My LR3 lightweight storage platform build (UPDATED: actual dimensions on pg 4)

#1
My LR3 lightweight storage platform build (UPDATED design on page 6)

I've finally got around to completing my rear hatch area storage platform in my LR3. The goals for this platform were:

(1) Had to be light weight (the LR3 already weighs a lot, especially with the ARB bumper, Rover Specialties Sliders, roof rack, etc)
(2) Had to be easily removable...think under 5 mins.
(3) Had to have an OEM look/feel too it
(4) Had to be modular enough to allow for the platform to be expanded for when the 2nd row of seats is folded flat to be used as a sleeping platform (this bit is still left on the to-do list).
(5) Had to be strong enough to support a fridge and slide plus cargo or the weight of two people (for sleeping platform when needed).


The approach I took was based on a platform build by someone in Australia: http://www.aulro.com/afvb/projects-tutorials/21696-project-1-modular-draw-sleeping-area-2.html . Qubeloks weren't available in the US, so after some searching I found a company call eztube (www.eztube.com). The big advantage eztube has over others like Qubelok is that they offer connectors with a steel core verse glass filled nylon. Why are the steel core important? Because they will be a heck of a lot stronger and won't ever break. The only down side is they are about double the cost of the glass filled nylon connectors. I'm sure the glass filled nylon would have been up to the task, but I opted to over build it for piece of mind.

With that said, on to the build.

The first step was just to put a quick frame design on paper:







The next step was to semi mock up the frame with PVC pipe and joints. Why did I do this? Two reasons (1) to ensure I get all the right measurements, etc for a perfect fit and (2) PVC piping is ultra cheap compared to the tubing cost, so best to make all the mistakes with the PVC before cutting the expensive tubing.




Next was to cut the aluminum tubing and build the frame:


Then add the plywood. Note I split the plywood in half width wise to allow removal of half in case I wanted the fridge on one side but then had some taller items to carry on the other side:






Next step was to attach the frame to the LR3's tie-down d-rings with some turn buckles. I used nut rivets to mount the eye bolts on the frame to keep the "nut" internal to the tubing:



Final step was to carpet the plywood and then mount the plywood to the frame (with fanged elevator bolts...I've got shorter ones on the way so they will no longer hang below the tubing line as you can just barely see in some of the pics below) and the fridge slide to the plywood:









Overall I'm really happy with how it turned out. I can remove the platform in well under 5 mins...about 3 and a half to be exact. The frame itself is only 11.7 lbs. I used 1/2 plywood (Russian Birch) to keep the plywood light as well vs going with 3/4. Haven't weighed the frame with the wood attached yet, but I can easily lift it out on my own. Its little heavier with the ARB fridge slide attached, but expected given that the ARB fridge slide is very heavy and stout. If you wanted to, you could easily add draw slides and drawers to the lower frame. I'm opting not to to keep it light and will just use totes underneath.

Next will be to add a similar frame and platform for when the 2nd row of seats are folded down, but that is a bit on the back burner for now.

Jason
 
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#4
Looks awesome! Sidenote, are those the OEM seat covers? If not what type and where did you get them?
Seat covers are not OEM. I wanted something that was simple to take on and off (unlike the OEM's), so I opted for the set Lucky8 offers: http://lucky8llc.com/Products.aspx?ProductID=4366 . I have the fronts also and each can be put on or taken off in under a minute. I love them. Rears stay on all the time since I have a 2 year old and the front I only put on when I go camping or offroading. I added the two round holes with the plastic boarders for the child seat tethers. They are just shower curtain rings that snap together on either side of the holes I cut.
 
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#6
That my kind of stuff - simple, over-engineered where it needs it, less so where it doesn't, and easily pulled out when not required. A good job well done!
 
#7
That looks fantastic.

That is exactly what I'd like to do with the XTerra. Drawer systems are nice and all, but adding 200+lbs right out of the gate doesn't exactly excite me....

Im local to you, any chance we could link up sometime so I can see in person? First round is on me....

Cheers.

-K
 
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#8
I like it and am contemplating a similar setup in my LR3. I have a shelving system in my Range Rover and prefer the open configuration to drawers due to weight and versatility.

Is the fridge difficult to see inside being so high? I had to keep my ARB on the floor of my rangie for that reason and then built a shelf over the top for additional storage.
 
#9
That looks fantastic.

That is exactly what I'd like to do with the XTerra. Drawer systems are nice and all, but adding 200+lbs right out of the gate doesn't exactly excite me....

Im local to you, any chance we could link up sometime so I can see in person? First round is on me....

Cheers.

-K
I'll shoot you a PM.

I like it and am contemplating a similar setup in my LR3. I have a shelving system in my Range Rover and prefer the open configuration to drawers due to weight and versatility.

Is the fridge difficult to see inside being so high? I had to keep my ARB on the floor of my rangie for that reason and then built a shelf over the top for additional storage.
I'm 6 foot so I don't have any issue with seeing inside the fridge, however my wife (at 5'2") can't. I figure for her, she can use the flip down tail gate as a booster to allow her visibility into the fridge. :)
 
#14
I'm lost. How do you open the fridge without hitting the hatch?
It opens more than enough to get anything in and out just fine. Arb's top is removable as well so I suppose if I ever had something huge that required the lid to open fully I could just remove it....though I can't ever imagine needing to do this.
 
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