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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello fellow KL'rs.

I've seen some interest on the facebook KL Group I'm in, and on here for the project I finished up a week ago.

I got a new job that's one week on, one week off. With that said, I'll finally have more time to travel and with a jumping off point of Denver I'm smack dab in the middle of alot of places I've wanted to visit. So I was thinking of how to make these trips as cost effective as possible while being able to be able to camp anywhere, I decided to see if I can make the Jeep a friendly sleeper similar to what I see TONS of other people in CO do with their 4runners, pickup campers, and vans.
I have never worked with wood before this. I accomplished everything I needed with only a miter saw, miter box, and drill. So don't' feel like you can't do this! I just learned as I did it.

With that said I own a 2105 KL Trailhawk in dark blue. Bought it in early 2019 with 53k miles on it, currently at 75k. I've since added an MFC 2" lift, 255/75/17 BFG KO2's, Thule Crossbars and a Yakima Offgrid roof rack.
I have a RRO winch mount/bumper sitting in the garage just waiting on a winch...one of these days.

Land vehicle Car Vehicle Tire Wheel



I wheel the Jeep pretty hard on CO trails, more so to get to remote campsites, and it's held up remarkably fine. Although I'm always wondering "Is this the trip where my PTU grenades itself?" But, so far so good.

A few things I had in mind for the project;
-I knew I wanted more storage, and room for at least myself and my dog, and in the future enough room for me, my partner, and my dog.
-Everything has to be removable/Nothing permanent
-Using my remote start if I get too cold I just warm up the vehicle and go back to bed.




I started with removing the spare assembly, and then the plastic housing the spare sits in, Just right there a huge amount of space. If you use your rear seats regularly you may want to consider just going this route for storage. Provided you don't need your spare of course..
After some consideration I decided I wanted to remove the rear seat to see what space is available there.
Trunk Luggage and bags Automotive design Bag Khaki


KL Rear seat removal instructions

Using the above guide I figured it was easy, and it was.. I got the bolts out first, disconnected the airbag harness (2 harnesses) and started lifting the passenger side out first, then the opposite side, shimmying it out above the studs. Then dragging it out the trunk. It sucked, but much less frustrating if you take your time and walk around to see what it's getting caught on.
That seat is heavy! Easily over 100lbs and very awkward to handle. I'd highly recommend a few tie down straps to go over each seat, otherwise they will keep unfolding, the straps can also make a good handhold when you're moving it around.

Note I have not had a good chance to take a look, as this is an afterthought, but it certainly seems possible that the rear seat assembly can be cut..meaning you can choose which 60/40 split you may want to keep in the Jeep..one of these days I'll re-explore that option, as it would be nice to take out half of my assembly to throw one extra seat inside the Jeep.

With that seat out, the space inside the Jeep is massive compared to what we started with. I actually had it like this for a month while I decided what I wanted to do.
While staring at it for an hour I decided I'd need a "spine" to build off of. There are two 45 degree frame/unibody supports that come up into the cab of the Jeep and I figured I'd build off around that since that's the most lost space. I just put a piece 2x4 there, screwed it into the factory nutserts or whatever was there and it was sturdy enough. So I measured a piece of plywood to fit the back hatch and cut it down. Bought some regular door hingers and screwed them together. Perfect fit.
I reused the hook assembly from the OEM spare tire cover and screwed it into my replacement, that way I can have the wood cover supported while I'm in that compartment.
Vehicle Motor vehicle Car Trunk Shipping box


Next I decided to extend another "spine" directly through where the rear seat was. Another 2x4 with a 6" piece to connect the two underneath. I then used some cardboard to construct the flaps and get the contouring correct for the interior trim. More hinges and alot of careful cuts with the miter saw. and boom. For mocking up purposes I screwed a 6" piece to support the flaps. It supported my weight with no problem so I considered that good to go.
Wood Automotive tire Automotive exterior Vehicle door Hardwood


With the platform pretty much done, I now had to decide how to contain the storage underneath. I decided to use the rear seat mounting studs to strenghten the box. Using some metal L brackets that were drilled out to fit the 3/4" studs, I attached that to more 2x4's and measured out the rest. I reused the washers from the seat and now the boxed portion is quite sturdy on all 4 corners. In the future I may further strengthen the box portion utilizing other rear seat mounting points but at this time I don't see it as necessary.
Hood Automotive tire Wood Floor Automotive exterior


The last issue I faced is the sleeping room. I'm about 5"11 so with all this work I was still only at about 4'5" of flat space. I had a hell of a time racking my mind about how to bridge that gap but not lose space when it was not in use. By chance I found a youtube video of a guy who builds out SUV's like this, and one of his videos recommended locking hinges to set up that foot well gap for sleeping.
A pure stroke of luck, but the exact shape I needed the fold out piece to be to clear the center console and trim on the opposite side, means when it's folded down it nests perfectly in the foot well! So I can load that area up with gear, or seat a tall person in the passenger seat with no leg room compromise. It has full travel front and rear.

Rectangle Floor Flooring Audio equipment Gas

Automotive design Automotive exterior Motor vehicle Bumper Vehicle door

The fold out piece is definitely the weakest part of this whole build for sure, but I'm only resting my head there, not too much weight so I'll use it till I find a problem. As long as I don't rest too much weight on it, it should be fine.
Last touches were adding tie down anchors all over, which I bought cheap on amazon.

Last thing I did was buy some outdoor carpet rug from Home Depot, and cut it to fit all the pieces and stapled away. Now the wood has some cushion to it and I don't have to worry about splinters and such.

I can fit about nearly 100% off my camping gear entirely under the platform, except for the ice chest. And all my camera gear goes on top of the platform, or in the front/rear foot wells. Pretty happy with how it all turned out.

In total I think I spent about $250 on everything? Bought almost everything at Home Depot.

I finished off the project with a trip to REI to purchase the sleeping pad of my dreams, and Exped Deepsleep pad. A self inflating 3" thick 25"x72" mattress to lay out on top of the platform. Extremely comfortable! With that purchase, I consider this project mostly done.

I took the Jeep out to the forest trails to test out and it did great! I was comfy throughout the night and around 4am when it got to about 37F I remote started the Jeep from my sleeping bag and ran the heater to warm up a bit. One of these days I'll get a warmer sleeping bag :)

I may look into how much space is behind the trim in the cargo area as even a few more inches of width would make a large difference,

If you have any questions feel free to ask. I wrote this up in an hour so I would not consider this to be super thorough.

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2020 Trailhawk 2.0T Diamond Black
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It was doing that on my phone, but now that I'm on my computer they're showing up fine?
working now! I think the whole site was messed up for a bit, other threads showed the same! checking it out now. Fellow Denverite!!
 

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2020 Trailhawk 2.0T Diamond Black
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what is that Jeep insert and bag in the back left space by the trunk?
 

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Some more photos
I am 5'10" and was looking to do the same thing, but the passenger seat in my 2020 TH don't fold flat :( I test laid down but it was very tight (I am trying not to have to sleep on an angle).

Looking at year pics I may give another run at it. I plan on a 6,000 mile trip come January and I'd love to be able to sleep in the back a few times on the trip. Do some winter camping. :D
 

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2019 Firecracker Red Cherokee Trailhawk Elite
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Nice job, pretty impressive. Being 6’5” with an 80 lbs dog, I just don’t think I could do this. Damn nice job, though! 😎
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Nice job, pretty impressive. Being 6’5” with an 80 lbs dog, I just don’t think I could do this. Damn nice job, though! 😎
Thank you, yeah the biggest issue for you would be the center console. I did stare at that center console for about 30 minutes trying to decide if I wanted to do something about but ended up just leaving it alone
 
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