGO SHELF"
The table acts as a work bench; house a cook stove, tie flies, tend to the dogs, clean fish and game, sort gear, etc.
"It is well to be prepared for life as it is, but it is better to be prepared to make life better than it is." --Sargent Shriver
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